Well, I'm back after more than a month.
I've spent this time trying to be less introspective and more outgoing, with partial success.
After registering with 'Seek' a few weeks ago I've applied for a few jobs online.
I also applied for a job I found in the local papers.
Modern 'professional' courtesies being what they are, no one notifies you if an application is unsuccessful.
I've also invested a bit of time in building up my business. Handed out a few business cards; made a sign for the road frontage; taken a flier into its final stages … I might even print a few off today.
What else have I been doing?
Well, my 'property caretaking' job has seen me mending the odd fence, slashing a five-acre paddock and doing a couple of hours' brushcutting.
Wearing my pest control hat, I've taken out ten wasp nests: two were European wasps, the rest paper wasps.
I also had a few hours' work repairing a small trailer.
The 'office' stuff has fallen into a deep, dark - hopefully temporary! - hole.
Basically, earning $40 here and $50 there, I've made enough to pay for petrol, smokes and beer!
So it's been a tough few weeks in terms of finances and March is looking pretty bleak as well.
Bills are accumulating; literally no money to pay them.
I'm owed about a grand. If it all came in this week (it won't!) it would just about cover my immediate and upcoming debts.
I had been really looking forward to starting some workplace training in a few days. Only six hours a week but grossing $210, it would have helped a lot.
Unfortunately, due to shortage of enrolments, this course has been deferred for five weeks.
I've discovered an interesting 'barometer' of my disposable income. The humble shopping trolley.
When I'm earning real money, I use a trolley at the supermarket.
When I'm not, I use a basket - or nothing at all.
It's been about six weeks since I used a trolley.
It's great to have reasonably well-stocked freezer and groceries cupboard!
As for fresh produce, February finds my vegetable garden at maximum output.
I've been enjoying fresh corn, beans, tomatoes, chillis, silver beet, cabbages, pumpkins, zucchinis, coriander and other stuff. The passionfruit are cropping three or four months early, possibly due to the mild winter in 2007.
Some beautiful thornless blackberries as well. These are seriously yummy and reminiscent of black mulberries (my favourite fruit) in flavour.
For some reason, it's been a bad year for tomatoes, eggplants and raspberries, with yields down about 80%.
Last Autumn, I cooked up about a kilo of chilli pickle. This is absolutely fabulous in curries and casseroles. I'm down to the last spoonful, BUT this year is looking good for a bumper chilli harvest.
Thanks to Spring's abundant crop, I was able to freeze about 4kg of (shelled) broadbeans. This works out to about 25 generous servings. These might just last until Winter …