Saturday, April 30, 2011

April, 2011.

April has come and gone so I thought I'd do a bit of a writeup about how the gardens were.
What was growing, what we ate, what I planted...

I was thinking that the gardens are empty and that last year they were looking so much better but on going back and reading I think the main difference is Eggplants.  I haven't any in this year but they did fill a few spots last year that are now empty.  And this time last year we still had melons and corn growing.

Growing out there now, ready to pick and eat, I have chillies, capsicum, silverbeet,  pumpkin, beetroot, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chokos.  A bit of celery.  I could get a couple of meals from the spinach if I needed to.
I still have garlic and onions from last season out in the shed and pumpkins from this year.
Peas, carrots and corn in the freezer.

We are picking and eating passionfruit and green (Granny Smith?) apples, a few strawberries...Have apricots and bananas in the freezer.  I have had a couple of Indian guavas and some strawberry guavas as well but the chooks get most of those.
Had a couple of fresh tiny bananas a few days ago.
Ate our Pineapple.

We are also eating eggs, chicken (rooster), pork, fish...all supplied by us.   Could eat marron if we wanted to but haven't this month.
Oh, the son brought out a box of cooked prawns just before Easter so there are quite a few meals of them in the freezer even if we didn't grow them ourselves.

We are not going hungry and looks like we are going to do OK for May as well.

This month I have planted or shifted a few things but need to do more over the next few weeks.

I bought Beetroot seeds and planted them.  I soak the seeds for a bit in warm water then roll them in small bits of paper.  Before I started doing this I was always *losing* the seeds in the dirt.  This way I know where they are and once they are in place I can just poke them in the ground.

I bought punnets of Cauliflower and Broccoli and have put some out in the big tank garden and some in the smaller tank gardens.  I have seen White Cabbage Butterfly around the place though so I covered one lot with a net to try and protect them.  I will make some more little moth shapes to hang above them and put eggshells around as well but these things come by the dozen and it is a neverending battle between me and them..  I will get the baddy racquet's out and put them somewhere handy as well.

I have planted peas, a Dwarf Sugarsnap, seeds, that are starting to come up. 
A punnet of Capsicum are in.
Seeds of normal peas are in.
The English Spinach is growing and I have already had a few leaves from them.
A patch of Garlic has come up in one of the drums so that has been thinned out and I now have it it 2 of the drums along the driveway.  This must be from a clove missed last year. 
Still have a heap of cloves to plant.
I have transplanted a seedling fruit tree from the front garden.  This was quite big about 2 and 1/2 foot high so I don't know if it will make it.  It is a Peach.  Or Apricot.  Something anyway.
Two Capsicum plants need to be removed from where the fence was and a new spot found for them.Four new Pineapple tops were planted.
Half a dozen rooted Pepino plants have been put in the back garden.

Still lots to do but that's the thing with backyards and gardens isn't it.  There is always something that needs doing, be it planting, picking, mowing, mulching, watering, eating...

I'm not home, I'm here.

I am babysitting last night/this morning...
So had a sleepover in a big flash house, overlooking the river....Very nice.  Even had tea cooked for me.

But I am still inside on the computer instead of out there enjoying the view and serenity.
I will have breakfast out there though, that will be nice.

No idea when the people will be back but that doesn't matter.  My chooks are big enough to wait for their breakfast and the dog will sleep until I get home.

I am using their computer and the keyboard is much smaller than mine so I keep making mistakes.  But being on here up here I will have no reason to get on when I get home so will be able to get straight into things outside.  Yes indeedy, that is what will happen...

It's nearly half past 7 and I'm surprised the boys aren't up yet.  I thought they were early risers...My mistake.  Will give them another half an hour.  One is being picked up this morning but as I have no idea what time I need to get him fed and ready, in case it's earlier than later.

Well best be off, will go out and play with the dogs for a bit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Passionfruit .

It's that time of the year when the area outside the backdoor is covered in fallen Passionfruit.
We have a wonderful vine out there, the best producer of  the 5 vines we have.  Though the fruit are smaller than the vine over the pigpen we get more of them.

I think the flowers are so pretty.

Grandaughter was out here a couple of days ago and she helped pick up a couple of bags worth.   They are nice fresh but there is only so many we can eat plain.  The son sometimes has a few but never enough.  I do freeze them and give some away but still have heaps.

I am going to make up some cordial but we don't drink a lot of cordial here.
I'm a water drinker and Hubby drinks Coke.  

I have been experimenting with making a pudding out of them.  I am onto my third try and it is good.  Hubby thinks it could be a bit sweeter but he's a Coke drinker so what would he know.Happy      
He could be right though, I usually add way less sugar than recipes call for and think the stuff still tastes OK.

