Monday, 30 September 2013

Harvest Monday - 30th Sept '13

It's been a good week for pickings and for the first week in a long time  I have had radishes.

These were quickly demolished - very crunchy and very white inside -  there are more to come.
I have also picked some baby leeks. They were quite strongly oniony - my eyes stung a little while cutting them  up to go into a Lamb and Leek Risotto.

I picked the first of the snow peas too.  Normally I grow snow peas over the coldest months and normally I have enough to eat every other day. This year the chickens ate most of my snow peas while they were quite young. Only a few plants made it to maturity and these little peas are from them.

At the end of July I planted a whole lot more snow peas in Fortress Wallaby. Safe from chickens and wallabies, I am hoping for a great crop soon.

The first of my second planting of broccoli have matured with only small heads. Most of these went into a Broccoli Orecchiette.

There has been a few decent sized parsnips, and

some good sized beetroot - these got pickled.

There has also been a huge bunch of celery.

Finally, there has been more fennel - lots of fennel. Two bulbs went into a Potato and Fennel Fritatta - it was pretty delicious.  And two of them went in a little parcel to neighbours along with a dozen eggs and  four tomato seedlings. It's nice to share the excess.

I am contributing this  post to Daphne's Harvest Monday. Pop over to hers to see produce from all over the world. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Local Loves - Tumut Op Shop

I have an addiction. It comes upon me each time I go to Tumut -  one of the palindromic towns of Australia.
Each time I am in Tumut I drop into the op shop and see what I can find. The last couple of trips have yielded this little beauties.

A pretty pastel coloured hand crochet baby cot blanket.

The squares are tiny which makes me think that perhaps they had been bigger and that the blanket was once washed in hot water resulting in a shrinking and a slight felting of the blanket -  it's so soft,

Price? - $1.00

 A range of printed table cloths - I'm a bit of a table cloth girl.  This one featuring the towns, rivers and scenes of New South Wales.

This one, an abundance of fruit, food, wine and strangely, with a gravy boat!

And this one featuring 'The Exotic Wildflowers of  Western Australia' which is a little strange because surely they are not exotic at all?  Instead they are native wildflowers?

Price? All $1.00 each.

I have also picked up a great and near new leather coat for $20!

Of course what I have now done is drawn attention to my favourite shopping haunt and I will probably never find such little treasures again, but then again, I guess not many of my readership find themselves in Tumut?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Spring wildflowers

It's spring and in the bush the flowers are blooming and the ferns are thickening. Here are some of the bush beauties snapped last weekend.
Daphne Heath - Brachyloma daphinoides
Rock fern - Cheilanthes sp
Pink finger orchid - Caladenia sp
Creamy candles - Stackhousia monogyna
Bulbine Lily - Bulbine bulbosa
Chocolate lily - Dichopogon sp
These little treasures are in our conservation area which protects our Grassy Box Woodland and all those species, such as these, that are associated with it. Happy spring you little things!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Growing tips needed!

I need your growing tips, you see today I received a package from my lovely brother and it contained these!
(Thank you Matty - they are very nice, whatever they are!)

I don't even know what they are called but my brother who is married to a New Zealander says that they are some sort of yam and Kiwis love them and find them hard to find in Australia.  

As with such things, they may or may not be from NZ , they may or may not even be called NZ yams. Such names are afterall often deceptive -  Kiwi fruit are not a native fruit of NZ and Hawaiian nuts are not a native nut of that part of the Pacific they are in fact Australian nuts called Macadamias! 

Whatever they are called my brother found some in a market somewhere in Brisbane and suggested I should try growing them, and that's exactly what I will try to do.  But I need your help.  I am at a bit of a loss and not knowing what they are called makes it impossible to Google.

They kind of look like red Jerusalem artichokes or galangal roots but they don't have the odour of either of these.
  • What are they called?
  • How do they grow - onthe roots of a vine like a sweet potato, on the roots of a bush like potatoes, or on the roots of  a stout stalk like Jerusalems?
  • Any growing tips - soil ph or similar?
  • Do you grow them? What do they taste like?
  • What new things are you growing this year?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Bovine bonding

Just last week  we added to our bovine herd by welcoming Dora and her calf Hazel to Highfield. They join our Geranium who is now quite advanced in her pregnancy.

It seems that the little herd have bonded together, they spend all their time very closely together.

L-R: Dora , Hazel and Geranium
Geranium grooms Dora
Dora grooms Geranium
Hello Aunty Geranium

Monday, 16 September 2013

Harvest Monday - 16 Sept '13

The pickings continue to provide the house with most of the vegetable needs. For the last couple of months I have only bought potatoes, onions and garlic, oh and the odd red capsicum - an out-of-season indulgence which I guess I have to admit to. Red capsicum aside, because I am eating mostly from the garden, I am eating seasonally and enjoying the menus that result.

Here are the pickings from the last week.

Fennel, fennel and more fennel.

I know it's not everyone's taste but I love it and the fatter and juicier the bulbs the better.

Broccoli  - side shoots galore!

And some small heads from the second planting of broccoli.

