Friday, January 31, 2014

Garden Share Collective- February

I'm not sure where time flies to but it most certainly does fly by. My youngest started high school a couple of days ago and I think I'm still getting over her starting kindergarten in 2007. As for January 2014, it passed by in a blur or at least a heatwave. The end of the month brings around the time to share what's happening in vegetable patches all over the place via the Lizzie's Garden Share Collective. Lots to see and be inspired by.
This past month the garden has been very thirsty. I water everyday and sometimes I think some plants  might need a second drink. It has just been that hot and dry. Then there are the days that a gusty hot wind comes along to complicate things a little bit more. Still I love my garden and the rewards it gives me far outweigh my input.


I really wasn't keen on planting in January because of the conditions but I just couldn't resist. So I planted some late corn. Normally I wouldn't plant corn seeds that late because we actually are in a cool zone and the winter comes hard. Given that it feels like winter will never eventuate, I popped in three rows of bantam corn which are growing quite nicely and germinated in record quick time. I do hope to get corn off them but if not, I'll chop them up for mulch or let the animals enjoy them whichever they won't go to waste.

Golden Bantam corn

The good thing about January is that it's the time when you start to see real results for the spring planting (in my garden anyway). Everyday we eat fresh from the garden and in fact most meals are decided based on what looks good in the garden at that time.
Green Zebra tomato
 At their best right now are:
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • beans
  • corn
  • herbs
  • potatoes
  • capsicum
Thirsty zucchini
To do in February
  • extracting honey (the bees have been super busy this season)
  • package honey
  • process beeswax
  • keep watering
  • keep weeding
  • no mowing, the lawn is brown
  • make jams and pickles and sauces
  • start off some seed trays of winter vegetables (believe it or not)
  • hope for rain

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Month of Letters

As it is the middle of the day and just too hot to do much outside (that's the excuse I'm using), I've been having a little look around blogs I like. My attention was caught by Sarah's post about Letter Mo. There are some things I just can't seem to say no to and letter writing is one of them.
I naturally wasted spent some time checking out the website and signed up and am already day-dreaming thinking about who I will send off some happy mail to. There's a good chance that if I have your address it will be you. It equates to 20 mailed items for me so it will be doable and fun. The fun part is the important thing.
Now I can't waste anymore time. Our hives have full honey supers so we are going to extract this afternoon. The bees have been super busy. So it's an afternoon of sweet, sticky, messy, yummy fun.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday 27/1

I'm through with trying to think up titles for blog posts so at the moment I'm just sticking with the date. One less thing to think about. Today it's almost all about turkeys. These guys have hatched out just in time to have some handling from Grace and Hope before school goes back tomorrow (such lucky turkey chicks). Perhaps that's one of the reason the girls aren't overly fond of turkey meat, they spend too much time loving them when they are chicks. For the same reason they don't eat lamb either.

Me on the other hand will only touch them if it's a matter of life and death. I do not like picking up birds. I like watching them and looking after them just please don't ask me to pick one up.

They do make cute chicks though. With turkeys the cute stage is very short lived so you have to make the most of it while it lasts.

I'm glad there is a little green grass around for them to forage and to get lost hide in.

Dinner tonight is that spaghetti squash with an eggplant, tomato and basil sauce. I will be making a small batch of proper pasta just in case. I'm a fan of squash so I'm looking forward to the spaghetti squash even though I've heard mixed reviews about it. My guess will be that the adults will eat it and enjoy it, Grace will eat it just this once and Hope will be wanting 2 minute noodles (sorry we don't have any).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday 26/1

Watering the garden has actually become a bit of a chore of late rather than the quiet, contemplative time it usually is. Well, I had a day off because we actually had 15mm of rain on Friday night which was wonderful to say the least. And, there has been a cool breeze blowing since to make things just that bit more pleasant. Of course we have had another heatwave predicted for the end of the week but that's days away so I won't think about it now.

 I can't say I've ever heard of spaghetti squash being Australia Day fare so I'm saving this beauty for tomorrow.

And just because this dahlia is looking particularly pretty today I thought I would share it. Truly my only complaint with dahlias is their lack of scent.

And there are absolutely no complaints about marigolds from me. They are bright and cheery, they grow all by themselves and would probably survive without any interference at all. They are also good companions to many apparently. I planted seeds years ago and have never had to bother sowing them since, they always pop up when and where they deem appropriate.

