Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Garden Share- May

Lizzie, the organising force behind Garden Share Collective has just welcomed a precious baby girl into her family so I'm not sure how much time or energy she has for gardening right now. What a wonderful, special thing, becoming a mother. Congratulations and best wishes.
Each month a group of gardeners from all over the globe talk about their trials and triumphs in the garden. It's well worth a looksee if you are into gardening even just a little bit.
I had my own set of troubles this past month but although I am still saddened by the loss of my feathered friends, I am happy to have had them in my life for many years. Our little lone chooky survivor is happy (her gentle clucking tells me so) and like to hang around wherever we are . The ducks are being treated to weekly treats of watermelon which they seem to love and it certainly is a treat to watch them devour it.  I am short on watermelon from the garden but the price is worth it. I must make a note to grow extra melons next spring/summer.

 Today is grey, rainy and a little cool. The reports I've seen are all saying that this is going to bring the start of the cold weather. I was kind of getting used to the glorious autumnal sunny days but I like winter just as much so that's ok. The garden is still unsure if it is summer or time to take a rest. Lots of flowers about. Self sown tomatoes are popping up with no chance of making it.

  • garlic
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • carrots
  • lettuce
  • kale
  • tatsoi
  • broadbeans
  • peas
  • snowpeas
  • turnip
  • kohl rabi
  • spring flowering bulbs
  • shrubs and flowers

Yellow Podded Peas
 Earlier plantings are powering along and I am doing my best to sow periodically for successive harvesting.

Carrot- Nantes
  • chillies (more than I will ever need but I can't resist them)
  • tomatoes (not many)
  • cucumbers
  • corn
  • capsicum
  • rocket
  • beans
  • zucchini
  • herbs
  • limes
  • lemons
  • radish
  • strawberries
  • flowers galore
  • finger limes
Cauliflower- Quickheart
 Happening in May
  • tend to the wisteria that I was meant to deal with in April. At least I know what I'm going to do about it now.
  • some fencing
  • weeding
  • compost turning
  • mead making
  • planning, plotting and pondering
  • tea drinking and letter-writing
  • work out how to use Twitter (I don't even have a mobile phone)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Versatile Tomato Chilli and Coriander Sauce

Firsts things first, school is back today for my two girls. I'm always sorry when they have to go back, it would be nice if the school holidays could go on for a bit longer. But, three weeks was there allotted break so back to the books for them. Back to a more structured day for me and some pet minding just for something different.

The weather is absolutely glorious. Cool nights, a little bit of rain now and then and lots of warm autumn sunshine. Perfect! It's also the right time to be gathering in the last of the summer vegetables that are in the garden before it is too late and a frost hits them. All that harvesting means sauces, pickles, freezing and so on. One of my favourites that I hadn't made for a while is a versatile sauce that uses tomatoes and chillies from the summer garden and coriander that is flourishing right now. It's quite delicious especially if you like Asian flavours.

After this batch was ready yesterday we had a menu adjustment and gave soup night the heave-ho in favour of roasted jacket potatoes with the sauce and sour cream. It works just as well as a base for a chicken dish with coconut milk or even just on crackers with cheese.

Tomato, Chilli and Coriander Sauce
1kg tomatoes, roasted (even canned tomatoes are fine)
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp. grated ginger
5 red chillies, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
90 mL vinegar (red or white wine is good)
30mL fish sauce
170 grams brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. ground turmeric
1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
Process the garlic, ginger, cumin, mustard and chillies in a food processor until finely chopped. I add a little of the vinegar to help bring it together.
Combine the mixture with the tomatoes,vinegar, brown sugar, fish sauce and turmeric in a heavy based saucepan and simmer until thick. About 1 hour on my stove.
Use a stick blender or food processor to break down the tomatoes slightly and return to the heat. Stir in the coriander and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour or spoon into hot sterilised jars and seal.
Ready to eat straight away. It should keep in the pantry for 6 months but needs to be refrigerated after opening.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

My new guy

We needed a new ram and Roger has come to live on our farm. So far he is enjoying the spoils of being in the paddock adjoining the house and garden.

He has a nice nature, comes when he is called (now) and I think he will fit in well. The ewes are going to love him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

R and R

Yesterday's back and leg pain was enough to bring on a day of rest and relaxation. Sometimes you just have to. It has done me good, by this afternoon I was feeling sprightly enough to water the garden and do a few odds and ends.
Not too many days are left of these autumn school holidays so we had an outing today. A lovely morning tea in the park with some friendly company.  I'm a real homebody and I find the less I go into town the less I'm inclined to. I don't like to shop (unless it's for plants). I'll have to go soon, I need stamps.

