Monday, 31 August 2009

Mothers and babies for Fiona

This morning I went to the launch of a Barossa Infrastructure Ltd launch of a pipe network that will use reclaimed water for the irrigation of vines. Penny Wong made her speech, the local dignitaries were acknowledged (even LRC councillors) and photographers had a field day... and then the minister's car had to be un-bogged! It had rained, and the ground was boggy and slippery... she was not amused.
My car (the van) was a bit slidy also, so I got a push as well.

On the way home, I detoured to see a couple of properties that are involved in development applications this week... killing two birds with one stone.
These lambs were quite near the Roseworthy school, and while not friendly, were used to people walking along the street and didn't take off when I got out of the car, as many of the larger flocks do.

Dear Fiona,
I saw these lambs with their mothers.
All of the lambs had dark brown faces and legs....
They were eating and eating and eating! They will grow fast.
Love from Nanna Jane

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Spring again

After another 7 or 8 mm of rain overnight and the past few really cold days, it feels like spring again this morning.
The pink flowers (I have forgotten their name) are everywhere now. I don't weed them out as they seem to attract bees.

They are even amongst the vegetables here... kale leeks and silver beet.

I finally found a rue flower. As I have written previously, I like rue, even the smell. So do some kinds of flies. They sit inside these flowers once the summer is underway...

Lavender is flowering. This one is a French lavender... amazing perfume and the bees love it. John saw the bees swarming the other day, so they must be eating well.

And finally, a little bean on the red flowering ones. These were planted earliest, flowered later, and now have beans later. The other seeds were all produced in this garden though and are presumably better acclimatised. I will keep all of the seeds from these. I only had 20 seeds, and only 12 germinated. I'll plant more next year. I'm not sure what to expect from these.

This is young celery (below). I photographed it some months ago (with a pottery chimney pot over it) and this is what it looks like now. I took the chimney pot off to compare the covered and uncovered ones... well, in the left is a normal looking celery (like the ones in the shops) though is is still qhite young and needs some more feeding with my stinging nettle fertiliser. On the right is one that has been in the sun all the time. It is healthy, but the stalks are not very long, and that is the part that we normally eat. In fact, I use this sort for any kind of soup, stew or flavouring, but the covered one is producing the pale long stalks with wheich we are familiar. If you look carefully, there is one behind this that is tall, but greener. This one wasn't covered properly, though it is surrounded by pots and plants... it's tall, though not as pale. I need some more dark coloured "down-pipe" before next summer... or sewer pipe. Notice the other chimney pot behind the short celery. I have two of these.

These are the broad beans near the back fence. They are healthier than the first producers (no black spot!) and are flowering beautifully. On the left is a huge bushy melaleuca that I regularly consider chopping down. This year we have had a lot of winter storms with wind from the SE (cold) and this bushy windbreak is too useful. It's not planned this way. The previous owner seems to have randomly planted whatever came to hand. This one is useful though... protecting these tall bean plants from potentially destructive wind.

One of the last striped chioggia beets.... beautiful looking, and tasting axactly the same as the dark red ones... I have some more seeds for these... from an Italian seed company. I usually buy Australian seeds (or save my own) but I've found that for some varieties this is the best source and the seeds have a good rate of germination.
... and plenty of fennel. I'll be looking for some fennel recipes soon. That closest one is actually very large, though this is the side on view. They seem to grow in any direction. I suppose it has something to do with which way the seed lay when it was sown, rather than any geographical or environmental influences.
I also noticed the little radish plants. I put a little row of these in the pot that I'd taken the cauliflowers from. I gave them some blood and bone, as there wouldn't have been much food left there after those big caulis were produced. These are the heritage multicolour seeds and, while not a radish addict, I can't wait to see what they look like!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Gardening and harvesting... and skype!

I had planned to catch up on some washing this morning (after spending most of the week at meetings) but overnight we had 11 mm of rain and there have been a few more showers this morning. I'll have to do it tomorrow because next week will be busy also. I'll light the big fire if I need to... to get the essentials dry.

I have been out picking vegetables. They keep producing whether I'm here or not...
And here they are....
  • 5lbs 10oz (about 2.5kg) of potatoes (two or three kinds)
  • a large bunch of coriander (you can never have too much coriander!)
  • a bunch of spring onions (I thinned a row of "real" onions... I suppose this is why they are called "spring onions."
  • four small leeks ( 9oz/250g)
  • 4 x 4 oz bunches of broccoli (total is 1lb/450g) and the bunches are the right size for us for a meal with other stuff.
  • a handful of broad beans.
  • and the chooks laid a total of six eggs (among 13 of them!)
I am trying to keep account of how much I am producing. It's good to know how much we actually need.

