The Count

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 27th, 2013 by Coffee

the count

The above piece of paper has been attached to our fridge for over a year now. It’s left a few guests chuckling a bit. Especially as up until yesterday it was stuck on the 2011/12 count. But at last we opened our 2012/13 count! The first 2 zuchinni of the season. I’m not sure if it’s fully correct to include the 2012 bit, given where we are in the year. It certainly feels like it’s a bit later than last year we’re getting some, but then we were a bit slack planting the seedlings out.

And the good news continues today. Another to add to the total. (Yes siree folks, that’s a 50% increase in just one day!)

one for tomorrow

And 2 more starting to swell. Although I’m not 100% sure the experimental tunnel house plant is liking the very hot temperatures in there. But it’s still producing, so we’ll leave it there for now. The shock of eviction might be a bit much for it.

Seeing squares…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 26th, 2013 by Coffee

About two days a year we can see the true lie of the land here as all the grass is trimmed to ground level at the same time. For the back “paddock” that usually means some form of hay cutting or baling has been going on.


250 bales await collection, and there would have been more if I hadn’t got impatient with both crap “rural customer service” and extreme quotes and started to cut it with the ride-on. Although it was doing a really good job, it was quite a relief to have someone pull up and say they’d cut, bale and take way what was left. They’re welcome to it!


Posted in Food and Drink on January 23rd, 2013 by Coffee

As we still had a few loose apricots lurking around after we’d made our next year’s supply of jam, what next? Preserves or sauce? Tough call, but we decided sauce. So another 2kg (stoned weight) of apricots and substantially less sugar than the jam later, we have two bottles of sauce.


I think I prefer jam making over sauce. Certainly seems to take less time, and at least there’s a test to tell when it’s ready.

But has it set?…

Posted in Food and Drink on January 20th, 2013 by Bec

This year I wanted to do something with apricots. Preferably make jam, as I love apricot jam. First of all we had to source some apricots from somewhere. Our fruit trees are currently not at the fruit producing stage, or if they are they keep getting hammered by the grass grub beetle right at the wrong time of year and decide that energy is better spent just staying alive than trying to bear us any fruit.

But all was not lost! As I used to work in the orchard industry some years back now during my school and uni times I meekly and politely asked them for some apricots. Well, to be honest I asked my mother to ask them for me. (Thanks Mummy!) And much obliging they were too, donating some good ole Central Otago apricots (and a few yummy Dawson’s cherries thrown in as a yummy bonus). In fact it was a pretty big box of apricots, so huge thanks Kathy and Bill!

Stage I: Cook the fruit a bit until soft. Easy enough. No dramas there. Bubble, bubble, bubble…

Stage I

Stage II: Add the warmed sugar. Warmed sugar? How the hell do you do that?! Ah. Thanks Google!
[Visual record of this stage not recommended if you actually want to eat any of the jam!]

Stage III: bubble, bubble, bubble until the “setting point” is reached. Hmm. OK. I think we managed that, but only time will tell, I guess.

Stage III

Stage IV: Bottle it up, and stack in the cupboard.

Stage IV

So from 2kg of fruit and and [an undisclosed amount] of sugar we managed to get nine jars of jam of various sizes. I suspect that’ll get us through a year. Unless it’s just so yummy that we have it on porridge, scones, chicken breasts as well as the usual toast.

Now we just have to think of something to do with the rest (about half a box full). I am thinking some yummy spicy apricot sauce.

Bulk Harvest III

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 19th, 2013 by Coffee

This time it was the shallots turn to be ripped out of the ground and given some air. It was almost a year to the day since the last lots were lifted (I’m just a bit slow getting this entry done).


So to recap the multi-year history: Planted 5 bulbs the first year and harvested about 16 or so. Replanted 9 of those this season (eating the rest) and harvested 26. Think we’ll reserve 17 this year to plant out around June and eat the rest.

I’ve no idea what the difference has been this year, but some of the bulbs are massive. Onion size at least. Think they might be some of the ones we’ll chow down on, along with the smallest ones and keep the middlers for the garden.

Progress, finally!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6th, 2013 by Coffee

It’s been a while since any progress has been made on the raised beds. In fact is appears it has been a full two months since we got to three. Time for two of the three old gardens to be overgrown with potatoes.

But now we have five!

now we have five

The eagle eyed among you will notice that the rightmost garden is a little wider than the others. This is so for several reasons. a) It works out we waste less wood given we can’t have the remaining two gardens as long as these ones or there’ll be no room to squeeze the wheelbarrow around the tunnel-house, b) it makes maximum use of the square corn patch from last year (and any dirt you’ve dug here you try to make maximum use of indeed!), c) it brings the garden-to-be above the last one into line with the previously dug onion patch so we can make use of that plot too (refer to item b).

Because it’s taken so long to get them ready I’m not sure we’ll get any use out of them this season, but that’ll give us time to consider digging them out a bit (possibly not really), spraying the grass/weeds in them (pretty much guarenteed), and filling them in a bit with compost and stuff (probably/certainly).

Blockin’ Rays

Posted in Rants And Rambles on January 4th, 2013 by Coffee

As we’ve not yet mastered the art of getting trees to grow to the point where they’re useful for shade in a very short time we thought we should invest in something to provide us with a bit of respite from the very hot summer rays


there’s even a couple of extra walls that we can use to block the sun/wind from the sides. Not quite the usual square gazebo, but we figured we might need something just a bit more sturdy to cope with the usual summer “breezes”. Although pretty much as soon as we’d set it up we pulled it down again before the forecast very gusty nor’ westers hit. (Which they did. For days. Poor spuds aren’t liking it much.)

But should do us for a summer or two until we get something resembling some trees to lie under.