Friday, May 30, 2014

Garden Share- June

 The wrap up for May and the heads-up for June. Links to all the other Garden Sharers can be found here. Thanks for organising this Lizzie. It's fun and interesting to see what is happening in different gardens all over the place.

Our month of eating no meat is almost at an end. I can't say that I have missed eating meat, there are plenty of exciting and humdrum recipes around to make vegetarian cooking tasty, interesting and even as one of my school friends used to say, "plain home fare". But, I have heard stirrings of discontent from other members of the household and come Sunday, June 1 they want meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What I have noticed in Meat-free May is that the garden is still feeding us fairly well. There isn't a lot of choice and there are some gaps that have to be filled at the greengrocers but that's to be expected at this time of year.

What I've also noticed is that in my part of the world at least, the menu options when eating out as a vegetarian are limited. Of course in some places there are fantastic restaurants catering to non-meat eaters but not here. It would seem in my nearest town, meat rules. Not surprisingly, we are in the heart of the country with a lot of cattle and sheep farms, ours included.

 Last of the strawberries?
 What I've been harvesting
  • cucumbers -loads of Mexican sour gherkin which were the surprise of the summer/autumn garden
  • zucchini
  • herbs
  • lettuce
  • capsicum
  • chillies
  • nettles
  • radish
  • limes
  • carrots
  • chard
  • beans
  • rocket
  • sweet potato

 Planted in May
  • planting out cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage
  • turnips
  • broadbeans
  • peas- purple podded, telephone
  • snow peas
  • sugar snap peas
  • radish
  • pak choi
  • daikon
  • quite a few 'rescue' plants and seedlings
  • transplanting lavenders
  • roses
Rescued parsley
The herb garden now has one bed with a parsley border albeit a very spindly, straggly one. 

Sugar snap pea flowers
Plans for June
  • build a new chicken pen (this coming week)
  • sell a ram (tomorrow)
  • check bee hives
  • maintenance in the orchard
  • keep on weeding, planting, composting and so on
  • find someone to look after the farm so we can have a holiday

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Good things

I have some new crocheted bunting in my studio/ office/ piano room/ brewing room (I should just say multi-purpose room). I like it a lot. It is bright and happy and my Grace made it just for me. There is never a time that I'm sorry I taught her to crochet.

 It is good when Bunnings has reduced price plants that are in good condition and I have to take them home. I love foxgloves and the only issue with these is that they need to be planted out in the sunshine sooner rather than later. Even the name foxglove sounds just lovely to me and conjures very cute images.

It is extra good to be doing some knitting. Just dishcloths are on my needles for now but I have spied a cardigan I wouldn't mind making but who knows if that will happen. I do tend to be easily distracted from larger knitting projects.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Afternoon Nap

An afternoon nap for the ducks. At least one of them keeps there head up and alert. I'm not sure how they decide who gets to sleep and who has to stay awake and keep guard.

I've been tidying up, mowing and doing whatever needs to be done in the 'new' orchard. And while I was at it, the rose garden and crepe myrtle appealed to me and made me dilly-dally just a wee bit.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday arvo

Such a lovely afternoon. Sunny and mild but I really would like to see some wintery weather. Nothing to be done about it, just enjoy the current autumnal bliss.

There are quite a few flowers around for the bees. Some of the eucalypts have blossoms so for the most part the garden is by-passed in preference for the easy meal offered by the gum trees. The lavenders are still popular though.

There has been a bit of cabbage moth activity on my broccoli plants. The cauliflowers are untouched so far thankfully. I'm looking forward to homegrown broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. I'll be buying from the greengrocer for a while yet.

This is what the vegie garden looks like this afternoon. Quite a few blank spots. Some compost bins in situ to build up the beds. The black bins aren't my preferred method of composting but they do the job albeit slowly.

And my project for this week is to pull out, pile up and burn fleabane which have popped up in the paddock. Busyness and a bit of laziness if I'm honest have stopped me from doing until now and there are already flowers and consequently seeds ready to spread more. It's getting done this week!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

While I'm Waiting


I'm making nettle beer this afternoon. It's a dangerous occupation and I have a few stings to prove it. So, while I wait for the nettles to boil and then cool sufficiently, I'm here writing and reading too.

