Our Curriculums and Programs for 2020

**There are links to other websites in this post, but none of them are paid/affiliate links, just resources I love, and I link to info about them, not to where you can purchase them from necessarily... savvy??**

It's a new school year - time for a curriculum post!

You know, for someone who says their homeschool is cruising along pretty comfortably, I chop and change our resources quite a lot! That's probably the best part about homeschool though - that I can adjust what we use, how long we spend on subjects, and how much independence each child gets based on how they are going. I'm at the point now where I can tell if someone needs a curriculum change because it doesn't suit their learning style, or if they need a bit of a loving shovel load of discipline and perseverance to cancel out the laziness!

We've journeyed from a very relaxed, play-based style of learning when we first began and everyone was younger (we're into our 5th year of homeschool now, so we had a few years at school first), to a more disciplined (but still flexible) approach incorporating more challenges, a few tests (oohh!), as well as lifeskills and consequences.

It's a horrible thought that I've only got four more years with my eldest boy. He may hang around, he may end up gallivanting around the world, he may end up at uni somewhere (or the seminary!!), but my role as a lead influence in his life will change. It's daunting knowing that God has blessed me with the responsibility of raising this child to know Him and love Him and never forsake Him, and that in four short years this increasingly secular and God-less world will embrace my boy... and he needs to be able to resist the oncoming onslaught... me being the one primarily responsible for forming his faith.

And then there's two more of God's children after that!

It takes up a lot of my prayer time, that's for sure. But these three amigos are most definitely worth it. I know I'll be able to say to God, when my time comes, I have put my absolute all into these children of yours - regardless of their individual choices, or my failings and shortcomings, my God I have tried!

So there's prayer time, then there's planning time - which is just as much about coordinating, colour-coding, formatting, and laminating a beautiful planner/chart/project/list/or poster, as the actual curriculum choices themselves! Nothing beats a perfectly formatted planner!

Planners, Schedules, and Chore Charts

Being organised as a homemaker and a homeschool mum is so fricken important. And this has also been my absolute number 1 fricken struggle. So much so, that in my desire to be organised I am going to be writing about my journey to create a Rule of Life, and establish a prayer routine inspired by the Hours of the Divine Office (or Liturgy of the Hours). But that's a whole other series, so I will just stick to homeschool today!

Each child has a term planner - with all subjects and tasks required to be completed for the term. It's broken up into weeks and, to be honest, is quite the design masterpiece...! We have schedules that cover different types of days - to help facilitate chores, homework, free time (which is maximised if you just stick to the schedule!!!), and lessons. They each have their own version of the main schedules, which I keep. We've also got family groundrules, and our chore charts are interchangeable (so everyone gets a go at everything!).

Mean Mum, don't care!! I don't like to fluff around when it comes to respect and discipline.
We have a lot of fun around here, but that doesn't constitute to anyone becoming a lazy jackass!

These are my pride and joy - we have study days, arts days, out & about days, sport days, family days...
and it's all flexible enough and adaptable enough if things go a bit pear shaped,
but it's so nice having a solid foundation where most things are accounted for!

The term planners - weeks 6 to 10 are on the back, and there are separate pages with science, HASS, health, the arts,
tech, and lifeskills too!


A small snippet of our Catholic arsenal!

We do three formal scripture lessons per week - two of which are courses on Homeschool Connections (an awesome Catholic Homeschooling Courses resource!). There are over 400 recorded full courses covering all school subjects, which in itself is awesome, but I'm particularly loving the Christian courses. This term for religion, we are doing two courses - Middle School Latin (our names are now Raymundus, Margarita, Jacobus, Marcus, and Cornelia!) and Lives of the Saints. So we stream these lessons onto the TV and watch and take notes together. We do bible study using The Great Adventure Storybook , working on the journey of salvation history from Adam through to Jesus. And each week we have a bible verse from the coming Sunday mass to use as copy work and write into a bible verse journal (I'm putting these into a pretty downloadable pdf form each week on the facebook page if anyone was interested in an art journal for bible verses! But I'll write more about that later!).


We've changed English a little bit this year, as everyone is a bit older, and after exploring the courses that Homeschool Connections offers we are using their Aquinas Writing Advantage course (for Pip and Jack) to cover grammar and writing skills, and keeping Brave Writer as a continual novel study which gives exposure to beautiful high-quality literature (I have always loved the books that Julie has chosen, and this will be the main program for Dom for the year).

