Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Tomatoes- every day. So far there are only cherry tomatoes and this new to me variety Jaune Flamme which lives up to its name, being very yellow.

December usually brings lots of good in the mailbox and this parcel arrived today from My lovely swap partner. Now all I have to do is not give in to the temptation to open or even squeeze my gifts. It's only 20 more days so I should be ok. I'm not sure I am that good though.

This swap is organised by Cheryll and she does an amazing job. I can't even imagine the logistics behind it. I think it helps though that the ladies who take part are sweet and kind and generous.

And something good  in the garden today. My turkey, Colin. He isn't the friendliest fellow here but he knows how to strut his stuff.

I hope you have some good things top celebrate.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Garden Share Collective- December
I'm joining in with other likeminded folks and sharing a peek into what will be happening in my garden in December. Lizzie is the host and you can see what's happening in other gardens here.
We have had variable weather this spring. Hot, dry, cool, wet. All of it. The one thing that we could count on though was wind. It has been very windy this spring and I'm more than ready for the wind to move on. It has made planting a bit hit and miss, trying to time things just right.
I am going to be doing quite a bit of planting over the next month. Almost anything can go in the ground now in my parts except for the plants that prefer cooler growing conditions (so no peas, broadbeans or brassicas).
 It seems from my records that this November was light on in the harvest department. It's an in between time in the vegetable patch but possibly with better organisation I could cover the gap between winter goodies and summery vegetables better.

The standout harvest in the past month has been strawberries. Enough for the table and enough for a jar or two of jam. Not enough to become bored with them unfortunately.

Not too long now and other fruit will be ready for harvesting too.
 It's hard to believe that this plum was just one of the blossoms on the tree back when I did my first post for the Garden Share Collective. Not quite rip yet though.

Peaches are coming along and without the netting, we would have none. There has been a band of white cockatoos hanging around and then there are the resident birds who think nothing of tasting every piece of fruit.

The netting didn't save me a single cherry. Hope can work her way into the nets unlike the birds and she would have some on the way to and from school... goodbye cherries (and loquats too).

 This is my finger lime tree with decent sized fruits on it ripening. I've had the tree for a few years now and it has had flowers which amounted to nothing but this year, here they are. I was a bit worried it might be too cold here for this type of tree even though I've made it a nice little micro-climate. Patience does pay off in the long run.

 Corns shouldn't be too far away either. Yum.
 Red onions. I hope they are nice a hot. I'm on the hunt for some pickling sized onions so I can make some Dressed up onions.

And how the chickens haven't found and 'harvested' this rainbow chard I do not know.

To Do in December
  • reap what I have sown
  • lots of mowing- the recent rain has given us a lawn
  • more planting and seed sowing
  • turn the compost
  • weeding
  • feed the garden as needed  with liquid manure, worm tea and green manure
  • and take a bit of time to enjoy the start of summer, Christmastime and the school holidays(which start on Friday)

Friday, November 29, 2013

 We had a lovely time at Grace's formal dinner at school on Tuesday night. It's amazing how grown up everyone seems when they dress up for a special occasion.
I'm short. Who knew?
It's back to reality though. The past two days Grace has been camping out under the stars and doing farm work. And, it is raining so I'm sure when she arrives home tonight there will be no sign of glamour what so ever. Lots of stories though I'm sure, she is my 'story girl'.
Not so sunny "Sunny Corner"
As I said, it is raining. It is completely delightful here today. I've been outside wandering around because I don't mind walking in the rain a bit. My tanks are full to overflowing so that is good news for when it is dry again.
I've also been plotting and planning more plantings. The soil will be ripe for it now that is soaked with all the goodness that only rainfall brings.

Now though if you want to find me, I will be sitting on the veranda somewhere near the gardenia writing cards and letters. The gardenia is my favourite flower (when it has finished flowering, I'll find a new favourite) if it lasted longer as a cut flower before turning yellow/brown it would be perfect.