I have modified my chocolate pudding recipe which was modified from a Yogo recipe from the SimpleSavings site.

This time I used 200ml of Passionfruit pulp, 2Tbs cornfour, 3Tbs sugar, just under 1/2cup skim milk powder, and 300ml.of water   
Heat in micowave, stir, heat etc until it starts to thicken.. 
It gets a bit thicker as it cools.  Cool then gobble.
Use more or less pulp depending on the intensity of flavour you like.  I like it strong.  As in everything I cook/make it is all experimenting, no set recipes.

I serve mine in a cup, that holds 3/4 cup but if you had big Passionfruit you could use the shell of them.

 I liked it.  DD said it tasted too much like Passionfuit but kept eating it out of the bowl.  Grandaughter wanted more then more again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Flowers.

The chooks dug up all the Nasturtiums a few weeks ago when they all kept escaping (the chooks kept escaping, not the Nasturtiums.Silly!)  and though there are some more coming up the colour from the Nast flowers is sorely missed.  I was wandering around out there and whinging thinking that I had no flowers but Hubby said I had heaps, I just wasn't looking right.

Hmmmm, we'll see.

Yesterday I took the camera out and had another look.  Not a lot but I found some.

I have a few Marigolds out in the big tank garden.  Most of the flowers are dying off now though they still make a nice display.  But when they are finished there is nothing to replace them.  I do have heaps of seeds so will sprinkle some around the place and see what happens.

I like these Daisy things and have a half dozen or so around the place.  I should get more growing as they are pretty easy.

You can sometimes see the Peanut flowers but I don't count them as they are only around for a little while then they go underground.


The Passionfruit flowers *might* be counted as I do like them 
and they are around long enough to appreciate.

What else is there...Not a lot.  There is a purple daisy type thing that I keep pulling up and it keeps coming back but that is being pulled up again this week so though it's pretty I don't want it in the yard.  I have planted some out the front and will put these ones out there to.  If they survive they'll get to stay out there.

This is the one and only flower left on this plant and it's half dead so it definitely doesn't count.  I call it a Geranium but it could be a Pelargonian.  Doesn't matter much, I like them when it is in full bloom so will take cuttings and  get more growing.  I have 2 of these at the moment but I chopped the bigger one , that had heaps of flowers!!, down a couple of weeks ago.

I think I am missing the colour from the Bougainvilleas.  They could be seen from any area of the yard and I really liked them.  Now they are gone everything looks dull. 

Hubby is not keen on growing anything that he can't eat but as I am the planter and plant lookerafterer I will get some more colour out there.  

We need to feed our body but I need to feed my soul as well.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ByeBye Bougainvillea

I have/had 2 Bougainvillea, planted as cuttings a few years ago but expected to die.  
They didn't, they grew and flowered and were beautiful

I really liked them but Hubby...not so much.  Mainly because of the spines on them I think.  And that in itself might not have been a problem if I didn't leave bits on the ground where he could tread on them.  But anyway, I loved them, he didn't, they were kinda getting out of hand and were too close to the door of the chookhouse.   And they had broken the fence that they were up against and the chooks were getting out and digging up my gardens.
So, great idea, cut them back and fix the fence, maybe in a few weeks when it is cooler I could dig them up and shift them to the front fence, out of the way.
You can see where they have broken the fence.

So last Monday I started.  What a bleedin' job.  I cut and pruned and ditched half of these plants and was working on getting the fence tied back together.   I was  ready to finish the job on Friday and Hubby offered to help.  Good, at least the job would get finished.

But, Change Of Plan!    We decided to get rid of the fence altogether, dig up all the ratty plants I had out there and open up the area in front of the house...which means that if I wanted to keep these 2 plants then now was the time to dig them up and transplant them.   I have done 1 and the other will be done tomorrow.

They may survive, I hope they do.  They added some much needed colour to the place.

I Bought Potatoes. And Carrots...

How sad...But because I don't eat many Potatoes I haven't really been too fussed about getting any this year and though I can usually find some if I go out and have a dig around I caved and bought  a bag for Hubby.
I wasn't going to, I didn't want to...but he likes spuds and had been asking about some so I did.
Aren't I a nice little wifey.
The carrots were bought because I had none and they were there, close to the spuds...

They are the only vegetable bought this year so still not doing too bad. There is always something out in the gardens to eat but sometimes you want something that is easy to find and you can't get much easier than a bag of bought stuff in the cupboard or fridge.

The gardens are nowhere near as productive as last year, I think I am not as focused on them this year but a look around the shops the other day has made me have a good think and if I don't want to go back to relying on shop stuff then I really need to put in the effort to get my backyard back the way it was when I had challenged myself to not buy anything.

I think once the challenge was over and I knew that I could grow everything we ate then I kinda lost the spirit of things.  I am starting to get that back though and that is a good thing.

