Saturday, November 28, 2015

Flowers and letters

With the hot weather I have been spending the middle of the day writing cards and letters. I have a backlog to catch up on so it's good to have an excuse to sit and write. A migraine (perhaps brought on by my messy writing area) on Thursday didn't help me any but that's history now. I have to say though that I'm letting my mail art slip for the time being and it's plain envelopes all round. If I have your address, keep an eye on your mailbox.
I've been planning another short trip too and preparing the garden for the summer. Mulch, mulch and more mulch. It's working so far.
Today I picked the first zucchinis and a cherry tomato (hard to share a cherry tomato). The last of the older spring onions and a large carrot that needs to become a part of a carrot cake. I didn't pick any flowers, I just enjoyed them in situ.

Helichrysum  which surprisingly I have never grown before. This variety is native to Australia and hardy and completely sweet. Why did I grow them this year? Well, I became a tragic fan of The Big Allotment Challenge via Youtube and the contestants grew them so I did too. I'm glad I have them, they are really cute little flowers so far.

There are different dahlias opening up each day. Note to myself, I need to move some out of the vegetable garden next year. They take up so much room. The vegetable garden dahlias far outshine those in other areas of the garden because it is the area that receives all the attention and pampering. Maybe I shouldn't move them at all. ;-)
Have a great weekend

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Well, Blogger (or my likely my internet connection) isn't playing along today so no pictures from me. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures and a proper post (hopefully).

Monday, November 23, 2015

Flowers and honey

Hive inspections this week and there is plenty of honey. This afternoon's job is honey extraction. That's  a sticky job and lots of handle cranking. I like to extract each hive's honey separately to see if there are any differences. My hive, the pink one, usually has a darker honey with a stronger taste. I'm not a honey lover but it is my favourite honey. Of course.

Our recent foray into mead making looks like a success. The mead taster (not teetotaller me) says it's good but needs some aging. Well it's a way to use any honey we don't consume or sell and I like an experiment.

I'm not surprised that the honey supers are full. There are a lot of flowers and quite a choice for the bees at the moment. There are some eucalypts in flower (the type I have no idea but wish I did), vegetables and ornamentals. Good for the plants and good for the bees.

The first sunflower is open. A volunteer from last year's plants and most welcome.

Lovely little purple flowers on the Purple King bean. They are really nice beans to grow and eat. My only complaint would be that the beans turn green when cooked and don't keep their lovely purple vibrancy.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hot as

 I think this might be the last of the green views for a while. This heat wave that we are having is drying everything out and the paddocks all around are starting to brown off. Closer to town is much worse than here. Forty degree heat makes me yearn for cooler climes or at the very least a day at the beach.

Watering is a daily task now. I'm not complaining, I have the water to spare on a vegetable garden... for now. Picked a basket of strawberries for jam and sowed some corn seeds today. Yesterday I went to the garden centre for more tomato stakes and in a surprising move, I walked out without even looking at any plants. I think anything planted right now would struggle to settle in with the heat.

While it is super hot during the day I've been writing letters and cards and today I squeezed in an episode of Wartime Farm. I borrowed the DVDs from the library and they are well worth a look if you are a history buff who likes a bit of gardening and farming like myself. Tough times for sure and makes you look at any wasteful habits you might have. Time is the commodity I am most wasteful with and I hope I can do better and spend my time wisely. I did multitask while I was watching the DVD.

Right, things to do.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Busy -too busy actually


It may be the time of the year but probably not because there always seems to be a lot to do. I am busy at home and away from home as well. It's a very common tale, I hear it all the time.


I have actually been feeling a bit stressed about some of the things that have to be done or worse should have already been done. Yesterday I lifted a big weight off my shoulders by just sitting down and doing the online work I needed to do. So I'm breathing easier today and I'm all set for a bit of pampering and preening before going out tonight.

Gardens are growing well and I'm glad to say that I am on top of the maintenance in the vegetable garden at least. Planting every day. Weeding every day. Just a little bit every day works best for me.

