Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hobbits and Jam and Spring in the garden...

I am currently reading The Hobbit to the munchkins, the beautiful Alan Lee illustrated one above.  As the movie will be out soon, and we will probably take the girls along to see it, I wanted them to hear the story and to be able to create their own pictures in their heads first.  I started last Wednesday, after a day of dusting and cleaning (along with a lot of coughing and sneezing!), and so my poor voice was croaky and not the best.  It's been a long time since I've read The Hobbit, so I'd forgotten I'd be required to voice 13 dwarves, 1 wizard, and various trolls and goblins...AND sing all their songs!  I was very tempted to make the youngest dwarves, Fili and Kili, either very camp, or perhaps castrati, just so my poor voice could have a rest from all the 'deep and booming'.  Bilbo was the only respite, bless him. So when I got to the goblins a couple of nights ago, they seemed to naturally develop rather higher pitched, whiny voices!

The songs are fun though, and Tolkien's lyrics and rhythms are simple enough that it's quite easy to just make up a tune on the spot, which is fine until the munchkins decided they liked one song so much they had to hear it again.  I tried to explain that it wouldn't be quite the same, but they insisted.  So I sang it again, sort a bit like the first time, and the next morning I heard them singing it together, reading the lyrics from the book as they went.  Last night, they sat drawing as I read, and produced their own illustrations.

Mr Bilbo Baggins, and a generic dwarf, by littlest munchkin.

A Goblin guard, by biggest munchkin.

One of the Warg wolves (with more than a passing resemblance to Flynn, with a bad case of Rabies perhaps!), by biggest munchkin.

Do you see what I mean!?

Other than Hobbit duty, I've been busy with work, though I'm back to part-time till the end of the school year (on the 19th Dec).  Which is good because there is LOTS to do.  The Apricot tree has become far too dangerous to sit beneath for afternoon tea, due to the kamikaze apricots that fling themselves towards unsuspecting victims, which mean it's JAM time.  We've made our first batch, but there's a bumper crop, so I'm going to need to go on a jar hunt.  I think I'll make chutney again too, last year's went rather well (if I do say so myself!)  We've just about finished off our last year's jam supply, so we get enough for presents for Christmas and to do us for a whole year.  Pretty damn good I think, especially when the tasteless, floury things that pass as apricots in the supermarket cost between $10 and $15 a kilo!
Kamikaze apricots all over the ground.

But there's plenty more...or at least there was, before the wild weather of the last few hours brought several more kilos tumbling down!

We've also been busy with the front yard, tarting it up and putting in more vegie boxes.  We emptied out the worm farm casings onto the main vegie box about 3 months ago, with a view to preparing the bed for spring planting.  But we must eat a lot of tomatoes, because pretty soon the entire bed was covered in seedlings just popping up from the worm farm!  So we left it, and have been eating our own self-seeded tomatoes ever since.  And they taste SOOOO much better than the supermarket ones!  We've got more tomatoes, corn, beetroot, eggplant (aka aubergine), and plenty of herbs, so the front garden is looking pretty good now.  Phew!

The Herb patch next to the cubby...fenced off because Flynn likes to dig in it!

New vegie boxes in the front yard.  I'm not sure if the corn will still be standing tomorrow though!

These tomatoes are just about at the end of their productivity, but there's a few more on there.

The Elderflower is blooming again...but still no scent whatsoever...sigh!

Another rogue that popped up out of the worm farm casings.  I think it's a pumpkin (?), though it seems unlikely, as we never have them due to the fact that biggest munchkin will not touch them.

The Lolly tree, or at least as good as, in my opinion.  The kids adore raiding it as soon as they get home from school...though I try to get them to change out of their school clothes FIRST!

The vegie boxes again.  Though they may not look like this tomorrow!

Wow, we have had some WEATHER in the last few hours!  High speed winds and lashing rain.  Not very 'springy' at all.  In fact, I'm wearing my 'ugg' boots and a jumper at the moment.  I had to go and dig them out after packing up the 'winter clothes', positive I'd finished with them for this year.  I imagine our back lawn will be covered in squished apricots tomorrow morning, and everything in the front yard may well be horizontal.  As long as the trees...and the house...aren't!


sarah said...

Once I visited a friend who read a chapter of The Hobbit to her children while I was there. I was astounded at her monotone delivery. So when we got home I started reading it to my daughter and had the best time playing all the roles. Such a fun book. When it comes to the movie, I sure am proud to be a Kiwi :-)

Your children obviously have your artistic talent in their genes.

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

I read that very same Alan Lee illustrated Hobbit to my eldest when she was seven and she loved it so much! Will get to read it to them again when little sister Elswyth's just a bit older yet I think... Elora loved the songs too, especially the spider one 'Attercop, Attercop down they drop...!'
But I loved singing the Misty Mountains cold (not very well though - haven't got a voice like yours!)and would often hear both children singing snatches of it while they played.
Would love to hear what melody you sang it to :)
Veggie boxes are looking great - hope they survive the weather.... we've had nothing but buckets of rain and floods all over the country.

Milo Broadbrlt said...

I hope you're enjoying your reading as much as your munchkins seem to be enjoying hearing it! The Hobbit is a book meant to be read out loud I think. Discovering the story for the first time by hearing it read out loud must by very special indeed.

So very apt to be seeing a garden that any hobbit would be proud to call their own in the same post as well. Beautiful and inspiring for those of us shivering in the long nights on another side of the world, thank you.

yew tree nights said...

You have such a wonderful garden that I could not be silent about it! I love that you are growing vegetables in the front yard too. I wish more people would do that, it's so charming (not to mention useful). I hope that your storm turned out alright. I guess on the positive side, maybe squished apricots on the lawn could mean half the work of chutney done?

Mo Crow said...

Hi Christina, good to see a new post, t's been a very busy year for you & yours!

Hindustanka said...

Hello, The Mermaid in the Attic! There is an award for you in my blog:)

A Magical Whimsy said...

How charming and brave of you to read 'The Hobbit' to the munchkins.
I adore the illustrations of said munchkins...very lovely!
You definitely put a huge smile and some laughter involved with explaining how you were reading with character emphasis and voice overtones of said dwarfs, goblins, wargs, and such. My sister and I (grown women who never left Hobbiton)are going to see the showing of the midnight opening night of 'The Hobbit' this Thursday late night...can't wait!
Since we are in winter at the moment, I do fondly remember my apricot tree this year dropping fruit all over the ground, but I did get some lovely jam made, and in the winter it is soooo delicious!
Have fun seeing 'The Hobbit' too! My munchkins are all grown and will see the movie on their own.
Teresa in California

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