Seasonal Firsts…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on December 27th, 2012 by Coffee

These have pretty much crept up on us this year. First up, the cucumbers. It seems they’re a bit like pancakes. The first one is always a bit deformed!


And then there’s the first actual chillies of the year. Much more exciting!

first chillies 2012

Wonder what’s next? I’m sure you do too!!

Bulk Harvest II

Posted in Plants and Gardens on December 26th, 2012 by Coffee

Once again the forecast is for rain in the near future, so I figured it was about time the the garlic joined the onions drying in the last remaining heat. It was very, very pleasing to note that they are a lot bigger than last year’s efforts!

garlic 2012

Twenty one bulbs in all, with one fork damaged on harvest, and one a little soft on one side. That might almost last us though most of the year. Maybe. I suspect we’ll be a few short still, especially if we want to replant some of this lot for next year’s batch. Memo to self: A bulb a week with extra for the garden might be a good amount to aim for next year…

It’s not Christmas without cake!

Posted in Food and Drink on December 25th, 2012 by Bec

The Cake

This year we thought we would try and make a Christmas cake. Not sure why as I don’t even like fruit cake. I think for me it was more about giving the icing a go. So we found a cake recipe in the back of my cake decorating book and thought we’d give it a try. And after 3.5 hours of cooking on a low heat it was ready.

Then after a day or two came the fun bit of putting on the icing. A two step process – almond icing first and then royal icing next. I have never used either before, and it was not as complicated as first thought. But it was hard work trying to get it perfect and that is something I have not yet mastered. Only time and practice I guess will get it perfect. But I am pleased with the first attempt. Oh, and I didn’t make the little characters on the top, obviously!

And the cake itself? Well it isn’t too bad, in fact those that have had it have said it is very nice. So I guess we will use that recipe again next year and perhaps even try and make some little characters ourselves to put on the top out of icing too.

Bulk Harvest

Posted in Plants and Gardens on December 24th, 2012 by Coffee

After taking up a relatively large amount of real estate for which seems like a very long time, it was finally time to de-onion the onion patch.

We were a bit slack, or a bit green, and didn’t manage the patch particularly well, so about half of the onions had produced a flower stalk that we should have recognised and bent over a lot earlier. All those that had created a nice flower are still “installed” in the garden, drying up a bit, ready for more immediate use in the kitchen. That probably accounts for about half the crop.

The not so good ones.

Due to the (current) weather report suggesting that we’re in for a bit of rain and drizzle over the next few days, the other half got transferred into the tunnel house, with the anti-bird netting doing a sterling job of acting as a drying rack on the off chance that we need to store them for any length of time.

The good ones.

I suspect, given the rate we normally rattle through a bag of onions, that we’ll use them all pretty quickly anyway, but you never know.

Would I plant them again? I’m not sure. As they’re so cheap to buy most of the time I suspect it’s possibly better use of garden space to plant more interesting things. But I have enjoyed watching them grow, so we’ll see. If there’s a spare plot going, I wouldn’t say no.


Posted in House on December 24th, 2012 by Coffee

After twenty months nagging…

One day, one man on a mission.

Finally! Outdoor drying!

One clothesline!

And no, the man on the mission was not me.

A simple process really, but one that had taken far too long to get started.

Step 1. Dig a big hole.

Deep enough yet?

Step 2. Put up a clothesline.

under discussion

Of course that simplifies the process immensely, leaving out the extreme mathematical overload trying to calculate the requisite amount of concrete, the intense and fraught efforts to ensure absolute main standard uprightness (despite how it appears in the picture above, it is ramrod erect!), multiple trips for additional concrete, and general blood, sweat and tears. But all in all a job bloody well done! And one that I didn’t have to have too much to do with.

That’s probably why it got done! Thanks again, Big Kev!

If after three attempts you don’t succeed…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on December 23rd, 2012 by Coffee

Maybe it’s time to try something else!

We’ve had Daphnes planted on the front door step for a while now, but all they seem to do is slowly die. One got so bad we replaced it, but now the remaining two look like this:

Not Looking So Good

So we’ve given up on them in that spot, and trying some Choisya Ternata Sundance, or “Golden Mexican Orange Blossom”. I guess we’ll see how long it takes for these to curl up and die!


Another month, another “wildflower”…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on December 2nd, 2012 by Coffee

Just next door to the cornflowers that featured last month and have been holding your interest ever since since are a big bunch of poppy plants that went in about the same time.

I suspect that the seeds were meant to be broadcast over a much, much larger area than I managed at the time. I guess the upsides of them all growing packed tightly together are a) not a chance of a weed finding a home, and b) they’ve managed to support each other though a very, very blustery nor-wester last night. Albeit with a few less petals this morning…

But we’ve decided that they do look good down the barren wasteland that was the septic tank effluent field, so hopefully we’ll be able to collect enough seeds to extend the colour block a bit further next year.