Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Dark and Dismal Week

After weeks of cold mornings followed by blue skies and sunny days we have had a week of dark and dismal weather as there was quite a bit of rain falling in the east most of which missed us apart from a most unusual winter storm on Monday which hit about one minute after I thought it was time to bring the washing in. Oops! Too late!

It does my head in having to stay inside all the time so as soon as the rain stopped I grabbed the camera and took a walk outside to see what is growing at the moment as it is always fun to look back at a year later.

Many of the 'usual' bushes/plants were flowing including lots of jonquils, camellias...

...and once again our mum's old, old zygocactus which has faithfully flowered for a couple of decades. She kept it on her closed in front verandah which attracted the afternoon sun but here it seems to be equally happy under the camellia tree.

Obviously it is lavender time and now that is is fining up I will pick some to make a cleaning vinegar with the information shared by one of the members on The Home Makers Forum who is very experienced with using herbs.

A friend from the Sunshine Coast gave me a white lavender plant last year and I am very happy to see the first flower as I was thinking it didn't like living on the cold Darling Downs :-)

I have mentioned to the CEO for a few years now that it would be nice to have the mandarin tree pruned as it has grown much too high for me to pick the fruit and I hate seeing it being wasted. I do pick what I can and take some to our Simple Living Toowoomba group but most of them aren't ready to pick as yet. Our children used to love picking these when they were growing up but I tend to stick to navel oranges which are my favourite citrus treat. It is a shame they aren't ready as we have a permaculture workshop on this weekend which is being presented by Michael Wardle from Savour Soil Permaculture. 

If anyone is interested in a couple of mandarin recipes before I cut down on sugar I made Mandarin and Date Slice, Whole Mandarin Muffins with Mandarin Curd and Mandarin Curd

We also have a couple of orange trees that the CEO planted back in the 1980s and which normally don't produce much fruit which is not surprising seeing as they don't get any TLC but for some reason there are quite a few oranges growing this year and I will have to find a use for them soon. I did make a Whole Orange Cake with No Added Sugar last year but that only uses up one orange. Hmmm, I will have to put my thinking cap on.

This pawpaw tree is still growing strong even though we have had a few frosts. It is sheltered by the Cherimoya but probably won't get enough sun to do well.


We have lots and lots of avocados and had even more until one of the CEO's friends came to help him and when asked to trim one of the two avocado trees ended up cutting it down. What is it about the hearing of a lot of men these days as I find that many of them are hard of hearing? Seriously! I have to shout at the CEO to make myself heard. I believe he used to walk around with a loud transistor radio up to his ear when he was young so perhaps that is the cause. In decades to come I guess the use of headphones to listen to loud music will cause the same problem in today's youth.

I had given up trying to grow pepinos as in the past they would look promising and go purple and then I think something started eating them. So I stuck the plant in the ground somewhere out of the way and when I happened to pass by it the other day saw it has fruit on it. Obviously the best way to grow something here is to ignore it. LOL! I was given the pepino seeds by Fair Dinkum Seeds as I did a blog post about them a while back to promote their small business. They have seeds for some unusual plants.

As the chooks are running loose and wrecking everything that isn't behind a fence, I decided to plant some calendula seeds in amongst the silverbeet which is surrounded by wire and at last I have some plants growing and use the flowers in soapmaking.

I was out at Bunnings a few weeks ago and bought a punnet of wasabi lettuce and it is growing really well. It has a mustard taste and is quite nice.

Then there are the bird's eye hot....and I always wonder what to do with them as they come up everywhere.  I thought of making chilli sauce but you don't seem to use many chillies for that. Pinterest has heaps of recipes but I need one that uses up about a hundred chillies :-) Whatever I make with them I won't be eating as I really don't like that much heat but the menfolk can cope with it. Any ideas?

Well, apart from a few other bits and pieces that's about it in the garden at the moment. Of course there are lots of weeds/herbs including three gardens that are overrun by nettle...the removal of which is a hard job and requires using thick rubber gloves but it has to be done soon as once the hot weather starts again I won't be going outside too much after the recent skin cancer surgery as I am paranoid about getting the sun on my face now.

I hope everyone is having a good week and that your gardens are growing really well. 


  1. Nil, I just looked that up The pawpaw has yellow flesh and the papaya has orange to red flesh. Now I have also learned something new today :-)

  2. Thanks for the manadarin and date slice. Our daughter loves mandarin season and I'm sure she will enjoy this slice.

  3. Love going on walks with you! Am fascinated by wasabi lettuce - does it have the 'hot' spicy flavor I think of when I hear the word wasabi? Stay warm!

    1. Kathy it has more of a mustard taste and isn't really hot as such.

  4. Hope the weather has improved for you Chel and thankyou for the tour of your amazing garden. You could freeze some of your chillies for future use but it so hard to use the Birds Eye hot ones up. I love that they bring colour to the garden and surprisingly the birds eat them here. They completely denuded one of my bushes one year. What a great resource and source of friendship your Simple Living Toowoomba Group must be. A post on how to start a group like that would be interesting. Envy you growing lavendar and avocadoes, but so sad one of your trees was chopped down. Unbelievable.

    1. Pauline I did do a blog post on how our group started up but I can't find it at the moment. I will do a new one and label it correctly next time so I can find it again. LOL!

  5. Ooh thanks for the Mandarin and Date Slice Chel, I might just pop one into the wood oven right now! Me too... can't bear being stuck inside, but I LOVE rainy days, like today. Boots, coat and hat on, and out to do my afternoon chores first. :) XX

    1. Sally, it would be lovely to make on a rainy day. I hope it works out well for you.

  6. Dear Nanna Chel, The gloomy weather has hit here after a really nice week. But we need rain so I have to be happy about that.
    Your pink Camellia is just gorgeous and the Chillies are amazing! I think I would give away/ barter with the excess. So many people go mad over them. I used to swap things with an organic cafe near us which was a good little bit of bartering!
    Have a good weekend! Keep warm! With love

  7. Dark and dismal is my favourite kind of weather, I would rather that than a sunny day, I wish it could be overcast or raining every day, I also love the cold. I think I was born in the wrong country.

  8. Nanna Chel it's been the same on the coast. We haven't had much rain since Debbie so the extra moisture is a blessing. Having said that I have been trying to get all the washing sorted so that we can head off in the caravan this weekend. It has been a battle but I think I am winning.
    Your garden is simply stunning.


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