This year, in December, we will be hosting my family's Christmas lunch at our house. It's been 12 years since I last hosted, when my oldest was 4 months old and I had a massive dose of tonsilitis. This time round we will have 12, 10 and 8 year olds to "help out" with the proceedings. Such a difference! I also hope I don't have the tonsilitis, that would be good.
I was talking to Mum this past Christmas and mentioned I needed to get moving on sorting out the garden, she said that I had 12 months, I would be fine. I commented that I should have started 12 months ago, how little did I know how prophetic my words were.
To give you a base idea, we live in a small 3 bedroom house with one open living space and a kitchen with three doors off it and not a lot of bench space and a small oven. We are likely to be catering for between 23 and 28 people all up. The more we can have preorganised and the more we can transfer to outside the better off we will be. We have a large back yard that has been at the mercy of our three boys for the past 11 years. It needs some work, no that's an understatement, it needs a lot of work! Work we have planned numerous times, but have never gotten around to carrying out.
Our garden at the beginning of the year looked like this.
(Not sure if that video is working so I have made a still picture version)
We want the back corner to be paved, we debated upon having decking but our reality is that we don't have the time, energy or inclination to look after it properly so some sort of paving it will be.
It's a lovely protected corner that gets late afernoon sunlight and has been in our targets for at least 5 years now as a "parent space". This year it will happen.
The first order of the year was to remove three tree stumps. Two are Magnolia's that died a couple of years ago. Being a soft wood tree they have rotted quite a lot so their removal was relatively easy, dig out around the base, hack through a few soft and squishy roots and out they come. The third stump is taking some more work.
The tree is still live and it's quite a determined one. It's a Lilly Pilly in tree form and the roots are very strong still. J is working on it steadily and it will eventually succumb.
That all sounds pretty easy doesn't it? Well, it was, but removal of the first Magnolia revealed a problem. It had been planted on and in or around what must have been a broken bottle pile from when the house was built, either that or we've had some really bad owners here at one point. In a patch 1.5 metres long by 80 cm wide by 30 cm deep we have recovered this much glass.
And I haven't finished sifting all the dirt from this hole yet. We are hoping that this is an isolated spot, that once we start moving further along the garden bed there will be less glass. I really hope so, because my gardening plans have had a real slow down! There's no way I can leave all that glass in there, the kids dig in the gardens and I garden without gloves regularly. So I sit and sift dirt while listening to podcasts and I slowly see the results of my efforts.
I have two other challenges for the year, these are both of the craft variety.
I have been working on a quilt for my bedroom and I am up to the quilting on it. Neither my skills or my sewing machine are up to the quilting so I am doing it by hand. There are 25 sets of 4 squares to sew around in white thread and then a bigger coloured square about an inch out from the the 4 squares to make a bigger square. I have completed 4 out of 25 of these squares and still have along way to go. This is another task that I do while listening to podcasts. With 25 squares and 52 weeks in the year, if I can get 1 set of squares with their outside border done a fortnight I should make it by the end of the year. So far I am on target.
The last challenge for the year is sock knitting. I have all of these lovely yarns and patterns and ideas and so this year my target is to knit 20 pairs. I have completed 4 pairs thus far and have started the fifth. To make my target for the year I need about 2 pairs a month so I am currently on track.