Thursday, May 28, 2015

Plant labelling

I like to know what I've got growing in the garden. I have it all written down in a book so I can look at that and for the most part I remember what is what but sometimes I don't. Especially if I have been on a seed sowing spree.
I can and have spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest looking at pretty ways to make labels and markers for plants but the reality is I don't actually follow through with all of those wonderful ideas I pin. One maybe but most likely never. I know me very well. I don't spend too much time on titivation.

I've tried the stamped spoons and I like these very much especially when I take my time and do it properly.

Lately I've been writing on stones with permanent marker. I liked this idea when I first did it but the permanent marker hasn't turned out to be too permanent on the rock surface.

I always come back to ice block sticks. They are easy to be had. The permanent marker stays put even in the rain. They aren't pretty but they are practical and that's what matters most.

The ugliest markers I have at the moment are some reused disposable plastic cutlery. The handles are just right for writing on but you know what? The birds think they are a plaything and pull them out of the dirt. Either that or someone here  is trying to mess with my thinking. I hope it is the birds.

If you have an idea that is pretty and practical and most importantly quick, I'd love to know.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Ballet

Apologies if I lured anyone here with the idea that they might be reading or seeing something that involves pirouettes or plies or classical dancing of any kind. I'm talking about Spandau Ballet. What can I say, I'm an 80s girl through and through and fortunately for me I have a partner in my time warp- Grace. I do like other music but 80s music is by far my favourite. 
Pre-concert excitement

 Recently we spent the whole weekend in Sydney and all because our favourite 80s band, Spandau Ballet, was in town. What a wonderful weekend it was too.

We got our tickets early via the fan page so our seats were good. Very good. The music was loud and the show spectacular. I'd definitely go again even if it was next week. I don't think I'd have a choice really. 

Saturday night we spent at Darling Harbour. Yes it's a bit touristy but that's what I am in Sydney now, a tourist. Years ago I worked there right in the thick of the city at Sydney Hospital and you become blasé about the beauty of the city when you see it day in and day out. Now I see it. Even the construction site has some sort of visual appeal to me. As long as they don't mess with those gorgeous historic buildings that are peppered around the busy streets.

And how nice of Darling Harbour to put on fireworks for us on Saturday night. I'm sure the girls thought it was a special event but apparently they are on every Saturday night. I put aside my personal feelings about the environmental impact of fireworks and such and just enjoyed the show.

It really is a nice spot and so busy. My two country girls thought there would be nothing happening once it got dark because nothing much happens here once it's dark, not much is open. They were surprised. It's busier after dark than during the day. That's the city. They want to go back.

Even Tim got something out of the trip. A shopping spree at the beekeeping supplies shop. Wow!

Now I really am going to stay close to home for a while. No more trips until the next one... I promise.


Monday, May 25, 2015

700th post

Completely unrelated bee picture

Blogger tells me that this is my 700th post and I'm not going to argue with them nor am I going to check to see if their calculations are accurate. It's a large number but a prolific blogger I am not. Often I compose posts in my head but they never make it to the point of publishing for whatever reason. Probably there are some or even many of the 699 past posts that shouldn't have either.

And another one

The big round number did make me contemplative though. Why do I blog? Should I keep blogging? What direction should the blog take? Just like a mid-life crisis only more trivial and not like it at all.

Well I can't tell you why I blog exactly but I can guess. Probably the same reason I like letter-writing. I get to ramble on without interruption about whatever I like (within reason). You also get to see the better side of me. The industrious me who I would like to be more often than I actually am. The nicer me.

Should I keep blogging? Probably not. I should spend less time on the computer. But you know what? I'm going to keep at it anyway. I like writing and that counts for a lot. Moreover I like the connection with all of you out there. I have made some wonderful friends here.

What direction will the blog take? Who knows? I don't. More of the same and then some. I have so many notions and hare-brained ideas in my head at any given time. It's not all gardening and cooking and craft and so on.

Well, that's it for today. I have a trip to town to make.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Shhh, I'm at the library

No need to shh really, libraries aren't really like that anymore. Are they? I'm at the library waiting for my family. Apparently they had to go shopping because the calendar says it is Mother's Day on Sunday and they like to obey those kind of dictates and they also like a last minute shop.

The library is a good place to be, it's not too noisy just the tapping of computer keys. The internet here is free and fast and very popular. A baby has been crying too. Not that tantrum kind of crying, a proper sad cry that hurts a bit. I don't like that sound.

