Monday, 8 April 2013

Photos by Shayni

New garden tools from a garage sale.  Total cost of sale: $6
Photo by GreeNZPeace
One man's junk is another man's treasure.  I LOVE garage sales and opp shops!  Taking away someone else's unwanted goods to give them a new lease on life!  Our new/old garden fork and long-handled loppers will surely come in handy!  The garden is currently in a harvest peak.  Apples, figs, grapes, berries, feijoas and guavas have just arrived on the gardenstore-front.

Produce.  Photo by Moi
I happened to go to a talk last week about food security and was gifted these wonderful little cobs of strawberry popping corn!  I de-kernelled one cob to test it out and found that I couldn't use the air-popping method as it kept on spitting them out - too light to stay in there.  So I tried the pot and dash of oil method - they really did pop - one cob of kernels made about half a cupful of mini popped corn.  Tasted good.  Mmmn, might try to grow them next summer.  This year I went hell-for-leather planting out my corn (organic sweetcorn, multi-coloured Hopi corn and black Maori corn) - only to discover that I had neglected to account for the deciduous tree growth which would preclude most sunlight to their sun-hungry lifestyle.  So sadly, most of the corn was left to dry as it was not good to eat, but will keep the cobs for seeds and/or feeding the chooks.   Humff!  But not entirely a waste of time and energy as the corn would be leaving a precious gift of nitrogen in the soil for future plants.

Crazy little strawberry popping corn.  Photo by Shayni

Corn kernels in the popping machine hatch

The end result, after pot-frying them.  They look burnt but
it is just the dark colour of the hulls.
The garden is giving up so much bounty that we need another family to help us eat the food!  It is apple and feijoa time!  Heaps of apples, along with a steady drop of roughly 10-15 feijoas daily.  The size of feijoas varies considerably, from around 3cm circumference to 7-8cm!  The smaller feijoas tend to be sweeter.  Been making crumbles, feijoa relish and dehydrating some.

One of the bigger feijoas
Another steady harvest includes Zucchini Rampicante.  While the warmer-loving common zucchini plants have long succumbed to going mouldy and being relegated to the compost heap, Z Rampi is perfect for extending the season of Zucchini-Harvest.  Z Rampi are cold-hardy and very easy to grow.  The long neck is seed-free, while the bulbous end carries the seed.  They are great for making layered lasagne-type meals, using the thinly sliced rounds as one would use pasta sheets.  Or for marrow chutney.  If they are on the ground, they tend to curl up into crazy S-Bends or goose-neck shapes.  The vines that head for overhanging foliage tend to grow long and straight (about 1.2m) and it is not uncommon to harvest specimens as below, resembling rocket launchers!  
Craziest vegetable ever!  Zucchini Rampicante.
Cradled by the Wild Woman of the Woods.  Photo by Shayni
(I did ask for a shot without the head!!)
With me hubby away in India, visiting an Ashram for 17 days, I was running around trying to fit in all my regular chores, as well as his.  But it also meant I had more time on my hands in between chores, to say, reupholster a couple of dining room chairs (as you do, of an evening).  Have staple gun, will reupholster!

Threadbare chairs...

Everyday wear and tear as bottoms slide on and off 

First, remove previous staples to release old threadbare fabric cover

Cut new fabric to size and tuck a turned back edge and staple in place

Continue to turn back edges and staple in place till all 4 sides are in place

Voila!  20 mins later.  A sample of fabric forms a new chair covering

And while my husband was swanning around and meditating in India, I also managed to re-house and cover his Sobukawa or Buckwheat pillow.  Initially, I thought of pouring the innards into the compost bin (much better to use one of these eco-option pillows than a synthetic, allergy-free polyester one which probably takes a hundred years to break down in landfill!) but then thought I could perhaps just extend it's life a little further by recovering it.  It was a pleasant little challenge.  I might have to repeat this process with mine as soon as I gather a few more spare moments.  The next time the cover gets really icky (took about 7 years), I will probably use the composting option.

Cat admires new fabric covering for old, stained pillow

Buckwheat hulls are poured into bucket and then sifted to remove dust which
discolours the covering.  Tedious, but fun.  Finally, the hulls are then poured
into the new pillow covering.

Might I say, quite an arty- looking pillow now!

My sock-life-extenders - adding an extra bit of old sock tops
to the heels extends sock life.  Only takes 2 mins each!
And on the same theme, before Mike returned from India, looking decidedly Om Mine Padme Hummish (or relaxed in non-meditation talk), my daughter and I also managed to move about 2 cubic metres of tree mulch to cover areas of the garden, including the pathway at the back of the house.  The 2 new little skittery skattery chooks were moved off of bed number 2, we piled on 2 barrow-loads of newly made compost and it is ready to plant up with winter veggies.  Looking good, Sister!
Leafy glade with newly laid mulch

Bed 2, all ready for new beginnings
After carefully choosing which of the 8 little chickens we would keep, my daughter told me she had named the lighter one, Lux, which means Light in Latin, and that I was free to come up with the other chicken's name.  Without hesitating, I said: "Blackboy!"
She gave me a look of pure disgust (17yr olds have managed to perfect this look over the last half-decade of their life) and said with obvious disdain, that the chicken was a GIRL!  So I replied that Blackboy was in honour of the dark-skinned peaches which are so delicious and of the same hue.  She gave me that look, the one which withers leaves off of trees but one which I am used to, so I said, "Okay, what about Bibi?"  Didn't tell her that it was short for Blackboy, but I think she guessed, coz she wheeled around and headed indoors in exasperation.

Anyway, Blackboy is doing just fine, alongside her sister, Lux!  They seem to be growing every day, but are quite the scaredy-cats (or chickens) and are not as friendly as Liz and Spence.  (My daughter never objected to one of them being called a Male name!)

Our 2 new little chicken friends, photo by Shayni
One night, whilst left to our own devices, as I lay on the couch, ever the Lazy Housewife for the evening, my daughter, in the absence of her father to tease, decided to decorate my foot!  A rather ticklish experience, but none too awful.   I required her to take a photo for prosperity.  Great Sole Art! She also likes to take sneaky pics on my camera.   When it comes to download my photos, I'm like, "Hey, who took this one?"  Need I ever ask??  Often, they are of her pulling a variety of strange faces! It does make me smile!

Now she's demanding I acknowledge her contributions!  Hence the title of this blog.  All un-acknowledged photos are by myself.  And yes, she does take better ones than me as she has patience and time on her hands, I am too busy doing all the things I am blogging about!
Sole Art - photo with permission, by Shayni

Photo by Shayni

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