Flanders poppy

Some of the Flanders poppies are still looking good but I collected seed yesterday and pulled out quite a lot of them. I need the space for edible things. The soil where the poppies were needs some attention too so today I'll spread some compost and water it all deeply. Oh I wish I had more compost, I just can't make enough.

Now I do need to get going. Mail to get organised, work to do, ducks who are telling me it's breakfast time and so on.

Hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the flowers that are delighting me in the garden right now.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Planting today

Fresh out of the garden today. Carrots. An heirloom mix which will go in tonight's dinner of honey roasted carrot risotto. I usually make a roasted pumpkin risotto but all of last summer's pumpkins are gone. So carrots it is. Actually risotto kind of lends itself all kinds of flavours as long as you stick to the basic formula of rice, white wine and stock.

That's what came out of the ground today along with some underwhelming garlics. Into the ground went:
  • 5 Amish Paste tomatoes
  • 6 Diggers Mix tomatoes
  • 2 Black Bounty eggplants
  • 2 purple globe artichokes
  • petunias
  • snapdragons
  • 3 tomatillo plants
  • 12 sweet basil plants to keep the tomatoes company
I broke my favourite digging implement. Learnt that when it comes to hammering in tomato stakes I am not the ideal height. That just means I have had a good upper arm workout even before I roll out my yoga mat (if I can roll out my yoga mat).


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This week's menu

I missed cooking while I was away. The closest I came to meal preparation was peeling my bananas at breakfast time and making a cup of tea in the motel. This week though it's back in my own kitchen and relishing my time cooking. Baking, jam making and regular meals.

We did have some lovely meals while on holiday. Highlights were Lentil as Anything in Newtown, Mother Chu's on Pitt Street in Sydney and Au Lac Royal Vegetarian Cuisine in Wollongong. I stocked up on tea from T2 . The girls and I walked and walked and for more time than we would have liked, we walked in the rain.

My meal plan starts on a Monday but I've been too busy to post until now.

What's cooking this week:
  • Dhal and Vegetable curry (use soy sauce instead of fish sauce for vegetarian option)
  • Zucchini burgers
  • Gnocchi
  • Risotto
  • Potato and leek soup
  • Pasta with either a tomato based sauce or broccoli and garlic.
  • Eggs (we have so many)
Today I'm linking up with Cath for her weekly menu sharing post. Pop on over to have a look around.


Gardening and gardening and more gardening

When I say gardening, today I really mean tidying, weeding and hopefully planting (if I have time). Actually that is probably what gardening means all the time. It's nice and sunny outside today but not too hot so it was lovely working this morning. I also have 80 or so lavenders to deadhead which I am not so keen on doing. 
Principe Borghese tomato

I was surprised at how many tomatoes there are already. Of course they are all green and the potential for things to go awry before they are ready to eat is high but it's still nice to know they are there. And let myself daydream a little about how delicious they will be.

Strawberry- chandler

While I was away we had 45mm of rain here at home (I'm sure there was more in Sydney and Wollongong because I had to walk in it). That helped keep everything lush but it did cause the strawberries some grief. There must be a few kilograms to pick today but there are just as many or more that have rotted because I wasn't here to pick them when ready. That is really disappointing. I don't like waste.

The pink peony poppies which I received as a freebie from The Diggers Club were magnificent but I didn't take a picture. The seed heads are quite spectacular in their bizarre way too. I'll definitely be saving seeds from these to spread about the gardens.

The bees are crazy for the asparagus. Bright orange pollen bags and buzzing around in a blissful state. There must something special in asparagus pollen. I hope the baby bees like it.

Planting to do. I really don't want to count how many plants there are that NEED to be planted. At least 60 tomato plants. So I won't count them, I'll just plant them.

And just because today is Remembrance Day and I have Flanders poppies aplenty. I can spare a few packets of seeds that I have saved too if anyone is interested. Only within Australia and not to Tasmania or WA of course.


Monday, November 9, 2015

My garden is a jungle

I've been away hence the lack of posts. To Sydney and Wollongong and back to my overgrown garden. well I did say I wanted a food forest.

Like with all trips away, there seems to be lots of catching up to do at home so I might still be missing for a day or two while I get things sorted.

It's good to be home.