The weather is just so nice at the moment , it is a great time to be doing things!
My Scrappy Mountain Majesties (from Bonnie Hunter's Free patterns tab) blocks are now together, and I have nowhere I can easily lay it out flat, but yet there are not enough of them to make a good quilt for our queen size bed. This means I am now thinking of border possibilities. The fabrics are ones I bought when travelling through the Blue Mountains, and feature indigenous designs and the colours and flowers of the bush. I loved working with them.
We harvested the grapes, and DH made 5 jars of grape jam.
The harvest wasn't a great success: many of the grapes had split -we think we were not giving them enough water. DH has therefore been 're-jigging the retic". We discovered that the solenoids which control our reticulation were wearing out, so perhaps the water wasn't getting where we wanted it to go efficiently. DH replaced three of the drip lines, and went to the factory (the Holman factory in Scarborough) to pick up a part to repair the controller. This meant a $60 bill for the part and $30 for the hoses, rather than hundreds for the whole system. You can see the dripper lines in the picture below. They are normally hidden by the mulch. Perth is a very dry city, and we always have water restrictions over the summer, so an efficient automated system is pretty important if you want to grow food. The mulch is a way of shading the roots and keeping weeds down as well as adding much needed humus to our very sandy soils.
The grapevine is not just here for fruit, though. It has done a fantastic job of shading the northern front elevation of the house. This is the first year of deep shade. The leaves have started turning yellow now, and some of them have fallen already. I love the way it looks from inside my sewing room and bedroom.
We have a new shop nearby which sells staples and eco-friendly products in bulk- you take your containers in and they fill them up for you. I was really pleased to get some wholemeal spelt flour to add to my sourdough this week. I can walk there and back!
One of the people at DH's church gave him 3 kg of fresh figs, so he made fig jam too. There are also two bowls of fig and fennel paste to serve with cheese. We can use these for dinner parties and also as gifts.
The basil is growing well in the wicking styrofoam boxes so I am enjoying the summer tastes of tomatoes and basil. YUM
This week I started reading this book by Charles Massy called "The Call of the Reed Warbler". It is a book which will change your world view, especially if you care about growing your own food or having a sustainable earth. I got it from the library. I totally recommend it! It is very helpful to see the way in which farming (or gardening) involves whole ecosystems. If we can work with nature we will do better as will the planet we live on.
In my walks around the suburb, I often admire the trees, especially the oldest ones which must have been here before the suburb was developed in the 1970s. This one has a stump in the centre, with a bird hollow wired into it. The birds have been interesting this week: all of a sudden the crows have started calling again after a few silent months. We have been visited by black cockatoos who come to the pine tree in our neighbour's yard. There have also been white cockatoos feeding on the white gums which are flowering along the valley. We are in Bunuru-the Noongar people's name for this 'second summer' season which is also a time of the white flowers with lots of white flowering gums in full bloom, including Jarrah, Marri and Ghost Gums.
We are considering ripping up some of the bricks which we laid down about 10 years ago to cover the piece of land which is between our property line and the street (we call it here the 'verge' but in Victoria it was the 'nature strip". I am thinking it would be great to grow some low-growing native plants for the birds and insects. I must check the Council regulations, as there are very strict rules on what can and cannot be done on this part of the public land in our Council. Anyway, that won't be until later in the year as we need to wait until the winter rains come before planting any new gardens.