Now I am going to do my very best to squeeze in as much reading as I can.
Bye for now

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Today- Wednesday

Russian/ Elephant garlic

 Planting out those Russian garlic bulbs with grand hopes for a bumper harvest in the spring/summer. My hand is not a big one but these are also known as Elephant Garlic and are rather impressive. I want to try one in some cooking but I only bought two (why?) so I've planted both. It is also apparently the time for planting root crops according to moon phase planting. I don't know.

Pumpkins still growing

Kind of hoping and wishing that the pumpkins just stop trying to grow any more fruit. I have enough ripening on the vines and these won't make it to a stage that is worthwhile except as animal feed. Which I suppose is worthwhile in itself. Ok, keep growing pumpkins.

Nibbled cabbages

And I have a pest. I don't know if it is a bird or rabbit or possum or what that is taking bites out of my cabbages and other plants. I'll put some blood and bone out to deter the rabbits and possums and if it keeps happening, I'll put out something shiny to scare off the birds. If that fails, I'll tear my hair out and give up.

Gotta get my bed made so I can lie in it. It's fresh off the line sheets today. Yay!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Garden Share

It is an absolutely lovely time of the year to have a garden. The pressures of summer weeding and intensive work in the garden are over for a few months. More time to enjoy just being outside without the sun making things unbearable.
Bed 3- Herb garden

In April we had 70mm of rain which I think is just about perfect. Minimum temperature of 6deg C and maximum of 32.5deg C (measured on my sheltered veranda). Temperatures like that mean that the some summer things are still hanging on but will definitely be ready for the compost heap or the chooks soon.

Rainbow chard
 Harvesting: This is the only time of the month that I really look at my overall harvests and I'm always surprised at the variety of goodies in the garden.
  • honey- lots of honey
  • pumpkins
  • zucchini
  • chard
  • chillies
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • capsicum
  • chillies
  • strawberries
  • citrus
  • herbs
  • flowers
  • potatoes
  • cucumbers
 Planting: While I was away I did buy a few things to plant. An Egyptian walking onion plant and a couple of Russian garlic bulbs. I hope I can grow them as well here as the grower I bought them from on the coast, they are huge and very interesting.
  • carrots
  • leafy things - lettuce, rocket, Asian greens and so on
  • brassicas
  • broad beans- yum
  • peas and snow peas
  • rainbow chard
  • radish
  • beetroot
  • and things I don't remember

Warrigal greens

The Warrigal greens are threatening to take over an entire garden bed. I do like my greens but we can't keep up with them. I chopped them back to make way for some leeks and it only encouraged them. I think they are my final frontier in converting Hope into a veg lover. She has come over to my side and is enjoying chickpeas and lentils and all manner of veg but green things are proving harder to sell. I'm sure cheese will be key ingredient  in selling her on them.

Yellow-podded pea plants

Peas are reaching for the sky. Some have been patchy in their germination. The freebie dwarf snow peas I received from Diggers of course because I only had a handful of those. I guess that batch will be for seed saving... mostly. You have to taste test to make sure you really want to grow that variety again right?


I like it when the weeds start earning their keep too. The nettles are looking lush. It's the cooler temperatures and the rain. I make nettle soup for the two who enjoy that (not me) but it's the gnocchi and pasta I like. I made nettle beer last year just because I could and from all reports it is a nice refreshing drop similar to a pale ale of some description (I wouldn't know).

To do:
  • compost
  • tidying up- Biggest Morning Tea is coming up
  • planting
  • taking things a bit easier
Happy gardening
Garden Share happens on the first Monday of each month. Hosted by Lizzie. It's a friendly collaborative with a focus on sharing and encouragement. What could be better?

Sunday, May 3, 2015


I've been on the road again. For someone who claims to be a homebody I do think I'm out and about more than I should be. Perhaps I like an adventure more than I realise. This time I went to Coffs Harbour which is a really nice drive of four or so hours through the tablelands and then through some spectacular rainforest country.

First stop at Uralla. This café is newish and I've been before by myself but this time I took my travel companion, Tim for a cuppa. It's quite a nice place to stop and I do like old churches made over into something new.

Then  through Dorrigo and down the winding road to Bellingen.I think I fell a little bit in love with Bellingen, it is my kind of town. Plenty of lovely architecture, a fantastic wholefoods store, cafes galore and completely charming.

Stormy beach

Then there was Coffs Harbour itself. Nice but maybe just a little too busy and built-up for my liking. I did enjoy the choice of restaurants though and the markets on Thursday morning are great. Plenty of local fruit and vegetables to choose from fresh from the farms. Bananas... yum.

It was only an overnight trip and there was some work involved but it was a lovely sojourn. I hardly had a chance to miss home. We did manage to get out of Coffs and back over the mountains before the worst of their wet weather hit. Now I think I'll stay put for a couple of weeks at least.