Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 1st 2016.

Haha, told you I'd be back in a few months!  I didn't really think it would be that long though, thought I was just being funny.  haha seems not.  Seems like I am not really very good as this blogging thing anymore.  I will work on it as I used to have fun here and am sure I can again.

The gardens are wet and soggy.   Chookpens are wet and soggy.  And it is always cold outside.  I am feeling the cold!  It is now October, we should be having cold mornings but lovely sunny and warm days, that's not happening.  It is still like Winter, wet, cold, miserable.  I usually like Winter and prefer it over Summer but as of 2 weeks ago, I am over it.  I need me some sun.

I do have plants in though and food is growing, thanks to daughter T that bought lots of seedling for me.  Once the sun comes out they should really take off.   We can still get a feed from out there. Can dig up some spuds whenever we want them, sweet potatoes too.  Cabbages and broccoli.  A few capsicum.  Chooks are laying so I am eating lots of eggs.  Cauliflowers aren't doing much even though they have been in the ground for a few months.  We are still getting oranges but not much other fruit, some lemons but I can't eat those like a proper fruit snack so don't count them.  .The apricots are forming fruit, peach tree is covered in flowers, grapevines are shooting, strawberries are covered in flowers.  Apple are too.

The bees don't do much over Winter but husband and I had a look at them last week.  They are starting to get honey in the frames so we should be able to do an extraction in a couple of weeks.  Husband wants to do a bottom box inspection before we extract though, just to check there is no disease and the queen is still going strong.  I do need a nice warm day so I can get out and give the extracting shed a decent clean before then.  It's dusty and messy as it hasn't been used in a while. A proper clean will make it, well, clean! 

Off to read about what some others are doing then it will be bedtime.  It's blowing quite hard outside but the fire is going, the house is warm.  All is good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hello, it's me...

Hello. Remember me?  It has been a long time since I came here, a long time since I had anything to say.  Haha, I still don't have anything much to write about but thought I'd better get off Facebook and see what was happening in the land of Blogs.  And you know what?  Some people have fantastic gardens that they eat from every day.  Some people are healthy and fit and doing what needs doing to get and stay there.  Some people are travelling the countryside and having adventures.

What have I been doing?  Umm, let me think.  Not a lot I don't think but I have been busy.  Doesn't seem like I have achieved much and that is another reason for my checking in here.  If I can get what I have done down on paper, so to speak, then I will see that I have achieved some things and can tell myself that I am not the fandl person I sometimes think I am.  Well, I am fandl, that hasn't changed yet but I'm sure that I have done stuff too. 

I am still planting stuff though not a lot and not often enough but I could go out there and pick enough to eat for the rest of the week.  So that's good!  Not going out there just yet though.  It's 7:30 and still a tad too cold outside for me. I am sitting inside with the fire burning having a hot lemon and honey drink as I think I have been subjected to granddaughters cold germs.  My lemons and honey though so yeah, I still got it!

I have lemons because it is Winter and citrus time.  Loving the Oranges straight from the tree and have a pile inside here that need juicing.  I will pick some more later and put them out the front and see if anyone wants to buy some.  Need to work out what to do with the lemons too.  We only have 1 tree now, a Eureka I think.  Husband chopped down and pulled out the massive bush lemon that fruited always and hid the house from the road but was dangerous with 2inch spikes everywhere.  And we didn't need that many lemons but the chookyard looks bare.  He "trimmed" some other trees too...sad face.  I have honey because husband help me extract the hives...oh months ago now and I still have some left.  My poor bees have been unloved and uncared for and I am not sure what to do with them now.  I want to keep them, want to be able to go out and check them every week, want to be a good beekeeper.  But I "forget" about them and husband gets cranky and does the checking himself...This is something that I need to get better with, especially with Spring coming up.  If I don't make an effort and they swarm then I may have to get rid of them.  But I am going to make an effort, prevent them from swarming, get off FB and back outside...

