Catch up post. Kombucha among other things.

Well it was time to do the taste test! My first batch of kombucha had been bottled for a second fermentation which I had read creates better carbonation, 2 bottles with some ginger added and 1 plain.

KombuchaI had read that kombucha can be pretty explosive on opening, so I decided to do this outside. Good decision!img_9281This is the trail of exploded KB over the side path. Haven’t seen something like that since the kids were home and had partied hard! I probably should have taken heed of the people who recommend refrigerating the bottles before opening. I’ll take that on board for the next batch.kombuchaThis what remained in the bottle after the explosive opening.Ginger kombuchaI can say though, I loved the flavour. The slight ginger overtones were wonderful and it was bubbly and refreshing.

For a wander through the patch.

It feels like an eon since I’ve played in my veggie patch, probably because it is. We are opening again for the food gardens section of Gardivalia this year so I had better pull my finger out and get things in order.

AsparagusThere are signs of life coming from the asparagus bed,Crimson broad beansthe crimson broad beans my brother-in-law gave me look so pretty,Broad beansand the normal ones are in flower too.coriander growingWhen I was sorting out moving stuff from the temporary kitchen to the new kitchen I threw some old coriander seed into this bed and hopefully it will keep growing. I don’t have much luck with coriander so fingers crossed.De la mal maison roseThe souvenir de la mal maison climbing rose I planted last year near the green house is in bud. I can’t wait to see these bloom, one of my favourites.leaf mold compostI spread one of the  leaf mold towers we had breaking down for the last 12 months over this bed, I now need to choose a spot for the next one to be placed. So easy just removing the wire and spreading the lush conditioner over the bed.

BREAD

I’m finally getting a handle on how the new oven operates and made some oat porridge bread. Here is the oats cooking (on a real stove top!) waiting to cool to add to the dough.Oat porridge breadThis one of the 3 loaves I made. I used the recipe from the delightful Maurizio’s site and although once again, it’s not as pretty as his. I’m quite happy with the result. Oat Porridge sourdough breadCrumb shot! Not as fine as Maurizio’s but I didn’t mind.Crumb shot oat porridge sourdough.With spring in the air and me officially finishing work I hope to be able to get a bit more in control and do some finishing off of all our half started jobs.

Yay day!

After a considerably yucky week of feeling a bit over work, tradesmen, lack of progress and a bit of a bug, today was a nice respite from it all. I finally managed to get the bags of bulbs I took from our old garden planted. Not exactly sure which are which but I know there are daffodils, jonquils, bluebells, freesia and some others I’m not sure of. That’s going to make it a nice surprise when they appear!

Bulbs to plant

The garlic is coming up nicely but the bed is attracting a lot of blackbirds and some serious scratching is going on so I netted the bed in the hope this will deter them until the plants are well established.

Garlic upBirdnet over garlic

When I removed the temporary garlic bed there were some eggplant bushes that I transplanted into pots in the greenhouse. I had no idea whether or not they would transplant successfully but they are flowering and some young fruit has formed so fingers crossed I may have an extended crop. The flowers of eggplant are really pretty!

Eggplant flower

Eggplant

While in the greenhouse it was good to see the young lettuce plants and the strawberries are going so well too.

Lettuce

I cannot remember the last time I have had such a sensational parsley crop. Planted in the asparagus bed it just hasn’t stopped. I should take some to the local swap stall or donate some to the pub and cafes!

Parsley with asparagus

2 new family members!

I have been holding off getting chooks until the new coop is here but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I bought two point of lay Isa Browns and they are going to have temporary digs in the mobile coop I built a few years ago. When we have the permanent housing here I will expand the flock. They seem to be settling in really well and it is lovely hearing that burrk, burrk sound again. I was especially pleased to see them gobble up a great handful of slaters that I got from the compost! We have named them Rene and Hilda. When I was very young we used to regularly visit close, elderly friends of mums in Mortlake, Western Victoria. The Jones sisters, Olive (Ollie), Rene, Hilda, Mabel and their brother (his name will come to me). These visits are greatly treasured and I believe are what led me to loving old houses, open fires, growing food and woodfire stove cooking. I might have to do a separate post on this! Meet Rene & Hilda. This was immediately after setting them into the coop so some better photos are sure to follow.

Chooks

Some new pillows, all bedding freshly washed and dried hanging in the sun, mmmm, looking forward to bed tonight.

Nice simple dinner of roasted veg-our first meal with this seasons pumpkin. Roasted with olive oil, thyme added some cherry tomatoes for last half hour and served with crumbled fetta cheese and chopped herbs. Very hearty indeed.

