Harvest Monday

Happy Harvest! This is a little bit late on my part, my garden time has mostly been replaced by sick baby-cuddling time the last few days. Now Olivia appears to be on the mend (or is at least sleeping a little bit better) I got to duck outside to check on things.

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Duck eggs from Panda – they’ve gone into some banana bread this week, a loaf for us and a loaf for my parents, because we had some bananas starting to get a bit too spotty for my liking.

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Jalapenos in the process of ripening, the plants are continuing to produce more flowers, as are a Carolina Reaper and a Poblano Ancho that I have in pots out the front.

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My Cayenne Peppers are coming along nicely now, but I’m a bit worried they’ll ripen at different times…

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New flowers on the Habaneros!

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Okra might produce some funny looking pods, but the flowers are absolutely gorgeous.

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Some little capsicums, lots of tomatoes from my old faithful feral plant, a couple of eggplants that mostly wound up in a veggie pasta sauce that became a pasta bake for Pete to take to work this week (and a couple were whole roasted so I can make some baba ghanoush) and a cute little lemon! The citrus don’t seem to be producing a lot of fruit, probably something to do with a certain German Shepherd who loves to run into things.

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On the left, Jalapeno Hot Sauce, on the right, Ginger Jalapeno Hot Sauce, made from fruit from our garden along with three kilograms (about six pounds) that Pete bought from the markets on Sunday. We’ve also smoked some to turn into chipotle powder and to make some chipotles in adobo ($4 for a tiny can from the shops or make our own and freeze…).

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Bacon and vegetable quiche from late last week..

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and a roasted sweet potato, feta and rosemary quiche from the same night. Making these wound up with me deciding I want to make a coconut condensed milk and almond tart, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m just focussing on getting a bit more sleep (a poor little baby who’s sick and teething isn’t the best sleeper) and giving as many mama cuddles as I can to help her feel a bit more rested.

What have you been up to? I’m linking up with Dave at Our Happy Acres

Autumn chills

Pete dragged the coffee table towards himself, and the used cutlery clattered noisily in the bowls from dinner. He shot me a concerned look as I arched my eyebrow at him and looked down into the big baby blues of a suddenly very awake baby.
At five months old, we’re first time parents dealing with Olivia’s first cold. Last week when my friend exclaimed that she’d forgotten to warn us that her two year old was just getting over the sniffles, I shrugged her post-lunch warning off with a “she’s going to catch it sometime soon”, since we’re starting the downward slide into the chilly, short days of winter. The babies hadn’t even been near each other, I reasoned to myself..not taking into account the little toy giraffe that Olivia had swiped from the table and waved around before excitedly tasting its ears. Then its feet. Most of the giraffe was sampled at some point before it returned to its owner, the little Houdini who regards adults with a serious expression but fetches dropped items for babies, and who pets Olivia with hands so gentle that his mother always softly squeals that it’s about time to expand their family.
So here I sit with my cup of tea (and honey), snuffly baby snuggled up in my arms, surrounded by towels in case of emergency. I’m armed with some baby nasal drops and a bulb (and hats off to whomever those work for because they turn my sweet snuffler into a screeching wildcat!).
I feel like this might be easier when she’s a bit older, and a nice hot bowl of Tom Yum or chicken noodle soup will help to soothe her throat, but for now it’s snuggles and feeding and I’m okay with that. Of course, proximity means I’m starting to feel under the weather myself and a nice big slow cooker full of roast butternut soup might be all I accomplish today.

I do need to expand my repertoire of soups – what’s your favourite soup recipe for the start of Autumn? I never had a lot growing up because I was the fussy child that parental nightmares are made of, so I’m incredibly late to the soup party.

(Soup party! That’s a great plan!)

Tuesday Blues

Do you have those days where you can hardly keep your eyes open and you feel like you’re just treading water?

For some reason, I don’t know how, mine always seem to fall on Tuesdays. Olivia sleeps less on Monday nights, I try and get too many things done at once, and Pete is out of the house at work and school until after nine. Olivia won’t settle for her afternoon nap and hoots at me while she’s feeding and my eyes droop but there’s no chance of a nap.

For some reason I started making lasagne and quiche as though I’ve forgotten that I have a limited amount of time in the kitchen! And I started re-arranging the chicken coop this morning, lifting up and throwing pavers out of the girls’ way so they can investigate the possibility of a bug lunch.

Everything started, nothing finished, I’ll try again tomorrow, hopefully with a bit of sleep and a lot more common sense tucked under my belt.

