Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It is a Sunny Corner today for sure. Very warm too. The lavenders at the front gate are starting to open up and the Sparaxis are  quite pretty I'm sorry I didn't take a better picture and I'm too weary to walk back up there this afternoon to do it. This morning I planted a row of sunflowers behind the lavenders with visions of their sunny faces dancing in my head. I hope it will look as nice or even almost as nice in reality as it does in my mind. Very often these things do not.

The plums, apricots and almonds have finished flowering and are looking less spectacular now. The peaches on the other hand are looking special. I do like my orchard a lot.

White mulberry showing some promise this year. Maybe we will have some fruit. This will be the first year for it if we do get any. Regardless of any fruit, it is a really nice tree.

The black mulberry is loaded with unripe fruit too and if it doesn't come through this year I may just remove it because it really isn't that nice a specimen. Always buds up too early, gets hit by frost or birds or heat or whatever. I don't think Hope would be too impressed if I got rid of it though, it's her favourite.

Now for some sewing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Improvement for sorry soil

I love my flower gardens but I am guilty of neglecting the soil health in them. I kind of just let them fend for themselves and concentrate all or most of my efforts and compost where there are edibles. Not today. This little patch out the front has soil like cement. I claimed it from the lawn a few years ago and the lawn definitely wants it back but I'm not giving in. Things are growing here but nothing thrives. More organic matter is needed to improve the soil and to encourage the earthworms and microorganisms that this would be a good place to live.

 I weeded and believe me those weeds didn't want to come out. The soil is that hard that a mattock is the weapon of choice for breaking it. I added some compost of which there is never enough, watered well and added a layer of mulch. That's enough for now but I'll keep working on it with some compost tea and manure and all those good and glamorous  things.

It actually looks no better but I know that I've done some good. Perhaps if I plant a couple of edibles in there, I'll make sure it gets all the extra care it needs. The addition of some more plants won't hurt the soil profile either. In fact I'm going to log off the computer soon and sow some buckwheat and  zucchini.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


It is the time of year that I feel especially that I have a lot to be thankful for so I want to share the good feelings around a little bit and have a giveaway.

No special rules or requirements to enter. Just leave a comment or send me an email if you would prefer and you are in with a chance. Of course followers  have an extra chance. That's only fair.

I have a knitted dishcloth or two ready to send and I'll make up a shopping tote in the next couple of days to go with them and maybe a few surprise items.

 I'll draw a winner next Sunday, 28th September. Best of luck.

Thanks Nadine

Lots to be grateful for. Birthday cards, phone calls, gifts and even a bunch of flowers. I rarely receive flowers. I'm usually the giver of flowers. In fact, this is only the fourth bouquet I have ever been given. I'm not including random bunches of weeds and garden flowers which do pop up in the house quite regularly and I love immensely.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

All good thank you.

Just the daily livestock check. All is good, shipshape and as it should be thanks very much. You know, some days animal husbandry makes having a suburban back yard with not a sheep or cow in sight look enticing. Not today, no dramas. Everyone is happy and healthy and so am I.

The ducks deciding to go across the road to the big dam is not so good but they lived to tell the tale and probably do it again tomorrow. Luckily I love my ducks.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's a windy day

It's very windy out today and I don't like it. I'm scared of wind. I'm sure the fear comes from an event in my childhood when the wind blew me over (or so my mum says). I don't remember. All the same, I don't like it and gardens don't like it either. It dries things out, knocks them over and doesn't seem to do any good at all. A gentle breeze on the other hand is always welcome.

It hasn't kept me from my jobs though. They have to get done regardless. The washing did dry in record time so I guess that is a positive.

I've been sprucing up the orchard. Mowing around the trees, giving them a good deep water, a little bit of manure and then mulching. All the while I wish I was a better fruit grower.

Monday, September 15, 2014


There is just enough asparagus of a decent size for dinner tonight. Well maybe not dinner exactly more like a an entrée or a teaser of asparagus pleasures to come.
It's all the more delicious because I never buy it and we only eat it from our own garden so the season is short and sweet.

