Thursday, 28 April 2011

Garlic

We have been eating home grown garlic for the whole of the past year.  There is still some left....
...  but today I took some of the biggest, best cloves that I grew last year and planted them again.   It's earlier than last year, but some of them had begun to sprout and it might be an advantage to plant them while the soil is still warm.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Mangel worzel

My mangel worzel plants are growing really well, and they are different from other vegetables...  the leaves are doing well...  much like silver beet (related) but smoother leaves...
 ... and the roots are beginning to swell....
 ... and we will soon get to eat mangel worzel!

I found a new eggplant fruit today too...  late in the year, but  they are still producing....

... the garden is doing well.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Pumpkin and chick pea curry

It's been a busy week, though I did plant some more vegetables...  peas, carrots and onions in one patch and potatoes in the most recent compost pile that has long since rotted away to nothing.   I put the bedding from Gertrude's "room" onto the new potato patch too.  It isn't the "official" potato planting season, though I have been planing them twice a year and often doing better at this time than in the summer... depending upon the season.  In the summer,  water can be a problem, and with such a high rate of evaporation, it is almost impossible to supply enough water for potatoes.  In the winter, we still get enough sun, and as long as we don't get much of a frost (last year none at all!) I get even more potatoes.
Tonight I am making pumpkin and chickpea curry for dinner....  the tomatoes are from my bottled ones, local pumpkin, capsicum and jalapenos from the garden and an assortment of spices...
... the chick peas are from the Ord River, WA,  and I cooked them a couple of days ago, on the wood stove while dinner was cooking... all good!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Gertrude's room is cleaned

Gertrude  has been out in the yard for most of the day.  She's been doing her weed clearing job...
 .... checking out my camera....

... and you can see where she has been pruning the olive tree...
 The lower part of the branches had just as many leaves and olives until she was tethered here for a few days.

While she was out and about today,  I cleaned out her bedroom.  The old straw and goat poo is now on these two garden beds.  The closest one has three rows of potatoes planted and the further one is raked smooth, has added gypsum and is ready for the garlic to be planted soon.
Gertrude has a new bale of pea straw to take apart....
 ... and she has already begun to eat the good bits...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The end of summer, and the winter plantings....

The summer vegetables are coming to an end.  I picked enough for dinner tonight...
 .... beans, zucchini, capsicums tomatoes, jalapenos and eggs.  I certainly wouldn't starve as long as I had a garden.
At this time of the year, the summer production is slowing down, but I've been planting fairly regularly... these are the first "post summer" plantings of chinese broccoli, kale, carrots, beetroot and some golden beets....
 After those, I planted the mangel worzel and those are growing well too.  They are another silver beet relative and those vegetables seem to like it here.
 Chinese "greens"....
 .... these must be healthy because they have a few little holes in the leaves...  if the bugs survive,  then I suppose that I will also.

The first "normal" broccoli is doing well,  though I have had to pick white moth eggs off these plants almost daily.
 I still have a few zucchini,  though instead of picking enough to thicken the soup and freeze the rest,  I am getting just a few every couple of days.

And on to the bigger "winter" vegetable patches....  here is fennel, beetroot and lettuce....
 ...cabbages, broccoli and celery....
 .... onions, carrots and peas....
In order to eat every week, one needs to plant something every week.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Hamilton burn-off

Today I spent a few hours in Hamilton (10km from Kapunda) in my studio.  When  arrived the yard was full of galahs....
 ....  not usual for that yard.  They were not happy.
They were avoiding the smoke and flames from the neighbour who was burning off ready to plant soon...

 Later in the day,  the flames were closer....
 ... just outside my window!
 It rained later in the day.
I'll be interested to see what crops are planted here.
As I left,  there was gentle rain... perfect timing... and the job was done...
... ready to sow seed.

Friday, 8 April 2011

20% waxing moon

I went out to lock the chickens in and to keep the foxes out.  The moon is amazing...  20% and getting bigger....
.... beautiful moon.

