Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Garden Whip Around

This year is the first year that we have had enough mulberries to pick and we are loving them.  The tree is only 3.5 years old so I am pretty happy with the result.  So far they have not lasted long enough to do anything with and I cannot see that changing, especially now the the birds are onto them.

I have got some jalepenos planted out so hopefully we will get a good crop so I can pickle a heap.  Hubby loves them and if I let him they would go on everything.  I have to ration them out otherwise we would go through a jar a week.

As we head into the hottest time of the year one of the things we, like most people, like to eat at this time of the year is salads.  But with 6 months of 30 + degree days it is too hot to grow leafy greens in the garden so I had to come up with a new plan.  The solution was to use the space below my potting table in the shade house.  Hubby put up some timber edges and I turned the soil and we were off and racing.

This area is quite shady and remains damp but not water logged and catches all the drips and excess water and liquid fertaliser from above.  I am not sure if it will be too shady but only time will tell. I have planted out some mizuna, lettuce and tatsoi.

When we moved in here 4 years ago there were no gardens at all so we have set about creating some and filling them with plants.  We have been given a few and picked others up for free from our local council.  One of our neighbours gave us this lovely day lilly which has just started to flower.  I love the colours.

We also just picked up 10 free plants from our local council.  They conduct a free tree day once a year and so we headed out to pick up a few natives.  We chose both trees and native grasses and hopefully being tube stock they well grow quickly.

Its a real pity free tress do not get given out more often.  Does your council give away free trees?  Where do you get free plants from?

Monday, 23 September 2013


The work continues around the house and we have managed to get a few small jobs done that were not on "The List" but needed to be done none the less.
These are the kinds of things that could have been left but we decided to get done anyway.

First job was to paint the window trim around the kitchen window.  It was made of a dark timber which really stood out against the white window frames.  We figured the timber had been used for something else as it was full of holes and dents.  Nothing a bit of putty couldn't fix.

Then it was on with the white paint and the whole thing came up great.  A nice fresh look in the kitchen.

One of the other jobs that Hubby wanted to tackle was repainting the back door.  Last year Hubby transformed our solid timber back door into a stable door which is fantastic for letting the breeze in and keeping Jessie out.  At the time he just touched up the paintwork to cover any exposed timber and left it at that.  But he decided that it was time to strip back the many layers of paint and give the entire door a fresh coat to match the trim of the house.

There were so many layers of paint it took him more than half a day just to get the paint off and get the door re hung ready for painting.

But now that it is repainted I think it looks great, he did a great job.

This back area of the house is very bland as we have cleared out the garden on one side and the other side is kept clear as that is where the tap is.  We do plan to spruce it up a bit but that is a job for another day.  In the meantime I am propagating plants like mad to fill our gardens including this one.

Any revamping going on at your place?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Chicken Tales

Lots going on here lately and plenty of it blog worthy, now if only there was a bit more time in the day to share these goings on.

A month ago we butchered 3 of our 8 roosters that we were fattening to eat, today we dispatched the other 5.  It was much better than the first lot, I must have got my mojo back.
The roosters pen now vacated had a 6 square metre patch of bare earth and I decided that I would turn it over and plant it out with clucker tucker (a mix of seeds that will provide great forage for the chickens in a few months time) and some pigeon pea.
But before planting it out I thought the chickens could do some of the hard work for me.  So after turning the soil I left the big clods to the chickens and they got to work breaking them down and picking out all the goodies they could find.

Even the bantams who have both gone clucky got in on the act so there must have been some good bugs in the soil.

Anything interesting happening in your chicken pen?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Slow Living August 2013

Linking up with Christine again this month but very late in linking up.  I also missed last month so this will cover the last 2 months.

Nourish -Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
At the moment there is silverbeet, parsley and fennel in the garden ready for harvest plus the start of a few summer crops on the way.  We are not eating that much of the silverbeet ourselves but the chickens are eating a lot and we are eating their eggs so I guess we are eating by proxy.

Bran muffins are always a favourite around here and I have made another lime spice syrup cake that went down a treat when we had visitors.

Prepare - Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season.

There has not been a lot of stockpiling going on in our house as we are trying to work through our stockpile not add to it.  I tend to be a bit of a food hoarder and I forget that there is just the 2 of us not a family

Reduce - Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.

Our main thing at the moment is to clear out as much clutter as possible.  We know that in the next year or so we will have to pack it all into a shipping container and move it to New Zealand.

