The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~ Alfred Austin

Friday, 7 March 2014

Plants, seeds and eggs

Gee this week has gone fast, I can't believe it is Friday already. After having very little work for months now, this week was definitely busier. I have certainly clocked up some kilometres for the week. Also still helping my neighbour as she is unable to do very much at all. Parent/teacher meetings and other appointments and the week has flown by. I did however manage a quick five minute stop in at the garden centre in our neighbouring town yesterday.

I went in specifically for the sprouting tray. Mum had bought herself one a few weeks back and said how well it worked. I did have a sprouting jar from years ago but never had much success with that, and thought the tray sounded simpler. Mum has some other seeds so we can swap some seeds and have a bit of variety. Can't wait to get it started and have some fresh sprouts to eat, as they are so healthy for you.

That quick five minute dash also resulted in a few more plants coming home with me :). A little while ago Dad built a new garden bed for me at the end of the patio. I thought it would be a nice spot to put some perenniels in for some colour and make the area a nicer place to sit and eat meals when it's not too hot. It is still too hot to plant them at the moment, but it has to cool off soon...surely. I have noticed the mornings are a little cooler and it's not as light as it was when I get up. Some evenings have been cooling off earlier too, but still some stay hot well into the night, even though the night is closing in earlier.

Ptilotus exaltatus Joey
An Australian native plant with a profusion of feathery pink conical flowers.
I couldn't resist this one when I saw it and think I will be back for a few more
as I can see they would look spectacular in a  large clump.

A dark blue/purple verbena
A tough and hardy groundcover. The other plant I bought was a Brachyscome called metallic blue
which is more a very pale pinky lavender colour.

I also recently got my seed containers out of the cupboard with the intention of putting some seeds in today. As yet I haven't as it is so stinking hot today, although I suppose it doesn't matter so much for the seeds if it is hot or not, unlike for the plants. Definitely need to wait until it is cooler to put those in. As for the seeds I don't seem to have much variety. I have lots and lots of packets of onions and some turnips and the rest are more summer vegies. Looks like I need to get some more seeds!

A lovely surprise this week has been eggs from our silkies!! These are good sized eggs too considering how small silkie hens are. I thought they had stopped laying completely as it would have to be at least eighteen months if not longer since we last had any eggs from them. I will enjoy them while they last.

Finally just a photo of Jess. Not really supposed to be up on that cabinet, but she seems to like sleeping up there when it is really hot. She was sound asleep when I saw her, but she seemed to know the camera was pointed her way and woke up.

I would like to thank everyone that left comments on my last post. I had great fun joining in and have lots of ideas swirling around in my head. It is great to find so many like minded people who also care about their family's health, the health of our planet and love gardening. Looking forward to lots more reading and doing!

I keep getting muddled up and thinking today is Saturday, not sure why I am one day ahead of myself. Anyway I hope everyone has a great weekend and that the weather is neither too hot nor too cold :).

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link Up - February 2014

This is my first time joining in with this monthly link up. I have been following Christine at Slow Living Essentials for quite awhile now and have always enjoyed reading these posts. I have never contributed before as I always felt I wasn't doing enough in any of the nine categories. I still feel that way, but am much more committed to changing our ways and trying to live more sustainably. I thought if I did participate each month it would keep me accountable and would also be the motivation I need to keep going and keep improving. So here goes my very first link up!

February was the month of lots of smoothies and salads, perfect for the very hot weather we were having (and continue to have). The salads were made up of cherry tomatoes that had self seeded, lots of cucumbers from our garden to start with and later from Mum's garden. There was also oodles of capsicums and as always zucchini. The chooks had slowed down with egg production with all the heat, but in the last week they have started to lay a little more regularly.

February saw lots of tomatoes and capsicums ripening all at once. Far too much for us to eat fresh. I have never really been much good at preserving our harvest, but was determined to do so this time. The tomatoes I turned into a roasted tomato soup which then went into the freezer for when (if) the weather cools down. I also had my first attempt at making a tomato based pasta sauce that also had garlic and onions from Mum's garden. That was a real hit, tasted so good and will definitely be making that again. I also have a tomato chutney recipe put aside for next summer's tomato harvest. The zucchini weren't left out either they were grated and also cubed and put into the freezer for using throughout the year.

Once school had started back in early February I started de-cluttering. At this stage I have done all but one kitchen cupboard, they have all been cleaned out, things no longer used have been donated to the local op shop and they are all nicely organised. Not sure how long that will last, but it is good at the moment. The most difficult cupboard was the pantry and that one is already slightly unorganised. Hoping to put that one back in order again sometime over the weekend. I also got stuck into the teens bedrooms. Wow, what a job that was. One bedroom is almost finished the other one is about three quarters done. Quite a lot of stuff was donated from both rooms.

I am stuck on this one, really not sure what to enter for this category. Will have to have a bit more of a think about this for next month.

As I said earlier we have had plenty of tomatoes, capsicums, cucumbers and early corn.  At the moment I am waiting patiently for the beans to start flowering, I was probably a little late getting them in the ground. Once they were in though, they took off at a rate of knots. We are really looking forward to hopefully lots of young tender beans to eat.

One vegetable that has been producing really well this summer is kale. I have only ever grown kale in the winter months previously. Back at the start of summer Mum saw some kale seedlings in the hardware store so bought them and kindly split the punnet with me. Mum's were all eaten virtually overnight, but mine although a little slow to start, eventually took off and has been very prolific all summer. It is a different variety than what we usually grow, but it has been a most welcome addition to our summer vegetable garden.

I have nothing to show for this category for February, but I am excitedly waiting for my parcel to arrive from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I have ordered some 100% cotton as I have decided that this year will be the year I learn to knit. I figured knitting some dishcloths would be a fairly easy project to start with. I am itching to get started so I hope my package arrives soon!

I have recently discovered Open2study a great online resource. I have only had a bit of a look around at this stage but will be on there shortly enrolling for a course. There are so many to choose from. As well I have been enjoying books from the library on gardening and on health. I also recently purchased a book on artisan breads. Hoping to have a go at making some bread over the weekend. Will talk about that one more next month.

Hmm not sure what to put for this one. I guess helping my frail elderly neighbour with meals, errands and daily living tasks would fit the bill. After falling heavily and being on the kitchen floor all night last month and sustaining a very nasty injury to her arm. Life is a bit grim for her at the moment, so I guess by helping where I can I am enhancing her life. It is very sad that family can't/won't help...

With eldest teen turning 17 last Saturday, I have been enjoying all the little snatches of time we have together between her long days at school and the long bus ride home, her part-time weekend job and her social life. Being on her L's and soon to be on her P's I fear I will see very little of her. I am trying to make the most of each moment as I am already thinking ahead to next year once she has graduated year 12 and will hopefully be following her dream of the career path she is hoping to be accepted into. All that means is that she will have to leave home and move to the city. Something I dread. I just wish their childhood didn't have to go so quickly. Sometimes I wish we could halt time. On the other hand that is life learning to adjust to changes and embracing all that comes with those changes.

Well there is my first month complete. Looking forward to thinking, learning, growing, creating and much more for the following month. Time to go and look at what everyone else has been doing for the month.