A journal of my favourite pastimes gardening, farming and sewing.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Goodbye Gertie & Cheryl...

Sheep Update:  Yesterday we sold two of our original girls - Gertie and Cheryl.  A couple from  Canungra rang up in response to our ad and were looking for two lawnmowers.  These two girls fitted the bill perfectly.  They were rounded up and loaded onto the trailer and drove off into the afternoon calling out all the way.  I'll bet they now think they've died and gone to heaven - 3 acres all to themselves! 

Although we were sorry to see the girls go, we really did need to reduce numbers a little as our sheep yards have been eaten fairly bare.  We have been hand feeding all through winter and, with the birth of all the new lambs, the costs of feeding have been escalating. 

We had started with a small flock of six ewes and one ram about 9 months ago, and our numbers now stood at 13.  No doubt over summer, if we have some good rain, our grass will be reinstated, but in the event that doesn't happen, hmmm.

Esme and "the littlies"
Our most recent births, the triplets to Esme, went well for about 2 weeks, but sadly we lost one of "the littlies" a girl one cold windy night.  The remaining girl and boy are both doing well at the moment.

The Vegie Patch

With the warmer weather starting, we have seen some exciting developments in the vegie patch.  For example the cauliflowers are starting to form their luscious white heads.  One plant has four heads on it so far.  These are the Early Snowball variety and they do not get as big as those you see in the green grocers.  As we are only two, a smaller variety suits us better.

We have also seen quite a number of green tomatoes developing on some of the 40 bushes we have growing.  As the bushes are up to nearly 3 feet high, its a bit of a relief to see that not all the plant's energies were put into growth.  I had also tossed some cherry tomatoes into another garden bed to see if their seeds would germinate and happily I can report that they have so we're looking forward to yet another variety for summer eating.

About 2 weeks ago we planted three varieties of sweet corn and these are now starting to poke through the soil.  We planted in four blocks so we should have an abundance fingers crossed.  Also planted at the same time were zucchini plants as we love eating these.  They have now also germinated, so I'm expecting some rapid growth as the days warm up.
Tomato Jungle

Our carrots are very bushy now so we're starting to pull a few up.  Unfortunately we have found that those thinnings we transplanted are all stunted and deformed in shape.  Now I understand why the gardening books say don't transplant carrots as they don't like it.  Lesson learned!

We must be getting close to harvesting our potatoes now, the lush green tops have started to turn a little yellow.  I have had an exploratory poke around and yes, we have spuds!  I'm looking forward to making a lovely mash with these.

Projects Around Home

The deck is progressing well.  The front section is now useable and we will be having Fathers Day breakfast and lunch out there weather permitting.  We have nailed off the ply sheets, filled the gaps and nail holes and after a good sanding down, we will paint it until we decide what we want to put down in the future. 

This then leaves the rear and side sections still to be finished.  At the rear the beams are up and these need to be secured to the house before sheets can be laid.  The side is a similar job, and we need to allow for the staircase to be added on the side as well.

Friday, 6 August 2010

The Vegie Patch

Now that the days are getting warmer and the nights not too often below 5 degrees C, the vegie patch is coming to life.  Last weekend we harvested just over 3kg of beetroots.  I will be cooking and pickling them for sliced beetroot and beetroot chunks - lovely for summer.  The second planting of beets is also maturing nicely and I have just put in a third round of seeds so we have a great supply.

Our sugar snap peas are also starting to be ready for picking.  They are lovely and sweet and can be used both as shelled peas or in a stir-fry as a snow pea substitute.

The beans are flowering, as are the tomatoes - we have over 40 tomato plants so hopefully we will have a good supply as I want to make tomato pasta sauce, tomato relish and semi-dried tomatoes. 

The mini sweet capsicums are also now starting to colour up - we have a nice dark chocolate one, and several other smaller ones still to colour.  Once I have a chilli bush in place, I will be making plenty more chilli jam and sweet chilli sauce.  I still have some chilli pulp in the freezer so I will make a batch to use that up.

We have two cabbages still to harvest, and the next batch are growing well, as are the cauliflowers and broccoli.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the broccoli picks. 

I recently asked my Dad to buy a couple of raspberry plants - I'd like to plant them outside the vegie garden between the boundary fence and the vegie patch fence.  Might encourage Mr Bunny to keep clear of our place for a bit.