Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roger, Crinkles, Tim

 It was a getting jobs done kind of day today. Brought the two rams closer to home that is they are now in the yard adjacent to the house. Last time they were here, the big bully Crinkles knocked over one of the beehives. That won't happen again, the beehives have a fence around them now but I'm sure they'll get up to some mischief. I hope it doesn't involve the vegetable garden... again.

Ewes are much easier to handle. Well mine are because they come when I whistle, they know where to go and best of all, they don't butt. I like it that way because I can do it on my own.

It was hot today and autumn is going to be welcome here. While I was watering the garden I was going over my mental list and I really do need to write it down. As I've mentioned before, it's a long list. It made me tired thinking about it. I might have to learn to delegate.

Letters to write this afternoon.
Bye for now

Monday, February 23, 2015


Today the sun is shining and it's a lovely late summers day. A little rain would be nice... very nice but it doesn't seem right to ask for it when there has been too much in parts of Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. I like to focus on the positive, that's my way. So I'm not dwelling on the letter from the Blood Service telling my ferritin levels are low again and they won't be collecting my blood for the foreseeable future. Well maybe I am dwelling on it a little.

I've spent the morning outdoors. The dahlias are good. Some are excellent and some need dead-heading and some need tying to stakes (stakes are a hot commodity here).

I'm only going to show pictures of the nice ones. No one wants to see a daggy old dahlia collapsed on the path.

Pumpkins are all over the place. I'm eager and impatient for them to be ready. I love pumpkin.


 Chillies are good today too. I'm making up a batch of sweet chilli sauce tomorrow or Wednesday and I can't believe it but I'm glad I didn't grow any super hot chillies this year. The Bhut jolokia I grew a few years ago were sold as the World's hottest chillies and they lived up to their names. We are still using the sauce made from those and from all accounts it is too hot (Tim thinks it's fine).

That's all for now.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Words and letters

Wow, a week has flown by and I haven't posted here. I've been busy here.  I think my words have mostly been written in letters this month. I'm truly enjoying writing so many missives, especially as most are to fellow letter-writers. I've posted cards, postcards, proper letters and even fabric for a quilt and plenty of surprise mail. Even if the recipients aren't inclined to correspond by post the letters at least bring  smiles to their face and joy to their hearts which in turn makes me glad.  Everyone loves happy mail right?

I'm not just sitting at a desk writing letters and cards all day. There's still the regular work to do. I thought I wasn't going to have to water the garden today as the clouds looked promising but alas, that's what I'll be doing next. I guess it will rain later then. I hope so. We even squeezed in robbing a hive this morning and have the honey extracted and settling in the drum. Yum!

Bye for now,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Home alone and taking stock

I'm only home alone until the girls get home from school and Tim arrives home from work but today is the first day since November last year that I have actually been by myself. It felt strange at first. It also felt strange to drive the car because I haven't done that since last year either. I'm surprised I didn't stall a time or two.
Bees love sunflowers

Now that I have had some time alone to think and wander around and take stock. I can see that I have some work to catch up on and there are a few jobs that I have let slide whilst in holiday mode. Lots of cleaning and tidying and de-cluttering... LOTS. Sheep to move. Lambs to sell. Compost to make. And so on. I need to make a list. A long list.

Vegetable futures

What I did do in between cappuccinos and tea breaks on the weekend was sow some seeds. Just one tray of broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and hooray they are on the way up. While I love vegetables of all kinds and the summertime ones are a common favourite, brassicas are mine. Maybe because I love the cooler months so much or maybe just because they are delicious.

Right now I have to bake. Lunchboxes need something sweet tomorrow and there is only one way that is going to happen. So I'm off to make the sticky cinnamon buns that everyone loves so much and I'm not even going to eat any.

Initial Heart Swap- thanks

Thank you to Cheryll for organising a lovely swap to start the year off. My partner Lisa sent me such a lovely little parcel. A pillow which has my initial on it so neither of my girls can claim it, some pretty pink embroidery threads and some sugar-free sweets. Lisa didn't know this but I am watching what I eat at the moment and am not eating anything chocolate-y or too naughty so these are perfect. If you look carefully, you can see that I have opened them. YUM!

Lisa has a lovely blog that is very much worth a visit.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

FNwF Catch Up and other stuff

Thanks Cheryll for a fun night of creativity for Friday Night with Friends. I almost wore my hand and eyes out writing letters to put in my decorated envelopes. I had fun and I hope all the other friends did too. If you'd like to see what everyone else got up to, then click here.

