Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The hot and the wet

Two days ago it was 26C! then that night it rained, the temperature dropped and yesterday we had a cool,but fine day.

My garden loves this kind of weather, lots of warm growing time, and lots of drinking.  I swear the tomatoes have doubled in height, and are now producing flowers.  Most are of an ordinary variety (I forget exactly what) and there is one of a grafted variety.  Funny, I always thought grafting was for permanent things like trees.  A tomato is a one year thing, so why graft onto a different rootstock?  I just thought I would try it out and see if it was any better, it was certainly an expensive way of getting tomatoes.  I am ashamed to say I did not grow the others from seed, but at least they were $3.95 for a pottle of 6, where as I paid double that for one grafted tomato plant - it had better be worth it.

My corgettes are producing little green fingers, and the pumpkins are looking at their first flowers too, it's all very exciting.  Added excitement yesterday when I walked out to see a CHICKEN in my garden! again!!  Drastic chicken netting measures have been called for and young son is spending the day doing strategic fencing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Strimmer Method

Sounds like some kind of  self help for stammering, right?  actually, it's how to tackle an enormous overgrown garden.

Today I line-trimmered for 4 hours.. and I have made inroads.  I shaped garden beds, I strimmed the worst of the weeds, I tackled the bidibids, and I got sunburnt.

The trimmer gives definition to my flower beds, now, they have a close strimmed the edges down, as if they have been sprayed.  You should have seen some of the work that got done.  Actually, I will post some pix soon, as it looks dramatically different.  Not sure if you need to have seen it before to appreciate the work that went in, but that's your call.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mother Nature is taking over

You can hardly get around the garden today, it is  so overgrown!  Roses are in full bloom everywhere, and seem to have totally overgrown the deck.  There are some lovely old roses, and not so many modern ones.  I promise to take a photo of the more interesting ones, especially the purple one around our driveway which is thornless, and smells heavenly.

These two are in jars inside (Hamish did ask why I don't have any vases!), and they both have their charms.  The paler pink one is just the shade of sweet peas, and the darker purple one has lovely frilled insides!

My mother inlaw has lent me a weedeater and after Matt has been round the lawns tomorrow, I will give it a good weedchomp and see if I can tame some of the mess.

The grape above Matt's room also looks amazing, I sure hope it is prolific with fruit when the time comes.
The grape vine

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elderflower Champagne is brewing

Today the children and I screeched to a halt along the Sefton Road, and excitedly picked a whole box of elderflower heads.  It's probably best not to get them from, the road, but they are the only ones I have access to.  You need to pick them in full bloom when the whole head of flowers are white.  Discard any that have unopened flowers on.

To identify Elderflowers see this link

I have just put the first batch of champagne on to brew, and am about to make some cordial.  Both these recipes are tried and true, I have made them for several years now after being inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsall (or as the Brits say "Who Fearlessly-Eatsitall" :P

Elderflower Cordial

Bring 1.5l of water to the boil and dissolve in 1.5kg sugar.  Add about 30 heads of elderflower in full bloom, 3 lemons, first the rind which you have grated off, and then slice the lemons and chuck them in, and 75g Citric Acid.

Let cool and steep for 24 hrs before straining and bottling.  Will keep for months.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunhats, all ready for summer

Last weekend the weather was so summery, and I gardened in my singlet, catching a bit of sun as I went.  I planted corn, a chilli, an auborgine, and some beans.  Albie also helped me to clear a bit more of the overgrown part, we are almost there!

It got me thinking I should be prepared for summer, and I determined to make a wide brimmed sunhat.

Well...what a palaver!  I googled everywhere, and some had what were obviously very good instructions, but with mathmatics way beyond my ability...take the radius of this, and divide by the square of the circumference of your head, kind of stuff... Eventually I found a Martha Stewart hat which looked good, and proceeded to print of the indecipherable instructions, stick them all together, cut out my hat pieces and got sewing.  BUT! the brim would not fit, I jigged it about and eventually made a complete hash of it and had to put it in the bin.  Here is the link

A phone call to my sister, Karen, helped.  She told me to cut down the brim which I did.  I trimmed 1/4" off the inner edge  before assembling hat number 2.  Success!  yay, finally a new, reversable hat.  Green and pink, light on one side and darker on the other.  Very smart, don't you think?