Monday, 24 December 2012

Garden Update

The garden and I aren't motivated to produce much at the moment. It seems we are preoccupied with events, heat etc. My seedlings mark II have been another dismal failure. In our last place my cucumbers took off, but in this place it seems to be much harder work. I think also have the veggie beds spread out makes it less motivating to take care of. But anyhow, here's how things are:


We discovered that our strawberry in pipes would have worked except we planted running strawberries rather than the regular sort. These babies love to run, but had no where to go, so Nate knocked up these awesome planter boxed out of 'acquired' pallets.

The two plants that survived are thriving and running, so we should have more soon. The plants in the other planter died, BUT some other goodies, we're not sure what yet, have sprouted from the compost!

Fruit trees

We had our first delicious nectarine the other day. It was perfectly juicy and we shared it between the three of us. There are no other fruit, but in a year or two we look forward to that tree spoiling us in Summer.

The other trees aren't ready to fruit yet, but have got lots of leaves and are doing well. A few weeks back I took some mint cuttings from Grandma's for ground cover. Quite a few weeds and other average looking plants started to make the area look shabby, but all it took was 20 minutes of editing and it went from this:

to this:

Vegetable Beds:

I have successfully grown heirloom carrots, spinach and lettuce. They are so pretty and colourful. I think we have really lost something by streamlining what colour, shape and size all vegetables should be.

Our corn is also coming along nicely and I replanted some watermelon and rockmelon (cantelope) and I see one healthy shoot! It's disappointing as I planted four, but I've got to take what I can get!!
Our grass invaded sweet corn.
Finally, a melon sprouted!

Our garden bed has got a lot of grass growing in it, so I have trialed zero weed kill directly on the grass in our garden beds to see how it goes before attempting to do it near the veggies. I'm waiting for this crop to be over before doing it. I'm also tempted to try the old boiling water trick.


I caved and sent Nate to get seedlings. They have done so well and have been delicious  I'm starting to think seeds don't like me as they know I love to eat them!

Terrible photo, I know!
Not much better, but you can see the little orange glow peaking out begging to be eaten!

And that's it, our garden in the middle of Summer. How is yours going?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

So it is Christmas....

I love Christmas. My family is German English and more recently Australian. We have a kind of blended festive ritual which I love.

I especially love decorating. Every year since Missy Moo was one we have made our own tree out of something recycled or something re-purposed  This years tree met it's fate on a hot day when the wall heated up and the sticky tape couldn't take it any longer. So it went from attempting to look like this:

To this:

In the past we have done a few creative ones. Last year Nate used gardening wire to make cone shaped spiral around his bass guitar decked out with fairy lights, the year before that we hung red ribbon spanning out from a single point and the year before that we cut out brown paper and stuck it on our apartment window. Next year I would like to do a stained glass window. Do you have a Christmas decoration tradition?

For our Christmas festivities we get in early on Christmas Eve with my German/English side of the family. We eat too much, we catch up, we drink and then we open gifts, KK style. It's one of my favourite evenings of the year. When we were young my Poppa would sneak off and dress as Santa to give all the gifts. It took us years to work it out! Now, we delegate it to the two youngest family members. Unfortunately for the baby boy (who is now a strapping young 18 year old) of the family has been carrying the torch for a long time. My second youngest cousin (21) was super excited when my Missy Moo came along to let her off the hook! Last year our second longest serving elf roped in her boyfriend to assist and I believe fun was had by all.
The helpfulish elves with Missy Moo

The next morning is a fairly slow start. We open gifts and stockings with our one small family. Then brunch evolves at our place with my parents, sister and her partner. 

Later that night we do Christmas dinner too! This year we are hosting Nate's parents. On the menu is prawns, turkey roll (done in the Weber - yum) and a leg of ham. We will throw in a bit of salad too for a bit of colour! For dessert I'm planning self saucing chocolate pudding. I do them in little cuppacino cups and serve with icecream. I'll try to post the recipe and a photo later.

