Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Life on the Farm....................

The last couple of months have passed in a blur as my wonderful husband injured his back, weeks of laying on the floor and then finally in hospital for an operation. Of course that same week we had settlement of our old farmhouse and there was so much to do!!!!
4 weeks later and Bob is well on the way to recovery, although he must spend the first 6 weeks resting mostly on his back walking is encouraged and most days he heads out with the dogs for his exercise, its been a challenge for him to do nothing during the day but watch the TV or me working around the house and garden but he has remained positive and planning a holiday for next year.
I think the hardest step is just around the corner as his not allowed to do any work of any kind,  for another 4 months !!!
Our little cottage that Bob has spent the last 2 years renovating is proving to be quite a haven for us and the perfect place to take life that little bit slower.(well some time soon I hope)
Lots of rain over the last couple of months has resulted in  plenty of new growth in the young garden beds and lots of birds visiting daily.
I'm amazed that even with neglect the veggie plot is still producing enough produce to add to most meals, spinach,spring onions,kale,parsley,coriander,dill and lots of self sown lettuce popping up everywhere.
Our two little hens present 2 eggs a day so there always a quick easy meal to be had, french toast seems to be a favorite at the moment.
 Last week I planted out seeds into the cold frame and already I have little green leaves
emerging, the other beds have been weeded, dug over and had some manure added and will be ready for new seedlings in a week or two.
Love to add a few more photos but somethings not working properly.......till next time..
hope your all enjoying the change in seasons and hope to drop by and visit soon.  Ciao.XX

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Winter Glee...............

Thought I'd introduce the newest member to our Property , the not to shy Scarlet Robin!
He has been seen here and there over the last couple of weeks and then unexpectedly decided to keep me company for over 2 hours while I weeded the plot.
As I finished weeding each section and then moved onto the next he would quickly dash down to the soil and within a second pick what caught his eye and then retreat to the wire fence.
I'm hoping the many small shrubs, ground covers, grasses and wattles I have planted over the last year will provide protection and food and encourage the many small birds which are visiting the garden to come back and even nest close by......................

The last few days have brought lovely steady rain enough to fill our dams and water tanks till overflowing..............Saturdays temperature was a high of 5C  and with more rain fore-casted I headed off to Town to do a few chores, I must admit I did feel a bit guilty driving off and leaving the dogs on the veranda but I did give them a bone each !!

First up I stopped at my favourite cafe for coffee and was lucky to grab the best seat (well I think it is) as I sat waiting for my coffee I noticed the rain starting to turn to sleet and then to wonderful large flakes of snow...................


     Shopping done, visit to the Library and then home to spend the afternoon in front of the fire.                                                                          
                                                           A Perfect Winter's Day.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Salad Days in Winter ......

Our first month of Winter brought some early rain (about 5omls) and lots of dry sunny days with tempertures  of around 16C and of course that means cold frosty mornings the lowest being about -3 C.
Perfect growing conditions it seems for young lettuce seedlings................

Growing at present are Red & Green Oak Leaf and lots and lots of tiny Freckles seedlings, the seeds of which I harvested at the end of Summer from summer plantings grown from seed sent from LIZ 

When these little beauties are a tad bigger they will be transplanted into the main garden bed and some given away to neighbors to try.
Thanks again Liz your love of gardening is spreading.....................

Other salad greens include young spinach leaves, red and green cos lettuce , parsley  and garlic tops.
We have been enjoying our salad in our weekly lamb wraps and sandwiches .
Yesterday I planted out another batch of spinach seedlings, broccoli, mini cabbages, Italian parsley and a set of brown onions .
This weeks job in the plot will be to erect the portable frost covers.
Joining in with VG and her 52 week challenge !!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Harvest Monday

Lots of things growing in the plot but nothing much just quite ready for picking, late Autumn plantings mean I'm quite behind in Winter crops.

Over the last few weeks we have received plenty of much needed rain and the paddocks are looking beautiful and green and the soil in the plot has been a dream to work with, so easy to  fork over and lots of worms present.

The old faithfuls have been standing up strong to the weather, Kale, Lettuce,Parsley and the first of the garlic shoots have been picked and enjoyed in soups and salads.

