Monday, October 8, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Tuesday 9th October 2012

I have been absent lately from my blog as Ron and I took a few days off and went bush in the caravan.  He has been very stressed at work lately and needed a break, so we headed out to Emily's for a night before driving for what should have been only a few hours to arrive at our next destination.  Ron hates to stay on the more traveled (sealed) roads so we took a "short cut" (dirt road) of 40 kilometers off the beaten trap, but it really turned into a two hour trip as we got well and truly lost for over an hour.  Never mind, all in the spirit of adventure.  We did eventually at our destination of Leyburn and stayed for the night in a free camp!
The next morning we set off to meet some friends in northern New South Wales and spend a few days with them camping on a cane property.  Ticks can be a real problem on the east coast and even though I had bought our little dog a tick collar I discovered three ticks on her while we were away, so the only solution was to give her a haircut enabling me to check her more easily.  All we had on hand to trim her with was a pair of blunt scissors, but it was either her having a bad haircut or maybe getting sick.  The haircut won in the end and she didn't even mind.  I think she prefers having short hair in the summer so I am thinking I might keep it this way - but I will buy some clippers!

We came home on the Tuesday and I spent that afternoon and most of Wednesday washing, ironing and sorting.  We had plenty of it!  Wednesday was also Ron's birthday so we celebrated by having a lovely roast lamb dinner with Bec and Rana. 

Wednesday, however was a stressful day for Ron (work problems), so when I mentioned to him on Thursday that we should be up the beach fishing he made the decision to pack the van again and head back down to visit our friends - AGAIN!  We spent another three nights with them and arrived home again on Sunday.  This time we plan on being home a bit longer.  All in all it was good for Ron has he had a decent break and feels refreshed.

In between coming home and going again, I did manage to spend some time in the garden.  The seeds I had planted the week before had popped up!  This was thanks to the rain we had while away.

This is tiny rocket - the plants are more than twice this size now.

I have also had some plants come up where I have dug in some vegetable scraps.  I'm not entirely sure as to what these are, I am thinking pumpkin.
The weather has well and truly warmed up now so my English spinach is starting to go to seed.  I did pick some this morning and have plans of turning some of it into a pear and spinach salad for dinner tonight.

Spinach - the blue lines is string we have put up to keep our 16 year old dog off the garden.

Here is a colander full of spinach picked this morning along with a handful of strawberries and some tomatoes.

The Pakchoy is also going to seed so we will have to start eating that soon also.  I did take some to a friends yesterday for her family.
The tomato vine is STILL growing.  It must be getting close to 3 meters high now.  Some of the tomatoes have started to ripen so we have been enjoying the lovely summer flavour of those.  I love tomato that has ripened on the vine.  The shop bought tomatoes just don't have the same flavour.

The single chard plant that I have is still continuing to produce leaves.  I love this plant as it is so versatile.  You can have it cooked in a flan, like we did the other night, in salads, steamed, fried with some onion or even on a sandwich instead of lettuce.  I have planted some more seeds for chard but they are a long time growing so I might have to relent and buy some seedlings.

The flan we had was made with some yummy home made short pastry, then filled with the chard fried with some onion and then some sour cream and eggs poured over and then topped with some grated cheese.  I am having the last little piece for my lunch today along with some homemade yogurt and the handful of strawberries!  YUMMY!!!!!

The few flowers I have growing are all looking lovely too.  As a child I remember my mother having the entire end of a patio growing with sweat peas and I can always remember the smell of those, so this year I thought I would plant some myself.  I was hoping to share them with my mother as they are one of her favourite flowers, but she is away at the moment.  I was able to share some with a dear friend who was having a bad day yesterday.

I also have childhood memories of the paper daisies (everlasting daisy) that used to grow wild around our house so I bought some of those the same day I bought the sweet peas.  I must have been very nostalgic that day!

I love the bright sunny faces of these flowers!  And they dry really well so you can have them around for awhile.

Along with picking the spinach, tomatoes and strawberries this morning I picked some more of my beetroot.  There isn't too much of it left in the garden now so I think I will most likely pick the remainder in the next couple of weeks and make pickled baby beets.  I will also have to pickle the bunch I collected this morning.

It amazes me that even though our garden is teeny tiny I am still able to put some home grown produce on the table most nights.  As I have mentioned before there would be no way possible for us to be anywhere near self sufficient for vegetables but the thrill I get out of growing as much as I can overwhelms that disappointment.  Here's to more planting  ;-)

Take care

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