Roast veg

Tomorrow I’m hoping to wash all the windows so they are nice and clean for when the new holland blinds arrive! May keep an extra degree or two in each room on these chilly nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend of both taking and making stock.

We have been well and truly under the hammer for time recently with trying to sell two houses, (so we can make improvements to the new one) moving my mother-in-law who is down-sizing and trying to move forward with getting our new property fit for human habitation. That along with the ‘doldrumish’ style weather we are having I just felt I needed to try to take stock. I dutifully made a list of jobs that needed to be done and started ploughing through them, first up was to make the stock for the Vietnamese Pho I planned to ho into once the tasks had been completed. I knew at the end of the day I wouldn’t feel much like cooking so this would be a welcome sight to come home to.

I am trying a method I found on the The Steaming Kitchen Blog where a slow cooker is used to slowly simmer the stock. Makes sense to me!

       

Added some fish sauce and sugar. I also added a stick of celery because there was some in the fridge that needed to be used. Left simmering all day, happy in the knowledge I wouldn’t have to stress when dinner time came. Now to knock off those jobs on my list!

Note:Wasn’t as thrilled with this version as previous ones I’ve made. I don’t think the stock reduces enough in the slow cooker to concentrate the flavours. Was still a pleasant result though.

Tomato Seedlings-time to pot up.

The seeds I planted a few weeks ago have done really well and need to go into a more substantial growing medium. I have been requesting donations from people at work for used milk cartons, wine cask boxes and any other suitable container for planting the seedlings into. So far have I have achieved about a 95% success seed germination rate which is great.

Interestingly, germination has been 100% from my saved seed and the 95% comes from the newly purchased stock. Maybe the different variety has something to do with this.

Next on the list……………..

I’ve been driving around for a week with my car chock-a-block full of ‘stuff’ that we culled from my M.I.L’s house that needed to go to the Op-Shop. Boxes gripped tight, head down, eyes not veering away from the loading stage, I deposited all the treasures. Kept my eyes straight ahead and did not dare look around on my way out as I didn’t want it to just be an exchange trip where I left with my car full of different ‘stuff! Tick that one off the list!

Next…..

Time to check on how the things I have planted at the ‘new’ house are settling in. Spring is starting to show its cheeky grin and I am bursting with the hope that things will do well.

The Update on plantings there.

Raspberries:

Yep, they are doing nicely.

Asparagus:

     Tick to that too!

Spuds (Potatoes):

The potatoes are looking a little bit ‘leggy’ but I am not surprised with the lack of sun we have had.

Garlic and Broad Beans:

            

Going well, broad beans flowering and garlic on track. Fed the bed with some blood and bone and a couple of handfulls of ‘Rooster booster’ pelletised organic  fertiliser. Can’t wait to have a few of those beans with some butter, olive oil, garlic  and a grinding of black pepper !

Back to the list…………….

I have removed a wisteria from the house we are selling and replanted it near where the future greenhouse will go. I am hoping to train it over the old woodshed frame to give a lovely backdrop at the rear of the vegie patch. Just hope it goes OK. Make note to quickly replace asparagus bed border edge with permanent one, not likely to happen once growth is established.

Rhubarb:

Plant me, plant me! I dug up some of the rhubarb for relocation and forgot about it. Seems pretty good so that has just been ‘plonked’ into the general garden space and can be divided later if need be.

See the little shoot starting at the bottom of the basket?

The rewards!

I actually achieved everything I set out to do, plus some. Quite happy with that really, taken stock and made stock at the same time.

Aspiring Asparagus!

My newly purchased Mary Washington asparagus crowns were showing signs of shooting so it was time to get them into their permanent(ish) home. Last week I marked out a bed with temporary edging and am now planting the asparagus and a couple of grape vines. This bed is alongside where I plan to put a greenhouse at some later stage. There should be sufficient sun for the grapes and once I have removed the tin from the roof of the old shed the timber can serve as a framework for the vines and in turn shelter the greenhouse in the heat of summer. As grapes are deciduous there should also be enough sun to heat the greenhouse in winter. Fingers crossed please!

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I attended a grafting workshop last year and had a go at grafting a cherry that is supposed to be a smaller variety than most. This has been sitting in a bed all year and appears to have taken well, so today we planted it into the new vegetable area. I have no idea how it will go or how much it will impact on the rest of the area so we will just have to wait and see.

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As an added bonus I picked the first bunch for the season of cheery bulbs and some hellebore (winter rose). I just love having a vase or two flowers on display in the house!

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