Pumpkins are starting to kick into high gear. It's the little bit of rain I think. Nothing can beat rainfall, not even rainwater from a tank for some reason. This one is a Turk's Turban which to me aren't the best for eating but they are nice to look at.

What isn't enjoying the heat is my larger tomatoes. They are getting sunburnt. It only affects the side facing the sun which I just chop off and give to the poultry. I think I will be picking the tomatoes early and letting them ripen indoors away from the sun. The cherry tomatoes and golf ball sized ones don't seem to mind at all and can handle the sun no problem.
It's only two more sleeps until school goes back for the year. I'm not looking forward to it really but I think a return to routine might be a good thing.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thanks ladies


Thanks for the hay she says with her mouth full. Not the best manners in town but it is nice to feel appreciated and if you come bearing gifts of hay or a bucket of pellets they will love you. Actually in reality they are a little timid and will only come when I whistle and are wary of strangers. Sooky is probably the best way to describe them both sheep and cattle (except the rams who are bossy).

I do have a few thank you messages though. As I mentioned e few days ago I was participating in Jewell's swap for Australia Day. My partner, Marcia, sent me a fantastic gift. Too much to photograph in one shot. Marcia  was very clever with her gift choices and generous too.

Aussie BBQ pack, Useable fabric, Shopping list and String bag, Trim and cards, Rosalie Quinlan patterns, Apron, Lollies, Ice cube tray and containers and Angel in my garden stitcheries and hanger.

Thanks so much Marcia and thanks Julie for organising a great swap to start off 2014.

I have had a couple of postcards this week via postcrossing and they are nice to receive. I am going to continue sending postcards but only sometimes. It is just a bit more random than I prefer. I much prefer a nice letter and to get to know someone than just a postcard and nothing more. It's still very nice to have a surprise postcard in the letterbox and if you aren't one for letters but like mail then it's ideal.

I also want to thank Kimberley for the sweet card she sent me and a nice new dishcloth too. Kimberley is a clever clogs and I get tired just reading about all of the things she can fit in her schedule.

I'm one lucky girl. Thanks.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Today is just plain yuck, there isn't an eloquent way to describe it. Too hot, too dry and not much fun to be outdoors at all. The girls and I were going to go for a drive to the local pool but you know what? It is too hot to bother with that. Hope is being entertained watching a movie (Frankie and Annette are still good) and Grace is cross stitching (I don't know how she can) and I am reading blogs (with a preference for Northern Hemisphere snowy ones). Poor old Tim is at work hoping (as always) that there are no fires or other mishaps.

I love my back door view anytime but truly when it is brown and the remaining grass just crunches underfoot is my least favourite way to view it. We are fortunate though, the creeks are still flowing albeit slowly and it is still green in the riparian zone. I know out west it is dire and even in these parts some of the farms I drive past the stock have no worthwhile feed. Summertime always makes a cottage in town with ample water and less responsibility look inviting.

If I had a house in town though I might miss out on having little chicks (I certainly couldn't have a rooster). This little one is a few days old now and impossible to catch. Very lively despite the mid-forty degree C heat. Marie the mother hen was supposed to be hatching some turkey eggs because the last thing we need are more flighty Sebright-cross bantams but unbeknownst to us she also ferreted away some bantam eggs in her clutch. Thankfully she is still sitting tight so the turkey eggs should still be viable. Fingers crossed.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy birthday Tim

First of all today is my Tim's birthday so I wish him good things and health and happiness. He is on his way home from a hot day at work to his choice of birthday meal, bobotie (I think he has had that at least a couple of years in a row) and raspberry and rosewater meringue tart for his 'birthday cake'. 
I've been busy this week. Sorting out a few boring bits and pieces  hence no blogging but I have been busy doing blogging type things. That is getting my swap parcel ready for my partner in Jewell's Australia Day swap. 9 little parcels  containing items starting with AUSTRALIA. Doesn't sound too difficult but I had a bit of trouble with the letter U.
My parcel is working its way to my partner and I do hope they like what I chose. I had fun making and even shopping (which I am not a real fan of).
Hopefully tomorrow I will have a picture of my new chicks to show. Mother hen Marie is doing a great job sitting on her nest in the dreadful heat. I think she even had to leave the nest a few times to let the eggs cool down a bit. It has just been too hot.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A recipe- biscuits/ cookies

