Blogger’s block?

Oh dear – I was about to write only my fourth blog post and I’ve already hit writer’s block (that was block not blog!). Perhaps it should be/is called blogger’s block? My problem is I can’t really see why I’m blogging. I am not generally a written reflector as reflection usually happens in my head. If I am looking for ideas/help/advice I usually search the Internet, ask/email specific people and/or (since joining Twitter) send out a Tweet. I also can’t quite see why anyone else would be interested in what I might write. Much of my work involves writing in one form or another – teaching and learning resources, funding applications, project reports etc. All of these have very specific audiences and objectives so I am not much given to writing without a defined purpose. I also find I want to include absolutely everything relevant and to get it perfect (in my dreams!) so I’m not very good at just “running something off” quickly.

Can I de-block?

I do occasionally write long, rambling (and illustrated with pics) emails about activities on our block to my best mate in the UK. This happens much less often than it used to as we now usually chat on Skype about once a week. So I thought if I wrote a bit of a “ramble” for my blog it might help me get over the blogger’s block.

A bit of a ramble through my current activities

I have got rather used to being on holiday – for those of you anywhere other than Australia, schools and TAFE here have their long summer break over Xmas and the New Year. This means (in my particular college) that unless you have a good reason for being on campus you have to take leave from just before Xmas to the end of January. However being “on holiday” doesn’t mean doing nothing work related. I am currently (and rather intermittently) trying to get my head around Flash – more of that in a later post, learning more about PLNs, slowly extending my Twitter network (tweeting regularly). Sue Waters and myself also re-started our Free Online PD sessions for the year and the next one is on Friday 23rd Jan, 09:00 Western Australian time through Elluminate. The link is:

If you are thinking of joining us and are not familiar with Elluminate you will find it useful to go to their support site and this will step you through configuring your system

Online PD on Friday 16th Jan 2009

At last Friday’s Online PD session we heard about the Poweful Learning Practice model for professional development from Robin Ellis and Chris Harbeck. There was a lively discussion about the merits (and otherwise) and some implications of using Facebook with students – particularly school age ones. We finished off with a discussion about using time limited challenges as a learning facilitation tool.

Ideas on time framed challenges - whiteboard from Free Online PD 16/01/09

From Free Online PD Friday 16th Jan 09

Now for something completely different – the other part of my life!

As well as all these unofficial work related activities we have lots of things happening on the block. This time of year tends to be a peak time for lots of fruit and veg to be ready all at once, since well before Xmas we have been eating zucchini, summer squash, bush beans, carrots, runner beans, strawberries and raspberries. We fought a continuing battle with small brown birds (SBBs) (weebills and silvereyes) – they get through the most amazingly small holes in the bird netting – to eat some of our cherries before they did. We still have zucchini and carrots and the next row of beans are starting to flower. We have also been harvesting sweetcorn

(some of these will be frozen) and are picking tomatoes, cucumbers and okra as well as lettuce and radish. Plums are being picked.

Peaches and grapes ripening, melons and pumpkins growing larger every day. All of this largesse means much processing – drying, making jam and some freezing. The ultimate aim is some veg fresh from the garden available all year round and surplus preserved one way or another for use when there is not much fresh.

As well as all the garden stuff (including sewing up holes in bird netting) we are preparing our outdoor area (courtyard and under verandahs) for paving. It will be sooooo good not to have the outdoor area and pool in a building site after over 6 years of sand and gravel underfoot between house and pool, wobbly chairs and unlevel table and barbecue for sitting out – I can’t wait!! However this means 2-3 hours each morning – when it is cooler than our current 38-40 deg C daytime maxima – leveling and moving sand.

We have to level it all (250 square metres) down to this!

Luckily there was plenty of excess on the house pad, and we just need to take it down to the bottom of the brickwork – we are having poured limestone and hope this will be lower maintenance than pavers.

The end!

At last I have finished – this is a very messy piece of writing that lacks both a real theme and much coherence – but at least it got me past the non-writing stage!