a house with a view and a plover

We have had some lovely spring rain and mild temperatures this year. Our garden has blossomed and we have enjoyed some plants flowering for the first time in the five years since we made our tree change.

The following photos are of the bauhinia shrubs ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhinia ) that I thought no longer had the will to live a few short weeks ago. They survive against the odds in the worst conditions, very shallow shaley soil on a stoney ridge.

 

And this is the view that I have from our living areas. The plover and its nest is circled in red.

 

 

 

Olive branches

Being a teacher,  librarian and Flamingo Dancer naturally means I am a fountain of knowledge , or as Mr FD likes to describe me – a know it all. Well may I know it all, but I have not seen it all, but I have ticked one more item off the “to view” list during this visit to Perth.

image

I have seen olive trees before but never the olives fruiting on a tree. Daughter has a large olive tree outside her front door and it has a heavy crop. Peppercorn and I go out each day and discuss the various ways of harvesting and preparing olives . If all else fails maybe we could fuel a car or two!

A tale of a woeful ramble and trouble afoot.

bed

Gather round, people and I’ll tell you a tale. A tale of a woman who set forth on a ramble and met woe on her way.

Granddaughter, Petite Fille was promised a ramble through Grandma’s garden, so Petite Fille sat quietly while her Mummy placed her ladybird rain boots on her tiny feet, in the fear we might encounter dragons along the way. Okay, snakes, not dragons, but it is my tale.

Petite Fille, Mummy, and Grandma set forth on their big adventure to the vegetable patch. It wasn’t long before Petite Fille found that her feet were too small for her ladybird rain boots and that made it difficult to walk down the hill. Her Mummy picked Petite Fille up to carry her, but it was Grandma’s house and so Grandma must be the one to carry forth Petite Fille.

Down the hill rambled the Mummy, the Grandma and the baby girl. Through the rainforest and opening the gate, they investigated the vegetable patch and the plants that grew there. Out the other side and onto the mail box to collect the mail was the next part of this rambling tale.

The problem was that silly Grandma had thrown her usual common sense to the wind and had sallied forth in her turquoise thongs (flip flops, okay.) Not the right footwear for a ramble in a country garden.

Grandma carrying Petite Fille did lift her foot to walk over the garden edge onto the path, when what did happen but her thong, a flip flop did do! Grandma stumbled forward but her thought was to protect Petite Fille, so the woman swung sideways, to save the babe. A quick hand from the Mummy following close behind, did stop the tumbling of both granny and child.

Poor old Grandma though had done herself a harm. Her back did tell her that her ramble had come to a sad end. A week later, Grandma is still popping pills, visiting the physiotherapist and lying low. Dear oh dear me, and Grandpa never brings enough tea…

So, let the moral of this tale be,that Grannies should not venture forth in inappropriate foot ware, especially if they are rambling with a babe in arms.

Her sensible garden shoes are now by the door, and never again shall they miss a ramble with Mothers and Girls.

the end

Surprisingly Nutritious Vegetable Damper Recipe

Jerry's pawpaw and Warrigal greens damper - 3

 

I just love the idea of this variation on a traditional Australian damper, and how it shows that nothing is ever a waste … self-sown crops!

Jerry Coleby-Williams

This damper recipe includes green pawpaw (Carica papaya) and Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides), which are currently abundant in my garden. Both are self-sown crops.

Served either as damper or used as a pizza base, this simple dish is surprisingly nutritious, especially if you use wholemeal flour. Please observe the kitchen chemistry notes.

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Toast eating dogs and mulch covered trees are a few of our favourite things

FD topiary

Saturday.

Brisbane had its coldest winter morning in over 100 years this morning. Our Village is always colder than Brisbane in winter and usually hotter in summer. Lucky us. I didn’t peep my nose out form under the blankets until 9am and then only because I knewI needed to clean floors for Petite Fille’s visit tomorrow. Nothing like a visiting floor dwelling toddler to get floors cleaned!

Augie Dog appeared to me miss while I was away, and has been over excited ever since I returned yesterday. He can be quite enthusiastic in his love, and may I add that having a 40kg golden retriever land on my cold, bare foot is not one of my favourite experiences. He still garnered a slice of peanut butter toast for breakfast though. It is that GR face, and his all encompassing love!

Son pruned the shrubs at the front of the house during my absence. Some of them had grown to roof level and do provide some nice shade in summer, but as this is the dead of winter it is a good time to cut back and allow the afternoon sun to warm the living room. Our house is double brick walls, and we are finding that there is usually an 8 degree difference between interior and outside, which is something to be thankful for in winter!

