Monday, 30 November 2009

New chicks on the block

We picked up our new chicks from The Neighbour Gnomes on Saturday afternoon. Popeye had been breeding them the last few months. He worked on a Rhode Island / Isa Brown cross.

Here they are now (enjoying a venison shank bone). They are a few weeks from laying eggs.

We have partitioned the chook shed for the time being. So that the new ones will stay on the right hand side for a few days until they have settled in. Once they are free-ranging as well, we will take the partition down again and they can all mingle freely.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Ra Ra Raspberries....

The first big handful (270g to be precise) of raspberries. Freshly picked. Sweet, juicy, super delicious. Life is good!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


The first tomatoes are in the ground.

There was no way I could have planted any vegetable seedlings before the heatwave. They would have all been crispy fried.

So, when it cooled down and it even drizzled, I went out there and started planting.

The tomato seedlings are over 1 meter tall and flopping over in the boxes. I had put them in the shade during the heatwave. They fared pretty well.
They had even started developing the first fruit!!
The plants with fruit are Rouge de Marmande. I have planted 12 of them as my main preserving crop. We need to replenish the pantry with preserved tomatoes.This is the first bed fully planted. The second bed is awaiting its tomato plants. Please ignore the grass in the paths.
Thickly mulched, fed, watered, tied to the stake. Grow, tomatoes, grow! :)
It was wonderful to plant tomatoes in the rain. The smell of rain drops hitting the ground, the fresh air, the coolness.

There are still a lot of vegetables to be planted, but we are getting there. :)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A bed full of gold

Well, garlic is precious. As precious as gold or even more than that. At least in my eyes.

Here is one bed just harvested. There are 2 more beds to go.
This variety is "Monaro Purple".There were also some stray potatoes in the bed. Great bonus!
A box full of garlic. What more can you ask for?
Now it will dry for a few weeks, before we can plait it.

This will most likely cover our garlic needs for one year. Plus next year's planting. The other 2 beds... any ideas?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Staying cool...

...with Creamy Lemon Semifreddo. This is a recipe from a Donna Hay magazine. The lemon juice and zest gives it a lovely zing. :)

In a saucepan heat:

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon zest

Simmer for about 5 minutes or until syrupy. Take off heat and let cool.

Bring a little water to simmer in a pot. Put a heatproof bowl on top and add:

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar

whisk for about 4 minutes, or until frothy and heated through.

Take off heat and beat with mixer until pale and thick.
Add cooled lemon syrup.

Beat cream to soft peaks.

Add egg mixture and gently fold in.Pour into a container with a lid. (I hate using alu foil, so I don't follow Donna Hay here). Freeze.
Note cunningly labelled container. Unfortunately, it does not work. The icecream keeps calling.

Serve either in a cone.
Or in a bowl.

Now I hope to find a honey icecream / semifreddo recipe. Anyone?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


The gnomes have been busy. We coped with the heatwave fairly well, so did the livestock and the garden. Just.
We got up earlier than usual to do at least a few chores before the heat hit. So at 7am we were busy brushcutting, weeding, watering, etc.
Yesterday and today were pleasant days, but the forecast is for 2 more days of extreme heat (41C) before the cool change comes in. Supposedly also bringing a shower or two. *fingers crossed* I have big plans for Friday when it is supposed to be cooler (29C). And the days after...

[slight change of topic]

This succulent is flowering beautifully. The neighbour gnome gave me this one. You can eat the fruit, that's why I was interested. Can't remember the name.
The grapes are coming on nicely. We 'only' have table grapes. Maybe one day we'll put in some for wine making? (Just what we need - more projects!)This leaf is looking lovely. It is one of the few still left intact.
As these guys have popped up again and seem to enjoy the banquet.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

So, it's official...

...this is the first heatwave in November in Adelaide.
5 consecutive days of temperatures above 35 C.
And no end in sight.
Well, okay, there is a little break on Monday.

Dry. Sunny. Max 39
Friday Dry. Sunny. Min 23 Max 39
Saturday Dry. Sunny. Min 25 Max 39
Sunday Dry. High cloud. Min 26 Max 40
Monday Fine. Mostly sunny. Min 19 Max 28
Tuesday Fine. Sunny. Min 15 Max 30
Wednesday Dry. Sunny. Min 20 Max 36
Thursday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 25 Max 38

The last time it was that hot in Adelaide in November
was (4 days in a row above 35 degrees) in 1894.

So, no vegetables in the ground yet.
Okay, it's not the end of the world. But. BUT.