I am still with Vinnies and still loving it.  I have been busy there instead of here as we don't have enough volunteers and as Manager I am the one that steps in if I can't get someone else to fill a shift.  I was there Monday, usual day.  Tuesday as a fill-in.  Thursday is usual day and I may have to be there Friday but hoping not.  Rules are we need 2 volunteers but sometimes people go on holidays, get sick, have appointments...The small group of volunteers that are there are brilliant and a few have stepped up, a big thankyou to them, but we will be short for all of July.  And, much to husbands disgust, I have taken on another role and am now a Commissioned member of our Conference.  This means that I help out with the Welfare side of things now too.  So Volunteer Manager of Retail, which sounds more impressive than it is, and Conference Member.    I'm liking it but it does all take up a lot of time and I'm not very good at time management so seem to be just bumbling along with everything.  With the house and yard and bees missing out because of me wasting the time I do have on unnecessary thing like Facbook!  HoHum, not much different to normal really.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get motivated by reading a bit more before I go outside, coming here more often, and actually doing stuff. 

See you all in a few months time! haha.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Not Much Honey.

 
I did check the hives, I was sure they would all be full and need extracting and I'd be busy jarring up tons of honey.  I was wrong.   Husband came out to help and he was a bit cranky with me as they really should have been checked regularly...and they weren't.  But I think he was a bit surprised with how little honey there was in the hives.  Out of 4 hives, 9 frames in each hive, we needed to extract only 8 frames.  That is not good.  Three frames from1 hive and 5 from another.  Two hives were not doing very well so we left all the frames in them.  Husband did check the bottom box on all 4 hives, said it looked like a couple had requeened themselves but that there was plenty of brood so that was good.  He probably explained it all to me but I don't remember.
 
So all up we extracted a bit more than 10 kilos of honey.   I jarred it up, cleaned up the stickiness in the extraction shed, this time right away, same day.  So much easier!  I have put the price of this lot up to $12 kilo because there is so little there, only 8 x1 kilo tubs and a few 400gm glass jars.  Not much but if it all goes then it's still a decent wage for a few hours work.
 
I am selling it via Facebook and a rough roadside stall we have set up out the front. 


Monday, February 22, 2016

Bees. Hives need checking.

I have been slack with the beehives.  I know, who'd have thought!  But I know that I need to go out and have a look at them, I *know* they will need extracting.  I keep saying it's because I am too scared but maybe, probably, most likely, it's because I am too lazy.

Husband is away and I want to get it done before he gets home but keep putting it off and now the weather has cooled down and it has been raining and they might be a tad grumpy so I have again put it off.   And now he will be home before I get it done and wont be pleased if he has to do it!  And rightly so.  My hives, my hobby, my job.

I don't know if it's bad for the hive or the bees to be left alone for so long but I do know that I have run out of honey to sell and people are asking for it.  That in itself should get me out there...but hasn't.   I am a bad beekeeper.

I have tidied and cleaned the extracting shed though so that is ready to go when I do finally get-out there.  We bought more jars a while ago and they are cleaned and boxed up ready.    If I leave it too long though the place will need dusting again!

I was going to have a go this morning but it's been raining and is too cool.  Maybe tomorrow otherwise Thursday for sure.  Unless I need to go in to Vinnies then it will have to be Friday....see this is how it gets away from me.  I was going to do it 2 weeks ago but it kept being put off for one reason or another...And now it's nearly a month since I've even been out there to check on them!   Bad beekeeping.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spaghetti Squash.

A long time ago I went to some markets and was given a spaghetti squash plant. It had a tag saying it was in fact a SS.  I planted it, it grew a bit and I ended up with 1 fruit. 
This morning I went to a garden SSS meet up and brought home a Spaghetti squash.  The woman that grew it, and several hundred others! said that it was in fact a SS.

Hmmm.    Are these actually the same thing?  Is one just malformed?  Or not ripe yet?  Or something completely different to a Spaghetti Squash?

I will cut them open sometime this week and see what the insides look like but thinking mine isn't *quite right*    But maybe it is *quite right* for what it really is...

Someone will know and that someone will tell me.  I hope.  And thankyou if that someone is you.

Update.  I knew someone would know!  I have just been told "Green Hubbard Squash. It's a pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima species." It's ripe and I eat it like pumpkin.

SSS and visiting another garden.

