Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I need some advice

On apple cucumbers.

I did a bit of research on the net before and thought that I had better pick some of the cucumbers climbing up the twine in the grow house as it said that they should be the size of a lemon, and yellow.

Well, mine aren’t yellow and when sliced open were full of seeds, which tasted fine like cucumber but the skin and flesh were so bitter, eeugh.

So then I went and picked a few more smaller ones and they were the same. So have I picked them too early because if I peel the bitterness away it doesn’t leave a lot of cucumber to enjoy?


The cucumbers in the bowl with the lemon are half the size of the first one that I picked.

Help please, on the net it said that they would be bitter and full of seeds if left for too long so I really don’t know what to do!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Tasmania – Love it…..


This is Russell Falls at the Mt Field National Park. It’s just one reason that I love living here. From the rugged coastline on the south east coast to “The Nut” just off Stanley on the north west coast.



And, naturally, everything in between.





I do love the sea and I’m glad that I live in a small coastal town, but just recently I haven’t wandered down to the beach because of my painful foot. Tasmania is very hilly and where I live has some very deceiving, gradual hills. I could walk along the beach but I can’t cope with the gentle incline back up to the house. Terry gets a regular walk to the beach and just loves it. On hot days he even goes in the water.

M had taken Terry down to the boat shed to collect oysters last week. He came back with three bucket loads. I prefer my oysters smoked or slightly cooked. I can eat raw oysters (I mean 1 raw oyster) but my preference is smoked. So M set up the wok with the sawdust in the bottom, stole my best pizza tray with the holes in the bottom and placed the oysters on the tray into the wok. The barbecue ring was then lit and in a few minutes we had the most wonderful smoked oysters. We ate our fill and then he carefully placed the rest in jars and covered them with olive oil. There are a few jars left still in the fridge. They’ve passed the taste test with some Japanese visitors that we had last week, as did the home smoked salmon.


The Japanese visitors were a honeymoon couple who had been married on the Saturday; flew to Tasmania on the Sunday; visited Wineglass Bay on the east coast; Cradle Mountain in the Central Highlands and then down to us in the far south. They left on Saturday morning, after spending only five days in Tasmania, to go home to Japan to return to work on the Monday. Apparently they only have five days annual leave – boy – that sounds really rough. I say apparently because there was just a teensy weensy language barrier. He didn’t speak any English, she spoke a little and M and I don’t know any Japanese. Well, M remembered a couple of words from his 1991 trip but one of those was “Cheers” in Japanese and you can’t keep saying that. Anyway, somehow we managed to communicate and it was fascinating to watch how polite they are. I have always thought that the bowing that you see in movies is more an old fashioned take off of the culture, but no, they bowed every time that they said thanks for anything. They were a delightful couple and a real pleasure to accommodate. We have been invited to visit them in 2012 and hopefully we will be able to go. Just a small hiccup with cash flow!

So, I haven’t had to bake any morning tea since before the festive season. M’s mother brought quite a few goodies down with her and we have been enjoying them. But, they’re almost all gone so maybe later this week I’ll go back to the kitchen. But only if it’s raining, because there’s so much to do outside at the moment I’m usually out there. (and yes it’s drizzling now!)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Does it look like too many?


Well it was, as you can see by the photo’s below.






At least the tomatoes and zucchini are still growing and producing. Tucked in the middle of the tank is a small pot of marigolds – to encourage the bees. I don’t think they’ll be able to find them anymore.

I’m only bandicooting potatoes at this stage, they haven’t really died back yet. But I’m getting enough good sized ones to make me very hopeful.

Today, when M went sailing, I cleaned off all the garlic and they’re  now ready for storage. Where would that be? Why, in the wardrobe of the front bedroom, where else? It’s the coolest room in the house because of the front verandah (the bathroom is actually colder but I didn’t think that was really appropriate).

Tomorrow, it’s back to cutting the grass, again. It’s a weekly thing at the moment and it takes M 2 hours on the ride on mower and me an hour to go around all the trees etc. Oh joy, we never seem to dry up.


Friday, January 21, 2011

From this


To this       17jan11growhouse

In just over four weeks.

I am amazed at how quickly things have grown and flowered! Here in Tassie, where we haven’t had much of a summer – so far. It’s been wet and humid, most un-Tassie like and some evenings have been almost too warm. But I’m not going to complain, it’s to be expected, all the changes, and they’re certainly not life-threatening.