I've planted more.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Such a lovely day

 Sometimes it is just right outside. Not always. Sometimes. And today is one of those days. Lots of flowers to look at, not too many weeds to make me feel guilty and just the right amount of sunshine. Enough vegetables in the garden to give me a choice.

The Chinese witch hazel is truly spectacular right now. It's hard to believe that the pink can be real it is so vibrant. Pink is my least favourite colour but I like this just fine.

 The lavenders are blooming.

I'll have  to wait a little longer for the English lavender plants to flower. That's ok, it extends the season of my very favourite plant.

What I have noticed is that I no longer have any white lavenders. Perhaps they aren't as hardy as the purple flowering types or perhaps they had done their time. Something for me to add to my birthday wish list anyway.

Oh and if anyone needs me this afternoon, I'll be somewhere in the vicinity of the jasmine. Most likely with a book and a cup of tea.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Brussels sprouts grrr

Brussels sprouts are up there as one of my favourite vegetables. No one else here likes them. How could they not like them? My problem is, I can never grow them successfully. I know when to plant, what they require but I just haven't managed a bumper crop yet. Yet! This year has been particularly disappointing especially given that all of my other brassicas have performed so well. You can't have it all I guess.
I'm going to leave myself a reminder somewhere to sow extra Brussels sprout seeds next time. I'll sow them earlier and try some new varieties. Surely that will work or at the very least increase my chances.
Whatever the case, I'm not giving up. I'm stubborn like that.

What is lovely even if it doesn't quite make up for a sprouts shortfall are the heartsease. Just what I needed to see on a day when I am being dogged by a cold. The best part about them is that I only planted them once and they just pop up every year where is best for them. No molly-coddling required.

Today I gardened with one of my best girls... Puss. I think she was ready to head indoors before I was so she just had a nap and waited. My only rule for her today was to stay off the asparagus bed. They are on their way up. YUM!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sowing Day

Today is absolutely lovely. Not too hot, not too cold... just right. September is like that. I'm really glad on days like today that my job is an outdoors one.

As it was such a nice day I did some seed sowing. I still have plenty more seeds to get started especially tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. I also want to sow some flower seeds too. I don't think you can have too many flowers.

Today I sowed:
  • pumpkins- direct and in pots
  • chillies
  • onions
  • eggplants- Caspar, Rosita and black bounty
  • sweetcorn- golden bantam
  • popcorn- golf ball
  • capsicum
  • purple asparagus
  • green artichoke
  • purple artichoke
  • cucumbers-lemon and large white
On tomorrow's sowing list
  • tomatoes
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • flowers- sunflowers ,alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, California poppy, zinnia, rudbeckia and whatever else I find in my seed box
  • beans
  • lettuce
  • melons
  • gourds
I have next to no self control when it comes to plant and seed purchases. I must say in my defence that a lot of my seeds and plants are  from my own saved seeds or from cuttings I have taken from my own plants. It is the cheapest way to fill up a garden.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I should have gone shopping

 Or maybe I should have stayed in bed. I have been a bit clumsy all morning. A full jug of water spilt on the carpet, one of the hens pecked my leg when I fed them this morning and I made a sticky mess with a jar of honey. Actually it was only half a jar so only half as messy as it could have been.
 When it gets colder sometimes honey crystallises especially honey that is au naturel and hasn't been heat treated. There is nothing wrong with the honey at all and in a way it is like creamed honey but a bit grainier in texture. I needed runny honey though so I popped it in the microwave for a few minutes when obviously only a couple of minutes were needed. The honey was indeed runny and hot.

Thankfully the honey spill was the last of the dramas for the day. So far!
 I needed the honey to make some toasted muesli/ granola. I make it from time to time but usually buy it from the shops. This batch has oats, almond, sunflower seeds, coconut, dried fruit (pawpaw, pineapple, apricots, bananas, mango, dates and raisins), brown sugar and honey. I've written about making it before here if you want to try it for yourself. I'm already thinking about the next batch, extra pawpaw and pineapple, they are scrumptious. Maybe some goji berries or cranberries too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Inside the hives today

The first inspection for spring. It's a bit exciting for us. Are the bees going to be happy to see us? Or maybe they will be angry this time? In all honesty, I don't think bees are ever truly happy to have their hives opened up no matter how calm and kind you are.

