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

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunday morning bush walk

This morning after I finished work I called in at Mum and Dad's place to see if Mum wanted to go for a walk through the bush up the top end of their road. We rugged up as the wind was blowing strongly and set off with our cameras hoping to find some wildflowers out in flower. We spent a good hour and a half walking and taking photos, all up I took a couple of hundred! We had sun and at times the clouds would come over and it looked like rain but it held off. It was quite tricky at times trying to capture some of the flowers as the wind was blowing like crazy and waving the plants all about.

It was a very enjoyable morning walk through the bush with nothing but the sound of the birds and the wind on our face. I was hoping to get some photos of the birds we could hear but I think because it was so windy they were staying as protected as possible high up in the trees. I think that's something I need to do a bit more often. Being out in nature is great for de-stressing.

This afternoon I have spent more time out in the garden weeding around the fruit trees. Trying to do a bit each day and I will get there. My plan is to get them weeded and then I can fertilise and mulch them, something that hasn't happened the last couple of years. Now for hopefully a relaxing Sunday evening.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Fruit trees and fruit fly

I thought more for my record than anything I would write a list of what fruit trees we have in growing.

*Mulberry x2 (black & white)
*Pomegranate x2
*Kaffir Lime
*Lemon (Lots of Lemons)
*Mandarin (Emperor)
*Orange (Washington Navel)
*Blueberry x2
*Apricot (Bulida)
*Cherry (Stella)
*Plums (Santa Rosa & Mariposa)
*Mango (Grown from seed)
*Almond (Self pollinating)
*Nectarine x3
*Apple (Granny Smith & Lady Williams)
*Angel Peach (Donut)
*Crab Apple
*Passionfruit which needs to be pulled out as it's just the rootstock and start again.

The donut peach has quite a few fuzzy little peaches growing at the moment. This tree has never really done much good, the peaches have generally been pretty tasteless and I had thought about pulling it out last year but never got around to it. It produced peaches and when I went to pick them discovered to my horror that it had fruit fly. In this garden and all previous gardens I have been very very lucky and never had to contend with fruit fly, so was annoyed that they had finally found one of my trees. So once again I decided to pull this tree out and replace with another fruit tree and once again it didn't happen and now we have fuzzy little peaches growing. Which got me thinking I had better hurry up and do something bait wise to hopefully prevent the fruit fly from getting into the peaches.

Last Saturday night on Gardening Australia Jerry Coleby-Williams was talking to an entomologist all about fruit flies. At the end of the segment he showed how he makes traps that are cheap and easy to make at home, so I have just made a couple and stuck in the tree. It will be interesting to see how they work. It was so easy just half a teaspoon of Vegemite, a drop of dish washing detergent and some water, and replace once a week. I have my fingers crossed it was a once off and I won't have any more trouble with fruit fly, but I think that is probably wishful thinking!

Has anyone tried these baits or similar and do they work? Has anyone else found the donut peach tasteless and if so what organic methods can you recommend to help improve flavour?

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Back to basics

So it's been quite awhile between blog posts once again. It's been a mixture of life being busy and when it's not been quite so busy I just didn't know what to blog about.

After months and months of neglect I spent the past weekend cleaning up the vege garden. I have been itching to get in there for awhile but with a steady stream of tradesmen in the house next door I just haven't been out there. There is a very low fence between my place and next door. That was great when Mrs W lived there, when we first moved in she would come to the fence and we would stand in the shade of the beautiful old peppercorn tree that was in her place and chat. As the years went on and Mrs W became more and more frail, that low fence was nice and easy for me to hop over numerous times throughout the day as I went in there to take meals, help her with showering, and all the other bits and pieces of daily life.

Then earlier this year her family sold her house off. A local gay business couple bought it and since then there has been much work going on in there quite often seven days a week. As my veggie garden  is near this low fence and in full view I have avoided going out there. Last weekend I had had enough. There was no-one there so I started pulling weeds and raking the gum leaves and twigs up from the paths between the beds. A car pulls up and workmen jump out, I swear under my breath and start to pack up rakes, shovels etc, but then I think bugger it! So I stayed out there most of the day and got so much cleaned up. Still a bit more to do but much improved.

A bit of a long intro into talking about getting back to basics. I originally started blogging when I was right into growing our own fruit and vegetables organically and basing our meals around what was in the garden. When I found inspiration from other blogs doing the same thing and living more sustainably and treading lightly on the planet.

Then somewhere along the way I lost my way! We started eating less and less from our garden and more and more crap from the supermarket. More junk food crept in and I have the weight gain to prove it. Not taking as much care with living as sustainably as we could. For months now I have this overwhelming sense of drowning. I'm not living the way I want to live. Granted things have changed in our household. Eldest teen has now moved to the city for university, she does come home weekends but is hardly here between hockey games and catching up with friends. Youngest teen started an apprenticeship back in January. So between full time work, hockey training, hockey games, SES training, volunteer fire and rescue training and his social life...well I never see him, or at least that's what it feels like. I am very proud of both of them and so happy that they are following their dreams. So at the end of the day it's just me mostly for meals and to do everything at home both inside and outside, and with one acre especially at this time of year there is lots to do. And I just can't seem to do it all, not with the two shoulders that give me constant pain and don't want to work like they should anymore.

 I started thinking maybe I should sell and move to a smaller more manageable place. I went and looked at a house on a smaller block last weekend. The house was enormous, way too big for just me to be rattling around in there on my own most of the time and the yard needed lots of work. Nothing but weeds. Blank canvas yes, but just too much work starting from scratch. That's the thing I don't want to start from scratch again I've done it before, more than once. I have done so much to both the inside and outside here, that I just don't want to do it again.

So if I was to find a place on a smaller block that has had most of the work already done then I think I should consider it, until then I need to find a way to cope with this place and get back to basics which as we all know is more hard work than just going to the supermarket. Buying takeaway and buying all our clothes, laundry detergent etc. Having ready meals rather than making our own meals from scratch, baking. All these things take time and effort.

Back to basics to me is growing our own healthy organic food that only has to travel from the garden to our plate. Baking yummy sweet treats so that we know exactly what goes into it, no nasty numbers etc (and only eating in moderation). Meal planning I would love to do this all the time, but for some reason I seem to struggle with it. Learning to make our own clothes and homewares, whether it's sewing, knitting or crochet or a combination of all. Making our own simple and safe household cleaners. Being happy with what we have rather than having to keep up with the Joneses. Spending time out in nature and being in-tune with it instead of constantly being attached to social media. These area just a few areas of what getting back to basics means to me.

Time to go and read a few blogs and get inspired once more!