Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year -holiday at home

Welcome to 2009. I hope it is a good year for all of us.

We have been holidaying at home for the past two weeks.
The Acting PM was on the telly last night encouraging people to have their holidays at home this year, that is in good old Oz.

DH and I like to holiday in some favourite spots here in WA, but next year as a special treat, we will have a holiday in Melbourne.

Meantime, this past two weeks we have really been holidaying at home. That is, in our own house! Great beds, lots to read. Fine internet connection. Great company -very friendly. Good DVD collection (thanks to Santa). Close to the beach (10 minutes by car).

We have read books and lazed around. We have had the odd visit from a friendly native. We have slept in, and lolled about in our PJs. We have walked on the beach.

Dinner has been minimum effort but maximum taste and nutrition -freshly picked very often from the establishment's own garden.

Side benefit - we are here to keep the garden watered !

I count it as one of life's great blessings that I have a wonderful home that is comfortable. It makes me happy to just be here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Boxing Day at the Beach

Christmas day was wonderful, but Boxing Day has its own special charm. DH and I have a tradition of starting it off by going for a walk along Mullaloo Beach, which is only 10 minutes or so from our house.

This is a time to kick off the thongs, get your feet wet, smell the sea breeze and relax.

Boxing Day is a time for reading the books we got as gifts yesterday, for minimal housework (enough to clear a space to sit) and for afternoon naps.

We go to the beach and we always are aware of how lucky we are to live here in WA, with all of this right here and free for us to enjoy. I hope you like the pictures.

The pictures were taken with my new Agfa camera, which was my Christmas present. I need to learn all its features but I am looking forward to enjoying taking lots of pictures this year.

With a bit of luck, we intend to walk on the beach every day from now until we have to go back to work, and then we will walk every Saturday until the weather changes.

DH calls it "Mullaloo Cathedral"!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Constructive gardening!

My DH has been busy this morning creating climbing structures for the garden. This is the passion fruit vine trellis -it has to be large and sturdy as a passion fruit grows quickly to over 4 metres in spread. When grown, we won't be able to see the less than attractive fence, but instead will see lovely leaves and -hopefully-lots o fruit.

In the corner you can see a circle of wire which we are training the cucumber to grow on, and at the back of the photo, some wire to assist the tomatoes and beans. The roma tomatoes are setting fruit now and I have a very impressive Grosse Lisse also setting fruit.

Poor DH had to get into the corner where there is an old rose, which was very prickly, but such is the commitment of my garden helper, he didn't even complain! Thanks DH!

In the front of the picture you can see the Mexican tarragon, which is really liking the extra mulch and coir we used in this bed. I have just planted some curly basis and some beetroot here too.

Last year this bed was not productive, but we are hoping that improvements we have made to the soil and the watering regime will overcome these problems.

I think that my garden is showing the benefits of the experiences I had last year. I have learned the hard way about what seems to work here but I am still worried that the real hot weather has not hit us yet and the improvements we have made have not been tested under the conditions that saw an end to nearly everything I tried to grow last year.

The new raised garden has been having a makeover. The celery I planted first in this new bed, recently showed signs of being attacked by aphids and ants of course, who follow aphids.

I had planted more celery than we could use anyway, so I chose to empty the bed and instead have planted more lettuces today as that will be in most demand over the summer. I have planted a punnet of celery in other parts of the garden as an experiment.

The rainbow chard has been huge in this bed, and the strawberries and asparagus are doing well for their first year.

I have a couple of experimental cherry tomatoes in here too. I wondered if the shade would be too much but they are flowering and setting fruit.

We are now harvesting the zucchini from the wicking bed and the silverbeet of course, and the lettuce I planted some months ago. I have had one feed from the beans, but I must get more into the ground.

I get such a 'kick' from using things in my cooking that have come directly from my garden. On the menu this week will be zucchini slice and vegetarian quiche. I have a lot of herbs which I use to flavour the cooking too

The seedlings I got were from the Market stall at the Wanneroo market. I also bought some lemon basil and some sweet basil from the ladies there and they have gone into a large waterwell pot which has purple basil in it.

This gardening stuff is a huge learning curve but I am very happy to see the results I am getting.

My new books from the Good Life book club should be here this week !

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Drip irrigation

We have finished putting the drip lines in the front garden.
The idea is that we reduce the amount of water that we waste when using microsprays, which either evaporates or is blown away in the wind, and instead put the water where the plants can actually use it.
This new kind of dripper line is much superior to the old kind which used to get clogged up easily.

There is nothing DH likes more than 're-jigging the retic"! I swear it is his favourite hobby! Over the years we have had several systems, but we hope that this one will be fairly robust and easy to manage, once we bury it under the mulch. This is what it looks like now.
We are just checking how the water is going, and making sure that the plants are being watered, then it will disappear under the mulch.