Decembuary the somethingth

Hi All,

Well it’s December, it’s almost Christmas and the year has flown by SO fast I am still reeling on my feet. Here we are knocking at the door of 2018 and I have only just gotten used to writing 2017. We have had some hot weather here in Tasmania, followed by a 15C temperature drop. One week we had 31C and the next it was snowing on the mountains so I figure the garden is a little confused. I harvested the last of my broad beans (I say “my” because Steve would rather I ate them than force him to do it πŸ˜‰ ) and feasted on their young for a couple of days, enjoying EVERY minute of it. I am guessing that there are people out there shaking their head in the general direction of what I just typed thinking “she “likes” them?!” You would be wrong there. I LOVE them. I love broad beans and Brussels sprouts and spinach and all of the veggies that kids gag on. I am a happy veggie freak and the only veggie that I am not too fussed on is okra but I would likely eat that joyfully if it was cooked properly for me πŸ™‚

Steve and Bezial on a sea wall over the river from where we live in Sidmouth. The weather has been so lovely lately that taking a walk with the dogs is a privilege rather than a chore πŸ™‚
Pretty roses on one of our walks
Crab apple blossoms
Crab apple blossoms

We have finally finished our TAFE course. NO idea if we passed or not because our lecturers have been very quiet about everything. By mid November last year we had our certificates but it would appear our lecturers are a little more reticent to mark our work than our lecturer was last year and perhaps may have left it to the very last minute to do so. That’s only conjecture on my behalf but I don’t think that I am too far from the truth with my mental meanderings. I figure we have handed everything in, we have produced two edited short films each and at the end of the day we have satisfied the requirements of the course so we “should” have passed but who would know? I guess we will find out some day soon (maybe) but in my mind we are finished and thus free of study for a few delicious weeks till we start again next year.

This is a large 5 litre bowl of raspberries and strawberries that a lovely friend allowed me to pick at her house today πŸ™‚
This is chicken style seitan that we made the other day. Steve wanted something reminiscent of chicken and this tasted surprisingly close to the original
Vegan roast dinner
Steve’s vegan roast dinner with the very best roast potatoes ever.

Because of the weather we have been having the berries are going mental and I just headed up and picked a huge bowl of raspberries and strawberries from a lovely friend who can’t keep up with them. Hers are producing like there is no tomorrow. Mine are taking their time and I have my suspicions that our resident duck and limping chook are doing their best to nibble around the lower quadrant but the young berries are going great guns, there are some black currents and jostaberries on the shrubs and my citrus are actually setting fruit this year. Finally Sanctuary has settled down from a barren, rocky, dry bit of bushland to a productive self sustaining garden and I couldn’t be happier because I know that I helped πŸ™‚

Big pile of topsoil and mushroom compost
This is the big mound of mushroom compost and topsoil that Steve picked up the other day.
Sticks in the bottom of the fridge wicking beds
Sticks in the bottom of the fridge wicking beds
Wheelbarrowing straw
Wheelbarrowing straw for the wicking beds

Steve borrowed a friends car the other day and headed off to Beaconsfield to pick up a half a cubic metre of topsoil. A good friend gave us another half a cubic metre of aged mushroom compost to add to the mix and we filled up the last of the 24 fridge wicking beds so that we could completely plant them out this year. They were acting as mosquito breeding beds so we have increased our potential at the expense of the mozzies which is a solid SCORE in my opinion. We had to ladle the tadpoles out of one of the fridges and into the pond in Narnia. I scooped a bit of water out of the pond initially and in one scoop I saw a massive tadpole with legs! I poured him back into the pond and we gingerly filled it up to the brim with the remaining water from the fridge wicker where the tadpoles were living. Hopefully they aren’t too put out with their new home (or eaten by that massive big tadpole!)