The shrub branches were mulched and spread under the fruit trees, which were fertilised as well. Spring should be fruitful! Our lime, orange, mandarin and lemon trees are all doing well, and hopefully will grow to good fruiting size this season. It is wonderful when Son is on a break from university as he spends his time in the garden. I suspect that in another life he may have been a landscape gardener, but for now IT is his career path.

get well

Mr FD is still suffering post wisdom tooth discomfort and it must be over a month now, but I am happy, ecstatic! to say that the pain is lessening, and he is slowly improving, though it had been a long haul, especially for me! It is a year since his knee surgery and we appear to have done little except sort out niggling health issues for him ever since. A high maintenance Mr FD!

Another frosty night forecast, so I need to encourage MR FD into bringing in some wood for the fire…

 

one potato, two potato

An evil smell from the back of the pantry led us to find that the potatoes stored in the wooden vegetable box had gone to compost. The hot weather makes it difficult to keep anything that is not refrigerated for long. I volunteered Mr FD and Son to clean up the mess, but not before rescuing two sweet potatoes that had bravely sent forth long sprouts to discover the world.

sweet potato

Next day I cut the sweet potato, or kumara as they are becoming more commonly called in Australia recently, into smaller pieces, each with a sprout or two. I took these up to the garden terrace behind the house and planted them not far from our fruit trees.

I don’t know if it is the season to plant sweet potato or not, but the gift was there, the garden prepared and so if any of the six plants prosper we may have a small crop of  organic sweet potato.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained and nothing truly wasted either!

oranges and lemons, the bells, oh the bells…

orchard

I drove over and collected my sister on the way to a local garden nursery, today. I have been planning it ever since we moved in last year and today was the  day I finally found the time and the motivation perhaps to commence our plans for an orchard.

I purchased  lime, orange and mandarin trees. There is already a lemon tree in the garden, planted by the previous owners. It is looking a little sad but hopefully we can bring it around.

We had a prolific lime tree in the garden of our city home and everyone has missed its fruit since our move – nothing to garnish our drinks. I never had much luck with the orange tree we had there, but I think it was too close to palms trees, fighting for moisture and sun. Hopefully, we shall learn from our mistakes.

I also chose pots of parsley, sweet basil and thyme. Our herbs suffered in the move and lack of care this past chaotic year and so time to replant.

Planning for new growth in the new year – and reaping the harvest of our efforts!

herbs 1

In the garden of paradise

Augie not

We have been almost 10 months living in our country paradise and today, clear blue winter sky and 26C temperature, was the first time I turned my mind to our garden. Until now we have just maintained what was here, and to be truthfully what is here is amazing. I have blogged in the past about our trees and our efforts to identify some of them.

Until now I have either been occupied with Petite Fille or been ill, so with the first taste of spring in the air, I felt more inclined to venture into our little patch of paradise.

We have a wild and natural garden, with towering trees, but it does lack understory and colour. Daughter2 sent us some wild flower seeds from Western Australia and though they should have been planted in late autumn or early winter, I was too ill to do so, but I am going to chance sowing them out tomorrow.

We have Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, Sturt Desert Pea, Pink and White Everlastings, Golden Everlastings, Mixed Colour Kangaroo Paw (image looks like yellow and red) and Rottnest Island Daisy.

The instructions were to soak in warm water overnight, along with “smoky water germination booster’ which is vermiculite soaked in smoky water in which some of the smoke and chemicals from the burning waste materials of the forest floor are added. Many Australian wild flowers only germinate after a fire.

If they don’t germinate and flourish, well there is always next year to try again, but it will be wonderful if a few do grow. I am trying to channel my mother and father’s green thumbs. They could grow anything and everything!

I started to prepare the bed today – I watered the area! Unlike living in the city, our front garden is more than five steps from the front door. It is almost far enough to ride a bike, except it is all down hill and I may very well continue across the road, through the neighbours and to the marsh area beyond! Then it would be a long push back up our drive!  I guess, looking on the positive, it helps to get to those magical 10,000 steps!

I also watered some of the beds up on the terrace, where the hills hoist clothes line is too. We have already sighted our resident back yard snake in recent weeks, and aware that the warmer temperatures will have him out in the sun, I pulled on my wellies to hang the towels on the line and to set the sprinkler onto the Livingstone daisies that grow over the rock wall. No snake sightings and I did four moves of the sprinkler.

Our designated orchard area is waiting some turning over and planting of fruit trees but Mr FD’s knee has not improved despite his recent surgery. They are pumping some lubricant into it shortly and if that doesn’t work it will mean a knee replacement. It will wait until we are ready, something I have learnt with maturity.

And not to forget, Augie Dog turned one this week (Thursday). He got steak for dinner! I think Son was of the opinion I should have marinated it, and thrown it on a hot grill, whereas I merely microwaved the steak for Augie. I don’t think Augie minded in the least and it must have made a welcome change from his usual dinner of dry food! After dinner, Mr FD sat Augie down and told him that he was a “big boy” now and had to behave. I wanted to put a birthday hat on Augie but after searching for one, remembered that I had thrown out all such frivolities when we moved to the country. See, you never know what you are going to need!

Yep, another day in country paradise.