Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Big Lesson Learned

If you saw these Navel oranges in the shops, would you buy them? Probably not.  I was thinking about how we are brainwashed by marketing and sales to only want perfect looking fruit, regardless of how they actually taste.  These are the start of our Washington Navel oranges, they look as manky as hell on the outside, having been battered by wind and scratched by a wire fence, but let me tell you, they are absolutely delicious, as sweet as can be and a delight to eat.  The tree is loaded with them and we are very pleased!
It was olive harvest day on Monday.  We managed to save our olives this year, we have one Frantoio olive tree that is now producing loads of fruit, but the last two years the green parrots have stripped it bare.  This year we netted it, and until two weeks ago the net did a fine job of keeping the birds out.  Eventually the parrots managed to chew a hole through the top of the net and we kept finding a couple of intrepid greenies inside, munching away.  So, harvest date was set before we lost them all again.
 After coaxing the net off the tree, taking nets off fruit trees is not much fun, branches grow through them and get caught up, it requires great calm and patience to remove the net intact, we set to work picking the fruit.  We were very pleased to discover that our clever olive tree had given us 4 3/4 kilos of fruit.  They are quite small but going on the one jar I pickled five years ago, they have a lovely, nutty taste.
 I spent hours putting a slit into each and every olive and they are currently soaking in water.  In a few days time I will sit them in a brine solution, where they will stay for 3-4 weeks, changing the brine every few days, then they will be bottled in a half brine half vinegar solution and the jars topped with a centimetre of olive oil to keep the air out.  After a month of that then we can eat them.  It's quite a process but worth it in the end.  We also have two Kalamata olive trees that are still quite small, but they are stubbornly refusing to flower and fruit, here's hoping they get their act together next season!
 The birds were all thrilled to see the net off the olive tree and they finished off the last of the olives right at the top of the tree that were too hard to reach.  It beats me what birds see in olives off the tree, they are as bitter as all hell!
I've started pruning the back garden and I'm being ruthless as a lot of the shrubs are very overgrown and leggy.  Above is the lavender which I've cut to almost ground level, it will be fine, they like a good hard prune.  It has created a new vantage point for this lovely female RedWing Fairy Wren to watch for insects to gobble up. 

I'm still trying to get a good photo of this beautiful RedEared Firetail male, fossicking amongst the limestone pebbles on the back steps.  He is another lovely little bird and we are thrilled to see them in the back garden this year, previously they kept to the bush undergrowth.
Speaking of birds, I have a sad story to relate, and from it we have learned a big lesson, never, ever underestimate a predator.  You know how the chickens have been escaping from the orchard and have been roaming around?  There was one chicken who couldn't jump the fence and was being left behind, so we started leaving the orchard gate open a wee bit, so she could squeeze through and join her friends.  What a stupid thing we did.  A fox, in broad daylight, snuck through the gap into the orchard and into the chook yard where it grabbed one of the ducks, then a little while later it also grabbed one of the chickens who were in the bush near the shed.  Steve was walking to the shed when the other chickens burst out of the bush towards him, and he realised that the fox has grabbed the other chicken.  He locked those three up and followed the trail of feathers and then found both the chicken and the duck's bodies, it wasn't until then that we realised the duck has been taken too.  Oh my goodness, we've been really sad about it, and felt like we let the duck down by not protecting her in her yard properly.  Because we've had no problems with foxes all these years,  we became complacent about predators, almost thinking that our little farm was immune to nasty things like that. Needless to say we have learned a huge lesson, the gates have been fortified to stop the chickens jumping over, the gates remain shut, and we are keeping a watchful eye out.  Nature can be very cruel.

Neo spends a lot of his time at night sitting in the window watching the creatures of the night that we can't see.  I expect he has seen the fox roaming around in the dark more than once.  It makes me wonder how often they are around. 
I had a trip to Perth last week to visit mum and dad.  I took the opportunity to give mum her Mothers Day present early.  My secret crochet task can now be revealed, a lap blanket for mum.  It's a light weight one, made of cotton, not for really cold days, but for just when you need a little something over your legs.  I'm really glad you liked it mum, I enjoyed making it for you.  xx
Water tank level for our records.  It's going well, the level is on the rise.
Until next time... xx

No comments:

Post a Comment