Saturday, 29 December 2012

Guard sheep....

...try entering through that door! She's not budging for anyone.
At a friend's place. :)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Enjoying our berries

We are still enjoying our berries immensely.
This is a slightly decadent take on scones. Freshly baked scones, with a good layer of raspberry jam, then a good helping of thick cream. Then pile on as many fresh berries as you can. All sooo delicious! :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Reaping the rewards

During autumn/winter we tidied up the berry patch. Now we are picking tons of berries. Oh, the joy of it! Yes, it's backbreaking work, as the berries seem to be not only at the top of the bush, but also hiding underneath the leaves. So there is quite a bit of stretching and then crouching and bending to find them all.

Raspberry jam is summer in a jar. In this case, I put the leftover jam into a cup, instead of filling a jar only 1/3 or so.

 Today we tried it on freshly baked bread. With home-made butter. Oh my goodness! What a treat. :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Berry platter

Tons of red raspberries surrounding some yellow raspberries, and just a few tayberries, boysenberries and silvanberries in the middle.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Berry season!

For something slightly decadent - French toast with berries. And a little cream. And maple syrup.
Or without cream. Just a smidgen of maple syrup.
Breakfasts around here are pretty decadent at the moment. :)

Friday, 2 November 2012

Armenian cucumbers

The first batch of cucumbers (Armenian) are planted. I put them in my trough, so that they are slightly protected from the icy winds that still crop up (like today).
The snails and slugs haven't attacked them yet - so let's hope it stays that way. Can't wait for our first summer vegetables! :) How are yours going?

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

First planting session...


I planted the first tomatoes today. I managed to squeeze in 10 plants per bed. They may be a bit close together, but let's hope for the best. (I always plant them a bit close together, it seems to have become a spring ritual, I'm afraid.)

There are stardroppers at either end of the beds, plus one in the middle. Later in the season, when the plants grow bigger, I'll use some twine to weave it around them - called 'Florida Weave' - and that tucks them in nicely.
I also started on the other summer vegetables. Zucchini (Golden Summer Crookneck), cucumbers (Armenian), okra (Burgundy) and tomatillos.

There are still quite a few plants left to be planted, but one day at a time! How are you going with your spring planting? :)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Berry patch

The raspberries, youngberries, silvanberries, tayberries, etc. are flowering madly.
The paths are getting narrower and narrower.
Flowers and bees everywhere.
The bees are loving all the flowers.
It's amazing to watch these creatures fly from flower to flower.
 It's also interesting to note the differences in bees.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Strawberry beds

The berry patch looks stunning. Soon we will have all kinds of berries to pick.

We made a few new strawberry beds this year.
This one is a 'walk-in' bed. (It was a bit windy when I took that picture.)
 This is an 'old' bed and to be netted very soon.
And some of the berries are already blushing.
Photos of the other berries will be in another post. :)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The things you discover...

...when you finally brushcut in the orchard.

The gooseberries have fruit on them! Wow. Now I better protect them from the birds. :)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

First feast of broad beans

We picked the first broad beans today. They are still quite small, but that's how I like them. This way you don't have to shell them and then peel off the tough outer skin. This is what they look like after shelling them. Cute, aren't they? :) And they'll be very sweet, tender and tasty.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Busy bees

The bees are having a field day. The days have warmed up since the snowfall. We had temperatures in the mid twenties and lots of sun. Everything has grown like crazy. Tons of plants are flowering.
The bees are busy flying to and fro the hive.
For the first time today I saw bees that were more than laden with pollen. They are covered in pollen!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

It's snowing!

Just for the record. It's spring.
 And we don't get snow in winter normally either.

 So. This is today's weather.

11.29am and 5.4C on the balcony.

And it is snowing. Madly.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Purple cauliflower...eating it

This is for you, Sue, so that you can check the colour of the caulie when cooked. :)

Purple caulie broken up into florets and stems cut into slices. Yes, I do eat the stems, they are delicious. If they are very thick, they might have a woody outer layer, just cut/peel that off.
Thrown into a frying pan, with just a bit of butter and coconut oil. Salt and pepper. Then fry until some of it has a lovely golden colour.
Fresh eggs from our girls complete the meal. It's very simple, no fuss, but oh! so delicious.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Purple cauliflower

Yes, I know. I have been writing about this a few times before. But it's such a stunning vegetable, I can't help it.
We had a very good season this Winter. The vegetables thrived and we had plenty to eat. We are still harvesting quite a bit, but I am sure this will change soon, once the warmer weather settles in. Everything will very quickly go to seed.

One thing that really worked - netting all brassicas! We did not have any problems with caterpillars on our vegetables, as the white butterfly cannot get through the netting and lay its eggs.

Hope you all had a good season, too!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

First day out...

...for our tomato seedlings.
They are now basking in the sun and enjoying this marvellous Spring day. As soon as it gets cooler this afternoon, we will put the lids on the boxes. That should keep them toasty warm until tomorrow morning.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A treat at dinner time

We had this gorgeous organic, free-range chook the other night. Just rub on a mixture of your favourite spices. Stuff it with herbs, spices, lemons, etc...
Have a walk in the garden for some roast vegetables to go with the chook. Here we have carrots and parsnips. Never had a parsnip shaped like this before! We also threw in some pumpkin and young potatoes. All from the garden.
Nearly forgot to take a picture of the end result! It tasted just fantastic. The juices were simply delicious. A treat, indeed! :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A walk in the garden...

The lemon tree is looking fantastic. This is the first year we actually had a lot of lemons on this tree.
The first plum tree has started to flower. The structure for the netting is looking a bit wonky. Will have to try and straighten that out soon.
The Native Wisteria is flowering madly.
Isn't it a lovely flower?
The Nashi pear has tons of fat buds. Hopefully we'll get to eat a few pears this season.
The apricot tree has just started to flower. We won't have much fruit, though, as we missed the opportunity to prune it back.
The red currants are looking great, too. Another good harvest again, maybe?
The variegated elder tree has tons of flower buds. Can't wait to see it laden with flowers.
We are still harvesting some of the winter vegetables. Here is a purple cauliflower.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Tucking in the babies

Now that we are in the midst of repotting all the germinated tomatoes, the hard bit starts. Where to put them? Especially over night, when the temperature still drops down to 4C? Even though they are on the balcony, under cover, it still gets too chilly there for them.
Well, we have some really good boxes (from the fish shop) with lids.
On with the lids, as soon as it starts to cool down in the afternoon.
Then some blankets over that.
That should keep them out of harm's way. :)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


They are rapidly growing up. It's always amazing.
Here they are just a few days ago. Various tomato seedlings.
And here they are, already 'promoted' to the windowsill and enjoying the view.
In a day or two we will have to repot them.
Sweet basil has germinated surprisingly quickly.
Rosella seedlings. I have never been successful with germination, and these came up within a few days. It will be interesting to see how they do at our place, as they will need at least 5 frost-free months.
 All very exciting! :)