Putting chicken coop hay into a fridge wicking bed
Putting chicken coop hay into a fridge wicking bed. As you can see it’s acting as a bit of a barrier for the soil preventing it from falling through into the water and sticks below but it is also adding aged chicken manure to the mix!
Before
Before (a mosquito breeding bed)
After
After. Something to plant in and some seriously good veggie growing potential right there πŸ™‚

I know that there are frogs in our wicking beds as I often see them hopping around in the beds or just clinging tenaciously to a long stalk as I am watering. I have had them pop up out of the watering pipes and stare at me as if to say “Excuse me ma’am, that’s my house you are filling up with water you know!” so I am not surprised that they chose to lay their eggs in one of the wicking fridges filled with rainwater. Before we could fill the beds up with soil, two of them needed additional sticks and the best place to kill two birds with one stone and collect sticks is on the roof at this time of year. We need to clear off the roof and we needed sticks so rather than make Steve go up there, I braved the ladder and got up there as well! I threw sticks down and he put them into the fridge wicking beds and then we decided to trial something new. I had some leftover spent hay from the chooks bedding that was still in the pads that it had come off the bales and so I carefully kept the pads together and placed them on top of the sticks in the base of the fridges. I figured that this would keep the soil from filling the base up too much and I was right. It worked brilliantly!

On the roof collecting sticks
On the roof collecting sticks. I am actually quite afraid of ladders and heights but I decided that it was time I learned to do what needed to be done around here so I braved the roof. Its a lovely view from up there! As you can see, there were plenty of sticks for the wicking beds.
Pea straw mulch
Pea straw mulch for the wicking beds.
New seedlings/plants and sheep manure
New seedlings/plants and sheep manure

Next we shoveled in a mix of the topsoil and the mushroom compost and finally we covered the beds with a big bale of pea straw that we had picked up earlier. We needed to go to the city yesterday to pick up our fortnightly dog meat rations and on the way back we stopped and bought lots of seedlings. Bunnings (the biggest hardware store chain in Australia) didn’t really have much in the way of seedlings or anything unusual so I just bought some broccoli, some sweet corn, some cucumbers, some basil and a punnet with two eggplants in it. I was actually quite disappointed at the lack of variety and the poor condition of some of the seedlings that they had for sale. On the way home we stopped off at a local nursery and I picked up a much more interesting (albeit more expensive) range of veg including a lovely single purple sweet potato, a punnet of two watermelon plants, a punnet of three rock melon plants,Β  some Welsh bunching onions and a mushroom leaf plant. I surreptitiously tasted one of the leaves as I wasn’t going to believe the hype alone and the leaves tasted just like raw mushrooms! The plant comes from Papua New Guinea and is a perennial and grows well and easily from cuttings.

Sprayed wreath and Christmas tree
We decided to spruce up our Christmas tree this year and sprayed both it and our door wreath bronze. It looks lovely in the lounge room festooned with as many lights and decorations as we could ladle onto it πŸ™‚
Arty decoration shot
Arty decoration shot
Arty decoration shot 2
Arty decoration shot 2
Christmas Tree light bokah shot
Christmas Tree light bokah shot
LED USB stick lights
Even my computer monitor is festooned with a set of LED USB stick lights this year and I get a lovely Christmassy feeling every time I turn my computer on in the early morning πŸ™‚

We were pretty tired when we got home from the city as people are starting to get crazy about shopping and just doing normal shopping was a trial. By the time we had made it to the outskirts of Legana we were well and truly tired of shopping. We were driving back through Exeter and saw large bags of aged sheep manure for sale for $6 a bag and turned around, headed back and picked on up. Poor Earl was already cramped in the back and had to share his tiny bit of remaining space with a delightfully piquant odour but he was most gracious about it and I had just walked him all over the place in the city so he figured it was the least he could do to sniff the bag all the way home.

6am shot over the valley
6am shot over the valley taken when walking Earl the other week
Earl and the mailbox
An underwhelmed Earl and the mailbox that I decided to stop and photograph for you all
Telephone box for sale
This made Steve and I laugh the other day. Anyone want to buy a telephone box?
Rustic outdoor kitchen
This is what Tasmanian’s think of when you talk about “Outdoor kitchens”. Note the lovely old wood stove. I wonder if the owners use it?
Leach!
Leach!

We got home and after a well deserved and fortifying mug of hot beverage I headed outside to start planting the new beds out with our new seedlings. We had been told that we were going to get a huge down-pouring of rain yesterday but nothing eventuated. I thought that I was being clever in planting my seedlings out as they would be watered in well but I completely forgot about Murphy’s Law and ended up watering Sanctuary this morning. I have held off on watering the wicking beds as the sky is full of clouds and the weather boffins may well have been a day out on their forecast. After planting everything out I heaped aged sheep manure on all of the beds. I remember my mother telling me to use aged sheep manure as mulch. I didn’t go quite that far but I think it will make the plants happy. I also put snail pellets on everything as we have an enormous and most voracious population of huge slugs and snails here that sneak out at night time to wreak havoc on any seedlings that we plant. I learned the hard way at the beginning of the season where three quarters of what I planted was scoffed in a single night.

