Except that I’ve just not got around to posting. 🙂 Just a quick update post of what we’re doing and where we’ve been. 🙂
We started off 3 weekends back with a visit from my Mum who stayed Friday until Sunday. She and I visiting Newlyn Antiques via a quick stop in Daylesford and both of us bought something antique. I simply could not resist purchasing a lovely doll from the 1940’s (I think) who was found face down crying on the chaise lounge where she had been placed after a very sad granddaughter of one of the staff was told she could not take dolly home. I picked her up to have a look, saw a very sweet doll with a lovely squishy, cuddly body and a darling face and best of all an extremely affordable price tag. I carried her around in my arms much to the amusement of the other staff. I just cannot carry a doll in any manner that would be inappropriate to carry a child. Habit I guess. 😉 She will meet her new mummy in 7 more days when that new mummy turns 4. 🙂 In the meantime she needs nappies and an ergo carrier made for her. 🙂
Mum headed home on Sunday morning after her holiday and we enjoyed her staying as much as she enjoyed visiting. The weather had been appropriately cool so the fire was on for her to toast herself against, blankets on the bed for warmth and grand kids clambering on her just enough to ensure that none of her nerves are in anything other than working order. Nothing can find a pressure point better than a small child determined to climb on your lap to listen to a story except maybe 3 small children all vying for that same sacred lap space. 😉 She left behind several memorised nursery rhymes and great memories as well as a few small toys. Nanna will be Nanna I guess. 😉
I harvested ½ my garlic the other week, a little prematurely so it turns out but not by much. I filled ½ a wheelbarrow! 😀 Currently they’re in the shed taking up space on my clothes racks as they dry out so I can plait and hang them. Some of the heads are huge, others tiny. I planted a whole stack of varieties but my demarcation between varieties wasn’t permanent and in the end I realised I don’t really care which variety they are. Soft or hard neck is enough info for me, and tasty. So, to save next years seed garlic I plan to try a clove from each of the good-sized bulbs and if we (that is, Martin) like the bite and flavour then we will save the rest to plant. We’ll work from biggest down until we get enough for next year then we’ll just eat the rest. 🙂
We replanted the vacated beds with Painted Mountain corn, a multicoloured corn saved by a farmer in Montana and it’s a good all-rounder. I doubt it’s as sweet as the F1 hybrids mostly sold these days but I like the fact that it can be eaten from the cob, dried for grinding for cornflour or even popped. I figure that the more uses a plant can be used for the better we will be set up should the predicted collapse happen this year. 🙂 And they’re mega pretty too and pretty pleases the eye of my 3 fussy children which in turn means more food eaten and less wasted.
I also planted pumpkins in each corner of the beds and ½ way along each edge too. I’ll repeat that planting in the other 1½ garlic beds when I harvest them in a few weeks. When the corn make their appearance and reach a manageable size I’ll plant a bean seed at the base of each. These 3 plants are the best known companion planting combination. The beans climb the corn and fix nitrogen in the soil (which may or may not be available to the corn – I’ve heard conflicting info there) and the pumpkins provide a living mulch and suppress weeds. It’s also great to get 3 crops from 1 space. 🙂
I have had a bed fallow for a few weeks in which I planted some mangel wurzel seeds. Related to swedes and turnips, mangels are eaten when small by people or grown out large (think larger than a human head) and chopped up for animals during cold winters. Goats can’t eat much of them but they’re a traditional fodder crop for cows in the UK and the practice carried across to the Americas where winters are too harsh for the grass. I guess there was little need for them in Australia as mostly grass seems to survive the winter, even if it does grow slower. Still, I like the experiment of growing them. 🙂
I picked an onion, some potato onions and a fresh garlic the other week, before the garlic harvest as I wanted to see how the onions and potato onions have gone. Eye watering! 😀 The garlic however I’d come across an interesting recipe for fresh garlic (found here) or more to the point, 3 recipes. 🙂 I just HAD to try them out and I can’t say I’m disappointed. The fresh garlic has a flavour that’s best described as more immediate. It’s lacking in the subtlety of normal garlic but it was fresh and zingy in a way like ginger. It’s not a huge difference but it is different. And better than that is the fact that there is more of the garlic that can be used. The outer paper on garlic we know is still fresh and viable and it can be sliced and diced for soup, like onions. The stems are also green and can be eaten like spring onions. The paper around each individual clove they recommended to simmer lightly and then puree with 1/2 the weight in good olive oil to make a sort of aioli or garlic butter. It didn’t work too well with just the papers from 1 head of garlic but what I did make was delicious. It would be divine spread on toasted sourdough bread served with French onion soup or tomato soup I reckon. Moments like this I miss bread. 😦
Speaking of bread, we’ve been gluten/most grains free for a while now and I’m loving it on the whole. I do miss the convenience of toast for breakfast when I can’t be bothered cooking and there are times the therapy of toast or ease of pasta would be great but I do NOT miss the crippling cramps or the challenging behaviour. No, my kids haven’t developed wings and a halo each overnight but there has been a dramatic improvement with the removal of gluten. We are officially now one of those families that are difficult for whom to cater. 😉 No worries though, we happily self cater. 🙂
We’ve also worked our way through the broad bean bed, 1 large harvest followed by several other small ones. Still they keep coming. 🙂 The kids had a blast podding them and we had visitors, the lovely family from the New Good Life blog, Barbara and her 2 daughters. They also chipped in divesting the fat broad beans from their pods which was a lot o fun with us all working away. We had tears at home-time so I cannot wait for another play date. In the new year methinks. 🙂
We’ve also spent some time cooking up Christmas treats. I gave quinoa rumballs a go from Quarter Acre Lifestyle‘s blog. I must admit I made 2 adjustments. Firstly I rolled half of the balls in cocoa as they weren’t overly chocolately and I know some like them rich. The rest I added some sultanas into the mix and rolled them in coconut. I love my rumballs full of fruit. The best ones I ever made used coconut rum (it’s all I had) and were loaded with glacéd cherries and sultanas but as we are now both gluten-free and refined sugar-free, compromises must be made. These treats are on the menu for my kids 🙂 Here’s hoping the extended family appreciate them.
