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

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

saltbush, sunflowers and someone special

It has been a couple of hectic weeks, with appointments, visitors, and family matters to attend to.

One job we did get done though, was to organise and plant old man saltbush and giant sunflower seeds along the north side of the veggie patch. The tin is in direct sunlight all afternoon so it gets hot. The saltbush was a suggestion by Chris to create shade and a hedge to keep the the veggies cooler in the heat.  Such a brilliant idea if I can get it to grow. Thank you Chris.

As it turned out, Sunday week ago the Wirrabara Producers markets were on, and I was lucky enough to pick up some old man saltbush seedlings. I was so pleased!

Hubby always loves an opportunity to get his Kanga out and he willingly cleared the spot for me the next day. It is so dry and the soil is very powdery. 

I dug six holes and filled them with water twice and let it soak deep down.

Then I popped the saltbush in and watered again. I also put some giant sunflower seeds into the ground closer to the fence. Yesterday I noticed that a few have come up, so that is promising.

Before we had a chance to put a fence around, the chooks found the new spot and had scratched some of the hay away. Hopefully they haven't devoured any sunflower seeds! 

So then it was up with a fence and guards around the trees as quickly as possible. Last Thursday, the saltbush endured its first hot 41C day with wind and dirt (just what we don't need). And this week is much the same. I had to put up some shade for the young plants as the sun was fierce. Hopefully it will rain soon because the rain water I use for the veggie patch is getting really low. All the young saltbush survived their first hot day so I am hopeful.

Salt bush inside the tree guard.

Baby giant sunflower.

Last Tuesday we met up with one of my lovely blog readers. Jane, her hubby Bluey, a Cobber their gorgeous old dog, popped in on their way to the Eyre Pensinula. They are from Queensland, and are on a magical mystery tour with their caravan in tow.

Isn't blog land wonderful? I have been lucky to have met up with quite a few fellow bloggers and followers. It is a fantastic network to find like minded people, and a bonus when you get to meet.

We also caught up with another wonderful blogger yesterday, but I will tell you about that in my next post. All I will say is; hubby has something new to keep him busy as a bee!

Stay tuned.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

around here

Wow, doesn't time fly? One day blends into another and in no time at all it is over a week since I wrote here.

Last Wednesday we took another trip over to the dentist, just one more appointment to go.  Whyalla was just beautiful from the Hummock Hill lookout.

Since my last post, there have been a couple of hot days in the 40C's. Saturday was one of those horrible windy, dirty, dusty days.  I am getting a bit frustrated having to clean up dirt all the time, but I guess it is to be expected with the drought conditions still here.

We have now started daylight savings and what a nightmare for me to adjust my sleep pattern.  Do you experience the same thing? I will get used to the time change, but it takes a while.

A weird thing happened with this calendula. It sprouted a mini flower from the middle of the bud after the initial flower. Has anyone had this happen? And do we know why?

 I gently dried some of the petals, leaves and stems from the calendula's in the oven, then I made salve.

The first time I made two jars then another three yesterday.

I am thinking about trying calendula cream next time.

I have picked the last of the lavender and they are in the drying rack.  I am hoping for a second round of flowers, but will have to wait and see if that happens.

I placed some already dried lavender in oil and sat the jar in the hot sun for a few days. Eventually I could smell the lavender. I included some of the leaves as they have more aroma than the flowers.

Then I made up lavender salve. 

Because of the horrible weather on Saturday, I decided to stay inside and do some other stuff. I made beeswax wraps.  My daughter has wanted me to make her some, so I gave it a go. I used old bits of cardboard for the templates.

This was only a practice run, and I will be making some more very soon. I am pleased with how they turned out.

I was going to sew up some fruit and veggie bags, but I remembered I had saved these horrid plastic ones to re-use. All I did was thread some string through the top and they are ready to go. While they are not as pretty as the homemade ones, I feel better that I have actually recycled the bags into something useful, rather than throwing them out. Now to go shopping and try them.

