Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ready To Go Away

Just busy busy busy here right now, but I am having a break.

The dog went off to the kennels this morning and we are now cleaning everything up, brush cutting, finishing off the little bit of mowing and all that before we head off for a few days to the wedding. I am sure it will be all grown back by the time we return.

The chook pen now has sides and a roof and a door. My partner in crime and life has been working very hard on it, and even our number one and only son wanted to help out.

See the determination?

And my partner in crime and life risked life and limb by climbing on the roof.

The tank is all hooked up and the water pump is now outside. It is SOOOOO quiet inside now we can hardly believe it. Anyway, now we have to hope it rains soon as the tanks are only just over a third full each, which now doesn't seem like much. It seemed like much more water when there was two tanks mostly full :D

I cleaned all the gardens up and put heaps more mulch so they will survive us being away.

I got a bucket of carrots, beetroot, radishes and turnips while I was cleaning up but not all is edible. While we do eat and like radishes and beetroot, we don't eat enough to have that much in the garden and all this has been in the garden too long, so I will be a little lighter on the planting next time. Though most of the beetroot seems alright on the surface so I will just see how they go, cook them up and hope for the best :D

Mind you, I do think this huge beetroot is a bit too far gone :P

Monday, October 25, 2010


Had fog this morning, but this of course means a beautiful day. There are two loads of washing swinging around on the line, the plumbers are coming out today to check out the new tank and will probably back tomorrow to connect it all up.

We have had some snakes around recently, I nearly trod on one coming in the door last week and we have come upon others. My partner in crime and life found a dead brown snake just up the road and it was very large, neither of us have seen one so big.

The water tank is looking good and very neat and we are looking forward to having that hooked up and then filling with water. Mind you, we have had a bit of rain in the last week and the other tanks are very full, yes we are excited about water :P

With the rain, the dam has been slowly creeping up the banks and this photo is looking from the gully towards the dam. The water has actually been running down from the road, and when the dams overflow during the wet we will also get water from the dam next door.

With all the rain and warm weather the garden is going well and so are the weeds. This basil has gone mad and I must do some seed saving.

The snake beans are also coming along nicely but I must mulch them heavily before we go away as there will be no-one to water them, I am sure the garden will be fine. Just hope for a little rain to get them all through :D

Friday, October 22, 2010

Building The Chook Pen

We have had such a busy week this week, building our chook pen and putting our new water tank in place as well as all the usual things. My partner in crime and life is on leave for a few weeks so we have this long list including flying to Sydney next week for a few days for a family wedding.

The chook pen is coming along well, though it is taking longer than we thought as we are building the Fort Know of chook pens to keep out all the snakes. We are trying to sew up all the gaps and making it very secure so it is taking a bit of time, but it will be good when finished.

Here is my partner in crime and life looking rather grotty and about had enough for the day.

We used new poles and wire and then tried to source secondhand building materials fro the rest. We got iron and timber lengths for across the roof to hold up the wire, and also pavers which are going on top of the wire in a trench around the edges outside the pen to stop things digging under the sides.

We needed to put some poles in the centre to hold up the timber going across that holds up the wire, so my partner in crime and life ended up getting some bamboo poles the exact right height. They were pretty cheap and look good too.

We had our new water tank arrive on Tuesday, it got dropped near where it was going to be placed but of course it was up to us to move. As it turns out it is nearly the same size as the other tanks but is as different shape, shorter and wider, it was ordered through the same company but they changed suppliers. So we pushed and pulled it into place with the truck, we jacked it up to put crusher dust under it to raise it and then I lost the will to live as I am not meant to be doing such hard work all day :D

My partner in crime and life commented that if we were regular people we would just pay someone to move the tank into place, but as we are not regular people we use the truck and straps and rope and jacks and shovels and do it the REALLY hard way :-)

We still have work to do on the tank, mainly tidying up, getting more crusher dust and filling in some low spots.

Then we will be getting it connected to the other tanks and also getting our water pump moved outside of the house, it is rather loud when it is working and we are over it now.

My partner in crime and life also scored an old mower from the tip, the guy running the tip said he never saw him take it :) It is the same brand as our ride on, though a different model, but we will be able to take parts off it that will fit on ours. This is good for us as we have already spent a small fortune fixing out mower, so any future savings will be great.

Well, best go and do some of that work that my body was never meant to do and that reminds me about all those muscles that I don't normally use and were never meant to be used :P

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Outdoor Shower

We have started to fix our outdoor shower and it is now half done. New bamboo screens have been put up and two more to go and these ones should last the distance. Then all I have to do is put some linseed oil on them for a bit of protection and then check for frogs living in the pipe and we are good to go.

I have been seed saving some of the seeds from the good looking vegetables we have been growing and have got various tomatoes, capsicum and sweet chilli and I will have snake beans. Also friends have given me pumpkin and chilli and so have saved these seeds too. I am also going to try and seed save from the cucumbers too, all the seeds are from plants that were organic seeds in the first place, can't save seeds from the ones that are not organic or heirloom as they most likely won't germinate as they have been sterilised.

So the seeds I buy are only organic or heirloom and I will not buy the others, though I did recently buy corn seeds that were from another brand (can't remember which one), I bought them because I wanted to grow corn from seed and couldn't find any organic seeds. When I opened the packet the seeds were all pink, I nearly died from the colour, so I thought I will plant them anyway, and not one came up. Won't be doing that again, lesson learned, even though I knew I shouldn't have bought them in the first place :D

We have been mowing this week, just to tidy up the weeds really, so the property is looking all neat so I thought I would go out and take some up-to-date photos.

The orchard is going along well and in a few years we should have a decent amount of fruit, I hope.

