Wednesday, December 31, 2008

red shine to you too

While on the one hand I have been a very bad blogger of late, I have actually, been a much improved and highly committed tenderer of the duck herder estate. We have been blessed with RAIN and cool weather which has made such potterings a joy. Everything is JUMPING. And BEHOLD, the Red Shine onions are ready. HFS they are HUGE, and sweet and divine. The largest was 330gms!!!!!!

The Hunter River Browns and Sweet Reds are not far behind, but as their little tops are still going strong, I will leave them a little longer.

These were all planted in later winter. I popped another lot in just a few weeks ago - I found some gladalan seeds lurking in the seed box and thought we just might be lucky enough to get at least a small second crop this season.

Well, I am back to the garden. Today is a happy day - a peachcot, china flat peach and angel peach arrived today from Daley's Nursery, and I must go out and nudge a few thousand wriggly worms aside and pop them into the earth. (That would involve using my NEW PITCHFORK now wouldnt it? OH what joy)

Long time readers will remember the avocado shanty? Well, it is now a food forest orchard wolfberry patch. AND, I haven't completely given up on the avocados - I am thinking of trying a couple in a wine barrel shuggled up next to the water tanks where they can be warm, sheltered and have their delicate little roots safely out of the clay.

Happy new year to you all. Mr Duck Herder and I are planning on taking a few beers up onto Mt Stromlo to watch the fireworks. What ever you do if you can't be good be careful. ;-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Sorry I have been a little quiet lately.......
The garden is looking so lovely atm. This picture was taken just after Mr Duck Herder's 40th. Sorry about the fold up chair - sort of spoils it a bit, but you get the idea. It is hard to tell that there are nashis and mulberries and all sorts of food trees hidden in this mess with glass house, duck ponds and chook runs up the back!

I miss represented the nashi trees - there are close to 40 baby nashis coming along, and the KIWIS! well, at least 200.

In other news, poor old Nefley the original fluffy chicken passed away (the plague again - regular readers will remember Maurice the Trojan horse rooster who bought beauty, babies and death to the backyard) So that just leaves Quentin. Quentin went clucky, so I popped a little day old egg layer under her (ok, lets just pretend you have been sitting for three weeks, and these plastic eggs were real, and that this is your baby and she looks just like you)

The little one just shot strait in under Quentins wing, and Quentin started cooing and keening and it was the sweetest thing ever and they have been inseparable ever since.

Here they are, a few weeks later, still inseparable.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Food Forest

No picture just yet, but I have been enjoying the fruits of our garden muchly these past weeks. It takes a while for those little fruit trees to mature enough to gift us generously with their lovely lovely treasures. I can honestly say we haven't bought fruit for over a month - except for mangoes of course!

There is an early cherry tree on next doors nature strip that has provided us and most of the neighbourhood with plentiful bowls of luscious fruits over the past 4 weeks, and is STILL going. The strawberries are offering up a small handful each day. The mulberries are big, fat and juicy. The raspberries are just starting to ripen, and the young berries are not far behind.

If you think about how much organic cherries, mulberries, raspberries and young berries cost in the shops, well, there is no sweeter way to feel rich and opulent than to grow your own.

This year the nashis and kiwis have really stepped it up - there are probably over 20 baby nashis slowing swelling, and well, perhaps 100 kiwis.

To off set this abundance, I am sorry to report that earwigs or slaters ate ALL of my baby zucs, rock melons, water melons, cucumbers, luffas and pumpkins. :-(

I will try again next weekend with some bought seedlings....I think I use too much mulch......any other ideas?

And here is Amelia and some of her babies - doing what ducks and chickens do so well - cleaning up garden beds prior to planting out.

Sox #4

Latest off the hook. Notice the ribbed leg!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

luvin' the garden

The kiwi vines are bringing me so much joy at the moment! They are all blossoming like mad. I think this is their 4th year in the ground. Last year we had a few little blossoms on Mr Kiwi and Miss Kiwi-in-the-middle, and ended up with a whole two kiwi fruit. But THIS year, they are full of blossoms. I have been judiciously hand pollinating with a makeup brush. Everything I have read suggests they are not that attractive to bees and that if you don't have a bee hive handy, hand pollination is the way to go. But TODAY I was pleasantly surprised to hear some happy buzzing - a few bees working away at the blossoms. I checked to see that they were on the males AND the females....and then put my makeup brush down and came in the make a cup of tea. yippeee! yay for bees.

