Pear shaped

Over the last month we’ve had family staying and things have fallen apart somewhat.  Routines have been disturbed and the flow that had been established is a chore. 

The system is still alive, the plants are still growing but there are a bunch of issues.  The flood and drain system is no longer flooding, and this morning the pump stopped working, the chickens have figured out how to get in to the veggie patch, and the meal worm farm has been decimated by neglect ( and the occasional attack by the smarter chicken), my sowing plan has gone to crap, the coriander is all dead, one of the chickens is brooding, the grass lawn is all dead due to drought, and the place is in a general mess. 

Personally, I’ve stopped eating healthily – so not harvesting salads or tomatoes –  weight is coming back on, and generally feeling more tired. I’m back smoking again, and although not drinking too much I’ve been having a few drinks every evening. 

Its also been very hot. 

Fortunately, none of this is beyond repair however this experience does give me pause to reflect. 

Clearly the more systems I try to maintain the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong.  And so focusing will help to minimize the load. 

But perhaps more importantly I’m recognizing that progress and getting better is not a straight line affair.  It’s hard to constantly improve.  I needed a break and I subconsciously used the visiting family as an excuse to take a break and change things up.  And abused that to its fullest.  

If I’m honest with myself, I knew I was neglecting my efforts to improve but I didn’t want to face it and it’s not until now – now that they are gone – that I’m facing it. 

In the meantime, a month of damage has been done. 

Going forward, I need to recognize this pattern and plan for it.  I need to recognize that improvement is not necessarily a straight line growth, and that it will more likely take the form of 3 steps forward 1 step back. 

One clear example of how recognizing this fact, lead to me having some longer term success is my weight loss efforts.  The graph below shows my weight loss progress over an 8 week period where I lost 7 kgs (98kg to 91kgs).  Each weekend, I’d take a break from the diet and consequently my weight would bounce back up, but it was these scheduled breaks that helped me to maintain motivation to keep the diet going for a meaningful period of time.  Over the last month I’ve let things go and I’m only back up to 92.6kg this morning.  So it’s not all terrible news, but it does make me reflect on what I can do to keep a more stable pattern over time. 

And I think the answer to that is two fold. 

Firstly I think I need to reflect on what my goals and vision are.  Where do I want to get to.  Give myself some tangible targets.

And secondly I need to plan in periods where I can take steps back.  Reduce the stress,  pressure, and guilt of taking a step back and instead recognize that sometimes that’s just life.  Sometimes I just need to chill out, relax, and let it all hang out. 

So, I’m going to take the effort to try and plan these two things and to start again.. I’ll see how that goes. 

Tomato jungle

A quick update on the aquaponic tomatoes.  The system is running well.  The salads are running low as I’m in the middle of building some new beds and am behind on sowing new salads.  Fortunately the garden salads are more than compensating. 

The tomatoes though have gone nuts.  I’m really not growing them for high productivity, or I would have trimmed them.  Instead I’m leaving them to grow as bushy as they want. 

There are a good 20 tomatoes fruiting already and plenty more buds – although the bud to tomatoe rate seems much lower than outside. 

I’m enjoying just letting it go to see how big it gets.  Obviously, many lessons learned – chief of which is not to have them up so high. 

After 3 weeks away

After a little under 3 weeks away I’ve come back and the system is going strong.  My guy feel is that it has hit some kind of nitrogen critical mass as everything is growing strong, green, and quickly. 

There are however, several maintenance tasks to perform.

  1. I need to get a new water heater the old one broke and the h20 temp is hovering around 20c and the fish aren’t eating. 
  2. I need to add another floating bed so that I can sow some more seeds and get the system staggered. 
  3. I need to string up the tomatoes. 
  4. Clean out floating raft beds and add a bigger filter module to the system.