Little baby Gourdon

my Jarrahdale pumpkin, the good side

We'd like to welcome a new addition to the family. He's a beautiful C. pepo Jarrahdale, harvested today, after 58 days of fruiting (126 days plant age). We have named him Gourdon.

I was going to wait til the plant died completely, but Gourdon looked ripe enough. His wound started looking strange, and ants were creeping under the band-aid, so thought it best to bring him indoors.

my first pumpkin

Here he is with sunburn and wound, which I only noticed after harvesting had hardened up a bit. I could have gotten away with letting him grow for longer.

close up of sunburn and wound

It's interesting to see how plants recover. The hole is rough and hard now, like a callous.

scab from early trauma

Here's a scab from trauma earlier in Gourdon's life. He started growing into his trellis one day, and got stuck. Big old scrape as we pulled him out; the blisters repaired quickly. Looks a mess now, but that's life, innit.

pumpkin smaller than a cat

He is smaller than a cat. Probably about the size of a small cat curled up for a nap. I like to think he could have been bigger if we had more space, and a watering system more reliable than me.

my Jarrahdale pumpkin, from behind

I've learned heaps from this adventure - and I don't mean just how to grow a pumpkin!

Firstly, to achieve your goals, you must respond to problems that come up - be it sunburn, flesh wounds, or general life stuff. You can't wait around hoping things will fix themselves. Of course, you can't control everything, but what you can control can help tip the odds in your favour. And it's nice to have odds in your favour.

Secondly, everything comes and goes with the season, including the motivation to tend plants for 20 minutes a day. It's one thing to be excited and enthusiastic, another thing entirely to be disciplined and commited. Success requires all the things, and where you wane, you need loving, supportive people around you to help keep you going.

Finally, however much you obsess over your beloved vegetable, the fact that you can harvest early, cut off the gross bits, and eat the rest shows this is not at all like having a child. So I can put to rest my dreams of Gourdon growing up to be a football star or Greens senator.

The best I hope for will be curry or a pie.

Pumpkin drama. I am a bad parent.

pumpkin with a sunburnt cheek

We have had a drama. In the recent heatwave, with temperatures in high 30's for days, my baby got sunburnt.

I didn't bother covering it cos I thought - pff! - it's a summer plant, it won't burn. So when early signs showed, I decided no way would it be a problem. Naturally, it got worse over time. This is why it's best I don't have children.

Pumpkins can most definitely burn. Normally, you read about it happening to the leaves, but if you've been removing leaves in the fight against mildew, the fruit will be lacking in shade.

pumpkin wearing a sun hat

So how? My baby now wears a hat. And of course it rains the day after I put it on, but by then we're down south, and my nice broad-brimmed Bunnings hat has shrunk and warped. I'm sure I'll still wear it anyway in honour of this misadventure.

AND THEN I take the hat off one day, and notice the skin has blistered. There's a little hole in the top of my pumpkin, the size of a thumbprint. I think we're still okay for being able to eat it. Nothing looks sick or rotten.

I noticed a couple of ants scouting the crater, so I put a band-aid on it. If it's good enough for people, surely it's good enough for a fruit, right? It looks ridiculous now, and I just want the vines to cark it so I can harvest and call it a season.

That's a terrible attitude, isn't it.

I'm sorry.

I'm here for you, little pumpkin. All you need to do is survive a few more weeks til autumn. We can do this together.

Life should be a quiet weekend away

cats are good at helping you pack

We went away for the weekend. Spent 3 days away. Lucky I have a useful cat who helps me pack. Cats are good at helping you pack.

daybed at the Bay Village Resort, Dunsborough

I love Dunsborough. We stayed at the Bay Village Resort, a quaint, clean collection of apartments, cottages, chalets and villas. It backs onto The Pour House, the pub we seem to visit every night when we're there. Upstairs from the pub is a food place. Last few times we went, it was a burger joint. Now it's a bar-restaurant called Meat People.