I am going to a neighbours house this morning.  She is having a SSS morning so I am hoping to get all inspired and interested in the gardens again.    The SSS stands for Swap, Share, Shuffle and people will bring something garden related to SSS and we'll have a look around her garden and talk gardens.  I'm looking forward to it in an I can't really be bothered doing anything today way.  But I need want this, I need want to get me gardening mojo back!

I feel I am getting old and I'm not, I'm just eating too much crap and not doing enough.  As I do HoHum.  I need to get interested, need to do stuff, need to challenge myself again.  Today is the start of all that!  And as I write and think about it it is looking like a fun way to spend a few hours!

Have you heard of SSS days?  Do you have gardening friends that you visit and talk with?   It should be interesting.

I have yet to decide what to take though.  I have lemon balm that needs thinning and that grows easily and the sweet potato grows from slips so decision made, I will take some of that as well and hope others take it home with them.   

Last evening I weeded all the half 44's along the driveway then mulched them with the composting grass and weeds from the chook pen.  They look much better and are ready if I bring anything home.  It's always better for any plants I bring home if I have a spot ready and they can be put in right away.   Some poor plants have to wait a few weeks and then they don't do so well.

If you have any ideas on finding lost gardening love, let me know them please.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 24th 2015 Fruit.

End of December and we are starting to get grapes.  Lots of grapes.  We have 8 vines growing, maybe 6 different varieties but I am unsure what they are.    They get ripe, I eat them.  I don't need to know what they are called to enjoy them.. 
We have black ones over the pig pen, maybe not quite ready as they are sour but they are dark and look ready.  It's not 'til you bite into them that you realise that they are not.  I had some really dark ones this afternoon and they were a bit better but still not quite there.

 I know we have Red Globe, they are not ready yet.  One vine grows along the chookpen fence along the driveway.  We have put stocking over these as last year the birds got most of them.  We did, or didn't prune this vine last year, I remember hacking some branches off as they were in my way but it wasn't a proper prune so there isn't as many grapes on here this year.  But we have covered a dozen or so bunches and they are growing nicely.


The grapes we are eating now are small sultana grapes.  These grapes always end up with Powdery mildew and it looks like this year will be the same but there are plenty of bunches out there that are clean and we are enjoying these now.  I didn't stocking these, thought the birds would get them and I should but we have been lucky and are getting plenty.  I should stocking some before the birds come, and I may yet do that.  These grapes grow over a chook shed and wire topped yard.  They look pretty good the way they hang down and we can walk under them and pick as we go.




We did net one whole vine.  Husband cut the vine back so the net would fit and we bought some small clips to hold the netting.  It looks alright and there is nothing getting to them.  Last year the chooks jumped up and started on this lot and then the birds and then the wasps came in so it was a bit risky trying to pick any.  This year we will get more than enough.  A couple more weeks and they will should be ready
 
 
 
We have 3 other vines, 2 different sorts, they too need to have stocking put on them before they get ripe and the parrots find them.  I did think of doing it this afternoon...but didn't.  If I want some of these ones then I need to get them covered.

A few years ago I bought a couple of boysenberry plants.  Stuck them in the ground and left them too it.  The prickly plant grew everywhere, husband hated it, the chooks ate the fruit, the prickly vine kept growing away from the fence where I wanted it, husband kept threatening to rip it out...This year I started caring for it a bit, have been trying to keep it under control but a not succeeding.  Husband has brought in some 1/2 drums for me, we will fill these with dirt then get the plants into the drums.  This way they should grow up the fence and it should be easier for me to keep them off the ground where they root where they touch.  There is a bit off fruit on them now and as long as I keep the water up to them they are really sweet and lovely.  I have netted them from the chooks and parrots but it is still a work in progress.


We bought some raspberries and they too have fruit on them.  Only one plant from the 3 and I do tend to forget to water these but I'm hopeful I will get a taste a least.  I have more than a dozen other plants that were swapped for some chokoes but I have just put those in a 1/2drum until I figure out where to plant them.  They are getting big though so I need to figure it out soon.