I don't think I have posted a recipe in a while and to be truthful, I haven't been doing much baking at all anyway. Too hot most of the time really. It's a pleasant 30 degrees C here today so the oven went on to make some chocolate biscuits/cookies with a twist... cayenne pepper to spice them up just a little bit.
Spicy Chocolate Chip biscuits
115 grams butter, softened
60 grams brown sugar
125 grams self raising flour
15 grams cocoa
1/4 teaspoon each cayenne, ground ginger and ground cinnamon
90 grams chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 180 deg C
Cream butter and sugar together
Stir in flour, spices, flour and chocolate chips until well combined.
Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into a ball, place on lined tray and flatten slightly.
Bake for 20 minutes
Remove tray from oven and allow biscuits to cool.
Makes approximately 24.
If you have a favoured chocolate chip biscuit recipe then I think you could use that and just add the spices and cocoa (and perhaps a little milk to balance out the added dry ingredients).
The amount of cayenne only gives a hint of heat and I haven't had any complaints about them yet (except that I haven't made enough). They are apparently quite nice with a glass of cold milk if you're that way inclined.
The only drawback, cayenne pepper makes me sneeze no matter how careful I am.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The herb garden dust bath.

'Turkey' family. Yes there is a duck amongst them. She just doesn't know she's a duck.

Natural pest control.

Lemon Snow dahlia.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back in the groove

Firstly the newest addition to our household. The grossest pets I have ever seen, hermit crabs. The girls love them. The dog and cat want to eat them and I just try to avoid them, they give me the creeps.

After a rough start to 2014, I'm getting back into the groove. Sticking to our budget and doing the things that I like to do. As it happens, budgeting and household finance-type of things are my thing. I like numbers so totting up the books is fun (as long as it the numbers are in the black).

My garden took a bit of a hit but I am in full swing now and I'm not only getting back out there but I am enjoying it. The garden isn't just the place where I grow things for our table but it where I do my bit for the environment and for my own joy too. It's a good place.

 We have beans galore so they are on the menu every night no matter what we eating. Trust me beans on a pizza are quite nice even if they aren't a usual topping.

The eggplants are a few days away. And I have to say they are one of the most stunning vegetables. This year I grew spaghetti squash. I haven't tried it before so I'm looking forward to it. It does sound like the type of vegetable that might be love or hate with not much in between, I'll let you know where I stand once I've tasted one.

My garden is glad to have me back, just like everything, it flourishes with the right sort of attention. The weeds not so happy of course.

Now I'm off to deal with a lot of beeswax. Some of it is rather grotty but putting it off won't help any. And guess what? I can even sell it for a few dollars per kilogram. At that rate we should be rich in about a thousand years. I think beeswax is however quite expensive to buy from retail outlets.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Keeping Cool

Keeping cool, yeah right. It's next to impossible to be actually cool here today. It was 42 degrees C (107.6F) on the verandah a few minutes ago so I don't even want to imagine how hot it is out in the sun. My stingy frugal self has even resorted to using the evaporative cooler.
Puss does seem to have the right idea. Napping by day and most of the night too. Then a rush of activity when things cool down in the wee hours of the morning. I do love it when cats sleep with their tongues sticking out.

 Everything needed a deep water today and look what I found in the front garden. To the waterer go the spoils I say.

The osteospermum  are real troopers in the heat and pretty too. Easy to be cheery when the garden is full of flowers and easy to not notice the weeds so much.

I have been eagerly writing letters. I don't know what it is about letter writing I like it so much, I just do. The postcircle wasn't enough so I have joined postcrossing  and signed up with International Pen Friends(the place where I first found pen friends in the 1980s). It also means I have sweet mail to look forward to and surprise mail too. Just today a lovely Christmas and happy New year card arrived from Ruth. I think she did a wonderful job creating the nativity scene. Vickie also sent me a cheery parcel, a pincushion kit and a cute piggy card. Both cards are sitting right here in my sewing room making me smile and inspiring me to be creative. With creativity in mind, I am going to do some secret making right now in preparation for Jewells' swap. That should keep me cool and out of mischief (as long as I don't make many mistakes that is).

Thanks for visiting