Saturday, May 29, 2010

There is snow on the Hills!

This time, not just a little, but a LOT.  Yesterday it was right down the foothills, and today it's raining down here and a little on the foothills is melting, but on the tops it's thick and fluffy white.

Luan is so excited... I drove him to Bannockburn and it snowed on the car.  I didn't dare drive past the tarmac road onto the gravel road as it was so slushy.  If I had been in the 4WD I could have taken him up to touch the snow.  However, if there's one thing I know from living here it's "the snow WILL come".  We even had a skiff at home here and Luan stood out in it and I took his photo, for posterity.

I dug some Red Rascal potatoes out of the garden.  If we leave them in too long I'm worried they will split in the rain or freeze in the frost.   Funnily enough our garden still seems to look quite good.  There are flowers on some of the roses, and carrots, brocolli and silverbeet still in the garden for eating.  The spring onions turned into "leeks" are still going strong too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Rain!

The chooks are looking quite bedraggled out in their yard.  I have upgraded their house tho...the other day I put clear plastic on over their window and door, so that in the winter they wont be quite so wet and cold as they were last year.  I remember when it snowed a lot of their house was pretty miserable and damp too, so hopefully the plastic will alleviate that.

In the absence of gardening I have been doing a little sewing (or upcycling!).  This red vest (on a particularly sulky looking 2yr old) was a merino jumper of mine that had developed some holes at the bottom.  I turned it into a vest for Albie, a pair of thumbholed wrist warmers for me and a cowlneck scarf for Montana-Rose....4 items out of it!! pretty pleased with that!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

It's your guess!

Here's a hint, it's usually white, or pale yellow.

No?  Its mashed maori potatoes! cool huh! really lilac or purple in colour and it just tastes like mashed potato....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Broad Beans and Pea Straw

Traditionally in NZ broad beans are planted on ANZAC weekend.  I am not sure what Mark and I were doing that weekend but we didnt plant our beans.  Last weekend we finally managed to put in 3 rows.  I am really the only one who appreciates them, I'm sure there are still some in the freezer from this years harvest.  It doesnt stop me though.  Not only is it rewarding to have something actually green in the garden over winter, but they are ready so soon in the spring and make a nice change to winter fare.

We also put a few bales of pea straw on our now-empty beds.  The humble plot is already looking so wintery, and bare, it felt like we were tucking them in with a duvet for the winter.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Capturing Autumn in a bottle

This is 2 and a half bottles of Rosehip Syrup, golden orange and fragrant....Central Otago is overrun by Sweet Briar Rose, it grows on all the hillsides and along all the roads, and will quickly take over and populate any farmers field.  The early settlers brought it to NZ so that they could make Rosehip Syrup as a source of vitamin C during the winter months.  

I'm really not sure how much Vitamin C is left once you have made it, to be honest.  But it sure does look and taste lovely and is well worth it. 

This recipe is close to the one that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsall has on his website, but I have simplified it as I needed instant gratification!
1.    Cut your hips off the rose bushes, or pick by hand.  Take them home and weigh them.  For every part of Rosehips, weigh out 2 parts of sugar.
2.     Put them into a pot, and add about 2litres of water for each kilo of hips. 
3.     Whizz with your whizz stick, only enough to break up all the hips.
4.     Bring to the boil and then turn off and let them sit for 1/2hr.
5.     Strain through a muslin.  Return the squishy stuff in your muslin to the pan and add water....about half the amount which you did last time (this is new, fresh water).
6.     Bring to the boil, just like you did last time, then turn off and leave for 1/2hr.  Strain this through a muslin too.
7.     Put both strained liquids to one pot and add your sugar, then stir to dissolve.
8.     Boil 5 mins then put into steralised bottles and fill right to the top.

Apparently this will keep for ages, so long as there is no air in your bottles.  

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pass the honey, Honey

Lemon Honey, pots of it in my fridge...yellow, and creamy, and fragrant.  Possibly the best thing to have on toast:

Anna's Lemon Honey

Grate the rind of 4 lemons, squeeze the juice.  Put into a pot with 125g of butter, and 3c sugar.  Melt gently till all the sugar has dissolved.  Beat 4 eggs in a bowl, till well combined.  Slowely drizzle eggs into the lemon mixture.  Heat on a low heat till everything is thick and coats the back of the spoon.  Do NOT boil (this will curdle it and it will be spoiled).  Pour into hot steralised jars, and put on lids or jam tops.  Keep in the fridge.

It only keeps about 3 weeks, if your family can resist it that long!!!  It's really good to use for lemon meringue pie filling, and for little pastry tarts.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Peach tree is in

We bought a Peach Tree on a whim, a couple of weeks ago at the Nichols birthday sale.  It's been sitting in a bucket waiting to be planted, and finally we did that today.  On our front lawn.  Actually, I wasnt sure if it was the right place, only AFTER we had planted it.  I took the label off and had a read of it, (I know I should have looked before planting) and it said to "protect from frost in late winter, early spring as this can damage flowers and fruit".  Well, our front lawn tends not to get the sun in the winter until the afternoon and can sit with frost on it for hours.   I guess we will see if this is the right spot, only time and crossing of fingers will tell.

Two Lemon tress are on our veranda waiting to go into pots.  The idea is that we will move them under the veranda for the winter, and out into the lawn for summer.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quick, the tomatoes need picking, the rain is making them split

Well, rain is good for th garden, and I know I should  be happy.  But...the poor tomatoes are splitting round the tops.  Their skins have a little ring of split near the stalk, and I have had to go out and pick a whole lot before they are completely spoiled.