Cherry mailbox
Cherry mailbox. Pauly made is starting to get a name for his mailboxes and they are springing up all over the place (see the lovely lawnmower mailbox further up in the post as another stellar example of his gas bottle craftsmanship πŸ™‚ )
Seedlings for fridge wicking beds 1
Seedlings for fridge wicking beds 1
Seedlings for fridge wicking beds 2
Seedlings for fridge wicking beds 2

I have been walking Earl a lot since we finished TAFE and am starting to feel almost normal again. I much prefer studying from home as you can get a good routine going when you study from home. You can also tailor your studies around what you need to do around the house. I miss having that time to do all of the things that we need to do around here. The garden (jungle) has gotten away from us again and with the excellent growing weather that we have been having everything is growing like Topsy and its now our job to hack it back to submission. We are the plant police! I have really been enjoying working in the garden over the last few days and although my fingernails may never recover, its true about mucking around in the dirt, it is very therapeutic. I am not quite to eating it like Robbie posted about in a recent post (apparently it’s a “thing”) but I certainly don’t mind getting filthy in the name of assisting my plant friends on their life journey.

Persimmon tree
This is my persimmon tree. I don’t remember sharing it with you before but it’s baring up to being planted out just prior to the hottest November temperatures ever recorded in Tasmania, remarkably well.
Persimmon flowers
My persimmon was covered in flowers early on after I planted it but I didn’t expect to see any fruit as it’s the trees first year in the ground and I want it to put on lots of root growth rather than put effort into producing fruit. There are still a few flowers on the tree but I don’t expect anything to come of them. I am just happy that it seems happy where we planted it πŸ™‚
Tiger nuts aka chuffa nuts
These are Tiger nuts aka chuffa nuts. I soaked them for ages and then decided to just plant them out as I figured if they didn’t grow, at least they would be composted but they did grow and survived the slugs but I have discovered that Earl has a penchant for the leaves so I need to keep an eye on him nibbling his special “grass” if I want to harvest the tubers and plant them again next year!
Tomatoes
This photo was taken 2 weeks ago. These tomatoes are MUCH bigger now which makes me happy as most of the other tomatoes that we planted out are not going so well. At least we might get a couple of home grown tomatoes this year πŸ™‚
Horseradish
This is my horseradish. I might separate it this year when it has died back and plant some out into other areas. I don’t care if it gets invasive as It digs down and is a true survivor. The snails do love to nibble it’s leaves though. I think our local snails are foodies!
Little cherry tree
Seeing this photo reminded me that it’s time to head over the bridge and check out the Hillwood cherry shed to see how the cherry season is shaping up this year. Hopefully I can buy some seriously delicious seconds cherries that they sell as Jam cherries lovely and cheaply. This little cherry grew in the shadow of it’s parent who has since died. I am very happy that it lives on keeping it’s long suffering ancient parents genes going. It’s a sour cherry so the birds don’t bother much with the fruit but it does get hit hard by the pear and cherry slugs each year along with our pear trees that are already covered in the smelly, slimy little monsters.

Well I think that might be enough for today. Christmas is rapidly approaching and soon we will be caught up in the mania. We have a lovely simple vegan picnic planned in the park over the Batman bridge. We are going to buy a long chain so that Earl can frolic around and Bezial can wander around freely (he knows which side of his bread is buttered and behaves off lead πŸ˜‰ ) and we just put up our annual gate decorations today. We were almost finished and a car drove past slowly and the people in the car were smiling and waving to us. It’s good to get positive feedback on your efforts πŸ™‚ I hope everyone is at least feeling a bit Christmassy this year. I know it can be a hard time for some people but I just see it as a chance to celebrate making it for another year and being lucky enough to see in a new one. Catch you all soon πŸ™‚