Jewel beetle?

Beautiful warm weather and the garden is growing well.  Every time I walk past the lemon verbena, a cloud of moths leave in a swarm.  I've tried to photograph them,  but instead I found this beetle.  It has such beautiful colours and is so sparkling that I wonder whether it is a "jewel beetle" about which I am aware, but not well informed.   I'll be googling them soon.

 The moths are beautiful too.   They are almost invisible when they sit still amongst the flowers, but the cloud of them when I walk past is anything but inconspicuous.... a cloud of moths!
 The lemon verbena is beautiful....
... and I'm going out to pick vegetables for dinner.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Three balls of alpaca yarn

Today I washed three skeins of the yarn that I spun from a black alpaca fleece.  Despite the brownish tinge in this photo, these are quite black.
Next,  I'll try the other two fleeces... two different shades of reddish-brown... and then a decision on how to   make the best use of the yarn.  Spinning is quite a meditative activity and would be good for a number of people that I know.

Breakfast

It occurred to me that I don't often get around to posting anything until late at night, and that is probably why my garden breakfasts don't make it into here.  This  morning I had a kind of Kapunda bruschetta...
... toasted local bread (I haven't baked in recent times as I've been working away from home) with basil and sliced baby tomatoes...  mmmm....

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Quinces and alpaca wool

Today I picked the quinces.  The tree is quite small and has produced quite a few beautiful quinces this year.  The birds have been eating them, so I decided to pick them and wait until they are just a fewe days riper here and then make the quince paste.


Last week I was given some alpaca "wool" and I've begun spinning.  So far I've started on the black fleece... though it doesn't look as black here.   These three skeins are all two-ply and ready to knit when they dry....
 The fibre is very interesting and different to spin from sheep's wool that I am more used to,  but interesting, never the less....
The spinning is fairly uneven,  but it will be easy enough to knit now that it's two ply.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Ripe quinces

Quinces grow very well in Kapunda.  They don't mind the hot dry weather in the summer, the clay soil or the soggy winter ground.  The quinces on our little tree are ripening now...
 The birds are enjoying them also....
 This week  I'll pick most of them and make some paste.  I have bottled them in the past, and they turn out to be a lovely colour...
 I have made jam with them too, but this year it will be paste.  Maggie Beer makes a beautiful example of this and so I think I'll try it also.  Apparently Maggie Beer was first attracted to the quince via the flowering tree, and I can well imagine that.  Quince trees look beautiful when they are in flower.

This morning I mowed the weeds around the trees.  I can't call it a lawn, but it definitely looks much better now....

The salt bush is fruiting too....

 The oregano is "taking off" after recent rain...
 ...and a couple of garlic bulbs that I missed are sprouting....

I'm expecting colder weather soon, so I have my hoops ready to cover with plastic for the eggplants and capsicum...  they might not produce much more,  but the plants may make it through the winter and I'll be ahead when next spring arrives...

Snail creeper...  beautiful perfume....

One of my favourite roses....  not one of the ones with multiple row of complicated petal arrangements... but very beautiful....
 .... and these produce amazing rose hips as well....  a bonus....

Friday, 1 April 2011

Friday night

It has been a busy day and I have been painting at the studio.

By now, late on Friday,  I am in the kitchen, and life is good...  the computer, the kitchen and the bookshelf..
 .... the stove is alight... steak sandwiches or tomatoes and basil toasts (bruchetta?) for dinner... all cooked on the fire...
.... wine on the table....

I've been spinning on this wheel....
 ...a whole spool of alpaca wool.... (crappy photo?)
... I need to make two ply yarn that won't drift to the side when it is knitted  (like single spun yarn) and I'll update this later.
More of that later, but the vegetable garden is doing well....  pumpkins, tomatoes and zucchinis....
 ... and what I don't have growing,  I buy locally.  These apples and pears are all local (from Kapunda gardens)  and odd, with blemishes, bumps and differing sizes.   But they taste good, didn't travel far and keep us healthy.