I could happily live without Potatoes and they are cheap enough to buy but I will still try and get back to what I had growing last year.  The trouble has been that I have dug them up but not replaced them with a new lot to grow.  Time to work on that.  I have the space, I need to get it filled.

And the carrots?  I have not been able to grow enough and the ones I did were not the best, buying some was the easy way out.  I will keep trying to grow them but won't cry too much if I have to buy another bag. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

More On Pineapples.

Well we have finished eating our one and only Pineapple and it was good.  Not too sweet and though it smelled really pineappleally it wasn't too strong a flavour.  I'm not sure what *picked fresh from the plant* Pineapple are supposed to taste like but we really enjoyed ours.  In a few years time we might get some more.  We now have 7 tops or pups in the ground so here's hoping anyway.

But wait, there's more...
I month or so ago I asked the son if he could get me some Pineapple tops from his work.  He says no as they buy them in without the tops on them. ???  Why would anyone buy a Pineapple without the top?  OK, I know not everyone plants the tops and getting them without would take up less room and not be as prickly.  But still.

However not long after I asked he did say that he had saved a few whole pineapple from the rubbish for me and they had the tops on them still. 
Cool, so where are they Boy?

It has been ages since he said he had them and though I keep asking he kept forgetting to bring them out for me and I never thought to go into his place and get them myself.  Sad, I know.

But after some loving nagging from his mummy he brought them out.  Four of them,  in a box, full of ants and the fruit was maggoty.  But the tops are OK and I have it on my list to get them planted this week. 
That will give us 11 Pineapple plants. 

I think that's pretty cool.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Summer is finished for another year but we are still getting some nice days. 
Today was cooler though. 
And Hubby has found a young Dugite in his shed.  About 14in long. 
I have a lot of *stuff* in there that I intend going through next week so I hope there are no more but it's a timely reminder that we need to be aware of these things all the time not just Summertime.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Bought Seedlings...

I have been out in the garden this week and finally have a few things in the ground.  The chooks have not escaped for a week or so so I'm thinking they'll be safe.

We bought some punnets of seedlings yesterday as a quickstart and they will be planted this morning and I have put some more seeds in as well.  If I can keep the chooks away they should be OK.

I keep saying to Hubby that I need a proper propagating area setup but really that is a want and I am using it as an excuse, whinging that because I haven't got the *perfect spot* it's all hit and miss with the seeds. 
I need to stop making excuses and just get things done regardless of whether things are *perfect* or not.  I have plenty of space to grow seeds and anything else I want.  I just need to do it instead of reading about other people doing it and whinging that they have it better than me blah, blah, blah.

So this morning I will plant out 4 punnets of stuff, get some more seeds in and this out some garlic that has come up in a half 44 along the driveway.

Better be off or it will be coffee time and nothing will get done and I will be whinging again....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Have a Pineapple.

We picked our first, one and only, Pineapple yesterday.
Just had some and it is very nice, full of flavour.  I was a bit worried that it would be too ripe as I had forgotten about it and it was real yellow when I noticed it again on Monday.

This pineapple has been growing in a 1/2 x 44 gallon drum for a few years now so they take a long time from planting to eating so just as well we weren't in a hurry.

There were a few suckers on this plant and they have been pulled off and planted in the sandy garden out the back.  The top from this one will go out there in a few days as well.   If they all survive we will have 7 little Pineapple plants in the ground. 
I read somewhere that the plant we just picked from may send out a couple more suckers so I am going to leave it in it's drum for a while and see what it does. 

Our Pineapple has taken up a bit of space for a long time with the end result of 1 fruit so as a main crop in a small backyard I wouldn't recommend them, we have had much more fruit from a Pepino in the same size pot,  but if you have the space and want something different I think they are an  easy plant to have in the ground.  We have the space and the time so the long wait will not be a problem for us.

A lot of places cut the tops from the Pineapples before they sell them but if you buy one with the top still attached cut the top off and stick it in somewhere out of the way and you too might get the thrill of tasting  a homegrown one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

No Excuses This Week.

I've had a few days away and in the leadup to *My Adventure*  I was spending more time on getting the van packed and ready than out in the backyard but I have no plans to go off anywhere again for a few weeks so should have plenty of time to get the gardens sorted.

I missed buying seedlings last week so might have to make a special trip somewhere to get some but this week I will get some seeds in as well.  I am home for the next 2 weeks so really have no excuses.

And as per usual the grass needs mowing again. 

One chook pen is in real need of a decent cleanout and I have decided to put the chooks that I want to keep all together in the orchard pen and get rid of the others.  I need to fix the fence first though or they'll be able to get out. 
I will choose which of the Mixed breed chooks are staying today and put them in the front orchard pen.  After I fix the fence.  My concern is that they are a lot smaller than the AussieRocks that I will put them with but the AR are a friendly bird so shouldn;t cause to many dramas.

