Tuesday, December 31, 2013


No blooging as I am on holiday, and very little cellphone coverage. Happy new year everyone! See you in 2014

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Watering tips

My hubby calls it "irrigation", but I just call it watering!

Here's a few quick tips for the summer:

- Soaker hoses can be cheaply bought, and you can nail them into place on fencing or the top of vege garden raised bed edges, then all you have to do is connect the hose and turn it all on.  We had these very successfully nailed to our fencing when we lived in Cromwell, and it worked well for several years.  The hoses to eventually deteriorate, but you can get a good couple of years use out of them.  Just nail though the edge of the hose, the flat bit.

- If you are short of water, plants dont mind soap.  They can't utilise the stuff in soapy water, so you can collect the water from your washing machine quite happily and use it in your garden.  Just put the washing machine hose out the window and let it empty into a big black rubbish bin.  You might be surprised how much water a washing machine uses, one spin/rinse will fill a bin.  If you pay for your water usage, this is a great option.

- Bury bottles of water at the base of plants at risk....see elsewhere on the net if you are not sure how to do this.  Pop some holes in the top of a fizzy bottle, Cut the bottom off.  Tip upside down and bury lid down at the base of your plant.  fill with water!

- Water late in the evening or early morning in order for plants to get the most out of it.  Tempting tho it might be to water when it is very hot, a lot of the water is lost in evaporation.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Fruits of our Labours - rewarded with strawberries, raspberries and mixed berries - offer of raspberry canes for sale also

Look at this bowl of yummy fruit!  picked this minute from my garden

We have friends coming to stay tomorrow night, and I think fruit, icecream and chocolate sauce is on the menu!

If you too would like to grow some raspberries, like the ones in the picture, you can purchase this years canes from me for $10 for a bundle of 5 - a mixture of sizes, from 1 foot to 3 feet high.  Post anywhere in New Zealand for $8.00.  Put them in the ground on arrival (they are packed with wet newspaper and are fine in the post).  This year they will just grow on, no fruit.  Next year they will fruit most of December and January, and they will put up their own suckers.  After their fruiting cut the canes down to ground level, leaving the suckers to grow.  Also remove any dead canes.  Raspberries grow on 2nd year canes, so basically the woody parts that grow this year will fruit next year.  

A lot of people make the mistake of pruning every year, and never getting any 2nd year growth, then they get all frustrated at the lack of raspberries.  But, follow my instructions and you will be fine.

Email me grace.anderson@xtra.co.nz

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finally! Rain :-)

Yippeeeee, everyone else has had storms and thunder and lightening, and rain, and hail and all sorts.  All that we have enjoyed is overcast skies, low cloud cover and threats of precipitation.

Until last night.  I woke in the night to hear it torrential outside!  This morning the rain guage read 8mm fell overnight.  For every 1mm we get, our roof collects 800litres of water.  So this  morning the tank was full.

We have pumped up a tankfull, and now it is still raining...I am very thankful for the tankfull!  it helps in the hot summer months to have water to fall back on!

Rain Gods, thank you!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Latest Harvest

I'm pretty pleased with the Savoy Cabbage, which is one of many we have cut from the garden
As you can see, we are still having a glut of artichokes!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Killing day, and the cow that got away ! (warning, graphic dead cow pix inside)

Last Sunday was killing day.  4 cows killed, skinned and sent away to the Butcher.  Thanks to our local mobile abbatoir.

The Wednesday before 4 other cows, the really big ones, were supposed to go on the truck to the works.  Well, into the yards they went, waiting patiently, patiently.  Until - the truck came, and the two largest panicked....out of the yards they bellowed, and galloped around our pig pen, over fences, through gates, into a peaceful field.

The truck driver, Hamish and I tried to get them back in, but to no avail.  They were stubbornly not going!

So, two remained.  The following Wednesday the truck came again, only one cow went away.  The biggest one jumped out, ran around the yard, jumped a fence or two, and eventually ended up on its back with a hoof entangled in the netting fence.  We finally set it free, and the truck departed without it.

