Friday, 23 November 2012

Lace curtains in the garden.

The weekend promises to be hot and dry.  The garden has its lace curtaining installed....
 .... not the most elegant,  but it keeps the sun off and helps to reduce evaporation.  All I need to do now is find a way to keep up with the earwigs!!!

I gave the goats another bale of hay this morning and saw the yellow cactus flowering (this is the goat view)....
 ... I was able to find on flower close enough to photograph.
 There were also some spent blooms from the purple flowers, and some more buds jsut developing.  this photograph is actually from last year,  but these are the other variety of cactus that is currently flowering.
The weekend promises to be very hot and dry.   I'll use some water to keep it alive,  but I hope for some rain.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Summer approaching, blogging and still no rain.

I went to a community event today, in the CWA hall.   There were people there that I hadn't seen for quite a while and there were some new faces.  I always enjoy those gatherings.   We ate snack food, "Christmassy" because of the time of year,  and we drank tea, coffee or wine...  there was a raffle (there always is) and talk of friends, family and the coming holiday season.  It feels like the beginning of the end of the year.
While I was there, someone came up to me and asked whether I was the blogger at Kapundagarden...  it's interesting where blog readers pop up!  And it is interesting to hear their views on the posts.

Once home again, I finished (almost) collecting the coriander seeds....
 ... these are the descendents of a bag of coriander seeds that I bought  at a grocery shop several years ago.  I grind these for flavouring in meals that I prepare,  but always manage to keep enough to plant again the following year.  The fresh seeds have much more flavour than those original ones that I bought, and usually I miss enough of the crop to find that they self seed anyway.  The few that I deliberately plant are merely my decision about the location of the green winter coriander that I eat in large quantities.  As an aside, when I lived in the city and had to buy green leafy corainder,  i have had to buy more than one bunch at a time,  as one would always be eaten by the time I arrived at the checkout.  I have always paid for the remaining stalks (not having the nerve to shoplift in such a way) but it has always been hard to arrive home with as much as I'd have liked.   Growing it is so much easier.

By the time I had picked the second bowl of seeds,  the light was getting dim,  but I did see several Purple-crowned lorikeets in the trees.   They usually feed in the flowering gum trees that are all around, but these three (and a couple of others) were eating something in the top of a pepper tree....
 ...  I was surprised.  It is not a native tree and there are no flowers now,  just the pink berries and the thinning leaves.  Pepper trees drop their leaves in the hot dry weather, and as the weather gets hotter after a particularly dry year,  the trees are very stressed.  
In a "normal year" (January to December) we receive about 480 mm of rain (about 19 inches.)  This year has been very very dry.  We have had 341 mm (less than 13.5 inches) so far this year.
Farmers are reaping crops and making hay by now and so don't want any rain at this time of the year.  It would be unusual.  And so it appears that this will be an incredibly dry and difficult season for the garden.

The cactus flowers are beautiful, however....
....  currently red and white specimens are flowering...with a couple of other varieties yet to perform.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

busy life, garden suffers, but the birds are thriving

Spring, despite the lack of rain has meant it is the breeding season for many birds.   I have quite a variety of birds in the garden at the moment... parrots, honeyeaters and feral earwig hunters.
Other local species include several kinds of pigeons... some quite plentiful, and that includes this one...
 ... a crested pigeon.  This is a fairly common native bird,  but no less interesting for all that.  This one was after a drink and a bath at the pond.

I haave picked most of the garlic.  It has been a very, very dry year and so this is rather early to be harvesting garlic,  but it has dried out pretty well....
... I hope that I have enough for the year.   I have less than last year... probably due to the lack of water (only about 360mm of rain so far this year.)   It should be ok,  but I will definitely plant more next June or thereabouts.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Primavera... Spring...

