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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. 
 
Marie
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?
Tracy


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.
Tracy

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.

Tracy

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) .
Tracy

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.
Tracy

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today


 

A few things that caught my attention today.
 
Scentimental
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.
Tracy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Firsts and Lasts (and always)


The first strawberry this spring and the pleasure was all mine. I have been waiting and it didn't disappoint, sweet with a little hint of tartness. I was just doing my duty picking it because there was only one ready and to avoid arguments over who should have it, I did. I'm very kind like that.

I know the shops have strawberries all year round but I don't buy them (I am often tempted though). So this one is all the nicer for the wait.


The last of the Telephone peas and they were a treat too. For the sheep that is. I picked off the pods for our dinner tonight and because they do like a nibble from the garden from time-to-time (all the time) I tossed the  spent pea plants to the sheep. Most grateful they were and looking for more.


 Also on the menu tonight, radish. They are really rather good right now. My favourites are the cherry belle. I also have French breakfast ready too but I don't like them as much.

Yesterday I spent exactly zero time in the garden because I felt rather flat. I had been feeling on top of the world and thought I was ready to be done with my iron supplements. Apparently not. That's ok, I'm used to them and I am glad I can 'fix' my health issues so easily. Sadly some aren't so lucky.


And as always, I am making something. A little glimpse at part of a Christmas swap gift. I really like this pattern so far. I might just make another for me. I also made quite a mess this morning. Papier-mache is not to be trifled with and shouldn't be done in the kitchen. Take  my word for it. Hopefully I'll have a fully functioning piƱata in a few days.


I'm off to bake some mint slice bites and do a bit more stitching before my afternoon chores and dinner preparation.
Tracy

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stung


Stung I was on Wednesday. Apparently if I had have stayed calm when the bee flew into my ponytail I might have avoided the sting. Or so Tim says. I haven't been stung by a bee since 2001 so I had forgotten that it does hurt a little bit. You would be forgiven for thinking that if the bee was in my hair that I was stung somewhere on my face or head but no, in my crazy get it off me dance (which was no doubt entertaining to watch) I was stung on the hand. Today I knelt on a stinging nettle and in my opinion that feels worse than a bee sting. Maybe I should stay safely indoors... I don't think so.


I finished off my picnic rug that I am sending to an old friend. It is definitely not an adventurous quilt and really feels a bit like cheating but I'm happy enough with the end result. And who can complain when you can go from having nine fat quarters to a quilt top in a couple of hours.

With all of the busy/ hot work here this week, I haven't even thought about wearing a frock but if I did, I would definitely join Kylie in her quest. Kylie is participating in Frocktober to raise funds to support research into ovarian cancer and by the looks of things she is having a load of fun doing it. I hope you can have a look at her page and leave a comment as a way of support or make a donation to such a worthy cause.
Tracy

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday gardening etc

Gift of Grace

This to me is what Sunday gardening probably should look like. Smelling the roses and just a little bit of pottering about.


I did have to water today which is a nice Sunday/ restful type of activity. Standing about holding the hose is the best time for plotting and planning  and to notice anything that might need attention.


I noticed one rose... Grace... was sporting a few stems of root stock. Off they came. I water the roses with a bucket so it wasn't quite as leisurely experience as the other garden beds. Thankfully they don't require too much water.

I don't think of myself as much of a rose grower and definitely not a rosarian. I can understand how some people get caught up in their cultivation because they are pretty even if a little precious.

I take the rose growing approach of plant them, water when necessary and enjoy. A little compost and mulch and that's it. It's worked so far. Though possibly with more attention they would reward me with better/ more blooms. I can live with it.

Yin Yang beans

I couldn't let such a lovely day go past without popping something in the soil and so far I haven't planted any beans. All of my trellises are occupied with peas is my excuse but no more.


I found this small piece of lattice on the roadside a while ago and it looked sturdy enough for the Yin Yang beans which don't grow too tall anyway. So bean sowing has started.


Quilt sewing too. I'm making a picnic rug as a little gift for an old friend (who I hope likes purple) as part of a pay it forward. I also cut out the rest of my fat quarters for Zara's swap. I tell you it is tough to cut up those vintage sheets but it is as has been said before, the first cut that is the deepest.

I will love daylight savings by this time next week but right now I seem to have lost an hour somewhere or other and I am late getting dinner started.

Do you like the clock change? Forward or back?
Tracy

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Garden Share

 
I'm joining up with a few other gardeners again this month in the Garden Share Collective. September appears to be a good time for gardening for me here in the north west of NSW at least. Not too hot, not too cold... Goldilocks conditions... just right.
 

 The garden and everywhere in fact is green. It's those little showers of rain here and there that are keeping things looking so fresh. Not soaking rain unfortunately but very much welcome.