Meat People bar and menu

beef brisket at Meat People

We ate there a lot. I decided to be good and not take pictures of every meal. But I did take this one meal. The beef brisket, served with slaw. In fact, there's slaw all up in this place. And the salad garnishes for some of their other dishes are bloody awesome. One salad was a mix of rocket, dill, mint, coriander, and pickles. So good.

Legolas with bigger arms and more beard

A round of archery ensued. Niaal spent the lead-up getting pro tips from an ex-competitive archer friend, while I had to make do with what I remembered from the ever-so-safe Lars Andersen video (no, don't copy him, you'll get kicked out of the park). Out of the two of us, I came second, which I think is a decent effort.

possum napping in a tree

And we saw a possum napping in a tree! This was at the Busselton Archery Family Fun Park, which is pretty foresty. They have a cute mini-golf course too, and a go-kart zippy track for kids. Nice way to spend an hour or two in the morning.

sampler at Eagle Bay Brewery

Then came the beer paddle. I'd love it if more non-brewery pubs did this in Perth. Maybe a themed palette, or a tour of craft beers, or something like that. As much as I love a good pint, I can't put away so many now, so I get two beers at most out of an afternoon session. And if you're having a whole pint, you gamble when you switch away from something you like.

tasting notes at Eagle Bay Brewery

Anyway, of course I got the Eagle Bay paddle. Kolsch and Mild were my favourites. :D

daybed and table at Evviva Cafe

I like the breakfast at Evviva Café. I don't know why they need 3 v's in their name, but it doesn't make their food any less tasty. The decor is nice, bit hippy and hipster-ish, and mostly outdoors with a grassy area.

avo and poached eggs at Evviva Cafe

I loved my savoury breakfast, but Niaal's sweet pancakes were for the birds. Literally.

little honey eater eating honey


a periwinkle, Austrolittorina unifasciata

We did a lot of beaching, and looking at things on the beach. Here is a banded periwinkle (Austrolittorina unifasciata), a type of sea snail.

weird green thing we found on the beach

This is a sea booger.

noodle-shaped seaweed

Some sea noodles.

lumpy seaweed

A sea tree of sea peas.

walking on water or sandbar?

And walking seaman.

Duckstein beer samples

And then more beer. This time at Duckstein.

the road home

It's nice to be home now, and back into the swing of things. I admit, I did spend a bit of time thinking about what to do when we got home.

One big thing is planting jasmine in the front garden. People have told us it's their only plant going crazy in the heatwave, and I'd like a hardy summer plant to create a microclimate and keep other plants alive. But more about that later. We're definitely not in a heatwave at the moment (week of thunderstorm).

Another big thing is making stuff from stuff I've grown. But not cooking. We don't eat or cook enough to keep our crops in check. Without a steady purpose for herbs, it's hard to be motivated about maintaining them. So maybe if I start making nice lasting things, like infused oils or soaps, it'll be easier to stay diligent about the cultivation. I'd like to explore this more.

And I want to try making lace. And paper. I want to clean my typewriter. I want to get cracking on my EP goal for this year. I want, I want, I want...

But I feel a psychological wall between me and all these things. A wall that's probably always been there, which I'm only seeing properly since starting to get my house in order. Cleaning has surfaced much that I initially procrastinated on, then tucked away. I'm only a couple months into the 6-month konmari campaign, but with just a bit of clutter gone so far, I can actually see the stuff I'd set aside "for later". And I have now done a few of those "later" tasks.

So, I suppose the most important big thing now that we're home will be to persevere with cleaning.

Woop dee doo!

Sketch: Sophie and the rabbit

fan art for Sophie's World: Sophie sitting on a giant rabbit

I'm reading Sophie's World at the moment, by Jostein Gaarder. It's a story of a 14 year old girl who begins a mysterious correspondence course in philosophy. It tickles my interests, and I wish I'd found this book as a teenager. It would have given me more confidence seeing thoughts through and discussing them with people.

Last month, I learned about the 50 book pledge. This is interesting cos when you pledge to do something, you usually get some kind of adventure out of it, and I want to have reading adventures again. Only, I'm not reading 50 books over one year cos I'm slow and don't want to spend all my free time inside a book.

