Yes it has been interesting but for me also annoying cos alot of what I sowed hasnt come up again like the foxgloves I let self sow-Gone.
Today was my sunday so I got to spend the afternoon outside.
I noticed that the girls seemed to be getting ratty with each other today so after I fed them their evening meal I left the door open for them to jump out if they wanted to.
There isnt much in the garden at the moment and nothing that they can wreck-they already got the snap peas,funnily enough, the 3/4 stretch that the slugs and snails kept eating, but they didnt touch the plants that were growing reasonably well.
I thought it was interesting to note that the first thing most of them did was head for the part in front of the hedge walkway where I had put all the bare soil.
They thought this was just great for a girlie dust bath party.
45minuts later they shook themselves off and decided to eat the snails that were in the mustard lettuce and then spent the last hour and a half scratching madly through a bed right next to the dome.
All in all they stayed withing 5 metres of the dome.
I thought I'd better stick around while they were out cos our Tom looked like he was considering going into hunter mode.
It occurred to me that there really wasnt any reason why they shouldnt be allowed to roam alittle,they had all laid their eggs and spent nearly all day scratching around their pen.
I think I will let them out as often as I can,late in the afternoon.
I should be able to protect the young seedlings with the hoops and bird mesh -decided this during my winter ponderings,although getting the hoops and mesh was mainly to protect against the starlings and sparrows.
The only bit of weeding I have been doing for the last little while is to pull out grass and dock before it gets too big.
The grass has gone to mulch the maori potatoes that are just starting to come up.
I thought I had sown the broad beans inbetween the rows of potatoes but somehow ended up with one row pretty much ontop of the other.
We will see how potatoes and broad beans go together.
One double row of BB's looks good with lots of flowers although the plants still look short to me.
The other double row has definitely been hit by something and now the peas along that section have started dying back too.hmmm
One of the good plants has flowers that are all white with no little black spot on any of them-wonder if I got a seed from a different type by mistake?
This month I decided to have another go at making sourdough.
I bought a packet of starter this time.
I dont understand why but I dont seem to be very good at getting it to go all frothy like the pictures show, so I cheated and added maybe a teaspoon or two of bought yeast and beat that through.
That was a couple of days ago.
Since then I added some more water and flour and beat it briskly to get air into it and left it outside in the sun.
Its in an old glazed pottery bowl with a lid.
Today I took out two cups and used the rest to make a foccacia type bread and it worked-forgot the salt tho but it still tastes really nice.
After cleaning out the bowl and lid and sterilsing them in boiling water and cooling it, the 2 cups went back into the bowl and the next lot of flour and water beaten in-it still looks good and doing what its supposed to.
Before I was trying to use home ground wheat flour but found it too hard and thick.
This time I am using chapati flour which is alot lighter but not quite white flour.
I'm hoping to keep practising with the chapati flour and then when I get good at using that- move onto adding more and more whole wheat flour til I can make an excellent loaf with just the whole wheat flour.
The first lot of seed has gone into the garden today!!!
I had some saved sweet corn seed soaking to make sure it was actually going to sprout and it seemed to be doing okay.
This is the first time I have saved seed from sweet corn.
Its always been freshly bought stuff before but I figured it was time to see if we could grow our own from our own saved seed.
Sweet corn is probably the absolute favourite vege in our family.
Most of the section in front of the hedge is going to be the sweet corn/soy bean/pumpkin patch this year.
It was divided into 4 foot wide beds, the first being planted out with the sweet corn at 20cm spacings in the row with 60cm spacings between corn rows.
Between these I sowed the soy at 10cm in the row.
Then there is a temp walkway which will have a couple of butternut planted alittle later on.
The next 4 foot bed is all in bought corn at 30cm spacings with the rows off set .
With these two I used some hoops and the frost cloth to see how much faster they would come up compared to the uncovered rows.
I made sure the edges were held down this time so the cat/s cant get in to use these areas as their toilet.
The third section is planted out again in saved seed and soy alternated rows while the last one is in mainly bought corn seed and soy.
I ran out of bought seed so the last row is mainly saved seed.
I thought it best to alternate the different types of seed so we got a good mix for pollination purposes.
I decided that we would grow all the sweet corn now and the pop corn later.
This is after noticing how much sweeter the spring sown corn was compared to the summer sown corn.
Last year I was trying not to use the freezer but have since decided that seeing as we have it we may as well make full use of it.
What doesnt get eaten straight away will be going in the freezer.
Afew years ago I tried freezing corn and was told to blanch it which I did.
It was horrible so I havent done that since.
