Paddock+Garden = Today’s Late Lunch

Our plan, for a long time, has been to be as close to a self-sustainable lifestyle as possible while still having a practical mindset….you can’t do everything! We still have a long way to go, however, today marks a milestone at RaFG headquarters.

Today, when I looked at our roast lunch, there were only two things on the plate that had not come out of the garden or the paddock (condiments excluded), the potatoes and the broccoli. It’s too early for potatoes (here anyway) and I never have any luck growing anything in the Brassica family.

I started to write this post while lunch was cooking. I could smell the leg of lamb (from one of our lambs) roasting away in it’s marinade of garlic and rosemary (both out of the garden) infused in olive oil.

In the saucepan, ready to cook, were the beans and squash picked fresh out of the garden.

And soon to go into the roasting pan, with the lamb, was the golden nugget pumpkin that I picked yesterday.

All we need now is a crop of hops and some grape vines…

What’s growing in your garden?

Mrs D x

 

 

Today In The Garden: 20th February Edition

It’s very satisfying to walk in and around the veggie garden and be able to pick things we can eat. And despite our weird growing season, I have managed to harvest quite a lot. We won’t need to buy tomatoes, potatoes or zucchinis for a while at least.

So, today in the garden…

A harvest of tomatoes, potatoes, bok choy, baby corn, zucchinis and squash.

The citrus: lemons, limes and cumquats are flowering and fruiting.

We are going to have a bumper crop of tomatoes and the Comfrey is certainly doing it’s job as a weed barrier.

The Musquee De Provence pumpkin is quite possibly going to take over the garden.

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The little Golden Nugget pumpkins are coming along. This is a much more compact plant if you are considering growing pumpkins in your veggie garden. It can also be grown in a large pot.

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The first lot of radishes I planted did nothing (maybe the seeds were out of date?), so I planted a new lot and these ones are showing more promise.

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What can I say about the Raspberries? They need a lot of water however, after that, they require little to no attention. Look at what we are rewarded with day after day.

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Not a lot happened on the Snow Pea front. I planted quite a lot however something was enjoying them as soon as they sprouted. This one made it through.

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The Strawberries have flowered again. Hands up if you grow strawberries. I learnt something new today. After the strawberries have fruited they tend to run. It’s their way of taking over the garden bed. I thought this was a good thing however I have often wondered why the harvest is so ordinary when I have such a large patch. Did you know that you should pinch off these runners and start a new patch with them? This will, apparently, improve the strawberry harvest of your first patch next season. I will do that this year and let you know how it goes.

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The Fig tree has been slow to get going. We have probably had it for about 3 years. This year it has more fruit than ever. I am just waiting for them to ripen and then I will try my hand at Fig and Walnut jam. Mmmm…..

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Again, this year, we have a lone pear. Sshhh, don’t tell the Rosellas.

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This is Clucker Tucker. We planted it in the first pig pen along with a couple of Zucchini plants as an experiment and it has gone crazy. Some of these plants, the buckwheat in particular, are about 60 cm tall. That’s pretty exciting growth over about 4 to 5 weeks. We will be setting up pig tractors for the next growing season. More about this when we get to them.

I have been asked what is Clucker Tucker. It is a combination of plants that can be grown and they provide a healthy green forage for your chooks. The mix includes barrel medic, bok choy, buckwheat, forage chicory, clover, cocksfoot, linseed, lucerne, millet, forage plantain, silverbeet, subclover and sunflower. You can get it from Green Harvest.

Speaking of Green Harvest. I ordered Monaro Garlic (a garlic that is supposed to be suited for growing in our Alpine conditions), Tree Onions and Sweet Potato last week. They are plants that are only available at certain times of the year and they go quickly. My order arrived on Friday and today I have been preparing the beds for planting.

These are the pretties around the place. The Red Hot Pokers pop up every year and put on a stunning display until about April. The yellow flowers are bulbs, at a guess, as they pop up in the lawn around this time of year. Flowers are not my area (unless of course they are edible or useful) so maybe someone can tell me what they are.

