Sunday, 20 September 2009

Lost one brain!

It has been  a bit of a hectic week.  My brain has gone AWOL at times.  I drove up to work on Thursday only to find I was not actually booked for that day,but for Friday and Saturday?   I had booked my accommodation and at such short notice would have been billed, I ended up staying for the day browsing about the shops for an hour or so.  I am not a woman who enjoys wondering about the shops, unless they are garden centres or hardware shops.I ended up going for a drive. 
Quite a lovely day and I was really thrilled to see a mother swan and her 3 cygnets feeding on the side of a busy road.  Many vehicles flying bye not noticing.  Me I turned around but as I pulled up closer to the little family mum shepherded her babies into the water to hide behind some reeds.
Simple pleasures and delights

I watched them for a brief while but mum was quite disturbed so I left.  I worked Friday and had to cancel Saturday as I had made arrangements to meet friends at Salamanca Markets.  So another day wondering about looking at many things, and buying little.  Enjoying friends company and meeting some new people. 

Today was our little community village market day which I am one of the organisers of.  We began life as a local produce market, but are now encompassing local craft and artisians. Today we had lots of lovely plants, and some vegies, fresh free range eggs, home made cards, cakes, biscuits, homemade bread, goats cheese, pork pies, ginger bread, preserves of all kinds, jams, vinegerettes, flowers, knitted beanies.  I love my four hours a fortnight there meeting lots of people both locals and tourists.  I also love having choice of so many yummy things.  Tonights meal is a ploughmand, a bit of this and that.  Pork pie, pickels , I made, and relish I made, goats cheese, some of my quince jelly, olives, more cheeses, delicous.

As I was leaving to go to the markets I noticed the yachts were out. First race of the season a leisurely sail down from Hobart yesterday , and then they race back to Hobart today.

As you can see they were moving fast, lots of wind today. 

The weather has again deteriorated and the fire is lit as the wind blows, snug and warm glass of red wine at my side.  ahhh I have such a wonderful life, I am so content.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Dorothy is right, There is no place like home..

Unlike Dorothy after my days away from home, I do not have to find my way to the wizzard, (even if I do live in which is what many call Australia).  Nor do I need to go on a quest to  find Glenda the good witch and be given her red glittering shoes, as you can see my red shoes do not glitter.
and click my heals, and say the words, "There is no place like home and be magically returned, no hour long drive.
I am sure the feelings I experience as I turn into our driveway, see the house with its warm lights, smoke coming out the chimney, the door opening the rush of delight as the wonderdog, prances and wags his whole body in welcome. DH finally suceeds in  getting through the vibrating circling dog,  embracing me in his safe and loving arms, finally weaving his way between all our legs and paws meowing his welcome, or is that he has not been fed yet is chokie face the cat; is no less a welcome than Dorothy and Toto's on their return from Oz. Ohhh the welcome of Home!  Nothing compares.

It is amazing how much can happen in the course of two days in the garden, especially if it has been warm 20degrees C, and warmer nights.  When I took the wonder dog out this morning for his walk, after some heavy rain overnight, it was to a cooler gray clouded sky, so once again the fire is lit.  I have just put the left over bones from a roast lamb in a pot to simmer in water, from this I will make a curry.  Sigh  just the thing to warm on a cool spring evening.

Tulips in pots that have not flowered for two years have this year quite spectacularly
and whilst I am not a real lover of tulips; mainly for the shortness of their flowering and the difficulty I have found growing them. They are a intense flower and on mass look spectacular,.  When I lived in Canberra, the Floriade Exhibition every year was incredible using mass plantings of spring bulbs. It is usually held early in September.

 We had lots of rain overnight which is good as it has meant my new trees that I planted on Wednesday were watered well, (I was going to do this, this morning). One less job to attend to.  I am not a woman for jewelery at least not diamonds and pearl kind of things.  I mean who needs to have diamonds when you have this..