Last year I was in a hurry and just cut the corn off the cobs and froze that and found it was really nice,that last kg of corn was eked out for such a long time!
I havent weeded along the hedge walkway so ther is still alot of tall grass and violets growing up there.
I have been re reading "The one straw revolution" and want to see how things go if left alone with minimal interference.
I cant help thinking that if somebody has successfully grown food in amongst weeds then there must be a way to do so as well, while at the same time I struggle with the idea of this.
In one part of the walkway, there are some gladioliis growing.
These are supposed to be bad companions for beans.
I have left them there so I can see how they affect the beans growing here.
Last year the purple king beans did not do well here, but I dont know if that was because this area didnt have very good soil or if it was the gladies.
Mum lent us her camara, and we have taken some pics and put them in my photoblog.
I thought we were going to have to create another blog because the last time I tried to access it, it showed as 'no such number' but its back again.
Being on broadband makes a huge difference to putting the pics on,so much faster.
I have been making our own bread now,still using the sourdough method.I havent killed it this time and it is getting that lovely tangy taste.
The only different thing I can see that I have been doing is to pour boiling water into the crock after its been cleaned out and scrubbed with hot soapy water and rinsed, then leaving it to sit with the lid on til it cools down.
Last night I made another foccacia with finely chopped up rosemary to go ontop along with the olive oil and salt.
I have stopped wrapping it clingwrap, I dont like using this and decided that we need to make only enough to eat and if there is any left over- to either use it in something like a bread n butter pudding or as I did yesterday turn it into breadcrumbs and dry it out.
I still have most of my fingertips left after grating the bread on the grater.
I discovered that the part I use to grate chees does not do very well for breadcrumbs but that the other side I have never used before does great at grating.
This week I started making soft cheese using the bought kit I got from Madmillie.com.
I had heard of making cheese withan acid before but never tried it.
Unfortunately, I have only been able to use normal bought milk which is pasturised and homogenised-they call it standard milk, I think its alot watery compared to the 'standard milk ' we had as kids, that was silver top or just pasturised.
I may have found a local source of farm milk but have to wait for my boss to get hold of the farmer he knows that is supplying a local cheese shop to see if he will be willing to sell to me as well.
Then we need to verify the legal req's to make sure he doesnt get inot trouble before we start.I have found that there are people in this world who will try to cause all sorts of trouble just because they can and dont understand when and why people dont do 'the right thing'.
I would love to have a cow, goat and milk ewe so we could make afew different types of cheese but that isnt possible so perhaps we can get the next best thing.
The kit I got has a proper thermometre so you can see exactly how hot the milk is getting.
The 'acid' provided to make the curds is plain ol citric acid which works its magic almost straight away.
There is so much whey left over after making a soft cheese that I didnt know what to do with it.
I had heard somewhere that it is good for the body to drink which I did alittle but dont really like the taste of it, some I gave to the chooks but not too much as they havent had this before and I didnt want to give them the runs and the rest I poured over the compost heaps.
Seemed a waste, maybe I should have stored it in the freezer til I find out what it can be used for.
I am impatiently waiting for our seeds to hurry up and grow so I can plant them out,they are all starting to sprout now.
I havent been able to sow any more cos Im out of trays and bench space to put them on so they need to hurry up for the next lot to come along.
I found that the black raspberry cutting I took last month have sprouted way ahead of the ones I took last autumn-I thought it would be the other way around.
From now on I will leave taking cuttings of this sort of thing til spring.
Our first ever green gooseberry bush has little fruit on it but none still on the red one.
The maori potatoes near the broadbeans were sprouting and I didnt have much to cover them with so I chopped and dropped the cover crop that was in that bed all over them.
I dont want them showing til the threat of frosts is over and that wont be til next week.
Finally managed to mow some lawns and get some clippings for myself.
I had promised my mum that I would get some for her so she could extend her garden out from the side of her house so she's been getting the little that I got.
The thought occurred to me that if it were not for our modern lifestyle, I would be doing this gardening bit completely differently, which then led to me wondering how that would be and what exactly would I be doing.
I then realised that I will probabaly be doing things differently when I get old too- too old to lunk a dome around the yard.
After checking out for someone else what the tree supplier said about the number of trees needed for a woodstove- I realised that something different will have to be done here as well.
Afew years ago I had to replace the wood fire as the window in the door fell off.
I chose a carbon neutral firebox which has a proper wetback not just a hot water booster.
I look at the chimneys of my neighbours and I see smoke,I look at our chimney and I see no smoke, which is pleasing.
Hubby found an oven hob type thing that sits on it so we could bake with it but it has warmed up now and I havent had the fire on to practise with it.
