Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Is free-range good for you?

YES!

A big fat, whole-hearted yes! from this corner.

Reason?

Our chooks are free-range. The eggs are fantastic. They only get organic food that I would eat, too, if they let me.

And if you only have 3 acres or so for them to roam about, they HAVE to roam further and further. Obviously. Up the hill, through the fence, across the road, into the forest. They even have to break into your veggie garden and orchard.

So what do you do? You walk out into the garden at any time of the day, rain or shine. Then you either run after them and try to catch them to gently throw back over the fence into their roaming area.

Or you run after them and try to chase them into their roaming area through a gate (that you kindly opened for them first). While trying to keep the other chooks from entering the no-go zone through that gate AND keep the sheep from doing the same.

Very, very healthy indeed! Gets you out of the office, fills your lungs with fresh air and gives you plenty of exercise.

Now you know why free-range is good for you.

Ps.: Free-range roast chicken for the same day's dinner is a very tempting thought at times.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Overflow!

We have two overflowing tanks! Oh, what joy! The fire tank is full and the overflow is going into the dam (which is rapidly filling up, too). The house tank is overflowing, but not yet into the garden water tank, as it's too wet, wild & woolly out there to rig that up.

Rain gauge readings:
54mm on Sunday morning
60mm this morning

The sheep are wet, woolly monsters. Please do not watch this little clip if you are getting bored of rain and sheep. :)
Ps.: However, there is at least something happening in this clip.

video

Sunday, 26 April 2009

I am excited...

... because I am making crabapple wine! First wine-making effort ever.

Simon of Taurus Rising wine-making fame has very kindly offered tons of advice and tips. He also lent me a book that only uses natural ingredients and does not require trips to speciality shops.

Chopped up crabapples this afternoon, threw them in the fermenter, topped with water, added a little yeast. Now it can do its thing. Thinking of picking more crabapples. I must be crazy! But by golly, this is fun!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

~~Aaaaahhhhh..... ~~

...this is a happy sigh. Rain, rain, rain.

57mm in the last 24 hours.
79mm the previous 24 hours.

It is wild and woolly out there. Strong winds, fog, heavy rains. It is such a lovely change to actually spend a whole weekend indoors. No chance of gardening. I am relishing this thought. I know there is heaps to do - plant tons of seedlings, prepare more beds, mulch, feed, prune. However, I am very happy. The tanks are filling up, the ground is slowly soaking up the rain, the parched paddocks are starting to green up.....

Friday, 24 April 2009

Harvest before the rain

Yesterday morning I decided to quickly harvest some veggies before the rain arrived.

The capsicums, chillies and eggplants are still producing.

Yellow, red, chocolate-y capsicums, chillies, eggplants, yellow tomatoes, etc. in the basket.

2 Golden Nugget plants yielded this box full. More than enough to satisfy any pumpkin cravings. Should we ever get those again. (We had far too many pumpkins last year.)

Then I snacked on the last of the Heritage Raspberries. How much healthier can breakfast get?

By the way, the rain gauge showed 79mm of rain this morning!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Rain

...is here. Wow!

Let's hope it stays a while and greens up the paddocks, and fills the water tanks a bit.

Little clip where nothing happens. Apart from the wonderful sound of rain and bewildered sheep standing around. The sheep have forgotten what rain is. So have we. :)

video

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Rain? Really?

This is the forecast for Adelaide. Taken from the BOM website.

Seeing is believing, that's all I can say.
I'd be overjoyed if we finally got some rain!

Thursday
Rain periods developing. Min 18 Max 23
Friday Early rain then showers. Min 15 Max 19
Saturday Showers. Windy. Min 14 Max 17
Sunday Shower or two. Min 13 Max 20
Monday A few showers. Min 10 Max 19
Tuesday Shower or two. Min 12 Max 19



Edit: Thursday morning. It looks dark outside. The wind is
picking up.
Will it bring rain? I think I will leave
the washing out, that might do the trick!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Picking Party

A glut of crabapples? Figs? Invite some people round to pick them.
Then enjoy some afternoon tea.

That's what we did on Sunday afternoon. It was a gorgeous autumn day and everybody seemed to have fun picking our neighbours' crabapples or figs.

The old gnomes arrived at our place and were keen to get started. So they went across to our neighbour gnomes.

Then the Kelly gang arrived (after some hiccups on the way) with a big bucket of apples. Thanks again for those. They are lovely! Good thing we aren't appled out yet. Ours are still ripening on the trees and should be ready to be picked latest in July.