We have three hives. The blue hive, the white hive and the pink hive (that's my one). The white hive had an almost full super of honey which is good for this time of the year. The blue hive was probably about half full. The pink hive was a bit behind. It is usually the best producer with very busy bees and lots of them. Numbers were down today so perhaps there had been a swarm that we didn't notice. There were quite a few baby bees though so all is good.

There was some burr comb in one of the lids which we removed. Burr comb that is comb built outside the frames. It can contain honey, pollen or brood or even empty. The stuff we took out today had honey in it.

I know bees are a scary to some people and I can understand why. The stings do hurt. Inside the bee suit, I feel quite safe and I'd recommend going along with a beekeeper to have a peek inside a hive if you get the chance. It's very interesting.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Flowers this day

This day I've been doing my usual jobs and a few extras. Spring cleaning the bathroom was one of the extras I decided on for this week. Happily, it's done.

I've took the camera outside with me and my kitchen timer. I have a lemon slice in the oven and some dough on the rise for cinnamon buns. I'm making cinnamon buns because they were on my list for today though I don't recognise the handwriting as my own... thanks Hope.

There are loads of flowers about. Not a lot of variety but lots of the same. That's ok. They're all pretty. The first couple of jasmine blossoms have opened too which is always a sensory delight.


The Sparaxis are really nice right now. I planted the bulbs years ago and they never disappoint. They have also naturalised somewhat in the lawn so no mowing for a little while yet.

This is one of the last of my daffodils to flower. I've long since forgotten the variety and it doesn't really matter anyway.

The violets are competing with the Daphne for best scent in the garden at the moment. The pity is that they are growing so close to each other.

The vegetable garden wasn't left out. The broad beans are amass of flowers. The bees are having a feast there and I'm looking forward to harvest time.

Timer has rung. Time to fill the cinnamon rolls.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Father's Day

I do have a bit of a 'bah humbug' attitude to celebrations like Mother's Day and Father's Day and Valentine's Day and so on. It's the commercialisation I protest against not the sentiment. I do like giving gifts to my nearest and dearest so I buy into the whole show anyway.

So, Happy Father's Day to any fathers who might be reading this especially Tim. I know you will read this post Tim so I hope the picture meets with your approval and if not then at least avoids your disapproval.

We have to delay any celebrations until tonight because Tim is on duty at work today. That's how it goes in the emergency services, no special day is a safe day off.

The girls and I had a visit with my parents and I'm sure Tim has spent a little time thinking about his own dad who passed away in 2007.

Now I best go make something nice for dinner.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Friday Night with Friends

 Last night was Friday Night with Friends so lots of bloggers and non-bloggers were creating together but far apart. Thanks Cheryll for hosting.

I had grand intentions of sewing this or knitting that but in the end, I was a tad weary. I probably need to do my Friday Night with Friends in the afternoon or the morning.

I'm a keen letter-writer, that's no secret and I like to use pretty stationery whenever possible. It's nice for me when I'm writing the letter and hopefully nice for the recipient. I have enough writing paper but I had run out of my handmade envelopes.

I used the opportunity of being too tired to do anything too intricate and did some kindergarten type craft and made up some envelopes. My favourite ones to make are from old children's books that have seen better days. I also use old calendars and tourist brochures. I have a good stack now so that should keep me going for a little while.

Friday, September 5, 2014

An about me page

Today, amongst other things, I am trying to think of things to write on an 'About Me' page for the blog. Do you think I can find a decent/ non-silly picture of myself to include? No way!

This is what I am dealing with. An amateur clown. This is one of the better ones. By the way, thanks for my tea Tom.
Stay tuned it will be riveting... NOT!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday 4/9

 A nice drive for me and Tim on Tuesday to collect pine needles for the bee smoker. Silly us, we thought we might even be able to check the hives this week, the weather had been so mild. Come Wednesday though, this spot was dusted with snow.

