A quick whip around the patch.

I haven’t done a post for a while on what’s happening in the veggie patch/garden. This is most likely because I haven’t really been doing much out there. With us now being into the third season of establishing the garden, we are finding that it is much more about maintenance rather than building new areas. We are still working on developing paths, contemplation spots and have yet to start tackling the front yard so it won’t be all sit back and relax for a while yet.

Peeking into the greenhouse.

I have a couple of sugar baby watermelon seedlings that appear to be happy and growing well. These may just take over the entire greenhouse!

Sugar baby watermelon
Sugar baby watermelon

One of last years capsicum has over-wintered well and is throwing flowers with some baby caps appearing, this is much earlier than usual.

Capsicum flowering
Capsicum flowering

I have taken some cuttings from the perennial Rocoto chilli and these seem to be quite successful. I’ve used the method similar to planting laterals that are removed from tomatoes that grow so well.

Rocoto cutting
Rocoto cutting

There is a flower on the mature Rocoto Chilli. It was very rude and wouldn’t look at the camera!

Rocoto flower
Rocoto flower

Out in the Patch

The flowers on my Souvenir de la malmaison rose have suffered badly from the excessive amounts of rain we have experienced but it is growing nicely.

Souvenir de la Maison Rose
Souvenir de la malmaison Rose

I have however, had some good results from the roses in the laneway but I didn’t get a good photo. The lilac is magnificent! First time flowering this year and I am in love.

Lilac
Lilac

This years garlic crop is looking terrific.

Garlic 2016
Garlic 2016

The shiitake mushrooms are giving the best yield in quite a few years. I think the high rain and humidity is just what they demand.

Shiitake
Shiitake

I have some baby figs, YAY!

img_0045and some baby apples.

Apple babies
Apple babies

This button lettuce is proving to be a lovely variety. It is working well as a ‘pick as you need’ lettuce and bounces back quickly. The silver beet and kale behind it is all that remains from the last planting. I need space for tomatoes!

img_0059In the berry house, the raspberries, loganberries and thornless blackberries are all flowering profusely.

Berry house
Berry house

and the grapevine is starting to cover the climbing frame on the roof well with lots of grape clusters evident.

Grape vine
Grape vine

I have some pretty little daisies that bees and hoverflies just love and it is making me smile every time I see it.

Happy daisies
Happy daisies

All in all, it’s looking pretty good.

img_9909I trimmed a lot of the parsley stalks that were threatening to seed, picked some lemons from our new tree, found some beetroot I didn’t know about (too woody for roasting but I think it will be ok as a dip), some new potatoes, some self sown garlic, mint and herbs and we had enough to throw into a salsa verde for tea.

Harvest pickings
Harvest pickings

A  peek in the new bedroom.

I have decided that I will now continue working in one room at a time and it will be completely finished before I move onto the next (please remind me of my pledge when I stray). We always seem to fall into the trap of saying “we will get back to that” and it takes a very long time to get back, but no more. I am absolutely going to follow through on this! This is the new spare (guest) bedroom that was part of the exteno. Painting is almost finished, carpet is booked for laying,

img_1023We have rehung the old kitchen door on this room and that needs to be repaired and painted. Mr ATMT did the skirting in the robe space this afternoon so that now needs painting. I absolutely love this colour. The walls are Taubman’s Raincloud and the ceiling and trim is Dulux Classic White. img_1024 I have almost finished painting the window and it is looking great. The radiator that was in the old room before demolition has been cleaned and polished. This was pain, one of those jobs where you use a knitting needle with a cloth over the end to get into all the little nooks and crannies but worth it.img_1022I am already becoming aware while I write, that there will be one unfinished part of this room and that is internal fit out of the wardrobe. We will use a set of the shelving units we had in the temporary kitchen  I think. They are really good and will leave some options for the final design.

What jobs do you leave until you put the house on the market?

Corporate responsibility to advertise sustainability.

I’ve just had a little dummy spit! Watching commercial TV (that’s not all that common at our place), I have just seen an ad by Harris Scarfe where the message is clearly promoted that when something is a bit too hard to clean, a bit grubby, needs a repair, maybe you don’t like it anymore or for some other reason, you just chuck it in the land fill bin (complete with a plastic bin liner!). The example in this ad that really got me steamed was the steel frying pan that needed a little bit of elbow grease as it has lost its sparkle, was just tossed into the bin. I think it is time all advertising should be required to be responsible in the presentation of their message to ensure they promote responsible, sustainable options for purchasing, using and disposal of both the packaging and any items that are past their prime.

Australia is in the top five of rubbish creators in the world, lets knock that on the head. Not a stat to be proud of.

It would not take much effort to adapt advertising to trigger thoughts like ‘take it to the op-shop’, encourage reduce, reuse and recycle positively and if they really want to take some responsibility, accept items back and re-distribute them into community organisations. Greenpeace have some wonderful tips on living more sustainably, check them out here.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

It is really important to trigger a change of thinking in people and marketing has  significant opportunity of power in doing this. Unfortunately, over the years the message sold has created some pretty severe environmental issues and high carbon footprints by promoting the disposable lifestyle many live by.

Plastic water bottles, disposable single use plastic, and packaging are making a huge impact on the environment and it cannot continue as it is not sustainable. Communities are now having to deal with how we deal with things like this.

landfill_compactor_fr_closeIt shouldn’t be too hard, people just need to be educated by seeing examples and advertising is a great way to do this. Things like showing a donation box that things go into rather than the landfill bin, use a compost bin or worm farm for food scraps to go in and minimising  packaging.

