Monday, June 15, 2009

I've turned 100!

Milestones are fun to whizz past with a cheer, waving to the befuddled bystanders on the side of the road who wonder to themselves: "Who's that idiot?" Doesn't matter, he's just a nutty garden blogger celebrating his 100th posting. Some bloggers seem to log up their 100th posting in about 100 days. I've taken my time – almost a year to the day, but not quite. And so to celebrate this utterly insignificant milestone I thought I'd take you for a guided tour behind the scenes at Amateur Land – a tour of my garden shed.

Only part of this magnificent green structure is my garden shed. In fact, it's just the little annexe on the right, in front of the birdbath. The larger section on the left is the original garden shed, which once housed motorcycles and assorted boy's things, and which has now become part of Pam's art-studio and publishing empire and is now full of girl's things, plus a photocopier. Talk about love, devotion and surrender!

The doorman to my shed is actually a plastic moneybox, found by Pammy in a shop in nearby Newtown. I've filled him with sand to give him some gravitas and he's doing a splendid job holding the door open, even on windy days.

Staying in proportion with the small scale of the small 9m x 7.5m garden here in Amateur Land, my shed measures a modest 1.7m wide x 2.7m long (although perhaps 1.7m narrow x 2.7m short is closer to the mark).

Fortunately the shed has an exposed timber frame, allowing me to bang oodles and oodles of nails into spots here, there and everywhere to hang things from. I'm a great believer in nail-based storage systems for both their cheapness and ease of expansion! Pictured here is the garden hand tools section, just hanging around.

All the digging tools hang from nails as well, although you need to be very careful how you load and unload these heavier chaps. They're 'out there' on the edges of a nail-based storage system's capacity to cope.

Wall studs naturally enough become shelves, but even the undersides of the wall studs are used as storage. All you need to do is bang nails into each jar's lid, then nail the lids to the underside of the stud. Big tip here: use two nails per lid. If you use just one nail, the lid spins on it, like an axis. With two nails, the lid doesn't spin as you twist it.

A sturdy but small pine kitchen table provides the only bench space here. The table is such a tight fit in the shed that you'd have to take every last thing out of the shed if you ever needed to get it out (so the solution is never to be so silly as to think about doing such a thing). I'm just starting up a collection of tins for storing things. The Weet-Bix Aussie cricket heroes tin is currently worthless, but could fetch up to $5 in 25 years' time, so I'm taking the long-term view on that investment.

The Anzac biscuit tin fits into the same investment strategy as the cricket heroes tin. I spotted it in my local Woolworths supermarket last year, gave the biscuits away (I don't like biscuits all that much) and kept the tin. The 'backstage' part of the gnome painting factory looks like a hive of activity, but the sad truth is that it has looked like that for a couple of years now. The garden is chock-a-block with gnomes (I've run out of hiding places), so there's no reason to rush these fellows out into service, they'll only be seen. I'm thinking of finishing them off during a bout of unemployment, illness, retirement, lunacy or some other malady needing long hours of gentle therapy.

Turning around and looking out to the garden, the view is pleasant without being all that panoramic. My neighbour Spiro, who is a builder, knocked up the shed for me and he's done a good job with it. The central strip of translucent roofing means I never need to turn the light on by day. The flooring comprises leftover lino from the kitchen. The little section of concrete slab exposed at the doorway has "P&J" engraved into it, so Pam and I might be discovered by archaeologists one day, who'll think we're a cult or something. But probably not.

And so that's my 100th post here at Garden Amateur. I can't imagine I'll rack up another 100 posts by this time next year, but I'll plod along happily, not really caring that all my postings are too long for the busy, time-poor world of today (I know, I know, 'keep it short' some people say – but that's just not my style).

Though my audience is very small, this is the fate of 99.9% of all of us bloggers, so I don't mind. Several people have said nice things about my blog over the last year, and I always appreciate every bit of feedback I get, and I do especially love it when someone has found something posted here to be helpful. There are numerous bloggers whose posts I invariably read and enjoy (many of them are on my blog roll on the side of my blog), and I like to think I'm on a couple of people's regular reading 'beat', too.

The other thing I also really get a kick from is seeing the world map at the very bottom of my blog (the Sitemeter thing). I simply love it when I manage to get dots shining away from all continents on that map: Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Asia and, of course, Australia. I feel like a citizen of the world when that happens. Since I started up my Sitemeter thingy in late November last year, I've had (as of this afternoon) 7720 visitors, so that works out at around 14,000 a year. Wow, that's an audience!

And so the only way I should finish this 100th posting is to say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who has ever visited my blog, and maybe an even bigger 'thank you' to all those wonderful, encouraging 'regulars' – almost all of whom are fellow bloggers – who often leave comments and friendly feedback. Anyway, onwards to posting 101 and beyond!


patientgardener said...

Hi Jamie

Happy 100th post. I also enjoy your posts and love to see how much you manage to grow in your plot, especially your veg. It seems to me that your climate allows you to reuse a piece of land more times a year than we can in the UK and I do get jealous.
Thanks for the tour of your shed. Its very tidy compared to my bit of garage which serves the same purpose.

islandgardener said...

Congrats, Jamie! Thanks for the tour! Janet

Kenneth Moore said...

I have to echo patientgardener--you have a very nice, tidy shed, compared with my... Um. I have no central location, and only a few tools that serve single-purpose for gardening. Everything is pretty much scattered about my apartment, some in a drawer here, some sitting on top of a bookcase there.

My plan, you see, is to get some sort of organization. Maybe I'll steal your can trick.

And happy 100! I'm one of the "100 posts in 100 days" type of blogger--it has been about 4 months since I started, and I'm writing my 99th post right now.

Keep up the good work! You're fairly inspiring. Your garlic post encouraged me to plant my own cloves (which are growing nicely now), and that amazing olive tree... Well, mine hasn't germinated yet, but I have faith!


charlotte said...

Lovely, Jamie. Am jealous of your shed. Ours has a laundry in it. I find your garden very inspiring indeed - I too have just planted my first garlic bulb; fingers crossed. Look forward to the next hundred posts.

Julie said...

Congratulations Jamie, here's to the next 100!

Thanks for all your wonderful photos and insights :-)

Cheers, Julie

Chookie said...

I'm sorry, but this is all wrong. Where are the signs of water having gone over rather than under the slab? Where are the cobwebs? Where's the dust and dry rot? Where are signs of things falling over and not being picked up? The spilt potting mix? Oh, it's all just at my place...
Happy 100th post!

Onesimus said...

Congratulations on reaching 100 and thanks for the intro to your shed. I envy your walls and roof.

My shed at the moment is nothing more than a concrete slab left by the previous owners of the house.

One day I'll get around to building the rest. At the moment my gardening tools (and other stuff) are cluttering up one end of the garage, making access to them difficult when the car's inside.


Melinda said...

Well done on a great blog. I read every post! And I like that yours are of a longer length than many - it means they're substantial.

Thanks for all the good insights and advice.