Sunday, 21 June 2009

Solstice today

It is the shortest day of the year today.  We will soon be back on the way to summer and the chickens will be back "on the lay."
It's been a busy few days...  a trip to Adelaide on Thursday... for a meeting that might lead to a real Transition Town movement in South Australia.
On Friday I went to a clearing sale in Tanunda.  I wanted a lawn mower,  but the prices were much too high.  Instead I found a flue kit (for the "modern" fire place when it moves to the studio in the shed),  a tiny Hibachi grill that will be perfect for inside barbecues (I have a chimney above the kitchen stove) and best of all, some garden tools (several home made) including two hoes!  Just look at  this lot for $18.  I am so happy with these.
On Saturday, after a trip to the Barossa market, I sat in the Tanunda gallery for most of the day. It turned out to be the "volunteers morning tea" day and so I caught up with a lot of Barossa people....  more of that in the next few weeks,  I think.  I bought a few things at the market that I can't get in Kapunda,  including grass fed meat,  potatoes from the potato man (I've run out here) and some carrots, garlic and onions.
Today (solstice sunday) I went to a talk by a woman who is encouraging people to grow their own vegetables for health, sustainability and food security reasons... a woman after my own heart.  I didn't learn much new information,  but it's good to see how many people are growing food around here.  
I had been so busy that I had hardly checked my vegetables in the last couple of days.  With the current cool and occasionally rainy weather, I haven't had to watch  things very closely. But look what I found....
.... these are the first jonquils to flower this year.  It will be interesting to see if they always flower at the solstice!  The perfume is wonderful and they are so lovely when there are few flowers around.
I also picked a few vegetables.  Here are those pieces of broccoli that have grown as side shoots from those that we ate a couple of weeks ago.  I have four cauliflowers to pick, but I'll leave  the others til tomorrow when  I have time to freeze them.
The broad beans are flowering still.  Look at these red flowers now!  If they keep this up,  we should have plenty of beans... I'll keep them for seed, as I only have a few of this variety...
...and the black and white flowers are getting underway too.  These are my standby crop.  We have plenty of these most years and I save seed from year to year also.  
Broad beans are a wonderful crop...  young leafy tips are good in a leafy stirfry, the baby beans are good whole,  then, as they get bigger,  you can eat the individual beans when they are out of the pod.  Then, when you can't keep up with them,  you can freeze or bottle them (those are good in risotto later), and finally,  when all else fails,  the last beans ripen and dry on the stalks and these are for seed (for the following year)  though if there are too many,  they are good in winter soup.  
These are also the beans that can be ground up to make falafel (with spices etc added.) Every year I plant still more, hoping to get to the falafel stage,  but so far, up to 10 sq m of beans haven't produced enough for that (...remembering that I try to save more seed each year) but perhaps 2009 will be the year... we'll see...

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