Monday, May 30, 2011
I hearby declare yesterday to be Experimental Monday (whether it's a stand-alone day, or a repeated one I am yet to decide).
On Sunday, on our drive out to the rose nursery, MIL, SP and I passed a number of places selling local produce. Naturally, we stopped at one and picked up a bag of cheap quinces, locally grown kiwifruit (a rarity!), some apples, and some very cheap persimmons. Oh, and a little frangipane tart, yummo!
Yesterday, D and I thought we'd try experiment #1 with the quinces. What if, we wondered, what if we cooked them in the slow cooker? We used the same recipe as last time, D washed them popped them into the slow cooker - whole! I was aghast! Until he told me that's how they did them at work and they were easy to peel afterwards, hmmm, ok, we'll see...
We covered them with the rest of the ingredients, the water, the fragrant spices, the sticky honey and sugar...
And then we went out, to our own house so D could help with the digging for the plumbing (becoming an interminable job, I'll not go on about it!) SP fell asleep in the car on the way over, so I was able to get loads of weeding done (I covered way more ground in weeding than the boys did in digging). The pea-straw peas were starting to take over and swamp everything, and there were lots of pea pods on them, so I thought it was time to pull them up. I ate a few of the peas (Experiment #2) and I thought they were OK, if a bit small. I got D to try one, and he declared it 'a bit bitter, ' but then he ate a few more and thought they were edible enough.
So we cleared all the pea-straw from the ground, stripped off the peas and then brought them home.
They were washed, and we tossed them whole into tonight's Green Curry (Experiment #3)
Along with masses of coriander straight out of MIL's garden.
And our curry was delicious (in Thai, "a raawy maa") So the verdict is in: Pea-straw peas are perfectly edible. I think the key is to pick them before they get too fat because then they're kind of hard and woody. Better to eat them whole, a bit like snow peas (this is also less work than shelling them!)
Then, back to our quince dessert, which by this point has filled the entire house with the most fabulous scent.
The skin had cracked open and begun to peel back, so once they were cool enough to touch I got going taking it off. And was it 'easy'? Erm... no. In my carefully considered opinion, peeling and coring cooked quinces is a bit of a bitch, and a messy one at that. Why I ended up doing it, instead of my chef who suggested it, is a bit of a mystery. But do they cook well in a slow cooker? They certainly do! It's a very easy way to prepare quinces, which is a bit of a time-consuming business, just peel and core them first to save sticky swear words flying all over your kitchen.
Eat, as usual, with cream and icecream.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Today, MIL and I went for a drive out to a rose nursery in the nearby countryside. To say we were impressed is an understatement. There were thousands of plants. Thousands and thousands of them. Even though most of them had a very 'end of season' unkempt and shabby air, there were still enough flowers to get an idea. In summer that place must be amazing. I loved all the names, the romantic 'Careless Love', the fun 'Cherry Vanilla' and the slightly silly 'Daily Mail Scented'. I wondered who 'Mme Kriloff', and 'Lillie Marlene' were, and in what way was was Jude Obscure? My favourite ground cover roses were 'The Grouse' and 'The Partridge'. And how about the species roses 'Fruhlingsduft' and 'F.J. Grootendorst'; now there's some names with oomph! But, I'm sorry, I think 'Crepuscule' is a terrible name for a rose. I cannot look at it without mentally changing to 'Crap-pustule,' which conjures up all sorts of images.
Anyway, we picked up a copy of their catalogue - it's 60 pages long, and there are no pictures - and I've been browsing through it and making my rose wish list. I'm going to have to rein in my list at some point, try to get it under 30 varieties for a start, but it's fun to dream for now. Top of the list, and unlikely to fall off because they have been favourites for a long time, are:
[all following photos are from http://www.davidaustinroses.com/australian/]
Graham Thomas (David Austin rose)
Jude the Obscure (David Austin rose)
William Morris (David Austin rose)
St Cecelia (David Austin rose)
Strawberry Hill (David Austin rose)
and lastly, Julia's Rose (Hybrid Tea rose) (photo from: justourpictures.com, this, by the way, is a beautiful site to look at rose photos)
They like to hang out in the fuchsia patch, the shrubbery gives them good protection and a safe roost. They don't actually nest here, I've never seen a nest anyway, but they must stay nearby somewhere since they are 'largely sedentary' (according to the link above).
Lorikeets have been visiting the bird feeding stations too. This photo is the best I could do. It's not such a bad shot of the feeding post, the hydrangeas and azaleas and the senescent wattle trees, but click on the photos and you'll see a larger version with brightly coloured blurs that represent the birds.
When I mentioned the bird feeders to a guy I worked with briefly a few years ago, an Uber-Greenie I didn't particularly like - unusual for me, since I like almost everybody - he smugly told me we shouldn't feed the birds but only provide water. To that I say, 'Sod You.' If birds come into our garden it seems only fair to me that we provide something for them to eat, since we've not left much natural habitat for them out beyond the fencelines.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Another WIP, the front garden design, is nearing completion too. I am reasonably happy with it. I need to sit on it for a while and think about it.
