Thursday, 31 March 2011

Clothes-line goat

One of Gertrude's main jobs here is to keep the weeds down around the clothes liine.  I don't like getting my feet wet when the grass is wet, or getting grass seeds in my socks when it's dry.  Gertrude does a good job....
 She has also trimmed the jasmine.  You can see the lower part of it well trimmed compared with the part that she can barely reach, though I have seen her standing on her two balc legs to reach the flowers that are up high.
 We also have a kelpie who keeps her under surveilance much of the time... busy goat and busy dog!


I went outside with my glass of wine, and Gertrude came for a head scratch, a tummy rub and a back scratch....


But mostly she ate a lot of grass....

I put a piece of metal in the way of her vision so that she couldn't see my autumn crocusses... she would have loved them....


Potatoes that I missed when I dug them up last season are growing and they are very healthy.  I am sure that it is better to grow them at this time of the year rather than planting them before the spring when rainfall is likely to be less.


Flowers have grown well this year... it rained a little bit during the past couple of months and so I have echinacea...
 asian lily plants that I discovered last year?  Not sure.
 Blood lilies....
 My dark centred calendula
 and cosmos... beautiful flowers that are "going mad" right now.  I hope that they self seed.

And the plant that I was so worried about before the sumer....
... the curry leaf tree.  It's been a wetter than usual summer, and it has done well. 

St Kilda mangroves... about latitude 34 S

Today was a surprise "free" day.  I went to see the St Kilda mangroves on the edge of Gult St. Vincent... about 40 minutes from here on the new freeway.  I've made paintings of them in the past, and that is my plan... so today I went to see them.
These are special mangroves and they need to be taken care of.  They are growing at a much greater latitude (further from the equator) than other mangroves because they have been protected in Gulf St Vinccent and Spencer's Gulf (near Pt Augusta) since Australia was a part of Gondwanaland.
They couldn't become re-established againif they were ever cleared, and so we really need to protect them.  The gulf is known for its fishing, and the baby fish come from these mangrove forests and so we should all want to protect and manage them well.
 A few of them are flowering.  The flowers are tiny and it seems that there are always some of the trees producing some...
 The backs of the shiny leaves often have salt crystals on them....  using sea water has its own salinity issues....

At St Kilda, you can walk along a boardwalk that extends out into the water and the mangrove forest....
 ... and part of it has been covered in seaweed....
 Once out near the ocean, you can look across to outer harbour, the Port River outlet and the Adelaide Hills.  Downtown Adelaide is just visible to the rhs of the double bump of mangrove trees in the rh/centre of the picture....

The red groundcover is samphire and the mangrove forest extends quite a long way inlsnd in such a flat landscape.  Adelaide Hills are in the background again.

Back to St Kilda....
The sailing club looks like a good place to keep a boat.
 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Barnyard?

I've been busy with painting in recent days,  but when I came home (to cook dinner and prepare for work tomorrow) I decided to go out and check on my baby vegetables.  This was the sight that was out there....
 Looks like a barnyard to me!  The roosters are still young and not crowing.  They must have heard of rooster soup.

And the vegetables are doing well also....  
 ... even the mangel worzel (Chris loves the name of these vegetables.)
... and we are eating well from the garden still....  today we have a few tomatoes, capsicums, jalapenos, kohlrabi, potatoes, and leeks with rice and lentils...mmmm....

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day.   I turned the electricity off at the meter which meant that we also had no running water for the event.  The candles were lovely though....
One was a religious one....
 ... but even that looked a little the worse for wear when it burned for an hour....
Today we are back to "normal"  with lights, water and the wood stove.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Goat heaven

I have been checking on my baby vegetable plants daily,  and they are doing well (except for the ones that the dog has dug up!)  I have also begun re-organising the big garden that produced well last year.  It was divided by "duck boards" rather than having separate beds.  This year I'm actually dividing it properly into four different patches.  This will allow better access, and it will be easier to manage that way....  more of that later.
Gertrude was out for several hours this morning (before I went painting) and she looked like a goat in goat heaven...
though she is nervous about the washing on the line.  People had told me to watch out,  because she would eat the clothes from the clothes line.... in fact she's quite scared of it!