Here is a shot of a happy bee working one of the female vines. The kiwi variety I have is "Hayward". I have two females, and an appropriately late flowering male. They are the latest blooming of the kiwi family - good for our late frosts. The Haywards are not as vigorous as some vines, and not as sweet as say the "bruno" variety - but the extra added sweetness of home grown kiwis picked when they are fully developed leaves any other commercially grown kiwi variety for dead. They are like a completely different fruit to the hard, tart, bland woollies variety.

You can find more about kiwi fruit here: sunraysia nursery

Now, in terms of a shading pergola covering vine, I don't think you can do much better than a kiwi. They grow super quickly. They can handle the COLDEST winters. They get their leaves quite late - which means your house still gets the benefit of the spring sun coming in the windows or onto the deck. Their leaves are beautiful lush green. Their shade is cool. In winter you prune them back to a poofteenth of their former selves, which lets the light and sun stream in over the cooler months. They do however, like lots of water. We have the washing machine emptying out directly onto them and for this they reward us handsomely with their shade and this year, hopefully, with some fruit!

In other news, the garlic is almost ready for harvest. These little fellas were picked because their stalks had fallen over already. They are HUGE and smell DEVINE. A purple Italian variety. The other 40 or so can wait a little longer. They are starting to brown off, but their stems near the start of the bulbs are still quite firm and thick. I read somewhere that you want to pick them when there are three layers of skin covering the bulbs - too many and they are still a bit green, which will affect storage, and too few, and they may have already started to split apart and start thinking about growing again, which will also affect storage! I don't know if this is true, but luckily enough, my method of picking them when the storks fall over seems to have worked - as they also have three layers!

I hang my garlic from the beams in the carport. It is light, warm, dry and airy here. I hang my chillies and leek seed flower heads here as well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tomatos are in!

Sheesh. Growing tomatos in ONC - if it isnt too cold, then it is too hot! Little babies needed to be covered after planting on this bright and sunny day.

Luckily sun protection doubles as late frost protection AND wind protection - because no doubt we will have all three this week.

Here are my lovely poppies resplendent amongst the garlic.

Companion planting? Well, they seem to be getting on well enough.

It was a warm and sunny day today - plenty warm enough for me to see TWO snakes at opposite ends of the community garden. Hello fellas! Be nice. I mean you no harm. Better tell Gerry a little brown snake is living in his rhubarb patch, just near the water main.........

And something is eating my seedlings in the glass house - munching the tops right off. Did you have to destroy ALL the rock melons and water melons? I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!! DEATH TO EARWIGS.

sox #3

now it would be hard to stay cranky with these on

belated bee news

Another step towards becoming a keeper of the bees. Walter Kohler-Bond held a one day natural bee keeping course at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms. It was a beautiful day. Walter is just lovely lovely lovely - a permaculture teacher from Moruya. The whole natural bee keeping thing (you know, no chemicals, no moving the hives around willy nilly, letting the hives replace their queen naturally, enabling the bees to become stronger, more resilient, cleverer and to express their full busy bee potential) attracts lots of gentle and interesting folks.
I am in the market for a second hand suit and some gloves and then, AND THEN my friend Eric will help to set me up with a little "nucleus" over summer - in time for them to establish themselves and scurry up enough honey to last over the winter.
I am not exactly scared of bees - its more a high level of respect kind of thing. It would be so lovely to see if some bees would like to come and live in my garden and share their honey.
little bees - I promise to be your devoted, nervous but willing servant.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kiwi dating game

So after worrying about the female kiwi vines budding up before the male, it looks like Mr Kiwi is now out in front and the girls are lagging a little. Behold the first Kiwi flower of the season.

Come on girls!