I picked 5 very small red cabbages.

 I could stare into the centre of this cabbage for ages - the colours are stunning.

There has been celery and spring onions,

and loads of parsley, rocket and lettuce, mostly unphotographed!

That's the pickings for this week, pop over to Daphne's to see more of the produce from Harvest Monday. There will be lots of vegetables to view there soon when the earth turns a little more.

Hope your garden is producing!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bark based beds

We've been making beds in Fortress Wallaby for months now. Fortress Wallaby is my fenced vegetable garden which aims to protect my vegetables from the local wildlife like wallabies and wombats.

The beds are edged with wood from the property - some logs from a fallen bridge, some from fallen limbs and others from trees we felled for fire protection purposes. The beds are looking amazing with their chunky, rustic, organic edges of local hardwood. The Lad and the ute have put in a mammoth effort to cut and move the huge pieces of timber.

While beds are in lines, the beds wiggle with the twist in the trunks.

I'm hoping that log-loving creatures take up residence in the holes that the cut wood exposes.

I am hoping that more bed edges start growing lichens like these.

The wood edged beds take ages to fill with things that will eventually become soil. I have flattened cardboard from the boxes discarded by local shops, there has been wheel barrow loads of weeds hand pulled from the pasture and been ute-loads of sheep manure from under the shearing shed and from a neighbour's horse yards.

Our alpacas, cows and chooks have contributed their manures and their used bedding to the effort. Piles of top soil removed to make way for another water tank has been a very welcome addition. There has been the charcoal from our winter warming fires and from our summer fire-safety burn-offs. There has been fluffy lawn clippings, compost from the tumbler and  the little bodies of our lost lambies ... 

And today there has been bark -  big thick sheets of bark from our native hardwood trees.

It has been my custom so far to pile thick layers of cardboard in the bottom of the beds but it occurred to me that the bark that's shed from dead trees was very similar but perhaps even better than cardboard?

It is thick, it keeps the light out and thus easily kills the grass below, it holds water very effectively and is already loaded with lichens and fungi that will help break it down and add to soil life.

Cleaning it up from around the bases of the trees close to the house aids our fire protection and there is no tedious removal of sticky tape as their would be with the cardboard boxes.

I'm hoping I am on to something... does anyone else use this kind of material in their garden beds?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Red Drumhead cabbage

Today I picked all my remaining  red drumhead cabbage.

I picked 5 of them today and another one a week or so ago, all quite small but tight but alas at least one of them has started to flower... see the little flower buds emerging from their red wrapping? (Apologies for the blurrr!)

I could be tempted to grow them just for the beautiful colours they yield,

but they have taken so long and then bolted! Anyone have any red cabbage growing tips?

Must look up some recipes for red cabbage. If they are not all full of flowers then I will have lots of cabbage to get thru.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Three is company

Today we took delivery of two more Dexter cattle - a cow and her beautiful little calf.

Finally our first Dexter girl Geranium has some company of the bovine type. Three of them looked very comfortable together from the first moment.

L-R: New calf Hazel, new cow Dora and Geranium doing what cows do best
I had felt very guilty that Geranium was the only cow on the property. It was obvious that she didn't feel  like the sheep and the alpacas were really part of her herd, instead,  Geranium pined for the Herefords over the neighbour's fence. We declared that we must get Geranium company and, as we had fallen in love with Geranium and with the Dexter breed,  we knew we had to get another Dexter - a small cow breed from Ireland.

A good neighbour knew that I was in search of another and found an add in the paper for Dexter cows with calves at foot. In less than a week - a  flash  in stock buying time - we inquired, visited and today have welcomed them to Highfield.

The new cow and calf are remarkably calm and Geranium is content. Suddenly Geranium doesn't want to know me - today she doesn't want a pat and she doesn't want to lick my hand. It's ok Gerry, I understand, I am not a cow...

The new cow was named Clarisse by her previous owners, the calf hadn't been named. We've decided to rename the new girl and we will call her Dora, a good name for a cow we feel, her calf is Hazel - Dora and Hazel are two of The Lad's great aunts. Dora needs a bit of feeding up, I am sure that she will enjoy our green grass.

I will give the newbies some time to settle in, then I'd like to try to milk Dora. I think you can see how huge her udder is? And then some cheese making!

Enjoy your new home and it's grass new girls, I am sure Geranium is helping you to feel at home.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Harvest Monday - 9th Sept '13

A winter-focused harvest continues here at Highfield. Here are my pickings from the last week.

I picked one of the last Savoy cabbages and fennel, 

lots of fennel!

There was a tiny cabbage - the variety is 'Mini' but even so it was pretty small!

Three lovely big beetroot.

Basket loads of broccoli side shoots.

Then there has been the last of the cauliflowers,

and the first of the leeks - these went into a leek, mushroom and home made bacon quiche.

There continues to be loads of parsley and celery.

I am loving not buying vegetables - one day, when my fruit trees get going, I wont buy much fruit either!

Hope your pickings have been good. I am contributing this post to Daphne's Harvest Monday. Click over to hers to see more pickings from around the world.


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