It’s been a very busy last month what with having luncheon with friends, two seperate visits from family members, and a friends wedding – we’ve had very little time at home over the weekends for down-time.
Our youngest son came for a quick surprise visit with his lady-friend, arriving one Friday evening and having dinner with us on both the Friday and Saturday evenings, and then popping in to give lots of snuggles, and to raid the garden of some plants, and say their goodbyes on Sunday morning.
It was great to be able to catch up, and lots of hugs and laughs were had.
Our middle son and daughter-in-law also came up from South Australia now that the SA borders are open (and ours to them!) and we got to see them quite a few times in the ten days or so that they were in the area, as well as spending two evenings having dinner and learning a new card game.
Over the course of their time up here, our son arranged and/or did a pile of jobs!!
Gate posts dug out and new ones cemented in, gates rehung on new-fangled hinges, fixed and serviced our petrol auger, concreted underneath the gates where it gets very muddy (including adding a nifty little hole for the gate-holder using a piece of cut-off curtain rod), fixed up the power cord that runs to the shipping container for our laundry (no more tripping over cords), got the spot-lights working again and installed snake-mesh on the screen doors.
Oh, and he even put in our new door handle, which we’ve had on the to-do list for about a year, as our arthritic old hands were having a world of trouble trying to get our original round door handle to turn for getting in and out!
Our daughter-in-law also helped with most of the jobs and we got to spend some time in the evenings cooking together, so that she has first-hand knowledge of one of our family-favourite recipes. (Swamp Food!)
We will be selling the big auger, as its too heavy these days for either of us to be able to use individually any more, and we’ve now got a smaller battery-powered one that we can use without needing a helper.
We’ve yet to complete the running of the water-line to the laundry that our son arranged the pieces for, but we’ve ordered and are hoping to get the main pipe for that this week.
Over the summer we’re going to try some soaker hoses for the food-forest + extension, and are planning to install some irrigation line to the raised beds in the house-yard that we grow food in, and then eventually to the big veg beds also.
(added to the one-day list some time ago! lol)
We’ve rejigged the shelving for the deep-pantry, and will put the big black ones that we were originally going to use, out in the laundry container to store all our smaller power tools on, as they currently live in about 8 different spots around the place!
The alternate shelving will be in an L-shape, and will make better use of the space, and we will also probably put up a slimline vertical shelf that we’ve had in storage for ages as well.
We’ll see how ‘tight’ the space feels before making the final decision.
Another garden has been planted out at LilliGrove, and we’re in the process of running hose-lines over to that area too.
Slowly, the planting-out of other nursery plants has been happening as time (and temperatures!) allow.
We have been dehydrating lots of beans so that they don’t take up room in the freezer, and the last of the recent crop of peas has now finished for the season, and have been dug back into the soil to help with adding nitrogen.
We have planted corn in that space now.
We’re bound to get some beans coming back up through the corn, due to left over seed still being present, so we may still get another crop from there.
The eggplants are starting to grow well, and the new-season tomatoes are full of fruit.
Early chois that were planted while it was still cool, have already bolted which they did as soon as the first heat kicked off.
They will be left to flower, and in time will hopefully re-seed the bed they’re in.
They’ll also give some much needed shade, to a new crop of choi.
With the heat coming in hard and fast in the last two weeks or so, the lawns are already browning off.
Apart from a small strip outside the door, we don’t generally keep water up to the grass during the high heat times, as it’s just too much of a waste of such a precious resource – and it will bounce back very quickly once the next round of rains come through.
We try and keep a small strip of ‘lush’ grass outside of the house door, so that it acts as somewhat of a natural door-mat for our animals feet, who aren’t much good at using a proper doormat prior to coming inside!!
The first summer glut of tomatoes has been turned into Strigidae Sauce and Tomato Relish, and a pile has also been frozen, which will be canned in time.
We prefer do one big batch of canning rather that four or five small batches – as it feel more productive to dedicate an entire morning to get it all done, and only have to heat up the house the one time.
We keep discussing moving our canning production area to our outdoor are in the summer, but we’ve yet to actually get around to it.
The last of the trees from the old orchard have finally been removed, which means that the fingerlime has been dug up.
It is currently sitting in a tub of water to try and soak out the intertwined roots of some very tough grass – but its a slow and tedious job, and we’re not sure if we’re actually going to win this one!
We were pretty excited last week to find some fungus-eating Ladybirds (Illeis Galbula) on the pumpkins leaves near the compost beds the other day.
Whilst the vines are in the process of dying off now, its always lovely to see any sort of beneficial insect in the gardens!
With the warmth comes the sea of dandelions flowing throughout the yard and paddock, so we’ve been picking and drying the dandelion flowers, and currently have them soaking in oil, to eventually make a balm￼, with the addition of some bees-wax.
And speaking of beeswax – we also made a wood conditioner to use on the kitchen bench tops.
It feels lovely and leaves the bench tops looking beautifully nourished!
There have been a lot of fires in the hills surrounding us of late.
National Parks Service have been doing burn-offs in the hills, however as sometimes tends to happen, the fires have a mind of their own, and can go to unexpected areas.
A couple of them have come scary close to our area, and the smoke on one night in particular had us thinking that we might have to evacuate – however we were lucky that a shower came through and dissipated the smoke and flames down to a bearable level.
Its been that time of the year to make another pile of laundry liquid, so that took care of a couple of hours, but is sooo worth the effort, for not only the amount of money it saves, but also the saving of there being no unpronounceable chemicals in it and we can happily use the waste water to water the garden without detriment to the plants.
The gum trees that surround our little home are in beautiful full fluffy bloom right now, which is an all-day-long smorgasbord for a zillion greedy lorikeets and rosellas which are super-funny to watch and whom create a cacophony of chatter, but its also providing an evening smorgasbord for around a half-dozen bats each night – whose output is a bit on the stinky side, and unfortunately their shrill screeching to their mates also tends to wind up the dogs a fair bit!
We’ve got some more garden beds arriving this week, so will be planting out more of the fruit trees into the orchard sometime in the coming month.
We were advised today that the missing shelving flatpack for our deep-pantry has arrived too, so we’ll go and pick that up later this week too.
So that’s about it for a very socially busy month!
We’re ready for a bit of downtime…
Buckets of tomatoes
And bench-fulls of tomatoes
Making Strigidae Sauce
Fresh dandelion flowers
Dandelions about to go in the dehydrator
Dandelions infusing in oil
Little baby apples growing.
We have since removed most of the apples as this is only the second year of fruit production, and we want it to put its effort into getting strong, not into growing fruit, this year.
Purple beans ready to go into the dehydrator
Our newly home-made wood conditioner
This is the surround we made for Quincy – our quince tree!
The other side of the surround
Freshly planted out, mulched and watered.
A couple of weeks later and Quincy is dressing to impress with a zillion new fresh soft beautiful leave
Now, the flood lights work!
Snake-mesh on the screens
Sooo close and smoky
The fires came a lil too close for comfort!
Home-made detergent, about to go into bottles for storage.
All ready to put away for later use.
Birds and bum blossoms!
Some of the salad-greens have bolted, but it has such pretty lil flowers!
Baby rockmelons are coming up in our roundabout garden.
Newly planted corn that went into the bean bed.
Lil baby cucumber