The Brave Writer manual (thoroughly well written, highly intelligent!),
and I still can't quite believe we are going to tackle Latin...!

The Hobbit, Pooh Corner, and The Bad Beginning are all Brave Writer books,
and The Morville Hours is my little gem that I'm reading.
(Of course, I'm reading the other 3 books with the kids so we can chat about it!)


Ok, big shake up on the maths front - I'm officially NOT a digital maths curriculum girl. Straight up and down, the less time that our children spend on technology, the better. So-called "smart" phones, tablets, gaming devices, and binge-watching streaming apps are not only minimising social abilities but also creating the need for instant gratification. Instant reward. A heightened sense of stimulation. Children quite literally lose their ability to find joy in the little things because they are wired to the adrenaline rush that comes with the fireworks and stimulus of the screen. It's not real life. It's not real maths. And it wasn't working for us at all.

Enter Saxon Math:

This year, we are using Saxon 5/4, Saxon 6/5, and Saxon 8/7 (then into Algebra!)

Saxon uses the concept of spiral learning - so learn a piece of a new concept then review previous things, bit more new stuff, review previous, etc, etc... maths needs a lot of repetition, and I've found that with saturation learning (sticking with one topic until it's mastered then moving on) it gets forgotten later in the year! Check out this review on Cathy Duffy Homeschool Reviews - it is very thorough and what convinced me to go with this program (it's different to the junior Saxon Math series which has hands on manipulatives!). And, it's been working marvellously!
Remember before I said that I was getting to the point where I knew when I could dish out a shovel load of discipline to combat laziness?! Yeah, some days we have that with maths. But it's maths. 9 times out of 10, it just gets done, and everyone is proud of their achievements. Some days, though... out comes the shovel!


There are 5 books in the Berean Builders primary series,
and 2 books in the Apologia middle school series.
The books to the right are the tests and help books!

We're using a combination of Berean Builders (BB) and Apologia for Science - and hey they're written by the same guy so happy days! BB is just the new company he's started.
BB (primary series) moves through history to teach Science, which is a concept I absolutely love and has served the family really well. It makes for some great table discussions, and gives the kids a more rounded understanding of Science because they can place the scientific discovery with an event in time. It also teaches creation Science as well as evolution Science, and from an historical perspective - which helps us to understand how some people could have come to the conclusions they did. The experiments are easy and fun, and the lessons are short and scaffolded (adaptable to different year levels).
Apologia (middle and high school series) is a lot more involved and challenging, but follows on perfectly from either the Apologia primary series or the BB primary series. After General Science and Physical Science, it moves into the real fun stuff in upper high school - Bio, Chem, and Physics...!!
They all come with optional tests, solutions manuals, and helps and hints books. Thank goodness!

There are Science classes on Homeschool Connections, but I haven't explored them quite yet, and I still really enjoy this book series so we'll probably stick to it! (For now!)

We also have a beautiful telescope to regularly explore the stars - so astronomy is a big ticket item in this household!

HASS - humanities and social science

This year, we're doing a bit of multitasking for this subject, with a focus on History.

A small cross-section of what we are using for History this term!

I have a thing about History, and think it is absolutely vital for us to learn not only to appreciate our current life, but to make sure that we learn from the mistakes of the past. History is our story. It could be your family's story, the story of your town, the story of your country, the story of your people, or the story of God Himself - and if we forget our history, we forget what it is we need to preserve, to fight for, to be proud of. People stop being wise, and start doing whatever they want without care of the sacrifices given before their time to get civilisation to where it currently is. When we look at historical events, we also look at the people of that time. All of history has a story, and we need to make sure that not only are we passing on these stories, but that they are being passed on accurately without prejudice or bias.
Jack has begun a fantastic course on Homeschool Connections called Foundations of Christian Historiography. It "educate[s] students in the various ways people have viewed history throughout the ages, discuss the importance of retaining a Christian framework in our pursuit of historical studies, and train[s] students to see subtle (or not so subtle) anti-Christian presuppositions in popular portrayals of historic events."  (Quote is from the site) This course will then pave the way into future History courses, as he will be able to discern historical works in a deeper, more truthful way.

