Saturday, January 31, 2009

Beautiful paintings

Hi there,
I don't often stray from the topic at hand, namely how my 'tree change' progresses and the wonderful surprises that come with it - however very special occasions and websites deserve it. And I was led to this New York times blog by design*sponge. Please take time to visit - they are beautiful paintings from a popular US blogger and artist who went to 'the' inauguration. Click here to visit the blog.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Corn, Tomatoes and Chocolate Mint!

Today I have planted my first corn. Earlier in the week I planted a whole row of tomatoes in the new front vege patch - where alas - my celery died not long after planting. - However I have replanted the celery under the watchful eye of mum. But the grand exciting announcement is I have planted chocolate mint. Can you believe THAT? AND it smells like chocolate. Not sure where or when this very special herb will be enjoyed by our taste buds - but I look forward to finding the perfect recipe. (note: i think i found it! - please click here for the post)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

my tatos


my tatos
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View
Even though there are few - aren't they beautiful?

Potato crop over

Well - the time came to release the abundant potatos out of their tube. We took the wire down, pulled away the hay, more hay, more hay - nothing. And right down the bottom - where they had apparently stopped growing - we dug up about 10 little ones from each tube. Here is the carnage. We are optimistic about our next lot - more dirt, compost, etc. Less hay.

onion crop


onion crop
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View
I am tempted to say, after 5 months - "enough said". But that would leave you wondering how I could end up with this stunning display of onions. Well - I am not sure - but I would put it down to:
1. Not enough sun,
2. Too many weeds
3. Not enough watering
4. I have no idea.

Back to the drawing board.

I will say I was very excitedly pointing to A at my onion crop before I dug them up - and she very timidly let me know that what I had been looking at for the past month were weeds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our new scarecrow (or scarefox)


IMG_7184
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View
Meet our new scarecrow. Made by A's 7yr girl today in order to scare the fox which killed her chickens a couple of weeks ago. Her name is Margaret.

Wormwood


Wormwood
Originally uploaded by Catch That Mountain View
We think we have identified the rampant 'fern' which we are growing around our fishpond.... wormwood! We found just a small plant of it when we moved in and A transplanted it to the fishpond where it took of like crazy. We then split it in to and planted it at the back.

It's a facinating herb. Wormwood is the ingredient in the very dangerous but incredibly fashionable drink in the 1900's - absinthe. - The Green Fairy - Many a daring night was had in the dark alleys of paris with poets such as Rimbaud, Beaudelaire.

For a short but delicious list of "Famous Absinthe Drinkers"

ERNEST HEMINGWAY
ARTHUR RIMBAUD
VINCENT VAN GOGH
PAUL MARIE VERLAINE

Apart from that specific use - wormwood is one of the most famous for medicinal uses. It also has a strong effect in the garden for keeping annoying insects away and if kept near a chook pen - close enough for them to peck at - it helps keep intestinal worms at bay. So I am going to plant a few off shoots along the chook pen path.

Of course we may one day be proven to be wrong and in fact the plant is something else altogether. But for now we are quite happy with this.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New vege patch #4

This is the ariel view (taken from the deck) of the new vege patch at the front side part of the house. This area we predict will actually be the best place for growing veges - it gets the most sun, most of the day. We will eventually have 4 here in a grid pattern, one to the right of this one, then two more further on.

I have planted in there some heirloom lettuce from The Lost Seed (see link to the right). As well as some other seeds from The Lost Seed including Butternut pumpkin (from the 1930's). The seedlings you can see at the top of the picture are Celery and the one lone one along side the two steps is a cucumber bush plant. Not sure what it will do - but will wait and see.

The soil in this area is beautiful. None of the rock and sandstone we kept hitting in the back vege patches. And with A's new hoe to do the plot prep it was a lot of fun.

New plantings in Vege patch

With a beautiful Sunday to be outside I bought a whole new batch of vege seedlings to replant my vege patch. I have read about crop rotation - but not fully sure of the theory. I decided anyway to at least plant all the lettuce in the reverse bed to last. (that's all the lettuce in the foreground). I have also planted some red cabbage, more rocket, and also some weird looking "round" carrots and some spring onions. This time as well , i have also planted the first of the asian veges. I hope to eventually have continual asian veges going for stir frys etc. (like bok choi). They suit cooler climates and can be grown in throughout the year.

In the far back of the photo you can see the peas and beans slowing climbing up towards heaven.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The New Chooks

It seems a little heartless, but really the right thing to do for Mrs Fatso (and me!) - We replaced the dead chooks with news ones within a couple of days. We have acquired a laying araucana (Miracle), a young black chook (Blacky! (again!) ), two young icy browns (Berry & Marmalade (again!) and a young Rhode Island Red called 'ranger. (slang for orangatang, in turn slang for a red headed person - not really politically correct, but kind of funny at the same time) . The naming of them was interesting. I'm not sure if it's a difference between boys and girls, - A's 7yr old girl carefully named her chooks. A's 9 yr old boy, just named them the same again!

None of those are laying yet - and in fact are so skinny from lack of food as wells as maturity, they have slipped right through our wooden gate and into the yard on a couple of occasions. This wouldn't be a problem except for two things - my vege patch is right next to the chook run and our kelpie hasn't been fully tested for his chook hunting abilities. Here is a slide show of some of the new ones.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

3 Chooks have died

Sad news to report today. Three of our four chooks were killed by a fox last night. A' found two beheaded chooks in the pen this morning, (Blacky and Arky the Arakuna) with Marmalade completely gone, abliet a few feathers. A suspects she was taken off. Mrs Fatso - the head of the chooks lived to see another day. We can only assume a fox has gone into their nesting pen during the night and dragged them out one by one and didn't go back for Mrs Fatso. It's a strange feeling. Chook's aren't like dogs, where it would be devestating, but there is a sense of loss, and a sad feeling of the terror that the chooks would have suffered for a short while. I had tears in my eyes, but not a all out blubber. It's almost a feeling of this is what happens in the country and I need to get used to it. Having said that we will now be closing the pen gate (which we hadn't been doing) at night time now. The gate separates their pen to the run they spend the day in. A (and now I) really hate foxes, - they don't just take what they need - they also massacre everything else just for fun. We have been down to the local old guy who sells chooks and such (affectionately known as chookman sheepman to the locals.) He lives in this big old property at the deadend of a street nearby. His living quarters is an old caravan. There are chooks and duck running around everywhere. The story goes that he lived in a beautiful house which was burnt down by a rogue relative - and thus the insurance was void. So he now spends his days in this caravan, occasionally greeting locals who stop by to buy a chook. This morning we brought a replacement arakuna - but will wait to replace the others until later in the week.
I will post photos of the new chooks in the next few days as they arrive. (click here to read blogs about our old chooks)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Native Spear Grass




You can see in this photo our native spear grass that A acquired from a native nursery. These plants are impossible to buy commercially really - as they can't be grown - they are only found in bush and come available when there is replanting etc required. More can be read about this rare plant here

The Wooded Glen




We have expanded the back path also known as "the wooded glen" with liliope? sp? that mum gave us. It's really forming now. It continues beyond this photo to a stroll under a tree and out to the back near the chook pen.

Herb Garden #2



Planted on 28/12/08 featuring:
Santolina
Santolina Greek
Vietnamese Mint
Greek Basil
Chives
Varigated Oregano
Oregano
Marjoram (dead already from the monster lab - Larry)