Boxing day rolls round (well at least we do after all the food) and we have a lazy day at home or the beach. We try to be around for midday to see the start of the Sydney to Hobart. We are a yachting family and this year my parents are flying out after brunch to Sydney to go see the start of the race in person. Yes, I'm a wee bit jealous, I'll have to add that to my bucket list.

What are your plans for the holiday season? 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Summer is well and truly here

Tommy Toe Red Tomatoes from Diggers Club

It has been rather toasty in little Adelaide over the past few days. Which reminded me that I haven't posted this season's fridge cheat sheet. So here it is!

I've been finding lately I've been in a rut with preparing meals, so hopefully this cheat sheet will give me some inspiration to cook with this season's goodies.

Tomato's are in season, which is fantastic as meals taste so much better with fresh tomatoes rather than canned. I still haven't had heaps of luck with tomato seedlings, but I'm hoping to plant out the ones I do have today. Fingers crossed they survive the weekend.

What are some of the successes in your garden?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Rainbow Birthday Party

It's been a while, I know! But I have had the delight of planning a Rainbow themed Birthday Party for our Missy Moo who turns 5 just before Christmas.

After weeks of planning, and trawling the shops for all things rainbow Sunday was the big day! In my previous life I worked in events, in fact kids events, so the pressure was on to pull this off!

Decorations for me were the draw card to a rainbow theme. I figured anything colourful was fair game and was more gender neutral than princesses and fairies! As it was warm we shaded the carport with a rainbow of crepe paper. Although it blew down by the end of the party, it shaded the food from the sun and was a great talking point. Also to keep Missy Moo occupied before the party we let her decorate our driveway with directions on how to get into our overly private house. It was a win win as Missy Moo felt she had an important job to do and it added a bit of fun as soon as people arrived. I also left the chalk out for a quiet activity for those who wanted a break from all the excitement!

I organised a stack of activities that kids could join in when and if they wanted, rather than organised games. We got some great rainbow colouring in sheets from here and here. I also had a ball toss game, totem tennis and coloured wooden bead necklaces. Hubby also made some ribbon wands that the girls danced around with.

Food was surprisingly easy. We had a plate of veggies and dip displayed as a rainbow, (artificial colour free) rainbow jelly, fruit skewers, popcorn, smartie cookies and grain waves chips. For drinks I caved and got juice (Missy Moo can get rather hyped on juice for some unexplained reason) and T2 Strawberries and Cream with Turkish Apple iced tea, YUM!

The party ended with a bang, well two in fact... I managed to find a number 5 rainbow pinata (you could imagine my excitement in Spotlight) which we filled with coloured bouncy balls and chocolate coins. The kids were rather into it with most having a red hot go at smashing it as hard as they could. Here is our Missy Moo in full swing, literally!

The second bang was the rainbow pinata cake. This cake had more food colouring than anything I have ever seen, but I guess that's what you get when you outsource to the 'cool' Godmother with no kids! This cake was a master piece and I did feel a twinge of guilt letting Missy Moo smash it. When I gave her the rolling pin she looked at me to see if I was serious.... needless to say it didn't take her long to be convinced.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

How not to kill seedlings...

This nifty $1.95 gadget could have saved 64 lives...
[Source: Diggers Club]

After our tragic family loss, 64 seedlings, I am pulling all my strength together to do it all again!

I visited my beloved Diggers Garden Shop today and got some advice on what went so horribly wrong. From my studies and expert advice, here's what not to do:

