Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fence Fixing and "The Digger over the Fence"

One of the planks fell off our boundary fence, so I was out there banging in nails to fix it. Both Albie and Montana-Rose came to have a look, and Lo and Behold, as soon as I had finished a DIGGER came to the next-door-neighbours house.

Albie stood for ages watching it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our new way of getting about.....albeit, slowly!

The frypan sized mushroom

I picked this mushroom on the way home from town, popped it into the frying pan and, see, it only just fits. Mushroom steak with garlic, and carrots, tomatoes and capsicum from the garden now comprise my lunch. Simple but delicious, food of the best kind.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Warratah is a wonderful thing

As any good Kiwi bloke knows, a warratah is all you need for just about everything. That, and a bit of number 8 wire! Today, the other half put two warratahs in and strung through 3 bits of wire to keep back the raspberries.

Since I pruned them out, which thinned them considerably, they have grown and shot up, and out, and were taking the light off our carrots. Now, with wire up, and all the new canes tucked behind, our carrots are open to the sun.

There's a good name for a short story there, "A warratah, a beer and some number 8 wire".

When Hamish was younger he came up with a short story "A pie, a coke and a two scoop icecream". He never actually wrote it, but we still talk about it, and its become part of our family lore.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It doesn't get much better than this, does it?

Who could not be pleased with today's pickings. Sweet tomatoes, new potatoes, lovely fresh carrots, caulis, even peppers! It's such a lovely thing to walk out in the garden, put your fingers down in the soil and collect wonderful foods to eat

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Labneh, strained yoghurt cheese

Take one kg of Greek Yoghurt, add 1.5t salt and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed. Put into some muslin and suspend over a jug. Pop in the fridge. Let drain for 24-48hrs. You are left with a cream cheese like substance. Roll into walnut sized balls and roll them in fresh chopped herbs or paprika. Lower gently into a jar, fill with oil. Will keep in the fridge for several weeks or longer. Great on crackers, with tomatoes, as part of a platter or more....

It's Elderberry Wine time

I know this as, variously, "Elderberry Wine", "Gentleman's Wine" and "Elderberry Port". Whatever you like to call it, it is deliciously reminiscent of Mulled Wine, and when you look at the ingredients you see why...Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon Stick, and lots and lots of red elderberries.

This is the drink to make to warm the cockles of your heart.

Elderberries are ready now, dark red, hanging hands of berries. They are not good for eating, but do make a delicious drink (and a jelly, which I remember making a few years ago).

In the pot is the fragrant spice mix, and I will put up the recipe when I have time. It's not complicated, but there are several steps, which you do over a few days. So you do the juicing, then a few days later strain and ferment and then again about a week later put into a container for keeping. It is well worth any effort (tho' I declare effort there is none of LOL).

Note to self, Onions

Anna, don't plant the onions too close to anything. They need their light....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh My Goodness, Corgette Glut

What to do? What to do? I have so many corgettes we are pretty sick of looking at them. I decided it was time to get real and find some new ideas on how to use this great vege while there are so many.

Freezing them doesnt seem to be an option, they go soggy and I turned to my new favourite book "A Cottge Garden Cook Book" by Charlotte Dann. Really, it's how to feed your family off the standard NZ quarter acre section. Here is her suggestion, which I made with some success:

Sour Cream Corgettes
2 or 3 Corgettes, grated...put a slosh of olive oil and 1 clove of garlic (crushed) into a pot and stir around till corgettes are lightly fried. Too much cooking, I have discovered, results in sloppy stuff. Stir in 1 teaspoon or so of soy sauce. Plate up and put a good tablespoon of sour cream on top.

Also we tried these:

Corgette Rosti
Grate 2 Corgettes and 2 Potatoes. Put into a bowl and press with paper towel to get rid of excess moisture. Add one egg and salt and pepper. Stir up. Put spoonfuls in hot oil and press down with a spatula. Fry till golden, then flip and fry on the other side. Great with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream or cream cheese.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's the Weather?

Just read this in the local Bulletin:

Monday 1/2 31.4C
Tuesday 2/2 32.9C
Wed 3/2 32.4C
Thurs 4/2 33C
Friday 5/2 34.2C
Sat 6/2 33.2C
Sunday 7/2 25.6C

Complete NIL rainfall for the whole week (quelle surprise!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This must be the second or third flowering of my roses. I try to deadhead them, and cut them back a bit and then away comes another set of flowers. I picked a whole washing basket full last night, and they are perfuming the house deliciously.

Aphids are on our broccoli! what do I do? any helpful comments gratefully received!

Our grapes also have some kind of bug? or scale? I will try and take a picture to put up on this blog. Whatever it is, it makes a little puckered hollow on the leaves.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

It's such a busy time! We have now put the stones all around our new vege beds, and here is the result...gorgeous, isn't it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Raspberry Pruning and what to do with Artichokes

I am never sure at this time of the year, exactly what to do when things in the garden are done flowering or fruiting or whatever.

So, I asked my sister, Karen. She told me to prune out all the canes on the Raspberry that had fruited this year, like I had done with the Boysenberry. Well, I have spent ages with the clippers and now our Raspberry bed actually looks tamed.

The Artichokes Mark and I had to look up on the net to see what to do, as all their lovely large grey leaves were going horrible brown and it was looking straggly. We couldnt decide what advice the net was giving us, but have followed our instincts and removed all the old leaves. Just the new shoots, which are really about 2feet high are left. There was some great advice on what to do during cold weather, which I reckon will come in handy! Pile up straw around them, leaving only a few inches of plant above. If the weather turns really foul, then put the straw right over them, but remove it once the bad snow etc has gone. There was no description of what "bad" weather is tho...does that mean frost, or snow, or ice, or what? I might have straw on them for weeks on end during the winter if it is bad!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tying Up Grapes

What's hot and bothered? me! Mark put in wires on the grapes' posts and I tied them all to it. Next year its going to look absolutely fabulous, this year, just scrappy...but we will get there.

Harvested today, cabbage, broccoli, capsicum and tomatoes :P

Friday, February 5, 2010

Door Stopper, Fruit & Veg

Fruit and vege are not just in the garden, they feature in my home decoration too. Here is a Fig & Lettuce doorstop that I ran up this afternoon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Today's haul


Monday 32C, Tuesday 36C, Wednesday 32C, Thursday a predicted 33C....Whew!! the garden is gasping every night and water restrictions are now in place. Apparently we are only to water every second day. Mark is pretty good, he waters in the evening once he is home from work, and we seem to be keeping on top of it.

Despite this, yesterday I saw my Clematis with all its flowers drooping. Poor thing! We have several clematis in the garden, which my sister Karen and her husband helped us put in when the garden was first started at this house. I have had great success with them in the past, in England, and thought they would love this weather. They don't mind a cold winter, and they love their flowers in the sun. But, unfortunately, they don't like the heat. Each one has a layer of large stones around the base to keep their roots cool, but it really isn't enough. They haven't flourished at all. In fact, only two of them have ever done alright, and the dog chewed through the stem of one at ground level (see my previous postings). It did come away from the base again, and has produced more flowers, but it certainly has some catching up to do.

In the vege garden our pumpkins are loving the heat, and seem to enlarge by centimetres overnight!