We are also covering Australian History this year, following on from our Aboriginal (First Australians) studies in 4th term last year. I've put together a bit of a scaffolded curriculum so everyone can work together, and over the course of this year we are hoping to build a settlement village (of sorts) on our block that will develop and change as we study the advancement of the Australian culture. We are starting with the first fleet and explorers at the moment, and will work through pioneering and gold rush times, world wars, and modern development.
We will use resources from the ABC series My Place (check out the resources here) - based on the book by Nadia Wheatley, ideas from a fellow Aussie homeschooler over on Eureka Homeschool, two books by Peter Macinnis (they are in the photo above) - The Big Book of Australian History, and Australian Backyard Explorer, and plenty of books in the Steve Parish series:

Discussions about History are one of my favourite types of discussions to have (other than religious ones!).
These books give so much info - and we wonder and debate about survival in those early settlement times!
We will be visiting historical villages, building our settlement, and recording our successes, our failures, and what we have learned - so make sure you follow on our blog series that we will start in the next week or two "Me & My Australian Colonial Settlement"!

Arts, Tech, & Lifeskills

In building our home on a paddock, we've started from scratch, so I thought it only fitting to add Permaculture to our curriculum and we can all learn together (myself included!). We are learning from Geoff Lawton online - he's one of the pioneers of permaculture in Australia and has so many great resources and courses to study. We are also watching the series River Cottage Australia because it's all about establishing self-sufficiency, living seasonally, and overcoming struggles! And i'm kind of addicted so just... yeah... we'll curriculum that one!

We cruise through Visual Art - either using the Australian Nature Study Guide (which covers science too, and which I THOROUGHLY recommend!) to journal our observations, or a fun YouTube lesson that teaches technique and produces something fun! My boys are not into art at all, so we need to cover it in creative ways sometimes (like building a cornhole game then having to design and paint it!).

Each week for Cooking we have a different theme (coming up soon is fermenting, for example) and I have a few recipes that they choose from. We then source the ingredients, and cook up different versions and compare it all. It's actually a heck of a lot of fun, so stay tuned for a series on that too!

We are also starting a business this year, God help us, to cover economics and business studies. But you'll just have to wait to hear more about that one...!

Lifeskills will happen in the in-between times - typing and computer skills, online safety, sewing, first aid (and will do a proper course later on in the year), knot tying, knitting (ha!), basic mechanics, woodwork, social work, volunteering... all the incidentals that just happen as we ride the wave of child raising.

It seems like a lot.
But it's just a plan.
In reality, if we need to change it up - we do.
If we need a break - we do.
If the little seed needs extra nurturing to sprout - then we do.

God Bless, til next time!
Em xx

ps - I'd love to hear what your up to, what you love, or any questions you have!

Advent 2019 - Day 1

December 1 - Day 1

Here we go, here it is, Advent. I’ve got this. I’ve totally got this. We’ll be fine…

I’m not entirely sure where the worry is coming from - after all, turning the Advent season back into a time of quiet preparation should evoke less worry, not more… so step one in making Advent great again (yes, I did just say that), is prayer.

Dear God,
Thank you for all your gifts and blessings, I love you with all my heart. Please help me to quieten my mind, to let go of my worries, and to rest in the comfort of your embrace, knowing that whatever we manage to do during Advent for the preparation of the birth of Your Son is borne of our time first spent in quiet prayer with You. Help me to notice the little things, to smile at the mistakes, to embrace my family, and to prepare the way for You. I pray this through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, Mary, and Your earthly father, Joseph - our Holy Family - whom we draw inspiration from for our own family. Amen.

**Deep breath**

Righty-o then…
For our family, the kids are a bit older with our youngest about to turn 11, and a lot of activities that I searched for were a bit… well… young! So, for this year’s Jesse Tree (I’ll explain it in a sec) I found loads of crafts and activities for the littlies, but stuff that my teen and pre-teens would do only out of pure love for their over-excitable mother (that’s me). But I think their pity and shame for me comes across as love and appreciation… I’m sure it does! My poor kids. I have to admit - the Christmas season is my favourite, and it took about 0.74 seconds to transfer the love to include the Advent season and all its reflective preparational goodness. Toeing the line (toeing - what a weird looking word!) between keeping Advent quiet and getting excited about planning all the crafts/prayers/cooking/outings/events/all.the.other.stuff is quite an artform; this year I’m putting my excessive-time-usage-on-the-doing-side-of-things down to being a rookie at all this and, like I said in yesterday’s post, being not overly skilled or quick at liturgical living.

