Thursday, 27 September 2007

Moving out

The tomato/capsicum/chilli seedlings were taking over the house so I decided it was time for them to move out.

The balcony is ideal for this purpose. Line the trellis with leftover polycarbonate sheeting, put another sheet on the floor (to protect it from all the water) and move the plant stand over to hold all the boxes. Cover the boxes with a plastic sheet overnight and during cooler days. Take it off on warm, sunny days. So far they seem to be happy in their new home.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Three Quarters of A Century, Orchid Gnome!

May you have a wonderful day!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Aren't they cute!?

Yes, cute little Alyssum flowers, struggling to be seen through all the grass.

Time to clean up!

The fire ban will probably be brought forward to 15 October again this year. The usual start on 1 December is highly unlikely with the dryish Winter we had.

High time to start the clean up immediately behind the house. Raking up leaves and small twigs and branches. Picking up big branches. Mowing the grass. Piling it all up and lighting the bonfire while conditions are good.This is only the beginning. More areas to clean up and more bonfires to burn. The less fuel around the place, the better!

The bonfire only took a few minutes to burn down.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Now THAT's a family!

There are now several duck families around the place. This is the biggest so far. (I think I counted 18 or 19 ducklings.) Let's hope they won't loose too many little ones. It's always heartbreaking to see the decimation of families over the days/weeks.

A strange morning

'Oh, look! A fox! Wonder what it's doing? Let's watch it!'
5 sheep and a fox'I'm not sure about this. I'm getting out of here.' thinks the fox. 'Let me die in peace!''Not so fast, matey! Let's swoop on you first!' guffaw the magpies.
'High Noon' at Gnomesville!
The stand-off continues. Let's bring in the big buggers!

Disclaimer: no sheep were harmed in the process of taking these pictures.
The fox hasn't been seen for a while.

Second disclaimer: I feel rather sorry for the fox. It's young and it has obviously eaten one of the thousand odd baits that Forestry SA has placed in the forest behind.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The old gnome's orchid

We are really, really pleased to announce the flowering of our orchid. We received 2 orchids from one of the old gnomes when she divided hers. The second one is going to flower soon, too.

See how cunningly the sheep placed themselves so that they appear even in an orchid picture?

They seem to be screaming, 'Huuuuuuuuungry!'

Today's view

We were able to do quite a few things outside this morning, despite the fierce wind. Then the rain hit at lunchtime. We've had 9mm of rain in the last 2 hours but the wind hasn't eased yet. We will have a cosy afternoon inside as the fire is going nicely.

Friday, 14 September 2007

1st Ducklings of the season

1st ducklings for spring spotted at Gnomesville this morning. 9 in total, lets hope they all survive.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Puff, the magic ...

... pastry!

There are times when you just don't know what to cook for tea. That's when it is handy to have puff pastry in the freezer.

Ham and Cheese Puffs

Spread a little Dijon mustard on one rectangle, add a layer of thin cheese slices, then a thin slice of ham (or shred the slice and add these pieces), top with other rectangle of pastry. Seal edges slightly (just squeeze them together) then brush the top with melted butter or an eggwash. Bake for 20 minutes in a fan-forced oven at 180C.
The beauty of puff pastry is that it defrosts quickly, you fill it with whatever you fancy at the moment, and the outcome is always delicious.

Serve with a garden salad.

Quick and easy.
The leftovers are great for lunch. Either cold or quickly heated under the grill.

Alien babies!

And there is nothing wrong with my imagination!
I did find them in the Loquat tree.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Variegated Elderberry

The Variegated Elderberry has started to show some flower buds, too. Maybe I'll net it this year to harvest some berries?
Elderberry jam? Wine? Cordial?

Wood Shed continued..

The wood pile has grown, but this is its final size as the wood shed is empty now. The bags inside the shed are full of chook poop and will go into the new veggie beds.
They might even be raised beds. ;)

Don't forget to look at the sky - from inside the wood shed!

More flowers

The plum trees look as if they are totally covered in snow. A magnificent show of flowers!

Cherry flowers

The garden is a real treat at the moment. All these splashes of colours from the flowering spring bulbs, herbs and trees, etc.

The cherry trees are flowering. Let's hope we'll beat the birds to some cherries this year.

The peas are coming up

Finally! Nearly a month ago I sowed Blue Podded Capucyner Peas. They took their time to come up but now they are growing nicely. How long till we can munch on fresh peas? Impatient? Moi? Nah!

Red Currants

The Red Currants have started flowering. If all those flowers set fruit, we'll have a glut again. I am definitely NOT going to make another jar of red currant jelly. It's already piling up in the pantry. Help?

Spring bulbs again

It rained the last two days! Now the sun is out again and everything is looking fantastic.

More bulbs are springing up. This was hiding between some weeds.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Apricot & Oat Bread

Add roughly chopped dried apricots to your bread dough. Let rise. Shape into loaves. Lightly brush with water and roll in oats. Let rise again. Bake. Eat. :)

Let's do something different!

