I’ve gone green.

Hello!

It’s been almost 18 months since my last post but we’re just going to gloss over that because I still haven’t disabled my monthly reminder that says “Tasmemia blog post (no really DO ONE)” so that means I’m still here and I’m still invested. This post has also been heartily encouraged by Kamal, who I first thought was spam, but is just a really lovely Egyptian dude who enjoys reading my rambling. Hi Kamal!

So here’s where I’m at right now: entirely surrounded by indoor plants. I’m kind of annoyed that my subconscious seems to grab onto trends, because indoor plants are very hot right now. I tried to get an article to link here to back me up but googling “indoor plants are cool in 2018” only brings up articles about which indoor plants are predicted to be cool this year (hot tip: monstera deliciosa and devils ivy). I might even be a couple of years behind things, but I’ll have you know I’ve had my peace lily for almost three years so whatever. It’s still alive. Kind of. No, it is, but it’s just not super healthy looking. It’s fine. It’s alive.

Peace lily joined by plectranthus and golden umbrella (and my #1 girl).

I did add a couple of other plants to the peace lily’s posse before the madness really kicked in—a curly-leafed spider plant and a ruby ficus both made their way into my house (the ficus was a pity rescue from Coles and I can’t even remember where the spider plant came from!) some time in the last year or two… but it was really when I started dating my horticulture-studying boyfriend that I gave myself a green light to buy more green babies. I let him know very intentionally that it was his job to keep them alive, but he’s reassured me many times over the months that it’s been all me.

Once the enabler light was on, I’m not ashamed to admit that I got a little bit insatiable. The obsession reached a peak and then settled—once my house was essentially full of plants and I actually had to give a bit of thought as to where any new acquisitions would live. There will likely always be a bit of reshuffling, but because plants are living, breathing things, sometimes one is going to die, and that’s ok.

An indoor plant costs the same amount—or a fair deal less!—than a bouquet of flowers, and a bouquet is expected to die.

(I read that analogy somewhere a couple of months ago and it made me feel a lot less anxious about the care of my green babies.)

I still have a wishlist of plants, but during the height of my acquisition obsession I managed to tick a lot of items off the list—some easily, some with a bit of surprise and delight, some with a little extra effort. The plants that are still on my list I don’t expect to get my hands on quickly, cheaply, or any time soon. Being over the peak of the obsession now, I’m ok with that. I’m happy with my surroundings.

I guess it’s a little bit silly of me to have fostered this interest just in time for the colder, more dormant months of the year instead of the exciting growing time of spring and summer. But it does mean that every new leaf is absolutely doted upon and noticed with full enthusiasm!

Indoor plants have such a wide range of needs, and having a house full of them now means that I’ve had a crash course on some of those needs. Finding the right amount of sunlight and the right amount of watering (and the right size pot, and the right potting mix, and and and) can be a tricky dance, and a new leaf is a sign that you’re doing a good job. A new leaf, particularly in a dormant time of year, means that my plant is happy and healthy. A new leaf is basically the plant giving a thumbs up.

As well as shuffling plants around to find the right space for them, we’re also having to do a bit of shuffling around just recently now there are some foster cats in the house.

We discovered after the first night that they seem to enjoy the taste of my boyfriend’s hen and chicken fern (thankfully one that isn’t toxic to cats, it’s like they knew). They’re also very keen to stare out of windows, which means the cat tower I had delegated to plant stand duties had to be recommissioned for its original purpose, and a few plants had to take a few steps away from windows (and some others had to be repotted and potting mix vacuumed up from the carpet after a particularly obnoxious couple of occasions).

My current battle is fungus gnats, and by battle, I mean they’ve infiltrated a number of my plants and I haven’t done anything to combat them yet apart from squishing a few. I’m looking forward to dedicating some quality time to destroying them. The gnats. Not the precious plants they want to live with. Get away from my plants, you stinkers! I’ve got some work to do and some self-watering trays to empty out.

Ok, I think this was a good welcome back post. I’ve got a much harder one to write next. Gonna go surround myself with plants while I write it.

Archer & Archer.

I can’t actually remember how it first happened that I stumbled across Archer & Archer on Facebook, but I’m sure glad that I did. The Archers have been running this business for two years as of this week, so I thought I’d get around to pulling my finger out and writing this blog post slash love letter to Troy & Sarah (and Minnie, and Ollie).

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All wrapped up.

While they’re celebrating their second birthday, it’s been twenty-one months now since I officially became a customer of this unique store, where a handful of items are uploaded to Facebook and the first person to comment SOLD on each item gets to purchase it. It’s the thrill of the race, you know? Hitting refresh, judging very quickly whether the item is something you want and then whether the price is something you can agree with/afford and then typing SOLD! ENTER! And hoping you’re the first one there. Rejoicing when you are, despairing when you’re not. Taking your time to read through Troy’s oft-hilarious descriptions of the items. Scrolling through to see who gets what, taking note of familiar faces from months of sales battles, smiling when you see a friend or family member show up out of the blue and throw a SOLD on something.