It's been a productive day. And absolutely gorgeous weatherwise.
  • I sowed pak choy, telephone peas and a row of saxa radish.
  • Made an experimental batch of chilli beer which I'm not holding out much hope for.
  • Moved the ram up to visit the ewes.
  • Accidently had a nap.
  • Baked for lunchboxes.
  • And all the usual stuff.

My little calf, Trilby, is growing up and is ready to be weaned. That's my opinion, not hers.

It truly was glorious here today. But a little bit of rain to settle the dust would be wonderful.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Autumn colours

Even though we had snow and sleet just a couple of weeks ago it is only now that the colours of autumn are really showing themselves. And, there are only 12 days left of autumn for 2014 so maybe a bit late but maybe not, I haven't kept detailed records of things like that. Perhaps I should or someone should/ does.

The asparagus fronds have had the odd yellowed fronds but this week they all seem to be yellowing at once. I think they are quite pretty like this.


Thanks to Janice, I always have nasturtiums popping up. Janice sent me some seeds in a swap quite some time ago and now they pop up here and there and remind me of her. I like that a lot!

The crepe myrtles here are just about to drop their leaves but unfortunately they bypassed the flowering this season. I think the heat and dry of the past summer was just too much for them. Next season I hope will be more favourable.


Tim had his first day of annual leave on Friday so we had a day out and about. Or as I'm going to call it now, a daycation (I just read that term on Pinterest). Unfortunately the girls have school so they missed out. On Friday we got to see a whole lot of art and countryside and make a few new friends along the way. It was a sweet day. I think a picnic is on the cards next week as long as we can get all of our chores done.

I've got tomato soup on the simmer  and some pull apart cheese and chive rolls rising for our Sunday soup night dinner. Yum... I hope.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tired today

Insomnia will do that to you. SO I am entertaining my tired self with some of the roses that are in bloom now. I hope you might enjoy them too.

Fire Fighter

Camille Pissarro

Now I'm having a cuppa and a sit down hoping I can have a good nights sleep because I have a long drive on Thursday.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, Monday

I can tell you why I don't like Mondays but I won't. I'll just try to change my attitude and love them just as much as any other day of the week. 

I'm posting letters today and hoping that the postman actually stops at my letterbox tomorrow. He hasn't even slowed down the past three mail delivery days. I'm expecting a bulging letterbox tomorrow... fingers crossed.

I'm using my much needed new gardening gloves today. I hung out until Mother's Day with some tattered old gloves and these new ones feel luxurious in comparison.

Planting out some 'mums. I have quite a few in the garden but there's always room for another flower so I always get a chrysanthemum or two for Mother's Day. I can count on one hand the number of  purchased bouquets of flowers I have received over the years and that's fine with me. I'm more of a plant kind of girl. I get the flowers now and in the future too. Not romantic but totally practical.

And what's happening in the house? Well the dining room has been commandeered by the head brewer to bottle up a stout he is making. He's experimenting with a few bottles and putting some liquorice in.  I'm a teetotaller but I'm going to don my brewster's cap and make a nettle beer next. Then maybe a batch of mead.

It's town day today (that might well be why I don't like Mondays) so I have my shopping list sorted and my menu plan. This weeks menu is almost exclusively being cooked with recipes from River Cottage Veg Everyday. YUM!!

This week's menu
Monday- homemade pizza
Tuesday- Chachouka
Wednesday- Pinto Bean Chilli
Thursday- anyone's guess, I have to go out of town
Friday- Cauliflower and chickpea curry
Saturday- Onion Tart with salad
Sunday- Soup night

Now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Sometimes weather forecasts are accurate and that was the case this past weekend. We may still have a few more weeks of autumn but it is wet and wintery now and will probably stay cold now until spring. I hope so!

Just a little bit of snow on the ground. Enough to bring sightseers out for a look and play and, enough to get cold and wet through.

Loads of fungi to look at too.  Some were cute.

And some were just interesting. Some were so short-lived that I didn't get a picture of them. They'll be back one day when everything is just right for them.

