Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fecund

Never never plant more than one zucchini plant unless you have friends without this amazing veg or you are addicted to HUGE quantities of same.  This one stem on one plant has 11 fruit in various stages of growth.  And we have SIX plants!!! Problem is - all the neighbours have zucchinis growing! We are all trying to offload our produce on each other - success only comes when unsuspecting townies arrive.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What an amazing week

The temperature has been over 30C for the past few days, farmgate sales of blueberries have been overwhelming and we've run out of supplies. Today the weather is beautifully mild - but very wet as it has rained for the past 12 hours.  So we can't pick to replenish stock - hopefully no-one turns up at the farmgate!
Discovered this gorgeous gladiolus in the pump flower bed - no idea where it came from.

Visitors all comment on our amazing blue hydrangeas - we can't help it - the answer lies in the soil!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today's beauties

This is a handful of pure bliss - our first real crop of mulberries.  The flavour just explodes in your mouth. Sorry Ms Artifice - these and your silk will never meet!
These are huonville crab apples - they are large for crab apples, and have the most divine bright pink flesh.
Slight aberration in the blueberry patch - they are so sweet and, dare I say it, "lolly - like".

Saturday, January 21, 2012

To the south-westMorning tea time


Morning tea time

Everyone else is black. What happened here?

Obviously the spuds on the right were planted first.

Over the hill and far away

Small hill, rusted tank ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blueberry facts

Here's the promised blueberry picking lesson.


Blueberries (genus Vaccinium) grow in bunches - each comprising from half a dozen berries to over 80 berries (I know - I counted a huge bunch the other day and gave up when I reached 79 - there were still about 20 unripe berries remaining).

Blueberries do not ripen after they have been picked. And the berries on each bunch do not ripen at the same time.

Despite growing in bunches similar to grapes, individual bunches cannot be picked - well, you can pick them then you waste most of your crop.

So - a ripe blueberry is blue all over and blue up the stem.  Pink berries can probably be picked in two or three weeks.  Green/white berries - well, that depends on the weather, time available, your patience - but generally another four weeks or so.

The most important fact, though, is that the blueberries just want to leap into your hand. There's no point in pulling off the berries - any resistance means that the fruit is not ripe.

Picking blueberries is reasonably tedious - you circle around and around bush picking only the blue, then you move on to the next bush ..... then a few days later you repeat the cycle until three months later you've either picked all the fruit or it has shrivelled and fallen from the bush and you are relieved that it's nine months until the next harvest.

And in those nine months you prune, weed, repair the irrigation system, wish you'd never succumbed to the lure of life on the land, regret that silly passing thought and remember how wonderful it is to live in the countryside growing delicious things - and it all happens again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The neighbours

The other night we had quite a bit of rain, so were unable to pick blueberries until the sun dried them out.  A walk around the neighbourhood was in order.

These three we'd met a week or so before. 
L-R brown alpaca, black alpaca, sheep
As soon as you approach the fence the two alpacas and the sheep (the one they are guarding??) race to greet you.  Last time both alpacas demanded food (none) and then vigorous rubs along their long necks and under the chin.

 For some reason they don't like being photographed, but the attraction of interaction keeps the brown one around.


I should have realised something was going to happen - something I wouldn't enjoy.  The black stared intently at me, all the while chewing - then suddenly I was subject to a huge blast of spittle and ground grass full frontal face.  Scientists measuring the forward thrust would have been impressed. I wasn't wearing glasses - removed them to take the photos, hadn't I? - so I had rather painful eyes for the rest of the day.  The upside?  Didn't smell too bad!  Obviously fresh grass and recently created saliva.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wolf spider

Was going to post on blueberry picking, but when I threw wheelbarrow loads of chestnut catkins onto the compost heap I found an amazing creature - it was all "furry", and when it jumped to the ground what seemed like hundreds of tiny spiders scattered everywhere.  That made it easy to identify - it was a wolf spider! Poisonous but not lethal - to humans that is.
Catkins from there, to here ...
And finally ending here ...
Tomorrow maybe for the blueberry picking lesson.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Somewhere in there you will find ...
zucchini

purple beans
and one of these weighs 5kg (hint: it's the one on the right!) - 5kg of red cabbage.
Country joke:
Why do people in the country lock their cars in summer?
To stop other people storing zucchini in their car.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hot hot hot

Soooo hot. 
 We've gone from kilos of strawberries a day to five or six a day.
And the blueberry crop has gone from half a dozen berries to tens of kilos a day. Wouldn't be so much of a problem if the weather weren't so hot. The flip side of course is more heat = more sugar = even more delicious blueberries.  And as that is just what we want, we can't complain about the weather.

We believe blueberry eaters should be gluttons, none of this "I'll have one or two".  So the smallest quantity for sale is one kilo.  So far only one person has exhibited signs of parsimony.  Sad. She thought we were just trying to sell as much as we could - what she failed to understand was that it is impossible to stop at one or two, so why disappoint yourself with a wee handful?  Buy lots and be happy (not to say, healthy as well)!

We meet all manner of delightful people with this selling lark!