Strings of perfect droplets, on a thread so thin and so strong. 
Cob webs are such truly incredible achievements from spiders not only for their incredible beauty, but the design concept, the engineering of the attachments to hold them in place, also the strength of the silk threads that the spider makes.  When spiders make webs massive amounts of protein are required to manufacture the silk. So much energy is expended that spiders will often eat the webs to recoup the protein and restore energy for more spinning.  The other issue it that over time the cobweb begins to loose its stickiness which reduces the chance of food being caught.  So the eating of the web often on a daily basis; and I would imagine particularly if no food has been caught is a way of ensuring that their webs remain in good working order.

The tensile(how much pressure it can have exerted on it in a curve before damage occurs) strength of the spiders web is greater than the same weight of steel with much greater elasticity and according to Wikepedia

 "Its microstructure is under investigation for potential applications in industry, including bullet-proof vests and artificial tendons. Researchers have used genetically modified mammals to produce the proteins needed to make this material."[2][3][4]

Nature is incredible.  I love that through a man made creation The World Wide Web...(spider connection lol)
is connecting me to many people who have a love of nature.  Actually I love how the WWW is broadening my horizons and letting me travell the world meeting people generally.

My lemon tree has several flowers on it, that look like they may actually develop.  Now if only they will be pollinated and the fruit hang on.  One of my great desires this year is to be able to pick a lemon of my own tree.  What an achievement that would be.  lol  No wining world class medals for me, promotions in the work force.  My biggest achievement, the one that would make me very happy, and proud is to be able topick a  Now is that the simple life? 

The daffodils are coming to their end, the iris's are still going well, and my jonquils are beautiful.  One thing is my fresias have not flowered as yet.  Where as normally they have flowered before my daffodils.  They do have flower heads on them. We are talking about springtime, and the pansies are delightful if a little nibbled,and weathered.
 There are also many native plants flowering now. Lovely bird and bee attracting Grevillia, 

The plant below I am unable to recall or find the label for it so it's name I do not know.
This is a native Salvia.  It is a small but spreading shrub.  It is truely beautiful in full flower.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009 I am not a domestic goddess

Not being a great fan of house work, and having let the house work get away from me, I made a decision to get on with it yesterday.

So first thing I took the wonder dog for his walk and game in the morning, in the rain.

I realised that I needed to get my bare rooted nectarine tree I purchased the day before on my trip to Hobart, into the ground quickly.  I noted it had buds forming. I  had the almond and a lilac that I had taken from the front of the house(driveway entrance east gets little morning sun and that is all), to put in the back yard, west facing.  So off course I decided to get these done first.

Wonder Dog catching the ball, (not taken yesterday, as you can see the sun is shining, but I love this shot)

 I removed the walnut and nectarine that had not survived the lack of water last summer and too much water now, and planted the nectarine and lilac in their places.  I also dug a hole for the almond to go in the chook run, to provide the chooks when they arrive, some shade.  Trees planted.

Lilac bush transplanted to new home
hmm what was it I was going to do today?

The dog was having fun out side so I played with him, in the rain, as it was drizzling off and on as I did all the planting.
I noted that the raspberry patch needed to be weeded and the canes from last year cut back.  So I did this, as it really needed to be done right at this moment.  Their is already great growth on the new raspberry canes, and I must wire them up a bit better this year.   
Hmmm now what were my plans?

So after this I weeded some of the flower beds a bit, and sowed some parsley seeds, as you have to keep parsley seeds moist, and it was raining again, so perfect time to sow them.  In went triple leaf and Italian parsley.
One of the possums that comes to visit us, at the kitchen window.  It is an old photo but show you their dexterity, and cuteness.  (I love them but they do a like to nibble on my plants)

Funny there is something at the back of my mind I was going to be doing today, what was it?
Having sown the parsley directly out side and some flower seeds, I thought I should plant up some more seedling punnets.  I have planted climbing tomatoes Black Krim, Black Zebra, and Wapsipinnicon Peach, along with Rockmelon French Charentais, so my hope chest is filling again, and I have replanted my beans quite a variety.
What a handsome Scarlet Robin.. he was watching as I weeded

This is looking NE up the Huon River in a general direction towards Hobart, one of my routes to work/Hobart takes me along the river, the following shots were taking at about 6:30am as I was heading to Hobart 70kms away to do some shopping.  Don't ask why I was leaving at this time, especially as even eating breakfast on the way, I discovered the shops don't open till 9am in Hobart.  So wondered about for 45mins.   