I may have made the string just a tad too long, its easily fixed though. 

I weighed these and the other sewn ones I have, and these were a smidgen lighter.

This past weekend was a long one here in South Australia, so an extra work free day on Monday for most people.

My daughter went camping, so I had two different grand babies to look after.

This is Molly. And Molly is a terror with sharp puppy teeth! She destroys everything in sight haha! Lucky she is so cute, cant help but love her.

And this is Scarlet. A baby goat abandoned by her mother. She is still being bottle fed, so that was fun, especially with the inquisitive puppy around, that wanted to help! I would happily keep this sweet girl.

Have a look at them They were so hot! I watered both of them down and they went to sleep for a couple of hours. I took this photo from my dining room window, they looked so funny.

We have had a visitor in the chook house! Not the kind we want to see...

A perfectly "wide" slither track...made by one big snake! 

We always check for tracks when we go out to feed and collect eggs in the afternoon. Seeing this puts a shiver up my spine, especially when we find a track this big!

We have not sighted the snake and are hoping that it has kept going and didn't find anything to keep it hanging around, like mice. I must say I was very wary for a few days afterwards, even the poor sleepy lizards made me jump haha!

This young snake had been run over, I came across him while out walking.  

And this large one had been run over near our place a couple of weeks ago.

In the garden, I am picking peas.


The seeds are slowing sprouting.

Mother nature went all out when she created such a beautiful flower for such a plain looking fruit, how amazing! Hopefully I am going to get a few passion-fruit this year.

Blooms are starting on the cactus.

Tomatoes are getting bigger.

I counted twelve on this bunch.

A dainty butterfly on the yarrow flower. See?

Still picking tomatoes from last seasons plants.

And new ones are growing.

I was watering the barrels yesterday and because I am using rain water with no pump, it takes a fair bit of time. While I was waiting I took some photos to share with y'all.


I also spent some of the day tidying up this area after all the dirt from Saturday plus the mess from the animals. 

I accidentally dug up this small sweet potato.  In my wisdom, I decided to trim all the shoots back and thought there were no potatoes forming in the soil, but boy was I wrong! You never know what is going on under there...lesson learned!

This hanging basket thingy was given to me many years ago by a friend, and I have never known quite what to do with it as it is rather large and cumbersome. However, I saw a picture of something similar being used as a bird waterer or feeder, so I placed it in a nearby gum tree. I added in an old dogs dish and it fitted perfectly. The dish is no longer needed, since we don't have our own dogs anymore. 

I placed the worms temporarily into the old fridge that will be used to keep them cool. Hubby has started preparing the fridge by removing parts and plugging up holes. Hopefully by next week it will be ready for the worms to live in permanently. 

Outside I have been cleaning up around the place, raking up dry leaves and weeds.

We visited my parents on Monday and I took some photos of their veggie patch at the moment.

Giant silver beet with calendulas scattered among them.

They are the Fordhook variety of silver beet and have huge leaves. My dad doesn't like the rainbow chard, he prefers the taste of these.

I brought some home with me.

The strawberry patch.  Originally these were mine. I had taken a few plants them over to my parents garden when we were changing our garden around.  They have really taken off and have heaps of flowers and young strawberries on them. They love being planted in the ground, and make a wonderful ground-cover.  They would not grow like that here...

On the way home hubby spied the resident white buck kangaroo that lives in Horrocks Pass. As the road is very windy, he quickly let me out the car to take a photo, then turned around to come and pick me up.  Its times like this that I wish I had my camera on me with the zoom lens.  I am going to start carrying it with me from now on. I only had my cheap phone to snap this shot. Can you see him sun baking near those logs?

A beautiful sunset pic to finish off. There are wind turbines being put up on the nearby hills and they really stood out this day.

This turned out to be a very long post, hopefully you have stuck with me to the end ~ smiles.

Wishing you all well.