To supplement the lack of fresh produce from the plot I have been making use of many of the sauces I made earlier in the year and my favourite lunch time meal is Spicy Pumpkin Soup made from our store of Butternuts.

This recipe sort of just evolved after I threw in all my favourite herbs and spices, a bit heavy handed for a change as I always feel my soup lacks just the right amount of bite.

1 small butternut cut into chunks
4 cloves of garlic crushed   
1 small piece of ginger grated
Olive oil
mustard seeds,  fennel seeds, turmeric, cumin seeds,
salt and pepper
1 litre of chicken stock.

In a saucepan I heated up a few tablespoons of olive oil and added the spices cooked for 1 minute. 
  Then added garlic, ginger and pumpkin pieces and cooked for a couple of minutes until all the pumpkin was well coated with the spices.
Added the chicken stock and then let simmer until the pumpkin was falling apart and all very soft.  I just used a potato masher to get out the few lumps ( I don't like it to smooth)
Some fresh parsley upon serving...........


Joining in today with Daphne sharing what's been harvested from the plot with many others from around the globe........

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Winter Bliss

It has been quiet on the blogging front of late many things to do and where to fit them all!
  I can imagine you all have been busy too and I hope you are all enjoying the start to Winter here in Australia.
The veggie garden has been well planted out, onions, broccoli, spinach, lettuce varieties, parsley, kale, sugar snap peas and plenty of garlic.
The grounds have had a good old fashioned "clean up" which in our house usually involves a bonfire.......
And of course plenty of firewood gathered and stacked ready for those cold nights ahead.


Around lunch time and after 6pm this is my favourite place to be..........

My idea of bliss ......
Open fire
Good Book
Home made soup..
How are you enjoying the start to Winter?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sunday Surprise

Work up this morning to the sound of the dogs barking , who could be visiting that early?

"He"stayed in bed while I braved the frost and mist but it was well worth the surprise.
Just the most beautiful Autumn morning, hope you all are having a great weekend.
BIG Happy Birthday to my sister Amanda XX

Monday, 29 April 2013

Harvest Monday

This weeks Harvest included three eggplant weighing in at 900gm

and sweet peppers at 300gm.
There are still 5 eggplants on two bushes and at least 25 peppers on 3 plants so if I'm lucky with the weather they may just hold on for another couple of weeks.

Now I have LIZ to thank for my wonderful eggplant/pepper/chilli harvests as if it wasn't for her inspiring posts on these veggies way back in 2011 I probably wouldn't have bothered trying to grow them. (there had been a few miserable attempts before)

They have been used in salads and curries, grilled on the BBQ, marinated,roasted, pickled and made into relish.

I have also gifted many to my new neighbors and in returned enjoyed their homebaked bread.

They will certainly be on my list again for next years summer crop!!

Joining in with Daphne's dandelions and many other gardener's from around the globe in Sharing What's been harvested/cooked/preserved from our gardens.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Harvest Monday

Last night we went to bed with the sound of rain on the roof and amazingly it was still raining when we woke this morning.........14mls yepeee!!
So this afternoon I spent collecting cow/horse manure to dig through the damp soil in the veggie beds, to my surprise there are lots of tiny lettuce seedlings popping up everywhere !
Oh I just can't wait to plant out seedlings and this years garlic crop!
The past week has been one of harvesting the last of....

The last of the delicious apples,their small but tasty and are just the perfect for morning and afternoon tea, not the same as Mulberry/rhubarb muffins but less calories when your counting!
The last of the Basil went into lentil and veggie soup.

The last of the Beans went into the soup too.
The last of the tomatoes into pasta sause.

There was also a first ! Green and Red chillies!
I've only picked and used one green one as I love looking at them in their pots! Erk, I'm thinking after the last couple of cold nights I may be better off picking them all!
And another surprise.... self sown coriander seedlings in the chilli pot!!

For more surprises in the garden head over to Dahpnes and see what others are harvesting from around the Globe.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Harvest Monday

When I go out to the veggie plot I don't think there will be much to pick as I haven't yet planted any seeds/seedlings (due to lack of rain) but again this week I am surprised at what has been available to harvest.