Neither of us have set up a new shed. Yet. Time to remedy that.

Here are the bits and pieces for the new wood shed. One piece is marked 'A'. Couldn't find any other markings. There are no instructions either. I wish IKEA did sheds. I am rather fond of their Allen keys. The individual panels are pretty light, so no problem where the weight of them is concerned. We will just have to make sure to set up the shed when there is no wind. I can just see that gust of wind - the flying panel - and a gnome desperately clinging on to that panel.Just in case anybody out there is thinking, 'Why would they need to set up a new wood shed? Won't the old one do?' Here is a picture of the old wood shed.

See the door attractively lying on its side? Convinced? You haven't seen the roof yet. Ooops... there is no picture of the roof. Because there is not much roof left. This is also the side from which we can expect a bushfire reaching our place. So it is important to have the wood stowed away safely. Now we will only have to move all the wood from the shed. Pile it up so it is out of the way. This is about half of the wood which we moved today. The rest will follow soon.
Moving the wood is the fun part. Demolishing the old shed will be a breeze.
Organising someone to come out to flatten the shed area plus the areas where we will set up our new rainwater tanks.....that will hopefully be less painful than we expect.

What's that?!

Nice, juicy grass for the sheep? A great weed patch? An experiment in companion planting? Weeds + ??

All shall be revealed after an afternoon of serious weeding.
2 gnomes, 1 patch and tons of weeds. Hours later... Tadaaaaa!
It's the Asparagus patch! The companion planting experiment worked very well. The spears poking out of the patch had not been attacked by the slugs and snails.
Ps.: What's really galling is that we mulch this patch very heavily every autumn/winter. And every spring we face the same sight as above! There's this really nasty creeping weed with thin underground roots that spread everywhere. It's impossible to get rid of it.

Anyway. That was yesterday's adventure. (Well, a part of it.)

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Dear Diary,

I am too tired to write up our activities.

We had a very productive day.

Can I go to bed now?


Friday, 7 September 2007

More tomato beds

The front bed is finished and the one in the back is nearly finished.
We ran out of steam there. The section in front only needs one more layer of compost and then a layer of pea straw.

The beds consist of layers of shredded paper, pea straw, compost, kitchen scraps, horse manure and chook manure. (Not in this order.) This combination works extremely well. We just let them sit a while before planting in them. These beds will be ready by the end of October / beginning of November.

I guess these two beds might be able to accommodate about 26-28 tomato plants. (They are very long and wide beds.)

It's weed, feed and mulch day!

At least for most of the flowering fruit trees. The rest will have to wait a day or three.

The weeds weren't too bad, so I didn't have to spend too much time ripping them out. A good layer of compost, some complete fertilizer and a thick layer of pea straw. Then a good guzzle of water.

The cherry, plum and pear trees received a good dose of wood ash, too. I had read somewhere that if you add wood ash to the soil around these trees the cherry & pear slug won't be pestering these trees. Not sure whether this is true, but no harm done in trying this.

Now I'll only need to mow the grass and it'll look fantastic!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Orchard extension is filling up

There are only a few empty spots left in the orchard extension. I have been busy planting fruit trees in the last few days. 2 Tamarillo, 1 Kumquat, 1 Eureka Lemon, 2 Nectarines (both in the same hole) and 3 figs (2 Malta Black, 1 White Fig). Plus each of the figs have one pollinator fig in the same hole. I will squeeze in more figs as I have decided to espalier them. This ensures that I can plant a few more in-between the ones I just planted.

Flowering plum tree

The early plum is flowering.

I had cut it back drastically 2 years ago and last year it came back slowly. I can't even remember what the plums off this tree taste like. :)You can see both plum trees after the hard prune 2 years ago.

Taking down another fence

This area will be another vegetable garden. The first fence is about to be taken down. The fence on the left might stay. I might plant some climbing beans and peas along that fence line.

The gate along the new fence line will be put in soon. I hope. It's only a matter of putting in 3 more posts and the gate post. But time is in short supply at this time of the year.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


You know Spring has sprung when the Jonquils (amongst other bulbs) are out in force.

This is probably my favourite variety. Dainty little flower heads with a yellow centre.

Basil Mint

The Basil Mint is trying to escape from the hollowed out tree trunk.

This is a great herb to crush between your fingers when walking around the garden. I don't really use it much in cooking as it can be overpowering.


The onions - Gladalan White - are growing like mad. Maybe we'll get a good crop this year?

I might try different varieties next season, if these are doing well.

We also seem to have a gnome invasion.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Happy Father's Day, Old Gnome!

Hope you had a good one! (Thanks for doing the dishes!)

This is especially for you!

Note: I'd like to give credit to the person who took this picture, but I cannot remember where I got it from. Sorry.