Ps.: This post is for Maggie who wondered why
no bloggers had written about the heat yet.
There you are! :)

Another Ps.: I want spring! This heatwave is not welcome!
It's for summer, if it must!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mellow Mead

This is a very refreshing drink, with very little alcohol.

The recipe is from the book "Full Moon Feast" by Jessica Prentice.

2/3 cup (raw) honey
1 1/2 cups water (very warm)
6 cups water
1/2 cup kefir grains (either rinsed milk kefir grains or water kefir)

Pour honey into a 2-litre jar.
Add hot water and stir to dissolve honey.Add rest of the water.Add kefir grains.
(The next step is not in the recipe, but I added 2 elderflower heads, just because I thought it might be nice.)
Cover and put in a warm spot for 1 week. (You will see the kefir grains floating from the bottom of the jar to the top, then back again, ....)
Then strain into two glass bottles. (We use wine bottles with screw tops.) Screw lids on tightly, label and let sit in the warm spot for another week. Then put in fridge and enjoy.

It's a lovely, fizzy, refreshing drink.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Surely not!!

Just when we thought the coming week was going to be bad, the forecast changed to the worse:

Monday        Dry. Sunny.   Min 24    Max 37
Tuesday Dry. Sunny. Min 24 Max 37
Wednesday Dry. Sunny. Min 25 Max 39
Thursday Dry. Sunny. Min 25 Max 39
Friday Dry. Sunny. Min 20 Max 36
Saturday Dry. Sunny. Min 16 Max 34
Sunday Dry. Sunny. Min 18 Max 29
Hey, it's spring!! This is something we may experience in February. But not now.

None of the seedlings are planted. They are in pots in the shade. Let's hope we will get some cooler weather again soon, so that I can finally plant out all my veggies. :)

Friday, 6 November 2009

Something cheesy...

...for a change.

This is my first attempt at making Camembert.
After 2 weeks of maturing I couldn't wait any longer and was eager to have the first taste. Hmm... soft at the edges, firm in the middle (we like it that way).

The middle did not have any particular taste and the edge was getting Camembert-ish.

A few days after this, the taste is definitely a lot more spread throughout the slice. Nice. Lovely.

There are 3 more rounds of camembert and we shall taste them in weekly intervals. Quite pleased so far.

The Gouda and cheddar are still maturing and we may have the first taste at Christmas.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


The forecast for next week. This can't be true! Can it? It's spring, for goodness sake! I don't like it.

Saturday      Fine. Sunny.            Min 15    Max 33
Sunday Fine. Mostly sunny. Min 20 Max 33
Monday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 21 Max 35
Tuesday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 21 Max 37
Wednesday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 22 Max 37
Thursday Dry. Mostly sunny. Min 22 Max 37

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Our variegated elder tree is looking beautiful! Lush foliage and an abundance of delicate and fragrant flower heads.
So, the question now is - are we making some champagne with the flowers? Or some cordial? Or are we waiting for them to turn into berries and make some wine? Or both?
We are definitely enjoying the beauty of the tree! :)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What an amazing day!

But most importantly - what amazing people!

Saturday, 31 October, bonfire party day, was forecast to be hot (30C). We were worried people might fear the heat and stay away. Or worse, it'll be windy and no fires can be burnt. But we need not have worried.

Everybody was keen and ready to rake leaves, pick up sticks and branches, build bonfires and generally work really hard.

The rakes and wheelbarrows received a hammering. The ride-on mower with the trailer had to be called in to get all those raked up piles on to the bonfires.

It was amazing and wonderful to see so many people working very hard. We were able to clean up and clear more areas than we had anticipated.

The backyard is very neat. This was the first (and most important) area that was cleared and finished. You can see the burnt-out bonfire to the right, near the tank.
To the right of the chook yard the pit was filled with leaves, sticks, prunings, etc. and a raging fire was soon to be seen. This was to be the biochar pit.
When that was raging and well on its way, it was covered with corrugated iron, sealed at the edges with soil, so that it could smoulder slowly away. We haven't checked it yet, but we expect to see some good biochar. We will share with all our helpers, who'd like to experiment with it.
The biggest area, further away from the house, is cleared, neat and all that is left are two small piles of ashes.
We were all pretty knackered, but very happy.

We could not get over the fact how hard everybody worked, how much we were able to accomplish in one afternoon, and how good it all looks! Our heartfelt thanks to all of you, wonderful helpers! You did a marvellous job! We could not have done that much without you. Thank you! :)

Ps.: I have not mentioned anybody by name on purpose. Somebody might get ideas in their head and try to head-hunt you. We are not going to share. :)