Monday, 30 January 2012

My New Workplace

I haven't written much in the last few weeks as I have been busy moving from the city to our property and settling into my new job.

These are some pictures of my work environment it's very beautiful and very peaceful.

My Office

The Admin Centre - my office is the door to the right at the back

Outside the office block

BBQ Area

The Pool

Massive Staghorn

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Green Frog

We found this little guy hiding out on the corner of the deck last night. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

Changing Direction

Today is the end of my working life in the city and while I am very happy to be moving permanently to the “bush” there are things I will miss.   Actually it's the people I will miss!
I’ve been working for the last year or so with a group of great people and I will dearly miss the chats, lunches, drinks, and just the general highs and lows that we have shared.

This picture is part of the fantastic gift they gave to me.  They also gave me a voucher for the hardware shop where I will be looking for a gate to be part of the fence we (Garry) are about to build around the garden to stop Lilly and Layla digging up the veggies.   (stay tuned ………)

Monday I start a new job 15 mins from our property but today I feel sad to be leaving good  friends……………………

Monday, 9 January 2012

Okra Flower

I planted Okra for the first time a few weeks ago and it has just started to flower.

I've only eaten Okra a few times in my life so am looking forward to trying a few recipes.  Hopefully I'll like the vegetable as much as I like the flower.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday Morning

I love the mornings and am so glad that I was born a morning person !   I have a lot of work on outside of my normal work at the moment so that means I need to spend a fair amount of time in my office on the weekends.  That's not hard, this is the view from my office window.

Before I start work in the mornings I go for a walk around the gardens and see what has happened over night.   This is a pumpkin I hand pollinated yesterday morning and hopefully it did the trick and will grow.  If we don't hand pollinate our pumpkins we don't get any.  I need to plant flowers to attract the bees.

Lilly sees me with the camera in my hand and sits in front of me in her best pose.

Layla and Lilly both come up to say Good Morning to the chooks.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Basil Pesto

We've been enjoying lots of Basil Pesto lately as our Basil bushes seem to love this environment.

This is the recipe I've been making.  It's fairly standard.  I know some people put things like Macadamia nuts in as well but I figure it has enough calories just the way it is.

This quantity filled the jars in the picture which really isn't enough but it will last a couple of weeks.

Basil Pesto
3 cups of fresh picked basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
90g toasted pine nuts
200ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Put all ingredients into food processor and mix until it looks like Pesto.

Eggplant Relish

I'm still coming up with recipes for Eggplants as they are still growing and I'm not sick of them yet.

I think this is my best Eggplant Recipe yet.  It's adapted from many recipes I have read on the internet to accommodate for ingredients I had on hand.  It tastes great.

This recipe filled the jars in the picture (minus a few small samples)

Eggplant Relish
Eggplant (around 400g)
Red Capsicum  (Around 250g)
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
2cm piece of Ginger grated
1 tsp cumin powder
1Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp Cinnamon powder
½ tsp chilli flakes
100ml White Vinegar
100ml Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Frest mint to serve

Heat the oven to 200 degrees C.  Cut the eggplants and capsicum in half and put cut side down on a greased baking tray.  Cook for around 20 mins or until soft.
Cut onion into small wedges and cook in the olive oil under soft.  Add all of the spices and the garlic and ginger.
Remove eggplant flesh from the skin and chop roughly.  Peel skin from Capsicum and chop roughly.  Add eggplant and capsicum to the onion mixture and mix well.
Add vinegar and sugar and cook slowly for around 40 mins.
Serve with lots of fresh mint.

More Gardens

Most of our crops have finished for the summer.  We still have some eggplant maturing and we also have a whole garden of sweet potato that is coming along well but won't be ready till around April (I think).  A couple of weeks ago we planted an Okra and a Chilli bush.  We still have loads of basil, parsley, oregano and chives but that's pretty much it.  We pulled out the rest of the tomato plants and the silverbeet and fed that to the chooks.  We have a couple of pumpkin plants but no pumpkins yet.  This time last year we had about 7 pumpkins ready for picking so it's disappointing not to have any this year.  The bees haven't been doing their job at all.  Last year we helped the bees along and hand pollinated a lot of plants.  This time we haven't found as many open flowers so this has been a little hard to do.

 We've (mostly Garry) been working on improving the soil with loads of organic compost, and because our natural soil is basically clay we also add a lot of gypsum to break the clay down.  That with many wheelbarrows full of chook manure from the coop should do the trick.

We've added three new gardens which you can see in the photo above.  We decided to be economical and take the top layer of 3 of our existing gardens to create these 3 low gardens.  It is luxury to garden at hip height but the reality is the wood is expensive and the gardens require a lot more soil.  This way we have more gardens to grow our next crops. This year we are going to plan the planting a bit better and try to provide for the 2 of us for as long as we can.