In other news, it rained last night and today - WONDERFUL for the garden but not too good for my tomato planting plans. Its cleared up a little now, but there is a cold wind - not much fun for the newlyplanted - so I wait and see how the weather is later today or tomorrow.

Clever Amelia hatched out 7 little ducklings.

Oh, and after lots of drama we ended up with 13 Pekin bantam babies and only ONE faverolle. The faverolle is a he and has been duly christened "the big fella". He isn't even a very good faverolle - wrong number of toes, not quite right colour - but he'll do and I love him. He is also called "the $50 chicken" seems thats what I paid for the dozen faverolle eggs plus freight. I have never had much luck with eggs that have traveled by air. Road freight - not a problem. Express freight from QLD - not so good. He likes to sit on my shoulder in the evening while the news is on.

Hosui and Kosui have lots of perfect tiny nashis - they seem to have grown out of their juvenile budjump problem which is a relief.

The mulberries are ripening. The broadbeans are prolific - I will start freezing these tomorrow. The strawberries are luscious. It looks like we will get a crop of gooseberries for the first time. The young berries and raspberries are flowering. The lemon is looking much much better after a dose of Epsom salts and some potash.

This chilly return of winter has got me baking muffins and crocheting -its all good.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

chickie sunday

Here are the kids - three weeks old today. Joe is taking two and I am giving the remaining 4 to my neighbour Mario. He is giving me a bunny rabbit in return. (and I don't mean a fluffy one). Hmmm, yum. Bunny Rabbit. I am thinking some kind of English Bunny Stew......

And here are today's babies. Nine so far. You can see they are in various stages of fluffing out. So far they are all Pekins bar one weak little Faverolle. Fingers crossed some more faverolles hatch out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

aaaaaahhhh! shopping.

This weird thing happened today. It happened yesterday. I was better at it today than yesterday, but I didn't really like it very much.

I WENT TO THE SHOPS! I went to the MALL (or, Woden Plazza as it is technically known)

Made me realise how blissfully good I am at living without shopping.

So why was I at the shops?


what was that?

you heard me....

well, its a long story, see, City to Soil is rolling out in Goulburn next week and I have been invited to do an interview with the local community radio station. Not the usual 30 second grab for the regional ABCs and commercial stations.....nup, no way, this is a 2 hours affair interspersed with music and stuff.

Anyhoo, I am most grateful for the opportunity to promote the new whole of town food and garden waste collection and composting extravaganza and honestly I am so obsessed with this project that I could talk about it for 2 DAYS. But what I was completely unprepared for was the request to bring along a few of my favourite CDs to play.........what?

Now let me think, when was the last time I bought a CD..........

Um. 10 years? Oh, wait a minute, I think I bought a Ben Lee CD in 2004.

Oh GOD, the whole of GOULBURN is going to find out I am a penny pinching DAG with no culture.

It is true I don't listen to a lot of music. But there is music in my SOUL and in the air and it comes out of the beaks of birds and the whispering wind. Honest. And really, I just like silence.

And when I do listen to stuff - A'LA traveling to Condobolin and back, I listen to Radio National. Have done for a million years. Well, religiously for 9 anyway.

I love being exposed to new and unusual music - love acoustic live music - I love Mozart. Serenade in B flat minor is my favourite piece in the world. We played it at our wedding. Did you know Mozart composed that piece for his own wedding? anyway.....I just don't need to OWN it.

Sometimes when I am zipping along country roads and some wonderful new band or song is featured on RN, I dangerously scribble it down with a pencil in the margins of some scrappy bit of paper, driving with one hand and avoiding pot holes and kangaroos (it helps to be left handed for this) but I never end up buying the CD - I just love to have the music wash over me and move me and anyhow I never go to the shops so when would I have a chance to buy it, and anyway, tomorrow I will be moved by the next wonderfully talented artist and will have lost the first piece of paper......

And I refuse to spend $$ on CDs.

So anyway, I flicked through an aged pile of obscure CDs from the 80's and 90's and deemed none of them suitable. Luckily the Biggest Hippy recorded the City to Soil song, and another song about recycling - so these will be PERFECT. (right, that's 2 out of the way)

So what about the others?