It has had a small reprieve, and can hang out with the little guys until next year, when it will have to go in the freezer!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rumtopf - fresh berries and Rum, the taste of Summer

When the strawberries start ripening in my garden it is time to make Rumtopf.  A wondrous mixture of Rum, Sugar and the Berries from your garden.

I make mine as I was instructed, maybe 30 years ago, by my ex-Mother in Law.

Always start with strawberries.  These are generally the first berries in the garden.  (or purchase from a store)... Weigh them, and put them on a plate.  Pour over their weight in sugar.  So, if your strawberries weighed 300g, pour over 300g sugar.

Leave overnight in the fridge.  In the morning pour the whole lot, including any juice that has seeped out, into a large earthenware pot.  Pour over Rum to cover the berries.  Submerge the berries in the rum.  Put in the fridge.

Over the summer and autumn add all berries you fancy, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, and anything else you can rustle up or buy.  For all the subsequent berries only add 1/2 their weight in sugar.

Personally I don't like stonefruit in mine, but this recipe here does.  I find they go a horrible slimey texture, but if you dont care about that you could give it a go.  The attached link is a complicated version, but I have added it for interest.


It should keep for years.  I just keep adding over the summer, eat all the fruit and as much of the juice as I fancy, and start again the next year with any juice that is left over.  The alcohol and sugar are basically preserving the fruit (and adding that extra va-voom).

HOW TO USE "RUMTOPF"> Spoonfuls over icecream, in the bottom of bubbly champagne, in pies, in lemonade, to add a little extra to Summer Pudding and on pancakes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pesto - the great entertainer

Pesto many ways... on pasta, (of course).used to coat chicken, spread into button mushrooms for grilling, in salad dressing, stirred into bolognaise sauce and more.  It is a great entertainer, and is fab just as a dip with crisps.

I recently harvested our first lot of basil leaves from the glasshouse and made up Pesto for freezing.  Once the mixture is prepared, spoon it into ice cube trays and freeze.  The next day, ease of the trays, and put into plastic bags in the freezer.  That way you can just take out exactly what you need, so there is no waste.

PESTO - use your blender or food processor

Pour in about 1cup olive oil
Add 2 cloves garlic, whole
Salt, pepper

and whizz, till the garlic is absorbed into all the oil.

Take several large cups of picked basil leaves. Add them to the bowl, and pulse till they are chopped in small pieces.

Add walnuts (about 1/2c) or pinenuts if you have them, and pulse till they are roughly chopped.

With a spoon stir in about 1c of grated cheese of your choice.  Purists would use parmesan, but I am not fussy.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Make your own pasta sheets - Lasagne for two nights, in a "rush"

Lasagne is one of those dishes where I usually have all the ingredients but the pasta sheets in my pantry.  So then I give up.  But just recently I have revived my pasta making.

I used to make pasta many moons ago when I was a young thing, but it was a complicated affair involving a pasta machine, much rolling, drying and so on.  It does not have to be so!

Try this for a recipe which will make 2 x large Lasagne's.  One for the oven, and one for the freezer for another day.  Its quick and simple, and I can prepare the whole lot in about 1/2hr.

Take 2 or 3 large onions and a very large slosh of oil, put them to saute in a large pot.  Add 2kg of mince, breaking it up with your fingers.  Stir till everything starts to cook, then add 2 large tablespoons of plain flour (this keeps the mixture nice once assembled).  Add 1 can of tomato puree, some tomato pasta sauce if you have it, a little water to thin a bit (maybe 1/2 cup), salt, pepper and herbs of your choosing.  I used fresh marjoram from the garden.

While that lot is cooking, make a white sauce.  Good slosh of olive oil (or about 100g butter if you prefer - which I do!), 1cup plain flour, and cook till it makes a paste.  Add 1 x litre of milk.  Stir till the sauce thickens and boils.  If you are feeling flash, add 1 or 2t chicken stock.