Kiwifruit cuttings in "glasshouse conditions"
Kiwifruit cuttings in “glasshouse conditions”. It appears to be giving them the right conditions as they are still happy. Fingers crossed they start growing roots πŸ™‚
Oyster beds on the river bank
Check out the oyster beds that are all over the place here in Tasmania. Tourists ignore the signs telling them not to eat them as they look lovely and healthy but due to the nature of the river they can contain bacteria so I guess it’s eater beware!
Mushroom plant
Mushroom plant
Mushroom plant 2
Note the leaves. I kept it inside last night as I figured that it was a prize specimen for snails and slugs to defoliate if I put it out. I am going to have to keep snail pellets around the base of this one 24/7 from now on if I ever want it to get big enough to harvest from.
Round watermelon
I figured smaller round watermelons would be more likely to mature here in Tasmania. Lets see if I am right.
Welsh bunching onions
These are the Welsh bunching onions that I picked up yesterday. I am still looking for Egyptian walking onions but I will just have to keep looking.
Elegia capensis aka Horsetail restio
This is Elegia capensis aka Horsetail restio. Steve was chatting to a man in Beaconsfield the other day who had pulled out a huge section of this lovely looking plant and was throwing it away. Needless to say it came home with Steve and I planted it out in my compost heap. Hopefully it decides to live and send out shoots (he had hacked it back to the base) as this looks like a lovely addition to our back yard and Earl would LOVE to fertilise this on a daily basis πŸ˜‰

 

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Have never heard of the mushroom plant…intriguing. Those berries look lovely and all your hard work is paying off in the garden. We love broad beans and I have a few recipes on the blog, but I suspect most of them contain Spanish ham or eggs, so not vegan…sorry! Enjoy the build up to Christmas. Just getting my head around it here. Take care my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Christmas is a very different proposition here Ms Chica. Think middle of summer equating with Christmas and its pretty topsy turvy for you guys but that’s the only Christmas that we know over here. The poor staff at the big nurseries in the hardware chains are run off their feet as not only is it Christmas, but it’s prime growing season as well so they are run off their feet from open to close. I sometimes wish that we lived somewhere where you could completely appreciate a hot Christmas meal but then I am off to see if I can get my annual haul of cherry seconds today and we end up with mostly salads and lots of cold drinks because it’s SO hot on our Christmas Day. Horses for courses is my guess. I hope your Christmas season goes really well Ms Chica and that you and yours are all merry, happy and full of Christmas good cheer and if you aren’t, you can always fill up on Christmas “good cheer” (hic!) and it will soon be over. πŸ™‚

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  2. I like the photo you took of Steve and Bezial in silhouette. If Bezial had put his head up instead of his butt it would have been fabulous πŸ˜€ I was in Bunnings last week and was spoiled for choice re vegetables, maybe yours was just having an off day? I’m sure you have passed your course – I think I have watched all the videos and been SO impressed and you know I’m a carpy Virgo!! You deserve a long happy summer and it looks like you are off and running – congrats on the roof climb! I couldn’t get off the top rung of the ladder last time I tried some thirty years ago ….. doubt I’d get to the top rung of the ladder now!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Many of the seedlings were on their last legs Ms Pauling (in Bunnings) and as a large chain that advertises “If it dies, we replace it for free”…you would be thinking that they would at least have them looking healthy in the first place so as not to have to replace all of those disgruntled customers plants! Lol! on the carpy Virgo πŸ˜‰ I will just have to wait and see if we passed. I got halfway up the ladder with determination and the further I got up the more my heart was beating! I decided to just keep going one foot after the other and there was something to hold onto up there so I didn’t feel quite so terrified at first. Steve was walking all over the place saying “come over here and take a look at this…” but I was shuffling around carefully watching my feet and making sure that I didn’t slip. Steve is like a spider monkey up there. I am (unfortunately) like a terrified hippo, so I was MOST careful with my fish-out-of-water situation but I made it back down without falling off and was very (suitably) proud of myself for being so brave. I will likely never do it again but I conquered my fears on that day so I figure next time I have to conquer some fears I can use that as a prompt πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes indeed! I think it is something you could put on your CV – you know ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        Sounds a bit too “Hipsterish” for me Ms Pauline. I think “She might have a bit of chutzpah left in her…” is more up my alley πŸ˜‰

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    2. narf7 says:

      I forgot to mention, we were lucky to get a photo of Bezial at all. He is extremely camera shy these days and hightails it out of there if you even uncap the lens! He couldn’t escape out there as Steve was on the wall, he had to go out there too and couldn’t back up and run away fast enough and I got him! πŸ˜‰

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  3. foodnstuff says:

    Lovely chatty post….i wish I could write like you…I am far too serious (so I’m told and I agree.) Haven’t heard of the mushroom plant either so will Google. Lots of interesting foods are coming out of Asia…a change from the stodgy English fare we’ve grown up with.

