Friday, 23 September 2011

Equinox weekend

Driving home form work on Thursday, the vines (Barossa wine vines, of course) were really springing into action... so beautiful....
 ... a grebe on the dam on the way home from work....
 ... and the view coming into Kapunda... the road home.

This afternoon I picked the food for dinner... broccoli and the first broad beans! Tiny but lovely....
.... life is good.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Flowers and vegetables

I go out daily to make sure that everything is surviving in the garden, and when you look closely there are a lot of interesting flowers and plants....  the bay leaf tree is beginning to flower....
 ... and the echinacea is not only flowering, but producing lots of new growth at ground level....
 ... the coriander is flowering now.  That means that there's not much more leafy "cilantro" this year.  Now, I'll wait for the seeds for curries and for planting after the weather cools down in the autumn.
 The broccoli is beginning to produce plenty....
 .... and the baby broad beans are looking more "bean-like" by the day....
I'll check the artichokes again this week (broad beans and artichokes seem to produce at the same time.)

Quince flower

I like quinces.  They are one of may favourite fruits.  I even like the tangy taste of them raw.   The quince tree here is quite small. I planted it two or three years ago.  I have difficulty growing fruit trees because of the other large trees in the yard, but with the rosellas nesting in one of the trees and not a lot of alternative nest holes, I can't change that.  
Quince trees aren't really so much trees, as some kind of shrubby bush, and this one seems to be doing reasonably well.  This week the flowers came out.  They are lovely...  
.... one of the most lovely fruit blossoms that I've seen.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Goat antics

I went out to check on Gertrude today.  She loves to climb anything that is around.  Here, she as climbed up a pile of wood that was cut from the Kurrajong tree....
.... one can't clear this away (it isn't good firewood, only compost) but right now it's Gertrude's favourite climbing place!

The other thing that I found is this centipede....
.... it is quite large... more than 12cm long... (about 5 inches?) and beautifully coloured.  There were a lot of earwigs and cockroaches around also.  I hope the centipede is out there filling up on earwigs!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Food garden & bird behaviour

I have been out looking for the birds that are nesting in the gum tree again today.  I finally saw one of them,   but more of that later.  I planted some more early vegetables, and as I dug the garden, I found another few potatoes...  quite big ones....  I don't know how I missed them!
Then I went for a walk around to see what else was out there to eat....  it's not ready yet,  but the next broccoli crop is looking good....
 ... and of course there is still quite a few mangel worzels.....
 ... and I am learning to use them more and more.  They are a lot like beetroot (except for the colour) and they are easier to cook with their skins on in the same way as bbetroot.  I skin them afterwards, and put butter on them.  Next I want to try roasting them.
There is always parsley (and silverbeet) so no need to go without our green vegetables....

Just the other day, I was thrilled to see the first broad bean flower.  Now they are all over the place....
 .... and I have seen some tiny beans....  these are about an inch long....
 With tiny beans appearing,  it's also time to look at the artichokes as they seem to be available at the same time....
 Once again, the recipes for this combination of vegetables come from Greece, Italy and Morrocco where the climate must be similar to ours.

Kale... and this is the most beautiful one..... beautiful colours.... and the cabbage moths don't lay their eggs on these lacy leaves as often as on the plainer leaves.  I suppose they think that the leaves look too moth-eaten to be worth adding more babies to.  Interesting camouflage!

The garlic crop is growing better this year than usual...  I planted it in the same way and it has had the same time to grow... though this lot got goat poo!
 Gertrude is very clever!

I did finally see one of the rosellas.....
 ... looking in at the hole in the tree.   It leaned right in, as if it might be feeding the bird that is sitting on any eggs.  I'll have to find out about the breeding behaviour of rosellas....
The bird leans right in, but never seems to "change places" with the one that is there.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Spring?


When the first day of September arrived, there was much mention made of spring.  In fact, Spring starts at the equinox I've always thought.... the sun knows better where it is than we do. In fact, when the sun appears to cross the equator on September 23rd (at about 8pm here) we will have equal length days and nights and we will be starting spring and on our way to summer...