Well, I think that’s it. What’s growing in your veggie garden? Someone please tell me what the yellow flowers are.

Mrs D x

PS Counting down the days to our cruise…..

 

 

March 2015 Madness

This year is bolting passed us at record speed and now March is done. The sun has set!

It’s been a big month, again!

The B’s came to visit for a few days. MB and I had a huge cooking day in preparation for the Cooma Show. Big GB spent several hours chipping cork off our floor in preparation for the new flooring. There was lots of catching up and relaxing as well! It wasn’t all work.

Cooma Show is now done and dusted. Despite several entries in the cookery and the jams and preserves sections, a 1st for the Sultana cake was the sum total of my winnings. I’m not complaining. It’s certainly better than the sum total of nothing that I achieved for the Canberra Show.

MB and young GB had entries in the photography that did very well. So chuffed for them and also a big congratulations to young GB on getting the job! You will be successful in everything you do!

Leeanne, who came down in February to deliver her entries to the Canberra Show and stay the night, has just done very well at the Royal Easter Show.

There have been lots of Happy Birthdays this month including mine. March is a big Birthday month for us. I made Thai Beef Fillet for my birthday dinner. Yum! You can find the recipe here Thai Beef Fillet.

I love this birthday card received from a friend.

Cleo injured herself. It’s still a mystery however she has recovered well and the stitches are now out.

Mr D had some bad news a couple of weeks ago. We are still processing it so I am not ready to include it in my post. Suffice to say it has turned our world upside down! In response, I posted May I have this dance? It was a post I had been holding back for fear of the reaction. It’s had a mixed response, including B1 telling me I’m crazy, however it’s all good. I have been crazy this month. I’m completely okay with that!

The harvest from the garden has been excellent! Finally we have lots of tomatoes. I haven’t had to buy them for weeks, or cucumber, or zucchini….There has also been more Golden Nuggets, Musquee De Provence, potatoes (self seeded), a couple of figs and the limes are finally the right size. And the lime is flowering, again!

We also picked apples from the neighbour’s tree. They have all been packed up, with the help of a friend, and stored in cellar conditions in the hope that I can make them last at least six months.

Mr D and I finally got to Merimbula. It was a relaxing and enjoyable weekend! Certainly needed, just not long enough.

On Saturday just gone, apart from it being a State election day in NSW and Mr D being in Sydney to help B2 move house, B1 played clarinet at the Torrens Primary School ACT. She has joined the Southside Youth Wind Orchestra. The performance was fantastic!

To celebrate B1’s success, I ate a whole bag of Bounty bars on the way home (about 1 hour and 15 minutes drive time). I did plan to share with a friend over a cuppa however she wasn’t home. Oh well….

I joined Facebook this month. I have resisted for years however now it’s done! I posted this photo (that I took on Boxing Day 2013) on a group that B1 suggest I join. The group is called ACT Storm Chasers. It’s been an experience…

And last but not least, I have spent a couple of days with B2 in Sydney. Mr D moved B2 to a new place on the weekend just gone and I headed up Monday to make sure the last house was ready for final inspection and that B2 was settled in to the new house. A separate post is on it’s way! I couldn’t believe how putrid this house was and worse than that, the condition report reported (sorry that doesn’t sound right, however it’s late and it’s been a long day) it as being clean. Prepare for the soap box edition!

Anyway, signing off for March. April, here we come!

Golden Nuggets

I have never had real success growing pumpkin. Butternut tends to be our favourite however we have never had one out of the garden that was right to eat.

I subscribed sometime last year to Green Harvest (again, not sure what happened there). Green Harvest are based in Maleny, Queensland, and they are an organic gardening business. You can find them here https://www.greenharvest.com.au/. Unfortunately, overseas visitors, they only ship to Australian residents.