Now make the pasta.  In the your mixer or food processor add 2 eggs, 1T oil and 6D water.  Whizz, then slowely add 1 cup plain flour.  Keep adding flour up to about 2.5cups in total, till you have a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean.  


Put spoonfuls of the lasagne in your first dish to make a layer about 1inch thick.  Roll out 1/4 of the pasta till thin, and cut to fit your dish.  Put the pasta layer ontop of the mince.  Then spread with a good dollop of the white sauce.  Repeat with mince, pasta and white sauce.  Top with grated cheese. 

Keep going with the 2nd dish.

Put the first in the oven for about 3/4hr at 180C and cover the other in tinfoil once cool, label and pop in the freezer for later.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Look at the Hoglets we found in the garden

Tiny little, 3inch long baby hedgehogs, still with their eyes closed.  They have drunk catmilk, about 5mls, and are now happily sleeping!

The day without Stampylongnose

Somewhere in the UK there lives a young 24yr old man, by the Youtube moniker of "Stampylongnose" (previously Stampylonghead).  http://www.youtube.com/user/stampylonghead

Somehow he has captured a corner of the the internet all for himself...he is the new child's entertainer, and is likely to become as popular as "The Wiggles".  His channel is completely PG rated, designed with children in mind, and will never contain bad-language, x-rated activities, or violence.

He talks a lot! I mean, a real lot!  his premise is something called "Let's Play", which basically means he plays a game online and you get to see him doing it.  For children these are primarily "Minecraft" LetsPlay videos.  Inside Stampy's Lovely World, he has mini-golf, a dog assault course, a garden where he posts the names of his favourite followers, he loves cake, he has friends online who he plays with.  Minecraft is a bit like lego online.

I have learnt all of this slowly over time, and as more of his videos are avidly watched by my children, so my admiration of this young man has grown.

How did he end up being a child's entertainer of such reknown?  he has over 665,000 subscribers to his channel!  Children from all over the world send him pictures on Facebook of cakes they have made, pictures they have drawn of him, and little poems.  https://www.facebook.com/Stampylongnose

He is majorly famous....last week there was complete mayhem in my house when it was discovered that YouTube had removed his channel.  In the end it was down for less than 24hrs, and Google/YouTube restored it all after a massive Twitter and Facebook campaign.  There was also an online petition signed by over 6000 people in several hours.

My daughter even wrote him a poem (to the tune of Pussycat, Pussycat)

Stampycat, Stampycat where have you been?
I've been to the Love Garden, to visit AmyLee
Stampycat, Stampcat what did you there?
I frightened a little squid under her chair

(AmyLee is one of his friends, and so is a lad called iBallisticsquid)

I am amazed, and it shows my age.  My children don't find it strange, to them it's just another form of entertainment.

In short, I am in awe.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Strawberry-licious - jam making

Its hard to drive past .89c a punnet strawberries.  I was compelled to pull over and buy 10 punnets, $8.90 worth.

2kg of strawberries..!   Out came the AGEE jam jars, lids and the jam pan.  This pan is an old brass one that I bought from a 2nd hand shop during my years in the UK.  Its gorgeous and makes a nice even heat.

I chopped the strawberries, only into halves, because I like the end result to have chunks of soft berry in.

Then, for easy jam, I heated them up slowely.  Do not add water or anything, juice will come out of it's own accord.  I then stirred in one packet of Jam setting mix.  Now, generally I would not bother, but I wanted a nice professional result, and this was some mix I bought yonks ago for just this purpose.  Bring back to the boil.  Then slowely I added 1.2kg of sugar.  The ratio does not need to be exact, but about 2 parts strawberry weight to 1 part sugar.  You can add lemon juice if you like, but I did not this time.  Boil for 6 mins on a good rolling boil.

Take off the heat, and let sit for about 15mins, this starts it setting and keeps bits of fruit suspended throughout the jam, and not sunk to the bottom.

Ladle into hot, steralised jars.  Pop lids on and you are ready!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Just joined Bloglovin

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Herb Drying Time

My house is smelling fragrant and summery.  It's been herb drying time.