This contraption apparently work with gas or an open fire as well, but I did wonder if it was time to start looking at solar type ovens.
This took me back to noticing how much of what we do and use is only there because we have the 'luxury' of our modern lifestyle.=one type uses tinfoil for example.
After reading the posts on mushrooms I decided to take the plunge on this too and am waiting for my bucket of grow your own mushrooms- I got one for my daughter as well.
Im thinking that I could probably take some of the compost and try toinnoculate some areas in the garden or even the compost heap to see if mushrooms will grow.
Not sure how it will go and maybe should have waited til autumn for this.
My laptop wasnt working properly for some reason so I took it down to the computer guy and found it was nothing really-took him 2 seconds to fix so I asked him if he like eggs and that I would bring him some eggs, which I did.
Last edited by mischief; 10-10-2011 at 09:55 AM.
After looking over what I was doing last year compared to this, its really obvious that this season has been colder and wetter here than last year.
On the plus side though, I havent fried any seedlings-started them later and have them in the porch.
I may still have started some of them alittle too early though but its a catch 22 if they dont get started they might not have a long enough growing season.
Last year the Orange tree already had flower buds on it, whereas this year its only just starting to produce new leaf buds.
Last year I had already filled up a compost bin, this year I'm struggling to get enough to mulch the beds let alone extra for the bins and that taking into account that mums been getting clippings too.
My daughter on the other hand delights in telling me what she has got sprouting and already planted out - she is an hour north of us,.
I learnt from my winter experiment that its no good direct sowing into compost under frost covers til I can guarantee that I can keep the cats out.
I suppose we'll just have to pot the seedlings up and feed them with liquid tea so they do get a good start.
Surprisingly, the okra all came up ahead of the tomatoes and peppers.
I have decided to turn over the soil after the chooks have been moved off.
This is because I noticed we have convovulus sprouting, I'm hoping that by cutting the soil into 6" slices, so that any roots that have got back onto the beds will be shorter and so more easier to pull out.
One curious thing, the Alder I bought from a local nursery has different leaves sprouting than the ones I got from the South Island nursery - I'm pretty sure the S.I. one knows what they are growing but the garden centre might not.
So I'm going to have to do a search to see just what we have got.
I hope it is a type of Alder because the odd ball is growing at the edge of the garden and is supposed to be helping to feed the garden with its roots and leaf fall in autumn.
The strawberry bed is looking good, the bird mesh over it is doing al ggod job ofkeeping the birds and cats out of it, although it seems to be a favourite spot for our tom to take his 'toys' (mice) to play with.
I watched him deliberately let one go so it would crawl through the strawberries, he followed walking over the top of the mesh to capture it again on the other side.
At least this time he didnt take it inside and let it loose.
I have all fingers crossed that the strawberries are doing well in December because my eldest is coming home with his family then and my grandson adores strawberries.
We definitely have baby gooseberries growing ont the green gooseberry bush.
The Kowhai is flowering now which is supposed to mean that it is time to plant out the kumara.
I will be doing that on Sunday.
The chooks are still on the bed that they will be going on, I've been inching them around the curved bed in the first mandala,(waterbed) to make sure it all gets poo'd on.
Mum decided that she would sprout these for me and she did a much better job of it,they were looking alittle yellow last month so she put alittle compost on the tubers and they greened up again.
That should mean the slips have some nice roots on them.
Last edited by mischief; 13-10-2011 at 05:50 AM.
The bucket of grow your own mushrooms arrived, I was expecting them in a week or two, cos they said they would inoculate and incubate them before sending.
We are lucky we have them as they were left on my neighbours back porch instead of ours,He kindly carried them over for us and was rewarded with some eggs.
It certainly looks like something is starting to grow all over the top of them.
I have both buckets sitting in the cardboard box they arrived in, inside the woodshed where its reasonably dark and warm.exciting.
They came with instructions to water carefully in 4 days time.
I'll have to print off the instructions so my daughter has a copy.
The Elderberry cutting I bought on trademe arrived too.
I've put 2 over by the compost bins(over on hubbys side of the trellis),2 along the driveway and 2 got potted up just incase I lost one of the others.
If they all take I'll give them to a friend who was also looking for some.
One of the year old hens has decided to go broody so we have ordered some fertile eggs for her to hatch out-these are meat birds.My son in law is going to help up overcome our reluctance in providing meat for the table.
I was going to get duck eggs but changed my mind at the last minute.
It looks as though we are going to have afew more different types of fruit this year-the black currants and blackberries have both got flowers and fruit on them now.
