Well it has been lovely to be in the garden, preparing the soil for Spring vegetables after some much needed rain. There is just nothing like working or for that matter enjoying the garden and outdoors after rain, everything is alive and fresh and singing it’s thanks. Even the birds are excited and especially active. Today has seen blustery storms and rumbling thunder, nothing too crazy here so far thank goodness.
It was lovely to get in and chop up the cow manure I had collected after the rain had softened it a bit more, see everything’s better after rain, even dealing with cow poo! It chopped up nicely and then it was covered with mulch. I haven’t added manure for a while, so I thought it would be a good addition along with my kitchen scraps, all free and readily available. I’m doing it at a steady rate, not all at once, a garden bed at a time, but I will get there. Who needs the gym when you have a garden or a farm for that matter! The cool season vegetables are finishing and now I am planting out my warm season ones such as beans, zucchini and cucumber. A beautiful friend has given me some seeds for purple cherry tomatoes which are up and just about ready to be planted. Pumpkins are growing, but not in the vege garden! I’ve learnt my lesson there, they take over and are a nightmare to pull out, so I have a nice spot, actually a couple of nice spots in the yard, where they can grow wild. Sweet potato is always there and faithful just like the cherry tomatoes, and next to go in will be capsicums, chilli’s, peas, carrots, different types of lettuce varieties and some sunflowers! This is strange for me not to have sunflowers, but the Hollyhocks are putting on a lovely show and came up like the Queen Anne’s Lace all on there own, soon it will get to hot for them, so I am enjoying the beautiful sight while I can.
Here in Australia celery brought at the supermarket is one of the vegetables to be found with the highest doses of pesticides. So every Winter I make sure to put in plenty of celery seed to add to my soups etc. I’m thinking I might have a go at freezing it, this way I can still use it in my cooking over the warmer months.
Sometimes when your walking around the garden, you look and there is just a beautiful combination of flowers that appear, and I think wow, look at that, and it’s like a gift, a treasure, and I think gosh I’ve got to get a photo to show you. And I wonder at how precious these seemingly small things are, but they’re not small are they. They are special moments where in part it is our hard work but also in part the miracle of creation all around us, putting on a show for those of us that have eyes to see, I don’t want to miss those moments and I love being able to share them with you xx
Baskets over seedlings have become a necessary addition to my garden when planting out, as there seems to always be at least one, sometimes more, cheeky chickens in there!
The chickens have been enjoying the fallen fruit around the vege garden too! We have had so many mulberries this season, what a treat. I have been making plenty of jam and the odd mulberry pie : )
My jam recipe is from the Sally Wise recipe book A Year in a Bottle and it is a great one. You need 1kg of mulberries, juice of 2 lemons, 3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated ( I didn’t grate mine), 1 kg sugar. Place mulberries, lemon juice and apples in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins. Add the sugar and bring back to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. This time when I made it, once the fruit had softened, I used my stick blender to get it to a consistency I was happy with, then continued to cook until setting point was reached. Pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately. The jam is ready to eat! Makes approx. 1.5kg. I think the hardest part about growing mulberries is getting the fruit before the birds do ; ) This year though, I seem to have enough for all of us.
My pie recipe is very basic and rustic, for the filling add 500g mulberries to a saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tbsp of water, simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are soft and jammy. Add 2 tbsp of cornflour to the mulberry stew to thicken and set aside. For the pastry, sift 1 3/4 cup Self-raising flour and mix with 100grams of chopped butter with your fingertips and add 2 tbsp water, bring together roll two lots one for the base and one for the top to fit a 20 x 30 cm rectangular cake tin or as you can see above I use a round one, it really doesn’t worry, grease and dust with flour then put your base in, filling, top on, sprinkle with sugar and bake approx. 1/2 hour 200 degrees celsius or until golden, serve with either custard or icecream.
Yes!!! a baby, and two very protective geese! This little one hatched from some fertilised eggs I was very kindly given, and we are over the moon, just the one hatched, but my goodness it’s cute!
I have so much more to share, it feels so nice to be back here typing away, hopefully brightening your day or giving you something nice to look at while you take a break. I love writing this blog, taking photo’s and sharing what I’ve picked up along the way, which in turn might be useful to someone else. There seems to be a very changing world about us, but hopefully we can remember that taking care of ourselves, each other and our homes is valuable and vital. Each story, each journey looks different, the words that keep ringing in my ears lately are, “kindness is an attribute that should be highly valued” xx