Posted in Rants And Rambles on January 22nd, 2012 by Coffee

We had a bit of wild weather here today. Not sure our drainage system knew how to cope with all the hail, and so decided just to dump it out on the ground instead.

I feel the need to point out:

  • a) I only found this 20 minutes after it had stopped hailing; and
  • b) This was on the sheltered side of the house!

We’re now a two vehicle family!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 16th, 2012 by Coffee

Not that we’ll be racing off to get the milk with vehicle no. 2, but at least we’ll now be able to keep the lawn down now! A little ride on mower got delivered today. Yippee!

The first grass cut today was done with a fair amount of trepidation as I wasn’t sure just how many stones were lurking just below the surface waiting to fly through one of the large plates of glass lurking close to the lawn edges. But luckily we got through the whole mow with windows unscathed. Helped that we’re only just slicing the top off the grass for now. We’ll have to get a bit closer to ground level at some time soon, but it’s nice to get things looking a bit tidier. Next required step will be a big weed spray.

Didn’t seem to do a bad job. Me, I mean, not the mower! Getting used to the turning circle and the various acceleration and deceleration quirks was interesting, but entertaining. It looks like it’s possibly going to take a long time to work out the best mowing pattern to keep the most straight lines across the lawn. Still some way to go to even get straight lines, as you can see!

And the beast even coped with a bit of a blat through the longer grass and lucerne etc of the orchard. Hopefully I’m now done with weed-eating around there. Whew!

And as a bonus, tonight the soft scent of the local farmer’s silage pits that we get in a slight southerly breeze has been masked by the heady scent of freshly cut grass.

Now, all of you who said you’ll be more than happy to come out and mow for us can start to get warmed up. But you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer, as I don’t think I’m quite sick of it quite yet!

Four square again…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 16th, 2012 by Coffee

After two days of horrible winds that have made it just too unpleasant to be outside today was a pearler. Just as well as we needed to get some water on the grass, but that’s another story. But as it was nice I thought I better get out and enjoy it. By doing a bit of hard work. Go figure.

Today’s challenge was to finally bring the last two raised beds down from the top garden. Which I duly did. With only light strains and a couple of small blisters.

Even managed to get some pavers installed in the walkways, but I can’t quite work out how to finish the paths around the side as whichever way I turn the pavers I can’t quite get a nice straight edge. Guess that’s only to be expected when the garden plots were made before the pavers were on hand.

But at least that’s that chore done. Just in time to play with the new toy that’s just arrived!! YAY!

Too much of a good thing?

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 15th, 2012 by Coffee

The star of the tunnel house is still the cucumber plant that’s taking over all available space around it. So to use up some of the six cucumbers in the fridge we made pickled cucumbers today. Not entirely sure what else you can do with a surplus of cucumbers really!

Yesterday I made a special effort and had salad for lunch to assist in using up the excess cucumbers. From the garden I had sugarsnap peas, radishes, lettuce, beetroot, spring onions, capsicums, tomatoes, with a bit of bought Edam cheese and olive oil…. and completely forgot to add the cucumber! I only realised that about 2 hours later. Idiot!

“Wildflower” of the month – January

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 11th, 2012 by Coffee

Oh! Oh! I know this one! It’s yarrow, otherwise known as Achillea millefolium. I think I’ll stick to yarrow!

While we’ve certainly got a lot of swathes of yarrow leaves around in the paddocks since we had the grass cut once again I had to venture down the back to find these specimens for you. Aren’t you lucky!? We’ve even got some really pink yarrow flowers down there too, but the photo turned out rubbish and it’s too hot to go for another walk. So tough luck there.

It was fun over the winter to watch birds perching on the top of the dried up flower stalks and eating the yarrow seeds. At the time I was amazed by the fact that the yarrow stayed standing with a bird on it. Now, having had to pick up quite a few birds that the cats have dragged in I’m not so amazed by the yarrow, I’m just amazed at how little birds weigh!