I am quite proud of my broad beans. It is very early in the season for these. (Climate change!) They aren't very large yet, but as I've commented before, they taste good.
The potatoes are interesting today. The big round white ones are bandicooted from the same place as before, and a couple of extras from right down the back yard. I think these are sebago because their parents came from the supermarket (they went green in the kitchen.)
The yellowish ones that are long and skinny are kipfler potatoes, though these don't look as wierd as the one in the picture. (I have had some like that though.) Their origin is variously attributed to either Austria or The Netherlands, though I don't know for sure. They are really nice tasting potatoes, though they don't produce as much as some other varieties.
Potatoes are the easiest carbohydrate to grow, and so I do grow quite a lot of them, and different potatoes are better for different purposes.
There are also a couple of roundish ones that aren't so white and I think that these are either nicola or spunta (two other varieties that I have had for a couple of years... some of my bandicooted ones originated as lost potatoes when I dug them all up during the summer.)
I like growing potatoes, and most of the houses where I've lived have ended up with a potato crop. They are a good vegetable for beginners too. This is because they are easy to plant, are forgiving of conditions, as long as they have a handful of "blood and bone" and enough water; and because digging up a nice big potato (or even a few small ones) that is/are easy to cook and good to eat is usually enough encouragement to continue with food gardening and venturing into a more varied diet. Potatoes are one vegetable that is so much nicer when fresh.
They are also one of the vegetables that are contaminated with pesticides and chemicals.
They are also less valuable nutritionally than they used to be.
In Canada, Andre Picard reported some years ago when discussing modern agricultural methods and human health....
"Take the potato, by far the most consumed food in Canada. The average spud has lost 100 per cent of its vitamin A, which is important for good eyesight; 57 per cent of its vitamin C and iron, a key component of healthy blood; and 28 per cent of its calcium, essential for building healthy bones and teeth. It also lost 50 per cent of its riboflavin and 18 per cent of its thiamine. Of the seven key nutrients measured, only niacin levels have increased."
Thomas F Pawlick, the Canadian author of "The End of Food" also referred to Picard's investigation, and added the extra information about the amount of pesticides and herbicides that are also contained (in increasing quantities) in our food. His point in looking at these two co-incident events is that, with increasing chemicals and the reduction in nutrients, how long before we cease to consider these materials to be food?
Thomas Pawlick, Author, The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply - And What We Can Do About It (Kingston, Ontario.)
A veteran newspaper and magazine journalist with more than 30 years experience in Canada and abroad, Thomas has taught at both Canadian and foregin universities and colleges. The End of Food exposes the cause of the food crisis--an industrial system of food production geared not toward producing nourishing food, but maximum profit for corporations. Thomas is currently on leave from his position as Associate Professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Regina. Following the book achieving best-seller status, the University cut his salary, cut his research funding, removed him from email lists, and removed all copies of his book from the shelves of the campus book store. Thomas Pawlick is currently restoring a small scale organic farm north of Kingston, Ontario with his son.(see Deconstructing Dinner, April 5th, 2007)
In fact, Pawlick advocates rejecting the current food production system that produces food for profit rather than nutrition. He is an investigative science journalist and an organic farmer.

And so, deciding what we'll have for dinner at night can be quite a decision and it all depends upon what is in the garden. Tonight's dinner will definitely include potatoes.
I will also be blanching some of the broccoli to freeze, ready for the summer when the heat might make the garden much less productive.

And now to Skype... here is my view of Ben and Charlotte last night. It took a while to get the system working, but what fun we had!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Home again

I took one last picture of the boys and their toys as I left the conference earlier this afternoon. It has been a good meeting. Climate issues and the implications for the council business has finally made it onto the agenda... at least in the LGA, if not my own council meetings.
I travelled home via a few second hand shops. I am looking for a soap saver, and can't find one anywhere. I will eventually find a way to make one if I can't find one. I also stopped in Tarlee at the Four Leaf Mill for some flour, rolled oats and some wheat. I also bought some of theirEgyptian Gold flour. It's interesting that people who have gluten intolerance don't seem to have the same problem with this and some other old fashioned grains.
When I arrived home I found thsi pile of wood in the yard... ready to cut for next winter.
My first thing to do was to look all around the yard, and see whether my potatoes (planted last weekend) might have emerged. They haven't. But the "horta" plants have emerged. There are two different patches with a variety of seeds in them. I don't know which are which yet... I'll be watching.

