Friday, 30 October 2009

A look around the place

Lots of things are going on around here. The clean-up is progressing nicely. Tons of mowing, brushcutting and chainsawing done. Tomorrow will be the big bonfire party, where we should be able to burn most of the debris (branches, sticks, prunings, etc.). Let's hope it is not too stinking hot and not too windy.

I've made some mozzarella for tonight's pizza.

The tomato plants are trying to jump out of the frames. I haven't covered them overnight for the last 2-3 nights. They'll be ready for planting out next week, when the weather is forecast to cool down a bit.

The Blue-Podded Capucyner Peas have started flowering.

The Purple Dragon carrots have germinated madly. There's a whole bed of carrot seedlings. Wow! Will we have a glut of carrots this season?
The globe artichokes are powering along. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time or energy to do anything with them. Might be able to cut them tomorrow to give away, if there are any takers. Some of the heads might already be a bit too open.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Happy Birthday, Flower Gnome!

Have a wonderful day! Enjoy yourself.
Don't work too hard. :)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

RIP Freckles

Freckles the Sheep
May 2000 to October 24 2009

Freckles has not been eating well over the last few months. He seemed to have a problem adapting to sheep old age which means learning to eat without teeth. We have tried all sorts of things to get him to eat more but he decided that he just does not do lupins anymore, if he would have eaten his lupins I think he would have had more time. Anyway, yesterday he suddenly went downhill, it was though his internal systems were shutting down and by mid afternoon we knew we had to do something. So we asked our neighbour gnome to come over and put poor Freckles out of his misery. It was very quick, thank you Willie.

Freckles came to us at 3 months old, for a sheep he was quite smart, always scheming about how to stand on the fence to get to the goodies in the garden and how to get into the chook shed when you turned your back. He had many nick names like, old bugger, old man but mostly "you bastard" which was often yelled as he was ruining another fence or being a bully to the other sheep. Lately he could only bully Lambie (the old girl sheep), in fact he gave her one last bully on Friday. But he was affectionate too, he loved his pats, he loved being with you when in the paddock and loved getting in the way when you were trying to do something.

I think he had a happy life and will be missed, he and his little sister Froggie were always together but she doesn't seem to have noticed his demise.

Freckle's mother did exactly the same thing, just wouldn't eat what was good for her once she reached old age, on the other hand we have been feeding lambie lupins for 3 and a half years and at 12 years old she is still going strong, but she is just a greedy guts.

I will remember Freckles every night as I stand on the floor rug next to my bed that Vegi Gnome's mum made out of Freckles wool. Thank you Mama Gnome.

On a happier note it is Froggie's ninth birthday today. She will get a few extra pats but no treats as she has been eating most of Freckles share of lupins and has become a real fatty boomba.

PS: If you smell a hint of mutton in the air it is just our bonfire.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Funky potatoes

Unfortunately, they are not supposed to be like this. They are Dutch Cream and were grown over winter. They grew well and to a very good size. However, quite a few of them look like this when cut open. A funky purple. Pretty, but is it edible?Has anyone had this problem before? Or do you know what causes this? Or do you know whether these potatoes are still edible? Any ideas and suggestions welcome. :)

Monday, 19 October 2009

The orchard and the berry patch

This is part of the orchard. Mainly the apple trees.
We built structures around them (stardroppers and polypipe) so that we can net them easily when the birds start eyeing our fruit. Thanks to Maggie & Bob who came up one day during the week and helped us build some more.
Can you see the little cherries? We are really hoping that this year is THE year when we can sample our own cherries. We will share with Maggie & Bob because the structure for the cherry tree was a real bugger to put up.The apples are flowering madly and the trees look incredibly beautiful. It is wonderful to just stand in the middle of the orchard, surrounded by trees covered in delicate white/pink flowers and the bees busy buzzing around.
The berry patch got a make-over. We removed the old leaking water tank, expanded the fence line towards the new tank in the background, put up new fencing and have nearly finished weeding the veggie beds.
The berry plants are looking healthy. It's a bit of a jungle.
The rows are getting skinnier and skinnier.
And today I moved the tomato seedlings from the windowsill. They are teenagers now and it was time to move them into the frames outside. They will get covered with windows in the evening. That should keep them safe from icy winds and late frosts.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Of bulbs and food

There is still a lot of colour in the spring bulb bed.