I still havent been able to find out what my Alder tree really is yet, but TP tree is starting to flower so we will get to verify whether or not it is a tree mallow very soon.
The other day I spent an evening wandering around Hardworkinghippy's garden(via her photos),I try to imagine what our place would look like if we managed to get trees growing strategically so it looks like the garden is nestled into the woods like hers does.
Maybe we can get together with the neighbours and organise a mutual tree growing thing.
Today our fertile eggs arrived and were put under the broody hen.
She's secluded in a redundant rabbit cage ( I decided that rabbits were too much work at the moment and too fluffy and pretty for me to kill right now,,,,maybe later).
It seemed to take her quite awhile to decide whether or not she was going to sit on them but thankfully did.
I'm not sure what I would have done if she hadnt.
I also spied out where 'Houdini" has been laying her eggs.
There seems to always be one smart arse who just has to push it.
This hen discovered that she could get out of the dome, first by jumping up and out through the small gap between the door and side post of the dome, then when that was blocked off she taught herself to launch herself between the bottom of the door and the dome and out-these gaps are about 3 inches although it would be interesting to actually measure them to see just how good her wing/eye co-ordination is.
Originally I thought she was laying under the Mandarin tree and spent ages trying to find her nest there.
It wasnt til this morning that I spotted her beak poking out of the shrubbery.
Its under the ferns not far from the steps up to the garden and in sight of the back door.
Today was the first day we had to do something with the mushrooms, according to our instructions.
The bucket arrived with its peat top inside a plastic bag with instructions to wait for four days before carefully placing this peat ontop of the bucket.
The temperatures are supposed to be around 20 degree but with this cold spell we had trouble finding a spot anywhere that was nice and warm.
The best we could do was next to the freezer.
I did have them in the hot water cupboard, but after using our large thermometre, I found that it wasnt all that warm on the floor in there.
I hope that this means that our mushrooms will be alittle slower at producing and not that they wont grow at all.
I think we'll be alright.
I have little sticks stuck around the kumara plants, a la hardworkinghippy and it seems to be working at stopping the hens from ripping them out.
They girls are spending most of their time in the dome and let out early in the evening.
Today they discovered the soil under the trailer was nice and dry inspite of the absolute drenching we got today and spent most of their time having a dust bath.
I think I may have worked out why Gladiolii's are not good companions for beans- it may have something to do with the fact that snails seem to love living in them.
I just happened to peer in amongst the leaves and found so many of them I was shocked and did wonder if I was wasting my time with the garden when I had so many adversaries to combat.
I have been having fun in the garden while I wait for things to hurry up and grow.
I've taken to pocketing the camara and practising taking photos of different things.
This week, I discovered how to zoom in on things and have been practising getting the focus right.
Actually, thats how I came to find the hoard of snails in the Gladioli.
The latest subject has been spiders, after rereading the one straw revolution again-must be my all time favourite I think because it covers the philosophical as well as physical.
Anyway, he talks about how spiders are good for the land and a good measure of how things are going.
I have not seen all that many spiders in the garden and wondered if this was because we have white tail spiders in our area.
I had been told that they will eat out just about all the other spiders.
I have seen the odd web but not that many actual spiders so off I went in search of them.
We seem to have quite afew different sorts but still not many in number.
I think in an hour and a half, I found 5 and of these only two were the same.
I have seen 2 other different types but not that day.
Not too sure on what to do to encourage them into the garden,they arent the sort of thing that is normally talked about in this regard...you hear about what to do to encourage bees or lacewings but not spiders.
The T.P tree finally flowered and I was able to verify that it is in fact the tree mallow lavatera arborea.
Still havent done the final test to see if it deserves it new name yet though.
Havent found out whether or not the Alder, that was recently planted along the back of the garden, is in fact Alder, or something else.
I just love your descriptions Mischief. Brings a smile to my dial!! Thanks
Such a lot of reading for me to catch up on. I hope you realise its me who is shangrila on your photoblog and not some weird stranger.
haha thats great, life should have alot of smiles,it a wonderous world.
I read somewhere that you see more in the world when you look at it through your two year old eyes, everything was new and interesting.
yep I did.
I thought we were all alittle weird though.
It did take me ages to figure out how to befriend you on photoblog, but its done now.
We finally got together with the farmer who is willing to sell milk from the farm, so off I trotted early this morning to collect our first lot.
As soon as I got it home we had a huge glass of milk and it tasted soooo good.
I cant wait for the cream to rise so we can scoop it off and save some for pikelets and use the rest to make butter.
I thought we still had some yogurt culture in the fridge but no so I'll have to get some more.