The photo on the left is looking across the river the sun is just coming up but we are looking west here.  I am not sure which mountain range these are.  The road is very windy it takes between 45minutes to an hour.

Below some people fishing down in ront of our place
I dont rush as it is such a pretty drive and I have to watch out for possums, wallabies, potaroos, bentongs, quolls and rabbits.
I really do not want to hit any of the wild life well maybe a rabbit would not be a bad thing....
  We do not have wombats or Tasmanian devils in our area.
 Very little house work has been achieved today..ah well it will be there tomorrow and so will

Tragedies both near and far, a good reason not to put things away for good!

My heart goes out to those people in California who are dealing with the horrendous fires, and their aftermath.  It beggers belief that someone can deliberately begin fires as it seems may have happened in California, and often here.  It is devastating as we in Australia know and can share.

Closer to our home in the winds I mentioned (Sunday our time) a little home a way up the road (9kms) was demolished by a gum(eucalyptus) tree falling on it.  Fortunately the lady who only built her home 3 years ago was not there at the time, she is away and the police are trying to find her to let her know what has happened.  Not only her home demolished but one would imagine many of her possessions, her treasures are destroyed also by the damage and the rain.

When I was young my family lost both business and the home we lived in (a flat above the business) in a fire, very little was salvagable.  My teddybear was saved but had a very smokey smell for many months no matter how often he had a bath.  My mother had all her treasures you know the things we put aside for good, or for later on.  Some of her treasures were from my parents wedding and she had not used them, they were gone.
For me the lesson I have learnt is to not have things put up and only used occasionally.  I try to enjoy and appreciate the things I have not store them away for best or later.   I have too much as my DH would nod in agreement.  We use things as much as possible.  If something gets cracked or was broken, it may be sad, and we might feel a bit bad for a little while, but then we know we have used it and enjoyed using it.

I was out weeding my vegie garden beds today.  There has been no rain for two days now.  This opportunity was too good to miss.  Whilst the ground is still very wet, it makes pulling deep rooted weeds out easy, the onion grass, and general weeds are also coming out with very little effort. Only problem is that these clumping styles of weeds pull out quite a lot of soil too.  My vegie garden has been so weedy, I am almost positive it is from the sheep and horse manure I have been using as fertilliser.  Plus we have onion weed(at least that is what I call it, has bulbs growing and these spread and form more clumping grass.  I hate the thought of ever using some of the weed killers out there particularly around my vegie beds.  I would love any suggestions on how to get rid of this one.  Though I feel that pulling it is the only way.

I also discovered that I have been picking beetroot leaves, which I thought were coloured silver beet leaves.  I discovered this as I was clearing an area, that I must have just popped seed in. Again no labels..I have to be so much better organised, anyways these beetroots were the bullring kind and they sadly due to my ignorance have gone woody, or have I picked them too early.  I am not the best gardener and just put things in in the hope they will grow, at least that has been my past ways. I am working on changing this.  They were quite large, several weighing in at over 300gms each.  They have very little colour on the inside, but you can make out the rings.  I have decided not to do anything with them as I have obviously left them in the ground too long which is a shame.

Well I am looking at the garden and working out where to plant the spring plantings and summer crops also those that take along time to grow so my plan of action book is getting a bit of a workout.  I must say it did feel great to be in the garden.  Even if I was covered from head to toe almost in mud.  The wonderdog has decided he must jump the fences and join me in the vegie garden bed.  So re-fencing the vegie plot is second to the chook run.  Oh yes what has happened to the chookie tajmahal?  It is there waiting for the girls to arrive!  Well I have read the article below, and for me it has been of great interest.