-->  For the rookies (it’s me, I’m the rookie): Liturgical living is a fancy way (or the proper way, whatever) of saying that you are bringing elements of the tradition of our church into your home and daily life. <--

So, Advent.
Here is what our family is doing this year to prepare for Christmas and celebrate Advent:

Family Wreath
We’ve made one before, but it’s just sort of sat there looking pretty. The key to making this work is, and again the obvious may seem ridiculous to mention but nevertheless still important (for the rookies!) and a reality that I needed to come to terms with so there…, dinner together as a family at the dinner table. For a couple of bucks (a couple more for us Aussies because it’s an American site), you can download and print the Advent Wreath Prayers Printable Booklet from Catholic All Year (yes again, and y’all better get used to me referring to that website - Kendra Tierney is so inspiring as a Catholic, as a mother, as a wife, and as a beautiful woman; I just want to hug her!). Just do what it says. Pray together, eat together, stay together. Our wreath is old candles from our church, eucalyptus branches from the back of our block, and a few other shrub-style branches the kids found. I think we'll have to plant some better wreath-style plants for next year...!

Christmas Anticipation Prayer
Another cracker of a prayer - traditionally recited 15 times per day beginning on the 30th November which is the feast of St Andrew, and finishing on Christmas Eve. There are plenty of beautiful printable versions online, or make your own to print out, or get your kids to write their own out as copywork for homeschool! 15 times is a big jump for us, so I’m just working on us saying it together as part of our dinner prayers, and on homeschool days when we say our morning prayers together. Hopefully next year, when I don’t spring a thousand liturgical surprises on my kids and they know what to expect, we’ll be able to unload a solid 15 each day.

Christmas Anticipation Prayer
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
In which the Son of God was born
Of the most pure Virgin Mary,
At midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech thee, oh my God,
To hear my prayer and grant my desires,
Through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
And of His blessed Mother.

Christmas Family Novena
--> For the rookies - a novena is a prayer said for nine consecutive days, usually ending on the vigil (the night before) of a feast day, and said for a reason or with a particular intention. <--
So, beginning on the 16th through to the 24th, we will pray a novena together. It doesn’t have to be at night either, any time is a good time, and you can pray a decade of the Rosary each day, one Our Father, any intercessional prayers (for the rookies - the ones on the back of saint cards), or any prayer that has meaning for your family. We are having a go at one with prayers and readings!
Yet another resource from Catholic All Year, the Christmas Family Novena has everything you need to create a truly Christ-centred Advent and be fully prepared. And of course, a special treat afterwards!

Jesse Tree.
So, in a liturgical nutshell, the Jesse Tree activity covers salvation history from Creation to the Nativity with cool little ornaments and associated bible verses, and there are sooooooo many different options available! We’ve decided (I decided) to make ours instead of purchase a set, partially because I’ve got about as much spare cash as a used care salesman, and partially because of the whole over-excited mother forcing kiddie activities on kids that aren’t really little kids anymore (waaah!) but still wanting to craft and pretend they're tiny and dependent...

**For younger kids, check out Catholic Sprouts, and Holy Heroes for beautiful Jesse Tree products!**

I made a fabric drawstring bag, and in it is: tools and things required to make a tree ornament, a bauble with a key bible verse glued to it, a card for further reading, and a task card. The kids take turns to open the bag each day, and thanks to all the angels and saints and the good Lord himself, three kids and 24 days in Advent this year gives me a perfect 8 days per kid - and another 360 odd days to figure out next year’s bag-opening-order-thing.

Here is our day 1:

Today’s theme is Creation, and the ornament is a world globe. In the bag I put green and blue paint, a paint brush, and a bauble (a red one to be specific, the paint needed a couple of layers to cover it properly, but my daughter just rested the bauble on an egg cup - genius!). 

The ornament for Creation.

The key bible verse is glued to a bauble (because I own a zillion of them!)
"God looked at everything He has made, and He found it very good." - Genesis 1:31

And the further reading card is: Genesis 1:1-31; 2:1-4. 
Whoever's turn it is to open the bag, has to do the further reading and then tell us all about it over breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack time... whenever you find a bit of time. You can also use the Action Bible (comic book bible, check it out here, it's so great! No it's not a Catholic bible, but the illustrations are phenomenal!) or any other storytelling bible, as long as it covers the theme (creation).

