Saturday, November 29, 2008

little HARVEST

Well this is what it is all about.
The weeks of watching and watering and waiting for the seeds to gently unfold from the soil. Nurturing them with sunlight and water, protecting them from the cold and wind until their true leaves appear.
Trying to be patient until the little seedlings are mature enough to go it alone in the elements in the vegetable patch.
Battling the soil conditions, the snales and caterpillars, too much heat, not enough rain.
But then going out my own door and picking my own vegetables right there in my own garden. Cooking them up and an hour later eating them. I am proud of this little harvest! Not enough to feed a family of five but enough to put a smile on my dial.
The lettuce, tomatoe and parsleywent into the salad. The basil,coriander seeds,silverbeet and thyme went on the fish. Yum, yum, yum.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We have just spent the last few months redoing our front yard. It did have a lot of brick pavers with dips and big puddles when ever it rained. There was no drainage in front of the garages and since there is a gentle slope down to the garages from the driveway this wasn't good news with heavy rain. So we decided to redo the whole front yard. Drainage was fixed, old weeds and all the grass was removed. We redid the driveway with a stampled concrete finish. And I was all for having no grass what so ever at the front. Mr Gadget is far more traditional than me and thinks that front gardens must be very manicured and must have grass. So a compromise was in order.

He got some grass. I got a much bigger garden in the front and a lovely sitting area. I love this front area. It is so pretty and a beautiful place to relaxing. There are fragrant roses, and pretty cottage garden flowers.
The heavely fragrant Double Delight rose
and the gorgeous apricot Just Joey are flowering prolifically.
A hedge is growing along the front of plumbago and in front of the bricks there is another hedge of photinia. Amongst the flowers I have tomatoes, eggplants, parsley, artichokes and thyme growing happily. I have planted a few trees too - a weeping mulberry, coffee tree and magnolia. It makes me happy to see the flowers as I come home and to be able to sit out here amongst them. Everyone should have a place of indulgence and beauty and this is mine.

In the back garden I have harvested 7 beans and two cherry tomatoes! Who would have thought I would get so excited over home grown vegetables. They went into the stir fry we had for tea along with fresh oregano, parsley and sage.

With the weather warming up I have been making lots of iceblocks and icecreams for the boys. Iceblocks are simply frozen cordial or juice. The icecreams are made from powdered milk mixed with fresh fruit or vanilla essence or chocolate topping. The powdered milk is much cheaper than fresh milk and I always have some at hand for using in cooking, custards or for the kids when we run out of fridge milk.
M xx

Friday, November 14, 2008


Today was hot. It was hot and sunny. Being a garden lover I spend many hours outside. I am very much an outdoors person during the daylight hours, whether it is in the garden, riding our bikes to the park, walking around the lake or just sitting outside in the fresh air. I have always loved the feel of a fresh breeze and the warmth of the sun on my skin.

But now I am finding myself far more wary of being outside during the high uv hours of 10 am - 3pm. I still am outside during that time but I cover up with a wide brimmed hat, sunnies, sunscreen etc.
You see, at the beginning of this year I found a mole that was changing and had grown in size. It ended up being a melanoma. The mole was right behind my right knee in the crease. Initially I had the mole removed but then had to have further surgery to remove more tissue from deeper and surrounding where the original mole was. I also had lymph nodes removed in my groin to check for spread and those behind my knee were also removed or damaged with the surgeries. Now I have lymphoedema in that leg which is a chronic condition due to the damage of the lymph flow. Means that my right leg swells up due to the high protien lymph fluid pooling. It becomes very heavy and uncomfortable and I need to elevate and rest my leg more that I like (and believe me with three very active boys it isn't always easy to do this). I wear a full length lymphoedema stocking during the day and am still learning what works and doesn't and how to best control and live with this condition.

Now most people that read this blog are gardeners and probably like me spend hours outside. I am writing this as a reminder to others that now with the hot sunny weather coming to please take care of your skin. Wear hats and sunscreen and reapply the sunscreen after a few hours (it wont last all day). But most importantly check your skin for moles that look unusual, are changing, are irregular in size colour or shape. Get someone else to check your back or hard to look at areas, like the back of your legs or neck.
Please slip, slop,slap and be vigilant.

