Monday, 20 March 2017

Bruised and Battered!

We have taken a bit of a beating here lately. After my last blog we have had a good spell of wild winds and rain. Lots of rain. Measuring from my rain gauge we have had over 200ml. With that has come some seriously muddy play for the kids and mess for me! Plus the garden has had most of its leaves either blown off, burnt by the wind or have turned into a soggy mess. Its quite sad to see all the hard work you put in only to see mother nature destroy it. I can imagine how the farmers out there who rely on the production of food suffer from extreme weather conditions. I think I almost need to just pull out most of it and start again. Thankfully its a change in season and most of it will kind of finish up soon anyway. It is still disheartening though. I also planted a heap of winter seeds and have a few nice seedlings coming along to plant out when the weather fairs up a bit. Yesterday I picked my first cluster of bananas and they are ripening very quickly, so we are eating bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I may be a bit biased, but they are the best bananas I have ever tasted!!!

I have not been doing much else otherwise or in the kitchen apart from the usual day to day cooking as I am a little obsessed with watching Outlander - apdapted from the series of books by Diana Gabaldon (/ .... I also think I might end up reading the books as soon as I finish watching the second season as the next season doesn't come out until September and I don't think I can wait that long to find out all that happens. Have you seen or read this series? I sometimes think I was meant to live in another era, all that is past fascinates me. I love the life of the land, the clothes, the talk and the social gatherings. A dreamer perhaps.

And now I must attend to all the weeds and soggy plants I have pulled out on my morning inspection amongst the break in the rain and put them in the compost or green bin. Have you too been affected by some crazy weather of late? Talk soon, C xx

Banana tree blown over in the wind.

Glorious bananas picked from above tree after it blew over.

Chilli plants stripped of their leaves.

Choko and horseradish hanging onto life.

One of many puddles around the home.

Soggy Zucchini plants.

Okra, I will leave these surviving fruit on to save the seeds and try again next year.

Baby beans on the way out.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Hello again.

Well it has been a while! I have attempted to write numerous times just in this last week and am only finally finding a little time to quickly get something out there to you all. Hello again! It has been an extraordinary last few months with some crazy weather, heaps of family outings, lots of failed gardening attempts, trying new recipes and lots of running/socialising. So I have been busy and not just lazy.... 

The garden has proven to me again that each year is different and it is always time to learn something new. This growing season has been completely different to last year with some extreme heat and a lot of suffering from plants that would have otherwise thrived. What provided an abundance last year was barely able to give me a couple of less than lovely vegetables this year. Cucumbers in particular were the most devastatingly affected and the one which we eat lots of, so I was sad that I had to continue to buy these from the store. I also had a battle with the grasshoppers and they won! Being organic, the method I tend to use mostly is my hands. I collect the pests and give them to my chickens as treats. This year the grasshoppers were just too many and no matter how many I collected there always seemed to be double the amount the next day. I think they liked the hot weather. I am still managing to introduce lots of interesting and new vegetables into the garden and our diet, even though the kids are not too keen on some of them. I will just stick at it and hope that as they get older they will appreciate the good stuff so much more.

On a personal note, as you know from before my break I was feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed by it all. Having had a little time off from the pressures of life (mostly placed by me!) and really taking some time to do things for myself I have come out the other side blissfully rejuvenated and loving each day. I must mention all the amazing new (and old) running buddies that have become part of my life and the runs I look forward to just to see them all, old friendships renewed that really will stand the test of time and of course my amazing husband, that knows more than anyone, is still sticking around and me without him would just not be! Cheers and talk soon xx

My 3rd picking of rhubarb this season.

Our surfing scare crow.

My bitty baby pineapple plant.
The most obnoxious of our chickens - Maisie.

Passionfruit seedlings.

Protea grown from seed, which since this photo is not doing so well with a beating from the wind.

Okra and its beautiful flower.

Green snake beans on the climb.

Shallot central.

These buggers have had a field day this summer. I officially hate grasshoppers!

My second banana cluster.

Ginger with a few stray turmerics.

An abundance of turmeric.

Oregano which I pulled a small piece from a park and gave it a new home here has gone nuts.

Choko and horseradish up the back.

A couple of my heirloom watermelons.

A tumbling mass of butter beans, sweet potato, tomato, lima beans, rhubarb and lemongrass.

Baby cabbage growing in the shade.

Our first dragonfruit of the season, I counted another 16 on the vine.

The red mud mess that is yet to be concreted.

Zinnia and Borage flower, great for attracting beneficial bugs.

My Ganesha - New beginnings and the removal of obstacles.
I love these little blue and white bottles.

Adding to my chicken collection.

Gorgeous spaghetti squash noodles.

Chillies and more chillies.
Rhubarb in the pot.

Making Kombucha.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Garden Tour

I said I was going to have a break, but I keep thinking about what to put in my next blog, so I thought I would do a quick update with a video tour of my garden. Its a bit rusty as its my first attempt, but let me know what you think.

And I forgot to show the seeds/seedlings that will take up the bare space you see around the garden. As always a work in progress.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Taking a break.

I feel like I have nothing to say. Each day I think to myself, I really should write up a blog post but to be honest I feel I have nothing interesting to talk about. I think I am going to put the blog to bed over the warmer months and just enjoy the days. If I am inspired I might visit, but otherwise I think I will see you again sometime. I will keep uploading to facebook perhaps, so if you don't already follow me there pop over and like my page - Simply by the Beach, talk to you soon C, x

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Pressure and pleasure.

