Posted in Home-schooling, Projects

Propagation by Cuttings

This afternoon we learned how to propagate by cuttings. We used propagation mix, rooting hormone, seed trays and cuttings from pittosporum tenuifolium, box hedge and another hedge plant. Thanks Paul for being teacher. To look after our plants, we need to keep them moist, spraying them with a spray bottle of water 3-4 times a day and keep them in a shady place.

The plant propagators
Posted in Projects

Tree Nursery for Restoring Hedges

Our pittosporum tenuifolium hedge has gaps from trees dying over the years. I tried to gather, plant and sprout some pittos from seed but nothing came up. So, Tim and I have been gathering up wild pitto seedlings from our property and the neighbour’s property and putting them in pots while they grow up a bit. Tim has planted some out where we want them and they have grown well this summer.

The tree nursery. There are pittosporum tenuifolium, Ribbonwoods and some Rowan seedlings
The tree nursery. There are pittosporum tenuifolium, Ribbonwoods and some Rowan seedlings
Five new pittosporums along the hedge line
Five new pittosporums along the hedge line
Posted in Projects


Tim helped Susanna identify and cut some willow down in the riverbed to do basketmaking. Then the basketmaking began. It was harder and more frustrating than the book suggested. It took a strong hand to get the weave tight. I told Susanna that one probably would need to practice it for quite some time if one was to make a basket like those in the book.

The Collected Willow
The Collected Willow With a Smiling Basketmaker
The Base
The Base of the Basket – the look says it all.
Posted in Projects

I’m a Student Again

As I was searching the internet for ideas for study for my sons I saw a free course I would love to do. And then I thought, why not. So I signed up. The first books of my new study venture arrived today. I’m studying Horticulture with Open Polytechnic, part time. The first topic is Soil. The last time I studied with an institution I was learning to care for people (as a registered nurse), now it is caring for plants.

43 is not to old to learn something new
43 is not to old to learn something new
Posted in Family Happenings, Projects

Garden Kickoff

The new season is here. We cleared much of the garden on Saturday and emptied the compost bins. I did hours of digging and was very stiff in my back and arms the next day. (Need to toughen up.) Today I planted seeds in pots with some helpers. The only catastrophe was when Mr. Three decided to walk through the pots and stepped into one of them tipping out contents. As I said to Philip, it was a great patience building project for me. We probably planted 400+ seeds. The seeds planted were zucchini, pepper, cabbage, broccoli, thyme, origanum, onion, sage.

Compost bins emptied and repositioned
Compost bins emptied and repositioned
A truck load of pig manure arrived today from a Greendale pig farm.
We are enjoying the winter cauliflowers from the greenhouse at the moment.
Helpers who planted seeds. Joey helped too but did not want to be in the photo.
Posted in Home-schooling, Projects

Tim Focusses on Learning Robotics with LEGO Mindstorms RCX

Tim was looking for more input on robotics. I remembered we had a book “Physics By Design” by Barbara Bratzel. It was perfect for him. He is working through the projects systematically and journaling his learning in a scrapbook.  Well done Tim!

The excellent book Tim has been using
The excellent book Tim has been using
Tim with his work
Programing the robot using the computer
Tim’s Journal with photos of projects, computer programmes he has designed and a short written description of each task
Table of Contents
Table of Contents 2

Posted in Projects

Susanna the Helper

The last of the beetroot was calling out to be made into beetroot chutney and Susanna was the girl to help. While I skinned beetroot she sliced beetroot in the kitchen whizz. Next she measured ingredients while I cut up the onions. Lastly she helped with drying jars and with putting lids on after I filled the jars. We were such a great team and I enjoyed her willing help and joyful company. I love you Susie.

Susanna, Lily and me with the Beetroot Chutney
Susanna, Lily and me with the Beetroot Chutney

Beetroot Chutney Recipe

1kg Beetroot (cooked and peeled)

500g onions

1 cup vinegar

3 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1 tsp ground spice

pinch cayenne pepper

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp extra vinegar

Peel cooked beetroot and mince beetroot and onions. Place in large saucepan with the vinegar, salt, sugar, spice and cayenne. Boil for 20 mins. Mix cornflour and extra vinegar together. Stir into relish. Cook for 3 mins. Spoon into clean and dry jars and seal.

I got this recipe from my neighbour who got it from the internet from someone called Joanna.

Posted in Family Happenings, Projects

Sewing Boxes on a Cold Rainy Day

This morning four children made sewn boxes. Here is how….

Susanna, Jon, Lily and Joseph with their boxes.
Susanna, Jon, Lily and Joseph with their boxes.

1. First cut 6 cardboard squares. Ours measured 8cm x 8cm

2. Colour them any way you want. We used coloured paper squares which were pasted on and left to dry by fire.

3. Punch holes all around the edges. We had 7 holes on each side.

4. Thread needle with yarn and sew squares together. Tie the yarn onto a punched hole to begin. We started with the bottom square and sewed the walls of the box to this base first. This is the hardest part for the littler children. I held the cards together for 3 year old Joseph. Matthew held it together for 5 year old Lily. When you almost run out of yarn on the needle tie it off tightly and thread up more yarn.

5. Leave the lid unsewn on three sides so the box can open up.