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Little porcelain planter cat.

My first ever purchase, true to form, was a porcelain cat. Back then the sale was less stressful, less urgent. I strolled in, took a look around, pointed at the porcelain cat and said, Yes please. I’ll have that one. The cat is still with me, with a succulent planted in its back. It lives on top of a shelf under a window, sitting in a timber tray that also came from the Archers. On one of the shelves underneath is an amazing orange ice crusher. On the bookshelf opposite, a few different bits and pieces, including but not limited to a trio of fabulous glasses and a couple of duck men I thought I was going to have a conniption over.

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Farm Gate Market and the Night Owl.

The Farm Gate market was on my to-do list before I got down here, for a few reasons. I wanted to stop buying so much from the Big Guys and try to get fresh things from the Little Guys, and the best way to do that seems to be at the farmers markets, where you can get the Little Guys’ fresh things from the Little Guys themselves. Also, who doesn’t love a market?

On my first Sunday here, my mum and I walked down to the corner of Elizabeth and Melville streets with our canvas shopping bags in hand. There was a slight issue with the plan in that without my things from Brisbane, my kitchen is currently very empty, so there’s not much to actually cook with. We ended up getting some delicious fresh dips, some honey (for my tea), and incredible sausage rolls for breakfast from the Urban Bounty stall.

I’ve been back each Sunday since, and this Sunday just gone was actually Farm Gate Market’s third birthday! Woo! Happy birthday, Market! What a beautiful day for it, too. My first market was overcast, my second market was smattered with rain, but my third market (and their third birthday) was a beautiful cool and sunny day.

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Madi rings the bell, Urban Bounty sells the sausage rolls.

One of my favourite things about Farm Gate is that it doesn’t officially kick off until 9am, when the bell is rung (top right photo!). You can still get a sneaky coffee from the Farm Gate stall, and it’s a very good coffee at that, but the rest of the stalls will still be setting up and be grumpy if you try to buy their things. Look, just enjoy your Sunday sleep-in and get there after 9am and you won’t have any problems.

So what you want to do next is get a sausage roll from Urban Bounty’s stall for breakfast, because the free-range pork, quince and apple sausage roll is one of the better things about my current life, and with UB’s own tomato relish, too? Just kill me, I’ve reached the pinnacle. There’s nothing much better than sitting down and scoffing my sausage roll and coffee before attacking the market stalls.

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Farm Gate Market’s 3rd Birthday!

This dude in an apple suit was walking around on Sunday and cracking me up. I don’t know if it was a special birthday treat, because I’ve not seen ol’ apple suit before, but maybe that’s just been my timing. There are always some buskers at the market, here and there dotted around corners, but this Sunday’s were particularly good. It was so nice sitting down and enjoying a coffee and listening to some smooth jazz, baby.

I also had the pleasure of meeting another new friend! When I first got here, I looked through twitter to find some charming locals to follow. One of those charming locals was Snuva! She, her husband and their ridiculously cute baby have a standing Sunday breakfast date at the markets, so we arranged to meet up on Sunday to say hello in person. It was lovely to meet them and yet again I forgot to take any photos. I swear these people I’m meeting are real.

The final photo in the little collection above is a lovely segue into my other topic for this post, because I just so happened to ride my shiny new bicycle down to the markets on Sunday (where it was closely guarded by some gorgeous puppies). It was my first proper ride, apart from the short and terrifying ride home on it when I picked it up on Friday. You know the phrase, “it’s just like riding a bike”? It’s true. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, and I was VERY nervous when I realised I’d actually have to ride my bike home! I ended up walking it a few blocks away from the shop (and the CBD) before hopping on and wobbling for a block or so before getting wigged out and walking it for another block or so, lather/rinse/repeat. Oh, Friday. You were such a weird day.

THE NIGHT OWL.

The Electra Night Owl. Ridiculous. I am delighted.

SUNDAY, though… Sunday was awesome. Look at this ridiculous bike. I spent a good couple of days tossing up whether to get a plain cruiser or this Electra fashion cruiser. I was concerned that maybe in a couple of years I’ll get sick of the design, or grow out of the owl print, or whatever. Clearly, in the end I got over those concerns, and I think that’s probably fair. I’m a bit twee, I think this bike and I are going to be very happy together.

I got the bike from Bike Ride on Liverpool street. They didn’t have any Electras in stock, but I’d been sent Bike Ride’s way after spotting one in the window of a store a couple of blocks away, and Mark was happy to take the time to go through Electra’s catalogue with me and answer all my stupid questions. The service was awesome enough for me to leave a glowing five-star review on Yelp.

So on Sunday I rode the Night Owl down to the Farm Gate Market and home again, with a basket laden with goodies, and as I pulled up in the driveway, I thought, my life is a bit wonderful right now.

Sunday morning bliss.

Am I right?