One of my favourites.
You may already have heard and read about Food Connect. It is now coming to Adelaide! Come to the initial meeting to support this movement. In a nutshell, you have the opportunity to buy fresh, seasonal and affordable food direct from local producers on a weekly basis.

Have a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Let's have a bonfire party!

Do you like bonfires? Do you like building bonfires? Do you like lighting bonfires?

Why not come to our place on Saturday, 31 October 2009, from 1pm to early tea time?!
Or, if that date is not convenient, Sunday 1 November 2009, depending on interest and how much is left to burn. However, if we have enough helpers for Saturday, we could all go to this exciting event together! Please join both events. :)

We are doing our yearly fire season maintenance on that weekend. This means, we are collecting all sticks and branches on the ground and piling them on bonfires in several areas. We also rake up leaves and either pile them on the same bonfire or put them on a separate pile for long-term composting. We are also thinking of doing a slow-burn bonfire to produce biochar. (This is a link to an article by Peter Cundall. It is in PDF format. But there are tons of articles on biochar on the web.)

So, as soon as we pick up sticks and branches, we throw them straight on to the bonfire. If that is your thing and you'd like to join in the fun - please do not hesitate, you are very welcome to join in. The more, the merrier. :)
This activity will be 'interrupted' by a break, where we shall have afternoon tea. Then continue on and then have early-ish tea.

All food and drinks provided by us. You are very welcome to join in. Please leave a comment or send us an email, if you are interested. Don't be shy! :)

All we have to hope for is that the weather cooperates. If it is bucketing down, or there are gale force winds, we can't do anything.

Monday, 12 October 2009

88 tomato plants

...sunbathing on the windowsill.

I think there are about 29 varieties, but I'd have to check. What does it really matter? All I am worried about is, where to plant all the seedlings? I am sure I'll be able to give away some of them.
This week I will have to finally sow some cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, etc. I also seem to have a lack of capsicums and chillies. How did that happen? Ah, yes, quite a lot of the seeds did not germinate. Hmm.... maybe I can swap tomato plants for capsicums and chillies?

The veggie beds are slowly being cleared of weeds, and then they have to receive some compost and mulch. Spring is always a crazy time. Far too much to do, far too little time. Are you all organised? Done all your spring chores? If you nodded to these questions - good for you. If you still have some energy left, you are very welcome to come up to our place and help with our chores. :)

Friday, 9 October 2009

Apple Strudel

... with a good dollop of thick cream. Aahhh....Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Of wine making, prosciutto, salami...

... and babies in buckets. And a whole lot more than fits into a title.

Kelly & Simon very graciously invited us to a spot of wine making. After finely chopping a heap of carrots and going on a tour through the garden, we sampled their duck prosciutto. Oh, what a delectable morsel that was! Served with some pickled figs - yummelicious!Then some oranges had to be zested and a heap of citrus to be juiced. Hard work, so Kelly brought out her home-made salami.

Hmm... the hosts don't seem to be sure whether this is good mould or bad mould on the salami.

Then Simon concluded, 'This looks like a [deleted two words].'
After that it was time the baby was put in the bucket. The poor thing was still blushing after what he had just heard.
In the meantime the potatoes roasted in duck fat were coming along nicely.
The bucket with the wine-to-be had to be stirred, the temperature checked to ensure it was the right one for the yeast to be added.

But before that we sat down to a rabbit, pancetta & wild mushroom pie. Served with roast potatoes in duck fat and crispy garlicky kale.
And here we end the tale of a great afternoon & evening with wonderful people, great fun & food, etc. Thank you, Kelly & Simon! :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Now they are teenagers

The tomato seedlings have grown very well. They are busting to get out of their little pots.
So, finally some of them moved into bigger pots. The rest will have to wait until I find a spare moment.
Not sure where I will put them all when they are grown up. Might have to find a good home for some of them.

Friday, 2 October 2009


The redcurrant bushes are flowering madly again. If all those flowers turn into fruit, we'll have another glut this year.

I am definitely NOT going to make any jelly or jam with them this year. There are still a few jars of that in the pantry. Might experiment with making wine out of them. Any other ideas? Oh, and if you do happen to like redcurrants, let us know. You can come and pick some.