Friday, May 8, 2015

Shhh, I'm at the library

No need to shh really, libraries aren't really like that anymore. Are they? I'm at the library waiting for my family. Apparently they had to go shopping because the calendar says it is Mother's Day on Sunday and they like to obey those kind of dictates and they also like a last minute shop.

The library is a good place to be, it's not too noisy just the tapping of computer keys. The internet here is free and fast and very popular. A baby has been crying too. Not that tantrum kind of crying, a proper sad cry that hurts a bit. I don't like that sound.

Now I am going to do my very best to squeeze in as much reading as I can.
Bye for now

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Today- Wednesday

Russian/ Elephant garlic

 Planting out those Russian garlic bulbs with grand hopes for a bumper harvest in the spring/summer. My hand is not a big one but these are also known as Elephant Garlic and are rather impressive. I want to try one in some cooking but I only bought two (why?) so I've planted both. It is also apparently the time for planting root crops according to moon phase planting. I don't know.

Pumpkins still growing

Kind of hoping and wishing that the pumpkins just stop trying to grow any more fruit. I have enough ripening on the vines and these won't make it to a stage that is worthwhile except as animal feed. Which I suppose is worthwhile in itself. Ok, keep growing pumpkins.

Nibbled cabbages

And I have a pest. I don't know if it is a bird or rabbit or possum or what that is taking bites out of my cabbages and other plants. I'll put some blood and bone out to deter the rabbits and possums and if it keeps happening, I'll put out something shiny to scare off the birds. If that fails, I'll tear my hair out and give up.

Gotta get my bed made so I can lie in it. It's fresh off the line sheets today. Yay!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Garden Share

It is an absolutely lovely time of the year to have a garden. The pressures of summer weeding and intensive work in the garden are over for a few months. More time to enjoy just being outside without the sun making things unbearable.
Bed 3- Herb garden

In April we had 70mm of rain which I think is just about perfect. Minimum temperature of 6deg C and maximum of 32.5deg C (measured on my sheltered veranda). Temperatures like that mean that the some summer things are still hanging on but will definitely be ready for the compost heap or the chooks soon.

Rainbow chard
 Harvesting: This is the only time of the month that I really look at my overall harvests and I'm always surprised at the variety of goodies in the garden.
  • honey- lots of honey
  • pumpkins
  • zucchini
  • chard
  • chillies
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • capsicum
  • chillies
  • strawberries
  • citrus
  • herbs
  • flowers
  • potatoes
  • cucumbers
 Planting: While I was away I did buy a few things to plant. An Egyptian walking onion plant and a couple of Russian garlic bulbs. I hope I can grow them as well here as the grower I bought them from on the coast, they are huge and very interesting.
  • carrots
  • leafy things - lettuce, rocket, Asian greens and so on
  • brassicas
  • broad beans- yum
  • peas and snow peas
  • rainbow chard
  • radish
  • beetroot
  • and things I don't remember

Warrigal greens

The Warrigal greens are threatening to take over an entire garden bed. I do like my greens but we can't keep up with them. I chopped them back to make way for some leeks and it only encouraged them. I think they are my final frontier in converting Hope into a veg lover. She has come over to my side and is enjoying chickpeas and lentils and all manner of veg but green things are proving harder to sell. I'm sure cheese will be key ingredient  in selling her on them.

Yellow-podded pea plants

Peas are reaching for the sky. Some have been patchy in their germination. The freebie dwarf snow peas I received from Diggers of course because I only had a handful of those. I guess that batch will be for seed saving... mostly. You have to taste test to make sure you really want to grow that variety again right?


I like it when the weeds start earning their keep too. The nettles are looking lush. It's the cooler temperatures and the rain. I make nettle soup for the two who enjoy that (not me) but it's the gnocchi and pasta I like. I made nettle beer last year just because I could and from all reports it is a nice refreshing drop similar to a pale ale of some description (I wouldn't know).

To do:
  • compost
  • tidying up- Biggest Morning Tea is coming up
  • planting
  • taking things a bit easier
Happy gardening
Garden Share happens on the first Monday of each month. Hosted by Lizzie. It's a friendly collaborative with a focus on sharing and encouragement. What could be better?