With our task cards, each day has a simple task to get ready for Christmas, and a Work of Mercy task (inspired by Ginny at Not So Formulaic - I simply wanted to adjust the daily instruction to what we were going to be doing as a family, so it takes into account when we are visiting family and when family are visiting us, and other events that are happening around our town. Definitely head over and check out Ginny’s blog - the way she writes about faith and children is so encouraging!).

So, that's what we're doing, God help us! What you need to remember though, regardless of what you attempt to do during Advent, is that as long as you keep family, joy, and of course God at the centre of your plans, you can't go wrong! Hug your little ones (and medium ones and big ones!) tightly, pray fervently, and smile at the bazillion beautiful things each day around you.

Making fruit mince, preparing a roast for Sunday family dinner, and crafting for the Jesse Tree.

Til next time, God Bless you and your wonderful family!

Em xx

Advent 2019 - Getting Started

We’ve always ‘done’ Advent. Duh, born Catholic. What I mean is, we know what Advent is, and we go to mass and I say oohh Advent has begun, oohh it’s already the second week of Advent, oh the priest is in pink (it’s ROSE!), gosh am I even organised for Christmas? Merry Christmas! I’m exhausted…

A simplified version of previous Advents, yes, but the gist of is pretty accurate.

Our homeschool journey was born of the need to give my kids the best. Not of toys and things (the good Lord knows we ain’t got money for that… and don’t want to!), but the best nourishment - for their bodies, their minds, and most importantly, their souls. I’ve researched the heck out of nutrition and curriculums, so faith was left on the list. I suppose I knew deep down that tackling the teaching and guiding of faith for my kids would inevitably mean the old examination of conscience for me, you know, to avoid the hypocrite tag, and I was just simply dreading the reality check. But those kids… those wonderful, amazing, talented, happy, energetic, perfect kids… those kids I would do anything for… yeah them. They’re worth it - and when God gifts you with a child, you need to make sure they’re safe for all eternity, not just this little life right here. Big job. Big responsibility. The biggest, and so here we go…

Despite the internal nausea, I started to finally reach out and connect online with other Catholics, not just other homeschoolers, and it’s amazing how God starts working in your life when you put a tiny bit of trust in Him (who knew?!).
Turns out, there are a lot of Catholics around the place. A lot of young Catholics; and a lot of young Catholic families. I nearly fell off my chair! All of a sudden I had books, podcasts, activities, prayers, new friends, homeschool resources, study courses, and ideas coming out of my ears!

And one of those resources came from “Catholic All Year” (what a gorgeous family they are!), where I read all about how they “prepare for Advent”.

I was like, what do you mean, prepare for Advent? That’s at mass, yeah?


It’s so obvious but, like I said above, I’d been avoiding the hard questions for a long time (and become an absolute expert too!) because I’d have to admit that I’ve pretty much been a lousy Catholic.

Jesus is about to be born. God is becoming man. Soon. God is coming to save us all through His son, His one and only, Jesus Christ, brought into this world through the sacred womb of His blessed mother, Mary… Jesus our Saviour - and I was content with just heading to mass on a Sunday?!

Yeah, Nah. Not anymore. No more lousy Catholic. We actually, honestly need to prepare the way of the Lord!

So that brings me to right now (way past my bedtime…!), the night before Advent. We are doing a Jesse Tree this year, which I’ll explain next post, a list of Works of Mercy, daily tasks, and a family Advent wreath. We’ve done a wreath before but to be honest, half the time we didn’t light it and there were certainly no special prayers that went with it….. oops! I’ll introduce all of this next post though, and as I work things out, because I’m not overly skilled or quick at this, I will share it here in hopes of encouraging (or dare I say it, inspiring) others to prepare the way of our Lord!

God Bless you and your family!

Em xx

The Garden Weekly - July 2019

While I would have loved to get out amongst the early morning heavy frost to get some amazing photos for you all, I must confess the fireplace was a much more appealing choice and thus the obvious winner in the end.

It’s well and truly winter. You can feel the icy cold evening set in at around 4:30 every afternoon, the temperature dropping like a penny in the arcade. Some days have been fine - beautiful blue skies, light (albeit freezing!) winds, temperatures in the high teens… then BAM! Like a getaway train hurtling over the edge of the ravine, the temperature plummets, and if you have timed your afternoon outdoor tasks poorly you’re battling the deep freeze to get finished and cleaned up before retiring indoors to that lovely fireplace (and a glass of red!).