The bananas are growing well.   Husband is trying to get these growing along a few fence lines and also out the back and it seems to be working.  We have 2 clumps at the moment that have fruit.  Well, 1 plant from each clump has a bunch of bananas. 










The bananas from the plants we have here are smaller than the shop bought one but so much sweeter and much more bananary.  I still buy bananas though as I like them and they make a quick and easy snack.








We have talked about pulling up the peach tree as it always gets over ridden with fruitfly.  This year husband is giving it 1 more chance.  He has netted it and if it still gets fruitfly then we will probably pull it out.  We haven't bee able to get any edible fruit from this tree for the last few years because of the fruitfly.






So far the fruit is looking clean so fingers crossed we will get some.








The Apricots have finished.  This year these ended up with fruitfly again too, I netted too late.  I was relying on the Naturelure to work but will know better next year and will get the net on before the fly gets there.

We are eating strawberries, not many but some each day as I wander around the yard.

I didn't get any watermelons to mature though.  Actually, didn't even manage to get the plants to survive more than a few weeks.  Maybe next year I will get some growing but for this Summer, I will buy them.  Summer means watermelon so if I want one then I will buy one.

Since we started growing our own fruit there is a lot that we no longer buy from shops, it is not as nice as the stuff we grow and we would rather go without than eat inferior stuff.  We now eat fresh, local, in season fruits, mostly grown in our own backyard.  I love being able to do that.

Some people say that I eat too much fruit.  Maybe I do but it is fresh, it is free, it is there...so I will continue to do so.   

I would encourage everyone to grow some of their own fruit and though trees take a long time before you get anything berries are quick and strawberries can be grown in a pot or hanging basket.and fruit easily.  Try it, grow some fruit, enjoy eating your own.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 24th 2015. Vegetables.

I haven't been here for awhile, not sure why.  Too lazy?  Too boring?  Too busy?  All of the above?  Whatever the reason, I hope to get back here on a regular basis next year.  And as next year is next week then I better get some stuff going so I have something to put on here.

I did take the camera out early yesterday morning, so I now have a bit of a record of what the yard looks like.  Well, what it looked like yesterday morning anyway!

The fridge gardens out the back are going well.   We have 2 with strawberries in, 2 with potatoes, 2 with sweet potatoes
 One has tomatoes that are near on finished, this one had potatoes too but they're not doing very well.
Beans are in 1, I don't know what sort of beans as I can't remember but if picked young then they taste pretty good raw and just picked.

The tank gardens up nearer the house are full of weeds but there is some food in there too. 

There's corn in here, too much lemon balm, kale, capsicums, rockmelons that might give us a couple of fruit if the slaters don't get them.  I'm hoping the stocking will protect them as well as support them while they grow.


 




Pulled our first carrot last week and it was a pretty good looking carrot considering I'm not too great at getting carrots to grow.  It looks yellow but is orange


We have had dozens of cucumbers, eaten lots, given heaps away and still have a fridge full so will make some bread and butter pickle soon.  That s always worth making and is a great way to use up the excess.  The plants are looking a bit sad but still producing.

The proper size according to husband tomatoes aren't ripe yet but we have been picking and eating the small cherry type ones for months.  He says he doesn't like them as they are too small but I will keep growing them as they produce for such a long time. And if they selfseed and grow I see it as natures way of saying they should be here.



The drums down the driveway are hit and miss but there are some nice looking tomatoes in some, we will get a feed or 2 of corn, dug up a small amount of garlic last week, the asparagus never gets inside, the gogi has berries on it but not many, I think the birds get them before me, A few of these have potatoes in them and there is always enough for a feed if I want to go bandicooting for them.





 
These ones have raspberries in 2, a chilli/capsicum plant in 1 and some JA's coming up in the 4th.  I had though all the JA's had rotted away but am pleased to see they hadn't.

So as you can see we still have food growing, not as much as I'd like but enough to keep us from going hungry. I buy onions and carrots but not much else.  Next year will be better.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Still pottering along.

Another beautiful Spring day here in my backyard.   I will need to quickly get my inside jobs done so I can get out there and do my half hour.   A half hour stint usually turns into way longer just pottering about but it's so good for the soul, the mind, the whole body health thing.  I'm so pleased that the weather is now nice enough to be outside most of the day.