I've been staying inside a bit too. That's what you do when you find out you have holes in the bottom of your wellies. Take my word for it, feeding ducks in the rain with holey shoes is not the best chore here.

I've been crocheting just a wee bit, writing cards and letters and reading. I have a few books to get through now that were recommended by friends. This one, After Auschwitz by Eva Schloss,  I stumbled across at the library and I read it over a couple of nights. I do like fiction but I really enjoy books that make me think and make me want to be a better person. I'd recommend this one for that alone.

Late catch-up FNwF

I'm late posting what I made on Friday for Friday Night with Friends. I have no excuses but I really didn't turn the computer on until just now. I don't even have much to show either. It was a cold and wet night and I couldn't keep my eyes open much later than 8:30pm.

I crocheted two small flowers and a butterfly. The butterfly needs some practice but the flowers I can make without thinking. These ones have been packed up and should have arrived along with a letter at their destination.

This is who I was stitching with, Puss. A cat who was cold enough to wear a scarf. Of course there were all the other ladies who did a much better job of there creating than I did and probably stayed up much later too. Friday Night with friends is held on the first Friday of the month and is hosted by the very lovely Cheryll.


Friday, May 2, 2014

No Meat Chilli &c

It's an easy dinner and takes next to no time if you use canned beans and chickpeas (I don't but it's still not a bother). The kitchen does smell rather yummy too while it simmers and it's enough to serve eight so we always have leftovers.

No Meat Chilli
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large capsicums, diced
2 zucchini
800gram canned tomatoes, pureed
2 tomatoes, diced
chilli powder to taste
3 tsp ground cumin
3tsp dried oregano
2tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp black pepper
1tsp salt
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup corn kernels
In a large heavy based saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, capsicum and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stirring often to prevent anything sticking.
Add the spices, pepper and salt and cook for a minute then add the tomatoes.
Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Stir in the beans, chickpeas and corn and cook for 15 minutes.
Season to taste.

For meat lovers, just replace the beans and chickpeas with some browned minced/ground meat of choice. It's still yum.

 I wasn't joking yesterday when I said this dog is my shadow. This is where she is right now. At my feet under the computer desk huddled up next to the internet 'thing'. She is going home tomorrow and my regular shadow, the cat, will be happy.

It's the first Friday of the month so that means Friday Night with Friends hosted by Cheryll. I'm undecided yet what I'll be doing maybe some crochet, maybe some cutting of squares, maybe even starting something for Cheryll's Christmas in July swap. Whatever I do I'll have some fun I'm sure.
I'll let you know tomorrow.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1

May Day! I guess it doesn't really apply to us in the Southern Hemisphere given that it is a springtime celebration. So, no maypoles here. But it is the birthday of my very first ever penpal and a rather nice day too and that is cause enough for an everyday kind of celebration. It is also the first day of our meat-free month. I'm calling it Meat-Free May!

This is Bed 1 in the vegetable garden in much need of weeding and a heavier hand than I have. There are green tomatoes that I should pull up and eggplants that have little chance of giving anymore fruits but I'm an optimistic gardener so they can stay a little longer. The beans- butter and Borlotti are still producing quite well so they are definitely staying even if I need the trellises for more peas and snowpeas.

And, this is post-weeding. Barely made a difference but I did get my hands dirty and removed a rather nasty thistle which was hiding under a dahlia. I also spread around some liquidised cow manure in the newly bare patches. It's all glamour here!

I also uncovered my callaloo plant. It's an amaranth and very pretty. The leaves really are as pink as they seem and unlike grain amaranth, it is very leafy with seeds along the stems.

I mentioned a few days ago that I am pet minding. Well, here she is, Mia, the Chihuahua. She visits every so often and I get to look after her when my parents are away as well. My parents insist that she is my sister because she is their 'child'. I really don't know about that but I do know that she is my shadow.
When she visits, she gets to pretend that she is a real dog, not a baby. I think she enjoys it.

She sure enjoyed rolling in compost just as much as the next dog would. I best give her a bath before my mum and dad get home on Saturday.