Sunday, May 3, 2015


I've been on the road again. For someone who claims to be a homebody I do think I'm out and about more than I should be. Perhaps I like an adventure more than I realise. This time I went to Coffs Harbour which is a really nice drive of four or so hours through the tablelands and then through some spectacular rainforest country.

First stop at Uralla. This café is newish and I've been before by myself but this time I took my travel companion, Tim for a cuppa. It's quite a nice place to stop and I do like old churches made over into something new.

Then  through Dorrigo and down the winding road to Bellingen.I think I fell a little bit in love with Bellingen, it is my kind of town. Plenty of lovely architecture, a fantastic wholefoods store, cafes galore and completely charming.

Stormy beach

Then there was Coffs Harbour itself. Nice but maybe just a little too busy and built-up for my liking. I did enjoy the choice of restaurants though and the markets on Thursday morning are great. Plenty of local fruit and vegetables to choose from fresh from the farms. Bananas... yum.

It was only an overnight trip and there was some work involved but it was a lovely sojourn. I hardly had a chance to miss home. We did manage to get out of Coffs and back over the mountains before the worst of their wet weather hit. Now I think I'll stay put for a couple of weeks at least.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Next month we won't be eating any meat. It's something I started last year- Meat Free May. It may be a permanent change to the diet of some of us but that remains to be seen. Last year Hope couldn't bring herself to give up eating meat but she's a year older and wiser and more adventurous now and she's all for it. Last night she perused some of my cookbooks and decided I should cook this pumpkin and raisin loaf from my River Cottage Veg Every Day cookbook. I'm glad she did, it's delicious and I've already eaten more than I should. I didn't wait for it to cool, these sorts of cakes taste best still oven warm if you ask me.

The recipe is in the cookbook of course but it can also be found here. The only alterations I made today were to use mixed dried fruit rather than raisins and no nutmeg and that's only because I didn't have them in the pantry today. I think it would be good with grated carrot or even apple instead of the pumpkin if they aren't in season.

And why am I making a cake laced with pumpkin?

Well, there are one or two that have broken off the vines so I'm using them up before I'm inundated with pumpkins after the first frost. A simple pumpkin soup for Sunday soup night last night and the cake today. Still half of this pumpkin left to enjoy. I love pumpkin, it's right up there with a load of other vegetables as one of my favourites.

I'm happy to say that today, everyone is well and back to work and school and I bypassed the worst of it with just a croaky voice.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

My garden therapy

Yellow podded pea seedlings

With all of the germs that are being shared inside my house at the moment, I'm taking every opportunity to get outside and use my garden as therapy for body and soul. I think that's what is keeping me healthy despite all of the coughing around me. That's what I tell myself. I can't believe how poorly the two patients are. Grace has been off school all week which is her first absence from school because of illness in years.

Today it stopped raining and that's a good thing. More rain in a week or so would be very welcome but ideally we will have some sunshine now to let all of the pastures and plants grow. The animals will welcome some sunshine too. Sheep always look so forlorn in the rain. The ducks on the other hand have been enjoying the wet weather immensely.

Radish- Saxa

I love how a drop of rain can make seeds emerge so boldly from the soil. Much better than watering with a hose or watering can. I know it's all about the dissolved nutrients and things like that but I like to believe that is something more mystical and magical in the rain that makes it so beneficial.

And I have some fruit in the garden. I thought I was going to have to wait for the citrus to ripen before I could have something freshly picked to enjoy but no. The alpine strawberry is full of fruit and it's sweet and delicious. I don't think there are ever enough berries though.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Writing Weather

Rainy today

 Writing weather. That's what I call this lovely rainy weather that we are having here. I know it is causing destruction and devastation elsewhere but I'm thankful that it is just good tank-filling rain in my parts.

Outgoing mail

I'm spending the enforced inside time catching up on correspondence. When I haven't been ferrying an ill husband and daughter to and from the doctors that is. I'm also doing my utmost to avoid their 'dreaded lurgy' because I don't want it thank you.

Take care