Some afternoons, though, we have been blessed with absolutely perfect conditions like this... so you can see why one would choose the leisurely life:

While others have looked like this (cue the leisurely indoor life!):

So, one can understand that it takes some time to get back into the swing of winter gardening! It’s either way too tempting to sit back and soak up the majesty of a perfect winter afternoon on the patio, or bitterly awful and absolutely freezing outside with an indoor fireplace beckoning you for red wine and soft cheese and fluffy slippers and a good book.

But with the cold and wet comes life. Green, soft, nourishing life! And it doesn’t take long for the once dry, golden, harsh summer colours to melt into gentle, calming greens of every shade. Maybe the cold/green combination makes us more mellow and reflective, an instinctive hibernation perhaps? I could get out and amongst the garden duties… but then there’s that nice blanket to inspect too…

Anyway, back to the garden. We did, eventually, overcome the distractions and get busy. Our Nature Study walks are always a highlight, and because it’s part of our curriculum we just have to go for a walk amongst the beautiful Australian landscape each week… sigh (we really love it). And of course, Lambette and Tash had to come along too!

*Check out Nature Study Australia for a phenomenal Australian nature study curriculum. We ♥♥LOVE♥♥ it! It’s seasonal, has plenty of extra ideas that cater for all sorts of personalities, abilities, and interests, and includes a bible verse and songs too!

Of course, along our journeys we always pass by the pond and hang out with the flock for a while. The chook I’m holding in the picture below is Polly - she actually loves hugs and will happily rest her head on your shoulder! Statler is the photo bomber… Pip is cuddling (wait for it) Pecky Tookie Number 3, and Dom is cuddling Hattie.

Over in the patch…
Ahh how I love the patch!
A LOT of exciting things are happening! One of the benefits of not actually getting out into the garden too often because of the cold weather is being able to sit and plan all the great and fantastic things you have ever wanted to do in an empty paddock space designated as a “veggie patch”!!
Gee, have I had some fun! So, the development of the preliminary designs is roughly sketched like this:

There’s a greenhouse, a 3-phase compost bin, 12 formal garden beds, a prayer grotto, and space for a natural permaculture-style wild garden throughout. I’m kind of excited… just a little bit… well, maybe a heck of a lot.
It does help, though, to have an almost excessively motivated husband who takes my wacky ideas and brings them to life with impressive precision and determination. I’m very lucky; he’s rather amazing like that! Thank you my dear!
So, as we add bits and pieces to this little corner of paradise, I shall keep you posted. As we learn, make mistakes, and thrive, hopefully a little of what we share here can help someone else embrace their own patch of the earth and make it come to life. Life-giving plants, and soul-feeding soil.

It’s not all food, flowers, and fun though, especially planting in the extremes of weather. The cold managed to wreak havoc with our baby brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauli), and some unknown invader seemed to enjoy a snack in passing too…! We decided to try using bottles as mini-greenhouses to protect the little darlings in their in-between phase; too small for the tray and not yet established in the big wide-open patch!
…And it worked a treat! Check out our results below, and if you’re ever unsure about planting out in winter - simply cut a 1.25L/2L plastic bottle in half and *BOOM* two mini-greenhouses!

**Note - you’ll have to cut some air holes in the bottom half of the bottle, just some slits in the ridges will do!**

Oh, and before I head off I had best make special mention of this greenhouse that keeps coming up - it’s amazing! We’ve put three compost bays off the south wall. This is so we can have one we are adding to, one that is resting and decomposing, and one that is ready to use. The tall windows will face north, and the angled roof will be adjustable to allow airflow on hotter days. 

I’m so excited; there will be plenty happening in the patch over the coming months and, while it is a heck of a lot of hard work, the rewards will far outdo any sore muscles or dirty nails! The goal is never to have the biggest or the best of anything, to be the hardest worker, to do more than others, or be better than others. It is quite simply to take the gifts that God has given us, and use them to our best ability. As parents, our responsibility to help our children identify their God-given gifts and learn to use them to their full potential may seem like a struggle at times (more often than we care to admit!). But when we can see that ALL children are the greatest gift from God, the goal becomes clear; every little action, every little word, every little hug, every little prayer, every little bit of discipline (yep!), every little seed you sow with your children - whether it be in the veggie garden or their soul garden - that brings them closer to God is when we achieve our goal... we all have amazing gifts. Let's work to help others know their God-given gifts (and unleash their gardening prowess!)  ♥♥♥♥♥♥

'Til next time in the patch!
God Bless!!

