Monday, September 15, 2014

in the veggie garden lately

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Yep, I have been digging a bit of dirt lately. Man, there is so much to dig! So much to be done in the garden. So much more to be created. So many weeds to get rid of. So much lawn to be cut. So many more trees waiting to be planted. This was all supposed to happen before Spring. Best laid plans, huh?

I can’t show you a lot of the other bits and pieces I’ve been doing in the garden because that part is looking a little messy and lacking of mowing. But I’ve been planting out citrus and pencil pines and starting to plant out the new garden beds that have been sitting there all winter naked and merely mulched. The chooks have had a fun time annihilating the lot – think, broken down bits of newspaper and entangled wads of mulch strewn as far as their buff midget legs can scratch them. Which is always far enough to make an absolute mess and require me, daily, to have to rake it all back after they’ve been put away. It reminds me of when Lew was little and he’d tip his toys out all over the place, trash the living room perfectly well and then I’d be left to clear it all away. The cleaning up continues.

Anyway, enough of that, this is all about the veggie garden…

 

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So the carrots that are NOT planted in the actual veggie beds are doing really, really well. It seems that carrots love hard, compacted, decomposed granite, virtually no top soil and lots of bluestone gravel. Who would have thought? You probably knew that about carrots already, didn’t you?

 

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The two surviving cabbages have faired well. This one looks a bit moth eaten – hello, organic!, but it was really only the outer leaves that were not so pretty looking. The rest was yum and we ate it in an Asian style salad the other day. Silly moths obviously ate the rest of the punnet I planted. They {the white moths} and I are enemies. Agh. The broccoli didn’t do well this season either. It went to seed way too quickly.

 

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Brassicas and I have a funny little relationship going on. Every year I threaten to end our friendship {for want of a better term} but every.single.time. I give them another chance. Last year they were kinder. Not sure went wrong for 2014? There’s some still in there struggling to have a go and produce something edible. I’ll let them be for now and see what becomes of them but they’ve been given a pretty stern warning.

 

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And while we are on a bit of a whinge about the lazy veggies in my garden, have a look at the asparagus. I’m thinking it shouldn’t be doing that this time of year. what do you think? I thought fresh new shoots should be gently erupting out of the loose, fertile soil just in time for early summer salads at about now or a little later. But no, up they shot and off they went and now they are long and skinny and woody and don’t look edible at all. What’s the go with asparagus?

 

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Enough about the painful ones though, let’s move onto the lovelies of my veggie friends. The beetroot. Going well. Abundant. Should be a great crop this time around.

 

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So too the lettuce and rhubarb. The poor rhubarb was struggling not so long ago and only just made it through last summer so I moved it into a better bed, one that I knew would get more TLC  and now it has taken off. Can’t wait for some rhubarb and apple crumble!

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The alium family are doing fine. I didn’t get to put as much garlic in as I would’ve liked but what I did plant looks good. Same with the red spring onions and onions, though I’m not quite sure which are which. Rocket loves alium. Everywhere there’s an alium there’s some rocket. Are they companion plants? I would’ve thought not?

 

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The legumes have not done well. I haven’t had one single snow pea this season. Again, not sure what’s gone on there. I’ve carefully rotated all of my garden beds and tried not to plant enemies next to one another. I think I’m going to give some of those gardening tips the flick and go back to a more haphazard style and see what happens. Too much interfering never seems to work for me.

 

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One bed of tomatoes are in. I’ve got some bigger varieties this year. I will also pop in some littlies too because they are usually the strongest and most abundant producers. Last year the tiny one took over and spent the winter re-seeding. I’ve managed to get rid of the little seedlings so i can get some new blood into the mix.

 

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I’ve finally sorted out the berries. I moved the raspberries over to the opposite side of the veggie garden to be on their own. The climbing style berries I’ve re-planted and got rid of anything with too many thorns. My arms did not cope well battling the thorns so I’ve moved them onto greener pastures. I’ve made these little trellised things for support for the berries – 2 old rusty gates and an old bed head. The sceptic tanks look a treat don’t they? Can’t wait until that hedge hurries itself along!

 

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I thought I’d lost all of my bulbs this year too. They were so late in coming up. I’m still not sure if any of the jonnies made it but a few daffodils have come up and given the garden a bit of sunshine.

 

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And that is about it on the veggie garden front. How’s yours coming along? Any tips for me about asparagus and legumes and that stupid little white moth? I’d love to hear your words of wisdom. I’m desperate!

 

Kim x

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

unschooling days with lew

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Morning teas with friends. Food with family. Gaming. Art classes. Drawing. Drawing. Drawing. Drawing with friends and cousins. Mandeni with our homeschooling group. Bettong bonding. Games with friends. A new favourite game – Monopoly Deal.  Milkshakes with friends.

What else?

Khan Academy – geometry. Lew’s developed an interest in geometry and has been taking notes and drawing diagrams and having fun.

You tubing – game reviews, movie reviews mainly.

Not as much guitar lately. He’s having a term off guitar lessons in hope that his enthusiasm for guitar will come back again. Not sure what’s happened here but I think the learning of chords became boring compared to the learning of melody and picking. Lew tends to have things that he focus’ on.  With his drawing he like to draw in fine tipped black pen right now. Anything other than that is not too appealing for him.

