Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Late summer

It is late summer in Perth, and the sea breezes come most afternoons- except when they don't and it gets really hot (39C) and doesn't cool down much overnight. We have been lucky and had some milder weather in between the hot spells. I have most of the garden thriving, or at least surviving! 

My own seedling fig is not producing fruit but it is young,  but I have a quilting friend with a prolific tree, who was glad to bring some along to share! There is something so luxurious about a ripe fig -sweet and sticky but a slightly bit acid too.

Due to the warmth, my sourdough batter  rises quickly. I try not to start it too early the evening before, and can just leave it on the bench. I find myself getting up early to bake before it gets too hot here, and to catch the dough before it gets exhausted. 

I am drying calendula flowers for tea, and thinking about making some herb salt with dried rosemary, thyme, lemon verbena and celery leaves. 

I took this picture of our dresser in that glorious afternoon light that comes just before sun goes down. Once or twice the local State governments have wondered if we should have summer time daylight saving in Perth, but when we tried it, many people found it too hot into the evening, and we were worried about the children walking home from school in the absolute hottest part of the day. So we have sunset to look forward to, with the drop is temperature which mostly arrives with it.

Even though I have two different lemon trees - a Eureka and a Meyer, I have almost no ripe lemons a all at the moment, but I have all the limes I need, though they are a bit hard and therefore not actually ripe yet. I tend to leave them on the tree if I can keep the Mediterranean fruit fly away from them, as DH makes the most remarkably good Golden Lime marmalade. One of our Australian cooks of note, Maggie Beer, says she loves the limes when they are golden. I do too! 

We are waiting anxiously for our first pomegranate to ripen this year. Once I used them to make pomegranate molasses -a big, fiddly job properly left to the experts. Pomegranates are a symbol of Easter and resurrection, and also just the taste of summer! 

After a few days of cooler weather, I returned the shade cloth to the veggie beds. This one has a shade structure I have just made from a salvaged metal hoop from a child's swing set, along with some star pickets and some plastic trellis I have used many times before. I am wondering if I can get another quick crop of snake beans in before the end of March when the weather usually turns cooler?

As a subscriber to Choice Australia, I get the benefit of their product reviews. The cast iron casserole dish is a cheap discount supermarket copy of the well known one that costs hundreds of dollars. I have often wondered about buying the expensive one, but was concerned that maybe it would be too heavy for me to lift, and I didn't want to spend that kind of money with such a risk. Choice said this particular copy held up very well in their tests, and was 90% cheaper! I thought it was worth a try, and I love it. Being able to brown things on the induction stove top and then bung it in the oven is convenient. It is a good size for roasting the free range chickens my local independent grocer marks down Sundays when they are nearing their 'best before' date. 

This picture if part of our first market stall with DH's cheese boards and knives and trivets, and my bags, teacosies. We learned a lot on our first try out, will be working on another one later. This time I want to go equipped with lots of bunting and a sign for our marquee, and take the time to do a bit of extra presentation. My DIL has some lovely pot covers for sale, and I reckon I might be able to pot up some plants to go with them. 


Friday, February 5, 2021

Looking better


Things are looking better for us after a pretty scary week while locked down with the whole of the south west due to a quarantine guard contracting COVID. During the 5 days of lockdown there was also a huge bushfire just north of Perth which has sadly cost 86 homes and a lot of beautiful bushland and countless animals.  Several fire fighters were injured, but none seriously. It could have been worse.

Our own son and daughter-in-law's place was in the 'red' zone of the warning area at the beginning of the week and they evacuated to their other grandparent's place for two days. On the third day it was safer to go home but they brought our granddaughter who has asthma over here for 24 hours just to keep her out of the smoke. 

Today it has been announced that the bushfire is 'contained' and therefore not spreading. The COVID situation seems under control (no new community cases for the whole 5 days) and so we are no longer locked down though there are some restrictions in place. We must wear masks when away from home -inside or outside, for example.

Some people say that 'everything comes in threes" In this case it is that there is a weather event on the way -a cyclone type system has disintegrated into a rain bearing depression and travelled all the way down our coast and we are expecting some rain over the next few days. This is good news so long as it is not too heavy. In the north of our state they are used to monsoons and cyclones, but there has been heavy flooding and some people have needed rescues from flooded roads.  We are here under the cloud in the south west of Western Australia. The rain should put the bushfire out completely, and clear the smoke too. 

DH and I have removed the summer shade cloth from our veggie gardens for a week or so. The garden will be much refreshed by the rain. We have a Mediterranean style climate, so mostly we have a summer drought and any summer rain is unusual. 

The rain will be a test of our new gutters. We finally got our gutters and downpipes replaced this week with ones which will take more flow! 

DH and I have kept ourselves busy with crafting type activities. I will post some pictures next week.
Meanwhile please note the new link on the right of my blog -my DIL has a new crafting business! We are going to be offering some of our own creations in this website too, when they are ready.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Lockdown, fires and other emergencies!

 For 10 months we have been living a dream existence here in Western Australia with NO community spread of the CORONA virus. Yes, that is right -ten months, due to our hard borders, quarantine arrangements and so on. We were living in ways other places in the world could only dream of -going out to dinner and concerts, family meals, friends able to visit. 

We all knew one case could change everything, and on Sunday it was announced that a security guard in a quarantine hotel had contracted the UK variant of the COVID 19 virus -which is believed
to be even more easily spread. Our State Government immediately ordered the South West corner of our state into lockdown. No movements apart from exercise for one hour per day locally, and we are allowed to shop for essentials. 

Then the fires started east of Perth.

Read about it here

Our son, daughter in law and the three children are evacuated to their other grandparents' place. We don't know how long for, as the fire conditions are bad at the moment with strong winds. No rain in sight for several days, although a cyclone 'up north' might bring a bit of unseasonal rain by the weekend. 

Their house is OK at the moment, but more than 50 homes to the north and east of them have been lost today. The air is full of smoke. 

So here we are, hoping for the best. I hope to update this story in a few days with better news. 

Then our son, daughter in law and the three children evacuated to their other grandparents' place.