Writing more real letters- 'snail mail'- was on my list of things I wanted to do in 2013 and I have been. I missed having penpals.  I joined up #postcircle a little while back and that has been especially nice. I've also been writing to a couple of other bloggers, sending out random little notes,parcels and cards and just having a merry old time. I don't know anyone who doesn't like to receive something sweet in their letterbox. I will be continuing this 'resolution' into 2014 and forever actually.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Onwards to the end of the year that is. I really feel like 2013 has flashed by in a hurry and this last month particularly so. School ends for us on December 5th and I am truly looking forward to spending the tail end of this year mostly at home with my girls. I have a few outings planned but definitely no last minute rushing about shopping. That's the plan anyway. Tonight we have a formal dinner for Grace and she is quite excited. Right now I should be helping her with her hair and I shall in a bit.

 I have been busy making a few Christmassy things. I was quite taken with this free pattern which I can attest to being a quick, easy and pretty thing to make. This one is winging its way to other places but I am going to make another for home.

 Now that I am sending out letters galore (there's always room for more penfriends on my list if you're interested or know someone who might be), I am trying to think of little things that are light in weight to add to my cards and letters.

This little garland of birdies is winging its way to somewhere faraway too. And I am busy gluing and cutting and stitching another set just for me.

I was going to talk about the garden but I do need to be hairdresser right now.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Baby ducks

Bu firstly a couple of things that are on tonight's menu. Artichokes and silverbeet. A little bit of steam and a little bit of butter to dress them up and voila. Yum.

Amongst the usual chores I've been doing some furniture moving today. For a long time we have not had a television as a part of our lives but we do now. I'm not sure why we are bringing it back other than that some of us (not me) like to watch a movie dvd every now and then and I have my favourite exercise dvds. Much easier or more enjoyable to view them on a television  than on the computer.

Now the duckling. We have turkey chicks too but they are proving even more difficult to capture on the camera than this duckling was. They do not care for the paparazzi, not even a little bit. You will just have to take my word for it, they are cute.


Monday, November 18, 2013

A happy parcel

This morning I didn't feel too happy. Last night our dog decided to bite Grace on her face (without provocation of any kind). A trip to the hospital, three stitches to the lip and a course of antibiotics and home again. Today Grace is a bit miserable and the rest of us are tired from the late night (2am is really too late to be going to bed). I am just angry and sad. And glad that the injury was not worse than it is.
There was no time to dwell on it though, jobs must be done. Today was the day for some lamb wethers to go to market which meant an early start loading them on the trailer and driving them in to the saleyards. Later in the week I'll be advertising some of our younger Suffolk ewes (and the two that always escape).
On to the title of this post. A happy little parcel or two did lift my spirits. A lovely parcel as part of the D2E forum Christmas ornament swap.

A sweet angel card, a garland of fabric holly leaves and a Christmas pot mat from Deb. And I also received a few packets of seeds from Mr Fothergills.

I'm still none to happy about the dog but my day has brightened.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

In the garden today

Finally after being home  from holidays for a week I think I am back in my groove. That is, I've caught up on things and can just use my usual routine now. I'm not sure why going away makes for so much work when you get home (at my home anyway). That means a leisurely time in the garden on Sunday afternoon. Picking things for lunch or dinner, being hounded by flies (which is not at all leisurely), pulling a weed or two and giving everything a nice soak.
What caught my eye today was.
 A very nice looking black prince. Here he is hiding amongst the sweet corn.

 Those same sweet corn are looking good now. They struggled a little at first with the dry weather but they are through playing catch up and are looking lush. I'm looking forward to the corn.

The yellowest of yellow snapdragons. One of my favourite cottagey flowers because I remember growing them when I was small. I still like to pick a blossom and 'snap' it.

And the santolina is in flower which is really rather pretty. Usually it is a subdued grey coloured shrub but right now it is stand out yellow. I like it a lot.

It hasn't been all work and no play this past week. Just no blogging. I have been busy making and creating in my sewing room, writing lots of letters, baking, flitting into town a couple more times than I would have liked and even sending out some early Christmas cards and learning much about Western Sahara while Hope finished up her school project. Life is not tough here.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Where have I been? To the seaside. We spent a week at the coast and it was good. No to-do lists, no chores (well not many) and fairly good weather too. I have missed my blogging friends.

 The thing that amazes me most about the beach is the sand. I am still finding it and I don't think our car will ever be sand -free again. That's not too high a price to pay for fun.

