Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pottery at Redcliffs Lunar Fest

The Mildura Pottery Club has been made homeless by the demolition of their pottery studio, but they are determined to not let that dampen their creativity. Club members put on a wheel throwing demonstration in Barclay Square on the weekend. People are always fascinated by the magic of a spinning pottery wheel.

Who doesn't like an excuse for getting dirty?
We run after school classes and evening classes for adults, but we are operating out of a club members garage. Fingers crossed for a philanthropists generosity. Any philanthropist would do. Naming rights for a new studio are available for the right price.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quince jelly coming up.

The quince tree is looking very good. We have never produced such huge fruit before. There is no substitute for rain and we have already had our annual rainfall for this year, and some more,I think.
I have had to move all the pots to take advantage of the new watering system. It is ready for next summer.
I have to be more organised now I have a part time job teaching at TAFE and La Trobe.
All the plants are packed and ready for the market on Saturday.
I was delighted last night when I saw this sprawling riot of colour, but it was a bit dark to be taking photos.
I went back out this morning and it was a bit bright and did not do the colours justice. They are purple verbeena and Costa Rica Blue salvia, both plants had been dwarfed by some unruly evening primrose that has since been harvested.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good times.

I have had some good luck lately. It seems like things are on a roll and I know it is dangerous to say so as that's when the wheels fall off, but not this time. Life is good. My sister visited and presented me with a beautiful pin cushion.

And lucky for me we have a home made or recycled Christmas policy. This is my comfy chair with well worn cushion and matching quilt. The other cushion is made from some of Dad's old jumpers. A lovely soft comforting way to keep him close. Thanks Annie. I am indeed a lucky sister.

The food forest quickly turns into a jungle and not necessarily all food for humans. The chooks have not been on the circle to the left for 12 months. I have to get rid of the tallest foliage to get the dome across. It is a cumbersome arrangement and requires 3 strong adults to move it, so it often ends up staying on a circle for longer than the prescribed two weeks.
 I am trying to get into the habit of a deep litter  in the dome with hay by two weeks on, so at least the soil will benefit from any delay in moving the dome. It's compaction after that that becomes a problem.
Removing the weeds and sunflowers reveal another job that needs doing.
Looks like the sun and wind have done a number on the hot house. Time to replace the plastic.Autumn is here and it is certainly cooling down. The wind has been blowing in from the south and it is arctic.

Still plenty for the chooks when they get there. The sunflowers went to the old chooks who live nearby in a separate yard. They love it when I do some weeding and sharing.
They were very happy about it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rabbits and rabbit stew.

I thought this was a yellow nerine but it is a fancy bulb that mum gave me. I planted it out and forgot it's name. She told me just the other day but all I can remember is that it starts with L

 I have found a much more effective method of removing rabbits. Hannah is a budding clay target shooter and was more than welcome to practice her skills on my feral population. She was very pleased with her catch. All rabbits were stewed and eaten.
Very nice.

I still have heaps of water chestnuts and decided on a new trial in a fresh new circle. We moved the chooks on the weekend and I couldn't resist trialing a bit of a pond in the centre of the circle. I will plant leafy greens around the outside and some curly red kale.

I do love a fresh circle. I must remember to move the chooks again in 2 weeks.

Here is a bunch of Alstromerias, I think of this as a butterscotch yellow, warm yellow with a lovely pink blush. They have been dwarfed and rebadged (so to speak) as princess lillies. I like the original long stemmed version
Peruvian Lillies.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Favourite flowers

I have been saying for years that Alstromeria are my favourite flowers. The old fashioned variety has a long stem and is long lasting in the vase. They are difficult to come by and I am collecting a few different colours. Gardeners are a generous lot and most of my different colours come form gardeners who have heard that I love them.

I have made a horizontal trellis to grow the Alstromeria through to support the long stemmed flowers. I am looking forward to heaps of new blooms for autumn. I had to tame the Rudbekia with some star pickets and hay band. The flower stems are well over 2 metres tall and were flopping all over the place.

It will look spectacular in a couple of weeks when the flowers come out. Each stem carries multiple blooms. Beside the Rudbekia row is a row of Zinnia's which are fast becoming a new favourite. Bright and cheery flowers that last well in the vase too!
Another great performer in the vase is the South African shrub "Lions tail". I have the orange variety but I believe there is also a white version. It holds its colour for weeks after being brought inside.

My leafy green sales at "PJ's" are improving each week. Not that I can quit my day job just yet but it makes growing all this food worth while. Rocket is smelling spectacular...nutty....full of flavour.

I have created a radish spiral in the centre of this circle.We have eaten a few already, very tasty and great with a cold beer.
Skittles is always on the hunt for the rouge rabbits that find themselves on the delicious side of the fence.
She is good at moving them on but not so good at catching them.
She means well and it is all good exercise.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Water Chestnuts

Last year I planted 2water chestnuts in a bath and harvested 4 kg's of beautiful crunchy water chestnuts.
Harvested chestnuts are stored in water, in an ice cream container, in the fridge. They will last in the fridge for ages.
I kept pulling mine out and taking them to the market. All that exposure to the light got them started and they sprouted. So I planted them up and kept them in a poly styrene box with the seedlings. No drain holes in the box.

I only take about 18 to the market at a time......and we are running out of time for this season.
This year I prepared 3 baths and planted them up.

 Then I looked at how many plants I still had. They were a bit hard to promote during the drought given that we were not supposed to use water to fill fish ponds etc.
I decided to make and plant a few trenches in our old irrigation channel. The ground had to cleared of all it's giant weeds and slightly widened to take advantage of the width of the plastic. The ground was as hard as concrete as it has not been used for irrigation for about 20 years.

I collected cow dung from the other side of the farm....the dung beetles have been working too hard as most of the pats were just outer shell crusts of cow poo....Takes ages to fill a chook bag with the shells of pats.
I did notice a little black beetle swimming around in the pond and wondered if dung beetles can swim?
A frog had moved in on day one. There is a bit of a frog population explosion at the moment due to the above average rainfall. They are leaping about all over the place.
I think I have left my run a little late for this season....better late than never was my motto on the day.
There is still the entire autumn for some growing. Time will tell. I will keep you posted.