We can easily go through 4-5 litres a week if not more in summer when I use it in the salad dressing as well.
Some uses for whey; (from various sources)
I have been using whey for so many things.
Cooked oatmeal in it.
Cooked rice in it.
Used it instead of milk in corn bread.
Used it instead of milk in pancakes.
Also this - "Don't throwout that whey! Whey can be used in almost any recipe calling for sour milk or buttermilk. We use it in pancakes, muffins, breads and salad dressings. It can also be turned into lemonade by adding sweetener. If you won't be using it in cooking, we are told it makes an excellent plant food."
And this -
Protein is affected by high heat, as are beneficial bacteria. So it depends more on what temperature you brought the milk to when you warmed it, whether it will offer protein and/or beneficial bacteria (which will promote fermentation)
When I make paneer for example, the recipe requires that I bring the milk to a boil then add an acid base (in this case lemon juice), thus using heat and acid combined to curdle the milk. For this cheese I would not expect beneficial bacteria or proteins to be left in the whey.
If using low heat and acid you may still have the last protein that is only curdled with high heat. One test you can do to see if there is protein left, is to bring the whey to a boil, then let it sit. After 10-15 minutes strain through a cheese cloth and if you have curds, there was protein left. Doing this with whey from harder cheese ie cheddar, gouda, feta will give you traditional ricotta which is a low yield, but very yummy-a lot more flavorful than whole milk ricotta that most of us are used to.. The flavor is partly due to the fact that this last protein is very sweet.
Of course doing this does destroy the beneficial bacteria, so if you want to use your whey for fermenting grains etc. you will not want to do this. But if you want to create a yummy traditional cheese or test your whey, you can always do this with a portion of your whey. When you make cheese you have lots of whey.
I use whey from low temperature cheese in cooking as well as soaking grains, beans etc. I use it in bread baking. I feed it to my animals, they love it. I make lemonade and whey soup. I make a lot of cheese and end up with lots of whey, so I also add it to my compost and my garden. I don't ever toss it, I always feed it to somebody.
As an addendum to the above: As I understand it, beneficial bacteria is destroyed at about 110-115 degrees F (around 45 degrees C). The protein is coagulated when the milk or whey is boiled. So until the whey is brought to a boil that last protein will remain.
Some more -
Use the whey to make bread. I do that all the time. When I make cheese I let the whey cool, put it it ice cube trays, then empty the ice cubes into plastic bags and put them back in the freezer. The liquid makes a much softer bread than when you just use water, but doesn't add the gummy texture that using actual milk can cause, because there aren't at many of the thicker proteins, and there is no real fat left. It's a very healthy way to add protein and softness to bread.
Just take the whey, and use it to blossom your yeast. I like it for slicing bread, and for flatbreads. Take a large cup of warm whey, with a tablespoon or two of honey or sugar, add a packet of yeast, stir, then let sit till blossomed, add it to a cup of all purpose or white bread flour, a cup of whole wheat flour and knead, adding bench flour a little at a time till the dough is no longer sticky, but still kneads easily (kitchen aids are awesome for this because of the kneading hook, but you have to use a pro series, the entry level ones have plastic gears now and can't handle bread doughs). Then either form into a loaf, or what I like doing is taking hunks of it, working them out into flatbreads and just cooking them in a cast iron pan. If the cast iron is well enough primed you don't even need oil, other than a tiniest drizzle every 4-5 flatbreads just to keep the prime in the iron from burning out.
And finally (for now) - The region in India where I grew up, a cold, flavored buttermilk drink was served with lunch, especially in summer. The consistency is supposed to be much thinner (almost watery) than the cultured buttermilk you get in a carton. I am guessing that your whey is about the right consistency. Here's how to flavor it: Mash/grate a 1 inch piece of ginger, coarsely chop one hot (Thai) green chili, chop some fresh cilantro (Oregano) leaves. Add all of these to 4 cups of whey or thin buttermilk. Add salt to taste and a couple of teaspoons of sugar or honey. You're not going for a detectable (is that a word?) sweet taste, but just trying to balance the heat from the ginger and chilies and any tartness from the whey. Let this mixture steep for an hour or so in the fridge before serving. You could strain out the flavorings before serving. If you don't strain out the chilies and ginger when storing leftovers, remember that they will continue to steep into the liquid. The drink can taste much spicier the next day.
Hope that helps
Last edited by Don Hansford; 21-10-2011 at 08:16 AM.
Reason: ficks sum spilling misteaks
Warwick, Sth East Queensland
Permaculture Design Warwick Pty Ltd
Light travels faster than sound ..... that's why some people appear to be bright, until you hear them speak.