Sunday, 29 May 2011

Vegetables, our changing circumstances and carbon tax

This morning I planted some more broad beans.  I also picked some vegetables for dinner....
... just a few bits and pieces, but enough for this household.

I've been thinking about the current discussion about carbon tax and the effect of our emissions on the climate.  Most people accept that the increasing carbon in the atmosphere will cause significant change in the climate in the future, if it hasn't begun to already.   To  those few who don't think that this is a fact,  I'd even suggest that erring on the side of caution until we do understand what is happening might be the  prudent course of action.
Once we have got that far, there needs to be a way of reducing the production of atmospheric carbon, and depite that,  the only discussion about the "carbon tax" is about how to introduce it without having any effect on either "poor people"  or industry.   This seems strange.  The whole point about this is to reduce the amount of electricity (or any other carbon source) and to make sure that the tax has no effect at all will not change behaviour.
If the tax (or whatever other measures are taken) are remedied enough to make them have no effect,  then we are talking about "business as usual" and no change in modern industrial society and the consequent continuation in carbon emissions, climate emergency and risking the furure of our children and grandchildren.
While I am preparing to manage with little money, "commercial" input and in a relatively sustainable way for the future, I despair when I read of the attitudes that assume that our way of life (dependent upon the 200 slaves that represent the amount of energy that we use.)   I wonder when the wealthy of the world (and my pension puts me in the top 13% of incomes in the world) will decide to reduce their consumption and their emissions rather than complain about the increase in taxation.
Our way of life is going to change.  I suppose it is up to all of us (the wealthy) whether it is sooner,  managed and livable rather than later, more uncomfortable and chaotic.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Broccoli

It's been one week since the first frost, and in the past couple of days, we've also had nearly an inch of rain.  I had planted the broad beans just a day before the rain began, and I'm going to pick the first broccoli any day now...
 ... the rest of the winter crops are doing well...
.... beetroot, chinese broccoli and, still, in the background are green peppers and the last of the eggplants.  The flowers in front of some of these vegetables is  the first of the coriander crop ending.  I have more planted already.

More beetroot, mangel worzel and "chinese greens"....
Tonight we have leek, pumpkin and potato soup...  mostly garden produce, though the pumpkin came from the side of the road on my way home from the Barossa Valley last week.

Monday, 16 May 2011

First frost

It has been a cold morning.  The temperature was around 4 or 5C early this morning.  It's a sunny day though and warm in the sun... no wind, no rain and beautiful sunshine.
The garden is looking healthy....
.... though some of the potato plants, most notably the ones lowest to the ground were just frosted enough to turn some leaves dead looking.... 
 As I checked out the potate plants, I saw a mouse run away and hide among the border rocks.  I'll be looking carefully at the potatoes as I dig them.  We are in the middle of a "mouse plague" and they are everywhere... inside and out.

The garlic is mostly up....
 ... three rows, and a few extras, and not all weeded.  I'm leaving the peas that grow (from the pea straw mulch) because surely these will produce a little extra nitrogen, that should benefit the soil and the plants, as long as they aren't too close to the garlic.  I've been pulling out the grass and the sour sobs (oxalis) to help the baby garlic plants.  I'll give them some seaweed fertiliser later also.

And of course the mangel worzel.  This one seems to be producing its bulb  partly above the soil. The roots are very yellow....
 ... and apparently grow quite large without getting tough or woody.

This is the leafy part of the saffron plants that I picked the flowers (and the spice) from in recent days.  Someone actually asked me about the leaves...  they are very grass-like though rather more clumped....
It's a good day to be out in the garden, soaking up the sun.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Fast food

I have often described the preparation or preservation of food from the garden.  The other part of this is knowing how to make use of the results and learning the advantages of pre-prepared ingredients.
 Water  in the big pot is boiling read for noodles and the jar of pasta sauce is one that was bottled about three months ago when the summer vegetables were plentiful.  The finished product....
... topped with grated cheese, is fast food.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Back to bandicooting potatoes...

The garden is producing vegetables, though there's not an excess in recent days....  today I found leafy greens of a couple of different kinds, very few tomatoes, onion, garlic, capsicum, beans, eggplant, potatoes (bandicooted)....
From Jackie French... "Harvest potatoes when the tops have died down, though you can wriggle your hand into the soil to bandicoot new potatoes as soon as the plants begin to flower."
.... these were all cooked in Clare Valley olive oil and eggs added and cooked until they were just set.
This is good with chili sauce.  Dinner from the yard again.  

More saffron

I always water carefully around the saffron now.  Today I found two more flowers...
 ... and I harvested my crop of saffron for the rice...

Friday, 6 May 2011

Winter is almost here...

The days are getting short very quickly, the nights are cold (down to less than 10C overnight last night) but we still have some warm and sunny days.
The saltbush plants are fruiting....
 .... and the wattle is flowering....
 .... winter is coming.

Gertude was out in her favourite spot today.  In the front garden there are some kurrajong trees with limbs that hang close to the ground.  Gertrude can stand on two legs really well to reach the low hanging branches....
 ... for her favourite  food (apart from calendula flowers) and she is full!


The winter garden is going well.... potatoes....
 .... the newest garlic plants have jsut emerged...
 ... and my fascination with the echinacea flowers continues.  This flwoer has produced the most beautiful "petals" in recent days.  The actual flowers are the tiny yellow dots in the round mass in the middle of the flower.  It's the same as other daisy flowers.
 The interesting flower that I saw today was this one... almost finished, but the three little yellow dots in the middle are almost the last of the flowers for this daisy head.
Apparently echincea is good at self seeding... I'll be watching for new plants next spring.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Locusts

The locusts are invading!  
At this time of the year we usually have an invasion of mice... and I must say that since the fields are being burned off ready for planting,  we do have a bit of a mouse problem.  However,  this year, as the weather has turned cooler (only 20C today) and we have had the first autumn rain.  I'm not sure how much today, but it was the gentle soaking rain on still warm soil that the vegetables love.
Today I found several locusts inside. I suppose they are also looking for a safe haven in the rain...
... this one was on my kitchen window.

Vegetables

The vegetables are still going,  though the pickings are getting slimmer.  I have been supplementing our meals with vegetables that I froze during the "glut" earlier in the summer...
... and now I can't wait for the next surplus which should be beetroot, potatoes, silver beet and I'm hoping that the mangel worzel is a new and successful crop as well.

Saffron

While watering the garden yesterday morning, I found a saffron flower.  I used to have qute a few, but they had been in another part of the garden and not doing very well...  This poor flower got wet as I watered the  rosemary, but I rescued this lovely flower....
... and removed the three stamens.  We will have saffron rice soon!  Mmm....