Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Silent Protest

Right, take two.  I just experienced the joy of writing this entire blog entry, was adding the title to finish up, then accidentally deleted the whole bloody thing!  I may be slightly less verbose in the re-write ha ha.

We've just returned from a wander around the twice-yearly Torbay Market.  Set on a lovely country road amongst huge trees, the grounds of Torbay Hall fill with small stalls, the smell of hotdogs fills the air, and gentle sounds of music filters down the roadway.  I came home with a bag of quinces, quince paste making is on my agenda for next week, yum!  I have one small piece left of last year's batch so that worked out rather well.

Our lovely neighbour has been giving us bags of apples from her trees, so I pulled out my nifty apple corer/slicer/peeler, the best little invention in the world, and started preparing apples.
Cupfuls of stewed apples for the freezer, and a slow cooker filled to the brim of apples, sugar and cinnamon for a batch of apple butter.  There is no actual butter in apple butter, but after slow cooking it for 15 hours, in which time it turns a lovely rich brown, it thickens up beautifully and when blitzed at the end of cooking, the texture changes to a silky smooth thick sauce, which is especially excellent when eaten with Greek yogurt. 
I gathered up the last of the pumpkins.  We didn't grow as many this year and they were mostly rather small, due I presume to the drought conditions.  This one amused me, it has grown through the fence and the wire is somewhere deep within.  I'll need an axe to get this one!
The cabbage, broccolini, rocket, lettuce and silverbeet are growing like the clappers, exploding with leaves.  The chooks are very happy, I pull off any chewed leaves or one at the bottom that are touching the ground (to try and discourage bugs from climbing on them and then up the plant), and throw those leaves into their yard where they gobble them up quick smart!
 I had a lovely surprise when collecting our mail last week, beautiful drawings from our granddaughters.  Wonderful, thank you Stevie and Riley :-)
We have started using our wood heater as it is getting chilly late in the afternoon, so Steve has been filling the wood basket regularly.  Neo thinks this is sensational fun.  He spends a lot of time climbing over the wood, gnawing at the ends, then playing with all the bits of wood he has chewed off, the house is littered with it!  I think the little lad is teething, what better than gnawing on branches to keep those pearly whites strong and healthy.  In this photo he is in the process of dragging a somewhat larger piece right out of the basket, he was unimpressed when I took it off him.  :-)
When Neo is not eating tree trunks, or doing his psycho kitty tearing around the house, you will find him here.
Steve has been a busy busy lad the last few weeks, building the fence for our planned orchard.  It's quite big, about 15 metres by 20 metres, so he had many poles to dig into the ground.  Then he added pole toppers around the whole perimeter, nothing better than a solid topped fence to lean on and contemplate the world.  Then he strung a line of wire top and bottom, then attached the (apparently) rabbit-proof wire all the way around with a trillion nails and clips, and buried it a few inches under the ground all the way around, to hopefully stop anything from digging its way in.  Steve is making the gates himself, which saves us a fortune, he has already made a small gate on one side, all that is left to do now is for him to make the double gate on the other side, big enough for us to get Helga in to mow.
It looks good don't you think.  The broomsticks are where we have marked out for our trees.  We have room for 20 fruit trees plus an area for berries.  See that lovely, lush, green grass, that's where our leach drains run across the entire orchard.  We are not planting trees over the drains, instead leaving an open area in the orchard which will be handy for driving through.  We are mostly planting downhill from the drains, so the trees will get the benefit of any extra water that drains down the hill.
See those roos there?  This is what Steve calls "The Silent Protest".  The roos love eating that lush grass that grows over the leach drains.  Which of course is now within the orchard fence.  About six roos spent the days lying down, mournfully watching Steve complete the fence, putting that lovely grass out of reach.  Roos have ways of getting their revenge though.
This out-of-pouch joey wasn't too fussed, he lay stretched out on the grass for hours while his mum looked on sleepily.
We laughed at this enterprising willy wagtail, who took advantage of a ride on the back of this roo, who got up to feed.  The wagtail kept darting down near the roo's mouth, catching small insects disturbed by the roo's feeding.
I mentioned The Revenge Of The Roos.  This is what greeted us this morning, right outside our bedroom window.  I never knew camellia plants tasted nice, apparently they do!
We may live to regret the fact that we started putting out roo food near the house in late summer, mainly for the old female Lucy who was starving and bony.  She is now nicely rounded and happy, good. Word has got around about the free food however, and three mum roos with their joeys in tow visit regularly.  There are growls and huffs from whichever one has claimed the bowl, so the others have to wait.  Up to now they just ate grass while they waited, but they have finally spied my little group of pot plants and decided that this needs to be investigated!  Love the roos we do.  Will have to move my plants.  :-)

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