I have quite an extensive herb collection now, and in this warm weather they are all going rampant.  The easiest way to keep them for winter use is to dry them.  Most herbs respond really well to this treatment with the exception of basil, which just smells like damp mouldy stuff when dried and is no good for use.

  • Pick your herbs in the late evening or midmorning, when it is not too hot, and there is no dew on them.   I picked - French Tarragon, with its lovely aniseed flavour that goes so nicely with chicken dishes - Marjoram and Sage.
  • Hang in bunches leaves hanging down, till they are dry and crunchy.  You don't need to have them in the sun, a hot shady place will do such as in under a veranda.  I have some just hanging in my kitchen.
  •  Or if you have a dehydrator, as I do, then you layer them in the machine, and follow the heat instructions.  I usually put them on about 50C for 6hrs or so.  Again process till crunchy.
  • Or you can put them in the oven, on a low heat, the door slightly ajar.
  • Once they are dry, strip them off the stalks and keep in bags or jars, well labelled so that when the time comes you will know what is what.
  • Go crazy!  while the garden is going crazy, you can too.  Dry every herb in sight, for most of them will die down for the winter.
  • The leftover stalks can be used to make skewers of roast potatoes, for flavouring soups and stews or even for throwing into a bath.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A new garden, start to finish

We seem to have such busy weekends, and this one was no exception.  What a result at the end of it, a whole new garden.

On Saturday Mark had his apprentice finally build an edge round the in-ground watertank, ready to shape the corner of the carparking area.

To then make the new garden, this is what we did:

Spent a whole morning, with Mark on the tractor bringing cow feed poo/hay from the paddocks, and dumping loads onto the gravelly base of the ground.  Our ground there was basically river gravel and large stones, no topsoil whatsoever.  I spread  the cow muck round with a fork, and the help of four reluctant small children (2 of our own, 8 & 6, and two nephews 8 & 10).

At this point the largest stones were set round the edges of the tank for a bit of definition.

Then, a second round of tractor visits with topsoil from a pile we have been saving for such an occasion

The we broke exhausted for lunch.

Next Pam, my mother-in-law arrived with a carload of plants.  She has been amazing in taking cuttings, dividing plants, and on-growing things that she has been nurturing for this garden.  It is in quite a prominent position, being right by the house and carpark.  All visitors will see it on arrival.

We unloaded the plants and set about deciding where to place them.  Then I got to work with a thistle grubber making the planting holes, and away we went.

Last, but certainly not least, we put over two bales of peastraw to finish it off.  Only running out of pea straw at the end.  I need to get one more bale to finish it off.

A few moments of fun along the way (notably the cat catching another rabbit, and 3 birds during the day), and it was done!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Early Christmas present finished, man's zip neck jumper, with ribbed sleeves

This has been an easy knit.  It uses larger than usual needles for an 8ply, being knitted on 5.5mm needles for the most part.

I am really pleased with the 3 by 3 ribbed arms, and the zip neck, with contrast colour facing!  It looks so smart and Mr (almost) 20 seems to be pleased with it.

Merino 8ply

Today's Harvest - including our first cucumber

Today I harvested:

1 Savoy Cabbage
3 heads of Spinach
Our first harvest of Basil
Our first cucumber
The last of the broadbeans
and a few more Artichokes
A few more onions

I have never grown cucumbers before, as we have not had a glasshouse till recently.  If you have been reading my blog you'll see it is a new installation in our garden.  I have been worrying about whether I need to pollinate the cucumbers by hand or anything, and in fact I have just left them for the insects to do their best.  Occasionally I open the glasshouse door (on hot, but not windy days - too much wind blows out the glass) and let the bees, ladybirds, and all manner of insects in.  Presently there are about 7 cucumbers forming, and one ready today.  Cucumber sandwiches seem pretty inevitable!

The basil is destined for my first lot of Pesto to be made up and frozen for the year, which I am pretty excited about

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How many sewing machines is too many? (Confession inside)

I have just bought another sewing machine....ooops!  It will be the only one that has a narrow neck so that it is easy to do sleeves, cuffs, collars and more when doing clothing sewing.  My other big machine is mainly for quilting and has a very wide base to hold quilts into place.  