I cracked folks. I went and bought a CD. I did some market research (Mr Duck Herder, the Cougar, the Biggest Hippy) and they were no help at all.

I found the 2004 Ben Lee CD under the passenger seat in the car - and it is a bit scratched.

Anyway, I followed a few leads, chased up some of my favourite old artists (Kev Carmody etc), and rediscovered Sara Storer, and went and bought one of her's. I paid $32 for it! Got it home. And it was scratched. Took it back today. They didn't have another one. Got my money back. Went to Myer. They had one copy left. Still in plastic. Not Scratched. Paid $24 (much better)

So folks, I paid $24 for vanity.

It is a beautiful CD. She is marvelous. Her songs make me cry. All good music makes me cry. Thats why I don't buy it. Don't you see? I just cry all the time. Mozart makes me cry. Beautiful things make me cry as much as sad things.

Anyway, confesison time is over. I will be able to present myself with at least one CD from this century that I like. I can even infer that I listen to lots of music, but saying "I am listening to a lot of Sara Storer lately" which would be true - its the only CD I am listening to.

Duck Herder you are full of crap!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

long time gone

We return to our regular broadcasts after a longish sojourn in Condobolin. Work is BUSY but good. Spring is WONDERFUL. Life is a bit of a WHIRLWIND and it is tricky to maintain the stillness.

I am still pleased as punch with my socks. They have survived hand washing AND machine washing, which pleases me greatly. Thank you so much for your happy comments and general agreeance that rainbow crocheted socks are a fine fine thing to have in one's possessions, and even better caressing ones feet and peaking out from one's boots.

I took these photos last weekend, and only now found time to pop them up and out into the internets. Behold my individualised toilet roll seed raisers. (Don't worry, Mr Duck Herder and I are not responsible for this much toilet paper use! I have a flotilla of signed up toilet roll holder donors) I had a peak this afternoon, and can happily report the zucchinis and cucumbers are definitely up, and with tomatoes in close pursuit.

I know a fellow who uses this method, but first dips the rolls in beeswax to make them last, before planting the plants out roll and all when ready. I skipped the wax treatment and will see how they hold up.

This is much quicker than sprouting seeds in trays and transplanting to topped and bottomed 2l mild containers ALA Linda Woodrow so fingers crossed that I am onto something. (frugal elegance AND expedience)

And these clever little things are recycled recycled coke bottles. They originally had onion seedlings in them - purchased from a farmer at the farmer's market. Now they have a second generation of onion seeds, and also some asparagus seeds.

Whilst in Condobolin I finished a beautiful spring scarf - again from my stock of lovely Noro self striping wool - which I LOVE and have worn every day for a week, but which for some reason, no one has yet commented on......I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or maker, perhaps.......

will get a photo of that one soon as well.

Anyhoo - a well earned day off tomorrow. Next lot of chickens should be hatching out over weekend. Fingers crossed for some successful faverolle hatchlings - they have traveled so far those little eggs - all the way from Proserpine QLD.

Taa muchly to everyone who said nice things about my sox *swoon*

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sox #2

Sox Pair 1

da daaa.

chicken tv

We have some new babies! They are now in a brooder box in the living room. The box has a wire mesh front so we can see what they are up to. I could watch them for hours. Its like Chicken TV.

They sure do poop a lot.

In other news, Amelia the wonder duck looks like she has decided to sit. I wonder if she has the patience to go all the way. She is a little more highly strung than her mum.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


waiting waiting waiting for broad beans...............

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sock love

I am almost ready to show you my first pair of crocheted socks. Methinks this sock thing might stick around for a while. In anticipation of this, behold an array of beautiful sock yarns.
mmmmmmmmmmmmm. sock yarns.............
Some of these are not cheap. Home make socks do not save money. However the joy of creating such a functional item- one little stitch at a time, brings me much joy. It that weird?

Backyard Rompy Pompy

This time of year it is all about sex. Fruit sex to be precise.

Fruit sex and the BIG questions.

Big questions like.........

Will the male kiwi vine blossom in time to fertilise the female kiwi vines?

