Monday, April 9, 2012

G.G. Garden update: Weather systems and visiting frogs

Not many people have an inbuilt weather system. I'm not going to elaborate too much because you will think I'm very odd (and I suppose I am in many ways...), however, due to a little quirk, sometimes I can tell that the rain is coming even when the weather man thinks it isn't. I'm mostly right. Let's just say I can feel it in my bones. (Directions, on the other hand, are a whole other story...)

That is how I knew it was going to rain tonight (the weather man did not know), and I was very glad because it has been a bit of an Indian summer here and the garden needs a thorough soaking. The weather system can be quite reliable and just an hour ago, I heard the first rumblings of thunder, our dogs mim and charlie started to go a bit crazy and the sweet smell of rain wafted in. The rains came tumbling down. I wish I had a door off my bedroom to make the most of the situation. In my old house, I could sit on my bed with the balcony door open and watch the rain... Could there be a more perfect vantage point? Nope - especially when La Nina is in full swing and the rain is fairly constant - it was wonderful. Perhaps I can knock a hole in the wall to get a better view here? Best not to act too soon because the weather system tells me there's not much in it, which is a shame, because here in The Sticks, its as dry as the back of beyond. Oh wait.. Are we in the back of beyond?

Of course the frogs also know in advance when it is going to rain and Frogbert's 9 cousins decided to throw a party. All 9 were tucked in the verandah and not making too much noise, but it was nice for them to show their froggy faces all the same. I'm going to try to get some more frog friends to hang out in the garden with me. I might even make them a little pond because I really miss Frogbert jumping around the place. I've made a little rock grave for Frogbert in the nicest end of the garden because he deserves a special little memorial. I wouldn't like to be forgotten and neither should Frogbert. RIP Frogbert.

I've been to visit the gardening man (sigh) and I thought it would be okay. I bought a few plants because I couldnt wait until the markets in 3 weeks as the veg needs to go in now. Unfortunately, that guy sold me some organic 'Derris dust' to help with my cabbage caterpillar/ moth problem. The only problem with the Derris dust is that it may be organic, but it's not particularly highly thought of and there have been links to Parkinson's disease. Although this hasn't been fully quantified, the info floating around (it's been banned in the UK and Canada for anything other than use as fish piscicide) was enough to get me googling some other solutions. I'm trying to find the most natural but effective solutions to my gardening woes, and although it may take a bit of extra effort, I'm committed to the organic cause, so it's just the way things have to be. As a result, I spent a fair bit of time picking green caterpillars off the plants (when you splatter them they look like flubber!!) and spraying the leaves with a potion I mixed up which includes garlic oil, hand soap and water. I'm hoping this will work on all the caulis, broccoli and kale. I'm planting the other garden this week so I want to get it all out of control before that happens.

Here's an easy and organic solution: what about I ask the caterpillars nicely to stop eating my plants, and they decide that it is a good idea. Official request: Please stop eating my garden you stupid green creeps.

I've had the first snow pea of the season. Excitedly, it tasted as perfect as it should - sweet and snappy. I hope the plants fill out and up the trellis and grow millions of peas. I love them.

Dad and I went to go and get some manure from down at the sale yards, only to find that they have recently cleaned out the loading bays and the pile that we can usually get the quality stuff from is um... Rather.. Slopsville ... to paint a nice mucky picture. So I'm manure less and on the lookout for some.. Preferably cow manure which is another perfect reason for me to get a cow. Pig manure would also be good,which means, you guessed it... Another perfect reason for me to get some pet pigs too. I find the concept of not being able to find manure when I'm in The Sticks slightly ridiculous and am trying to convince dad that it's almost necessary for me to get some livestock to combat such lunacy.

While we don't have any manure on hand, we do have a fair bit of useful stuff lying around. I'm definitely not a hoarder (I throw things out only to find them months later, rescued by someone else who is clearly one pile of shit away from starring on the show Hoarders), but I'm now grateful some of it is here. I've got plenty of stakes to stake my vegies, and also plenty of seedling containers that I can raise new seeds in. It's starting to get a little nippy here at night, so the seeds can't really go straight into the ground.

In Annie Smithers' Garden to Table book that I love so dearly, they had to make a little blanket for the plants when there was a locust plague looming. I'm wondering if my plants will need some kind of protection during winter? I certainly hope not. I'm currently in the middle of knitting a little blanket pouch for P and P (friends of mine) who have been getting a little bit cold at night and it will probably take me close to 3 years. If I had to knit protection for my plants (a ridiculous but sweet concept) I will probably be dead before the second row is covered. If I died, I wonder who would take over the knitting? Possibly my friend Button because she's quite a keen knitter. I shall have to ask her. I suppose there would be no one to eat my plants or tend to them, so they might cease to exist if I should cease to exist. How did I end up here?? I don't really like thinking about the concept of my death... I'm basically the worst with the old existential crisis issue - so I'm going to stop talking about this now and cross my fingers that won't happen anytime soon. 

I've been reading a bit about sustainability (a book called Food Inc) and a quote from pinterest that stands out to me, is one that says - 'The recession won't be over until we raise a generation that knows how to live on what they've got.' How true. Viva la revolution. For this very reason, I like the concept of the above poster, and although it's not exactly what I'm talking about - it is the same general principle. Possibly best not to get started on this one tonight, as I could be writing into the wee hours. I will say that I was talking to a bloke today that grows local beef, supplies local restaurants but has to have the cattle taken to an abattoir almost 1000 kms away to have them slaughtered because they don't have the facilities here. Seems counter intuitive to me. What can be done about this?

As I am in the local food mood at the moment, for Easter lunch I cooked something out of Garden to Table. I used locally grown lamb that we killed ourselves, locally grown tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and home grown herbs, beans and chokos. I feel quite privileged to have the option to use mostly grown close to home ingredients.

The Braised lamb shoulder on white bean and tomato stew was a hit. The stew was perfectly plump, ripe, rich and herby... - honestly, I could have devoured just this by itself on toast (which I will be doing later tonight) but the lamb shoulder could have been a little more tender. I think perhaps the heat was too high - and if it was at a lower rate, the 3 and 1/2 hours we cooked it for should have been sufficient. I'll pop the recipe on here soon.

I also made some hot crossed buns and they actually looked half professional. I'm honestly impressed with my own efforts because they were what I would call chic rustic. A little bit pretty, a little but ugly, but with plenty of flavour. Could this be classified as a baking success? I believe it could!!

Hope you all had a Happy Easter x

Tell me readers: do you have any special powers I need to know about? Inbuilt weather systems? Navigational systems? 

5 fabulous comments:

KMc said...

Despite the fact that I am horrified you posted photos of certain hideous green creatures, I am excited with the prospect of you becoming a fellow livestock owner! Great idea G.G!!! :)

Anonymous said...

mind if I reach through and grab one of those buns???and maybe mop up a little of the stew?

Gastronomy Gal said...

Unfortunately there are no buns left because some critters have eaten them all. Maybe I'll bake a fresh batch seeing they were a success! Wonder if there's any sections in the show for Easter buns? Show championship here I come..

Katie- those guys are not hideous they are beautiful. When you come down, you can help with the pond.

Button said...

I know that you don't like to think or talk about dieing but this is a very important conversation which needs to be had...So lets clear at least one thing up, I will eat your plants if you cark it while knitting its blanket. Your welcome x

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

My hayfeverish nose and sinuses usually can sense rain or a storm approaching - the air smells and feels different to breathe. Unfortunately these days my right knee can usually feel the rains approaching too!

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