    I envy you the fridge wickers. Second-hand baths are the best I can come up with and I’ve only got 3…2 are heavily planted up this season and the 3rd still holds water for growing azolla for the chooks. The trouble with buying seedlings from Bunnings is that seedlings grow so quickly and need to be planted out when they are ready or they go backwards. They aren’t a good thing to retail unless they’re regularly replaced. I’ve seen people with punnets of seedlings in their trolleys that I wouldn’t even accept as a freebie. So you’re really going to have to start growing your own. Start small with the time you have available and work up from there.

    Only one of my 6 tiger nuts has put up leaves so far.

    Is the TAFE course really finished or are there further years? If finished what’s on the cards for next year?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Hi Bev,

      I think I was born talking which has been a bit of a bone of contention at school etc. so it’s not all gravy ;). The mushroom plant got Steve and I both excited. SO excited, it’s still in the kitchen where the voracious slugs can’t scoff it. I am thinking of putting it in a large pot as it actually likes semi shade. It’s from Papua New Guinea and the leaves are very flehsy and would be fantastic in salads. It also grows easily from cuttings. I got mine from a Plants Plus and there were plenty there so I am figuring its not a Bunnings thing, but more like a regular nursery. Might be time for a nursery hop for you?

      I was very careful with the Bunnings seedlings this time. I made sure that they were not too advanced and everything seems to be happy at the moment (except for the few chewed sweetcorn before we got an Earl-proof fence around the wickers so that I could put some slug pellets in) so fingers crossed…

      The fridge wickers came completely from you. I was going to make a tonne of wicking tubs. I actually have 3 and made 4 but gave one to one of our lecturers who was growing bok choy in an egg carton and didn’t know what to do once they got too big for the carton so I gave him a wicking tub with a large strawberry in it and apparently the bok choy and strawberries are going mental. I figured that protecting the tub wicking beds from possums wasn’t going to be possible so I was going to make bigger wicking beds. The problem with that was that bigger tanks etc. are EXPENSIVE! And moola isn’t currency that Steve and I are able to dabble in for anything but “preciouses” so I had to think outside the box. Using what you had taught me I went hunting online side-left and went looking for “Cheap wicking beds” and found an article about desert gardening where a lady was making wicking beds out of all kinds of old containers and one of them appeared to be a freezer. I had a light bulb moment and then decided to see if anyone had made wicking beds out of fridges and “voila”! There was an article about 4 fridge wicking beds from Perth. The person kindly told how they made them but I didn’t bother with the scoria etc. and just went with sticks etc. and they seem to be holding up brilliantly on this mix.

      The 24 fridges cost us under $50 and we saved 24 fridges from going into landfill. The tip was taken over and now you can’t get fridges any more so obviously my stroke of genius came at exactly the right time. I might have to check Exeter tip shop to see if they still have them as I think we could do with a few more as they are brilliant and really work. The only thing I have found is that they are a bit too fertile if anything (I did use aged horse manure instead of actual soil as I didn’t have any) and I get amazing leafage and a bit less fruitage but I think that could be rectified if I added some more potassium at the flowering and fruiting stage but that’s something I am going to have to learn on the hoof. It’s all very exciting and all completely down to your tutelege πŸ™‚

      I bought some Chinese cabbage seedlings back in late winter and they bolted straight to seed so I saved the seed. I have a red Russian kale that did exactly the same thing so it’s being saved for seed also. The Cavelo Nero kale is much happier and didn’t bolt but the other kales did :(. I am saving celery seed this year as my celery is in it’s second year and has gone to seed and I planted out a beetroot that had gone to seed in my compost heap as an experiment last season and it’s gone to seed most spectacularly (takes up over a metre and a half!) so I will be collecting beetroot seed from that as well.