But, I have confession, I have waaaaay more sewing machines.  In fact, I did an add up...

Firstly I have my Elna Quilting Queen
Nice....for quilting!

.... and then I have my Elna 4 thread overlocker, (or, as the American's say "serger").

..... and then I have my Zundapp  - but it is just for show, and far to nice for sewing with, and anyway, it doesn't have a narrow base either...

.... and then I have a blue machine from the 50's.....(no pix I'm afraid), and it is just for show too.

.... and then I have Montana-Roses machine.  So I tell myself that it is hers, and not mine, so doesnt count!

....and I have just bought this
For doing the collars and cuffs and armholes

.... and I have decided I need a "Coverstitcher"

This will make a total of ...um...6! yes, Six, sewing machines, is it too many?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Easy, cheap lunch for many

Tbis recipe is from my mother-in-law (Pamela Anderson - yes, she is used to the jokes).  It is an easy way to feed lots of people quickly for a hot lunch.


Make up a scone mixture (I do 5c flour, 5t BP, rub in about 1c margarine and mix to a soft dough with milk).

Knead and roll out into a large oblong.  Spread with a tin spaghetti, finely chopped onion, and a good sprinkle of grated cheese.

Roll up lengthways, and cut into 1inch slices.  Lay cut side down on a baking tray and bake about 15mins.

You do have to be able to tolerate tinned spaghetti, my sister Karen hates it, and this recipe is not for her.  But you could substitute with a Pasta Sauce if you liked probably with good results.

I'm afraid nothing from our garden is in this recipe!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A gorgeousness of roses

I love roses, 1, two or many...all will do.

This was what I picked this morning.  Not beautifully arranged or artfully placed, but just the sheer glut of them is good enough for me.  They are a bit blousey, a bit over the top, and very fragrant.

Simply gorgeous.  I have not idea if there is a word for what you call many roses.  A bit like a troop of gorillas or a feast of crows, I think a lot of roses should be called a "gorgeousness of roses".

If only you could smell them too...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Glut of Artichokes - again..."Braised Artichokes with Lemon and Couscous"

It happens every year, all of a sudden our artichokes go crazy and start producing head after head.  I have started harvesting them weekly, as they seem to keep quite well in the fridge.

First this year I have just eaten them boiled, then dipped in mayonnaise or french dressing, but I am a little over that.

I own an American "Canner", which is essentially a pressure cooker, and I made some Artichoke hearts in lemon and olive oil, just like what you would buy in a jar from the supermarket.  I was very pleased with the result.  I used the recipe here http://www.sbcanning.com/2012/05/canning-pickled-artichokes.html

Here's how they turned out

Looking for more inspiration, I asked my sister in law, who has a cookbook out "Coromandel Flavour" what she had as suggestions for either preserving them or preparing them differently.  She suggested this: "Braised Artichokes"

Prepare the artichokes down to the hearts, pull off the outer tough leaves, then cut them off about 2cm above the base.  Cut each in half, and using a sharp knife remove the "choke" which is the hairy bit.  Then slice into 1/2cm slices.  Keep them in a bowl of water with the juice of a lemon to stop them going brown.

To cook: put the juice of 2 lemons, thin slices of half one of the lemons, some fresh thyme, pepper, a good slug of olive oil, and the artichoke hearts into a saute pan.  Bring to the heat and simmer about 20 mins.  Then I added fresh peas and broad beans from my garden,  heat for 2 mins or so till they are cooked.  Stir in about 1cup of couscous and add a bit more water if more liquid is required.  Turn off the heat and put on the lid.  Wait a few mins till couscous is cooked.  Stir in fresh mint, and basil leaves.  Sprinkle over pink salt.

It was very nice, but I am the only in my house who would eat it!  so there is some left in the fridge, which looks like it will be very nice to have cold today as salad.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A successful Gardens of Broomfield Tour

What a long, hot, hot day!  We started slow, but by 10am a steady stream of visitors to our garden.  The weather was perfect, the sun shone, and we talked to everyone about how we started the garden, and what plans we have for it's future.