The days are getting longer now that daylight savings has started and while that’s great for all the extra ‘things’ I need to get done it also seems to mean the wee ones go to bed later. So not sure if the extra time is making any difference… First day back at school last week for the 2 bigger bubs so I thought an early night would be in need, but no. While they were tucked in early they still managed to play in hysterics for the next hour before they finally seemed to nod off. I have had all these jobs saved for when they go to bed but not once have a managed to get any of them done yet at night. They are still waiting for me in the morning and I am trying to find the time in the day to get them done. I spent the good part of 3 hours scrubbing out the bathroom the other day and still haven’t quite finished. We pulled the vanity out to replace with a new one and I thought it a good opportunity to give a thorough clean before the new one went in. I cleared everything out and scrubbed away. Still haven’t finished the floors (scrub the grout mostly) which I know right now it is something I should do today to tick it off. I am known for being a bit of a procrastinator so I will be surprised with myself if I actually manage to do this! No pressure…. Talking of pressure, speaking with hubby the other night we got into discussion about our training/exercise routines. Now since the kidlets have come into our lives, exercise has really taken a back seat for me. I used to be an everyday kinda girl and good at it too. I love to compete and really challenge myself. I still have it, but not as much as I’d like. Hubby is always very supportive of me doing whatever training I want but I always have the ‘excuse’ of the kids and he mostly seems confused by this. By no fault of anyone I have placed this pressure on myself. I am a stay at home mum and this is my ‘job’. No matter what fun and personal stuff is out there I always – always feel that my first responsibility is at home and to make sure the washing is folded and put away and the bathroom is scrubbed and the kitchen is sparkling, the veggie garden is growing and producing all our amazing food. And you know what, it is never finished – not for me anyway and the pressure I have placed on myself that I haven’t completed my work makes it very hard to move onto the other things in life that I also enjoy. I occasionally manage to do some other things I enjoy other than ‘housework’ but boy do I feel guilty for it every time!! I need to work on letting myself do things for myself without the guilt. I can tell myself this now, but whether I can actually do it, well, let’s see. Thankfully I have a very supportive man in my life and even though we often disagree on many things somehow we always seem to come around to the same place in the end. This personal pressure has never really been understood by either of us for years but finally I think we have had a breakthrough and hopefully things are going to improve. 

On my window sill... attempting to propagate rosemary and waiting for my pineapple top to sprout some roots.

Beetroot Relish.

Turmeric Paste for Golden Milk.
An egg from each of my girls.

The best book I have read in a while.

Bunches of Kale on my bench.

Fluro orange pumpkin from my garden.

The beetroots that turned into relish.

The view from my living room today.

 Now onto some lighter stuff. As the days get longer so are they warming up. The garden has lots of new beautiful shoots everywhere and pretty flowers attracting all those beneficial bugs to help my garden grow. I had a total failure with a round of seeds and was absolutely gutted as I wasted some precious heirloom varieties that were my only ones. I didn’t use the right potting mix for the seeds to grow and thought I would feed them seasol instead. Well that is absolutely what you don’t do. Apparently little baby seeds hate seasol and it is not a good substitute to use with plain potting mix. I have tipped all the seeds that were still in the pots into a bigger pot with all the nourishing soils and food they need and maybe just maybe the ones that were still kind of in tact will grow. I have plenty of garden beds ready for the new plants to go in and still pulling heaps of the winter stuff out as we go, feeding the family with this amazing organic and fresh food. I have reduced my spending on store bought veggies again as my garden provides pretty much our entire vegetable requirements. I spent last weekend planting another round of seeds and when I look at them all in their little pots I wonder if I have enough space to put them all. I have had problems trying to make sure I get every last little seedling a home and end up over crowding that particular variety. Something else I need to adjust in the garden this season. It is nice to have an abundance of food as I love to give it away too, but I am hoping this year I can be a bit more conservative on the amount I plant out. One other thing I’d like to mention, not sure if its on the upside or not, but growing all this amazing not genetically modified goodness that self seeds or ends up in the compost also continually pops up in the garden everywhere! I am 'weeding' out perfectly good stuff it feels. Mostly tomatoes and pumpkin I think, there are soooo many! Hard going isn't it.....

Cauliflower flowering.

An heirloom variety of Capsicum, not sure what if anyone can tell me.

Bees visiting my calendula.

Ruby the poser.

Rhubarb gifted from my mum.

Radish setting seed.

Broccoli in flower.

The jungle up the side of my garden. I pick from here everyday!

My second batch of seeds doing better.
In the kitchen I have been a bit on the slack side, probably because I am not over abundant in food from the garden yet and trying to figure out what to do with it all, but I am managing to whip up some delights. A hit was my turmeric-golden milk paste. I ending up selling some small bottles to a few friends that follow me on facebook (you too can here if you dont already). I still have heaps of turmeric so should do another batch soon. I also had heaps of beetroots waiting for me so I made up some delicious relish and gave some to my sweet neighbour too. I need to do some baking but lately the kids seem uninterested in what I make so it almost goes to waste. So frustrating when the wee ones will eat it one week but not the next. Keeping it exciting you might say....I sometimes think ordinary will do me just fine, haha. Anyway, the littlest kidlet fell asleep on the couch, so I am going to try and get as much as I can get done while she sleeps, talk soon C x


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