I guess, if I had to choose a word to describe the way Lew learns and does things it would be specific. So perhaps the guitar thing has something to do with him not being able to be as ‘specific’ as he would normally like when it comes to choosing songs and style. I find this with art class too. He likes art class but he’s often not happy with the work he produces there. He says it’s because it’s not his normal style. I like that he knows what works for him and what doesn’t and that he’s confident in that. I also admire that he is pushing himself a little more these days to do things that aren’t 100% within his comfort zone.

14, 6 foot 1 and growing up far, far too quickly for my liking. Where does the time go?

 

Kim x

Friday, September 5, 2014

hen house capers in spring

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Yes it is time for more chooky capers from our hen house. You’re excited, aren’t you?

 

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How cute is that new sign? My lovely friend gave it to me for my birthday. I really love it.

 

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So, life in the hen house has been pretty, um, Springy lately if you know what I mean? Roosters in Spring seem to wake up from their wintery slumber all of a sudden. There’s a lot of ..eek, excitement, for want of a better word, going on amongst them all and and because of that one of our sweet little pekins – Myrtle, has decided to go all broody.

 

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This leads me to a question that I can’t seem to get a proper answer to. I’m hesitant to talk about it here because it could out our hen house as some sort of incestuous pit for chickens but my need for clarity overrides the shame and so talk about it, I must.

 

Eek, I am nervous though.

 

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OK…. I can do it.

So, when we first bought Sunny and Sweet Pea last year  I was under the impression that they were not related. Little chicks happened. It was all cute and fluffiness and excitement around here. Two chicks, two roosters. Two lovely homes for them.

 

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Then I found out that Sunny and Sweet Pea were in fact related. Brother and sister to be precise. Hmmm. This didn’t feel good. What had we done? Ew!

But then I started doing a bit of research and asking around my chooky connections. I found the chook world divided on the topic of inter-breeding  {not a nice term!}. Some say that it’s an absolute no-no and under no circumstances would they put related chooks together…in that way.

 

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Others claim that it’s perfectly OK in the chook world and that it is the way they like to breed their chooks for certain lines to continue. They call it line breeding.

I’ve also read that 4 generations is perfectly OK to breed within a chook family and after that it’s best to get new bloodstock in.

 

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So I’m left with this confusion and some what dilemma as Sunny is Springing into life, so to speak.

What to do?

After the two little roosters were born Sweet Pea had some more chicks. This time we knew that Sunny and Sweet Pea were in fact related. Remember the poor little ones that got that horrible chicken pox thing and didn’t make it? Two out of the seven survived, that would be Primrose and Myrtle. Hmmm, so they are the product of a brother and sister happening. Secretly I wondered if the chicks who died were extra weakened because of their sordid story of who their parents really were. Agh!

My gut feeling is that it makes me a little bit queasy thinking about the incestuous stuff that is going on in the hen house. But then I’m interested in the whole line breeding theory and I’d like to think that life in chicken land is far removed from human life and that it is all OK.

So now I’ve outed us as sordid chicken owners, tell me what you think. I can handle the truth.

Do you know if it’s OK to allow ….certain things….to go on amongst related chooks? Would you allow it in your hen house?

What a deep, dark post this has turned out to be. Virginia Andrews eat your heart out!

I hope you come back. You will won’t you?

 

Kim x

 

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Perhaps that should read: welcome to the dark side…?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

tea with a friend

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There’s nothing much better than sharing a pot of tea with a friend. Don’t you think?

 

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Two women sitting around chatting with fingers wrapped around vintage, china cups filled with hot tea is a force to be reckoned with. The problems of the world get solved. Issues of the heart get shared. Plans get made. Friendships thicken. Life feels good.

 

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I have a couple of close friends who don’t drink tea. This is extremely disturbing to me and it is my mission in life {they are totally unaware of this so please keep it to yourself, OK?} to get them to drink tea with me. I feel the same way about friends who diet – I just wish they wouldn’t. Eating cake alone is a lonely, lonely journey. It’s so much better scoffing with a friend.

Same goes for tea drinking.

 

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To onlookers, gawking through my dog-nose smeared windows, it may seem like we are having a lazy little afternoon siesta. So not the case! Looks can be deceiving, any experienced tea drinker who drinks with a friend knows this all too well. I can’t tell you how many parenting issues have been resolved around a pot of tea with a friend. My child has my tea for two drinking antics to thank for his happyish childhood.

 

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Good things happen around a tea pot!

OK, I’m off to boil the jug. Anyone for tea? :)

Kim x

Saturday, August 30, 2014

take away style


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This post is sponsored by Eat Now

I have to admit that I’m really not a take away kind of person. I’m a cook it from scratch kind of mum so we  very rarely have take away for dinner. But sometimes, on those rare occasions when cooking a meal seems equivalent to trekking up Mt Everest, OK, maybe Mumbulla Mountain {for non-locals, that’s the mountain I get to gaze at every single day from my little tin house}, something made by someone else, brought home all hot and ready to eat can be extremely appealing and just what this trekking-up-mountains-phobe needs.

But….

Take away does not have to look like … well, take away. All those plastic containers can be off putting to the aesthetic eye, don’t you think? No one wants to go over board with the styling though, it is take away after all! Here’s my little take on our recent take away affair. It’s simple and rustic and there wasn’t much washing up either!

So I grabbed some picnic style, easy wash up bits and pieces.

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We ordered some yummy local Thai take away.

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I popped it into some little bowls and enamel dishes.


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Then we devoured the lot! As you do.


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So that was our most recent take away meal. Pad Thai, Garlic and Pepper Chicken and Beef and Black Bean.

How about you? Are you a take away kind of family? What’s your take away meal of choice?


Kim x

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