Anyway. Long, fun story cut short. Lots of picking. Lots of laughter. Alpaca inspection. Etc. No photos, sorry.

Then afternoon tea.Kel's apple cake.Neighbour gnome's fig & almond cake.

Company and food was great! I think we all had a lot of fun.

Now, if anyone would love to pick some crabapples, please do not hesitate to send me an email or write a comment. I'll put you in touch with our neighbours. They'd be keen for people to come and pick whatever crabapples they'd like.

Edit: Just received the link for the Fig & Almond Tart recipe from the Neighbour Gnome. Happy baking!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Crabs in our neighbours' garden

Crabapples, that is. 2 trees totally laden with these gorgeous little crabapples.

When you approach the trees, they look quite harmless.

Healthy, green foliage.


But then you look a bit closer, underneath the leaves.
Then bend down and step right underneath the canopy.
Perfect little apples.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Going solar #3

We have just received the letter that the rebate has been approved! Much earlier than expected. Now the solar company will set a date for installation. Excited! (Understatement of the year.)

Oh, and we went with Energy Matters.
Thanks for all the input from you all out there. It helped immensely.

Totally figged out!

Never in my life would I have imagined that there might come a day where I wouldn't jump at the chance of picking and devouring a fresh fig.

Well, the day has come. I am figged out.

Thanks, Neighbour Gnome! You were very generous! I really enjoyed the chance to try out so many different figgy recipes.

The pantry is now well-stocked with jars of figs in syrup, figs in rum, plain preserved figs, Maggie Beer's pickled figs, dried figs in rum (The latter really to preserve my sanity and tummy. I kept eating the dried figs at an alarming rate.)

Oh, no fig jam, you may ask? Well, the pantry is well stocked with our favourite jams. It was not necessary to add to that stash. :)

This is the last batch of dried figs. I am so over figs that I am not even tempted to do any 'quality control'. I shall just vacuum seal them, I think.The recipe called for 1 kg of figs! Pffft. Only 1?? Anyway, adjust as required. Bring 2 cups of water, 2 cups of sugar, 1 Tbs vinegar to boil. (I couldn't help myself and added a cinnamon stick to the syrup. Cloves would be nice, too, I'm sure.) Wash and prick figs all over, add to liquid. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Drain. Flatten. Dry. They are delicious. Nothing like those you get in the stores. A bit like glace fruit, but far less sweet.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Pears

We bought 5 kilos of Sensation pears for preserving from the pear stall at the Meadows Easter Fair. We had preserved that variety before and absolutely loved it.

Unfortunately, I can only fit 7 jars into my preserver when I use No 27 preserving jars. Bit of a nuisance, especially when you forget this fact and prepare 8 jars of pears. Bummer! I must find more No 20 jars as I've plain run out of that size. They are my favourites. Perfect for preserving fruit and tomatoes.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Buns for the Bunny

Chelsea buns. Enjoy!
Ps.: Gardening pictures will be happening again. Soon. :)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Figgy Breakkie

A finely chopped apple, covered with home-made yoghurt. A sprinkling of cinnamon, topped with fresh figs cut in chunks. The final touch, a drizzle of local honey. How much better can it get?!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Lots of deliciousness

This may be our last platter of tomato, bocconcini, basil, extra-virgin olive oil, salt & pepper for this season.

So, enjoy!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Pasta Indulgence!

Reading blogs can be detrimental to your health. So be warned!

When I saw Kel's post about her nutty dinner, I just HAD to give this recipe a go.

To the left you can see the pasta train.

The ingredients, for two greedy .. uh.. hungry people.


Instead of handfuls of parsley, I used a mixture of chives, basil and parsley. Oh, and I used a bit more garlic. :)

Voilà! Pappardelle alla Pangrattato e Noci.
We were too full to even contemplate dessert. Good thing we didn't bother about the salad either. A nice glass of red (for Veggie Gnome) and white wine (for Berry Gnome) went very well with this dish.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Seedy Beauties

You guessed right. They are artichoke seeds. This is the first (and I am sure last) year that I missed disposing of the seed heads earlier. Normally I cut them back some time in summer and throw them on a pile to be burnt once the fire season is over. Somehow I missed the boat this year and the seeds started floating in the air. I have cut them back now and they will be properly disposed. I do not want this place to be called 'Artichoke Jungle'.
Oh, if anyone would like some artichoke seeds, I have plenty. You are welcome to them! Artichokes are easy to grow and are a real treat in spring. They do need a lot of space, though. :)