Saturday, May 31, 2008

is it wrong to love a tea cosy?

I think I am getting better at that crocheting thing. I found a nice lady who sells crochet patterns on ETSY, and can you believe it? Here is my first attempt, although I think I did the wrong stitch, but it turned out OK anyway.

My bestest discovery has been a wool needle for sewing in the ends. Much neater and stronger. I have used 12 ply instead of 8 ply wool - which makes a much thicker and warmer cosy.


In other news, here are my new wolfberries. There are two varieties - a Chinese one and a Tibetan one - and much frou frou about which variety has the most antioxidants - so I got both.

Well, I got two of each, but the lovely folks from Beautanicals sent me THREE of each, so I am especially happy. They are looking a little droopy from being transplanted, but apparently this is normal and a certain amount of sulkiness can be expected after such a shock.

More berries. Can you have too many varieties of berries in a garden? I think not.

roll call to date is:

  • Black Shatoot Mulberry

  • White Shatoot Mulberry

  • Youngberry

  • Raspberry

  • Kiwiberry (well, I reckon they are like a berry)

oh - I forgot STRAWBERRIES!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mr Duckherder on his way

Well folks

Yesterday I dispatched my beloved onto a plane bound for Kona Hawaii for the first leg of his US racing adventure. 6 WEEKS! Now that is a long time.

Good things about Mr Duck Herder being away:
  • I can eat home grown pumpkin every night
  • I can eat beans and lentils whenever I want
  • I can burp without saying "excuse me"

Bad things about Mr Duck Herder being away:
  • No cuddles
  • No cup of tea in bed every morning
  • I will miss his lovely sweet funny calming influence
  • I will MISS YOU HONEY!

For those of you who know the mupster, or who have an interest in IRONMAN racing, here is a link to Mr Duck Herder's blog.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ONC Community Gardening

Beautiful Eilleen - who makes lovely things of famous Consumption Rebellion renown has asked about Community Gardening in the ONC. This is funny, because those of you know know Eilleen would know that she has scarpered away from ONC into the bush to live on a little farm.

Now the story goes that some fair minded clear thinking folks in ONC some time back in history set up the Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS). As membership and interest in organic gardening grew, COGS set about establishing lots of community gardens on vacant land around Canberra. There are about 12 of them now I think. There is even one in Oakes Estate and in Queanbeyan on Henderson St near the train station.

The duck herder has a plot at the Holder community garden - now Eilleen this is extreme gardening at its best - as the plot is in a frost hollow and the bush fires burnt down all the pine trees that once sheltered the site from the prevailing north westerlies. Even so, the veggie gardening continues with much joy and fervour.

Getting a plot is easy - become a member of COGS and put your name down at the garden closest to you and get a plot as soon as one comes up. Some gardens (like ours) have spare plots at the moment because the water restrictions have weeded out all but the keenest gardeners. Plot fees are usually $1 per square meter per year - to pay for water and tools and insurance. Each garden is managed a little differently, but most have a little committee made up of a convener and a few other energetic fellow gardeners. I am not sure about other gardens, but plots at Holder garden are 9 meters by 5 meters, and lots of folks have a double plot. So my garden is 9 meters by 11 meters (counting the 1 meter path between my plots).

There is also room for a communal orchid and herb garden. Sometimes if a plot becomes vacant and doesn't have a new owner strait away, we grow communal pumpkins as well.

Another keen ONCian community gardener is Dilly Dally if you want to see some more pictures and stories from a different, less climactically exposed community garden.

So there you go!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

community garden plot

Today was sunny and warm (ish). This morning found me down at the community garden, digging out the second last patch of couch that got a leg in under the pumpkin vines that Phil grew on my this year.

These pictures are from the NON COUCH half of the garden. Do you like my row covers? and my new apple trellis - just waiting for those Bob Magnus dwarfed apples to arrive.
Tomorrow - hopefully will see me back down there with some pony poo, some blood and bone and some straw.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lacuna Sabbath

Has a month really past between posts? Sorry folks. I am still alive.

I spent today at home, working on a big report for work, interspersed with trips out into the garden to visit my feathered friends and little plants. Lots of lovely homegrown food for breakfast and lunch. Robin's organic apples - stewed with cinnamon for breakfast, homegrown peppermint tea (with licorice root) throughout the day, fresh scrambled eggs for lunch with herbs and salad picked straight from the garden. Fresh bread baking in time for tea. Eating for Victory at its delicious, most effortless and joyous best.

Here is an update on whats going on in a winter ONC garden.

Here is little Quentin. She and her sister (Miss Bricey) are both named after the new Governor General. Quite appropriate I think. They are almost full grown - perhaps 5 or 6 months old. Their mum Nefley is already clucky again. They should start laying in the next couple of months - although Silkies are very slow to mature.

Here in this little garden bed there are broadbeans coming up, lots of self seeded parsley, lots of Asian greens germinating up the far end and what I very much hope are nettles. I love nettles in winter. For me they are not a weed at all, but a welcome winter guest. delicious. much tastier than silver beet. high in iron. delicate taste and they cook in an instant. just remember your gloves. This variety is not very stingy at all, just a little bit and they can be picked carefully with bare hands if needs be. There are also some pea seedlings along the trellis on the left - but you might not be able to see them, because they were CRUNCHED by something - perhaps some snails, so I have sprinkled the sad little stalks with derris dust.

Here is Tabitha Jemima having a bath in the water bowl as Miriam tries to work out how to get in too. They do have a huge pond you know, they just like to get into anything else they can too.

A peak inside the greenhouse shows lots of lettuces and parsley coming along nicely in the hydroponics system. Well, it's more of an automatic watering system, as the plants are grown in soil and apart from liquid seaweed and microorganisms, they are fed just water through the system. I would still like to get in a couple more boxes of lettuce seedlings. The door of my greenhouse has FALLEN OFF. This is going to take some fixing as it was cheaply held on with fabric hinges which of course, rotted after a few years.

Still in the greenhouse - here are my pine nut seedlings - grown from seeds I gathered from a secret copse of pine nuts. In all my travels around NSW for work, I keep an eye out for pinus pinea trees (they are everywhere once you know them) but the trees that these seeds came from seem to be the only ones around that kept fruiting (coning?) during the drought. They are also from quite small trees - relatively speaking. The will be a year old in spring - time to find them a permanent home. The idea was to plant them at the new duck herder farm - which hasn't materialised yet - so perhaps I will have to find a landed friend who would like a little pine nut plantation on their place.

Well, thats it - a quick tour of the garden. Its nice to be back in blog land.