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2011. Why do the years go quicker as you get older? It doesn’t seem fair. To my horror I find myself remembering occasions that happened in my childhood much better than what happened yesterday. That is only supposed to happen to “old” people. Have I reached that stage? I look in the mirror and yes, there seems to be a lot more of me than there used to be; the blonde hair is almost all grown out and white/grey is taking its place; even my teeth look different! There’s always dirt under my fingernails now as I spend so much time in the garden (compared to when I went out to work – for cash) and my feet aren’t much better. I’m not sure that all of this is a good thing but I’m happy to say that if I take my glasses off when I look in the mirror I still look pretty good. That’s the secret, keep the glasses off.

I know that I’m not the only one who has said that everything fruit/veggie like is late growing this year. We had some amazing sunshine last weekend, along with scary winds, and all of a sudden the plums are turning purple. They’ve just been hanging, green-like, for eons!


Naturally, the zucchini has taken off and tonight we’re even having it on our pizza. I put a second zucchini plant in just for the girls (chooks) and to reward me two of them have gone to moult so I only have one egg a day at the moment! There seems to be more feathers than straw in the hen house at the moment. Lulu also decided that she might have a second go at broodiness but I was ready for her this time and moved her and her one egg straight away and she was over it in a couple of days.

The dome we put over the olive tree seems to be working so far. I can see little specks of brown appearing where the flowers used to be but ssshhh don’t tell the birds. Mind you, they seem to be busy enough pecking away at the pear tree, and the plums which split with the rain.

I was very excited yesterday as I could see chestnuts on my very neglected chestnut tree, for the first time. So do I continue with the neglect or do I start to pamper and croon to it? Somehow I think neglect might be the answer to that one. I feel that I need to explain the neglect. When M and I moved in together, two years ago, I decided to rent my little house out to a single mum with two kids. I call it my superannuation. Now this young woman is an obsessive compulsive, with regards to cleaning the house, but not gardening. Hence the neglect. Yesterday M and I took ourselves around there to clear fallen trees and brush cut all the tall weeds and I’m sorry to say, the front garden. That’s when I saw the chestnuts. When I moved into this little house I planted over forty trees, there’s a lot more land than there is house, and in the last two years, despite the neglect, they have grown into a forest and it’s just beautiful. Most of the trees were given to me as tiny saplings and wow, I’ve certainly offset my carbon footprint for the next five years or so! 

But back to me. This year I have to lose weight. I took myself off to the doctor at the beginning of the year as my foot was hurting – big time. So I have Plantar Fasciitis, otherwise known as “Policeman’s Heel”. M says that it must be genetic as my Dad was a copper in England! All I know is that if I take off 10 kilos ( I’d like to say 20 but let’s get real) it ain’t going to hurt as much! The doctor says it can last for up to two years and I refuse to take painkillers for that long. So the belly has to go! (She said as she finished her glass of red wine and nothing said about the pizza later!).

So now I’ve made that public I really have to do something about it. It’s tricky as I can’t walk for exercise and the Doc says even the exercise bike is out. So for the time being it’s going to have to be what I put into my mouth, or not put into my mouth that will make the difference. I’m so  glad that I ate all the Scottish tablet (fudge) that my friend gave me before I went to the Doctors. But if you excuse me – I have to go plant some more lettuces………..


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hang In There


I have been watching the news updates with horror and awe. It is so hard to believe the power of water knocking houses, sheds, boats, restaurants, cars and lives into oblivion.

It’s been raining here in the far south of Tassie now for a few days, and it’s meant to continue for a few more. It’s an inconvenience – nothing more. I can sulk about the lack of sunshine on my growing vegetables; I can moan about wet feet; I can dash about trying not to get wet whilst shopping, but for heaven’s sake let’s put it in perspective. It’s slightly damp compared to what other people in the north of this great land are encountering.

My heart and eyes weep for the families that are separated, perhaps never to see each other again. I can’t imagine (and don’t want to) what it is like to see your home disappear with your life enclosed inside. Homes; gardens lovingly cared for; pets and livestock; yes, they can be replaced whilst lives can’t, but it must still be sooooo hard.

This is going to take a long time to recover. Once all the news bulletins have finished because the drama of the floods has gone, people will still be struggling, mourning and doing it tough. This is Australia, with the amazing spirit of people working together, but we must keep them in our thoughts and, if possible, with actions, long after the “news” has gone.

There have already been amazing tales of bravery, community and love.

Queensland, and all other flood and disaster areas in Australia, you are not forgotten.

Hang in there.