Why is it that as soon as you hit October, the rest of the year comes rushing at you like a train full of hard slogging optimists grasping for rays of light? So, I was completely planning to do a wrap up of Buy Nothing New Month (I bought nothing new), review my new/used camera (it's awesome), take and post dozens of images (a series of annoying incidents left me without an especially usable camera for the month) and feature some local op-shops (ask the Monster Who Ate October about that).

Anyway, one of the things that has been eating into my weekends lately has been helping out at our local community space (which serves as a garden, Saturday morning cafe, op-shop and church). They have recently added a new outdoor kitchen and eating area and I've inserted myself onto the team that's helping decorate it with hand-crafted, hand painted mosaic tiles.

As an aside, making your own clay tiles from scratch is crazy fun.

We are now almost halfway into the project, having made and painted several dozen tiles. These are currently being fired in the kiln before the next stage of mounting them on the wall.

Another personal project that's been keeping me busy has been a series of gardening workshops based around permaculture principles. There is a small but enthusiastic group of local and organic gardeners in Darwin's northern suburbs, and a series of 6 workshops was held across both the Mulch Pit in Nightcliff and the Lakeside Drive Community Garden in Alawa to share some ideas and tips about growing local. I managed to pick up some great tips on alternative local ingredients (sweet leaf, yam bean and roasted jackfruit seeds are all new and locally available ingredients on my personal menu). Thanks to a bit of Propagation 101 I now have some extra lemongrass, sweet leaf and gotu kola all growing happily in our garden.

*not my minion

Finally, as a way of redirecting my new-found photography (minus a camera) itch, I instead tackled a 2-year long overdue project to completely overhaul my Flickr site (link's in the top right, if you're stalking interested) which has sucked up all the remaining down time I've had over the last few weeks. Thanks to high levels of OCD and the magic of Lightroom, I've managed to give it the magic wand makeover it's been needing for years, not quite finished yet but I can at last see that light at the end of the tunnel...

...or is that December 31st?

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