September was a good month harvest wise as well. Given that there are none of those hefty crops like pumpkin or melons to tip the scales, 8.6 kilograms/ 19.3 lb isn't too bad a haul.

The harvest for September was made up of asparagus, rocket, turnip, silverbeet, carrots, lemonades, celery, snap peas, snow peas, peas, spring onions, herbs , lettuce, Brussels sprouts, broccoli,  beetroot, limes, leek and cabbage. I think I only visited the greengrocer twice in the whole month and that was for apples, potatoes and mushrooms.

And something that is really only of interest to me and perhaps Tim, we had 40mm of rain for the month and our temperature maximum and minimum were 33degC and 3.4 degC respectively. The temperature is measured on the verandah which is a sheltered position so not entirely indicative of what it is like for the poor plants that have to deal with the extremes.

I'm really hoping that I can better my tally as the weather warms up. I'm resigned to the fact that I will always have to buy some sort of fruit but I think I could almost take up the challenge right now and not buy vegetables. I just might.


 The bees are getting a real treat with the number and variety of flowers around. After last summers harsh conditions they deserve it. It is hard to believe that we harvested honey this time last year because this year the bees really only have enough for themselves at this stage. Things are looking good though for a harvest a little later in the season.



On my to-do list last month that I didn't get done was label the fruit trees. It's definitely not a pressing task so it just didn't get done. I know what they all are anyway. What did get done though was netting. I'm all for sharing my fruit but unfortunately the local bird life doesn't know the meaning of the word share. I'm fairly certain they are of the opinion that I planted those trees for their benefit alone. Sorry birds.

Plans for October:
  • sow more seeds
  • make more compost
  • cross fingers for hatching turkey and duck eggs
  • try to keep on top of the mowing
  • eat from the garden everyday
  • remove the 'winter' vegetables to make room for summery things
  • plant said summery things
  • spend a few minutes a day under the jasmine before it is gone for the year
Lizzie had the idea of a seed exchange this month too. I have already popped some snake bean seeds in the post for her but I could probably spare another packet or two. I also have some spare Climbing Princess bean seeds and some Bhut jolokia chilli seeds. I can only post these within Australia and not to Tasmania or Western Australia and my supplies are limited to what I collected last year. Just email me if you are interested: sunnycornerfarm (at) hotmail (dot) com

I would really like to get my hands on some Cinnamon myrtle and Aniseed myrtle plants/ seeds after having  the pleasure of seeing/ smelling them a while ago at the Mt Annan Botanical gardens. I think they are few and far between though particularly the cinnamon.

Now I am off to make a boring old dinner of spaghetti bolognaise which apparently my girls don't like (I thought all children were supposed to like bolognaise). They do however enjoy my pasta bake which is the same spaghetti bolognaise baked in the oven with cheese on top just don't tell them that.

And one of the perquisites of school holidays is girls who like to cook have time to make dessert. Panna cotta for us tonight. Thanks Grace.

Tracy

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A day in Murrurundi

 On Tuesday Tim worked six hours overtime in Murrurundi so we decided to have a day out. If he works away from home during the school holidays we will often go with him if the hours are right. Tuesday's hours were a respectable 7am to 1pm. That meant leaving home at about 5:15am which at this time of year is quite nice (when the clocks have to be changed on the weekend it will be a different story). We dropped him off at work and had a nice day in Murrurundi.

We know the town fairly well now and usually like to head off to the local park which is like a little hideaway and aptly named Paradise Park. However Tuesday was so windy that it was scary (for me) so we stuck to safer indoor pursuits.




Browsing the charity shop which always has something to offer. We didn't spend much, $1 on a mixed bag of greeting cards, $1 on some books for Hope, a little plate for me and a sweet Holly Hobbie plate which I might give to my sister... maybe.


We also kicked back at the library. It is a tiny library but the selection of books is quite good. I usually just stick to the magazines or browse the cookbooks for interesting recipes. I can't borrow from this library because it is out of my area so I just make the most of the latest copies of Country Style and Better Homes and Gardens. Hope can usually get through a short book in the while we spend there.

 Grace checks out the jigsaw puzzles. My guess is she is probably the oldest 'kid' to open those jigsaw boxes and complete the puzzles. She could also very well be the only person to have opened them up in quite a while. Happily every puzzle she has done there has been complete without a piece missing which is quite surprising.


I also took advantage of the sitting time to do some crochet. I joined a swap quite some time back and I haven't been motivated to get it finished. But  Christmas apparently being only 12 weeks away  is motivation aplenty to get this job done. I just have to bring all of the squares up to equal size (they were supposed to be 4" squares) which I am doing in black and then join them up. Easier said than done just like most things. It was a black, grey and white swap so the colour palette is not the most exciting but hopefully it will look good or at least presentable when I finish. We'll see.

Are you thinking about Christmas gifts? I still have a few birthdays to organise first.

Tracy