Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That b*stard fox took my entire flock AGAIN

I'm angry.

Angry with myself for not bolting the coop to my feathered family properly last night.

Angry at the fox for returning night after night after night in the last 6 months and taking my entire flock. Again.

Mostly angry at myself.

And I'm sad sad sad sad sad.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mean Santa

Have you seen this? Portable North Pole.

It's a video you can tailor for your child, it is brilliant!  We set it up so that it said Miss Bok's name, had her photos, even mentioned a new addition to the family (Tim Tam)!  And we also set it up so that Santa knew she wasn't brushing her teeth (she pretends to) and hadn't put her on the 'nice' list yet...with his encouragement to brush her teeth regularly in the lead up to Christmas so that he would visit her.

Well it backfired spectacularly.  There was Miss Bok (7), open mouthed with amazement that Santa had sent her a personal email video message with all her pics in it, excitement mounting until the bad news that she wasn't on his good list yet.  Then came the floods of tears.   With Master Bok (2) consoling her, growling 'MEAN SANTA!  MAKE MY NAANA CWY!!  BAD SANTA GO AWAY!' (he calls he naaana as in banana).

Note Santa's mean face.  And Miss Bok's (2nd from left) crying face.  I'm sorry I can't rotate this picture.  For some reason it just refuses.  Sigh.  Blogger, are you listening to me?  Provide a photo rotate function please!!

Anyway, Christmas is happening at our place  :)

With or with Santa!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Images and Questions (help!) from The Garden

Hi everyone, it's been a bit quiet over has suddenly gotten really overwhelmingly busy.  A few things that have been happening - I had my birthday!  21 of course...  NOT!  HA!!  Master Bok's birthday is coming up, a zillion other birthdays and farewells have been going on around us and I won a DVD (Poh's Kitchen - I LOVE Poh!) from Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. 

Most time consuming have been work at my day job (argh!!) and more excitingly, I've started a new UN volunteer project in Uganda which has been consuming most of my nights.  It's in Kampala, Uganda, not Eastern Uganda or Libya this time.  When I skype and converse with my team mates on the other side of the world, I'm always humbled by their intelligence, enthusiasm, positivity and sheer amazingness given their start in life.  It's inspiring.  I'm gearing up for a visit too.

Anyway I've got a lot of images below to show you what the garden's been up to.

I've got quite a few questions too so I hope that you can help!


Question:  When those Garlic snapes open up, flower, then die - does that mean the garlic is ready...?

Question:  Why do sprouts grow so readily (a jar, a bit of muslin and water) but still taste so ... not good?  Why are pregnant women told not to eat them?  I'm guessing it's because of what they may commercially be grown in (poo)

Question:  How is it possible for tomatoes to grow this much in a space of a few days??  A few volunteer purple podded peas in there too.  And other things.


Question:  Any idea what these climbing things are?  The seeds and leaves all look the same.  I suspect they are trombocino.  Or maybe spaghetti melon.  Uh oh...


SO GLAD the darn artichokes finally flowered so I could admire then pull them out. They take up so much precious growing space...and I still don't know why people love them.  

Question: How do you cook yours?


Question:  What does one do with elderflowers?  This elderflower bush is getting out of hand - too big with masses of white flowers.

Question:  How does one know when almonds are ready to be plucked?

Question: When is my kiwi fruit vine ever going to flower...or even fruit??  Is it because the strawberries beneath are sucking their nutrition? (I have strawberry patches everywhere all over the garden in the hope that one day I'll be able to eat some - the ones not stolen by the chickens or the children that is)

At least my blueberries are thriving.
Question:  Can someone please tell me why only one of my apple trees has any fruit this year??

Look what popped up in the cape gooseberry  :)
Hydrangeas!  I love their fluffy blooms.


Question: Are only the flower bits of the chamomile used for tea...?

Question:  How do new little things keep popping up on my desk...?  Oh, I know!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scaring foxes away

This is especially exciting for those of you who are besieged by the nightly prowlings of a wily fox.

