Sunday, March 24, 2019

Gardening and Knitting.

Seeing Spring bulbs flourishing in her Edinburgh garden on Pam's blog I knew I had to get more bulbs planted here. I brought pots of  red nerines with me from my last garden and there are quite a lot of daffodils here but not other Spring bulbs. I planted these yesterday and realised as always I could have easily made room for 10 times this many. Never mind they will multiply and I can get more. I am very aware that I must not put in more patches of garden then I can easily maintain. ( I know this from experience. ) .

R has repainted the 6 outside plastic chairs. They had faded to a powdery pink shade.( They don't normally stand in a rigid row like this ) Bright? Yes! ( at the moment .)

 Yesterday I did some digital pest control. It was much needed.  6 new shoots on my yellow rose all looked like fingers turned a strange greeny  squashed aphid colour.

I have been appraising the crops we have grown here so far. The successful ones have been:my strawberries. They haven't stopped since early summer. Scarlet runner and other green beans have been very productive. Silver beet grows like crazy. The tomatoes ( too many ) potatoes and spring onions ( still being used ) and corn  -  all good. The herbs all flourished. Courgettes were good. 

With the tree crops, the 2 varieties of avocados are still feeding us. The citrus except for one tree  ( it's coming out ) were amazing. ( lemons grapefruit and oranges and mandarins )  2 of the apple trees are good. - The Granny Smith and Splendour .The Royal Gala had too much black spot ( we will prune it right back as it is huge and hard to reach  ). The 2 pears trees produced amazing crops. I had never seen bees eating fruit before. Wasps yes.  Bees no - they were falling on the ground drunk.

 On the other hand the grapes disappointed. Far far too many vines  and not very sweet ( 5 big ones ) Just one green grape  vine is being kept. The birds and wasps just ruined the rest as I didn't net them. We have plans for their site.  Also coming out is the loquat tree.  Peas didn't do so well. It may have been the seed.  We love them and won't give up on them - a different site next year.


 I have also started knitting another little vest. It looks skinny here but as it is 2 by 2 rib it stretches right out. It is my tried and true pattern. Easy to knit and really easy to pop over a small boy's head. It has no back or front or inside out. I finally got myself a good standard lamp to stand beside the couch so I can see to knit or sew at night or on dull days.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lots to Read.

I finished all these quilted alphabet
letters. All I'm doing for now anyway. 36 here.
 I have the upper case and lower case letters to be able to write both Grandsons'  names.

 Last weekend we went to the Rotary Used Book Sale and stocked up on reading. These I selected for myself.Quite a variety there.  R got 18 too.
 I also found 2 jigsaws and a couple of books for Grandson.1.

I'm quite proud of this capsicum I grew in the poly house. Not many on the plant so I guess that helps with the size.
 I hope the weather keeps warm for a while as there are all these naked ladies  ( Belladonnas ) flowering in the garden.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

From Land and Water.

Over the last weekend some new activities happened here. As we grew far more sweetcorn than we could eat when it was at its succulent best, we let the excess dry on the cobs in the garden. R and Grandson picked and unwrapped the cobs. R then scrapped all the kernels from the cobs and winnowed the debris out. 
 Using this old hand grinder R ground the corn into cornmeal.
It left it still rather coarse so he put it through a small  electric grinder. It was slightly darker in colour than commercial cornmeal.

 He then made his usual polenta.
The recipe he uses is:-
 300 grams of cornmeal
700 mls of chicken stock ( or similar )( or water )
300 mls of milk 
 1 finely chopped onion
 50 grams of butter
 1 tsp salt
120 grams of finely grated parmasan

 Sauté the onions in the butter in a large saucepan.
 Add the liquids, stir  and bring to near boil. Add salt. 
Slowly add the cornmeal while stirring, stirring stirring. 
 Pour into a buttered dish and let set. Refrigerate.
 It can then be cut into squares and fried ( makes the edges crispy ) or chips and baked with rosemary.
 It is quite rich but very tasty.

 Meanwhile son was setting his net in the estuary.
 This time he caught a very large Kahawai.
 A smoker has been bought so the fillets got smoked and looked like this.

 From this he made very tasty fish cakes 
( which had mashed kumara and potato in them ).


Some of us took a trip to the closest beach  ( Omokoroa ) as Sunday was such a clear warm day. ( Mt Maunganui / Mauao in background)

The tide was well out and there were lots of mud crabs.

 The mornings now feel like Autumn but the days are still very warm.  30 degrees C  here yesterday.