The second apricot tree is flowering also. I am surprised that this has survived. It was partly dug out by the bob cat when the patch was being smoothed out for the tank. It is flowering at a very different time from the other one that I planted. This one is self sown, an I have no idea whether it needs another one for cross pollination.
I went to check out the other fruit trees. The apple trees haven't set any buds yet. I think that this is because we didn't have any really cold nights... no frosts to speak of at all, during the winter.

The peach blossom.... almost there.
And all around the trees, the rocket (arugula) is flowering wildly. There will be even more next year.
The watsonia is flowering also... two colours. It is a weed, but looks good.
Snow drops... I've been looking for these among the jonquils. They are always later, but a few things have their timing "off" this year... climate change?
A flowering cabbage...
Buds on the rue plant...

I found another flowering acacia under the gum trees. There are a number of native plants under these trees and this one is close to the neighbour's shed. I put it there to stop the dogs running through the gap. It is quite large now...
... and look at the prickles... it is so spikey... and the dogs don't run through there.
While I was poking around the plants under the gum trees, I looked up and found this view... not like a redwood, but these trees are beautiful from here. These are very big trees.

Home again, and I'll see what else I need to do in the garden and in preparation for the exhibition opening next weekend.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Clare

This is my first "away from home" post. I am in Clare at the Local Government Roads and Works Conference, and I've found a way of getting my computer online!

It's been an interesting day, but tiring.

This morning I heard a report about the fires that burned in Victoria earlier this year. 172 people were killed and there was so much damage to all and everything. The Local Government was the agency that had to "man" the evacuation centres, find places to store the donations and even manage communications during the fire itself... not to mention getting water to refill the fire trucks... councils end up doing all sorts of things because they are there.... they even had to supply pillows (at 2am one morning) to the army when they finally arrived to help. I guess they don't travel with bedding!

The other highlight of the morning was how to manage lifetime costs of unsealed roads. Some of the city councillors didn't see the relevance, but as Kapunda still has less than 30% of the streets paved, let alone the more than 1000km of roads around the more rural part of the council district, I found this enlightening.
The different kinds of rubble and how they work was really amazing. That, and the frequency of grading can really affect the time that a roadway will last. All of this needs to be taken into account in terms of costs of road building and management of the asset over its lifetime. This is important information for councillors who need to make policy and decisions about spending the ratepayers money!

There was a whole other session about stormwater and waste water treatment and re-use. South Australia does well with this, and Kapunda is one of the "lowest use per capita" of any community, even in our council district. We do re-use our wastewater to irrigate the sports facilities, and some is sold to viticulture acreages. You can always learn more though and I'm on the committee that is looking at setting even better targets for our council, so I took note of any opportunities that might make that easier for us.

I learned about tenders and contracts and how to manage them, and where things go wrong... it seems that there is a lot of psychology in all of that! or bluffing!

Then we got onto waste and recycling and landfills! Councils are seen as being responsible for "roads, rates and rubbish" so I suppose that's only fair! Once again, South Australia is doing well, though with the government levy (tax) on landfills about to double again, and most landfills to close by July 2010, there is even more work to do.

All of these things are important and I take my decision making and policy setting responsibilities seriously. I am finding council to be hard work, but hopefully I can make a difference. Politics on a small scale, but most relevant to the community, whether it's looking after an emergency or maintaining "non-producing assets" (ie roads.)

This evening... dinner in the town hall!


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Busy with exhibitions, meetings, vegetables and bread

The wild and windy weather continues, but the rain is still most welcome. We had 9mm during last night, and more during today. I just don't like the cold that comes with it!

I have organised much of the information from last weekend (the transition event) and now I'm back to working on the exhibition that I'm organising for the Barossa Regional Gallery. The exhibition is going to be spectacular, and I'm confident about the opening... more or less... but there is still a lot to do.

The press release tha I sent to an assortment of local and Adelaide papers today.
PRESS RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Artist, Dennis Spiteri, will be in Tanunda at the Barossa Regional Gallery for the Sepember 6th opening of a stunning exhibition of his paintings.


