Saturday, December 21, 2013

Summer colour

1. Capsicums from the garden, coincidentally in Christmas colours 
2. Dusk in the creek with the sunset behind me and the moon rising in front of me
3. A red, dusty track behind our house
4. Our first tomatoes for the summer
5. Tasty shades of brown, coffee and homemade fruit mince pies
6. A snowy white star made by my generous and creative friend, Jodie.

Merry Christmas blog friends, stay cool.  I hope you have a restful and happy holiday season.

Jane xx

Friday, December 13, 2013

Country Style, Harvest Table Awards, 2013

I am fairly certain that many of you read Country Style magazine.  If you are flicking through the beautiful pages of the December issue you may see our little gardeners, Annabelle and George.  Annabelle is the proud winner of the Individual Home Harvest Journal as part of the Harvest Table Awards for 2013.

Throughout autumn and winter Annabelle kept a journal of our gardening activities.  Her journal included photos, weather observations, seed packets, dried leaves, recipes and plenty of notes on everything from worms to cooking vegetables from the garden.

This is an exercise that we could have done individually as family but being involved in the Harvest Table Awards gave Annabelle some extra incentive and a feeling of being involved in something rather exciting.

Congratulations to the Wendouree Primary School who were the winners of the Best School Harvest Table award.  Congratulations also to the other finalists, it is so exciting to see children growing food.

If your family has a vegetable garden I would recommend getting involved in this next year,it is a lot of fun.  

Happy Friday friends, I hope the school year is winding down for you.  For us, the end is almost in sight!  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

In My Kitchen, December 2013

Welcome to another tour of my kitchen where it is starting to feel a little bit like Christmas.

Happily, I have been baking bread.  A sourdough olive loaf with some of our own olives and a piece of cheese that was a gift from my mother in law. 

Sticky sourdough fruit buns made with currants that I had previously soaked in Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado sherry.  I don’t know much about sherry but this particular drop tastes like heavenly, liquid Christmas cake.  The fruit buns tasted good too.

Are these pebbles or little eggs?  This was actually part of 150 tiny sourdough bread rolls that I recently made for my friend Paula, who served them at a local wedding.  For my baking friends, each roll weighed in at a whopping 20 grams.

Our first ever tiny crop of apricots.  Even with a few blemishes home grown fruit is something special. 

I really do love making small gingerbread men.   Every Christmas I make a big batch using a recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. 

My first attempt at a gingerbread house.   Every time I look at this sugary little home I feel calm.  Life is tranquil in gingerbread land. 

A basket of freshly harvested garlic.  I feel very happy to have my own garlic supply and some lucky people may even receive a piece as a Christmas gift. 

Would you give garlic as a Christmas gift?
Is it feeling like Christmas at your place?
What are you cooking or making?

I am linking up with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Please call in and visit other vibrant kitchens from all around the world.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Growing vegetables in December

Here we are in December.  Since September we have measured a meagre 12mm of rain.  Our property is dry and I just know my vegetables would get such a boost from a decent drop of rain.  We will continue to wait patiently.  Thankfully we have a reasonable supply of water in our house dam and plenty of that water is being pumped onto my garden. 

The only vegetables I am planting out now are a few lettuce seedlings.  My summer vegetables are mostly established and growing steadily.

tiny quinces
Harvesting now
My first tiny crop of apricots
Summer squash

Almost harvesting

Watching, growing and waiting

Ongoing tasks
Mulching with straw.
Cleaning irrigation filters and drippers.
All vegetables are receiving a fortnightly dose of liquid seaweed fertiliser.
A regular dose of worm tea and castings on my tomatoes.  
Keeping my worm farm cool and damp.

rockmelon, Minnesota Midget

Kipfler potatoes

summer squash starting to tangle with the asparagus and celery

Each summer I make plans to devise a way of trellising and supporting my tomato plants that is neat, functional and attractive.  Somehow I always seem to end up with a jumble of wire, posts, netting, shade cloth, ties and even a few old steel beds from our shearer’s quarters.  Luckily, productivity is not always linked to aesthetics.

watermelon, Moon and Stars

zucchini, Long Florence

Do you have a neat, tidy tomato trellis system?
What is happening in your patch? 

Linking up with Lizzie at Strayed from the Table.  Call in and take a tour of other productive gardens from many different parts of the world.