Nice as yarrow flowers are, they can be a right spreading pain in the butt. Around the vege garden I keep having to pull out huge matted pads of the roots. They go for miles and miles. Blech. But at least they come out relatively easy.

That’s ya lot, shallots!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 10th, 2012 by Coffee

Just before the skies opened and they got a dump of water on them (finally!) I dug up the shallots that were the last veges growing in the top garden plots. Thanks to last year’s trusty garden diary I can tell you that the original bulbs were planted on Friday, June 17th. You really wanted to know that, huh?

Not a bad haul really, for all the neglect they got as well. We started out with five little clove/bulb things, so that’s about a 300% increase in a year. Not a bad return. But still nowhere near enough to get us through a cooking year. Some way to go before that happens. So now we have to work out which to eat and which to try to keep ready to plant out. Decisions, decisions…

And yes, if you look very closely (might help if you click to get the bigger version) you can see two perfectly formed garlic bulbs there too that I dug up a day or two ago. Just a pity they’re so small. Not sure if they needed more food, more water, or just more time to grow. They are very cute though.

Unfortunately there’s now no reason why I can’t bring the last 2 garden plots down to the “bottom” garden. Except for the rain, of course. Long may it continue!

A bit of light construction.

Posted in House, Plants and Gardens on January 9th, 2012 by Coffee

Bit of a busy day here today. We had a couple of real rural kiwi blokes around to plonk in a bit of a fence for us. Luckily for them they had the right tools for the job. A tractor, a pile driver, and a bloody great metal stake to drive in the ground before even trying to drive a post in.

So now we’ve basically halved the plot into two bits. The back bit, which can just stay pretty untended for now, and the front bit that we can worry about tending to a bit more. It actually does a really good job of putting a nice square edge on the lawn too.

And we can also use the fence to support some wind-break cloth so we can start a garden along that edge too. That was kind of one of the major driving reasons to get some fencing done at all.

And while they were here I got them to drive in some bigger poles for the chook run. So now we finally have somewhere for my most excellent door to hang, once I manage to get some hinges and a latch thing. And for the actual chicken coop to hang out in too. Just have to get the important bits sorted, like wire netting and, of course, the chooks themselves.

But at least we’ve started the year progressing things along. Wonder how long that will last!

More home-grown produce ripens…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 9th, 2012 by Coffee

Despite all the neglect and abuse the tomatoes in the tunnel house have taken over the last couple of months (e.g. forgetting to open the doors in the mornings, forgetting to water them for a day or two too many etc, etc…) we seem to have managed to get quite a few different types of toms to grow. An now the first batch are starting to ripen. Yum yum!

Just have to quickly get rid of the last store bought ones so we can try them.

The big success of the tunnel house is still the cucumber plant though. We’ve even resorted to making cucumber soup today to use up some of the glut. I liked it, Bec wasn’t so sure, but secretly I think she liked it and just didn’t want to say!

It’s that time of year again…

Posted in Rants And Rambles on January 5th, 2012 by Coffee

…when puzzle mania takes hold of the house!

Yes, that’s right. January seems to be puzzle month. So we dusted off a beaut. About 2,500 pieces, if I can multiply right. And to make it more interesting we didn’t have a picture of what it looks like once complete (well we do, but we’ve no idea where it’s got to).

But we got there. Finally. Having run through the full gambit of puzzling emotions. The despair of feeling like you’re making no progress. The joy of finally putting in a piece. The frustration as the natural light gives way to artificial, and you then have to hold your head in just the right position to be able to see even the smallest portion of pieces…

We’ll see if we can face another one this month. Not sure yet. Ask me tomorrow.

Today’s Harvest

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on January 1st, 2012 by Coffee

This is probably the most veges we’ve harvested in one go. Not that we haven’t used lots from the garden already, but we’ve tended to grab one thing or another for whatever meal we’ve been cooking. But today we grabbed cabbage and carrots and spring onions for an Asian inspired coleslaw, lettuce and capsicum for a salad, potatoes and beetroot for sides (and a bit of bottling). Yum yum yum!