Instead, I'll read 20 books. This seems do-able. And because I'm reading more e-books now instead of paper books, I'll celebrate with fanart sketches rather than photos of book covers.

So here is a roughly drawn, no-face Sophie Amundsen sitting atop the philosophical rabbit.

Doing less

my poor warm cat

I have not been eating or sleeping well for the past week. It's been warm, and all I can think about is how I wish I were one of those hairless cats, so I could sleep all day but not have a fur coat.

It is most definitely summer.

Doing less has been odd and pleasant so far. I've not picked up new projects, but made an effort to plod along, approach my activities with restraint, and savour moments of mildly agitated boredom. I feel relaxed and daydreamy. I feel again some desires for things I had lost the taste for.

Today, I am excited about these things:

joey pouches - cut, hemmed, and pinned, ready for sewing

Finishing my joey pouches for Project Pouch. I'm only making handful, but I expect they'll get lots of contributions.

I feel good about being able to participate. It's been disappointing over the last few years to never have time or energy to get involved in community things. The number of times I've looked at the volunteering info for Cat Haven and Dogs' Home, daydreamed a little, then closed my browser knowing it would be impossible without wearing out completely... Boo. :(

So, being in a position to even consider making something for baby roos makes me quite happy. Even better is getting to make them from scrap fabric that survived the KonMari of my craft room. :) Yay, recycling!

my hideous, stinking, red futsal shoes

Football. Social Sundays and mixed Mondays are back on. I expect to be rubbish, after all the over-eating I did throughout Christmas and New Year. We've hardly cooked, so I'm feeling mighty unhealthy and full of junk food.

Very soon, I will unleash KonMari on my kitchen, so doing stuff in there doesn't feel like such a headache. I meant to yesterday - really! - but had a nap and went for a swim instead. Lalala~

I have been losing all the Fitbit challenges with my friends. Today, I will do my best to make 10k steps by the end of our 90min game.

a finished fence, two tired gents

Putting up a fence (last week). Yes, I'm still excited. I felt useful, active, and healthy. I felt the people we did it for were geuninely happy with it, and would love the finished product for at least 20 years.

And once we were done, I felt sad it was over. So many cool things and hilarious mistakes happened along the way. It got me thinking about life choices, and what might happen one day if we end up having our own mini-farm. I admire Georgina for learning as she goes, and doing it all by herself. I'm nowhere near as brave, but by playing with fences and chainsaws, I hope one day to be slightly closer to it.

I am looking forward to the next manual arts project, though I don't know what that will be. Of course, I must keep my promise about not getting manic, so I don't ruin it with exhaustion, so I am happy for the idea to be 'over there' for a while, until it pops up by itself.

My baby pumpkin at 23 days

baby pumpkin, 23 days

My little Cucurbita pepo at 23 days. He is getting close to harvest time, according to Gardenate. Not a bad size for a first pumpkin. Maybe if I add some worm poo to the garden bed, we can do a power run to the end of the month.

But I will wait until the vines wither. I wonder when that will happen, and what triggers it. Is it as easy as a "15-20 week" prediction on a seed packet? We shall see.

spot of powdery mildew on pumpkin leaf

We've had minor bouts of powdery mildew. It's sad to see white fuzzy spots suddenly appearing on leaves. But you can understand why this annoying fungus likes to make a home on them - rough and furry fibres, lots of surface area to nest in.

I'm not keen on chemicals in such a small garden. If we were talking about a large scale operation or intense infestation, sure. But for this tiny project, out came the milk.

milk spray in a bottle

Yeah, you heard me: milk spray.

I was skeptical. It sounded like a disgusting wives tale, like kissing toads if you want to get warts. But apparently it's a thing (pg. 31, 37), quite likely because:

  • milk residue leaves a physical barrier on the surface of the leaf,
  • milk alters the pH of the leaf surface, changing the conditions typically ideal for fungal growth, and
  • a protein in the milk has a destructive effect on the mildew's reproductive parts.

Interesting science!

It's still disgusting and it stinks, especially on a warm day. But only for a while. And the next day, the white spots were still visible, but faded.

pumpkin patch bukkake party