Harvest Monday

It turns out I was completely wrong about the vegetable patch being done for the season – everything is going through what I can only assume is a final burst before the cold weather sets in;

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The feral tomato plant (which seems to be the third generation of a tomato I planted years ago to have come back) has probably been the most prolific bearer; not all at once like the big fist-sized Romas, but slow and steady every week. The jalapeno plants have still got more fruit on them and flowers as well, but I’m not sure they’ll amount to too much. The eggplants have slowed, and I’m going to try overwintering them – imagine the head start I’ll get if I’m not raising them from seed or tiny seedlings!

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Tiny little habaneros getting ready to change colour

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I think these are cayenne peppers – I’m letting them ripen, then I’ll try drying them.

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Neat little rows of chillies

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Okra and spinach ready for quiches and salads

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Late planted capsicums

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Sneaky greens!

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The feral plant – it sprouted in a corner of this bed at the start of summer and sprawled across the chicken wire. The last plant of this type that grew in the patch was a few beds over and I ended up with one vine that was about ten feet long by the time I pulled it out!

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The ridiculous boy, Konrad.

I’ve also got one broody hen, and two that aren’t providing a lot of eggs – so Panda, our Muscovy duck, has stepped up. I’ve had about 8 eggs from her recently, and five from the chickens – with no idea how best to use duck eggs. Can you substitute them in all recipes? Are they better for certain things? I’ve got no idea..

So, we’re not done quite yet! I’ve got to go through my phone pictures to get an idea of how much I’ve been collecting this last Summer, so I can measure it against next years. Soon!

Monday Ramble

I’m afraid there’s no Harvest Monday for me today, everything’s started to slow down in my garden since the cool change came in. As much as I miss finding new things ready to eat on a daily basis, I haven’t missed the heat – I’ve been able to wear a jumper and had to go hunting for a heavier weight sleeping bag for Olivia this morning! The cold could explain why she didn’t sleep well last night, but she’s five months old, who knows why these things happen.

Our Easter weekend has been pretty low key; we celebrated a friends birthday at a boardgame cafe in the city on Thursday, had a barbecue at my sister’s on Friday and dinner with Pete’s family on Sunday night for his and his father’s birthdays.

Now I’m nestled on our couch with Olivia asleep snuggled up to me, and Pete re-arranging the living room around us. We’re hoping the new set up will be more baby-friendly since she’ll start crawling at some point soon and after that, it’s a steep learning curve through walking, climbing and securing furniture to walls.

Dinner is on the stove and I’m looking forward to a nice warming bowl of chilli, hopefully with enough leftovers for tomorrow.

Last week for me was a bit of a flurry of activity and I’m looking forward to a bit of downtime this week – I might get another one of these guys made!

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Easter Week

 

I have a friend who works as a Catholic school teacher; we used to work together elsewhere and every year I’d bake buns at Easter time. I’ve never liked the taste of the mix used for the cross, so I’ve never gone to the extra effort of applying them to the buns I make; but every year my friend would decline to eat the buns as he felt it was wrong to partake prior to Good Friday. This was in stark contrast to everything else I’d bake! The rest of the team finished them off with me, and another co-worker was pretty pleased the year I added Lindt orange chocolate to the mix.

This year I still baked buns without a cross, this time for Pete since I’m not at work at the moment. He likes the chocolate chip kind better than the fruit ones, so that’s what he got.

I did make them in a rush because a certain four month old was feeling a bit grizzly and unsettled, so the ones with lots of chocolate chips are a bit less bun-like than normal, but they all taste pretty good! I did remember to put in my favourite extra ingredient (a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, so getting them all done was a win for a tough day.

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We’re going to dinner at my sister’s on Friday, so I might make another batch to take along with us, since I hate turning up to people’s houses empty-handed. Do you have any go-to recipes for special occasions?

Making

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to create things a bit more. It makes me feel infinitely better at the end of the day to be able to tell Pete what I did, having done something constructive; rather than the days I have no energy and curl up on the couch with Olivia, salivating over the Food Network shows or surfing Netflix (though those two were life-savers when Olivia was tiny and I was still recovering from surgery). Since we’re coming into winter I won’t be venturing into the garden as much, so I might pick up some craft time there.

So I’ve been making Olivia bibs because she’s hit the drooly stage (bandana bibs are my favourite), I’ve finished a little pair of leggings that I started months ago, and I cut out the pieces for a fox toy that she might like to play with. It’s all possible because she’s calming down a bit, the gap between her fourth and fifth leap returning her to her agreeable self.

I’m also trying to make a little brooch for my friend’s birthday – we’ve got some plants I want to give her as I know how much she wants a garden and can’t have a permanent one yet. I hit on the idea because of this brooch on Etsy, which I’d love to buy her but don’t have the funds for. I’m hoping to make a little Jiji felt brooch BUT since this is the first time I’m trying something like this, I might not do a very good job (and I’m a bit of a perfectionist about this kind of thing!).

