Thursday, January 21, 2010

happy parrots, anxious sheep

Temperatures in the high 30's this week, so back to watering the garden daily. The new storage tank is now in situ to hold the pumped water from our 2 bores and is all plumbed in to the pump so that we can utilise it from the garden taps. Ness is putting irrigation pipes into the vegetable plots this week because watering by hand in the evenings has become treacherous due to the mosquitoes. Last night we waited until dusk so it was cool enough to water and got eaten alive by the little blighters- so bad that we had to bolt indoors. Unfortunately we brought hitch-hikers into the house and had a frenzied evening tracking them down.

We have just purchased 3 large pomegranate trees, glorious with their bright red flowers. The king parrots and sulphur-crested cockatoos will be delighted- they have already stripped the trees of peaches and apricots so I am sure that extra fruit will be pecked. The sheep however are looking decidedly anxious as they watch us planting a substantial rosemary hedge and large plots of mint!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Archers, NSW episode 3

Those who have been following this blog from its inception ( you know who you are, and really should get out more ) will have noticed that it has transformed from tales of intrepid adventure in the outback in a campervan to a journal of gardening and weather conditions as I morph into Lynda Snell and life becomes a southern hemisphere parody of 'The Archers'.

It has been said that once you hit 40 you discover one of the three 'G's', namely God, Golf or Gardening. As I am not the sort to run around trying to find the unfindable ( God and golf) that only leaves gardening, and I am happy to report that all is well. We have our first tiny little water melons....

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

...and the pumpkins are testing the strength of Ness's new fence wires.

Many thanks for all the recipe ideas. Particularly fond of the marrow rum from Lynn,and will be brewing in the near future in between freezing large batches of soup. The Ormiston crew should be back from snowy England soon, so we can offload the excess for their cafe's range of 'low food miles' menus ( Lynda and Pat would be proud).

The rustic fencing for the newly extended front garden is complete, and we await cooler conditions to start some tree planting.
From Protea Farm 1

Huge tank still residing in the paddock until a team of strong men arrive to move 450 kg of solid plastic to its new location.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

vegetable glut

The rains have now gone, and it is getting hotter by the day. All the shrubs and plants which were hanging on like grim death are now blossoming and flowering again, and the dreaded zucchini/courgette glut is upon us. Ness planted some funky varieties and promised me that they would not turn into giant marrows overnight, but that proved to be misleading.
From Protea Farm 1

We are not managing to eat them as quickly as more appear,despite the assistance of Delia's vegetarian menus. I fear things will only get worse when the baby squashes and pumpkins get another growth spurt. Peppers and chillies also going well, and we are extremely excited about the baby water melons.

All recipes for zucchini/courgette, cucumber, butternut squash and pumpkin gratefully received. I wonder if any of them would make a half decent wine?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

happy new year

The story from Mudgee since Christmas has been one of rain, rain, and more rain. The extreme drought conditions of November are a distant memory as we sit on the verandah looking out onto green hills and pastures. The vegetables are raging, the stock have abundant food, and there is water in the tanks for luxuries like showers and flushing toilets. It appears that my skill as a rainmaker ( when travelling in Geoffrey around the country any town we stopped in was guaranteed a generous downpour ) has not deserted me and was merely slightly delayed.

170mm of rain since Christmas day, almost half the annual rainfall of last year in less than 2 weeks. We have lawns in places we never knew there was grass, and yesterday I had to mobilise Courtney the ride on mower and do some serious mowing.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

For the first time the tennis court has been wet enough that the roller actually managed to flatten and level it, reducing the number of comedy bounces to an acceptable level.

Despite this, the enormous water tank that we ordered was rolled off a huge truck yesterday and resides in the paddock. It will be installed soon and provide a back-up system for the garden, holding a cocktail of bore and dam water in reserve for dry times, and will be linked to an irrigation system around the gardens. We are determined to create and maintain an oasis, regardless of the cost. Of course, once installed it will rain here forever and we will not require its services!

From Protea Farm 1