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Life on two acres of arid dirt, on the edge of the Australian outback.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Weekly Catchup

The beautiful weather has continued this week.  It has been very cold at night and we have had to put the fire back on for a few nights. 

Last Sunday we went for a day trip to the Farmers Markets at Wirrabara in the Flinder's Ranges. It was such a lovely drive with all the crops looking exceptionally good. It has been an excellent season for the farmers.

I snapped this on the way home. 
I only had my phone, as I had left my camera at home...
The last time I took a photo of this little building in the paddock was after a huge bushfire had passed through. It was lovely to see the pretty canola crop looking so healthy.

 This is how the native peach (quandong) leather turned out.

Totally successful!

And totally tasty.
I am definitely going to make some more!

I tried something new. 
Today I made a thick shake using quandongs for flavour.  
This is really delicious!

A big amount of vanilla icecream, couple scoops of stewed quandongs and a little milk.  Whiz until thick and well mixed.

This is my healthier milkshake using milk, yoghurt and quandongs.

 Out in the garden I have been removing the dirt from the garden beds.  This is a hard slog and feels like it is taking forever.  My back is not what it used to be.
You can see the tree roots that are causing all the trouble in this bed. 
This is why we are switching to barrels.  
We went to Adelaide Thursday to pick up some more. 

While we were in Adelaide we popped into Bunnings to look for a raspberry tree, but they didn't have any, so I came away with this one. Hope I have made the right choice and that it grows okay.

This is a cross between a blackberry and raspberry and called a Tayberry.
Anyone grow these?

The silver beet is looking brighter...

More yummy strawberries!!

The seeds I planted are mostly all up.
The bigger ones are special Greek cucumbers that my Greek friend gave to me. I cant wait for these to grow so I can show you what they look like.

 Tiny basil.

And zucchini.

This is how the lettuce and baby spinach is growing.  I picked some of the spinach to add to a meal the other night.

Tomorrow we will be going to see my parents.  The local agricultural show is on and our grandson is competing on his pony. A chance for the great grandparents to see him ride.

This week has really flown by and I haven't had a chance to post more photos of the fruit dryer.  Hopefully I will get to it on Monday. 

How was your week?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Around Here ~ weekly catchup

What a beautiful week of Spring weather we have just experienced.  The nights are cold but the days are just lovely. I spent a lot of time outside doing some jobs in the garden.

 I planted out the silver beet that my parents gave to me.
The plants are sulking a bit in this photo, but by tonight they were standing upright again.
I have had to put the shade over just until they are over the shock of being planted.

A few weeks ago I planted some cucumber seeds in one of the garden beds and finally two have popped up.
I was starting to think they were going to be a no show.

Last week I planted some of the same cucumber seeds in a punnet, placed them in a little hot house container and they have sprouted already.  I also planted some zucchini and basil seeds in the other punnets.

 Here is how my fig tree is progressing. 
I am very happy with the way it is growing.

I think this may be why they are doing so well.  I have covered them with plastic bags, they must really like the humidity.

 Here are the other sticks of fig tree I potted out. All but two have taken off, but they may still shoot out, only time will tell.

I found some potatoes while digging around in the garden.

I kept these to eat.

And put the rest in this large pot.

 Rocks in the bottom, then some dirt, potatoes, and topped with straw. As they grow I will layer more dirt and straw.

Today we added three more barrels to the garden.   It is a little disorganised out there at the moment as we try to remove old beds and add the new barrels.  Hopefully we will be going to the city to get some more barrels this coming week.
These three are ready to have plants put in.  
Maybe tomorrow we will get to set the baths up. It is time consuming to make the wicking beds so hopefully they are going to produce well.

Hubby made me an outdoor fruit/veg dryer.

I nagged asked and he produced.

I love how clever he can be.

No instructions to follow, just figured it out for himself.

I will post the process next week.

He used an old dog bed frame to sit them on, and I have put it on a table outside.
I have saved some cans to put on the legs to keep ants away from the fruit.  I will fill these with water if the ants venture too close.

This quandong was the largest one we picked this year!

Usually the seeds from the quandongs are thrown around our block and they come up by themselves everywhere. However this year we learned that the seeds are worth money to seed collectors. I was told that they pay $5.00 a kilo for these.  So next time I will keep them to sell.

I am trying this out for the dryer.  I mooshed up some cooked and sweetened native peaches (quandongs) to make fruit leather.  I hope this works J

And while hubby was in the mood for creating, I showed him a picture of one of these from the internet. Within half an hour I had one!
These are designed to wash veggies as you pick them.