This girl has it just about right.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day

Even my wall calendar is telling me that today is Earth Day so it must be. There are so many 'Days' now that is hard to keep up but Earth Day sounds good to me. I spend much of every day tending the earth here and it is one of my own small ways of tending the planet.
I may have overdone it a bit this morning, I have back and leg pain this afternoon which is bringing back memories of an incident of sciatica I had in 2002. I don't want a repeat of that EVER.

There was some role switching over the weekend. Hope was the apprentice in the apiary and stood on the sidelines with the intention of taking some pictures. That wasn't to be however. I was chased by an angry bee and I was sans beekeeping attire. No stings thankfully just a comical display for anyone passing by.

My gardening companion is relishing the discoveries of new to her garden beds. The  herbs and vegies get the biggest clucks of approval.

 In my plans, I was going to be outside most of the day today. The weather is practically perfect in every way for outdoors but I'm going to write this and then try to do some stretches and then if that fails, I'm going to write letters. I think I will be writing letters and, I will be glad to do so. I can always write outside.

My Earth Day planting was some Sweet Peas. I know March 17th is the traditional time to plant them but staggering the sowing gives me blooms over a longer period. Sweet Peas are one of those flowers like snapdragons that remind me of other gardens I have lived in when I was a child and I would plant them for that remembrance alone. It is a bonus that they are simply sweet and lovely and hardy despite their delicate appearance. I'm looking forward to their blooms.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday 16/4

I have many lovely friends that I have met online. Mostly I haven't and probably won't get to meet them in real life. I have met Shez live and in the flesh and she is truly lovely and sweet and very funny. Shez is also a great stitcher and generous with her talent. A very pretty tea towel arrived in my mailbox from Shez to cheer me up and it has done just that. Thanks Shez, you made my day.

My poor little chicken from last week is well and truly on the mend. I had no idea she had aspirations to be a weathervane but I do now. That's where I found her yesterday afternoon just before her bedtime. She is still not looking overly pretty but her missing back feathers are growing back and her wounds are healing well.

Her days are spent following us about (the girls are on school holidays so she is receiving lots of attention) and the previously out-of-bounds vegetable garden is her new favourite haunt. I'm not that soft hearted though that I will leave her there alone, she has taken a shine to the radish seedlings and the strawberries. Naughty girl!

I can happily say that my ducks are acting like themselves again. Quacking and carrying on just as ducks should. And they are now venturing outside of their pen during the day like that did before last Monday morning. All is good!

We have had all sorts of weather today. Sunny, windy, overcast and rainy at different times. It's sunny now and I have some work to do. I'm right in the middle of planting wintery things... YUM!

Thanks for visiting

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Bonny Sunday

This autumn sunshine is just right it seems. Not too harsh like the summer but with a little more warmth than winter. It's almost impossible not to feel your spirits lift (if you let them). Throw in some happy flowers and actually catching a glimpse of my son, Tom, on television (I haven't seen him since early January) and it was a very nice day indeed. If you watched the "Road to the Show" program this afternoon you might have seen him too.


Dahlias in the vegetable patch

Dahlia... again!

Pink flowering strawberry.
What I'm also enjoying about the autumn is the change back to standard time and nightfall is earlier. It's cosy.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All wasn't lost

Thank you to everyone who left me reassuring comments on my last post. I am feeling much better although still saddened by my quiet yard with no birds following me about.
Once we tidied up the mess in the pen we found a ray of hope. One of our sweet little bantams, Hawkie (she usually looks a little like a hawk), was still alive. Somehow in the fracas she found a hiding spot in an egg laying box and her life was spared. For that I'm very grateful.

She isn't looking or feeling her best but that's to be expected. She has wounds on her neck and some deep ones on her back but she is making progress with lots of tender loving care and a bit of wound care. When we found her she was quite listless but she does seem to have a strong spirit. She's no spring chicken either, at least five years old.

I have seen her drinking and eating on her own today but after needing a bit of help yesterday she seems to have taken to being spoon fed and watered. Sleeping inside probably helps too.

The ducks are all alive but traumatised. Not eating much and they seem to have lost their quacks and are laying very low. I would too. They won't even come out of their pen to free range.I'm hoping a bit more time will heal their injuries and their worries.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Nature paid a call to our farm on Sunday night. A quoll worked its way into our poultry pens and has completely and utterly destroyed our flock of turkeys and chickens. In the process it has also broken my poultry loving heart.