M xx

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have been asked about our rabbits cage so thought I would share a few pictures.
The rabbit is Zippy's pet and when he came to live here (the rabbit not my son) in 2006 it became very clear that given half a chance our dog would love to eat poor bunny or scare him to death by barking at him. So he couldn't go into the cage we had set up on the lawn.
Instead we decided that bunny would have to live in the pool area where the dog couldn't get to him. Trouble with this was that he does not have access to grass to graze on all day. So the cage needed to be big and roomy and plenty of room for bunny to stretch and move about.
We came across this pine dresser at the local op shop for $10.00 dollars, the drawers were falling apart and so was the back so it was perfect for our needs. We removed the drawers and the inner wood around the doors. These were replaced with wire mesh. Half of the second shelf was also removed and a ramp built complete with railing. One door was left as is and that part of the cage is bunnys bed area.

A coat of paint using left over paint from when we painted the exterior of the house , a back added, fly screen over the mesh to keep out flies and mosquitoes and roofing iron to keep out the rain and we have the Taj Ma Hutch. One very cute bunny hutch for about $15.00.

M xx

Monday, November 10, 2008


Well after the last post about the vegetable garden dilemma I thought I would post about my seed raising success. I think the vege garden will sort itself out. Maybe I should have left the patch to sit for a few weeks before planting it out. Now things are slowly growing and although I most likely wont have a bumper crop in everything I have learnt a few things for next time.

Over the years I have tried growing veges and flowers from seeds with varying success. But last few years I have been taking the easy option of buying seedlings from the nursery. Partly because I was too impatient to wait for seeds to grow, partly because I couldn't be bothered.

So this year I ordered vegetable seeds from Eden Seeds and I have had great success growing them.
The reason seed growing has been such a success is because of the location I chose as my seed raising area. Right outside the kitchen window, in a sunny but sheltered position on top of the rabbits cage. Everytime I look out the kitchen window I can see them. I can see if new seeds have risen, if something has been eating them and if they need a drink. They are in view so haven't been forgotten. Even Mr. Gadget has looked out the window at the seeds and gone out and watered them. At the end of winter and autumn when it was still cool I grew them in covered mini green houses but once the weather warmed up they have been raised in window seal pots and have grown very well. I have grown cucumber, chilli, luffa, gourds, chillis, artichokes, watermelons, rockmelons, zucchinis, corn, parsley, rhubarb, beans.
I have learnt to not be impatient in getting the little seedlings into the big garden beds too early. I have lost a few plants because of transplanting them too early. Next year I will grow them here again but with some of the seedlngs I will transplant them into individual pots and then into the garden when more advanced.
M xx

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vegetable Patch Dilemma

The new raised vegetable patch is full of seedlings but the growth of the veges seems to be very slow! I think there is something wrong with the soil that Mr. Gadget filled the patch with. The soil was a special soil for new turf and with the excess we filled the raised vegetable patch. I also added compost, blood and bone and fish fertiliser too. I was so excited to have a dedicated vegetable patch that I went out and brought seedlings from the nursery and planted into the garden bed.
And some of the plants have something that has been eating them. I have applied snail bait which has seemed to have helped. I have some sugar cane mulch that I will mulch around the seedlings tomorrow. I don't know what else to do so for now will just hope that with time the veges start growing.

There is only one plant growing well - a zucchini plant. I planted about 8 seeds and while they all came up only this one has thrived. The others are tiny with just a few little leaves. You can see the other little plants overshadowed by this larger one. I think I will transplant them out of this garden and into the no dig garden and see how they grow there.

Else where in the yard vegetables are growing well. I have the first beans on the climbing beans and celery and silverbeet growing well. All my herbs are growing at great guns. Four out of eight gourd seedlings I have planted are growing really well and tomatoes, eggplants and okra are all going fine. But I have such high hopes fro the raised vegetable patch. Ahh, the dilemmas of growing veges!

M xx
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