She is looking particularly healthy.  Mainly because she seems to have got a winter coat...
....  she is quite hairy/wooly now.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Room with a view

It's been a wonderful season for vegetables and grass.
I have a studio at Hamilton, near Kapunda, and today I spent the day out there.  As I came outside, this was the view...
...  grass fed beef and amazing green grass for this time of the year.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Mangel worzel

I have finished my "work week" for now, and so I have been out to see how the garden has fared.  It has been raining intermittently (three times the usual March rainfall for us) and so the garden is growing well.   So are the weeds.   I have weeded the baby vegetable patches.

This a healthy young mangel worzel plant....
 ... and the jalapenos are flowering as if their lives depended upon it...
and so we can expect many more spicy little peppers.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Flowers after work...

I was away from home today, at work.  I miss the garden when I'm gone,  but it's wonderful to see what is here when I arrive home....
....flowers...

 ... fruit (quinces)... nearly ripe....The

 ... and the blood lilies are out again...
 The link goes to the same patch from last year... and  they are just a week earlier... perhaps it's the rain.

They are cming up all over the place.... the front yard and more....


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Still picking vegetables, but the equinox is here.

We are still eating well from the garden...
....but the equinox is here.

As I sit here,  the sun is approaching the equator...   (well,  the earth's angle is moving around so that the sun will be shining mostly onto the northern hemisphere in another few hours)   and so the garden needs to change gears as well.   I'm planting the new seeds and preparing now ground...  and remembering to plant something every week so that we can eat every week.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Back in the garden

After several days away from the garden and Gertrude,  I have had the chance to give her some more weeds and this morning I have been out getting ready for the new season crops.  
We are still eating a few summer foods (tomatoes, eggplants, capsicum and kale) and we have an assortment of food from last winter in the freezer...  we are doing well.

This week, potatoes have emerged from last year's plot.  I must have missed quite a few!  They are sprouting now and will no doubt provide us with another few meals...
I had planned to plant garlic here this year...  It doesn't need to ba planted until June,   so I'll wait and see...

The newest garden bed is one that I've assembled from part of last year's huge and productive patch,  but I think it will be easier to manage in the new format... not to mention that the rows will be nearly "north-south" rather than "east-west" where I need to think about which rows might shade others.
 Meanwhile, the next winter patch of Chinese broccoli, kale, carrots and beets are slowly doing their thing....
 The "Chinese greens"  advertised as being fast to produce and doing well.  These are only a couple of weeks old and doing well with their goat poo...
 Mangel worzel plants look like silver beet and other beet plants and are also growing fast on the goat poo...  perhaps it's Gertrude's skills.
I have decided that in my garden of one acre,  a goat is one of the best weed control/fertiliser producing assets.  I will be looking for a milk producer soon.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Red-back spiders...

While this is not strictly a blog post about my own backyard,  it is about the fauna from the toilet seat at my Hamilton Studio....
... and another....
and the babies....
But the beautiful studio space is worth it!
... in Hamilton,  SA.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Baby vegetable plants, flowers and neighbours

I've been busy during the week,  but today I've been out to see what is growing...
....  and this is the newest crop that I've planted... mangel worzel, and so far it's growing well.
There are severl rows of the earliest winter vegetables doing well now...
....  chinese broccoli, kale, carrots, golden beets and chioggia beetroot...  there'll be more of these sorts of crops to be planted yet,  but these early ones will be useful in May/June.
One problem with early brassicas is cabbage moths....  
.... this plant is well chewed...
... by these little caterpillars that grow very big very quickly as they chew holes in these leaves.  I have usually picked the eggs off from under the leaves,  but, being busy, this crop are being attacked.  I'll be back to picking them off this week.
The recent rain is also making downy mildew hard to control.  This plant is still producing but not for long... in fact, they won't produce for much longer anyway.


The garden is still producing...
... eggplants...
.... capsicums...
... tomatoes, which I pick while still a bit green....
and leafy greens...
.... amaranth....  the vegetable that peopl in India use to supply vitamin A, making the GE "yellow rice" unneccessary.

There is another surprise...  my snail creeper is finally flowering... the perfume is lovely...
... and you can see why they are called "snail" creepers here...
There are plenty more flowers to watch...

I went out to the art studio today and there were some more neighbours...

.
... (photos for Fiona.)