Friday, October 26, 2012

Now this is what I call a playground!

We discovered an amazing place in the recent school holidays. The St Kilda Adventure Playground.
In a word it is amazing!!
I had read about this playground with a difference and finally there was a chance to go and explore. With help from some online directions we found the one way suburban street from which you turn onto the walking path which takes you down through a open grass area to the brightly decorated front fence of the playground.
When you walk through the gates you see the scene above and the sound of children loudly and happily playing sings in your ears.


There is a great flying fox that Big Pickle couldn't get enough of. Like most of the turn taking equipment in the playground this had a quirky painted sign which set out the rules of operation. 
- One child at a time
- Must be five years or over
- Bring the fox back to the platform after riding....
The inground trampolines all stipulated one at a time, three minutes per turn and other necessary information.
I found this seemed to add to the parks relaxed yet organised feel. There was far less need for adults to get involved as older kids read the instructions to kids who couldn't read and children could be heard firmly but quite nicely reminding another of the rules if they seemed to have forgotten.

This is a community playground that is predominently used by the children who live in the immediate area. Its a backyard for those who don't have one of their own. When its not school holidays the park is open from 3pm - 5:30pm each weekday to service the after school period and then on weekends.

All the equipment has been built by able hands but in a way that makes it seem natural and evolved rather than planned out and clinical like most parks. There's lots of wood and things have been painted in various colours and possibly by kids.


 It's a big space and there are numerous different big structures for kids to play on including a big pirate ship; a U-shaped skateboard ramp (I'm sure they have a specific name but its not known to me) that is just for sliding down; an inground trampoline and three or four other netted tramps; an old aeroplane that they can climb up into the cockpit of; another huge wooden structure that is full of ramps and tunnels and a rope maze.


All through the park there are lovely old trees many of which are perfect for climbing or sitting in or pretending you are riding a dragon.

This rope maze thing was a big hit with Big Pickle too.

They do recommend the park for kids over five and I'd say the perfect age would be seven to ten. There were lots of things that weren't suitable for Little Pickle who is three but he was content just to wander about enjoying the space and the trees and the little slides and things dotted about. I was happy to note that there was only one swing and it really didn't get any traffic as there was so many other things to do.

The park also has a clubhouse type building where you can sit undercover but still outside to eat your lunch and there was also tea and coffee making facilities available for a gold coin donation.
The whole place had a really lovely, inclusive community feel and was a very different and welcome playground experience.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A different type of craft

There are so many craft projects in progress here at the moment but for the moment the wool and fabric has been put just a little aside to indulge in a different form of craft.
I have quite a thing for wood. I remember with much fondness the woodwork classes we had at school until, in my final years I moved to a girls school where woodworking was considered a male pursuit. So, I'm working with wood at the moment....well kind of. I'm not actually constructing anything but I am renovating and reinventing our outdoor setting which is actually a dining setting that was once owned by my husband's great grandfather and has found its way down the lines to us via a couple of student houses where it acquired a half hearted paint job which left it rather confused and multi coloured in appearance.

The trickiest part of the job is definitely removing the laminex from the top of the table. It's a painstakingly slow task which is basically a matter of chipping it off piece by piece and then sanding off the backing wood that often stays behind.
Gradually I am making progress, and though it gets slower and harder the further in I get, it also gets more rewarding as I see the lovely blonde wood emerging.

The plan is to just seal the top and then paint the legs and chairs in a pale duck egg bluey-green colour. I just have to stay focused and keep chipping away at it slowly and telling myself that I will get there.......

As I work I get to admire all the happenings in the garden. Those tomato seedlings are now big and strong and I have managed to plant out nearly a dozen in my not enormous garden.....still hoping there might be room for a few more and then I'll gift the rest to friends.

The potato patch is thriving.

 The fruit trees are promising a whole lot of goodness but I think I need to start looking into some netting to protect our bounty from the birds.

 In the front yard I have been enjoying these beauties. There is also a big patch in the back yard that is about to open into pale blue blooms.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spring Fling

Ahhh really are so very engaging. I find myself succumbing to a serious crush each time you grace us with your sunshine and your balmy breezes. Of course because we are in Melbourne, I'm now listening to the rain falling outside as I reflect on an overcast but nonetheless mild and lovely day.
How it warms this mamas heart to have two boys painting as I cook dinner rather than the usual sitting in front of the television.

New things are happening in the garden every day. The horrible overgrown, wine tangled section next to the sandpit has now been cut back to almost nothing and planted with cuttings and plants from my mum's garden so hopefully, if they all take, it will soon be lush and leafy and even have flowers.
Right now it still looks pretty scraggy but I'm told the thing about gardens is they grow.

Our potato patch is shaping up and in fact the plants have all doubled in size since this photo was taken a few days ago.

And look at those tomato seedlings now. The success I've had with them inspired me to plant out a wealth of other seeds including delphiniums, coneflowers, more basil and some dill because the direct sow dill is proving difficult. I've also planted twelve pea seeds in trays so that I have time to work out where they can go.

 This gardening thing sure is proving to be addictive and I'm finding I spend snippets of time throughout the day engaged in some kind of gardening task whether it be more planting, weeding, training snowpeas and grapevine shoots............
Its eating into my crafting time but as its providing just as much therapeutic benefits I don't mind.

 We've also rediscovered dinners outside with the added joy of admiring the burgeoning garden while we eat.
I've now decided that I'm going to tackle our 'rustic' outdoor setting which was actually Mr Pickle's grandfathers and plan to sand it all back and paint the chairs and table legs. Hopefully, I'll also have enough courage to remove the laminex and take the tabletop back to the lovely warm wood I can see when I look under the table. So many plans!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

THREE!! How oh how did we get here so quickly

Little Pickle turned three a few weeks ago and I'm still getting used to the idea that he is not quite so small may well be time for this mama to accept that the beautiful baby who brightened our world from the moment he arrived is not really a baby any longer.

From the first moment he approached the world with a sense of calm wonder......

Knew how to handle a very loud, very loving and exuberant big brother........

Happily sported the many outfits his mama relished making for him............

I remember those short-lived but luscious curls.........

He has always been up for some crafting........

With hands always at the ready for some baking...................

We call him our happy wanderer - always content outside exploring nature..............

A gentle heart and careful ways mean animals are at ease with him..........

Every day with you is a lesson in learning to slow down and enjoy. I can't wait to see what he will guide us to discovering next.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

I am a Germinator!!


I really wasn't sure if I was up for germinating my own seeds but with an inspiring example being set by this friend and our new membership to the Diggers Club I had to give it a try. It worked!!! In fact I have been so successful that if i do manage to keep all these tomato seedlings going, I'll need to find homes for many of them as there won't be space in my beds.

Out in the garden things are shaping up with sage thriving and flowering......


 The Rhubarb is very happy in its new spot.......

The silverbeet is glossy and glorious............


The strawberry patch is settling in beautifully...........

The grapevine is sprouting...........

Then there are the parts of the garden I'm not so proud of at the moment.  Our two fruit trees choked by weeds and runner grass and the native bush corner with overgrown vines and a hibernating tree dahlia.
Plans for these areas include a wooden fort for the Pickles, a wall of giant sunflowers, tamed natives underplanted with plants and seedlings from my mums garden, more vegetables and herbs........

Stay tuned for further developments...........