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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Old Ways

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One of our elderly neighbours died last week. He was 82 years old and had lived in this area his whole life. Until two years ago, when he had a stroke, he had been an active farmer and gardener. I had never got to know him very well but know his two sons and their families as they are our adjoining neighbours.
At his funeral the sons spoke of his love of hard work and gardening. I was delighted to hear that he believed that he could beat the cat heads and various other weeds by digging them out. His sons have progressed to doing this job with a boom spray and chemicals.
Cat heads are one of the biggest trials in my garden. A cat head is a ground covering weed that appears where nothing else grows. I guess its function is to help hold the soil in place. this would not be a bad thing except that they have a seed casing that is shaped like a cats head and has multiple hard and sharp spikes. When you tread on them they really hurt.

When we came here, because the soil was degraded and I gues…

Pavlovas for Australia Day

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I made mini Pavlovas to take to the local Australia Day Tennis Party. I always like to take food to share that is mostly from our place. At the moment that is pretty limited due to the lack of rain. We do still have loads of eggs and I managed to find a few passion fruit that have ripened. So mini Pavlovas with cream and passion-fruit it was.
I recently discovered that you can freeze egg whites and when you defrost them they whip up beautifully to make meringues or souffle. Whenver I make pasta there is always two excess egg whites so now I freeze these instead of feeding them to the cat.
This is the recipe I used. It makes Pavlova that is a light caramel colour, light as a feather, crisp and crunchy on the outside, fluffy and a little bit chewy on the inside, yum!

Mini Pavlova Recipe
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Whisk 3 egg whites until light and fluffy
Add 3/4 cup of sifted caster sugar gradually and beat
Add 1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract…

Almond Harvest

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Planting a grove of nut trees was one of the first things that we did here. Like everything else they have struggled with the ongoing drought and to date have produced no nuts. Eighteen months ago we planted an almond tree in the vegetable garden. It has grown much more robustly than the other stone fruits we planted at that time. This time last year we were surprised to find half a dozen almonds on the tree. This year there are about sixty.
This is about a third of the crop picked this morning.

Not a large crop I know but quite satisfying after only eighteen months. They taste delicious. Nothing like any almonds I have ever purchased.
If we get some autumn rain this year I will plant another tree and look forward to a bigger harvest next year

New Year in the Garden

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The Christmas weather forecast was for upwards of 100 mls of rain over a three day period. At last the sort of drought breaking rain that has been elusive since we came here to live and to garden. Christmas day dawned grey and drizzly, despite having our house packed with visitors we were all ecstatic. However once again the big rainfall has proved elusive, we had a grand total of 27 ml over the Christmas -New Year period. If it had not been for those weather forecasts and the fact that most of the state did receive very heavy rain we would no doubt have been satisfied with that.
27 ml has replenished the rain water tanks and given everything in the garden a real boost. The roses are blooming again and the rose garden made for Jemima almost looked like a garden while she was here.
We had a great crop of apricots this year. All ripe, picked and preserved within 10 days. Not a sign of fruit fly this year which is very gratifying. Most of the apricots are in the freezer for future use …