Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Hail!

We had a fairly heavy storm come through yesterday and it dumped a lot of hail on us. Here are a few pictures of our yard just after the storm.

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Thankfully the chickens were sensible and stayed in their house.

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Our broccoli seedlings were safe and warm in their little mini greenhouses (aka upturned plastic cups), installed the night before in the nick of time (good work MacGyver!)

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The silverbeet looks okay but this might be the end of the basil and mint for the season though – I’ve been expecting them to curl up and die for well over a month now, but so far they have stayed alive.

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This morning there was still lots of hail left on the ground.

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The chickens came out and braved the icy ground this morning and seemed quite perplexed by the cold white stuff.

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Splash was not amused by the cold stuff.

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The broccoli seedlings and mint (amazingly) look fine, but I think this is it for the basil.

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Our makeshift kafir lime greenhouse (aka a plastic bag over a tripod) has also done a great job of protecting the little tree.

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All very exciting really.  It’s rare for Canberra to get snow that sticks to the ground so seeing everything white was a big novelty for the kidlets.  Mme Four had a lovely time building “hail castles” after the storm had passed.

Winter Solstice preparations – orange pomanders

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orange pomanders

We spent the afternoon today making these beautiful decorations from oranges and cloves.  While it would be more awesome if the oranges were home grown, sadly we bought these.  They still smell delicious though and look very festive.  And Mme. Four had a lovely time helping to make them.  M. One, however, did not have as much fun – he found and ate a dropped clove.

Autumn rabbits?

This was meant to be an Easter post but circumstances conspired.

This shouldn’t be overly surprising: we don’t celebrate Easter. At least not at the same time as most of the world.

It’s autumn here in Canberra. The days are getting shorter and cooler, and the ground is looking forward to its leafy blanket. It’s harvest time too and we’re enjoying tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, figs, berries and stone fruit.

With chickens moulting, there are few eggs to be found, and I’ve not seen a rabbit in a while. The imagery of spring, so relevant in the northern hemisphere, is seriously out of place here.

But what’s a parent to do when the shops are full of chocolate bunnies and eggs? Even though we can tell our kids that the festivals of the northern hemisphere are six months out of phase here, I wouldn’t want them to miss out on anything tasty! And the point of celebrating the sessions as they happen is not about privation.

Here’s what we’ve done this year. While chocolate spring is in season, we’ve stockpiled it’s gooey bounty for the real, southern hemisphere spring: September. And for right now, we’re celebrating the abundance of autumn with something slightly more seasonal.

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Punnet of raspberries, melted chocolate, and some sticks

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Drizzle a little chocolate into each raspberry and insert the stick. Pop them in a tin.

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It’s fiddly but goes faster than you’d think. Pop them the fridge to set.

Once set, dip in the remaining molten chocolate.

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Three-year-old had great fun with this.

I call them “raspberry pops”, but three year old thinks “chocolate raspberries”is more appropriate.

We bought our raspberries this year but hopefully our canes will be established enough next year that we have our own to use.

The beginnings of a bean teepee

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Seasons and changes

We’ve had some pretty major changes here at the farm over the last 2 months.  We welcomed a son into the world in late March – a beautiful (if slightly late) equinox gift.  I had a lovely natural and very quick birth with an utterly fabulous midwife and student midwife attending.

We also lost our most dedicated blog reader – my Grandma passed away just over two weeks after our new baby arrived.  My Grandma was a very special lady and we were very sad to see her go.

There is a terrible bittersweet beauty in how seasons change and the wheel of life turns: babies are born and people die, and we are all – every one of us, animal and human alike – just a part of the cycle.  There is no stopping it; life grows and declines and the wheel turns.

Goodbye Grandma, I will miss you.

Autumn is a time for flying kites

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Almost-3-year-old and I made and flew a kite yesterday: her first go and my first in years. The frame is a satay stick poked through a drinking straw with the point subsequently removed. The skin is baking paper stuck on with packing tape. Tail is a bit of streamer but a strip of baking paper would also do! I read it has to be about 1.5x the long axis of the kite but haven’t experimented. The string is overlocker thread wrapped around an old toilet paper tube.
Result: it actually flew! The wind was a bit too inconsistent for a real test though. Colouring in the baking paper should be the next job. And more test flights.

2011 olives finally in jars!

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It’s been a very busy year and that has meant that olives have had to take second place. Today, with the 2012 harvest ripening before our eyes, the 2011 crop had to be jarred to make room! 11 big jars, one very big one and a tiddler. Last year’s crop was very tasty indeed so I’m expecting great things! They’re desalting now in a weak vinegar solution. The pan in the background is the cooling brine for tomorrow’s harvest.

Jerusalem artichokes

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Easy to grow, delicious and filling, the only downside of jerusalem artichokes is… well… it relates to the downside. We harvested a plant today and it yielded about 2 meals worth. Combined with zucchini, tomatoes, chillies and silverbeet from the garden, these potato-like nuggets formed a very fine dinner. I roasted them with salt and butter until soft inside and brown outside.

When our noses recover i’ll harvest the 5 or so meals worth remaining in the garden!

Next year’s broad beans

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We’re converts: broad beans are divine. We grew them as green manure last year with some incidental eating. This year we’re growing more and planting is now till April (I think). They’ve just poked through the ground now.

Garden highlights

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This season’s stars, other than beans, are olives, tomatoes, and sunflowers. The garlic has been struggling though and our basil is still stunted. Will try mulching the basil in case it’s a water thing but the garlic is a lost cause, sadly.

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