      I have about 4 tiger nuts that are going crazy so when I harvest the tubers I will send some back to you if you like :). I still haven’t harvested the garlic as they are still green and leafy but when they are ready I will send you some elephant garlic too. We have been flat out in the garden and yesterday we hacked off all of the (sodding) Scotch thistles down the driveway and put a pole in next to the glasshouse so that we could reclaim the glasshouse from the outside of Sanctuary (previously we could only get into the glasshouse by going into Sanctuary) and the wicking boat and my first fridge with Vietnamese mint in it are also in this section. I will weed out the wicking boat and use it for growing herbs but we have to put up some more fencing (to stop Earl from escaping) and make sure he can’t get into the netting into Sanctuary as Ducky and Limpy are resident and we just added another chook who surived a quoll attack but lost her clutch of babies. The poor thing made it all the way up to the gate to hide under an old table there where I found her with a couple of her sisters looking after her. I put her in Sanctuary where once she recovers I will have to shuffle her out again as unlike ducky and limpy, she has all of her faculties about her and will wreak havoc.

      The TAFE course is actually finished but who would know if we passed? Our lecturers were still asking us for work that they had either missed or lost last week and TAFE officially finishes this coming week. We are off to study more about computers next year and are most happy to be back in our old stomping grounds with lecturers who deliver content up front and minus the “creative” lien so that means in logical progressive format. My favourite way! That’s how I learn. Going from task to task, ticking things off as you go. I have learned that I don’t have that creative spirit that careens you around the place (like Steve) learning bits and pieces as you land. If I get thrown into anything like that I start to panic and shut down (and inevitably get very grouchy and no-one likes a very grouchy narf7 I can tell you!) I need structure and form and am most happy following a list and completing it.

      I wish we lived closer Bev. We would help you get some fridge wickers and you could see for yourself how brilliant they are. You could line them up along the pathway and put fence up around them. Steve just put tomato stakes into each corner of the wickers yesterday and put chook wire around them which not only looks great but will do the job. I will put a photo of the new planted beds with Steve’s stake solution in my next blog post so you can see. Fridges are a brilliant save and most of the time tip shops will give them away for free as they have to pay to put them into landfill. Is there no way you could check some out and maybe organise to have them delivered? I know that might increase the cost a bit but if you bought a few (say 10) the delivery cost would be spread out over the cost of the fridges. Just an idea πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. foodnstuff says:

        Hi Fran, If you’re saving plenty of seed of kale and other stuff you might want to try (if you haven’t already) just scattering it into a fridge wicker. I do that with seed in wicking boxes when I have lots of it. It saves having to pot up seedlings and plant them out and I thin them out if I need to by giving them to the chooks or just eating them as seedlings in salads. I really couldn’t cope with a lot of fridge wickers….there just isn’t much room any more…the odd bath I can find room for. I’m finding it’d easier to shove another wicking box or a large tub into small spaces than a huge thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        We still have more property than garden so I guess it’s still a viable option for us. That’s a great tip about the seed scattering Bev. Thank you πŸ™‚

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    2. narf7 says:

      I forgot to mention, I got some lovely strawberries from a friend/neighbour who lives up the hill from us the other day and some of them were amazing and tasted like fizzy sherbet so I saved a few of the more mushy ones and am going to attempt to grow them from seed. I will have to check out how to do that but I know that you grew some from seed. Was it hard? These strawberries were small but highly delicious, much more delicious than the huge ones we also collected and were worth the effort. My kiwi cuttings are going great guns as well in the large plastic bag tent/glasshouse that I have put over their pot so fingers crossed I have at least a few female kiwi cuttings that grow roots. Then all I will need to buy from Bunnings is a male. I love experimenting with edibles πŸ™‚

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  4. Jane says:

    Wow! Look at those tomatoes, I have only just planted some of my tomato seedlings out and thought the flowers on one of the volunteer seedlings was ahead of its time. We had two huge rain storms here which smashed my causeway across the creek, between the house and the garage, and filled my swales, and oh how my little food forest to be loved it. I have never seen it look like this in nine years that I have been here. Because it’s only a fledgling forest and I can’t afford to buy heaps of plants, most of what has brought me joy is grass and weeds, but they are so lush! And the plants I have got such as blackberries and raspberries are looking soo happy it’s really exciting and I’m going to enjoy it before it all turns to dust. We’ve got some hot temperatures coming. I have got some tree onions, which I think is just another name for walking onions. I could send you some bulbils if it’s not illegal. They don’t make seed just little bulbils. Do you know where to get a list of quarantine or restriction rules for Tassie? Your garden always looks so good, looking forward to seeing your fridges planted for the summer season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I am SO glad you got lots of rain Jane ❀ πŸ™‚ We didn't get a lot here but then we don't really need it like you guys did. Those tomatoes are an anomaly and are not representative of the other tomatoes that are spindly and laying down on the job and not at all fruiting. Weeds and grass are lovely when they are nice and green and I know what you mean, pretty soon most of our property will be dust and tumbleweeds and by February I will be sighing heavily at everything being brown and dead but your joy is palpable and I, too, am enjoying the heck out of how wonderful this growing season has been so far. It's usually still cold and raining here early December so we have been very lucky. I even planted rockmelon and watermelon this year! I am likely not going to have them amount to anything but fingers crossed, with an apiary behind our property and friends with a beehive not too far away, pollination (when/if the plants produce flowers) should be assured. Don't you just love this gardening adventure? We too can't afford lots of plants and have to save up for our preciouses but usually we just find another way to get them that doesn't cost us like swapping, growing from seed or finding them in the bush. I just found elderberry trees in the bush recently and took cuttings today. I am about to post another blog post about them. Thank you so much for reading my blog posts, for commenting and for sharing your own adventures here. I love to hear about how everything is going at your end and am very glad that we can share our penniless garden adventures here on the interweb πŸ™‚

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    2. narf7 says:

      OH, I forgot to mention! I have saved you those banana passionfruit seeds and if you send me an email at coniferusathotmaildotcom (using the @ sign and the . sign, just being cautious to filter out spambots πŸ˜‰ ) and let me know where to send them I will fire them off to you πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Love the crab apple blossoms Fran and congrats on passing your TAFE Course and yes you will have passed, all that hard work you both put in.
    Smiled about your raspberries may be disappearing via the beak of Mrs Duck.. Lol tasty treats too.
    Wow that is a big mound of mushroom compost, but great for the garden.
    The good thing about having frogs in your garden beds is they will keep the bugs and slugs down. We have six in our small pond and what looks to be a huge toad.. We are keeping an eye on the pond not freezing over completely, we have a square of polystyrene float on the top it helps keep the small pond that bit warmer and the fish get under it. It helps the ice stop forming.. We lost all the frogs a few years back and several fish died due the being caught in the ice and freezing. So we are mindful of the temps.

    Its hard when the slugs etc eat what you think are just growing nicely.. One or two got into our green house last Spring and ate the tops of the beans on one tray.. A big Grrrr from hubby..

    Love all your pictures, walks, Earl, and oh to grow Kiwi fruit.. Love them.
    Wonderful post.. Now to catch up with your next one.. I am way behind..
    But Scotland was fab..
    We now have snow here at home.. A bit of a blizzard all morning,so looking as pretty as a Christmas cake. Loved your tree makeover too.. πŸ™‚

    ❀ πŸ™‚ Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Even though snow is more prevalent in Tasmania in the winter I am still in awe of real snow on houses. It delights my soul to think that there are places where its winter and almost Christmas as the same time. It’s almost magical the combination. Heat and blowflies and bbq’s are lovely things (well, maybe not the blowflies but my tame house spider certainly loves me feeding them to her πŸ˜‰ ) in their own right but there is something truly timeless about the image of Christmas, snow and all of the traditions that go with it. Glad you had a lovely time in Scotland Sue. It was one of my mum’s favourite places when she went to the U.K. and my grandfather’s parents were both Scottish πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. arrgh so you have Scottish blood in your veins. I think somewhere along my ancestry I had a Scottish connection, for my love of the land keeps calling me back.. I hope to share a few photos on my gardening blog..
        And yes, Snow makes Christmas very special if it arrives at the same time.. A pity though we English can not cope on roads in the snow.. So many accidents reported today and air flights cancelled.. I am sure if you google you will see a few snow capped roofs .. πŸ™‚ Love and hugs and enjoy your week xx Sue

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        That makes me laugh Sue as isn’t snow a regular thing over there? I have Scottish and German heritage so there’s an interesting mix right there! I can’t wait to see your photo’s on your gardening blog. Have a lovely week sue πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. yes, all schools in several counties are closed, rail and plane disruptions, we are hopeless when we get a bit of snow.. πŸ™‚ LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Linne says:

    So much to love here . . . the ‘bokah’ photo – no idea what bokah means, but I can look it up tomorrow. I envy you your wicking beds. I discarded my old freezer this summer and wished I’d known someone like you to donate it to. But I know no one here these days.