Music has always been important to the artist and has informed his work over many years. Each of the series of paintings he has produced have had particular music at their core, beginning with his "Mass" in 1970 (inspired by Beethoven’s "Missa Solemnis"), to his current series "The Song of the Earth" in 2005.


Paintings from two series will be included in the Barossa exhibition.


The two paintings in the series, "Cambodia," express the horror and anger of what happened to the people of that country.


The series "Song of the Earth" had a long gestation period. The idea developed as the artist worked on his country property, planting thousands of trees. The sudden confrontation with nature, after years of being cloistered in city studios, was overwhelming. Mahler's Song of the Earth helped to give structure to the series.


The artist's studio in country Victoria doubles as a gallery in which he is able to exhibit his work which requires a dedicated space in order to accommodate the large size of the individual paintings. The Barossa Regional Gallery and South Australians are lucky to have this spectacular exhibition of paintings by Dennis Spiteri so close to home.


The exhibition will be opened by Angaston musician, Peter Brownridge at 2.00 pm on Sunday September 6th, 2009. The artist will be present.

The exhibition will continue until October 13th.


Artist's website: http://www.dennis-spiteri.com/


Barossa Regional Gallery

3 Basedow Rd,

Tanunda

I went to the gallery to meet the freight truck in the middle of the day and the paintings have all arrived safely. One more hurdle is conquered!

So that is what I'm preoccupied with just now...
... of course, that doesn't change the garden and vegetables scene... tonight we had bulghur with leeks and herbs, broccoli (of course) and lamb from the local butcher (he also has the local abbatoir, and "processes" local animals.)

There is a big bonus when you cook on a wood stove. It's easy to heat the oven once the hotplate is going. I just move the lever on my Giffhorn patent flue, and keep the fire going... and bake the bread. I mixed a batch of bread while I was getting dinner ready and it should cook slowly before bed time.
Here it is ready to go into the oven...
... this bread has soy grits in it... to increase the protein... an old recipe that I have been using for more than 30 years (that sounds like a long time, but it's true... I first began to use this recipe when protein was expensive in Newfoundland, back in 1972.) These loaves are in the oven right now and they smell good too.
And here are the biscuits that I made yesterday... they spread out a bit more than I'd planned, but they taste good... the glass jar distorts the image!

I still need to get to my own painting practice. I have several paintings that must be finished quite soon. I also have meetings to attend for the next three days. I have planned what I want to do... I need some quiet and undisturbed time, and that doesn't seem to be available until the weekend!
Tomorrow will be a meeting to revise policies for Carer's Link, and then a formal board meeting. I need to get back to Kapunda quickly to help with community garden negotiations.
On Thursday and Friday I will be attending a "Roads and Works" conference in Clare, SA. The agenda for that looks good. There are a number of climate change issues that should be covered... always good for a conservative council that doesn't quite accept that this is reality yet. It will be cold in Clare, but I have a warm sleeping bag (thanks Louise) and I'll be fine.

Morning update: Tuesday. Fresh bread for breakfast.
Notice the "TOP" on the side of the bread. This is due to the bread tin being a cast-off from the old "Tip-Top" bakery in Adelaide. John had been using it as a storage container in the shed, but I have retreived it and put it back into the bread making business!
I'm out of here! On my way to Nuriootpa.


Monday, 24 August 2009

Wild and windy morning for picking vegetables

I really like being at home. This morning is cold and the wind is blowing and I haven't lit the fire... it's even cold inside, but at least I can get "back to normal."

Of course, I went out to see the broad beans that had just formed on Thursday.
There is plenty to pick.... beetroot, broccoli and heaps of leafy stuff.... but here, on top, the piece de resistance.... three nice broad beans! OK, so not a meal yet, but we'll include them in our dinner tonight. (I resisted the temptation to eat them straight off the bush, without telling anyone that they're there, which is what often happens to the first few beans like this.)
In telling people about these beans, I've had quite a few comments about their lack of interest in broad beans. This has made me think.
Broad beans are not necessarily my all time favourite vegetable, but the first few for the season, when we haven't had them for such a long time, are really lovely. (By the end of the season, I'll be freezing them to add to risotto or the soup next winter.) I suppose this is a bit like people around here who compete to have tomatoes before Christmas day or the wine connoisseurs who gather annually for the first taste of the new vintage (Beaujolais nouveau, anyone?)

