Sunday, 25 January 2015

... unbelievable bursts of ...



by Simone McPherson
A number of weeks ago, I was visiting a wonderful new friend in town.  ‘J’ has an unquestionably beautiful garden that I was forced to concede my envy of.  

You see her lovey garden was filled with climbing roses, rose bushes, dahlias, chrysanthemums, blue salvias, blue agapanthus, grevilleas and …

… Buddleias of all colours.  There were pots brimming with Liriope samantha, white and red petunias, Canna Tropicanna and soft Kimberly ferns.  Close to the lovely old house I was shown Crocosmia Lucifer growing along with rosemary, mints, wormwood and an array of more rose bushes.  I found myself overjoyed and delighted with the sights and colours from ‘J’s picturesque garden, I was even offered some cuttings which I jumped at.
Once home I set to work organising my home-grown soil in the form of cow-poo, leaf mulch, creek soil and some clay from the dams - 
 ... into darling little pots that ‘J’ gave me …


… I had some Yellow Buddleias which I then trimmed and rolled in some honey from our big old Ironbarks here - to aid with the propagation process of the cuttings ...

 ... I then potted them all up ready for their new life, hopefully to encourage some butterflies to my little gardens … 
… then came the ‘Spider Plant’ or ‘Ribbon Plant’ ‘pups’ …


… which I just set strait into some pots along with a good water of Seaweed ‘essence’ to help with the root growth.

I was also given a lovely bag full of home grown garlic … which is hanging in my kitchen the temptation is to try and not use all the little bulbs in cooking which we both love however to save some to plant out in Autumn …
… and whilst we are in the kitchen, 


... I picked another three buckets jammed packed full of Basil … yes we do have Pesto coming out of our ears but the best thing of all is giving  away those jars of Pesto to friends and family.

I have also been busy making … freshly grated beetroot, with lemon juice, garlic and Greek yogurt …
… which is delicious, along with avocado on rye for Breaky …


… so were the little vegetable patties that I made up on another morning …


… and what about eggs and bacon with sweet chilli, lemoney garlic yogurt and baby new English spinach? … that was our Sunday Breaky … Yummy too! And by the way that is my ‘shot’ of coffee poured over ice, which I enjoy  over the summer months …

I’ve had a go at making some crystallised lemon peel for cakes and biscuits, though most of the peel I devoured myself, I have a weakness for  anything ‘lemon’ you see ... 

… and I even made some Almond Biscotti … 

...which are just delish dunked into my icy coffee – no milk or sugar just ice for morning tea … 

We have been moving the cows around with their buba’s so as they get the best pick from the new grasses as they shoot up even bringing them in here to the house paddock.

And with this incredible heat that we have been having we lost a sliding window the other day which gave us the fright of our lives, as we were in for lunch - with the incredible ‘Crack’ it made as the glass shattered in all directions …
 
… other than that the days have been very humid which is very unusual for this part of the country as we are usually dry and hot with cold and frosty days during winter.  As a result the gums are rejuvenating their barks with all this lovely moisture and they are simply beautiful at the moment with all the lovely colours that are revealed once the old bark falls away …
… along with the beautiful soft silvery greens of the ‘Knives-edge’ Wattles …
… and as for the native grasses, well they are taking full advantage too, of this humidity of late with their unbelievable bursts of growth that almost appears before your eyes …
… and with that another day has come to an end as the light disappears into the West …
… and so once again it is time to head back home again for the start of yet another lovely day no matter what it may bring …


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

... anxious and very willing ...



by Simone McPherson

As we drive through this country we wonder at how fast the country has greedily soaked up all that wonderful rain and …

… of how the transformation of the country has taken place right before our eyes.

The Geraniums have all come back to life as I had put all my pot plants out into the rain to be quenched as it came gushing down from the heavens leaving the plants all perfectly clean, fresh and washed from the layers dust.

The little cumquat trees decided it was an ideal time to put out their flowers and all I can smell in the early mornings and then in the late afternoons is their delightful scent wafting from the lovely little waxy blossoms.