Which ads rile you with their lack of sustainable responsibility?

In My Kitchen November-

Might need a cuppa for this, I’ve rambled on a bit!

It is really Spring, but we keep going back to winter and then back to Spring repeatedly. I was going to start this post saying I think Spring is well and truly here but it’s currently 11 degrees with 30km per hour wind and it feels like it could snow up on the hills. I have deferred planting my tomatoes for a week or two, hoping to see some improvement. The tomatoes in the greenhouse are doing well, but everything else in the veggie patch is way behind its normal schedule so I don’t have the space for tomatoes free quite  yet.

In My Kitchen  is all I have left from last years garlic harvest.

Garlic sproutingIt has lasted really well but there are signs of sprouting so I went through the remaining bulbs and discarded any that were soft and had sprouts showing. The remainder I have placed in the fridge to delay shooting (theoretically) hoping that this years harvest will soon be ready.

In My Kitchen this month are a few goodies I bought while in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago. Last year I bought some smaller clay dishes after Celia wrote about them and I love them but they are a little too small for a whole serving per person. I bought these at Chef’s Hat in Melbourne. I love this store, they have an amazing array of cooking gear for both commercial and domestic purposes.

img_9966 I grabbed a bottle of this gorgeous smelling Turkish Rosewater from Sonsa Foods in Collingwood. It is a freshener and smells just like when you used to make rose-water from pulling the precious heads from your mums best roses and mixing them with water in a jar. The description vaguely translates as “A Turkish toilet waters (Kolonya), as it should be. Pleasantly refreshing, not too pushy and a fragrance that makes happy. the EST Kolonya “Hatiralar” smells fine and gently green leaves, rose, water flowers, Indian grass, sandalwood and some sweet fragrances. The refreshments for the start of the day and also in between for the face, neck or hands”.  I broke the rule of not buying plastic but I just couldn’t resist it.img_9968 I love this little find I had at the Turkish Suppliers in Campbellfield. This is a Guvec, a Turkish clay pot that is glazed inside and is used for cooking stews and casseroles. It can be used in the oven and on the stove top. I just love its simplicity and rustic look.img_9970 Then there is the Sucuk. This is a spicy beef cured sausage and will be going into gozleme, on top of pizza and just for nibbling on. It is often served in Turkey as part of the breakfast dishes. img_9974 and I couldn’t resist a couple of bottles of Sulcer Biba, or pepper paste. I find I am using this more and more as you would tomato paste. It really adds a delicious depth and zing to dishes. This one is a mild version but I also got a hotter one.img_9976I stocked up on chicken feet and chicken pieces at the Footscray market. I bag these up, freeze them and make fresh stock when needed. Our older son was suffering with a good dose of tonsillitis so I made up a care kit package for him. I made chicken stock, turned this into some chicken soup loaded with vegies, made some sourdough bread and a couple of rolls. This along with some freshly squeezed orange juice and I felt like a ‘real mum’ again.

Chicken Soup Care KitI had a few things that needed to be used up in the fridge so we ended up with a roast capsicum, broccoli, broad bean, bacon and greek yogurt quiche. I made the shortcrust pastry using a recipe Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella had  posted and it is beautiful. I did cook this a little too hot, still tweaking with the oven.Red pepper quicheThis was accompanied with a salad I made using coarse bulgur rather than the smaller variety. It is basically a tabouleh but using red capsicum instead of tomato (no decent tomatoes around yet). Soak 1/2 cup of burgul  into hot water until fluffy, add a good splash of olive oil, juice of a lemon plus another half (maybe) S&P, fry off a red capsicum and an onion until slightly soft. Chop a very generous handful of mint, parsley and mix all together. Adjust tang to your liking by adding either more lemon or oil. Top 10 list for us!Capsicum TaboulehI finally got the chance to use my ‘Big Bertha’ (almost 3 wine bottles long) rolling-pin when making the pastry.  It is impressive I must say and did a great job in a flash.img_9946 I got to add a few treasures to the sideboard, still have to do the door and drawer knobs, they are on the list…..img_9934 Nearly finished, hang in there!

In my kitchen is some Oolong tea or as we have now named it, Rabbit Poo Tea. We drink a lot of tea and this is a good way of going through the ceremony without consuming the added sugar we have with our strong black tea.  This is a sample pack and I have arranged for Tea Leaves to now fill my BYO container at the store. Tea Leaves  is an incredible tea shop that really needs to be seen to be believed.img_9952There are a couple of loaves of sourdough, these are sesame seed loaves. I simply toasted a cup of sesame seed and added to the dough and rolled a few on the surface before baking, it smells wonderful. Sesame Seed sourdoughI have been crocheting some shopping bags. I bought some 8 ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills and am really thrilled with how they have turned out. These, along with some dish cloths, might make up some Christmas gifts I think. The pattern for the red one can be found here. The pattern for the green one, here.

Market bags crochetedFinally, In My Kitchen this month is this gorgeous little fella! Now 10 months old and discovering that pasta is not only tasty but fun!CharlieThanks to Liz over at BizzyLizzyGoodThings for being the “In My Kitchen” link up host. It is a great way to see what people are up to and get some great ideas along the way. What’s happening in your kitchen this month?