Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday's Garden Gobbles

I didn't think I was one for New Year's Resolutions but yesterday, at the end of the first month in the new year, I found myself writing a list of goals for 2013. I won't bore you silly with all the details but they did involve a singing project and getting fit and losing weight and finishing the drama book I've been writing for two years (yep I'm slow) and starting an exciting new hobby (more about that some time later). And improving on the veggie growing front.

What I'd really like to do is to get more organised and productive in the garden and to make sure that I don't waste the stuff I'm growing. So I've set myself a challenge. Each Thursday I'm gonna do a Garden Gobble post. It will contain a picture of something I've managed to grow in the garden and a picture of a dish I made with the produce during the week. And I'm inviting you all to join in with a link to your own pics. If I can figure out the linky widget.

So I was playing around with the idea while I was sitting at the roller skating rink watching my kids go round and round on their last day of school holidays and I got all inspired and excited. Until I started worrying about the weeks in winter when nothing much grows for me and I don't seem to harvest anything. But then I figured out a loophole. The Gobbles created don't have to be jam packed full of garden goodies. A handful of parsley or some other herb would count. That makes the challenge do-able I think.

So now I've given you all the heads up, feel free to join in.  Take a couple of snaps and inspire me next Thursday with your food in Garden Gobbles

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baby Corn

Baby Corn
I'm not at all sure that I will grow corn again. I have attempted baby corn for about 5 years. Last year Mr P.s goats broke in and ate them. And the years before I was too late with the picking. I've found it tricky to figure out just when to pick baby corn. With normal corn you wait for the tassly bits to brown. I think. With baby corn you don't. And you don't want to wait too long or they'll grow too big. This year I'm a bit late again with some of it 'cos we went on a two week holiday.

On the drive home from the holiday I saw an enormous field of corn. And it was all planted close together - proving again my theory that those directions on the back of seed packets are way wrong. At least it looked like the corn was planted close together as we whizzed by at 100km/hr.

Anyway, home grown baby corn is super dooper good and sweet. It is absolutely nothing like the stuff you get in a can. You can eat home grown baby corn raw.

But I didn't get much corn for all that effort - after I let some get too big and snapped a couple of stalks with the hose and planted too few seeds too far apart. So as I was picking some today I thought maybe I'd give it a miss next year. Until Littlest Monkey tasted one and went over the top with his praise for home grown baby corn. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure about whether Littlest Monkey was playing me. On our holiday I was exclaiming about a beautiful  sunset. And Littlest Monkey joined in saying:

"Isn't it beautiful? It is soooo amazing...".

And there I was thinking that I had the most sensitive 7 year old boy in the whole world. Until he leaned over and whispered to Eldest Monkey Boy:


So maybe he thinks baby corn is terrific. Or maybe he is just having a bit of fun with me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Garden Bling & Bathroom Bling

About 12 months ago I was talking to my friend about what I would do in the bathroom when the plastering and painting and tiling and panelling around the bath was finally finished. I would get a chandelier. In my opinion you can never have too much bling in a bathroom. Or a garden. Anyway a little while later she found me a chandelier in a 2nd hand shop and for a rather cheap price. One of the lamps was broken and it was missing some crystals but Monkey Man assured me that he could fix it.

Anyway,  many months later we managed to finish the plastering and the painting (not the tiling and panelling but hey it's only been 10 years in the waiting). But when it came time for my chandelier to be hung in the finally painted bathroom Monkey Man found that fixing it was fiddly and time consuming and parts were hard to come by. So I decided to make my own.

First I raided the shed and had a look Monkey Man's box of old stuff. And then I took off the crystals and made this bird nest concoction from old fencing wire, a rusty chain and a couple of other old bits and pieces. My other friend has named it "The Angry Bird Nest".
Chandelier made with old fencing wire
So now that my bathroom is appropriately blingy, I have decided to hang the other bit of chandelier on a tree for the birds for a bit of outdoorsy bling. I've been putting out water bowls for the birds for a long time but I'm not quite sure that I ought to be feeding the birds.

That was until I re-located Wokee's food outside and discovered a procession of birds line up for a feed throughout the day. Birds it seems like dog food too.

So I  think I might start putting some seed in this chandelier for the birds. 
Chandelier bird feeder
Anyway I reckon both my chandeliers look pretty good. But evidently Mr P. doesn't. He came by to collect some lemons the other day and was confused and cross that I would hang a chandelier in a tree outside. Then when I showed him my bathroom chandelier he exclaimed "Oh Santa Maria.." and some other Italian stuff which I'm guessing wasn't too complimentary.
Oi Wokee! Eat your food before the birds do!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Plums that won't Prune

Damson Plum Tree
After Christmas I went out and bought a dehydrator. I don't usually rush off and make purchases without thinking things through very carefully and doing a lot of research and umming and aahing and then changing my mind and then finally doing it. But I thought about the dehydrator for one night only. I researched and sourced and the next morning I went and got it. You could say it was an impulse buy.

All because of the mountains of plums that had been dropping from the trees feeding the birds.

Every year just when I've exhausted myself with Christmas festivities our super dooper plum tree droops with plums providing enough for us and all our neighbours and friends and friends of friends and every bird from near and far. I make jams and crumbles and still find plums squishing beneath my feet when I venture to the tree.

But this year I had a brainwave... I would dry them into prunes. They would be easy to store and easy to give away and I really like dried fruit.

So once I'd bought the gadget I set to work making jam and dehydrating.  Jam-making takes a long time but that's nothing compared to dehydrating. And Monkey Man was not too impressed when he considered the energy use and restricted my dehydrating to the off-peak weekends.

Anyway, by the end of the night the plums had dried themselves into wrinkly shapes and I thought surely they were now prunes. So I popped them into a couple of big glass jars and went to bed. But in the morning I tasted one of those plum-prunes and it was so sour it made my eye twitch. So I tasted a few more just to make sure but they were all so tart my eye went into a spasm.

Turns out we have a damson plum tree. Great for jams and cooking. Not suitable for drying and prune making. Hmmm maybe I should have researched the plum tree instead of researching dehydrators.

Fortunately, I did get all inspired once I started considering what could be done in a dehydrator and started a dehydrating pinterest board with dreams of crackers and veggie chips. All to be done on one whopping slow cook off on a weekend of course.

Does anyone out there use a dehydrator? What do you make? Any tips for me?

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