These first pictures are of the flower border, and the following ones are of the rose garden.  Check out the facebook link to find out the names of the roses.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Perfect, crusty, warm bread

Made this evening, luckily we didnt get the powercut that most of Amberley had for an hour or two just at teatime!

I don't follow a recipe, its just how I have adapted bread recipes to suit my making style.

First I put 4 cups of warm water from the tap into a big, big bowl.  Then I add a slosh of sugar (probably about 2T), and either 2 sachets of dry yeast, or 3t of dry yeast depending on what is in the cupboard.  I never use breadmakers yeast, or easy mix yeast etc.

Then I stir in the yeast and let it go frothy, which takes about 1/2hr.

Then I get out my two flour buckets, wholemeal and plain.  I'm not fussy about "strong" flour or "all purpose" etc, I just use the cheapest budget brand white and wholemeal.

Using a cup I start to put flour into the water, 1c of wholemeal (and sometimes 2) first, then plain white flour, stirring with a spoon.  When it is still sloshy I add whatever seeds I fancy (tonight it was sunflower and sesame).  I like to add them at this point to get them well distributed.  The mix takes about 8 cups of flour in total so I count as I go and as I get up to 6, 7 and 8 I watch to see when I have a nice dough.

Tip it out onto a hard surface, well floured and knead.  Push with the heel of your hand and half turn the dough folding the pushed part inside.  Keep kneading and turning for about 10 mins.  This is the dreaming bit, where you can vege out.

Then pour some olive oil onto your hands and knead that in too.  About 2 or 3T.

Then I pour a little oil back into the sticky large bowl.  You dont need to have washed it or anything.  Put in the dough and turn it round and over in the oil to coat the outside so it doesnt go dry as it rises.

Pop some gladwrap ontop of the bowl and then a teatowel.  Leave about 1-2hrs till well risen.  It could easily have spilled up over the top of the bowl.

Take out and cut into two even pieces.  Roll these bits around a bit, making a kind of thick sausage shape.  Roll up from the end,, turn 90degrees and repeat a few times.  Then fold into three, and put into well greased and floured bread tins.  Repeat for the other half.

Leave for about 20 mins to prove.  Then brush with a little milk and bake for 30-40 mins at about 190C.

As you can see I dont usually add salt, but for a change sometimes I do.  It doesnt seem to affect the outcome but depends what you like it to taste of.

The Garden Tour - a path to nowhere

Busy, busy bees! my MIL has been here all weekend helping prepare for the garden show.

One thing we have been working on is getting the area outside our shower sorted.  Pam planted dozens of grasses, and I put down peastraw and extended the path.  It's looking so much better.  The path still doesn't go anywhere, but at least it has been started.

Pam put in 18 more roses, in my favourite colours (blue, purple, pink, red) and we trimmed up the others.  We also removed some old irrigation that I had put in but which could not take the strain of such a long 100m line.

Mark installed an irrigation system round the vege garden - no more lugging hoses, moving sprinklers around, now you just turn the handle and watch the water shooting out.  Its fabulous.

In other news I won first prize for my "Three Roses", here is a picture of them two days later, so not looking their best anymore, but you get the idea.

I also won first for my Belgian Biscuits and for my Eggs.  I was so proud of the eggs because I spent ages selecting them.

Nothing for my Afghans tho, and I was really disappointed to find that the judges only judged on looks not on taste.  That didnt seem fair, what say the winner had accidentally put salt instead of sugar in her biscuit, you would never know...and none of the others had a walnut on top, which is pretty mandatory in my book.

My quilt came second also, to a quite dated piece, with 80's fabrics and no wonderful quilting at all.  Still, maybe they just couldnt see brilliance....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wind, wind, more wind....and an "A and P Show"

Well, since the big wind which felled our 19 windbreak trees we have been busy chopping, chainsawing, and splitting...then on Saturday, ANOTHER wind!  As we worked with a hired woodsplitter the wind picked up until it was dangerous to be out there by the trees.