    The mailboxes are wonderful and I liked seeing your bedding plants. Never heard of a mushroom leaf plant before. Wonder if we could get them here?

    When you get time (ha! I know!) is there a chance you might post the recipes for the ‘chicken’ and the other meal? They all look yummy.

    I’m a huge veggie lover, too, and am eating plenty here, as cousin M loves them, too. We made a cottage pie the other day that had 13 or 14 veg in it. Varieties, I mean

    Well, I’ll catch up with you more tomorrow. Love to you all. ~ Linne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I am glad to hear that you are in a good place now Linne. I know that your life has had a fair bit of upheaval since your mum passed away and its wonderful to hear that you have found companionship and joy where you now live. Excellent to hear that you are eating more veggies. That can only do you a power of good. The “chicken” that we made comes from this page. To give it a chickeny flavour we just made the broth with veggie “chicken” flavoured stock, some white pepper and some dried Italian herbs. It was amazing how much like roast chicken the end results were! Here’s the link to the faux meat (seitan) recipe…

      http://www.veganmagictime.com/2016/01/lets-get-started.html?q=seitan

      If you can make a loaf of bread, this is MUCH easier. You mix everything together and then form it into a log (or whatever you like) and cut the log into slices (for steaks) or smaller bits (for nuggets) and cook it in the water for 45 minutes and then you have your faux meat. After that the sky is the limit. I mince some in a food processor for “ground meat” and Steve loves the steaks just pan fried till they are brown on the edges and served as burgers. They are more reminiscent of sausage flavour but can be dressed up, sliced thin and cooked Asian or Mexican style and used any way that your endless imagination can serve them. We have a lot of fun cooking it and it’s certainly made Steve’s vegan journey a much easier and tastier one. He’s been vegan for just over a year now πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Robbie says:

    Hi Fran!! I finally had some free time, so I stopped by. I know, been a long time. I have not been near my computer reading blogs in months. It was the holidays and since my parents moved near us, I have to help them more often. I had some time today, so I am playing catchup. You have a persimmon tree, I am SOOOO JEALOUS!!! I can’t wait to hear all about the fruits etc.
    I thought of you today as I figured out where I would squeeze some hazelnuts in our small potager. I ordered two American Hazelnuts. You told me once in a comment, ” Robbie you need to grow some.” Well, I did find a place to squeeze them in-YAHOO!
    Those wicking beds are looking pretty nice. I am so glad I stopped by, need to finish reading the other posts before I have to fix dinner.
    Enjoyed your artful pictures. very nice:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      It would be good to have your parents living closer Robbie and you can share your garden produce with them πŸ™‚ My little persimmon had a single fruit just after we planted it but a friend on Facebook mentioned that they often drop off and I was watering yesterday and noticed that it had dropped 😦 Oh well, I guess the tree needs to put down roots and get stronger and then it can give me the odd persimmon. Excellent on getting the hazelnuts Robbie. You can keep them at a manageable size and nuts are incredibly rich in healthy fats and protein. Perfect for your garden. Lovely to see you here and I haven’t been able to do much on my blog of late because we have been working extremely hard in the garden knocking out the problems (weeds and “jungle”) that have invaded Poland over the course of the last year. This year (If I am close to a resolution it’s this one!) we are going to keep on top of them throughout the year so that we don’t have to do a mammoth and crazy assault in one fell swoop. I am exhausted! I have lots of photos for blog posts (enough for about 3) of what we have been doing and I need to take some photos of Sanctuary that is delightfully feral now with flowers everywhere and lots of fruit etc. growing well. Our computer is threatening to die any day now but it is soldiering on at the moment so I can still use it but we bought another one and Steve is going to set it up today so that we can transfer all of our “preciouses” so we don’t lost anything important if it croaks. I should have time to blog very soon (maybe today as we are having a day off πŸ™‚ ) so fingers crossed I can share at least some of what we have been doing with everyone πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robbie says:

        Yes, you are right. I feel blessed that I get to spend some time with them after living apart for so many years. I have so much to share but need the time to get it into a post…I am so impressed, you are really doing a great job plugging out some fun, inspiring and educational posts!

        Liked by 1 person

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