Is my golden kiwi fruit seedling a boy or a girl?

Do I need to buy an earlier male?

Will Kosui the Nashi catch up in time to have nashi sex with with Hosui who is already in full flower?

Will Kevin Goldmine, the new nectarine tree, self pollinate this year?

What kind of pollinator should I buy my greengage plum next winter?

And in other news, there are 8 eggs in the incubator which should be hatching out tonight or tomorrow. The sooner would be better, as I have another 59 eggs sitting here ready to go in as soon as the others are out.

yep, thats right - 59.

Thats 1 dozen Indian Game Bantams (WOOHOO - walking roasts!) and 1 dozen salmon faverolles.

And for other folks (I seem to have suddenly become a hatching service) 2 dozen Pekin Bantams and 11 (oops) black Indian runner eggs.

My only concern is that I will get then all mixed up and won't be able to tell them apart! (except the ducks that is...)

riddle riddle me

Riddle riddle riddle me
A platypus I be
And never was there ever
such a mixed up bloke as me

I've a brown fur coat like a cat
And a tail thats very flat
With a bill like leather
I'm a very funny fella
And you can't say fairer than that

I like to get up in the morning
When the sun is shining bright
Stay in my burrow
For the rest of the day
And get up again at night

(get up again at night!)

Late news, Pa Kettle/Mountain Man/The Cougar and I were having lunch on the bank next to the Queanbyean River this week. We had already seen a native water rat (he's always there) and Mr and Mrs Swan with their two baby signets.....when suddenly there he was - a little platypus swimming around in the reeds on the edge of the river.

Very cute.

First one I have ever seen.

......they really do have duck bills!

and Mr Duck Herder is getting very bored with me singing the platypus song over and over again.

Friday, September 19, 2008

life 'n nstuff

I think I am getting better at this life thing. I seem to be getting better at this whole surrender thing too.

Little Miss Over Achiever still clicks her high heels and purses her red lips at me from time to time...(which is hilarious now that I get to wear hi vis and steel caps to work rather than suits and lipstick) but I am getting better at remembering to UNwind, UNcoil, UNclench, EXhale.

It has become a bit of a spiritual practice - remembering to bring my naughty puppy mind gently back here, to what I am doing NOW, to the task at hand.

Luckily this action is it's own reward, because I get to do it many many times a day.

This requires TRUST. Trust that the universe supports this kind of awareness. That being in the NOW, being PRESENT with who and what and where I am right now, is EXACTLY all that is required.

Having a beautiufl garden full of trees and vines and veggies and flowers and ducks and chickens and a cat helps. It is easy to be present when you are in paradise.

I think I might have said it before, but being present means that you become more present....and being more present means your life becomes full of PRESENTS.


now what did that guy Lao Tzu say......

to the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders........or something like that.

good night.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tahini Ginger Tooth Crunchers

  • 3/4 cups of tahini
  • 1 and 1/2 cups honey
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour (I use spelt)
  • 1/4 cup powdered ginger, or a few tablespoons of sweet fragrant spices
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • half tsp salt

  • Preheat oven to 180 moderate or whatever
  • Grease some pizza tins, baking trays
  • Pour or scoop tahini and honey into saucepan.
  • Heat a little over low heat to soften. Mix.
  • Add other ingredients and mix.
  • Turn heat on again if mix is too hard to get a spoon through.
  • Once mixed, roll into little balls between palms and put on tins.
  • Lick fingers and inside of saucepan
  • Squish cookies gently with a fork to flatten
  • Bake until brown and the middle of each cookie looks like it has changed texture.
  • Watch out - they burn quickly but more cooked is better than under cooked.

  • Let cool for a little while and then remove from trays
  • Cool and store.

These keep for AGES in the fridge.