First up Cumquat's and a little Ginger which was planted in November just for fun...
They should make a nice little marmalade.
There was more Basil, just on 2 kilos.

Sweet peppers and a few Roma tomatoes.
8 small Butter-nut pumpkins, these I picked a couple of weeks ago and they have been nesting on straw in the veggie garden to ripen in the sunshine. Today they have been stored away on the veranda.
Perpetual Spinach, parsley and more mystery broccoli.

Head over to Daphne's and see what others are harvesting from their plots.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Autumn Harvest

I've been wanting to do a post on my latest Autumn Harvest but we are having heaps of trouble getting any service from Optus and when we do it only lasts for a short time........plenty of coverage at 2am in the morning but this gal need her sleep!!   So today I've driven around to our little cottage, have turned on the sprinkler and hope to get a couple of posts done before our guests arrive later this afternoon.
The Garden is looking very pretty with the beautiful Autumn colors and as I sit here the little birds are dashing in and out of the sprinkler....... and into their bird bath..........
Lots of sunny days with highs of between 22C and 28C have seen the Autumn harvest extended.
Unfortunately its been to dry to plant out seeds so there's not much coming through for the next month or so, I have been preserving and freezing alot of produce so we will enjoy some of our own produce, just not fresh.
ERK .... over the summer break I did enjoy lazing on the couch under the air-con reading and watching TV, it was much too hot to go out walking so ....yep you guessed it a few extra kilos have appeared and have to go!!
Now first of all I thought of a health retreat.....maybe the Golden Door...I deserve it !! well until I saw the price and decided I could plan my own health retreat and save myself heaps........
My morning walks are shared with the local wildlife, a black wallaby or magpie....
Alfred and Lucy too!
Breakfast on the veranda, cereal & yogurt........the Aldi coffee machine is packed away.(was so nice with thick toast, butter and marmalade!!
And to get that retreat feel I have a shower outside with the dogs watching, waiting with a stick!
There is of course another reason why I had to get moving ......Hubby's been working on his Abs(beergut) HaHa..... but guess what ? his lost quite a bit and is making me feel like a lazy slob....
Ok now for the best way to loose weight......don't go to the dentist when you know you should and then one day when you least expect it BAM the pain starts and you can't get an appointment for a week and you can't eat anything but yogurt cause your mouths too sore!!!
Yes you may laugh appointment is on Wednesday so another 4 days of strawberry yogurt and white wine.......that gets me to sleep!!
A couple of days ago when I could eat I finally made some zucchini and corn fritters, I served them with some steamed veggies and salad of rocket,cucumber and tomato.
Zucchini and Corn fritters.
In a bowl grate 2 zucchini, add small can of corn or fresh if you are lucky to have some, add a beaten egg, chopped herbs that you like and a couple of tablespoons of besan flour (chick pea flour).
I also added a chopped onion fried with garlic and cumin. Mix together.
Fry on hot skillet with olive oil .
Also nice cold the next day in a wrap with salad and Greek yogurt.
Joining with V.G and her Thursday Garden Gobbles.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Last spring I planted seeds of Roma tomatoes, nurtured the little seedlings along, planted them out into a well prepared bed supplied frost covers and feed them every 2 weeks.......
This week I pulled out the plants and dug down really deep into the soil.....  into quite a large rock reef so now I know why they may not of thrived although the basil and peppers have...
The one plant I have doing well is planted in another area of the garden and with these precious fruit made the most simple and tasty Italian Zuppe (soup) Pappa Al Pomadoro.
The recipe comes from one of my favourite cook books,Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer's Tuscan Cookbook and evokes wonderful memories of my visit to the hills of Tuscany and the simple and beautiful food I enjoyed.

 Saute 2 cloves of garlic in a little olive oil and then add about 1 kilo of chopped ripe tomatoes, 8 basil leaves chopped and a little black pepper.  Cook for 5 mins then add 1 litre of chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cut about 500gms of day old bread into 1cm cubes and add to pan, put on lid , turn down to the lowest heat and cook for 30 mins.
Season to taste and serve with a little freshly grated cheese.