  1. Drown in water love. Be that watering the babies too fast and too much or leaving them to soak in a tray of water for days, either is going to end in rotted seedlings, not a great ending for anyone involved.
  2. Close the vents on the incubator! If it's a sunny day like we've had, those incubators will cook your little seedling babies!
  3. Leave your seedlings out over night. In the harsh, windy, cold elements. You get the drift, it's obvious!
Thanks to the wonderful man at diggers here's some hot tips on how to get your seedlings flourishing:
New look Green Lifestyle Mag!
  1. Give them the best start in a nutrients rich soil, especially tomatoes. The new look Green lifestyle mag this month has a great little article called Tricks with Tomatoes. It is written by Kirsten Bradley from milkwood permaculture and gives you the formula to winning soil for growing tomatoes.
  2. Water them by soaking the seedling tray in water for about 15 minutes. This will let the roots draw up the water they need.
  3. Water then let it start to dry out. Weather is a cycle and in nature plants are rarely kept constantly wet. Watering every few days by soaking is better than drowning! If it's particularly hot and the darlings are looking like they need a drink every day then do so, but don't water everyday just to keep them wet. If you feel they need a water from the top or you want to get the kids involved this nifty little watering bottle top is the answer! 
  4. Seedlings need warmth, but don't cook them! Make sure the soil can heat up but make sure they aren't getting burnt. At night bring them in to somewhere out of the elements, you don't want  a midnight trip out to save them from filling up with rain!
Tomorrow I'm replanting in my incubators:
  • capsicum
  • celery
  • eggplant
  • leeks
  • zucchinis
  • tommy toe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
  • grosse lisse tomatoes (salad tomatoes)
I'm also planting direct into my garden beds:
  • more carrots (the first lot seem to be doing well, and I'm planting more as we go through heaps!)
  • lettuce
  • Lebanese cucumbers, (my first lot haven't come up, but I did plant a bit early and I'm worried they dried out).
Today I got hanging baskets! I'm hoping to stock them full of tumbling red tomatoes as a bit of an experiment. I've heard a few reports that you get a big crop, so here's hoping! I've got the smallest basket possibly for tomatoes (30cm) so we are going to have to keep them hydrated. Hmmmm... hopefully I'm not setting myself up for another disaster.

Feel like joining me in the garden? What are you planting?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Open plan entertaining...

Our lounge, complete with amazing Swedish Rug from Etienne (one of my fav Adelaide stores) but also available from here and here.
Photography and styling in this photos & all below by the always fabulous Katie Dawson

This room only needed a coat of paint, especially on the skirting boards, door and window frames. However we also changed the light fittings as they were just paper lanterns and the ugly pink Venetian blinds! This room also needs new flooring, but we refrained from doing this as some people like carpet and some like hard floors, so the new buyer can choose (and install).

Our house has an unusual layout with a double narrow carpeted entrance and room next to the kitchen/family room. It makes no sense to have two living spaces in the one room and it's awkward to make it into one large lounge room due to it's narrowness and fire place orientation. So styling is was a challenge for Katie, but as usual she made it welcoming yet stylish. Our dream was to put bamboo floors through this space. I don't get dining rooms over carpet in family homes, everyone knows it's only going to end in disaster, but it's the only logical way to create two living spaces.

Our own dining table and chairs from home. We are currently eating on our old dilapidated blue couches (you know how I feel about blue). 

The thing I love about this room is our amazing couches. We designed them at the manufacturer. We literally called Beilby's and popped into their workshop. Lou the owner was great and we chose a general style and then negotiated measurements of every component of the the couch. We widened and lowered the arm rests so they would be easier to operate a computer mouse on and comfortable to lie down on. Then the huge decision of fabric! This took us a while, but in the end we decided we loved the two dark fabrics we had narrowed it down to so either way we would be happy. The greatest feature of the couches is the life time warranty on the cushions, yes lifetime. It's made out of this awesome better-than-foam type stuff that lasts. It's a really environmental choice as foam isn't great to create or throw out, so I'm glad it's going to last.
Our fabulous life time guarantee (cushions, 10 years on frame) couches from Beilby's
Cushions from FreedomIkea and Target.

Nest of tables from Freedom.

Plates and bowl from Freedom.
Candle holders from Ikea.

Do you have any styling successes that you would like to share?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Spring is here!

Okay, it was 25 days ago.... but the air is undeniably filled with spring!

I've been a bit preoccupied with a certain renovation of ours, but after looking at our carrots springing through (as well as the grass in my veggie bed...grrr) I thought I better get to this season's fridge cheat sheet so that I can share the seasonal goodies.

One Small Orchard's Spring Cheat Sheet

I'll do a longer garden update in a few days, but the long story short I have lost most of my spring seedlings :(. The seeds put straight into the garden seem to be going well. So I'm hoping the spring edible garden can be revived!

Hope your spring planting is going better!