This reminds me of a fruit salad that I was offered at an event one day last week. I enjoyed it! It was made of fresh fruit cut evenly into small pieces so that I could fit an assortment of varieties onto the spoon, making every mouthful a combination of tastes that was hard to replicate exactly..... luxurious. Amongst the fruit, and decorating the top, were beautiful big, almost black cherries! Cherries don't grow in Australia at this time of the year. "The Australian cherry season extends from November, in most mainland States, through to late February in Tasmania, with the majority of the crop harvested during December and January in most areas. Fruit supplies are limited during the early and late parts of the season." (Dept of Trade doc.)
So here we are, in August, being served cherries that must have come from somewhere in the northern hemisphere... maybe the west coast of the United States or China (they seem to be getting in on our food market more and more lately.) Another difficulty that I have with this is that there are lovely healthy alternatives for us.... many citrus fruits are in season now, and fresh local options are so much better. It is just that in the back of our minds, somewhere there is the feeling of wishing for those first cherries that appear during a relatively short season. We have been conditioned to anticipate and wait for those cherries... they are special! We are "hanging out" for that first taste of cherries in the summer as Christmas approaches.
Those first cherries are expensive too. There is competition for them when they are still in short supply. I am certain that these cherries in winter, served as a part of my fruit salad, were expensive also. We can be convinced to pay the extra cost of eating fruits like this out of season because they are so special and because we have been trained to anticipate these fruits. Perhaps this is an evolutionary advantage also. The interest in novel and good tasting foods probably increases the likelihood of finding any trace elements, vitamins and amino acids that we need to include in our diets for optimum health. Corporations and advertisers seem to discover any of those evolutionary traits that enable them to manipulate us, even if it's to our long term detriment or loss.
The unintended consequence of this enticement is the extinguishing of that anticipation that enhances the enjoyment of the cherries... or the tomatoes, or the asparagus or even my broad beans!
I don't like the "food miles" or the wasted energy and the push towards a chaotic energy descent option, but even more, I begrudge the pleasure that has been taken from so many of us. No longer the wait for ripe juicy cherries... you can pay the price and have them flown in from across the world.
"Fresh and local" doesn't imply any kind of deprivation.... far from it! There is even more enjoyment when the frisson of anticipation is added to the mix. After all, it even makes broad beans into an anticipated luxury, hard to resist eating straight from the bush without telling anyone.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Transition

I have been to the transition/permaculture/networking weekend at the Food Forest. There is a lot of information to collate but I am too tired to deal with it until tomorrow.
During the workshopping, it was odd to realise that the time that we are talking about... twenty years from now... 2029... means that I'll be 82... a bit of a shock! It seems old, but then, 62 probably seems old to some people!

This was also the first time that my campervan has been back on the road since the disastrous Gilgandra incident (the blown head gasket) happened. It is so good to have it back. Life's good!

Home again and back to the real world... painting this week!



Friday, 21 August 2009

Food Forest

This morning was spent catching up on some of the mess in the kitchen left from pasty cooking last night. Later I caught up with a Burra friend who was looking for Kapunda artists and galleries. I was conscious of the fact that I still had to be ready to get to Gawler in the afternoon... just as well it isn't all that far and the speed limit is 110 all the way!

Finally, in the afternoon, John and I drove to the Food Forest to do some last minute preparations for the Transition Town weekend. I had to deliver some food and some stuff for the workshop part of the weekend. The food forest is a beautiful place. We arrived to find no one else there...

About 45 minutes later, after looking around the area near to the facility that we're going to use, several of our friends walked out of the forest... then another arrived by car....
We set up the tables and chairs ready for the morning and did some planning about how it will be run.

Then the six of us went to Cafe Nova for dinner, in Gawler.
It's late, I'm tired and it's time to sleep and be ready for tomorrow's event.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Sunshine and broad beans

The predicted showers this morning are nowhere to be seen, and it definitely feels like spring outside now... and smells like it too. Here, spring smells like flowers and the plants that grow.
The smell of spring makes me think of spring in Canada. Where the summer and autumn plants are frozen in time, so to speak, and everything is on hold for the winter, the spring is quite different. It smells like rotting vegetation, not for long, as the long days and melting snow lets everything grow fast. However, as the snow melts the lost mittens, missing toques and dog poo all appear in random places wherever they were blown....
Here spring gives the last of the winter vegetables, sprouting spring plants and the perfume of flowers.... despite the fact that it is only August, and still officially winter!
Weeds.... including watsonia, sour sobs (oxalis), rocket (arugula) and a few feral olive trees...
I found some broad beans this morning...
... and some that are respectably big that I must have missed in the past feew days. We should have our first "broad bean" meal by the end of the week. When they are small like this, we eat the whole thing... like ordinary green beans.
As I checked around the garden this morning I found a lot of broccoli that I had missed last night. I got home late enough that it was dark when I went to collect food for dinner.
We did have enough, but I didn't realise how much was out there. I'll collect it later today.

