Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Orchard fully stocked

Finally, my 'orchard' is fully stocked, with the arrival today, of my second order from Daleys of Kyogle.

I am impressed with their delivery process. I ordered on Wed 17th, received the despatched email Tues 23rd, and the box was on my porch (under cover, as requested) today, Wed 24th. The plants were all still upright, and the mix still moist. The planting instructions are comprehensive, and in plain English.

In this consignment I received: a Black Genoa Fig; two Heritage Raspberry canes; a Tahitian Lime; two Brightwell Blueberry bushes; and one Misty Blueberry bush. I will plant all out tomorrow, save the raspberries, which I will pot for the time being.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Forewarned is forearmed: good nights CAN be gone into gently

I have a degenerative neurological 'condition', which is manageable, but not painful, even though discomfiting, and increasingly enervating. It is all in the day to day management. To this end, I have now consulted two occupational therapists, the second as a consequence of my stay in Royal North Shore with pneumonia, which was totally unrelated.

The side entryway already had good solid railings attached, which each of us use. They are not attractive, necessarily, but immensely useful. This is my entry point now, as I no longer use the rear steps, being too steep and frequently wet. The OT from RNS put me in touch with a community service group in Lane Cove, who came out and attached two 30cm rails in the downstairs bathroom, one adjacent to the toilet, and the other to assist me getting over the hob into the shower. It took about 45 minutes and my share of the cost was $145. He also told me about attachments for the shower that enable the head to be located lower, meaning just above chair height,

While both OTs were here they did a full assessment of the house for someone living with increasingly limited mobility. I 'wobble' a lot, and occasionally take tumbles. It is the nature of the degeneration. The second OT had much better ideas than the first, who was mainly a documenter, leaving possible solutions to 'community handymen'. This next image is the front porch, which we do not use as the front door, however it is the main access from my living space to the veggie garden in the front yard. In time, this step will be a barrier for me. Not yet, but I suspect it will be so within a few years, perhaps before I am 70. I will be 65 in two weeks. Megan's idea was to convert this into a wooden porch, wider, with a railing, and with a ramp. This will leave the yard little impacted, and add to the appeal of the front of the house. I liked the mental image a lot. It is a suntrap with a great outlook. When the handyman came for the railings, I did not mention this idea, though, as it is second cab off the ramp.

In the backyard there is n issue more pressing. See this triangulation of steps? I use it daily, nay many times per hour on my gardening days. It is a challenge which sets my wonky balance system into over drive. If there is an 'issue' whereby an adult needs to react, then I still react, and this is where the tumbles occur. Mostly, it is just tiring. Megan suggested a wooden 'bridge'. Totally brilliant. The handyman confirmed that it would be doable. It will require timber scaffolding to frame the bottom of the 'triangle' over which planks form the walkway. The scaffold which underpins the walkway would be enclosed to ensure that children do not come to grief. There would also be a railing over the drop. Yes, access to the rear yard is a bit mre restricted, but the walk around is only about 20 metres.

so, although Dylan Thomas exhorted us to rage against the dying of the light, I prefer to go gently into my goodnight. Thomas died of alcoholic poisoning at the age of 39.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Around here

^^ Alannah has her hand up immediately I suggest we harvest shallots, silverbeet or herbs from the garden.

^^ Camellias abound in the front and back gardens.

^^ The deciduous trees mean the backyard is now full of winter sun from mid morning to mid afternoon.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Raking season

The raking season went for about 10 weeks: April, May, and half of June. I think the two large, deciduous trees in the back garden are an oak, and a liquidamber, with the latter being by far the most prolific shedder of leaves.

During that period, I would rake the entire yard thrice weekly. I had two wheelie bins, three large, black, council provided recycling bins, and 7 very large, thick black plastic bags. Of course, I could not put them all out for collection each week, so it was a case of juggling.

Now that is behind me, I am working my way around the garden beds, replacing the dried leaves with lucerne mulch. Should finish that just in time for Spring!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Garden shed

I need somewhere to work at garden tasks, like splitting and repotting, like growing small numbers of veggies from seed, like keeping two compost heaps going, and like protecting the worms so they don't drown during heavy downpours.

So, I have commandeered the old outdoor table which has seen better days, and I am collecting the partial bricks that Darren knocked out of the front 'fence'. These I will use to create a 'floor' beneath the work bench on which I will site the worm farm to give it better protection.

Nothing like a project to keep the energy flowing.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

From the kitchen | Cooking from our garden



After a week of sunshine and warm winter days, it was time to pick our first little harvest from the vege bed.


Ma picked out some silverbeet, shallots and parsley while Alannah and I played down at the park this afternoon. They smelt so good.


With Dada enjoying a night out, I had grand plans to try out a fish pie recipe I'd had an eye on. Of course, I should have checked that I had fish. The little parcel in the fridge from our Aussie Farmers delivery turned out to be prawns...

Not my best effort in the kitchen. Certainly not my worst. I will definitely try it again when I DO have fish.

So there you have it: our first harvest and my first effort at cooking our own garden produce.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Here comes the sun ...

That lazy old sun is back to rollin' round heaven all day, and isn't the veggie patch lovin' it! I was out today weeding, trimming and 'whispering'. Also engaging in a smidge of wishful thinking. This, for instance. I read that you can 'see' next year's figs immediately beneath the bark of the spindley branches. From the top, that is a new shoot. the little round button is the incipient fruit, and on the bottom is the scar of a removed branch. This is my new 'Brown Turkey' variety.

I had already planted three cloves of garlic, and today I dug five more into the mulch/soil in the orchard, Stephanie Alexander maintaining they are good companion plants for citrus trees.

Given that we might use a knob of garlic per week, I am way behind the eight ball, but need to stagger the plantings steadily.

Can't wait to see a clove turn into a knob, and to see the beauty of the garlic flower.

The silverbeet is due to be mature next week, seven weeks from planting. They are looking good, young and fresh. I think Kirsten mentioned a pie that she had in mind. Personally, I am partial to spinach (??) and parmesan risotto, but pie would go down a treat, too. I have ideas for a greenhouse and work bench sited in the back garden alongside the worm farm and the first compost bin, which will be joined by a second bin next weekend.