Saturday, 31 October 2015

Of Soft Garlic And Fluffy Bees

We were in Perth again last week, to celebrate the 60th birthday of our good friend Andy, and also to celebrate mum's birthday.  Here is the birthday girl herself, playing with Riley.
Here's dad relaxing, he's hard at work with his hydrotherapy rehab these days, and his legs are getting some muscle tone back.  Well done dad.
Here are Paul, Michelle and Michael, enjoying the delicious spread that mum provided - we had Krispy Kreme Donuts....OMG yum!
 And here is Steve, relaxing with a full stomach and a nice glass of wine.
Speaking of Steve, he's been busy in the shed.  This is the beginnings of his new project, a book box.  The wood is sheoak and it will look even more beautiful once he starts smoothing and tweaking and shaping and finally varnishing.  He's a clever lad.
We are so enjoying the harvests from our garden, it's very productive at present.  As well as the continuous supply of potatoes, we are being spoiled with scads of artichokes, look at them all!  I am trying to learn ways to use them, having in the past only every boiled them and then eaten them by pulling the leaves off one by one and dipping them in melted butter and lemon juice.  I tried cutting some down to just the hearts last night, to braise, but I find it hard to work out where the edible and inedible parts begin and end.  It will be a learning curve, a delicious one!
We have loads of sweet and juicy carrots, the broad beans are giving us a constant supply, and the garlic is fattening up.  The garlic is not yet ready for harvest, for keeping as you know it in the shops, sort of dried out on the outside, this garlic although big, is still soft and succulent.  We love roasting whole globes of garlic with potatoes, and we thought we'd give this fresh garlic a try.
Look at that for a roast dinner.... local beef with our garlic, potatoes, carrots, broad beans and English spinach.  Spinach, wow, that has grown like never before, it's like a jungle!  But still tender and yum.  It's been a good growing season, and being able to water properly has already proved its worth.
 Excuse the look of my dinner plate, but this is what roasted fresh garlic looks like, the cloves don't have any skins on them, and they are surrounded by three or four soft layers of flesh, like an onion.  It was very mild and very soft and very very nice.  Every bit was eaten :-)
 As well as prolific vegies, there are flowers everywhere in my back garden, the cottage garden area just outside the house.  It's so pretty and there are bees and hoverflies and butterflies absolutely everywhere.
 I love alyssum, a white carpet along the ground, with a delicious honey scent.
 The bees and hoverflies are especially attracted to the yellow flowers at the moment.
 Oh, yes, I almost forgot!  I spied something fascinating the in garden the other day.  Well, I heard it first, a slow leisurely buzzing around a plant.  I looked and did a doubletake, it looked a bit like a bumblebee, I've seen those in Tasmania, fat and fluffy and adorable.  But there are no bumblebees in WA so I looked closer, and was amazed to see a fat bee with teddy bear yellow fuzz all over its upper half, and dark blue and white stripes down its bottom half.  I kid you not!  Alas I wasn't quick enough with my camera, but wait right there, I shall go and find a picture of one on the WWW and show you....

Okay, I'm back, isn't it lovely, it's called a blue-banded bee.  I gather they are not uncommon, but I've never seen one before and was thrilled to bits.
My Hebe shrub has finally started to take off and put on some growth, I love the colour of the flowers, all different shades.
 The garlic chives I moved from the vegie patch to the cottage garden have settled in well.
Coriander plants are flowering all over the place.  As you can see, the hover flies love these flowers, they are beneficial insect attractants.  I throw the seeds around with gay abandon so there are lots of plants, with their dainty white flowers nodding in the breeze.
Now you may not be excited by this, but I am.  This is a red currant plant.  It has languished unhappily in a pot for the last year, neglected, while we procrastinated over the site of the berry growing area.  I ended up planting it in the cottage garden a couple of weeks ago and it has gone crazy, probably doubled its size.  And look, LOOK, there are two cute as a button little currants on it.  :-)  I just hope I can get a taste of them when they ripen before the little birds find them.  And I hope it grows a few more than two, but the first of anything is exciting, no matter how small the quantity.
Aren't passionfruit flowers fascinating and beautiful things, it's sort of like they are inside out.  I probably sound like a broken record, but I am gobsmacked at the growth and productivity of both the passionfruit and banana passionfruit.  We've had passionfruit right through winter, we are eating banana passionfruit now, and both vines have put on massive growth and a zillion new flowers, ready for the next crop.   I love growing things!! :-)
On a final note, guess how many eggs we had this week...... 31!! 
The new girls are settled and happy, they now know how to be chickens, spending their days foraging in the orchard and empty vegie beds.  They know we are the bringers of the scrap bucket, and cluck excitedly around our legs when we visit them.  It's so nice to see.  They are feathering up nicely too, so will soon be as beautiful as Angie and Bridget, the old girls.  This is the big shrub in the corner of their yard, there will often be a chicken or two sitting up in it, being king of the castle.  Life is good in the henhouse. :-)


  1. Wow! Your garden and everything is thriving, not like here, some critter has eaten all the new flower buds off the rose bushes in my new Rose Garden! Someone suggested it was Grasshoppers... how does one deal with Grasshoppers I ask!

    1. I would suggest chickens Pennie, they love grasshoppers! We don't have many grasshoppers here but when the hens find one there is much excitement and clucking :-) our biggest issue is slugs in the veggie patch and those armoured weevils in the orchard.