Borers ate our Christmas tree…

Hi All

My sister just gave my mum an amazing Christmas present and has bought her a ticket to come over and see us at Christmas time. We have known about this for quite some time and I have occasionally had to catch myself when sending emails to mum to make sure that I hadn’t said anything incriminating. You now know mum and now you can sit out on the deck and share our uncommercial Christmas with us :o). We are going to have a lovely bbq and mum is going to spend a day with her granddaughters who are really looking forwards to having her stay with them on Christmas Eve and help them to make all sorts of luxury and gourmet Christmas treats. I have been buying all sorts of decorations from the Exeter thrift shop because I point blank REFUSE to be commercial this Christmas. In saying that, I have gotten some lovely decorations and plenty of left over decorations to implement our secret plan. We are going to find a small native tree somewhere in the local vicinity and we are going to decorate it fully for Christmas. It’s sort of Urban Christmasism… We have been sourcing all sorts of wooden Christmas decorations and even got one from the tip shop. I am sure that this tiny little wooden Santa will add something special to our Christmas tree as he was very close to Santacide!

Here are all of the Recycled Christmas decorations that I have amassed over the last few weeks. You can see the tiny tip shop Santa in the front of them all.

Here is tiny Santa looking very pleased about actually being used as part of our Christmas display rather than buried or burned on the tip

Steve and I decided to get creative today. After we tidied up our deck for mums imminent visit and our Christmas bbq, we moved all of the plants that were on our deck into the glass house to join their fellow heat loving compatriots. After that we removed the barrier between the broodies den and the rest of the hen house so that everyone can be integrated now. We had plenty of time so I decided to use some of my driftwood pile down at the bottom of our garden to be creative with. I occasionally (especially after a big storm), head down to the river bank and collect driftwood. I am a consummate magpie and can’t help collecting things. I have a collection of all sorts of rumbled glass, bits of pottery that I have found and various stones that have caught my eye. Most of these collected bits live amongst my pot plants. The driftwood is stored down near the gate (because I am too lazy to lug it up the hill back home). I selected a couple of interesting pieces of drift wood and nailed some tiny nails onto them and hung them up from the side of the deck. I put some long strands of Indian bells on either end and hung my collection of articulated enamelled fish that I bought from the local Esk markets from a lovely elderly Chinese man who we used to live near in town. He couldn’t speak much English, but he was always very friendly and happy to see us when we came to the markets. I then put strands of beads and all sorts of other things that I had collected from various places onto another piece of drift wood and so began our creative afternoon.

Here is part of my articulated fish display. I coveted these fish ever since I did a writers workshop about 10 years ago in Albany Western Australia and saw one of these fish in someones bathroom. You can also see how clean the deck is now and our Java finches cage as well as our shmicko hot water tank. I wanted to display these fish outside and have hung them on a chunk of driftwood. If anyone wants one, they are available from the little elderly Chinese man at the Esk markets in Launceston. Tell him that we sent you and he will give you a good deal :o)

Here’s another view of the fish mobile thingo-ma-jig and one of my lanterns. You can also see part of the front garden and if you look hard enough, you can see the Tamar river through the trees

One of the articulated fish in more detail…

This one is more of a carp than a goldfish…

I must be part lyrebird as well as magpie because I really love blue things and this fish is one of my favourite ones

I also made lots of beady strands to hang out and catch the light in various places where we have lived before. I figure that they belonged out here as well so here they are…

Steve is going to make me some salad hands. If you don’t know what salad hands are, they are carved pieces of wood designed to resemble hands to be used to toss and serve salad. I coveted Nigella’s salad hands when I first saw them in one of her series and Steve has been promising to make me some ever since then. He had a go at making some this afternoon but the wood that he was using was a bit brittle and we need to get some better wood before we attempt this project again. We then decided to get our Christmas tree from the boat shed and bring it down to the house and decorate it. This was where we discovered that the bit of wood that we had chosen for the trunk of the tree had been predated by some sort of borers and was incredibly brittle. We are going to have to be very creative about how to brace the trunk of the Christmas tree or we are going to have to make another one (which is NOT an option due to it taking us a whole day to make in the first place).  It’s braced and stuck into a block of wood and we will show you some photos of it decorated with our recycled decorations and our old ones from last year. We will also show you photos of our Urban Christmasism when we find a suitable tree to Christmasise