Thanks for visiting. I will be back in a little bit.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A tiny spot of sewing

My effort for Friday Night with Friends was a little paltry. I'll do better next time (maybe). I have to learn that it is ok to just sit and stitch or knit or crochet or whatever sometimes. I'm not good at that. If there is a job still to be done I think I have to do it right now and fun can wait.
Well, here is my Friday night sewing albeit not a very good picture.

A wee lavender filled cushion. It smells lovely and I might just make some of the other cushions in the set- trust, pray and faith. The pattern is from Jenny and try as I might I couldn't find the link on her blog now. Never mind, Jenny has plenty more to look at on her blog and in her shop.

Thanks Cheryll for hosting.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday 4/4

I got caught in the rain today. Naturally enough I had just finished watering the vegetables garden and was in my own little world doing some work in the front garden when it started to pour. Nothing wrong with getting wet but I don't care too much for that mad dash to the clothes line to bring in the clean washing. The dog thinks it's a great game and chases me, barking at my heels. I'm sure it would make a fine sight.
 All sorts of interesting fungi are popping up now it is cool and moist. I'm quite keen on science and  my own backyard has more than enough biota to keep me entertained.

I have been keeping up with planting everyday. I don't have any of my own seedlings at the planting out stage right now so I took the next best option and bought a punnet of cabbages for today's planting. On the 2nd I plated a long row of cherry belle radish and on the 3rd I planted out three lavender plants to bulk out my wannabe hedge. The microgreens I planted on Monday are powering along. I brought them into the kitchen this morning and in the few hours that I was outside, I could see growth. I just hope Puss doesn't take a liking to them.

The red end of the spectrum is what it was all about this morning. I picked a handful of red strawberries and  the few red dahlias I have a all starting to bloom now. I'm thinking I might see if anyone wants to swap tubers to try to increase my collection. Let me know if you do and we'll see how it goes.

Not red but close. The cosmos are behaving themselves remarkably well this season and are keeping almost completely to their allotted spaces. That probably means that next summer they will pop up here, there and everywhere.

Red radish are my favourite. I do have a soft spot for daikon but there is something about those little cherry belles that makes them just right.
As it is the type of afternoon that can't make up it's mind whether to rain or be sunny or something in between, I'm making an executive decision and working inside for the rest of the day. Not working exactly. Making red grapefruit sorbet, some zucchini fritters and some beeswax lotion bars. Dinner is an easy shepherds pie made with last night's leftover roast so I have plenty of time for :
Friday Night with Friends. This is my first time signing up for FNWF and I'm looking forward to making something a little special for someone near to my heart and to seeing what everyone else has been working on too. Thanks Cheryll for hosting.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Challenges

I'm often setting myself ridiculous challenges. Challenges might actually be too strong a word, goals is perhaps more appropriate. Challenges implies something serious which isn't what my challenges are about. In February there was Letter Mo and in the past I have done a few fitness type challenges(without overwhelming success), only eating what we grow (that got a bit boring), no chocolate, no coffee(I switched to decaf and all was good) and so on.
I must be feeling up for a challenge or setting some goals and so here goes. This is what I'll be doing:
I think the list is achievable and all positive. No denying myself or suffering involved.

Today I planted some microgreens. This was a little freebie packet and is first on my list. The beauty with microgreens is that from sowing to harvesting can be as little as two weeks and because the plants are so young they are full of flavour and goodness. Once mine germinate I'll keep them in the kitchen ready to pep up a meal or two when they are big enough.

I'm challenging myself to comment on ten blogs each day I turn on the computer because I often find myself reading blogs and not leaving a comment. Not because I'm not interested in what has been written but because I haven't got time. Well I'm going to make the effort because it is nice to get feedback or even just a hello. I'm going to try to work through my list of blogs I follow not just comment on the ones that have popped up on my reading list for that day.

Enough about 'challenges'.

I picked a nice basket of vegetables for tonight's dinner of a warm meatball salad. I'm going to zip down just before dinnertime to pick the leaves- lettuce, nasturtium, rocket and a couple of basil leaves.

In the salad basket- trombocini, cucumbers (Richmond River green and Mexican sour gherkin), capsicum, beans, radish, tomatoes and a chilli (one is enough). I'm adding roasted potatoes and pumpkin to the salad too which just wilts the leaves and warms the pesto dressing up nicely.

While I was there  I picked a basket of dahlias. It's not often that I have cut flowers inside, I just make the most of them outside but right now there are more than enough blooms for both inside and outside. I'm really loving their boldness and I don't care a bit that the colours don't exactly work together.

Now I must leave this post here and make my comments or I'll be failing already on day one.