Wish me luck!

Harvest Monday

Not a lot to report this week I’m afraid; while there’s pictures of the patch a-plenty and the bees are out and about doing their business, the weather changes have come through and I’m wearing track pants in the morning rather than shorts.

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This morning I made chilli for dinner tonight – it’s a bit different to how I normally make it as it’s vegetarian. Amazing that Pete, the dedicated omnivore, agreed when I said I’d try it! But that’s what happens when some of your friends become vegetarian, and they’re the ones you pot luck with. This capsicum was one I grabbed from the garden at the last minute when I realised there were none in the fridge.

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This is a planter that used to sit in front of my cubby house when I was small. I put my leftover thyme seedlings in it last year and this group has out lived the seedlings planted elsewhere. I need to grab some for drying this afternoon.

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My poor sad strawberry bed. Too much heat and direct sunlight, too little remembering to water, the poor loves have moved on. I think I’ll move my rhubarb and asparagus over here this week.

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More okra pods – I gave my last ones to Sarah but I might see what I can do with these ones myself.

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My wicking bed peppers; jalapeno, long banana and cayenne in this bed. I lost count of how many green cayenne peppers are there while I impatiently wait for them to ripen.

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Capsicums in the foreground with my monster malabar spinach lurking behind. It’s really taking over this garden bed so it’s about time I figure out the best way to cook with it.

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Possibly the last flush of my late planted zucchini seedlings, hopefully we get some from this lot. The bees are very busy with the nearby basil so we might be lucky!

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The volunteer greens bed; this bed was empty and left to its own devices, so the seeds that were dropped by the greens last year have sprouted just in time for the cooler weather.

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Konrad has been helping out in the yard for once (instead of stealing things and digging). He’s caught two small rats recently, after honing his hunting skills as a puppy, towing the chickens around the yard by their tailfeathers and chasing pigeons.

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Chief shadecloth stealer and sooky wombat Sasha has been a bit chatty lately (possibly because Konrad’s hunting skills are improving and she’s a bit too lazy for that kind of action).

So that’s what’s up for me – not a lot being produced this week other than a few eggs from the broody and moulting ladies and a few more eggplants. Hopefully I can get a couple more tomatoes out of my plants before I start pruning them back and settling in for a (hopefully) rainy Adelaide winter!

 

Harvest Monday

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This weekend was a long weekend, and Pete’s birthday, so we spent some time in the garden – accidentally, of course! I went out to get some eggs from the coop and realised there were some ripe eggplants, saw some zucchini, Pete picked the tomatoes and I grabbed the okra, capsicum and all of those ripe jalapenos. We’ve got some cooking to do, that’s for sure, and I’ve really got to keep a closer eye on the garden.
We also went out for dinner with Pete’s brother, sister in law, sister and some friends last night – Pete was given some alpaca steak for his birthday so we ate well tonight too!

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Okra pods that got too big for eating, so they’re staying on the plants to provide seed for next season.

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Basil going to flower for the bees (who’re loving it), a tomato tendril coming back over the basil, and eggplants ripening up.

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My little avocado! I didn’t plan on growing an avocado tree, but I found this guy growing in a garden bed from some compost late last year. It had been growing for about eighteen months and Pete dug it out for me when I realised what it was, but as you can see by the dead leaves at the top, it didn’t really like the transplant process. I watered it and babied it, and it came back!

As much as I should be planning for the cooler months, the climate in SA means that the warmer weather plants keep producing for quite a while, so I’m loathe to take them out just yet..what’s up in your garden?

500 Things – Update Three

This hasn’t been a great time for my 500 Things purge – it’s been two weeks since I updated my list last, and in that time I’ve only gotten rid of 20 things, including the CD racks from my last update. In the last two weeks the little daily timeline that Olivia and I had has gone out the window completely! She’s been teething, going through her fourth Wonder Week (the name is a lie, this one goes for about five weeks) and cluster feeding because she’s decided she doesn’t need a shield anymore! A very tiring time, but amazing (since she’s gone from an 80g weight gain in a fortnight to 400g!).

Fortunately one of the things that we’ve managed to get rid of is a large cargo barrier that Pete bought and never used – it went on Gumtree for $100 and we got $75 for it, so it didn’t cost us anything. I also went through one of the kitchen cupboards and decided I won’t go back to using an old kitchen scale I’ve kept around for four years, and some plastic containers I forgot I even had – so I clearly don’t need them anymore.

Onwards and upwards, this week I’ll try getting rid of more than 20 things!

Previous Total: 323
This Week: 20
New Total: 343