Sure enough, 5 or so more trees down.  I must admit it was pretty disheartening to look back at the boundaries we had already cleared to find that there were more trees down over the fence.

All the garden is looking very windburnt.  Maples have edges of their leaves browned off, irises have snapped, delphinium flowers are snapped off, and all the pears have come off our pear tree.

We also lost a few panes of glass in our brandnew glasshouse.

On the plus side, Pam has been busy planting more roses and what have you in preparation for the Broomfield School Garden Tour, because my garden is going to be a feature garden.  Wow!

The Amberley A&P show is on this Saturday and I am submitting roses on stems, Belgium Biscuits, An article of Quilting (my latest quilt) and 3 herbs (most of these are looking pretty wind-sad too).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

and....how did the Boilup go?

Surprisingly well.  In fact, I really liked it, and so did Montana-Rose.  It wasn't such a hit with Mark, and Albie just tolerated it.

Here's what I did:

2 large packs of pork bones (pork ribs would do also, you need a bit of meat on the bones)

Put them in a large stockpot and cover with water.  Added 2t salt, some pepper, 2 dried mushrooms finely chopped and 2t dried chicken stock.  Then I simmered them for about 2 hours.

I actually let it cool off, as I had prepared it in the morning, and were eating for evening meal.

So then, about an hour before we were to eat I added
4 large carrots, chopped into about 2cm wide lengths
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced in half lengthways

Then I simmered for another 15mins, before adding
5 leaves of silverbeet, shredded
about 2cups of watercress
some chopped kale
and Doughboys (dumplings made from 2c flour, 1t BP, and some milk to mix)

This all got simmered for 15 mins more...Then we ate it.

Surprisingly, not slimy (as I thought it might be).  The potatoes were gorgeous and had taken on a lot of pork flavour.
Here is a child's portion

The day will always go well with a song in your heart

Attempting a "Maori Boilup"

While we were on holiday in Geraldine we watched a group of shearers making a "Boilup" complete with doughboys.   I always thought the sound of it was gross, but the smell and the look on the plate has changed my mind!  it was mouthwateringly goodlooking and smelling....

We have lots of pork bones, they came with the pig carcasses from the butcher when our piggies came to their timely end, and until now we have only fed them to the dog.

But today I have got two lots of bones out and am going to give it a go..I've looked at a couple of recipes, like this one http://www.food.com/recipe/maori-boil-up-with-doughboys-dumplings-484352 to get the general idea.

Pictures and recipe, and whether it was successful or not I will publish later :-)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

5metre Glasshouse - DONE

In May this year I received a 5m glasshouse for Mothers Day.  A wonderful present, but with a  bit of a wait to get sorted.

I was so eager to get on with it, yet first we had to:
- Have a builder set it out on the piece of garden it was destined for...midwinter....check (Thanks, Mark W)
- Have an budding apprentice dig the foundations and lay the concrete ...midwinter....check (Thanks, Aaron)
- Put up the frames....Mark and I over 3 days (The last few weekends)......check (Thanks, Honey)
- Put in the glass....Mark and I yesterday and today....check

Result...One amazing glasshouse just waiting to be planted out.

While putting the glass in both Mark and I got ripped up hands, and the glass cut us as we moved it about.  Also the little sprung glass holders were a complete b*st*rd to fit and cut our hands as we put them in.

Now I look and hope that I don't have to clean the glass very often, as it will be a terribly difficult job.

The instruction booklet that came with the glasshouse said that any amateur could put it up.  However, if I had been on my own there is no way I could ever have managed it.  The instructions were sparse, the assembly complicated, and you needed a second person to help with most tasks.  Thank goodness for husbands!

Now.....what to plant?
In other news, this is what I picked from our garden today, quite a haul

Friday, October 4, 2013

Setting up the Glasshouse

With the brickie finally having put down the blockwork for the base of our glasshouse, Mark put the wooden tops onto the blocks, ready to start putting up the frame.