I have also made a variety of other Christmas goodies, all gf sf recipes and I’m hoping to share them soon. A blog of links isn’t all that good reading though so it will have to wait until my brain is functioning a little better. 😉
Saturday saw us taking some time out as a family to attend the Back in Time festival in Gordon. The fair was filled with stalls promoting local services and products, a few 2nd had stalls, plant stalls and of course the foodie stalls. There were also some rides aimed at younger kids. Allegra was insistent about riding the swing carousel. When it got really high her little face looked a bit worried but mostly she grinned from ear to ear. It was rather funny watching this tiny little blonde girl in her lilac dress swinging around but when she got off I realised I was shaking like a leaf. Jasper was all keen to go until he saw how high it went. Orik found the single gap small enough to slip through, fortunately whilst the swings were stopped and empty and the ride operator was kind enough to pop him on and give him 3 or 4 rounds on low-speed. He had a blast. His face dropped though when the ride stopped. The 2 older ones then had a go on the jumping castle slide whilst Orik went in the other jumping castle with the other littlies. All 3 had a great time as did Martin and I. 🙂
Sunday saw Jasper and I out for a Mummy and son breakfast involving bacon, eggs, tomatoes and sausages. More sausages than a little boy could eat! 😀 Afterwards we headed down to visit Lynda from Living in the Land of Oz to pick up some cupboards she no longer wanted which in a house with limited storage are most welcome here. 🙂 In fact they’re in and half filled already with Christmas crafts, gifts (not that the kids know that 😉 ) and some of our crafting supplies. A tour of the veggie garden revealed a few changes, discussion over passionfruit vine growing (we both have very slow-growing vines) and whilst we chatted we all gorged ourselves on the delicious platter of fruits and bowls of yoghurt Lynda put out for us. A lovely healthy snack. Thanks Lynda. 😀
Yesterday saw a real taste of summer with 35°C to enjoy. We slapped on the sunscreen and hats and hit the garden after a careful look around to make sure next doors resident tiger snake hadn’t come to visit. My goal was to re-pot the tomato plants, ranging between 2 and 6 inches in height and all in desperate need of re-potting since they were still in the seedling tray in which they’d begun their life. Jasper and Allegra helped me with filling all the various pots we could find with soil and then we started planting them out. The larger ones we tried to give a pot alone but the smaller ones had to share, 3 or even 4 to a pot for the tiny ones. I have 2m³ of lovely compost in the drive way awaiting the beds designated for the tomatoes to be weeded. When they’re ready and the soil in them I shall replant the tomatoes out but until then they simply refused to wait any more. After a couple of hot days in the greenhouse, the tiny amount of soil in the tray dried out and as a result we had less to pot up than we could have. 😦 As it was we have 52 tomato plants to plant out. Those, including the 15 or so out the front will hopefully be enough.
During the potting works, Allegra kept up a steady stream, telling me how much she loved tomatoes and how this one or that one were a boy or a girl and how she loved them. If kisses help tomato plants to grow then my tomatoes will definitely be the best in the world! 😉 They all received a good dose of seaweed solution (yes I know I should have used worm wee but I didn’t think about it until I was half way through Lynda 😦 ) and a thorough watering in, being temporarily housed around the edges of the bed planted out with sweet potatoes. They’re not up so the tomatoes won’t encroach on their space.
I was given this old kitchen shelf thingy ages back by my mum that has no place in our new pantry so it’s been in the greenhouse for seedlings trays to sit on but as most of my greenhouse is garden beds it just sinks into the soil. I’d had an idea that I could hang it from the roof of the greenhouse and yesterday, using a little scrap wire I had a go at doing just that. I can only describe the results as easy success. 😀 If it keeps the mice from eating the seeds I will count it the best thing I’ve ever done! I’ve a couple of tomato plants on it at the moment, strength testing.
The kids and I also had a go at making a kitchen window herb garden but I’ll save the details for a post over at the Pint Sized Permies. 😉
Today was spent with a trip to Bunnings for Christmas gift craft supplies and then a trip into the dreaded shopping centre as K-Mart (oh the horror) sell the necessary gift for Dad cheapest (can’t share – he reads my blog 😉 ) More on the crafting again over at the Pint Sized Permies. 🙂
Anyway, there’s my not so quick update on the last 3 weeks. I think with just under 2500 words I’m rivaling a Narf7 at her little black duck best. 😉