The Joy of Little Things – Day 23 NaBloPoMo 2015

Today’s post will be very brief, I’m in the midst of writing an exegesis for a uni assignment.

I know it’s just a little thing but it gave me a tremendous amount of joy. Today I went to Oak to have lunch with my friends before doing a music session with them. I took a salad, as I often do, but today absolutely everything in was grown, made or raised by me – I knew where it all came from 🙂

Eggs from my feathered beauties, sprouts I grew in the kitchen, plus rocket, spinach, basil and kale from the garden. Even the cheese was a feta made a few weeks ago with real milk. And it was all delicious ❤

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Garlic Time – Day 14 NaBloPoMo

I’ve spent the afternoon in the garden, listening to Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, avoiding listening to the news. Reports of the attacks in Paris came through this morning here in Australia and I’ve found it incredibly distressing. I love that city dearly and have been thinking of friends who live in France (all safe fortunately) and what they must be going through.

I pricked out seedlings into grow tubes, said hello to my ever-growing flock of worms and fed them scraps, planted out vegetables and generally lost myself in Quidditch, Polyjuice Potion and Harry, Ron and Hermione’s escapades.

As an avid reader, I think audio books are brilliant, particularly for works I’ve already read. But as a writer, I’m convinced anything worth reading should be read out loud. I even read essay drafts for university aloud and it’s surprising what I can learn from the exercise. Perhaps it’s the musician coming out in me, but I hear flow and tempo problems far more easily than I see them on the page.

For my gardening time, I have a wonderful little bluetooth speaker I picked up cheaply that connects easily to my smartphone. I usually put them both on an upturned pot and chill out while I work.

My baby speaker with Kunyani/Mt Wellington in the background

My baby speaker with Kunyani/Mt Wellington in the background

Late in the day, I decided to have a look at the main garlic bed. We’ve had quite a bit of rain the last few days and I noticed a few of the giants had toppled. It’s one of those plants where harvesting is crucial for long term storage and rain at this stage can mean mouldy heads. I adore garlic and I’ve been building up our stocks over the last few years, to the point where I might have enough for more than six months this time!

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The start of this years’ garlic crop!

Note the pencil – these babies are huge! And this isn’t elephant garlic, but a particularly pungent local variety I’ve been growing for the last five years or so. The laundry smells amazing tonight, by the way!

I’ll be pulling the rest tomorrow and once they’re cured for a few days, I’ll be trimming the roots off and plaiting them for hanging in the kitchen 😀

Do you grow garlic? If so, how do you store it? Please leave a comment below. 

A Lazy/Busy Day – Day 12 NaBloPoMo 2015

Well, I’ve managed to do not very much today apart from write, and (so far) I’m pretty okay with it.

There’s a big easterly rain front over Tasmania and there’ll be little gardening action until Saturday afternoon. Usually, I’m the kind of person who has a checklist of things that I want to achieve every day, even if they’re ongoing tasks like music rehearsal, feeding “Wee Beastie” my sourdough plant, or tending to the animals. Writing tends to be shunted aside for when there’s time, especially at the moment, which is the busiest season in the garden.

Instead today, I’ve been writing poetry pieces for a university assignment and scoping out my 500 word exegesis. The concept of an exegesis is interesting, it’s a lot like writing liner notes for a recording or an introduction to a book but digs a little deeper into what informed the creation of the piece. In fact, many writers have used introductions as a type of exegesis, and they make fascinating reading for students of writing like me.

I recently read Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, his latest collection of short fiction and I was really inspired by the introduction. Apart from the generalities, he offers a few notes about each story and it was really very instructive.

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Meanwhile, I imagine the water tanks are full again *happy dancing* so I’m going to find my raincoat and head down the yard soon to collect eggs, pick salad for tonight’s dinner, do the evening feed and check for any new mushrooms. I buy bags of supposedly spent compost and usually get quite a lot out of them this time of year – and today’s humid, wet weather is perfect. Hopefully, there’ll be mushrooms on toast tomorrow 😀

Mushrooms from the garden - note the pencil for size!

Mushrooms from the garden

What’s your favourite way to spend a rainy day? Leave a comment – I love to hear from you!

The Joy of Passions – Day 11 NaBloPoMo 2015

I consider myself a very lucky woman.

I’m surrounded by loving friends and family; I have ready access to good, clean food; I’m studying things that move and inspire me and I get paid to do things I love.

This was driven home yesterday when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Listened-To made his first ever Lemon Meringue Pie. I made the pie crust and stepped him through the process of separating eggs (something he’d never done before), making the curd, getting the meringue the right consistency and so on. He is a very accomplished cook but hasn’t much experience with baking. We used a recipe from and old CWA (Country Women’s Association) cookbook and reduced the sugar to suit our tastes. It was good for me as I realised that as bullet proof as the CWA recipes are, there’s a lot of assumed knowledge in them about technique.

The lemons came from my friend Sara, so we knew they were clean and chemical free and it was another way to deal with the ongoing egg glut. It was a very fun afternoon, with my son turning up halfway through to make everyone cups of tea, poke fun and offer suggestions. We had a great time 😀

The result was delicious, though we’ll reduce the sugar even further next time.

Smiley Meringue

Smiley Meringue

Healthy new Eggplant growth

Healthy new Eggplant growth

This morning I had a brainwave in the garden about my uni assignment – that I confess I haven’t fully written up yet but I’ll get there! And there were two delightful surprises that any gardener will recognise and understand.

Firstly, a well established finger eggplant in the greenhouse I thought was beyond hope has started shooting again. I grew three from seed about four years ago and because of the unpredictable weather we can get in southern Tasmania, I kept them in the greenhouse. All three overwintered quite well the first year but I lost two this last, very hard winter. At least there’s one left to gather seed from at the end of summer.

Secondly, and to my absolute delight, I discovered a punnet of very healthy asparagus seedlings at the back of a tray. Asparagus is probably my favourite vegetable, but I really can’t come at the shop bought article. It’s one of those things I only ever want to eat fresh from my own garden. It’s a slow process growing from seed, the viability is usually best in the first year and it takes 2-3 years to get plants to maturity. Then, you have asparagus for years!

I’ll be pricking these out into home made grow tubes in a couple of weeks and putting into a permanent bed in

Delicate Asparagus seedlings

Delicate Asparagus seedlings

December. The bed will be very heavily dug over and filled with as much old chicken poo and rabbit straw as I can lay my hands on. At the moment it’s full of potatoes that are in full flower and due to be dug in the next few weeks. Potatoes grow very well here and have been my “go to” crop for reclaiming lawn areas ever since I moved in but they do strip the soil of nutrients and asparagus are notoriously hungry feeders!

I’m incredibly grateful for all the good things in my life, it’s something that tends to get overlooked in the fast pace of the modern world. There never seems to be enough hours to do it all! Meanwhile, I’m hoping to get some more uni work done, some music rehearsal and just an hour or two of gardening later…….. 😉

What are you passionate about? Let me know in the comments – I love to hear from you all! 

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