Em xxx

The Garden Weekly - June 2019 #1

June 2019

My word, it got cold!
With May being a lot drier than it should be, we selfishly enjoyed the warm days and perfect evenings knowing full-well what was coming and boy has it been bittersweet! Much needed rain and that bite-y great southern chill straight off the Antarctic meant that the gumboots and rain jackets were dusted off and put to good use, and a lesson in good old perseverance for the youngin’s was the order of the week.

This week in the patch has been delightfully chaotic! While we’re probably a bit overdue with our patch tasks (we actually bought seedlings instead of sprouting them ourselves! Eeep!), the imminent forecast of rain had spurred us into action with weeding, feeding, and planting of all the cool season delights (well, what can fit in the beds anyway!).

The perennial bed has been finished - it already had around 30 strawberry plants in it, and we’ve now added 3 globe artichokes, a mix of purple and green asparagus, garlic, sage, and calendulas!

Our broad beans that went in a few weeks ago are loving life, and have established beautifully where the corn once stood proud and tall in the summer sun. Some have even begun flowering! Woohoo!
Did you know that legumes replace nitrogen in the soil, and are ideal to plant after a hungry and demanding plant like corn? (Hilariously enough, this was actually an afterthought for me; it was the only sizable spot left for the beans so that’s where they ended up! The Lord really does work in mysterious ways!)

Hello babies! Our broad beans loving the late autumn sunshine xx

And just like that, the weather turns! 
Miss P tucking the babies in with a good covering of hay xx

Bed number 3 is a rowdy raucous mess, and I just can’t tame it! There were plenty of old, frost-damaged late summer cherry tomatoes that went to the chooks and ducks (who were happy as pigs in mud!), a lot of random last season silverbeet that sprung up out of nowhere some of which had to be donated to the sheep (they were much obliged to assist us in disposal of said silverbeet, thank you Lammie and Lahmette!), a rocket plant whose seeding process is more like a royal wedding ceremony, and a bunch of *something* that has sprung up from last year! Not to mention the WEEDS!

A local legend making the most of the seeding rocket! 
Thanks little guy! x

Call Sherlock! The mystery clump - there's 6 of them too. 
I'm guessing cauliflower or Brussels sprouts, but then 
broccoli was flowering in the bed next door last 
season too...? 
And cabbage further along?

So, we’ve tidied it all up a bit, and managed to add some new brusties (our name for Brussels sprouts), spinach, and artichoke, as well as a bunch of lemongrass, and tucked it in with some hay.

Two new beds at the front here, and the original 4 behind. 
To the left is a big empty space with some even bigger plans!

 We’ve also built two new beds and dug through some compost (purely because we had to move the bin to build the beds!), but are still waiting on the magic and elusive tractor man (husband/father) to fill the beds with soil and manure - there’s no way we’re filling those two beds with a shovel and wheelbarrow! 

...And all in preparation for the winter onslaught. With anything from 23mm to 40mm expected over the next few days, our babies had to be planted and tucked in with a nice blanket of hay to keep them warm and we’ve done not too bad a job at all i must say! There's still some more spinach, cabbage, silverbeet (anyone out there actually call it swiss chard??), cauliflower, and kale to plant out, as well as loads of seeds to sow for the next succession of food, oh and more garden beds to put in because I'll be out of space again soon... so a fair bit to do, but I love it!

And, you know what?

When you take time to notice the hairs on a bee covered in pollen as he skips between flowers, or watch an earthworm dig his way back into the soil after he was accidentally dug up, or feel the soil through your fingertips as you carefully plant out a seedling, or smell the thyme as you pinch some off to add to the bolognese on the stove, or enjoy the magpies playing in the bowl of water you leave out for them every day - you see your whole life differently. 

You learn to see God in your daily activities.

You learn that what you do is for God. 

You learn that you don't need the answers, you just need to hand it over to Him.

And my God that's a beautiful feeling!

Til next week in the patch!
God Bless!

Em x

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