And finally, not a WIP but craft related... I have finally sold a kid's quilt on Etsy! This green beauty will be winging it's way to the UK shortly.
Happy cold weather crafting, folks!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
"Everything started as a dream. You gotta have insight, know what you want. You gotta have a plan. Like I tell anybody, if you fail to plan, you're planning to fail. I've been planning ever since I was a youngster..."
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
So, as at 24-05-2011, this is what I have out there (31 plants in total)(Wherever possible, I'll pop in a link to information but not to plants for sale, links are a work in progress)
Grasses, rushes, strappy leaved plants etc
- Anigozanthus flavidus, Kangaroo paw 'firelight'
- Poa poiformis*, Coastal Tussock Grass
- Juncus usitatus, Common Rush
- Lomandra longifolia ‘Chewton Grey
- Lomandra longifolia, unnamed variety
- Xanthorrhea quadrangulata*, grass tree/yacca
- Isolepis nodosa*, Knobby Club Rush
- Poa australis, Blue Tussock Grass.
- Dianella sp*, Flax lilies
- Arthropodium strictum*, Chocolate Lily
Small Shrubs and Groundcovers
- Correa (likely hybrid of Correa reflexa and C. pulchella) 'Dusky Bells'
- Correa pulchella, ‘Autumn blaze’
- Hibbertia sp*, Guinea flower, ground cover
- Swainsona formosa, Sturt's desert pea, ground cover
- Eremophila glabra 'Rottnest Emu Bush' (Red form).
- Eremophila maculata compacta (Red form).
- Melaleuca fulgens 'CF Payne'.
8. Goodenia amplexans*, Clasping Goodenia
9. Goodenia ovata, Prostrate form of the Hop Goodenia.
10. Goodenia albiflora*, White Goodenia
11. Scaevola albida*, Small-fruited Fan Flower
12. Eremophila glabra, 'Kalbarri Carpet'
13. Grevillea lavendulacea* (Victor Harbour form)
14. Kennedia prostrata*, Running Postman
15. Kunzea pomifera, Muntries (edible fruits)
16. Rhagodia sp, Alpine Everlasting Daisy
- Dodonea viscosa*, Sticky Hop bush
1. Clematis microphylla*, . Old Man's Beard
2. Hardenbergia voliacea*, Native lilac or Happy Wanderer
- Rubus parvifolis*, native raspberry, small cane plant (edible fruit)
- Pelagonium australe*, Native stork’s bill
And what's a post without a picture? Instead of showing you a plant or ten, instead I'll show you a picture of the notebook I wrote my list in. Why? Because I bought it some time back, at an infamous, recently bankrupted, multinational bookshore, because I fell in love with the picture on the cover. It's called 'Happy Titta,' from the'Magic Soup' and published by the Pandaisy Corporation. It pretty much sums up how I feel about plants :)
PS. I must apologise also for the font and formatting issues. Blogger is not cooperating today!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
There are the inevitable and irresistable Autumn leaves on the trees;
There are flourescent orange berries;
The magnolia fruits are splitting open, revealing cherry red and glossy seeds inside.
The hydrangeas are fading, their veins showing like spider's webs.
The feijoas are swelling and I think we'll be eating them soon. There are loads this year!;
There are thyme flowers, miniature roses, pelagoniums, and snowbells;
and SP is particularly taken with the glorious Tibouchina, sitting on the grass amid it's scattered royal purple petals and the leaves dropped from the ornamental pears above.
There are a few more pink windflowers left up in the back of the garden, but they're looking a little shabby and worse for wear at the tail end of the season.
But even though the flowers have gone, there remains dozens upon dozens of pea-sized fruiting bodies dancing in the wind.
All that, from all this. Beautiful.
I'll leave you on this stormy Sunday with some photos I've taken of these graceful anemones throughout the season.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
That, my friends, is 'Vintage Red.' The world's first red eucalypt, and I want him. I want him bad. It's a cultivar of the Sugar Gum, Eucalyptus cladocalyx (and grafted onto the same rootstock).The next photo is not from me, but look how beautiful the leaves are. ~SIGH~
(Photo by Lucy_W)
Unfortunately, I don't think I can have this tree. Or, I could, but it would probably be a bad idea. The key word in 'tall, dark and mysterious' is 'tall'. These trees grow between 6-20m tall. If I got lucky with a 6m adult tree I'd be laughing, but I can't guarantee buying a shortie. It's also prohibitively expensive for this stay-at-home-mum at almost $80 for the smallest treeling.
Fortunately, I've discovered that this tree has a smaller cousin: Agonis flexuosa 'After Dark,' the Willow Myrtle. Isn't he cute?!
Growing to 10m maximum (or 6m, depending on which site I read!), with a very pretty weeping habit, I think this tree might be more up my alley, and I have just the place for one, or two, or three of them right up the back of our yard. And they start at about $15. Wonderful!
(This photo by Melissa Gale)