After a few days of rain and cool temperatures, we have had sunshine and warmth again, which is perfect for getting started on the winter planting. I have put in loads of garlic, and also some pak choy. Garlic is a great crop for a small garden like mine, because it is relatively easy to grow and yet is very expensive to buy. It stores well and I use it constantly in my cooking.
I bought some flower seeds because I felt that there were not enough things to pick for a vase. This is in anticipation of using some of the extensive collection of vases that I have, but also because I think I have too many vases and should clear some out.
I have also planted mizuna, radishes, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, beans and peas.
I really enjoy gardening at this time of the year, but there is so much to do, to get the soil prepared, and to move the pots around to get maximum sunlight. Now is the time that 'full sun' becomes prized, after a summer in which shade is premium.
I am trying a new pickling recipe for my beautiful kalamata olives. This one has a very strong salty solution - you let this draw the salt out of the olives, and then rinse before bottling in olive oil. If it works it is a lot less work than soaking in water that you change daily for weeks and weeks before bottling. . Our tree is having its 'off' year this year, so we will only have a couple of bottles.
We had some friends over for a party to celebrate DH's retirement.
I enjoyed trying some new recipes on them -this cake is a Nigella recipe made with coconut oil.
I also grilled and marinated eggplant to serve as part of a platter of antipasto. It was quite a hit. I am pleased as it is easy to do and gives me another eggplant recipe!
Note to self: plant eggplants and zucchini in the spring!
We keep lots of water baths around the place for the birds and insects. This arrangement of home made table -made by DH from a cast iron sun umbrella stand and some wood from a pallet, supports a china bowl which I found in an op shop. I am proud of our recycling efforts here!
This week, I put it here to replace a rather wobbly plastic bird bath, which was not attracting the birds, near the bottlebrush and in full view of the dining room window. I am hoping that the sturdy and stable arrangement will finally encourage the wattle birds who frequent our garden, to have a bath in it. Our large ceramic bird bath near the mulberry gets pretty regular use out the front, mostly by the magpies, so it would be great to see this get used too. I have one by the back patio which Dora likes to drink from. Why she would prefer this to her clean water inside, I am sure I don't know!
Dora is always finding new places to sleep out her days!
We have some huge pomegranates from our tree. I have been happily pressing them upon friends as I already have de-seeded and packed lots into the freezers. I am also gifting limes to all who will take them off our hands, as the Meyer lemons are just about ripe and the tree is absolutely laden with them. There are plenty of other citrus not far behind. We have been collecting jars for DH's marmalade. Now he is retired he will have more time to put up some jars. We love it on toast but it can also go in puddings and cakes. Jars of marmalade make great gifts too.
If you can grow some food -more than you can use yourself, so that you can offer it to others, there is a great satisfaction and a sense of abundance. This is the simple life I dreamed of nearly a decade ago, when I started this blog. Over the years the garden has matured, and I have learned some skill along the way. There is still much to learn and improve upon, which gives me a continuing sense of curiosity and learning.