Another favourite Zuppe is Minestrone which is a really easy soup to make but works best with a great home made stock with either lamb shanks or chicken bones.
You can then add what ever veggies from your plot, mine contained, green beans,capsicum,zucchini,
onion,garlic,basil,parsley, finely shredded Tuscan kale, Roma tomatoes and a hand full of pasta shells. I also added the few fresh borlotti beans which survived the summer heat.
A dollop of homemade pesto added extra flavour.
Joining in today with Veggiegobbler and her amazing Garden gobblers.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Harvest Monday

Its been with some excitement to head out to the Plot and see whats ready to harvest .......maybe some of my first successful crops of  Peppers, Eggplants or Chilli.
I have tried to grow them over the years but with little success and had given up,  this summer I was determined to try again........................
                                 The first of my Bonica Eggplants, this one just on 700gms

                                             My first ever Red Peppers!!!! I'm excited!!!

Ok so what was different this time? 
I did fuss over the seedlings giving them a feed every couple of weeks, they were mulched well and given a good soak of water every 3 days.
 The season was unusually hot and dry.
The plot was totally enclosed with a wire fence for protection from rabbits.
                                   Good old faithful butter beans and Italian climbing beans.


   HARVEST MONDAY is hosted by DAPHNE at Daphnes Dandelions  , a day to share what you have harvested, cooked or preserved from your plot.                                                                                                                                            

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Garden Paths and Outdoor shower !

Wow what a busy month we have had, a trip to South Australia & visit to Maggie Beer's Farm, a big family get-together, and a few projects around the farm including a new path to my veggie plot and an outside shower !  Lots of preserving of summer crops, and a long lunch at Eastern Peak vineyard with the lovely Rosa from Rosa's Kitchen ..........

               First up new path to the plot which at present is a riot of late summer crops,
                                        we love gravel, and very practical in the bush !
    The best performer's over our Hot and Long summer  were Cucumbers, Eggplants, Peppers, Kale, Climbing beans, Rocket, Basil & Lettuce.
This particular plant has just kept producing all summer, at present 22 peppers ! just hoping for another week of sunny days so they all turn red.

 Some plants really thrived with the added protection of shade cloth during the day, tomatoes lettuce,cucumber,dwarf butter beans and especially basil .  Eggplants and peppers preferred the hot sun.                                                                               
 Italian climbing beans are at the end of the veggie plot and receives all the run off when I'm watering or when we have been lucky enough to get some rain (last couple of days 19mls)  The Blue tank in the background is our firefighting tank which I filled every 3rd day from our bore , quite a job to attach trailer to ute then drive to bore, fill up then drive back ,water, all before the heat of the day.
      New garden bed and modesty fence (don't want to scare the neighbours)

 A rummage in our junk yard found all the bit and pieces for our out door shower, the base of shower sits up a bit high so the water can flow out the plastic pipe under the ground  to the fruit trees. Any excess water collects in the bucket to water the plants !! Nothing beats having a shower outside under the starry sky on a hot summer's night!!!  

See you all tomorrow for Monday's Harvest !!                                                                            

Monday, 18 February 2013

Harvest Monday

Harvest Monday..... A great Blog Hop Hosted by Daphnes Dandelions a day where you are welcome to show off your Harvest , how you are saving or using your Harvest.

Last Friday the dark clouds finally rolled in and in true form there was lots of thunder and lightning which sounded fantastic but was a little scary as it started off a couple of grass fires. Our local fire crews were prepared and soon had everything under control, at the end of the day we had received a much welcome 15mls some areas were lucky to get up to 80mls............................

So enjoyable to head out to the plot the next morning, smell the fresh air and pick the days harvest in the cool ...................

  Basil which I promptly made into pesto, I put a little aside for one meal and then froze the rest in small portions to last through out the year.
 Last year I made the mistake of putting all the pesto into a couple of jars and was disappointed when once opened it went off to quickly and I had to throw it away. 
       Thin Chicken fillet , spread one half with pesto and then fold over , grill on bbq until cooked or dust with bread crumbs and bake in the oven.                                                                      

                             Yellow and green peppers which were sliced and then pickled.                 

                                                    Cucumbers which were also pickled.
And last weeks box of tomatoes from the market turned into sweet spicy tomato sauce and also slow roasted tomato sauce.