I have been thinking about how to fill it with nutritious soil.

Firstly, I put a thick layer of the cowpoo/straw/mud mixture that I have previously raved about.  It meant a quick lesson in how to drive the tractor, which was very exciting and nervewracking.  Then I poured over 3kg of lime.  Mark said that the cowpoo mix was very acidic and needed to be sweetened up (made more alkaline).  I have no idea if this is true or not, but I have followed his instructions.

Then I tipped on bucket of ashes from our fire onto it, and mixed the whole lot up.

Now I have started sieving the soil to go in.  We have plenty of soil, and it has a good nutrient value, but it is soooooo stoney!  I have been sieving it through one of the bird nets that I bought.  I havent used this one yet, so it seemed as good a chore for it as any....

Nice soft soil, and it is looking good

Monday, September 30, 2013

Chickens don't lay BLUE eggs

Nestled in a carefully constructed nest, in the "spare room" of the chookhouse is a small deep nest, with 2 blue eggs!

I have never liked the construction of this chookhouse.  In his ultimate wisdom, Mark thought that hinging the lower part rather than the top lifting up would be more weatherproof.  But, all that happens is that you can't get into the nests to collect the eggs, without being 1 foot tall, or kneeling in wet grass.  So I usually go into the chookhouse (which has it's own dangers - poo on shoes, chickens escaping).

Today, I crouched down, and as I collected hens eggs I noticed a lot of hay and straw and chook feathers in the spare nesting box.  On closer inspection, I saw two small blue eggs!

When I brought Montana-Rose out to see, a starling zipped out of the gap in the door and flew off.

I do hope they will be able to raise their chicks without our cat Grover getting the mum or dad?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Can the Broad Beans survive?

My broad beans were so mangled by the atrocious weather a week ago, they have been sporting a black, burnt look.  Some of the tops still have flowers, but all the underneaths have been blown sideways and everything burnt off.

I do wonder if they are worth saving?  Mark, who loathes eating them, would say"NO, definitely not!".  But I am worried that they will hate being planted now, with the weather too hot, and dry.

Ho hum, what to do? what to do?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A wind, or a Hurricane?

Tuesday 10th September 2013 - News Flash! Winds up to 225km per hour hit North Canterbury.  Anderson family huddle in the lounge while extreme winds buffet the house.  The children of the family go to bed without fuss and go to sleep, blissfully unaware of the malestroem raging outside.

Anna paces up and down, worrying about chookhouses, and woodsheds.   Mark helps her to put away the BBQ furniture and the patio heater, and to weigh the spa pool cover down with large rocks.  Then, Mark, always the pragmatic one, goes to bed.  Anna paces up and down some more and then makes a foray into the winds.  Battling her way to the gate, the hinges of it break off as she goes through, leaning into the wind.  The chookhouse is safe, and all doors are still shut.  The woodshed is still standing.  Thinking it might get even worse Anna makes her way to the 4bay shed and retrieves the Emergency Kit, complete with torches, candles, food, matches and more.  Just then the power goes out and all is plunged into darkness.

Fighting her way back to the house, she makes it through the glass doors and inside to safety.    The house is dark, and she lights some candles.  Then she gets ready for bed.  But going around the house to check for broken windows and more, it is then that she sees out the doors a fire glowing at the corner of the property!  Soon there is smoke, a red sky, and emergency vehicle lights can be seen.

Worrying about the fire catching into the boundary windbreak Anna puts back on her clothes, ready to make a run for it if necessary.

Several hours go by.  The chimneys whistle and bang, windows bend and rattle, and all manner of noises can be heard outside.

Eventually the fire dies down in the distance and Anna makes her way back to bed, to try and get a few hours sleep before daybreak.

And, look at the aftermath...fences down, 20 large pine trees down, trees down over the road, and chairs and bits of corrugated iron everywhere.

We will be chainsawing for the next year to get all this cut up!  And then replanting the shelterbelt, and then splitting the wood, and stacking it, and, and, and....it's a big job!