You can tell that it's still winter.... the washing is hanging wet on the line....

... the birds are not venturing out....

.... this is the tree with the rosella nest in a hole.... and I haven't seen them all day!  A grey day in Kapunda.

I'm still waiting for spring.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Broad beans 2011

I've been out looking for signs of the new season's crop of broad beans.  The plants have been flowering for a while, but the weather hasn't  been quite warm enough for beans to form.  This morning I found the first tiny beans...
... admittedly, one does have to look carefully, but they are there.
This is when the advantages of seasonal eating are particularly good.  I've written about this previously,  and I still think it's wonderful to have the novelty of fresh new vegetables each season.
The trick now is to decide how large to allow them to grow before the first taste.  Eventually I'll try just one, I'm sure while it is too tiny to be worthwhile at all.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Blackbird

Blackbirds are not a native to Australia.  They breed efficiently in my garden, and I'm aware of one nest being constructed already this year.  Today I foudn one in the bird path.....
 .... it checked me out, and then went on bathing....
....  I have a few of these around the house.  I love their song, and the fact that they eat earwigs from the vegetables patch without disturbing the productive plants.  I wonder which species they have driven out.  I can't help but appreciate their activity though.  There is always a conflict between introduced and productive species, like us, and the original inhabitants.... difficult situations.

Spring cleanup and planting potatoes

It's the first really warm day in the garden today, and being a weekend,  I have time to get some werious amounts of work done out there.  I cleaned up quite a bit of the spent plants and preparted the ground for the next plantings.  
While I was at it though, I found quite a few edible odds and ends.  I cut the good bits from plants as I pulled them out (the chickens have the rest) and found a few hidden treasures, including this mangel wurzel....
 .... the pencil is there to show its size.  I don't know how I didn't see this one previously!

I've planted four different kinds of potatoes.... three in these patches.....  another kind in a more shaded spot, just in case we have a really hot summer.    They'll be better shaded there, and while potatoes need plenty of sun, I also know that they can be killed by too much of it.   As I have commented previously,   I even grow winter potatoes in case of some warmish weather because the water demands are not such a probnlem in winter...
 .... I don't put all of my "eggs" in one basket!

The garlic is doing much better so far this year.....
 .... goat poo must be good for it!

Gertrude is down near the back fence.  She has even been eating grass today,  though she prefers shrubby stuff.  Here she is lying down on the top of a pile of weeds that are composting.....
 ....she often climbs up anything that's availaable (even chairs)...
 ... sort of like "queen of the castle"  I suppose.

This borage has come up by itself in recent weeks.  I've actually found several plants like this....
... I had kept seeds previously, and last year I threw some in amongst the "herb and flower" patch... and here they are coming up all over the place.  I'll be watching for flowers.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Rosellas in spring....

I've been watching a Rosella nest hole in one of the trees in my yard....  the first thing that I saw a few days ago was an incredible fight among about 8 or 10 rosellas.  Eventually I saw what they were fighting over....  a nest hole in a tree in my yard.  I hate to confess it,  but I had been considering cutting this tree down bevause it is hampering my efforts to grow fruit trees, but more of that later....  here is the red bird coming out of the nest hole...
 .... and going back in again.....
Today, a few days later, I went out to try to photograph the bird inside the hole looking out.  I waited and waited,  but eventually I saw another bird land near to the nest....  another rosella, and it sat there fluffing up its tail and "waggling" it near the nest... I don't speak "parrot", so I'm not sure of the significance,  but it was very interesting...
 Then this "cool dude" came and chased that other tail flutterer away....
 ... and eventually the other part of the pair came to checkout the nest hole....

All of this took some time, and so I was looking around at the graffiti on the fence.... I'd never noticed this sad face before (I have a lot of graffiti.... just lucky, I guess)
 ... and a signature that a number of people will recognise.....


Around the garden.... this flower is just coming out of the ground....
 .... and a tulip is flowering....
.... it must be spring.