A couple of weeks ago a daughter helped me with getting a pile of seedlings planted, looks like I will have more Kale than I know what to do with!   All the seedlings are growing great but the seeds that I planted, not doing too well at all.  For once I was going to do the plant some now, plant some later thing so as not to end up with too much of one thing at the same time.  Looks like I am just 2 weeks behind with the growing though as most haven't even emerged.

I tried carrots, again.  Even covered them to keep them moist until they started, still nothing.   Corn that should have been poking it's head up last week, nope, not even a bit of dirt pushed out of the way.  Lettuce seeds, again, can't see any where I sprinkled them but the self-sown ones are coming up in a few places so they will keep us going for a bit.  I will get more of everything in this week and see how that lot does.  Even the Luffa seeds haven't come up and they are usually pretty reliable.

Chooks are laying.   I have more than 10 doz eggs in the fridge now so will take some down to Vinnies later and see if any of the vollies want some.  In the meantime, eggs for breakfast but there is only so many eggs 1 person can eat.  Husband is home tonight so he will get a couple with his tea.   But 2 eggs from all the dozens we have...Hmmm, if my maths is right we'll still have lots left!

I have started riding the pushbike again, will go for a ride before breakfast then will start the daily list.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

New Challenge.

Soooo, I still haven't made a list, still haven't planted much, still haven't weeded and prepared enough gardens for when I do plant...

I started a discussion on our local haveachat FB page and other people are doing what I should be.  What I want to.  What I will do.  I wanted to hear what others were doing so that I would be inspired and get motivated again, I think it's working.  One woman lives out the back of me, she has already started preparing, planting...she probably never stopped!   I will use her as my inspiration, Thanks N.  

It's raining here and it has brought out the snails.  I have had a walk around and collected what I saw and thrown them to the chooks.  More slugs out there this year than before, I wonder why.  Slaters are still in huge numbers but I am going to juice some Oranges today so will use the half peels and see if that attracts them and makes it easier to collect them to feed to the chooks.

I planted a few Kale seedlings a week or 2 ago, thanks to daughter Lee giving them to me.  They are looking OK but the other Kale that I have needs to be chopped right back so I will give the chooks a feed later on.  What I should do, and might, is make some Kale chips.  I have done that before and they weren't half bad.  If I do I will let you all know how they turn out.  I also need to, again, ask Lee what type of Kale it is so that I can make a sign so I don't keep forgetting.  I forget, I ask her, she tells me, I forget so I ask her...I sign should stop all that.

Out there growing and ready to eat at the moment?   Lettuce, cabbages, capsicum, a few sad looking chillies, I could dig up potatoes and sweet potatoes if I wanted to.  There is Silverbeet and I think spinach, onions but not enough to keep me going more than a month or so.  Hmmm, doesn't look to abundant does it.  There are still plenty of Oranges and we have 10 dozen eggs in the fridge with more cackling happening out there as I type.  Oh, I picked a tomato yesterday!  and 2 last week.  There are plenty of greens ones and we have plants with flowers so I hope they take off when it warms up a bit.  The broccoli all went to seed when I was housesitting a while back and not here to keep picking it and the caulies didn't do too well at all.  I think I managed to get 2 from a dozen plants.   The bees are liking the broccoli flowers though and I will collect some seeds when they are ready.

What I need to do is get some more potatoes in, figure out where to plant some corn and melons.  This year I WILL!! grow a decent watermelon!  Well I need to just get out there and make a start, even 1/2 an hour every day, regardless, will see us eating better with yummy homegrown produce.  And I have fruit trees to get in the ground.  It's going to be a wet weekend so the perfect time for it...just need to work out where they are going, dig the hole, plonk them in...job done.  So why haven't I yet?   After today there will be at least 3 more trees planted!

And there be a challenge to myself.  Half an hour in the garden doing *something*  Something productive that will get things growing not half an hour wondering around or sitting and reading a book!   

Anyone growing lots of stuff that I can read about to keep the motivation going?    Though once I start I'm usually pretty good with it but reading about your gardens is fun too.