Monday, 31 October 2011

Ironing and value

I have been ironing the linen and teatowels this evening.   I was ironing one of my well known serviettes (napkins for my north American friends) and saw its usual darned patch....
 ...  in fact, there are several mends... small darned areas in this serviette....
...  I'm sure that some people would decide that it's not worth laundering, ironing and taking care of with its little patch of darned and re-inforced patches.  In facat I like it.

Whenever I iron this particular serviette (napkin?) I am reminded of my hand knitted socks.   I have been asked whether I would knit socks for other people and when I say yes... but I need to be paid $10 per hour... I usually have two different reactions.
  1. either the suggestion that $10 per hour is too little remuneration; or
  2. $10 is ok, and so how much would that be altogether?
In fact,   it makes a pair of socks worth about $110... and the quote is always turned down.  

People would prefer the Chinese "tube socks" for about $2 per pair.  

I don't... I wear hand knitted woollen socks and I mend them, should they need it, having taken many hours to make them....  but it is interesting how people's priorities are organised.  Socks that take many hours to make are worth maintaining.... just like damask serviettes.

Anyway,  my darned serviette makes me consider the value of the items that are in my house.  Spending hours mending and darning household items like my serviette merely confirms the value of those items.  When we have acccess to disposable and cheap cotton serviettes...  or even "disposable" paper ones,  it shows how little household items are valued in recent times.  Not only does this de-valuation of household items make traditonal "women's" work worthless, it also means that resources and energy are equally devalued.  It seems like our loss.  And it probably can'tcontinue indefinitely as resources and energy are more scarce.

Perhaps, as energy is constrained,  our attitude to household items, and the resources that are required to make them, will change.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Spring

I am aware that I am not documenting every bud, flower and fruit that is being produced in the garden.  This is not because I mean to be secretive or even un-interested, but it seems that once again, this year,  the same vegetables are doing much the same as they have in previous years.  Right now,  the tomatoes are flowering....
 ... and the beans are curling....
It is late spring and more effort is required in the garden....  watering, soil testing and amelioration and the odd spray of seasol.  So much to do, so little time.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Squatters in the back verandah

The nest that has being built in the back verandah, above the dry wood pile is occupied....
... and someone is occupied, full-time, on this nest.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Toolangi Delight

I grow potatoes at all times of the year.  They grow slowly in winter, when water is more plentiful and they grow faster during the longer days though it's necessary to provide supplementary watering.  This is the time of the year when I hope for a good crop.
This year I have planted several different varieties...  Toolangi Delight, Pink Fir, Dutch Cream and Salad Rose.  So far, the Toolangi Delight are producing the most beautiful plants....
The others are growing slowly, but seem more bothered by pests as well.  More leafy growth is needed to feed the tubers, and so I may end up growing more Toolangi Delights in the future.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Harvesting broad beans

The broad beans always produce very well here, and as is their style, they eventually produce a lot at once.  In the early days, I eat them whole, in the same way as ordinary beans.  Even before that, the growing tips, leaves and all are good to stir fry in the same way as other green vegetables.
Now, though, I am picking a lot of bean pods that need hulling and cooking in the same way as peas that are taken out of the pods.
It's been a chaotic week, so I this morning I picked a huge basket full...
 These are taken out of the pods, blanched, dried and spread out on a cloth....
.... they are in the freezer, and they'll be ready to put in bags (like frozen peas) in the morning.  These will be good for my risi e bisi converted to risi e fava later in the year.  I am lucky to have a freezer this year.  (Previously I have "bottled" the beans and they are just as good, though a bit "soggier" than the frozen ones.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Evening cactus flowers

These cactuses flower at night.  They are pollinated by moths... though not here, in Australia, where the required species of moths are not available.  As the sun goes down, the next days blooms begin to open.....
 ... the ones that will flower in a few days time are still tiny buds.....
 ... but tonight, the air will be perfumed again....
..... the moths are missing out on all of this.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Perfumed garden

The perfume in the garden this morning is wonderful....
.....  the cactus is flowering again.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Kapunda Celtic Festival 2011

This week has been busy and disorgansied...  and to cap it off, we had a music festival that lasted the weekend....  I saw Sibin on Friday, an assortment of bands on Saturday, though I missed much of the singing competition...  otherwise occupied.... and then yesterday, more music.....


 .... and the parade.....
.... wonderful weekend, but now it is "back to business" and a week of garden, work and goat-herding.

Plenty of broad beans

It is that time of year again.  the broad beans are producing and we are eating well....
.... beans with herbs and rice and cheese.....  Mmmm....

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Spring and the shortage of nesting holes...

I have just spent much of the day out in the garden (between watching bits and pieces of the Bathurst races) and it is beautiful out there.   The herb patch is flowering.....
 .. the broad beans are producing.....

....and the tomato plants are beginning to flower 9though you might have to enlarge htis one to wee the flowers.....
 ... baby cucumber plants in the ground.....
... an assortment of zucchini plants are doing well (and a few beans)....


However, there is drama out there. For the last two days I have a seen a galah at the nest hole in the gum tree....
 ....today I saw a pair hanging around for much of the day.....
I actually saw the pair of rosellas fly away.  They are very distinctive because one of them is so red, unlike the usual "Adelaidean" variety.   The "Adelaide" one has been back to the nest hole.....
 .... but then I spent a while watching this galah obviously finding something in there....  eggs?
Seeing this galah apparently feeding on something from the hole that I suspect might be eggs, I have to think that the reason for having such a deep hole (parrrots prefer a metre deep hole) is to prevent this sort of egg destruction.
Nest holes are definitely at a premium, and perhaps the more so this year after several neighbours have cut down big old trees in order to subdivide their yards or clear for an "English" style garden.  Any thought I had of cutting one of these trees down to allow fruit trees to grow is long gone.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

October, Alex's 27th birthday.

It's been a very busy week.  We did get more than 30mm of rain though and the garden is looking really happy.

I have begun to plant the spring vegetables, though there is still quite a bit to go.  Today I planted tomatoes, basil, some more broccoli, beans and I've transplanted some zucchini plants.... and then I collected the vegetables for dinner....
 ....one mangel worzel, some carrots, broccoli and broad beans and four artichokes.   Now to decide what we will eat....  I have a piece of meat from a local, grass fed steer that was killed in the Kapunda abbattoir and sold to me in the local butcher's shop.  Perhaps it will be pot roasted with the vegetables and served with broccoli and broad beans.

I had a friend out there too.....
... she was puffing up to make herself bigger, and hissing at me with her blue tongue out,  but I wasn't afraid and found her a safe spot under the weeds and rocks.  My good deed for the day.