 Big sunsets at the coast. Living in a valley, the sun drops down behind the hills early and doesn't look so spectacular.

The wildlife was rather friendly too and didn't mind being photographed at all. Tim made mention of how funny it is that we were stopping to photograph kangaroos when they are in plentiful supply at home. Oh well, this one was too hard to resist.

When we did arrive home on Saturday it was to dry, gusty, hot conditions. There hadn't been a drop of rain while we were away and the garden was suffering. I was almost ready to not bother. Thankfully an afternoon nap and a storm put me in a better mood.

Everything has had a generous water and a good soak of rain and all looks up again and ready to take on the summer growing season.

Now a rainy day is giving me the luxury of having some time to write letters and cards and enjoy some craft making.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mondays etc

Mondays are the busy day here. Town day. Grocery shopping, violin lesson, bill paying and generally anything that needs to be done there. Today I'm squeezing in a trip to the RTA (or whatever it is called now) for Grace to take her learner driver test (she turned 16 yesterday so she is very keen). Believe me, I am not keen to have another child driving. I worry about them. 
Yesterday we moved the chickens to a new run. Easier said than done. The Isa Browns of course were easy, they are such gluttons that they will go wherever the feed bucket goes. The bantams not so simple to trick into taking up new a residence. There was a fair bit of cajoling and eventually things went right.

The turkeys however are staying put. The mother birds are patiently sitting on their eggs with hatching due soon. The white turkey will let you near her and even allow you to look under her to see what is going on. The brown however will have none of that. Tim has the bites and scratches to prove it (he had to remove some chicken eggs she had 'stolen'). Not long now though. The 28 day incubation does seem to drag on though when you are waiting to see some cute chicks.

Little Trilby is doing her very best to work her charms and win a place in our hearts. Really she didn't have to do a thing, she's already there. When I say little, I mean it. At her withers, she was only knee high when she was born.

What else is going on here today?
  •  Well the flies are just terrible. I can honestly say that I am yet to find any endearing qualities about flies and I'm in no hurry to look for any either.
  • I'm writing my meal plan and shopping list.
  • I'm about to do an ab workout. A trip to the coast is imminent and I'm thinking I should have taken up this challenge at least 30 days ago.
  • Addressing envelopes and getting this weeks mail ready to post.
  • Planted out a white lavender and sowed some luffa seeds.
  • Vacuuming, mopping, garden watering, blog reading.
It's all pretty  boring really.
That's how my Mondays pan out.

 How's your day?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some pretty things

Fragrant Cloud
 This year the roses are putting on a nice display. I've had enough to pick flowers for inside (I usually just enjoy them outside) and some to make pot pourri too.

I looked in my big book where I keep records of what is planted where and so forth and guess what? I don't know what this rose is called, I didn't write it down and I can't find the tag...yet. It's quite lovely regardless.

 This one is called Knock Out and I believe it is quite a popular landscaping rose. It is low maintenance and colourful and quite a prolific bloomer. Not much of a perfume though (and perhaps a little too bright for my liking).

A lot of my roses are chosen for their name. This one is called Hope or at least it was when I got it quite some time ago. It was a rose released to raise funds to benefit people affected by HIV/AIDS or so it says on the tag. I'm not sure what name this rose is being sold as now but unfortunately I haven't been able to find any links to it as "Hope".

This one is the Chameleon rose. It starts off with yellow buds and as it opens and ages, it turn to the bright pink colour in the background and fades finally to white. It can be quite spectacular actually (for a short time) because it tends to have a flush of flowers all at once. I've had this particular plant since 1996 and it never disappoints even with a move from our suburban garden to here in 1999 (and a 4 month stint in a pot in between).

What I didn't show you though is the black spot that is on quite a number of my roses this year. It is a bit surprising given that we have had no rain for a while and below average falls the whole year. The conditions are dry and humidity which encourages fungal growth is low. Regardless of whether the black spot should be there or not, it is and it is bad enough for me to consider treating it. Perhaps it is that the soil needs a little something to help the plants be more healthy and hence resistant to disease. So when I get a few moments I'll add a bit of compost to the beds (the ornamentals often miss out on this because it is precious stuff and there's never enough) give them a good water and a foliar spray for the worst affected.