We are just five minutes drive down the hill but the snow didn't make it down that low. I'm tossing up whether I'm sad or glad about that. These pine forests are quite a tranquil place to be. They can become a bit noisy on the weekends with an influx of motorbike enthusiasts. Not on Tuesday though. It was just us and the eerie sound of the wind blowing in the pines. If you have ever seen Twin Peeks then you'll know how creepy that sound can be especially if you have an overactive imagination

Today I was weeding Bed 4 of the vegetable patch. That's the asparagus patch so there isn't too much going on there right now. I did spy two small asparagus shoots so that's promising. What I did do though was stir up a nest of sugar ants. I know from reading that some of the larger ones can and do bite but I've never been bitten. I like them, the Vegemite and Honey ants as Grace christened them when she was small.

It's hard to fathom that it is already September. But it is and tomorrow is the first Friday of the month so that means Friday Night with Friends hosted by Cheryll. I'll be joining in. I have a whole bunch of things I could work on and even more projects waiting for me to start so as yet I'm undecided as to what I'll be doing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Today I have a guest blogger post up over on Liz's blog. It's the first time I've done anything like that so I was a bit nervous but really it was just like sitting down with Liz, having a cup of herbal tea and answering a few questions.

So today is all about ducks. I'm no duck expert, not by any stretch of the imagination. What I do know is that they are easy to keep. My ducks are anyway. I should say that my yard is large, very large, and the ducks can wander wherever they like during the day (not the vegetable garden... no way!) so I have never stepped in any 'mess' that they might make.

Why do I have ducks? If truth be told, I would probably have at least a pair of every type of farm animal so ducks were a natural progression from the chickens and turkeys that we have had on the farm. My next progression is going to be geese and a meat-breed of duck.

Duck egg and chicken egg.

 Apart from the fact that ducks are waterfowl and really do need at least some water for dunking their heads in if not enough for wading, the biggest difference between chickens and ducks are their eggs. How nice of my ducks to comply and lay me the first egg of the spring this morning. The shells on the duck egg to me are stronger than chicken eggs, less brittle. That could possibly be an adaptation to keep them safe from  big, clumsy duck feet.

And the eggs really are mostly yolk. I think that's why they are favoured by a lot of bakers for sponges and other cakes. I like to use them to make pasta, it gives it a really nice taste, texture and colour.
When it comes time to pluck a duck to ready it for the table, you'll also find that they have a lot of feathers. It feels like a never ending job, more time consuming than plucking a chicken or a turkey.
  Please feel free to ask me any questions about ducks or whatever you like, I'll do my best to answer them.
Thanks again Liz for asking me to be a part of your blog series on ducks and for giving us such a great, informative blog to read.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hit and Miss

It's a cuppa tea kind of day. The weather is all over the place. I was in town earlier and was ready to peel off my cardigan because I was too hot. Since I've been home, we have had sun, rain, sun, thunder, sun and now it really can't make up its mind and is just overcast. Perfect day for doing some inside jobs like decluttering, baking, putting away the grocery shopping (arrgh), or just writing a postcard and having a cup of tea.
I'm a lucky girl. My son, Tom, posted me a big bag of my favourite loose leaf tea and a box of tea bags as well. Yum!!
The bees never really stop foraging here. Winter just isn't cold enough. They might be slowed down a little but they keep on doing what they do. And, I keep on taking their pictures. Sometimes it's a hit but mostly it is a miss. I don't show you those pictures of course. But I will today.

 This one is a hit. Well it is to my untrained eye. I like it because when I look at it closely, I can see all of the fine hairs on the bees body. The colour of the tatsoi flowers is fairly accurate and it makes me feel happy.

The next two are definitely misses. I wish they weren't. If I knew what I was doing and perhaps if I had a fancy camera or more likely if I was just a little more lucky, they could have been really good pictures.

The trouble with taking pictures of little insects which move rather quickly is that there isn't any time to focus and ask them to just hold still for a second because you want to try again. I think luck might have a bit to do with it after all. This sweet little honey maker actually has her tongue out and if I was clever, I would have been focused on the bee, not the flower and it would have been a much better picture.

This one too. I guess I'm not ready to be a part of the insect paparazzi just yet.

Tomorrow I will be posting about my ducks. I was asked by Liz to write a guest post on her blog and it will up tomorrow. Ducks are probably even harder to photograph. Mine are, they rarely sit still and they are a little camera shy.