Pasta with broccoli and creamy sauce (or whatever is in the garden!)
I fried an onion and the broccoli (chopped) gently until the broccoli was half cooked.
On my stove, one can't turn the heat down, so I put it to the side of the stove. Perhaps that is where the saying comes from... "to set it aside."
Then I mixed a cup of solid cream (from our local dairy in Greenock) and several backyard eggs, and pepper and stirred it in.... it melts and mixes in with the vegetables to make a creamy sauuce. I didn't add any salt because I planned to add parmesan cheese (Mil-lel, from Mt Gambier) and that is a little bit salty already and too much of a good thing is probably not the way to go.
And here it is with the cheese and noodles stirred through. (I cooked the pasta while I chopped the vegetables and made the sauce.

Not the best photo in the world, but it gives you the idea, and this is another "instant dinner" for when I get home late. (I had been to an executive meeting of Carer's Link in Nuriootpa.)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Fiona's lambs

This has been a project. Fiona is "into" mothers and babies, and of course when lambs started appearing everywhere, my plan was to take a photograph for her... not so easy. Whenever I stopped the car near a group of ewes and lambs, they would all take off... and any picture would be rear ends in the distance...
Today, I saw this flock of sheep, on the outskirts of town... and the mother with twins among them.... both of them looking for a drink, by the look of it! I took this picture through the windscreen.



Thirty-eight today!

No, not me! Ben is 38 years old today!
He was born such a long time ago. We had no television (and I'd never seen a colour one) supermarkets were new, the car was a brand new VW beetle and the Vietnam war still raged, and Ben was two days old in this photograph.
It doesn't seem surprising to me that I should be in my sixties, but it is a real surprise that Ben should be 38! As they say, "it seems like only yesterday" or even "time flies when you're having fun" or some such cliche, but in fact, it is all true.
Those nights when you're walking around with a "chicken-poxy" baby or staying awake for a teenager to come home (because you do go to bed and pretend to sleep) are definitely outweighed by the sports days, the first drawings, the discovery anew of the things that you've always known or the transformation into a new father (or mother.)
This photograph (below), taken in the northern summer of 1973 in Labrador, Canada, shows the beginnings of the nerdy behaviour that was to follow! Notice the socks and sandals! The electronic equipment was not a laptop! It is a two way radio for communication in remote regions.
I am very proud of all of my children, and I always think of them on their particular birthdays (I was there, after all!) and each of them still never ceases to amaze me.





Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Pasties and potatoes

Last night, after dinner was ready, and while the oven was still hot, I prepared some pastry and vegetables from the garden and I made some pasties. John will have some for dinner tonight as I'll be at the council meeting from 4.30 onwards. I'll make some more before the end of the week, and take some to add to the weekend lunches.

The black wattle is flowering and the air outside is perfumed. These are one of the later flowering varieties around here, and in this yard they are all over the place, self sown, and short lived, so we enjoy them while we can and later cut them up for firewood
These are the wattles that have the really big yellow puffy flowers....

I have finally dug the garden and planted the potatoes. These are the last for this year. There are three rows. From the LHS are the ones from the market (they sprouted in the cupboard) and I think they are called "Moonlight", next, in the middle are "Desiree" and then "Luster". They are all planted with a handful of "blood and bone" and now they need a little bit of rain.
There is the threat of rain for the weekend. I hope that we don't get any rain, but I planted the potatoes so that if it does rain, I won't mind so much!
This is much the same philosophy as planting Brussels sprouts. I don't like the frost, but if we get some, then I can grow Brussels sprouts and the frost doesn't seem too bad. This year we have had two incredibly mild frosts that didn't even kill off the potato plants, and it feels as though the winter is over... two weeks early. This has really confused some of the fruit trees. There are two apple trees and a peach tree that have only recently lost the last of their leaves, and, despite the warm days, they don't have buds yet! I think that they are confused. No one told them about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and climate change!


.