Now I think I have tired my brain enough that I can go back to sleep. Insomnia is not sweet.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our new arrival

Her name is Trilby and she was born early yesterday morning and if you think she is cute, you're correct.

And there are three girls here who are very happy that this is a female calf because that means we can keep her.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hot weather pursuits

Go away Mum.

It is a bit hot today and apparently it is going to be worse tomorrow. The best thing to be doing besides floating around in a pool or taking a dip at the beach would be nothing. Much like our dog, Arrow and cat, Puss have been doing all day. That is what they do most days but now they have an excuse.

I've been getting out early. Watering whatever needs to be watered and even a planting a few things. A block of corn went out into the garden today so I sowed another batch of seeds in the greenhouse in hopes of some succession success.

What I haven't done is bake. I just don't want to turn on the oven. I prefer to bake in the middle of the day but I think I will have to change my schedule and get it done early or late (just like everything else).

What I have been doing when it is too hot outside, is make some Christmas cards and it's fun. I was inspired by creations on Pinterest for the buttony cards and truly they are the easiest things to make. No instructions required at all. I saw Santa in a quilting magazine and decided to paint him on a card rather than a quilt (I'm not too happy with how this one turned out). I've also made a couple of things for Grace's birthday but they are top secret.

I'm making Christmas cards for the Down to Earth forum swap. I'm making an ornament too but I'm still procrastinating working on that. If I have your address, more than likely you will find a card from me in your letter box this year. If I don't have your address but you would like a card just email (my email address is on my profile page) me your postal address and I'll do my best.

Stay cool (or warm) .

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Simple Sunday.

I almost didn't see this fellow this morning he blends into the surrounds so well. As long as he stays on 'his' side of the fence we will get along just fine. I must say he was not too pleased to be woken up from a nap under the tree and hopped away.

 In the ground today, a row of snake beans. In a couple of days I'll plant out some corn here too. In a first for me, I have started corn seeds in trays. My germination rate had been too sporadic so I'm trying the transplant method to see how that goes. So far so good. All of the seeds are germinating with no trouble. Could be something had been stealing the seeds.

 I'm a bit excited to see little tomatoes on the vines. This one is Jaunne Flamme and is an early cropper but still quite some time until any taste testing here. And if you look closely, I'm using the offcuts from my vintage sheets used for Zara's swap to tie it to the stake. Vintage sheet tomato ties believe me are much nicer than the bailing twine that I usually use and possibly even more useful because they can go straight on the compost afterwards as they are 100% cotton.

I have a heap of spring onion seeds thanks to Lizzie so I really didn't need to let mine get to this stage but hey, they bees and other nice bugs love them so why not?

It is quite hot here today and if it is a precursor to the summer to come, I'm not entirely looking forward to it. Thankfully though the wind has abated but I don't want to speak about that just in case I jinx myself and it returns. I'm thinking though that gardening might be best undertaken early in the day and after the sun has retreated over the hills to the west. I know the sun is a provider of plenty of energy but all it does for me is drain my reserves.

This week will fly by with a weeks worth of birthday meals selected by Grace and some last minute gift making by me. I'm also waiting on the bulk of her presents (books) to arrive in the mail. It will be touch and go if they arrive on time. And although she will be sixteen, I still see the wee baby I brought home from the hospital all those years ago. She's my best friend (well one of them anyway).

If possible I'd like to order some rain.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013



A few things that caught my attention today.
Scentimental looks extra good today and doesn't smell too bad either. It is a sweet bush rose which so far (6 years) has given me absolutely no problems at all.

The name says it all with Fragrant Cloud. It has a heady scent and still delivers a gorgeous cut flower . You can't ask for much more than that.

And although not sweet or beautiful in the traditional sense, I found the ants rather cute drinking out of one of my birdbaths. They were lined up all around the edge of the water. This birdbath is at ground level and probably sees more action from ground dwellers than the birds. It is also right under a gum tree and becomes dirty quite quickly because of the leaves which fall into it. Matters not, something is relying on it for a drink so I'll keep it topped up.
I hope you have had a nice day.