The Brazilian Cherry has had stacks of flowers and is now starting to get fruit and there are couple of mangoes on the small mango tree but not sure if they will stay on.

The dam is starting to get a bit low but there are lots of lilies on it and it still looks great. There are still some flowers out and they are very pretty.

We can walk across the gully now but it won't be long till the rains start in earnest and that will disappear again.

I apologise for the photos being all over the place, I only remembered half way through that they were on the left and started moving them to the centre. Because I just hit all the buttons without looking I still managed to miss moving some even when I did remember, that's life :D

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pressure Cooker

Doesn't time just fly along, must only be about 10 weeks till Christmas and that doesn't sound like very long to go. Which means our number one and only son will be on school holidays (again)and the wet season should be fully under way.

This also means I really need to be thinking about what I am going to be able to grow over the wet. I have just put in some more cucumber seeds and am hoping it won't be too hot for them, I think it is already too hot for the zucchini.

The capsicum and sweet capsicum/chilli seem to be about to flower again and I really need to pick the cabbages that are out there and blanch and freeze them. The corn seeds didn't come up at all and it may have been the seeds, not sure on the quality, so next year might just stick with seedlings, that was a huge success and we now have lots of corn in the freezer.

We certainly have had some strange looking vegetables come out of the garden, and of course there was the stuff we didn't pick. Like the radishes that I planted heaps of, and we do like but don't eat much of, they grew huge and became rather hot :) We also have the biggest beetroot in the world in the garden, it is something we like but don't have very often.

Today I am going to clear one square in the garden and plant some more snake beans, they grow well all year and we use a lot of them, apart from all the ones that get eaten straight off the plants.

Our newest cooking appliance has very quickly become a huge hit in our home. We bought a pressure cooker a few weeks ago and it is so great. Can have hot meals using less energy, less time and without heating up the house, a huge bonus up here in the tropics.

This pot of meatballs was made using the same recipe as I use for cooking in the oven, but instead of cooking for about 1 1/2 hours, it only took about 20 min in the pressure cooker :D

Have just had a new book arrive in the post (just love that online shopping for those hard to acquire things) called Not Buying It by Judith Levine. There is a thread on the Simple Saving forum about no spending for a year, only essentials, and I think we are going to do this as we have had a huge spending year this year. Everything we have bought this year has been essential as we set up our property but it will be nice to have it out of the way and not spend on anything much and just regroup, so we are practicing till the end of the year. So to keep motivated I will be keeping up with thread and reading the book, and now I have put it out there in cyberland we are just going to have to do it, just as well a chook pen is essential and will built shortly :D

Only problem now is I have to convince myself that books are a non-essential. My other recent acquisition is a book called Food Inc, about the film of the same name, which is about the food industry and what we are eating. So now I am torn between which book to read first, and may just go with reading both at the same time. I now also have to convince myself that books are non-essential, except knowledge is power and these type of books are on subjects that are close to my heart, especially Food, Inc, we really need to know about our food and what we are putting into bodies.

Before I start going on and on, I best go and make some ice blocks, and go and find out about Jack fruit, my partner in crime and life has decided he wants to have a Jack fruit tree, so I need to find out how big they are :))

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Tree Broke

My Tree Broke

Just have to post this, having a quiet read in the bed and hear a soft sound, the dog barks and our number one and only son gets up and says he saw a branch fall down at the creek.

Couldn't be anything too big surely, so I wandered on over to the creek across the paddock and couldn't see anything as it is all green. Until I realise that part of the green is tree branches.

My lovely ghost gum lost a branch, a big one. I love this tree, it is beautiful,so tall and strong (except for that branch).

Here is my tree and you can see the broken branch on the left.

And here is the branch in the creek :(

There are also branches up the other side of the creek. I see some work ahead for us cut up all this timber, and clearing the creek before the wet comes and there is a torrent of water racing down the creek. At least we will have wood for the fire next year, hopefully it will be seasoned by then.

Chest Freezer

Here we are in October and staring down the barrels at Christmas. It will be interesting to see if the retailers have a good Christmas or not, they are already complaining due to the interest rate rise we are expected to get tomorrow. Hope we don't but we probably will, could really do without it.

Rate rise will kill Christmas: retailers

Thought we might have had the cement poured today on the new room, but no-one has turned up yet so I guess it is too wet, unless they come later. The rain is good for our tanks though so I won't complain too much :)

I finally got around to defrosting and organising our large chest freezer, and it didn't take as long as I thought and wasn't as traumatic either :D I now have shopping bags in there with everything sorted into groups. One bag has frozen veges from the garden, one has frozen bought veges, one has slices and cakes etc and two has bread products bought and homemade.

Yes there is two bags of bread stuff, bought loaves, wraps, pita bread, homemade bread. All of which got lost in the bottom of the freezer, so now I don't have to make or buy any bread for a while, guess we will be having lots of grilled cheese on toast :)

The bag idea came from the Simple Savings site, and it makes it easy to move things out of the way to see underneath as you just grab the handles and move. I have been meaning to this for months and of course never did, but I am in bit of an organisation mood at the moment so just got in and did it.

More things from the garden will be ready to pick soon, like these cucumber. Hopefully more zucchinis soon too and I really should pick the cabbage and freeze them.

Of course we seem to have multitudes of tomatoes, and I didn't think we would, they are popping up everywhere.

Since I have started my new garden here, I have been working out what I easily grow from seed and what I have to buy seedlings of. The things that grow the best from seed (for me) are pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, radishes (of course), so I need to make a proper list so I don't waste my money on seeds that won't grow for me.

And here I accidentally made a wheels on the bus out of my table and chairs when I moved them to mow :D