I can now show what I made for the Valentine's Initial Heart Swap because Sue has received and opened her gift. Along with a few purchased items- chocolates, tea towel, fat quarter- I made Sue a candle mat with a red heart. I really liked the design which I found on Pinterest. I added a gift tag made with denim. I really like it and Sue says she does too which is most important.

Now back to it. The asparagus bed will not weed itself. I know this because I have been waiting for it to do so.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cooking &c

The garden is busy giving me plenty to cook. Definitely no complaints from me, it's one of the reasons why I garden.

Pickled cucumbers (which aren't pictured) have made no dent in the glut. I've also made some of my tomato sauce and some sweet mustard pickles. I think sweet mustard pickles are old fashioned and delicious and they are the favourite of the moment. I checked back through my records and I don't think I've shared my recipe so I'll do just that in the next few day. Though it is most likely just like most other sweet mustard pickles and I will just be wasting valuable world wide web space. Oh well!

 I also did some cooking outside my comfort zone. Corned beef! I had a package of corned beef in the freezer from our steer we butchered last year. I haven't eaten corned beef since I left my parents' home over two decades ago and I have certainly never cooked it. I was clueless apart from remembering my mother simmering it for quite some time. I did consult The Common Sense Cookery Book and the CWA cook book and between them and Kimmie's sister's recipe, I came up with a winner.

Meat and four veg and cheese sauce. Not our usual type of fare but it was good for something different and Jodie's glaze made it a bit special. This type of dinner won't be on my regular menu but I probably won't wait another 23years to make it.

It hasn't been all sweating over hot, simmering  pots. I've been sewing too. Just a quick and easy bag for wrapping a birthday gift for a penpal. I bought the fabric at Spotlight and I think it is just perfect for a postcard writing enthusiast, which she is. I like it very much too and I think I might just make something for myself with the leftovers.

And tonight is Friday Night with Friends it being the first Friday of the month. Hooray! What to make? I think this time I'll be leaving the sewing machine dormant and making some mail art instead.

Bye for now

Monday, February 2, 2015

Garden Share

Hard to believe that the first month of 2015 is behind us now. I'm guessing that could be because it is summertime and time does seem to pass by quicker than it does in the colder months.
The garden is enjoying the milder, wetter summer that we have had this season and so am I. It's so much easier to work when it isn't too hot. Our top temperature here on our farm in the New England was 36.9 degC which is pleasant for summer. The minimum was 11.3deg C which is quite good too. January's rain total was 130.5mm and I would love for this trend to continue because everything grows so much better with rainfall.

The zucchini plants are growing quite well. Not too many are getting away from me and becoming giants. I planted this yellow one later so it's just coming on now and I'm glad. The colour alone is enough of a reason to grow it.

Cucumbers are slightly out of control. This one plant of Large White has at least 10 cucumbers needing to be picked today. I made some pickled cucumbers this morning but I still think the chickens may have to assist with disposing of the excess. That's ok, I have to feed them anyway, it might as well be organic vegetables that cost me not much more than my own effort.

 The Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumbers / cucamelons aren't helping with the cucumber glut any. These little gems however are a perfect snack while working in the vegie patch. Crisp, crunchy and just slightly sour.

 Eggplants are performing well this summer. I did sow a number of other varieties but all of my colourful aubergines didn't germinate this time around. The purple/ black ones are delicious enough but I'm going to try extra hard next spring to grow some of the white and green varieties.

 The milder temperatures and conditions means we have peas and beans at the same time. Usually I grow my peas over the winter but there are many self-sown peas in the garden not only growing but thriving and producing a small but welcome crop.

Snake beans are the bean of the moment.

I don't think I planted much in the vegetable garden in January. If I did, I can't remember. I did plant a number of native shrubs along the driveway to satisfy the planting bug.

In February I'll be sowing:
  • beetroot
  • carrots
  • radish
  • lettuces
  • swedes and turnips
  • chard
  • Asian greens
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • leeks and onions
  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  •  herbs
  • corn
  • zucchini
  • capsicum
  • chillies
  • beans
  • peas
  • eggplant
  • cucumber
  • honey
To-do in February
  • weeding
  • seed sowing
  • mowing
  • compost turning
  • preserving the summer harvest
The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably.
The Garden Share Collective runs on the first Monday of each Month

Thanks for the inspiration to share my garden