Birthdays, Books & Basil

Well, I’ve managed another trip around the sun. I had a lovely, relaxed day, read books, did some work in the greenhouse, hung out with friends, ate junk food for dinner and watched stuff. If I’d have played music and baked myself a cake, I would have covered all my favourite things 🙂

The perfect present for a film-nut like me!

After the unseasonably hot weather throughout November (it was Tasmania’s hottest spring on record) we’ve had a cold and very wet start to summer. I spent some time yesterday and today in the greenhouse, potting up basil seedlings and some replacements for the inundated early tomatoes. It’s currently about 10 C (50 F) and it’s been raining pretty well constantly since Friday.

This morning, there was water pooling in garden beds and I had to empty the overflowing rain gauge. The zucchinis and leafy greens are loving it but I seriously don’t want to think about the potatoes right now! Sadly, the beans, tomatoes and corn are all looking quite poorly and will likely need replacing. It looks like I’ll have late crops again! My heart goes out to folks in Victoria though, who are getting the worst of this wet spell.

I’m hoping it won’t do too much damage to the baby stone fruit and apples but the berries are looking very sad. I’ve braved the rain and picked what I could but they won’t be the tastiest this year. Hopefully, the rain will ease in the next few days and we’ll get some sunshine to help convert the starches to sugars in the remainder of the crop.

Because of Hobart’s unpredictable weather, I tend to grow chillies, eggplants and basil in my greenhouse in pots. I’m really pleased so far with the eggplant (above), which is sporting some beautiful purple flowers and the Habanero chilli (below) is setting fruit already 🙂

I managed to pot up 35 or so mixed basil seedlings, which is about half of what I’d like to have for oil and preserving but I’m going to plant more seed next week. There’s shiso/perilla still to go into pots and I have to see if I can salvage more chilli seedlings from the ravaging slugs – they decimated my early plantings and this wet weather is only going to encourage them!

On a positive note, I saved an aloe vera at the start of the year, (it was literally dying of overcrowding and neglect) bought it home, divided it put it into a good potting mix and fed them all. The main plant or “mother” is on a shelf in the bathroom and loving its new home, and I left the offshoots or “pups” in the greenhouse to see if they’d survive. When I was given the plant, the whole thing was a very sickly yellow/green. So I was thrilled to see this morning that the pups are setting out new pups of their own 🙂

Meanwhile, the cricket’s on the TV and that book about the Coen brothers is giving me “come hither” looks again. I’m off to snuggle under a blanket and read.

Maybe tomorrow it’ll be summer 🙂

Sleepy Sunday Evening – Day 15 NaBloPoMo 2015

So, where did the weekend go? I’m really tired tonight but I did get a lot done the last couple of days – I’ve finally planted the corn, zucchini and squash and about two thirds of the garlic crop is in after laying outside most of the day. Currently, it’s sitting on top of the washing machine, waiting to get plaited up for hanging, so I won’t be able to wash any clothes until it’s done – fabulous incentive to finish the job!

There’s still a lot of vegetables to plant out for summer and more basil to put in pots in the greenhouse but I’ll get there – slowly. My back is better, no sciatica now, but it’s always tricky. While it’s tremendously important to rest and allow the inflammation to reduce, exercise is essential to maintain core strength, so it’s a constant balancing act.

I also played a quick 20 minute set late this afternoon down at UNLOCKED at the Brunswick Hotel, which was fun. And, because it’s work and teaching tomorrow, a rough list of what songs I’ll play at Oak is sorted, and individual lesson plans are done for private students.

And I found time to do some much needed university reading for this week’s online lecture, and tomorrow I’ll answer the tutorial questions. Then it’ll be full steam ahead with the final assignment!

But now, it’s time to put work, gardening and uni out of my mind and relax. There’s a scoop of homemade Boysenberry ice cream with my name on it in the freezer.

I hope you all had a good weekend, wherever you are on this beautiful planet. I’ll leave you with tonight’s sunset view from my backdoor.

Stay safe friends ❤

Kunyani/Mt Wellington

Kunyani/Mt Wellington saying hello to the moon

Fingers Crossed – NBN!

My Drowning Plaster Bird

My Drowning Plaster Bird

It’s raining – again or still – my brain is suffering from rising damp I think. The chickens are lurking under their shade table or in their coop to dry and keep dry and tempers are short in my little bunny kingdom.

Meanwhile, I still have no solid internet connection but I’ve still managed to keep NaBloPoMo going – haven’t missed a day so far! And I’ve just uploaded my final assignment to a Preparation for University Study course through Open University Australia. I’ve been really surprised and heartened by my results – but the real fun starts later this month when I begin my first proper online unit through Griffith University in Queensland.

I had a phone call yesterday, and the NBN are booked to come to my house tomorrow to wire in our new fibre connection. I cannot to begin to tell you all how happy that makes me! Above all, this will enable me to teach via Skype to anyone who has a solid internet connection. As well, I’ll be able to do my online uni studies without having to resort to leaching net connections from family and friends or docking to my mobile phone connection. (I hate to think what my bill is going to be this month!)

In the greenhouse, I’ve been incredibly pleased with how everything’s still growing despite the ridiculous weather we’re having here in Tasmania. I planted Basil seed some time ago and pricked out seedlings into egg cartons to grow them on quickly and give me a chance to pot them up without any further disturbance of their roots.

Basil from Egg Cartons

Basil from Egg Cartons

It’s a neat method and I find it gives seedlings a better start. As you can see from the picture below, the Lettuce Leaf Basil has certainly taken off well!

How the Basil Grows!

How the Basil Grows!

But sadly, the front balcony, which serves as my winter salad garden, is suffering badly from the wet weather. I think the only plants that are thriving are the watercress – funny that! Hopefully, we’ll get some more seasonal warm (and dry!) weather soon, so I’ll be able to collect the seed for next year’s crops.

The Balcony Garden

The Balcony Garden

There will be little or no gardening today. Reading, songwriting (another song about the rain?), more recording preparation and plenty of cups of tea for me I think! Have a great day folks wherever you are 😉