Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Strawberry Delights

November is a busy month, the seasons are changing and the weather is starting to warm up.  As there is still some moisture in the earth, grass and weeds explode out of the ground at a phenomenal rate.  Much mowing is happening, farmers are cutting hay, bush flies abound, and everyone is tidying up ready for the fire season.

With the warming soil also comes the growth of things we like, amongst those are strawberries!  We have been eating strawberries every day for the past three weeks without having to buy any of them.  Yum, nothing better than a sunkissed strawberry. 
 I am probably picking a punnet every other day.  Production tailed off for a bit but I mulched the plants with used straw from the chook yard, and since then the plants have gone bonkers with growth, nothing like a bit of old chook poo to zazz up your plants!  I've been getting a few blueberries too, I have three plants in pots that are waiting to go into the ground, one has been in a big pot for five years now and is an old reliable.  Well, it was until yesterday when the bloody parrots found them!
The new orchard trees are growing well, all 30 fruit trees we have planted are happy except one, a Kensington Pride mango that had a hissy fit, started rotting from the top of the stem down, and looked like crap.  I've pulled it out of the ground and put it in a pot, and cut the rotted top off.  We'll see if it recovers.
This is an O'Henry peach.  How exciting!  The little tree had about a dozen fruit on it.  We did wonder if this was too many for  tiny tree and should we cull some.  The decision was taken out of the our hands a couple of days ago when the BLOODY parrots pulled half of them off!  Perhaps the tree will be happier with only six fruit, Steve has hurriedly bunged a bit of wire around the tree.  We did have a few nectarines but they too have been pillaged.  This is why everyone down here nets their orchards!  We will be doing this eventually too!
One tree the parrots don't seem interested in is the olive.  This olive has stubbornly refused to flower for the last two seasons, but this year, wow, it is dripping with tiny olives.  The photo I took of this on an earlier blog, that I thought were olives, were in fact flower buds and I was really worried that they would all fall off and not set fruit, but, can you see those tiny, round, bright green things - they are indeed olives - yahoo! :-)
Speaking of mega growth, you should see the size of the flowers on my elder shrubs, they are massive, the size of beach balls!  The last two years the elders have struggled to establish themselves, drying out readily and only produced a few small flower heads.  They have obviously got their roots down into some good stuff as they are bigger than me now.  It is time I thought about making a batch of rhubarb and elderflower champers.
Steve is happy.  These are healthy and happy and strongly growing scarlet runner bean plants.  This is first time Steve has grown any that look so healthy.  They never grew in Perth, it's too hot, he managed to grow a few last year, but they were pitiful looking plants, struggling to stay alive.  This is obviously a good spot for them.  They have beautiful scarlet flowers on them.
The chookie girlies are going well, although I do have a poorly one, Angelina, at the moment.  She has a runny tummy and is rather quiet.  I hope she has just eaten something that has disagreed with her and she recovers.  They are enjoying the access to the finished winter vegie garden, they love pecking the leaves off the old brussels sprouts plants, eating beetroot leaves of the last remaining, too woody to use, beetroot.  Purple kale gets a trim from them too.  In this photo they are happy with what I've just done - I had given them their breakfast earlier - laying pellets/oats/wheat/bread scraps, and instead of just moistening it with water, I mixed in two raw eggs (one hen has been laying some very thin shelled eggs and I cracked a couple, so decided to give them back to them).  When I came back to their yard after a few hours, not much of their food had been eaten, which was odd.  On closer inspection it had all set like concrete because of the egg in it!  After I busted it up for them they contentedly pecked away.
And here is sir, reclining like a centrefold.  He has taken to wanting his breakfast at about 4am, but gives his message subtly.  That involved walking up and down my sleeping body, walking back and forth along the bedhead, sitting on each of our bedside tables casually knocking things on the floor with deliberate precision, waiting for the desired reaction.

 Yes Neo, you may laugh, you evil fiend you....
He has the strangest eyes, he has an arc of an orangy/brown colour under each pupil that only appears when his pupils are tiny.  Do other cats have this too I wonder?  I have to finish this blog now, he is bored and is walking back and forth between me and the keyboard, with his arse in my face.  Message received sir!

1 comment:

  1. Are you sure those strawberries and blueberries aren't from the local shop? They look real! :-) I am so impressed with your garden, David would like to be self sufficient but buses get in the way so he's only produced copious amounts of beans so far.