It’s amazing what just doing a bit of tidying up can do to your spirits. I am talking ‘internal’ spirits here people, we haven’t built a still quite yet :o). We have been cleaning up and moving things around and generally spring cleaning in preparation for Christmas and it’s starting to slough away a bit of the old “Bah Humbug” that was starting to descend. Creativity also makes you feel good. Making something interesting, useful or just plain ‘nice’ can make you feel great. That feeling of accomplishment is not to be sneezed at whenever you are feeling stressed out, depressed or generally run down. Stop what you are doing (which is probably making you feel that way in the first place) and just make something…knit a scarf…crochet a toilet doll if that takes your fancy or do what Steve and I do and go crazy with wood and sticks and anything else that we can wrangle for free. The free part is an important part of us feeling smug about what we made as the free bit means that should someone else think that what we made is covetable, we might just be able to convert our stress relief into something a little more profitable. We have been shunting plants from the deck up to the glasshouse that we repaired when we got here. It’s been painted with La Blanche, which is a sort of chalky white stuff that you spray onto the glasshouse and it immediately reduces the temperature inside the glasshouse. Everything up there is going great guns and our begonias and other more tender babies (including hostas) are all now in the glasshouse pretending that they are on a tropical island. We have just stopped for lunch before we head off out to rearrange Steve’s shed and put all of the metal shelving units that up until last week were holding all of the baby conifers that we have grown over the last year or so but that are now obsolete. They are all going to other homes to become ‘shelving’ like they were originally intended to be (until we need them for more plants that is :o). Lunch is over and now it’s time to wrangle my head around creating something with a whole lot of old keys that we found in a tin in a metal box that ‘someone’ left here once. No-one has come to claim it and so we figure that it’s ours. Well I hope that no-one comes to claim it because the contents are scattered all over the place, rat nibbled and most of them are at the tip after we cleaned up the boat shed. “Dear anonymous people who used my dad’s property to store all of your rubbish, it’s gone to a better place and you are just going to have to learn to live without it!” There, that’s my indemnity sorted, next to offload a whole heap of old metal dumped out the back. We have swapped it for a load of firewood. Living in the country is most definitely living la Vida loca! See you all tomorrow when you can all see just how hard poor Steve (with a bit of help from his faithful dog and stressed out wife) had to work to turn our house in town into our own little den of iniquity in a 2 week period. We never do anything by halves us penniless aging hippy students…

Here’s that bunch of keys that I am going to be messing about with as soon as I post this post…


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Dec 04, 2011 @ 15:14:36

    That little santa looks right pleased you saved him Pen. As they say, one mans junk is anothers treasure, but some people don’t even think of saving things now. I too love driftwood,in their various shapes from being washed in the ocean. Even with barnacles on! You don’t know where they have come from, do you, or what stories they can tell. This is the first time I have seen the hot water tank, & what a beauty it is! I see what you mean about the heaps of hot water now. Keep an aye on the plants you’ve put in the hot house too, as it might be a bit much for them, after being on the deck. Keep an eye on the ventilation. You could grow an exotic creeper in there too, & train it all around the walls. Him Tarzan-you Jane! I have a tin here of grans too, full of odd keys. Need any more? I won’t recognise the place when I get there. I am sitting out on the deck now with you all having a beer !Won’t be long.


  2. Kym
    Dec 04, 2011 @ 21:39:33

    How wonderful for your Mum! And for you guys too. I love the fish, I love what you did with the drift wood too. Our neighbor has a lovely piece in her garden with a plant growing in it. I love those keys too. They would look lovely mounted on pieces of rustic wood, or a million other things. Can’t wait to see what you end up doing. We are having Bruce’s family for xmas this year so I have to get my A into G. I’m trying to get my son to put the tree up with his girlfriend. He has promised to put it up tomorrow. I love xmas time. I love the music in the shops and all the decorations. I usually buy them at the end of xmas for the next year. They are usually really cheap then, and sometimes I forget what I got and then it is a surprise for me too. Xmas is in the heart and you don’t have to get into all the commercial stuff to really enjoy it 🙂


    • narf77
      Dec 05, 2011 @ 09:10:43

      We decorated the Christmas tree yesterday and we also put a strand of forty squillion coloured outside lights that I got for $3 at the City Mission shop up along the front of the house. You can see them from the water so hopefully someone out in their boat will get a bit of Christmas happiness from seeing our twinkly lights. Good luck with the Christmas tree…best bribe them both somehow with booze (that works with most teenagers and young adults) and the promise of some sort of fast food. I don’t go anywhere NEAR the shops after Christmas. I hate being pulled along with tides of bargain hunters and would rather hide under the bed then brave you lot! :o) You are made of sterner stuff then I am obviously. Steve will occasionally brave the tide to see if he can’t get some Christmas pudding or something like that. Usually all our shops are left with is mugs and hot chocolate for some reason. Makes you wonder why they keep selling them doesn’t it? You can see the decorated tree in tomorrows post along with some good ideas for making things for Christmas.


  3. Kym
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:31:21

    When we went to Melbourne for three weeks a couple of years ago I went to the Boxing Day shopping in the city with a friend. OMG never ever again!!! Some of the shops were so crammed you just couldn’t get in. I do my shopping for decorations the week before xmas because thats when they are all marked down. I’m usually on hols then and can go early. We have Boxing Day sales here now, which I think is rather sad…. Can’t wait to see your tree. It looks like the tree will be going up today. Fingers crossed. Have to go to the mad house (work) so bye bye x


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