As I navigated through the site, I discovered ‘The Pumpkin Book’ by Jackie French (I am a huge fan of Jackie French). There was a special offer where you paid for the book and they would throw in three packets of pumpkin seeds. The varieties of pumpkin were Jarrahdale, Golden Nugget and Musquee de provence.

The Jarrahdale seeds didn’t come up at all however the other two were very successful. We have harvested lots of Golden Nuggets and one Musquee de provence so far (the Musquee dropped off the vine however still needs to ripen). There are a few more Musquee de provence still growing. I will post about these when they are ready.

We actually don’t eat a lot of pumpkin these days so I have given a lot of the Golden Nuggets away. Most recipes call for them to be stuffed and I found one which looked interesting and you know what I love? The two main ingredients were out of the garden.

Golden Nuggets stuffed with Silverbeet and Feta

2 Golden nugget pumpkins

1 bunch silverbeet, stalks removed and chopped

6 Sundried tomatoes, drained of oil

2 Tablespoons pine nuts, roasted (place in oven on tray lined with baking paper to roast for a minute or so. They burn very quickly)

100 grams feta, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 180º celsius (fan forced)

Cut the lid off the top of each pumpkin. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.

I placed each pumpkin base in a muffin tin for balance (Mr D’s idea), put the lids back on and baked them in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime, place the silver beet in a microwave container (little water in the bottom) and wilt in the microwave for a minute or so.

Scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the pumpkins leaving enough around the edges to hold the pumpkin upright. Combine the pumpkin with silverbeet, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and feta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the mixture back into the pumpkin and replace the lid. Reduce the heat to 170º (fan forced) and return to the oven for a further 10 – 15 minutes.

It was certainly delicious however could have done with some bacon. Bacon makes everything better!

Got a recipe for stuffed pumpkin? Let me know.

January 2015: Done and Dusted

Its been a big year already and it’s only just turned February!

The garden is going great guns. So far the harvest has included strawberries, LOTS of zucchinis, lebanese cucumbers, apples, golden nugget pumpkins and various herbs (basil, coriander, parsley, chives and sage).

We have many new chicks of varying ages. A lot of mixed breed and quite a few Barnevelders. They are cute however they are very demanding and did I mention that they shit everywhere? Fertiliser right?

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The new rock wall is coming along however Mr D has torn a muscle in his leg and had to give it a rest. Orders from the physio.

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We had an extra dog staying while friends had a well deserved break in Tassie. There were 3 dogs (we also have B1’s dog) in total. Made life interesting. I installed a ‘boot camp style’ regime and it worked out. I repeated all commands many times. Hilarious looking back. The photo below is the wait for dinner.

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The dogs and I walked every day otherwise they were crazy from lack of activity. I enjoy a walk as well. Well I did until my brown snake boob plant (boobs saved me from a face plant) experience. That is a post for another day!

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B1 and B2 both moved house. IN THE SAME MONTH!

Lots of January birthdays. One special birthday (all birthdays are special of course) for a close friend’s son J turning 21. It was a small gathering and I just happened to be in Sydney to be part of it.

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Mr D and I rediscovered mango daiquiris due to a very timely glut of mangoes. B1 bought a tray from work as part of a fundraising drive and despite all efforts (chutney, curry etc) we resorted to mango daiquiris. I know it was awful! Just awful!

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There was of course the weed spraying. St John’s Wort. It’s worth something to someone however here it is a council fine if we don’t deal with it. Would love it if all of our neighbours were on the same page. Mr D would be out on the tractor spraying and I would be wading through grass taller than me (which is not difficult) with my 10 litre backpack.

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Then there were decisions about future renovations. The floor in the kitchen and living area is probably the most pressing because at the moment there is cork that we have started to chip away and don’t even mention the disgusting brown carpet. So I ventured into town to collect floor samples and after some trick photography, this is what I came up with. Just waiting for them to quote. I like!

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And then every now and then we get to sit down and enjoy the view! And we have a great view!

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Bye January!