The Kaifer lime with its strange primeval looking fruit is amassed with new foliage … 

… even the Purslane or Portulaca oleracea  that grows wild here has become prolific.  I am collecting the fresh new juicy leaves and using them in salads as it pops up everywhere.  It is a delicious edible succulent that has a lovely crunchy lettuce taste, though I have had it tasting very lemony to almost peppery depending on the time of year.  I know that Purslane has been consumed since ancient times, and because it grows easily in hot and not too dry climates, it is used in many parts of the world, from Greece to Mexico, and from Turkey to India by way of South Africa.  I appreciate that most people look at this lovely little plant as a weed but really next time you come across it do try it by adding a few of those lovely juicy leaves  to your next leafy or even potato salad it is just delicious, you won’t be disapointed.  I do believe that you can cook it as well, though I do not see any need to cook it as it is delicious as it is ….


… There is the Rosemary too, that I have grown from a cutting and which I use very regularly as a brush on the barbeque when I am cooking anything involving – Lamb.  I just make up a marinade of Virgin Olive oil – Greek being my preference, here in Australia a lot of the Olive oil that we get is … well too young when it is pressed which makes in very hot in your mouth, down your throat and then it gives you heart burn .. not the nicest thing to happen.  I make a marinade, which I brush over my lamb made from a piece of Rosemary that I have shaped into a brush – using the Greek olive oil, salt, pressed fresh garlic maybe some lemon juice too … the result is just delicious.

And how can I forget all that magnificent Basil … with the rain it has just taken off …

…. And it just keeps growing and growing ….

… I just keep getting buckets and buckets of leaves that I turn into Pesto …

Another breath-taking thing happened this week too! I bet you can’t guess what? …

… and yes it was ‘breath-taking’ as we ran up the runway of our little local aerodrome in town, and all I know is that it was  beautiful little Cessna over 50 years old mind you and still dearly loved by its owner ‘P’ though he tells me that he is only the Cessna’s second owner.  “how fantastic” I think to myself … ’P’ had invited us for a flight over our place, would we like to go? … well he did not have to ask us twice or even twist our arms …

… as we start to assend you can see all the covered stone fruit farms, as our town is a major vegetable and stone fruit growing region.  The covers are to protect the fruits from damage by hail, as this area is notorious for very bad and violent hail storms …

 … and as we climb, I am amazed to see all the dams dotted over the landscape below ….

… there are patches of land that have been carved out to accommodate the vegetable growing, and it looks ‘Oh! so green!’ …

… ‘P’ informs us that below there is the big farm where they grow ‘Strawberry Runners’ not the fruit but, just the runners which they then export all over the world … “well I never” and do you know that at the height of the “bundling” of the runners season they employ over 400 workers? I never knew that.

Then after a lot of “Ou”-ing and “Ah”-ing as we flying over the collaged shapes of the landscape below us, I suddenly recognise something …

 … “yes” ‘P’ tells me and El Ranchero … “that is your place see, there is the Crutching Shed” … I start on my “Ah”-ings again …

… though we are used to viewing the shed  from this angle, I can still make it out …

… then ‘P’ points out the Homestead … “gee it looks bare from up here” I think to myself, not much chance of a garden there  

… then as ‘P’ makes another turn I can see the ‘house dam’ that the dogs and I walk to and …

… which Lily pup enjoys swimming in ….

… we then sweep over some country that has been cleared for cattle and we wonder at how small it all looks from up here, and the preciousness of the trees, of the landscape below us

… and before we know it we are back where we had taken off from, at the charmingly kept little aerodrome … what a perfect outing, I was glad that we had work on hold – calf marking - at home, for that morning flying with ‘P’ was so up lifting …

… Arriving home that morning we both agree that we have acquired a change in our perspective on the landscape and its beauty that flourishes around us …

… and once home we are greeted by two impatient, anxious and very willing workers, waiting to get on with the job at hand the calf marking “yes we are Blessed” … we reflect … maybe tomorrow would be a good day to start marking the little calves …