This recipe was adapted from another recipe I found in the internets somewhere that was subsequently tweaked, changed, added and subtracted enough to now call my own (well, that's what I reckon)

moochas muchus

Formal day of mooching today. And what better way to celebrate than with a new crocheting book. IMAGINE - crocheted socks. Here is my first attempt. I have made one mistake, which turned into two (I missed a Rear Post Double thingy, which meant I ended up with two Front Post Double thingies side by side, and then you can see the seam, two Rear Post Double thingies - which means my sock is missing a raised stripe, and then in the leg bit, I didn't start on the joining slip stitch, which meant that I lost a stitch....but I made it back up again at the end and well, I'm onto the heel now, and so far so good........
sheeesh, it isnt all that relaxing having to CONCENTRATE so much!

Community Garden

Some pictures from our Holder Community Garden annual meeting. Look at those happy gardeners paying their plot fees! That's Conrad our convener, and Lesley who is famous for supplying millions of heirloom tomato seedlings each year. And here is Mario, Patricia and Eilleen.

Yes, same Mario who helps me dispatch and prepare the odd cockerel or drake for the pot.
But more importantly - BEHOLD! First asparagus of spring.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tea Cosy #4 revisited

HFS I am in love with this tea cosy. (yes, more tea cosy love)
Tea Cosy #4 was never quite finished in my opinion - and has been sitting around, occasionally used, but waiting for that final inspiration.

Cruising around on Crochetroo's lovely website, suddenly the answer was before me - in celebration of spring, and the flowering of the plum trees, behold the resplendent addition of 11 button blossoms, recipe courtesy of Crochetroo.

I now declare Tea Cosy #4 complete.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lacuna Sabbath

As many of you know, the Lacuna Sabbath (Fridays) is for mooching in the garden. Today I spent some time down at the community garden, getting a plot ready for potatoes. I am not sure if it is too early to plant them, but they are sprouting like mad, so I guess I may as well get 'em in.

I notice from other years that even if they get nipped by the frost, they soon bounce back. This bed has had a huge compost heap on it, so I just cleared away the top bit and dug some lines. I will use the left over mulch from the top of the compost heap, along with some straw etc, to cover over the bed once the 'taties are all nicely planted. I think I will use some potash in the holes just like Peter Cundall suggested - will get some tomorrow on my way down.

I know lots of folks normally just plant potatoes under the mulch, but mine always do better if they are in the soil. The stay moister down there I reckon.

There is heaps of broccoli happening at the moment - and asparagus on the way (hooray!)

Closer to home in the back yard, where it is a bit warmer, the broad beans are flowering like crazy.

My three year old white peach seedling, planted at the community garden, gifted from my friend Phil from down at Nowra, is taller than me and covered with flower buds. I gave her some extra attention today - with a bag of compost from work and some new mulch.

Life is so beautiful!

Beanie #4

Beanie for my gorgeous little neice Maddison. Another version of crochetroo's easy peasy beanie recipe!

retrofitting the suburbs

Just because you asked.......!

For a number of years we have been looking for a good way to harvest our grey water. The hose from the washing machine is redirected out the laundry window and onto the kiwi vines - which will take as much water as they can get.

But, what about all that shower, basin, bath water?

I looked at LOTS of grey water systems - expensive ones, cheap ones, complicated ones, simple ones. Our productive garden is uphill from the house, which meant we were going to need a pump of some type.

In the end, elegant frugality and serendipity won out when we happily came across an add for the "Flo to Go" system in RENEW magazine. Designed and made right here in Australia by a very clever and handsome young man called Callam.

The clever thing about this unit is that it takes about 10 minutes to install! The system is designed to drop into the standard grey water access pipe vented thingy situated outside your house. If you can find the little vented grate thingy, then you could probably use this unit I suspect. The sucky thing you drop down the pipe has a sensor and when the little reservoir fills up with enough water to trigger the sensor, the little pump turns on and you can pump the water just about anywhere. The pump has a 16 meter vertical capacity.

Above is a photo of the sucky thing that goes down the pipe.

Between the pump and the sucky thing is a filter, which needs to be cleaned out periodically. At them moment, we do this every couple of weeks.

The pump lives in this little blue box!

It is powered by a normal 12 volt transformer thingy that just plugs into a normal power point. Luckily for us, there is one just near where the pump is.

Instant water!

I guess you could get pretty sophisticated about your watering system, but at this stage, we just move the hose around the garden and naughtily stick a little sprinkler on the end (council's like grey water to be irrigated strait onto or under the ground) and it is working very well thank you very much.

