Monday, January 21, 2013

:: sweetpea shadehouse and building update ::

glorious Sweetpeas
Phoebe in front of her thickly-covered stick house
 After much dry we've had lots of decent soakings and the progress of Phoebe's Sweetpeas has been ever upward and now surround her stick house entirely, providing just the colourful, sweet-smelling shade we'd been hoping for - a great Permaculture outcome - 3 uses covered here: beauty, shade and fragrance. Phoebe and I created the little stick house from prunings planted into the ground and woven together back in might like to see the skeletal framework here.
School Project - building her own house
The timing of the soakings has not been well-timed for continuing the house-building project.  The Manuka fram has stood up well and Phoebe is feeling the excitement and motivation to get this house completed.  A work-in-progress...shall keep you posted!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

:: garlic crop 2013 ::

Summer...sunshine, warmth, long days, holiday-time, stone fruit, crickets and cicadas, lushness giving way to parched landscapes, eating outdoors, short-sleeves and jandals, cricket games on the radio, painting the house...and an abundance from the edible gardens...and garlic harvest.
The quiet transformation from muddied globs wrenched from the earth to these bright, white tidy bulbs is magical!  We pulled 51 bulbs that could be considered a 'bulb', plus 8 that bolted before becoming nice and fat.  The plait weighs 2.4kgs, which averages at just under 50gm per bulb - I reckon that is pretty good. 
Especially so, since, while I was meditatively-sitting, cleaning and trimming the haul, I glanced down NZ Gardener garden-diva, Linda Hallinan's feature article on garlic from the June 2012 magazine and read with horror that I'd planted our rows much too close together - should be bulbs handspan apart and rows approximately 40cm apart - allowing enough sunlight to penetrate to each plant!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

:: something from July 2012 ::

 During the Winter Phoebe had an inspiration to make her own candle from the leftover bits of wax from other candles, that had been accumulating.
Her Dad organised her in the workshop - a great place for such projects.  I noted all the safety precautions taken - hair tied back, the best apron for the job - has plastic over the fabric, surfaces clear and plenty of space and light in which to work.
One of Phoebe's interests is cooking, so this activity flowed seamlessly on from those skills.  I do like the two-handed approach.
Phoebe made this all by herself, with simply a few instructions and a supervisory eye from Father.

 A perfectly-poured candle - and almost reverence as she watches the liquid wax cool and harden.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

:: brag-basket #4 ::

I believe this is Silverbeet 'Argentata'
this truly tickled my fancy - this one leaf of silverbeet ('chard' to some) is so large it has almost entirely covered my basket! HUGE! A meal in a leaf. 
And the only other things you can see from this FULL basket of green goodness are the tips of more and more broadbeans - I love broadbeans, a little more Cavalero Kale - which I sauteed along with 'the leaf' and the 'ears' - two gigantic zucchini (Yes, I mean marrows - they hid - I did not know they were lurking in the undergrowth - no I'm not the world's tidiest of weeders ;-) )
So tonight's meal consisted of the aforementioned greens, including 'broccolini' (sprouting broccoli that I completely encourage) and the broadbeans and in the oven was a huge tray of spuds with onions (wedge-cut, for speed and finesse!) and peppers and zucchini - all tossed about in olive oil, chilli flakes and Himalayan salt and fresh ground black pepper. A generous dollop of fresh, homemade basil/parsley/sunflower seed pesto graced each serving! Yum.
+ dessert - because it's New Year's Day - so we had to, of course - I'd been wanting to try 'Clafoutis' for a long time - no red-fleshed plums in these woods yet - so used some special organic apricots from Bremdale Farms instead and what a divine dessert emerged - straight to the pool room with that one! [ooh - and easy-peasy, too - I'd imagined that something that sounded as fancy as a 'Clafoutis' would be a finicky thing to create - not so - you must try one if you haven't already fallen for its charms!]
Happy 2013 to all and may you dream big and boldly!

:: a new year dawns ::

at dawn it was pretty chilly on an exposed hillside...grasses twitched to and fro in the too-swift breeze...getting up at 5.15am to drive to this vantage point felt early this morning

looking out over Mahia Peninsula

  and finally...what we were waiting for...thoughts centered on the warmth and certainty of the sun rising, illuminating all in its path, energising and bringing vitality, almost imperceptibly supporting what sometimes seems impossible!
Ah, the wonders of the world...
2013...I wonder...