Homesteading Through The 7 Stages of Impending Labour

At the moment I feel the need to start every conversation with “I’m still here.” Earlier last week the baby was locked and loaded. We had gotten the last of our brassica seedlings planted on the weekend and that day I bought the second bag of Agria seed potatoes we needed, all the parcels that were due to arrive arrived and I finished knitting the baby wrap! So I felt good about the state of things. I was ready. I could hardly walk by dinner time and when I went to bed I thought for sure that Little Seedpod was going to start arriving during the night as things were very uncomfortable. But Little Seedpod did not want to arrive and moved back up a bit. Since then Little Seedpod has ignored all requests to come out. There is no reasoning with this baby.

The Husband said I’m going through the seven stages of impending labour. I think these are:

  • Preparation — I must get all the things done!
  • Anticipation — The baby’s going to come soon.
  • Frustration — Why hasn’t the baby come out yet?!
  • Bargaining — Baby, if you would just come out now, then…
  • Anger — I’m so over being sore and tired!
  • Denial — The baby is not coming. It is never going to come out.
  • Surrender — I have NO IDEA when this baby is coming so I will stop planning anything and try to ignore what it’s doing.

I have just passed through the stage of denial and I’m into the stage of surrender. Although I may not be entirely done with the stage of anger. But I continue to think about what I can get done in the meantime.

It is damp. If it’s not raining it’s probably foggy. Unless it’s about to rain again shortly. The chickens don’t mind too much but their nice layer of hay isn’t nice anymore.

The weather has been very wet and mild here, wetter than we’ve had in winter for a while. It is good for helping the veggie seedlings to grow, both the ones I sowed and all the little treasures that self-sowed. I managed to prune the raspberry canes, since they’re in a nice raised bed, and do a bit of weeding in the Veggie Garden. And that was my great garden contribution for the week. Our raspberries are dual-bearing, which means they fruit in summer then again in autumn. Old, dead canes that fruited in summer (and the previous autumn) are cut to the ground. New canes that grow in spring and summer fruit on the top parts of the stems in autumn. In winter these ones are cut back below the portion that fruited. They will put off fresh growth in spring and fruit for the second time that summer, while the next succession of canes pop up. So each raspberry cane has two seasons in the ground. Our main variety is Aspiring, which is very vigorous, shooting up past the carport roof, so I have cut back the second-season canes more than I did last time.

While I was throwing weeds to the chickens I almost stood on the large rat that we have been trying to annihilate. He was dead, in the garden just outside the chicken pen fence. We are all glad to be rid of Samuel Whiskers and his yellow teeth and tunneling paws. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that we’ve just started getting more eggs or if he had been stealing some. If that wasn’t enough, I just found a second large rat in the Herb Garden. It looks like Samuel Whiskers had a wife – Anna Maria.

It is not pleasant finding rats the size of your garden scissors, but better dead than alive.

I have been doing some work on my Veggie Plan spreadsheet. Every year it gets harder to fit in all the crops that I want to grow even though the growing space is expanding. I’m not sure how much the baby will let me achieve, but if I plan things now they are far more likely to happen than if I did nothing.

I have officially finished the herb hook cross by painting a scripture on it. I used paint pens to do the lettering and am really happy with how it turned out.

Putting the herb hook cross to work drying some thyme.

After finishing knitting the basketweave baby wrap I finished knitting something else to do with the baby that will have to wait until later to be revealed. Knitting is one of the main things I’m achieving right now! Now I’ve gone back to knitting squares of the log cabin rug. I also designed a tractor chart to make a coaster for The Little Fulla to go on his bedside cabinet. Halfway through designing it in a spreadsheet he said he wanted the coaster to have a combine harvester on it instead. I declined to attempt to design a combine harvester that would fit on a coaster and still look like a combine harvester. I don’t have all the yarn colours I need for the coaster so that project is on hold until I do.

The baby wrap is all finished. I was congratulating myself for mistake-free knitting in a new style whilst pregnant when I spotted a mistake. Oops! It was too late to go back and fix it. I don’t think the baby will notice.
I’m quite a fan of the basketweave.

The Husband went on a pallet mission and came back with a grand haul of 22 of his favourite chunky pallets. They make good faster-burning firewood and are a big part of what keeps us in firewood through the winter. This is our sixth winter here and I don’t think we’ve had to buy any firewood, between the pallet wood, tree prunings, the odd small tree felling and firewood The Parents-in-law find and share.

We were feeling pretty pleased until I thought to look at the stamps on the pallets and discovered that most of them bore the letters MB. In contrast to the usual HT, which means they have just been heat treated, MB means they have been treated with methyl bromide, which is a highly toxic pesticide and fumigant than can cause a bunch of human health issues. Most countries haven’t allowed methyl bromide treatment for years so I have no idea why it is still allowed here. The Husband had forgotten to check the wood stamps. It is not safe to use these pallets for anything, especially not burning in the fire. The business he got them from shouldn’t put them out for people to collect. Now we’ll have to get rid of them. Well, this is a good reminder to always check the stamps on pallets.

Not all the flowers in my garden are shades of red or burgundy, but most of them might be, and here are some more.

Camellia ‘Night Rider’ was the only camellia I ever really liked enough to buy and I still want one for this garden. But I think the dark wine red camellia has trumped it. It is darker than it shows in the photos and the petals darken slightly towards the outside edge. I have tried asking Uncle Google what variety it is but as yet I have no answer. The closest I can find to it is Camellia japonica ‘Purple Dawn’, but that looks lighter than our one and also doesn’t appear to be available in New Zealand. Maybe it is a seedling-grown specimen. Whatever it is, I want to propagate it.

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