The whole unit costs around $1,000 and depending on how handy you are, or if you need a licenced plumber to install the unit so you can claim a rebate (which DOESNT happen in ONC) should be free or fairly low cost to set up. This is a bit of an investment - but HEAPS cheaper than many of the other grey water systems on the market. Now, every drop of water we use in the bath, shower or basin ends up on the garden. Ditto with the washing machine.

The ducks very much like playing in warm shower water - especially on those frosty mornings. It s very cute watching them squeaking over a steaming puddle in the frost.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

very cool

So, like, this really cool thing happens when we have a shower now, or have a bath, or wash my hands........
The sprinkler comes on in the back yard!
That is very cool.
The ducks think so too.
I have been too scared to blog about it in case the whole thing stopped working.
I can move the hose where ever I want.
The plants say thankyou.
that is all.

Monday, September 1, 2008

winter harvest

Spring has sprung!
The grass has ris'
I wonder where the birdies is?
The bird is on the wing
... but that's absurd!
I always thought
The wing was on the bird!

Author? who knows - but my sister and I used to sing this poem over and over again on long car trips - Dad thought it was hilarious, but I bet my Mama wished he'd never taught us!

Just in case you were worried this was turning into a crocheting blog, we return to the main focus of my duck herding existence - the growing of vegetables, and the celebrations, jubilances and joys associated with said growing ons.
What does a late winter ONC garden have to offer friends and family of the duck? Apart from nettles, parsley, coriander, silverbeet and Chinese cabbages, we have enormous leeks, humongous beetroot and resplendent carrots.
What's that you said?.......
Yes, CARROTS!!!!!!!! Finally the 38 year carrot drought is over, and I can declare loud and proud that finally the duck herder has been able to grow CARROTS! Danvers to be precise. And how beautiful, sweet, flavoursome and HUGE they are. All bums and no tops - what perfect little carrots they be.
This lot went into a lovely big pot of soup with a hock bone, some garlic, onions and potatoes, bay leaves, parsely, corriander and of course, NETTLES.
And who came for lunch? Why the Mountain Man, his beautiful family, and the Rocketeer and her new beau. A loaf of freshly baked bread, a batch of muffins, and voila - lunch is served!
.....have I mentioned how much I LOVE my garden?

Beanie #3

This is a photo of the beanie I made for the Rocketeer to wear at the mountain biking yesterday.
The pattern is also from the crocheroo. I love her stuff!

Tea Cosy #5

Tea Cosy number 5. I used a pattern from Crocheroo on etsy. It took FOREVER - almost 4 balls of wool, but the end result is wonderfull. I did half on the plane back from NZ with a bamboo hook (I was worried that I wouldnt be able to get a metal hook onto the plane...)
Oh, I forgot - I went to Ashburton on the South Island for a conference. What a beautiful country. How amazing to be somewhere so wet! and with such big mountains.
I will have to do lots of planting and make extra compost to make up for my conference carbon footprint!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Winter Veggie Soup

This is my very simple quick but delicious winter veggie soup. The secret is the fresh tumeric - nothing like the powdered stuff, and a lovely thing to keep in the cupboard with the ginger and garlic. The other secret is having one of those groovy "v-slicer" julienne things that make chopping up stuff really small super quick.

You need:

  • 1 potato

  • 1n onion

  • 1 carrot

  • fresh ginger and tumeric

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 chicken stock cutes

  • Nettles and coriander - or other fresh greens


  • Julienne 1 onion into a saucepan

  • Add a generous slosh of oil (I use macadamia but olive or anything would do)

  • While heating up, add some grated fresh ginger and tumeric

  • Saute gently until onion is soft and translucent

  • Julienne the potato and carrot - add these too

  • Add hot water and 2 x massels "chicken style" stock cubes and bay leaf

  • Bring to boil and simmer while you go outside to pick greens

  • Pick a big bowl of nettles, fresh coriander and anything else out there

  • Chop or snip these into the soup just before serving


(yes, still with the nettles!)