So much to do so better make a start.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tank Gardens. Still Working On Them.

Well I still haven't achieved all I wanted to with the tank gardens but as it is a neverending project I probably never will.  Such is my way...

I have mowed, whippersnippered and weeded.  The mowing could be done again and there are more weeds coming up.  And we have had rain so that will all increase.  And I am not home much this week.  And I am still *real sore* from the 20km bikeride on Saturday.  Can you see where this is going?

I have fed the empty gardens with liquid manure, and mulched some.  They are ready to have stuff  planted into them so will buy some seedlings sometime during the week.  Maybe tomorrow.  I can then plant them tomorrow evening as I am away the next few days but as we are due for a bit more rain they should be OK.

I transplanted some Chilly plants into the fridge garden that had 2 in it.  There is now 6 plants in there and the newbies look like they will survive.

I pulled up and replanted heaps of Strawberry plants.  Some in a small tank garden and some in an empty fridge garden.  I still have a bucket full to put somewhere and will do that this morning.

I need to get a few more barrow loads of dirt from the chookpens as a topup to the big TG and hope to get that done today.

I *think* we have fixed the problem of the chooks getting out. 
I hope so or the seedlings will not get a chance but I'm thinking we have. 
As long as I shut the gate properly on the MixedBreed pen and the wing clipping of the escapee Hyline works they should make it. 
If I remember to leave a note for Hubby to water them next weekend when he is home but I am away...

I might just buy a couple of punnets, just in case.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shooting Wild Pigs..

I was just outside, checking if I turned the water off or not...hang on, I need to go check if the water is off...
I seen this animal out near the dam.  Maybe a fox.  But it's the middle of the day and there is 2 of them so... must be someones dogs.  No, there's a group of them, What the!!!  Wild Pigs!!
I run inside and grab the camera because I know *they* will not believe me and then the chase is on...

I know it's not very clear, they were a paddock away quick smart and still moving. Gosh those little blighters are fast.  Now I know how the son feels when he's out hunting them.

The 6 black smudges are pigs.   Not very clear as I was trying to zoom the camera in and it got wobbly.

This is a couple of them coming out of the dam in the paddock across from ours.

OK. Watching this it's hard to tell what the black smudges are but believe me...I would not be running down the backyard chasing smudges, they are real live pigs.

They ran towards the house out the back so I presume they are his and escaped somehow and when they had a big heavy breathing *thing* after them they ran home to safety.

While I was standing on the dam wall I took a photo looking back towards he house and backyard.

Listening to me try and breath I think it's time for another blood test.  I was thinking that the Iron wasn't doing it's job properly so am eating Liver but maybe a test will tell me if any of that is working.

Thanks Sherrie, For the cards.

Thanks Sherrie for the cards, they arrived this morning.

For those that don't know, a couple of weeks ago Sherrie was having a givaway over at her blog 

She made the cards herself, she is such a clever lady, check out her blog and I'm sure you will agree.

I may not be as clever as her but I am getting a box set up for Wanda so that I can do some crafty stuff when I am out wandering.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tank Gardens.

I have whippersnippered and mowed around the tank garden area.
I pulled out a couple of dead cucumbers, saved 3 fruit from these.
Chopped back the big pumpkin plant.
Pulled up the one and only sunflower that grew.  I will collect the seeds from that this afternoon.
Pulled out a heap of grass.
Chopped back the geranium/pelagonian plant.
Pulled out 1/2 dozen beetroot I found hiding under the marigolds.
Pulled all the dead corn out.
Brocilli from the big tank garden has been fed to the chooks as has all the other stuff.

Still a bit more to do but I came in then have been mowing/doing stuff in the van out the front as it got too hot out the back.

Some Tips For You...

Tip 1.  In the long run you save more time by stopping and extending the WS cord then by just doing a *little bit more* and having to stop and pull it apart and rethread.   HoHum...

Tip 2.    It's easier, and doesn't take as long, to find the secateurs if you put them away in their bucket and not put them on the ground and then bury them with everything you pull out.

Tip 3.  Close said secateurs before putting them down and you wont stab yourself in the hand with them when scooping up the grass and stuff for the chooks.

Tank Gardens.

It's 8:30, Sunday morning, Hubby is at work.
I could be on here for another couple of hours, I could finish the book I am reading, I could go for an hours bikeride, I could tidy and clean inside, I could take *Wanda* and go wandering...

But no, I choose to spend  the next couple of hours out the back whippersnippering, mowing and resurrecting the tank gardens.
This is why..

They are in an awful mess and I will no longer use illness as a reason for not doing anything.