I have had a busy couple of weeks,  but the garden has carried on regardless.  At this time of the year, known as the "hungry gap" food is not necessarily scarce,  but it may be unconventional and that is how some recipes have been invented,  I am sure.   I have mused about recipes that incorporate ingredients that happen to materialise at the same time,  but there is also that precarious time (especially prior to the invention of the freezer) early in the spring when surviving seeds and tubers might be better utisised by planting them and the produce of the previous season is running low.
I have the added luxury of the local IGA store in town,  but with my seriously limited income,  I try to live on what I can produce anyway.
This evening, with garden production minimal,  I had leeks, the first garlic harvest, zucchini, herbs and some pasta.... this is the first version of "pasta primavera" for this year...
 ... with a little grated cheese (Mil-lel from Mt Gambier) on top.

I have also been using eggs for many dishes as the chickens are back "on the lay" these days...   creme caramel is one of my favourites....
 ... haven't made these for ages,  but they are very good.

Ebony does not like the flash of the camera,  but sat still long enough for a picture... just about the first time ever...
... she is a lovely dog and, after a dodgy start at the dog pound,  is very healthy and shiny friend.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Catch up

I hadn't realised how long since I had posted...  it is two weeks, a record!   I have been very very busy, with personal issues as well as the garden which is in the spring mode at the moment.  So much to tell... where to begin....  so much to tell...
We have still had so little rain that this year promises to be one of the driest for some time.   Our wettest months are from June to August (winter) but this year we had very little rain.  Since January,   we have had about 350mm (just over 14 inches.)  Our annual rainfall is usually about 480mm (about 18-19 inches)  so we are well "behind schedule" this year.  As the season becomes hotter and drier,  the evaporation rate becomes higher also... it will be interesting to see how the garden grows.

Last Sunday, I watched a David Attenborough programme about plants and their amazing abilities.  I recognised this plant that he showed.
 It grows in my garden and these buds will open during the night tonight and the air wil be amazingly perfumed.  I will come out early in the morning to see them at their best.

The guava is flowering...
 ... and this is amazing.  This small shrub is about 8 years old and has never flowered previously.  There was a huge buddleia growing about 10 metres from it.   I removed the buddleia because I couldn't keep up with the pruning that was necessary to use the clothes line (I don't have a drier.)   The roots were extensive  and the plant was quite demanding, apparently.  Since it has gone, the bay tree has "taken off" (5 metres away) and the guava is thriving.  (I do have another buddleia, so the butterflies are safe.)

Later today,  I went to see whether the baby ladybirds had begun to do their work (on the aphids) and besides,  their favourite plant has been flowering for a while... parsley...
 If you look really carefully,   you'll see the baby ladybirds above.

There are some adults aswell.....

and then I found one of those "white" spiders again,    only it was yellow!  Last year, I found quite a few and the yellow one looks strange...  same shape,  just yellow.
 Nearby, I found a spot with quite a supply of food for the yellow spider....
 .... three ladybirds, and a hoverfly that had landed.

As I focussed towards the closer field, I found another baby lady bird.
 No wonder the crab spiders are around at this time of the year.

I went looking for a white one.   I found one.  It is on another plant altogether.  i suppose the colour is due to diet or environment,  but there are both colours around here....
 ... and a baby ladybird close by!

And then there are the seeds from the winter vegetables.  These are seeds of black kale (Cavolo nero.)
Black kale was my "green vegetable of choice" for stewing, soup, steaming, kichadee, stir fries, and more.  I haven't tried chips yet.  Kale chips are supposed to be trendy in recent times,  so I'll try them next season.  I will soon have the seeds to start the new crop.
Michael Palin says we should all  "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." 

While writing this,  a thunder storm has blown through.  Despite a lot of thunder and lightning, there was not a lot of rain.  The cactus flower buds (above, the first photograph) have opened in the past hour or so....
 ... and the raindrops may well have hastened their opening.  They usually open in the early morning when the dew is at it's best,  but the rain may well have hurried them along this evening.
Beautiful flower.