Now I don't know that it's all that scientific..and I have tried many things since my old flock got taken.  Getting Mr and Master Bok to pee on the fence.  Putting out bits of hair (I know! Read here).  Randomly pouncing outside in the middle of the night yelling BOO!! just in case a fox was lurking.  And yet...and YET!...there are still signs every night or two of a fox break-in attempt.

Enter Jamie Durie.

Don't go weak ladies.

It's only butterflies...

Of the flickering, glittering, solar powered kind!

I picked up these night lights at Big W.  Because they were sort of cute and I was looking for ways of making our temporary chicken enclosure look more enticing.  Little did I realise that these little babies would twinkle (yes they randomly twinkle off and on) all night long like some kind of wonky fairy landing strip.  SCARING AWAY THE FOXES.  No break in attempts in the last fortnight we've had them in.

$19 well spent I say.

The hens?  Well they have thanked me by going broody.  Joan and Teapot (Hypatia) that is.  Whilst the others pace...up and down, up and down, every time Tim Tam is near by.  He's no fox though.

 In other news.  I didn't make it onto Santa's list AGAIN this year.  I'll have to try harder to be good.


p.s. Nope I am in no way affiliated with Jamie Durie (would be fun if I were!) nor Big W. I made an accidental discovery which may or may not work! But hey! It's worth a try.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grateful for crazy tomatoes and apple cider to give life some perspective

Something happened yesterday that's secretly left me a bit unsettled and quite a bit all aflutter - but hey that's life and I am but human!  The sun does much to lift the spirit and wine does much to sooth the soul so to enjoy a gorgeous sunny warm Spring Saturday, we headed down the road to the yarra valley for some wine and came across a winery that makes the best apple and pear cider!  They grow their own apples, pears and grapes for their beautiful drops of yum.



 We stopped at de Bortoli too for some cheese...

A really lovely day.  Just sun.  Just a little family.  To settle the secret unsettley bit inside.

Meanwhile back at home...

The recent warm stormy weather has brought on a massive tomato growth spurt!  I seriously think in just 3 days the tomato plants have doubled in size and nearly snapped because they weren't supported well enough.

Looking after my vegies and watching them grow, the amazingness and reliability of it all.  Plant a seed.  Nurture it.  Witness the tiny sprout unfurling then turning into a rampant fruit producing mass of leaves all with a mini ecosystem of its own complete with bad bugs, good guy bugs and sometimes little toadstools humming in the humus.   In turn it nourishes me.  My body.  Gives me perspective, reins me in when unsettling things happen.  Or don't happen.  Or whatever.  A garden can teach a person a lot of things and the learning and the reflecting opportunities are often underrated.

The ones in here are the most advanced, the others I planted on the 
windowsills a bit later and are a bit smaller 

 In the chook pen I note much of the tomato fruit has gone mysteriously missing!

Look!  Phoebe I think this is one of your gem squash!

Trombocinos or spaghetti squash.  I can't remember which, honestly I think I need to make tags.

Cannot wait for the artichoke to flower so I can admire then pull the darn thing out to make room for vegies! There are 6 artichokes on my one plant.  It's enormous.  Really it's time for it to go!  I don't like eating them but I love the bloom.

Lots of blueberries to look forward to... 
The yacon has gone nuts.  Anyone know when I'm supposed to harvest it?

On the left - little flowers on my tiny babaco  :)  One day I'll get fruit like the ones we saw at Diggers!
On the right...I'm not sure what this is...Hazel, I think you might have bought some at Diggers?  I planted it over Winter and cannot remember what it is but it looks like it's forming berries!  It's in my garden so it must be edible...

Nectarines but lots of leaf curl too boooooooo...I forgot to spray.  Too late now.

We planted this stella cherry on the left over Winter and it's given us 4 cherries :)  
And on the right a plum of some sort!  I'm excited!  Finally our fruit trees are getting enough sunlight now that the pine tree next door is gone and we are getting tiny fruit (not many but still!) and I'm soooooo excited!

This week I'm grateful for sunshine, for the miracle and pleasure vegie gardens bring and the thing called love that keeps our lives interesting.  Linking for the first time to Maxabella, one of my fave bloggers.  I'd really love to see your garden one day Maxabella!   

Hope you're having a fabbo weekend  x

p.s. Join in my Christmas appeal here


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