Green Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

We continue to make most of our own cleaners and I have been knitting up a few more dish cloths and composting old ones that have past their prime.

Grow plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden?

The self seeded Jap pumpkin that was set on world domination has lasted through winter and is even starting to grow again so we have picked all the pumpkins and stored them.
I have been planting out lots of seeds but have realised that I have a few gaps in my selections (eggplants, corn and capsicums) so I will be getting some of them asap.

Create - To fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
I have been making cards but other than that not much has been happening here.

Discover Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
I have had my nose in a book permanently over the last 2 months.  I have read the 7 books in the Game of Thones series as well as a couple of other fictions.  I have also been studying permaculture in both books and online.

Enhance Community
Planning for this years Classic Car Show is well under way again and will be keeping me busy for many months to come.  I am also in charge of organising all of the stall holders for the festival so it is a huge job.  I would say that I currently dedicate about 10 - 15 hours a week to these community events.

Enjoy - Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment.
I have been pretty much a home body over the last 2 months.  But there have been catch ups with family and friends and I have to say I love skype for having face to face conversations with my family in NZ.  It is lovely to be able to see my nieces grow up.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Playing Pirates Comes To An End

Back in the middle of August I blogged about us walking the plank to get around out in the back utility area of our place.  Well the concrete is all set and we now have a nice even floor to walk around on.  Who know why the previous owners never did it as it was no big deal and would have been even easier during the construction phase.

The finished floor

But the area was still ugly with one bare concrete wall and one wall badly painted with the ugly fuse box standing out like a sore thumb.

Ugly old walls

Then there was the laundry corner.  It is a small space and a bit dark and the fact that the ceiling was never painted didn't help either.

Before we started with the dark laundry area,
the uneven floor and unpainted walls.

So Hubby has been hard at work paintbrush in hand and painted the entire space.  For now we have painted both the walls and ceiling white and it has made the space so much lighter.  We may paint the walls the same colour as the bathroom when we renovate that room but for now white is good.

No more ugly grey bricks

The Laundry space looks so much cleaner and brighter.  Now we just have to fix the little gap on the end wall.
Much lighter and brighter, note the vertical gap where the light shines in.

It will never be the prettiest area but at leas now it looks clean and is much brighter.

Everything back in
Looking back to the toilet and bathroom it is a bit stark but once we get a few things in there it will tone it all down.

We will be getting some new carpet for our bedroom and lounge and the old carpet will be used out the back here which will help finish off the space.  But that may be a while off yet so for now I am looking forward to putting the chest freezers back out here and getting them out of the entrance hall.  It is not 100% finished but it is completed enough for me to tick it off the list.

And that list is getting smaller month by month.

Are your touching up or renovating anything at your place?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Garden Whip Around

Well I am back and I am feeling well rested and much more at ease.  Life has still been busy but we had a few days away where we just chilled out and since being home I have taken time out to just be.  To just live in the moment and forget about lists of jobs that need to be done.  I find a good way of doing this is to wander round the yard taking notice of all the little things that are happening.

The quince is flowering for the first time.

And even appears to be setting fruit.

The Mulberry is loaded with fruit.

Now I just have to beat the birds to them.

Last year I planted some yellow cosmos.  They have now self seeded everywhere creating a lovely carpet of colour.  But it is pretty clear they do not stay true to type since I now have about 5 different colours.

Most of the cosmos have turned out pink and they are popping up in both the lawn and the paddock.
We still have bananas fruiting but they got a bit knocked around by the frost and look a bit tatty.

My little lemon has fruited really well this year and is now covered in flowers.  They give off such a lovely scent.

The herbs are going great guns and my parsley continues to self seed so I am never without it.

I have heaps of corriander and I have planted carrots in the other side of the bed. I have not had much success with carrots in the past but I am giving it another go. (Sorry about the wonky photo)

The silverbeed is still being enjoyed by us and the chooks and hidden amongst those weeds chicken goodies at the front are golden beetroot.

I have curly parsley as well and the last of the fennel needs to used up this week.

The first of my summer plantings are in and the purple king beans are up.

I have some yellow drop tomatoes planted and more seeds planted out and waiting to germinate.

My jalapenos are ready to go in the ground and hubby is looking forward to them producing a big crop as we are down to the last 2 jars that I pickled last year.

Well that's what is happening here.
What's growing in your garden?