My Garden ~ it’s a boy

Number 8 grandchild, born in the eighth month of 2008, weighed in at 7lb 11oz. He arrived into our world at 7.12 this morning. There’s some lucky association with the number 8  linked to this birthday – I haven’t made sense of it yet. It’s very special to have been invited by son and D-in-Law to be present at the birth as well as the other grandmother. At present, Himself and I are babysitting the older two boys – twenty-one month old Turbo-toddler and Three-year old. Three-year old, when told that Mummy and Daddy had a nice surprise for him, thought it’d be a Benten or at least a new Spiderman toy.      

At least the weather cooperated  as we drove into town early this morning. It is pleasantly cool and conditions are drying out. I was able to get into the garden to pick a few flowers (freesias, daffodils, calendula, borage) to make a litte posy for each boy to give to their Mummy. Before we entered the maternity annexe, we had a ‘serious’ discussion about using quiet voices, walk only, how to hold a bunch of flowers and hold onto Nana and Poppas’ hands. The cute factor lasted about five pre-schooler nano-seconds after we entered Mummy’s room. Turbo-toddler patted new-born brother on the head and was then ready to be off to ‘explore’ the interesting new surroundings. Needless to say, it was a relatively short first visit.

Given that the magnolias are making a great show and that the Kowhai have started to bloom, I think I’ll probably choose one of these as the baby’s special tree. Last year, I wrote about tree-planting as a living remembrance or celebration of life.  The sound of Tui has been heard recently – a harbinger of spring. Tui love the Kowhai nectar and it enjoys a special bird status in the hearts of New Zealanders.

My Garden ~ it’s been the wettest winter and a birth is imminent

Mud. Lots of it. Squelchy and squishy.  Officially, we’re told it’s been the wettest winter. The grey rain clouds can go away now. We are no longer lulled by the nightly patter of rain on the roof. In our area, the soil ‘floats’ atop the hardpan pipe-clay. Unsealed local roads and private driveways currently make driving interesting as we dodge the potholes. Once things dry out in the warmer months, we’ll need to re-metal our driveway.

I can only stand and admire nature’s cheerful face of drifts of daffodils. No outdoor gardening is happening at present. This weekend, I want to get some time to sow some seeds to germinate them under cover. And yes, the early potatoes seem to still be growing. Anyway, there’s another reason for no gardening and no blogging. For the last few weeks, I’ve been busy cleaning spare bedrooms, laundering baby clothes, fetching grandkids from daycare and preparing meals. I feel stuffed just looking at this list and I go out to work during the week. The efforts we make to support our families.     

Tomorrow is the due date for a very important little person. Grandchild Number 8. The lucky number and it’s the 8th month of 2008. We’ve got a full house. Son and D-in-law and their two sons are staying with us before they shift into their next house. D-in-law’s Mum flew in from Australia and is also staying with us. Tonight, the newborn baby clothes are sorted and the basinet is made up and aired. Mummy’s finally stopped working and is now on maternity leave. She’s packed her bag at last. Daddy’s reading a story to three-year old son. Three grandparents are under the same roof and on hand to baby-sit the older boys. Wow! Each time, the imminent birth of a grandchild is such a special time. The event draws people together. A little of each of us is embodied in the promise of this precious new life bringing cheer like the daffodils. Now, we wait for nature to take its course.

My Garden ~ baking with toddler grandson

Another wet weather forecast for yesterday meant another Sunday indoors. Time to cook some comfort food. Toddler grandson bustled about and pushed the step-stool against the bench and climbed up just like he’s seen older brother do. ‘Me’ in toddler-speak translated means it’s my turn to have fun at the kitchen sink. Older brother, now three, was happily ensconced in front of the computer (I’m amazed how easily he uses the mouse and function keys). So, it was Toddler’s time to have the kitchen bench to himself and learn some kitchen skills.

ANZAC Biscuits

A Kiwi icon biscuit recipe that is easy to make. Kids like to add dried fruit – whatever’s to hand, usually raisins.  The basic recipe is found in another Kiwi icon, the Edmonds Recipe Book.  

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup rolled oats,  1/2 cup raisins into a mixing bowl. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and add  to 125 grams butter that has been melted with 1 tablespoon Golden Syrup. Pour liquid into dry ingredients and stir in. Place spoonfuls onto a greased or lined baking tray. Flatten slightly with a fork. Bake about 12 minutes at 180 C.

Tonight, while half asleep in front of the fire, Himself mentioned the ‘frost’ word. Oh! Early potatoes – should I risk it? Should I stir myself from my comfort zone? It’s dark, cold and soggy outside. Should I trust the forecasted 5C overnight temperature not to fall any further? Cat was snuggled on Himself’s lap and is a mean critter when disturbed. Himself wasn’t moving. So it was pull on the dampish socks and gumboots and don a jacket. Grab a torch and then slosh down to the shed to grab the frost covering. Clear sky tonight – lots of stars and a new moon – could get frosty. Who knows? Since the first frosty encounter, the early potato plants seem to have recovered and have grown to about 12cm high. They are now snuggly wrapped for the night. A dark shadow darted towards me as I shone the torch-light over the garden. It was the cat. Chasing shadows like a kitten he’s not. Remind me – why do I garden?