I do not buy hybrid seeds so am not really wanting to buy hybrid chooks that tend to have unhappy lives as they are generally bred to go into intensive chook farming/egg production.  I know many people have happy free range isa browns. This is just my preference and I am growing to like the idea  of having pure bred chooks as I grow pure seeds.  I did consider buying some from a poultry farm, they wanted $25ea and they had, had their beaks cut.  Whilst on one hand  I felt this was a positive step to save some of these poor battery hens, on the other buy buying them I am actually supporting an industry that I do not support.  I dont buy battery eggs, I buy free range chickens for meat.  So for me it is about my personal opinions and the treatment of animals in humane manner. Okay off my soap box.
Oh and I was amazed to see some chooks being sold as pullets whose legs were so thick they must have been at least 12 months old if not older.  Hmmmm.  I am thinking about New Hampshires and maybe another breed.   Anyone with any suggestions please share.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Murder in the Hope Chest

When it is wild windy and wet, it is lovely to know that the seedlings growing inside are doing okay.  I have cabbage, sunflowers, pumpkin, tomatoes, zucchini all poking their lovely first leaves out of the seedling mix.

This photo is a Turkish Turban Pumpkin Seed, with my bush peas in the distant background,

Arrgh a discovery of very smelly seed pot.  My beans have been to wet and have disintegrated?  They have rotted in the punnet..Though a tomato seedling has grown, somehow got into this punnet by accident.  Lesson learned.  BEANS WILL ROT IF TOO WET!..  so I will be bleaching this seedling punnet and re potting it.  I am adding some fresh soil and potting mix to the stuff in the pot and will use it again to plant some new beans. Allowing the soil to not be saturated. I have been a murderer to beans!

Well a lesson learned!   
The photo above and to the right is a mortgage lifter tomato seed just coming up, and the one below is a White climbing tomato.        

 I was working in Hobart recently and in my lunch break went shopping for some seedling pots.  The nearest nursery was a lovely little city type nursery, Newtown Station Nursery, with its lovely gift shop and cafe.  I wandered about looking for some sort of seedling pots for sale but non to be seen.  As I left I noticed a large container with hundreds of plastic pots, and a large sign "POT RECYCLING!" into the container I went and dug out all the pots you can see in the photo.  Absolutely free.  A little wash and bleach pop in my own seedling mix, and seeds.  Fantastic!  What a great idea.  There should be more things like this. 

I have also been trying to work out what to do for watering the vegie garden.  I really love hand watering as I usually pull a few weeds, and get a real feel for what is growing, needing some help or being eaten in the garden.  Such a relaxing past time, that I think will take about 30-40 mins but I always nearly end up out in the garden for a couple of hours.  Hopefully remembering to go and turn the tap off at the tank, before I tie up, weed, or pick. 
First Iris of Spring
Oops off the track again.  I have had great success in my first vegie beds using terracotta pots as water reservoirs.  I had been looking at wicking beds, but a lot of work to do in already established beds.  So instead I filled the holes in the pots with a water proof adhesive used in plumbing, and the saucers become the tops.  I dig several holes per bed and put in a pot and lid(saucer) for each hole before I plant out my plants/seeds.  The terracotta pots cant have any treatments, as they must be natural as this allows the water to seep out into the soil.      

I went to a building supply shop in Argyle St Hobart, that has a great selection of reasonably priced terracotta pots.  Such a great assortment and great prices.  The best thing is that I found pots that did not have any holes in them!  I felt like I had struck gold as it means I do not have to fill the holes. 

You have to make sure that the saucers sit fairly firmly and flatly on top of the pots to avoid little bugs drowning.  (not such a bad thing for the baddie bugs, I guess). 
    So it is a fairly simple process and gives quite a lot of water in each pot.  Over a litre.  So I  will keep you up to date with the workings of my pot watering system.

Even the dog enjoys the spring garden!

It was a funny day here today, it was warm, and sunny, so I went out and did quite a bit of weeding.  I also have been putting some blood and bone around to fertilise the garden.  Having been told that the rabbits are not keen on blood and bone was an added incentive to spread it today as we have so many rabbits eating and digging about.  Fingers crossed it will work.