Its a big one!

I mentioned that I didn’t want to waste a second of time while I was on the school term break. I reckon I can quite honestly say that I have exceeded my expectations of what I wanted to achieve. The poor old arthritic hands are now pretty useless but a couple of weeks being gentle and I should be back on track. One night I came in, lit the fire and literally couldn’t get up! Let the fire go out and was in bed at 7.30. All worth it though.

Here are a few of my accomplished jobs…….

Fly through restaurant is CLOSED!

The high priority job was to run smaller mesh wire over the chook house to prevent the sparrows eating all the chook feed. Littlebuggers were going through 3 times more feed than the chooks. Me being me, I didn’t want to just throw new wire over, I wanted it fitted neatly. This meant taking off (loosening) one end of all the weatherboards, removing and dis-assembling the door, then re-assembling it. I thought I would need to remove the barge boards too but I manage to work around that when I couldn’t undo the bugle screws. The raw zinc flashing had been annoying me since the chook house went in so I removed that and spray painted it matt black. I’m really happy with the end job and it now blends so well into the landscape. looks like it’s been there for years! I have since finished spraying the door black too.

IMG_4713New wicking beds!

I built 2 new wicking beds in my sacred space. The greenhouse. I had been looking at raised garden beds at hardware stores, online and I had considered building some but that would just knock my hands around too much. I happened to call into the greenhouse display centre at Officer just to see what they had and bingo! Came home with 2 flat pack, gal kits. Reasonably priced, no bells and whistles, just what I needed. I didn’t consider it would be too difficult to turn them into wicking beds, just took a bit more time and effort. I assembled the beds, ran tape over the metal edges and screws to avoid any piercing of the plastic liner of the bed. put a sand base in and levelled, lay the plastic liner, fitted the fill hose and inlet, cut an overflow hole and siliconed a drain tube into place, filled scoria over water reservoir, put geo-textile over the scoria to prevent the soil going into to water reservoir then filled with soil. I am quite amazed at how much more growing space this will give me. I also think the thermal performance of the greenhouse will be better.

wicking beds

IMG_4756This gives me 2 lovely big beds with room on the remaining side for seed raising etc. I’ll try a couple of grow bags with tomatoes down the centre to get maximum use of height.

Shiitakes have a dedicated home.

I created a spot behind the greenhouse especially for the shiitakes. Up until now they have just been in the old bath under a tree down the back. This spot should be great, all that’s needed now is some shade cloth and when the weather warms up I’ll set up an auto spraying system to keep them damp and humidity high. I also took advantage of this space to create a spot for all the garden stakes to be stored. I rolled these concrete blocks from the far end of the block to this spot. Can see why the wheel was invented!

Shiitakes new home

Mulch, mulch and more mulch!

I think in total I moved about 4 metres of mulch. Tidies things up nicely!

IMG_4742 IMG_4719Broad beans supported. I added a new layer of supporting wire to stop them falling in the wind. I’m amazed I have any still standing after me clambering over them and sticking ladders in the bed while I worked on the chook shed! See some flowers are appearing, can’t wait for these little babies to hit my kitchen!IMG_4724Started a concept layout for the front yard. Looking good!IMG_4755View from the back looking towards house. I’m thinking as I write this that it doesn’t seem like much that’s been done, but rest assured there is heaps! Lots I haven’t posted and lots of the jobs I did took a long time, especially when it was so wet.IMG_4741 First of the jonquils out-so cheery!IMG_4720

In the almost a kitchen.

These wet cold and miserable days are ideal for enjoying comfort food. My small slow cooker died last week and I am grieving badly. Will have to replace it next week. I had to resort to using a casserole which needed monitoring, stirring and heat control management on the camp cooker. Too much hard work! This is the madras curry and naan bread I made last night.IMG_4750 I made a lemon syrup cake, recipe courtesy of Town Mouse County MouseIMG_4743 We had the last of the flatbread I stock up on when I go to the Dandenong market. I cut the loaves into 3, pack 2 slices into bags and freeze. Great to have on hand, these ones were baked with a pizza style topping of passata, mushroom, capsicum, ricotta cheese, freshly chopped herbs of rosemary and oregano, sliced olives and salami. Great easy lunch.IMG_4746

Lemon cordial-Mmmmm.

I made cordial for the first time and it is beautiful. We drink a fair amount of cordial and because I am trying to make  “plastic-free” choices I thought I’d give making some a crack. Really happy with the result and its a great way to use some of the excess lemons we have at the moment. Served mixed in chilled soda water (using the Soda Stream) it is a winner! This is the recipe I used, I didn’t add epsom salts and did add 2 extra lemons as ours aren’t that lemony!

Lemon Cordial

IMG_4687

Vegetable Soup

I’m drafting this post as Mr ATMT brings me in a bowl of hot vegetable soup with some of last nights left over naan bread to eat by the fire. So heartening to think that a fair whack of the ingredients came from our garden. Pumpkin, celery, tomato passata, parsley, bay leaf, and my home made stock. Sometimes I just love winter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to Its a big one!

  1. TheDigger says:

    Wow, you’ve been busy! I hope you remembered to put your feet up a couple of times. It all looks brilliant. 🙂

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  2. foodnstuff says:

    I love that chookhouse! I just checked out the post on how it was made. I’m building a new chook run at the moment and will use some of your ideas. That front garden layout is looking good, too.
    I sympathise with you on the hands. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it really hits me in the hands. They let me know when I’ve been working hard.

    Have just put you in my feed reader and will enjoy checking out your previous posts.

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  3. OMG…..Im exhausted just reading about all that you have accomplished in just a few weeks. Your garden is looking fantastic (very jealous of the vegie patch!) and I love your chook house…gorgeous! Im so glad you liked the cake. My turn now to try out your cordial as Ive been hunting around for a good one. All your meals look so yummy….when can I visit??? xxx

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