My very own gathering basket,

 I am getting quite a collection of these jars. 
My mum has been saving them for me.
These are a great addition to my pantry.
I have cleared out the shelving in the pantry and placed them there.

And here in my tea station,
I have used some of the smaller jars and added home made labels.

To make more usable space in my pantry it was out with all these recipe books!
I have only kept the ones I use regularly.

I gave the pantry a good tidy up and had some cake mix and pie apple that were passed their best before dates, so I decided to make up a slice to use them up.
Apple and sour cream slice. 
Mmmm delicious!

If you use facebook the recipe can be found here.

After reading Phil's post, I decided to gather our vintage scales together for a photo.
These are the three we own. The blue one was given to us by friends when they moved.
I would like to get hold of the original bowls for the older ones.  Maybe one day I will find some in my travels.

I checked to see if they still weigh accurate, and they sure do!
This one I am going to start using.  
Most of my recipes use the old measurements so this should work well.

Bringing a little nature inside.
Pretty Geraldton Wax.

And to finish off with one of our lovely sunsets from earlier this week.
We are lucky to view a lot of stunning sunsets from our back door.

Well that sums my week up. 
What about you? Did you have a productive week?

Take care dear friends.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This Week at a Glance

Its been a busy week here on the home front. 
Spring has well and truly sprung.  The days have warmed up quite a bit, to the point that the air conditioner will need to be serviced for use shortly.  Nearly time to retire the fire and start spending more time outside. Temperatures are sitting in the low 30'sC (mid 80'sF) at the moment.

Around here I have been baking as usual. 
This was leftover chicken curry made into a pie.

Native peach (quandong) with sponge topping.  Yum, yum!

Mimi's best ever chocolate cake for my dad's birthday. Served with whipped cream and strawberries.

Spring cleaning has begun!

Out in the garden I have an infestation of aphids.  And on my garlic too, so whoever said garlic doesn't have enemies, was wrong!

Thank goodness for the internet, as a quick search for what treats aphids and how to make it was found...I am happy to report that it has been three days since I treated the garlic with white oil and the aphids are almost all gone J

The mandarins are about finished for this year.  There are just a few left and they are so high up we cant reach them.

I picked this basket full the other day and took them to the local Salvation Army to be handed out to the needy. This weighed 13.5kg! That takes the total to around 180kgs off this wonderful producing tree. And they are the sweetest tasting mandarin.

 The nectarine tree is in blossom.

 It is covered in pretty pink.

And the apricot tree is a mass of white blossoms.

I organised my compost bins this week.  
I needed to give them a stir and add straw, soil and manure to the mix.

 We are using the top half of a sulo bin (rubbish bins) for compost. The bottoms are being used in our veggie garden.

The compost is almost ready in this barrel.

 When I had finished I sat myself down on this bench for a little while and just listened to the birds in full song.  
It was so peaceful...

I couldn't resist buying this pretty little lavender plant that was on special.

I have changed my mind about using the guttering for now.  I decided to use some of these pots instead.  I have planted baby spinach and mixed lettuce.  

I purchased some more pots. These are sitting on an old bbq stand that hubby remodeled for me.  I still has the wheels on so It can move it around to suit the weather.

The strawberries are covered in flowers.
and strawberries.

Hubby has started making some more garden wicking beds.  These ones are in baths.

 He has spaced these ones out more as we had them a bit close together.  In the barrel at the back right is nettle tea soaking for fertiliser for the garden.

Pooh, this really smells!

 I have been sorting through my seeds and getting some ready to plant out.

My parents are visiting this weekend and they brought with them some tomato plants ready to go.

And a bunch of silver beet seedlings.

I made some more washing powder this week.

This time I decided to put it through a sieve to make a finer mix as seen here.
First I grated a yellow bar of laundry soap

Then added leftover soaps from here at home. 
These add a lovely aroma.

 We had a cheeky visitor pass through yesterday...

A Shingle-back sleepy lizard.
We have also sighted our first snake.  It was a deadly brown snake and about six foot long! Hubby spied him from the top of the shed, but by the time he got down the snake was gone... 

Its my dads 79th birthday today.  
My parents arrived here yesterday afternoon and our whole family but one, went out to tea/dinner last night.  What a fun time for all of us to get together.

I had to take a photo of this gift that Dad received.  It is a night light and oh so cute. 
I love Vee Dubs by the way J

All in all it has been a great week here.
I feel like I have achieved a lot. 

 I stayed away from the grocery shops! My freezers are full and so is my pantry.  Time to live out of these two for a while and see how much money I can save by doing so. 

The bright sunshine of Spring fills me with fresh energy that was lacking during the winter months.

What about you? Are you achieving a lot more now that Spring is here?