Lettuce       400g
Basil           110g
Kale            200g
Zucchini     500g
Mulberries  250g
Peppers      300g
Potatoes     3 kilos

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sharing the Harvest

Last weekend my husband headed off to visit friends for a couple of days and as he drove down the driveway I think I may have yelled out "don't forget to pick a couple of lemons"......... 
Careful what you ask for some may say !!!!! Not only did I get a few lemons but also 7 wine boxes full of peaches, plums and nectarines.
So far I've made plum and mulberry jam, Indian spiced plum chutney, spicy plum sauce and baked honey peaches...........

                   An easy recipe I'm sharing today with VeggieGobbler and her new post Garden Gobblers.
Simply cut in half add a few small dobs of butter and lovely fresh honey(from my bothers hives) drizzled over the top............baked in a medium oven for 20 mins .
Beautiful warm from the oven and perfectly delish for breakfast with muesli and yogurt.

There's only so many plums and peaches a gal can eat and there's nothing like sharing the harvest so I made up a few boxes for friends and family and added some homegrown garlic and jam .

The boxes have been distrubuted , the kitchen's clean, bottles washed and ready...............
 Market tomorrow for tomatoes and a busy weekend to follow ....................

Only decision left is which market in Melbourne do I visit ?


Monday, 4 February 2013

Harvest Monday

Its been a dry start to this years Summer with only 6mls of rain falling but due to a strict routine of hand-watering via water pumped from our bore we are enjoying harvesting many things from our Orchard and veggie plot.
Today's post is the first Monday Harvest for 2013 for me so I've included what's ended up in the kitchen via the plot so far this year.

This year I'm going to TRY to remember whats been harvested and keep a tally.......

Lettuce varieties 800gms
Basil 200gms
Eggplant 1kg
kale 1.5kg
Spring Onion 150gms
Zucchini 5.2 kg
Mulberries 4.5kg
Peppers 300gms
Plums 500gms
Potatoes 2.5 kg
Red & White Onions 3.5kg

A wonderful characteristic of the Mulberry tree is that the fruit develops and ripens over a period of weeks , kept netted to keep out the hungry birds there's plenty of berries to enjoy and share with friends. I have  frozen a couple of kilos while I'm waiting for my plums to ripen  as  together they make a lovely jam.     This weeks batch of muffins, banana and mulberry....................Delish

Head over to Daphne's Dandelions and Harvest Monday to see what others from around the globe have harvested this week.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Summer's Harvest

Happy New Year to everyone .......................
Best wishes for an exciting and weed/grub/critter/fungus free year ahead in the Garden !!

We had a very frightening start to the New Year with a bush fire coming within 150 metres of our home on New Years Eve, a couple of our neighbour's properties lost all vegetation and sheds but luckily their homes and animals were saved.
I've always planned to pack the dogs in the car, get the hell out and not stay to protect our home But this fire happened so quickly by a very stupid neighbour who thought nothing of burning off a little bit of rubbish even though fire restrictions were in place.
Ok so my husband took control (told me nicely to get inside and change my summer attire) do you think I could find a woollen hat for my curly hair I was worried about!!!
He got our fire fighting trailer(water tank with petrol driven pressure hose) in place while I filled buckets with water and wet down the garden around the house and madly threw all the fire wood stacked neatly on the front veranda into space along with any outdoor furniture which was timber.
Four hours, 3 water helicopters and 28 firetrucks later the fire was controlled..........

Looking out to our front paddocks from the veggie garden where the fire passed by our front fence.
Needless to say I'm a tad nervous at present as we haven't had rain for 85 days and our dams are shrinking  by the day........   
Ok not all doom and gloom....... the veggie garden is providing us with daily treats, plenty of lettuce, zucchini, peppers,spinach, eggplants,basil and the first of the Roma tomatoes are turning color !!
 I'm slowly making covers for all my veggies with shade cloth as the difference it makes is fantastic, here you can see how well my lettuce/cucumber bed is doing. Thanks LIZ for the lettuce seed the freckles variety are doing beautifully and make such a great addition to the salad bowl.

Heaps of tasty potatoes and in the plastic favorite !!!

      Tell you next time...........................