Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feathers, Fruit and the Autumn Harvest

Flocks of birds have helped themselves to our vegie patch this summer.  They trade us exquisite feathers to find on garden strolls.  So many feathers.

 The beans were spared and we have now eaten all the beans anyone would care to, no matter how delicious and sexy they are. These bush beans grew beside towering corn plants, the cobs of which we are now harvesting and gleefully consuming, they don't always make it inside to be cooked. Each summer corn seems like such trouble, they are huge, take up much space, need side pruning, require heavy feeding and mulching, take an age to ripen, and are water hungry.  Come Autumn and those first juicy sweet bites of golden yellow, all is forgiven.

A mystery plant turned up amongst my corn and I was unsure what sister had mixed herself into the bean/corn equation. Finally they are ripe and the heavenly scent revealed them to be some type of rockmelon, only three melons but they grew without fuss and taste delicious, quite the rockstars. I am saving this mystery seed for another year.

Thursday I was filled with riveting conversation. "Gosh its windy!" "that wind is really strong", "that's a fierce storm out there". If there was a prize for stating the self evident I would have won it. It was the kind of day the weather could not be ignored as gale force winds buffeted against the window, threatening to take us to OZ. We had some big branches down, a few corn casualties and a leaning tower of mulberry.  We got off lightly compared to some Victorian towns, I just love the voice over on this video taken in Mulwala, so very Australian.

The branches lying around are a boon to our dog who like to pounce and attack them, dragging them with a gleeful trot and shredding gum leaves all over the yard.

Better gum leaves than pumpkins. I keep finding my pumpkins detached from the vine a little prematurely.  It seems Zef has a penchant for playing tug of war with the vine. The pumpkins certainly have a unique appearance this year, some sporting Freddy Kruger like slashes. I cooked a few smaller ones up recently and they were still tasty, if a little dwarfed in size.

Note the spud and onion box below (a lovely hand me down from nanna and pa), these two vegetables should never be put together as the onions encourage the potatoes to sprout, a serious problem when you have lots of potatoes.

Purple Sapphires, Purple Congos, King Edwards, Kipfflers and Dutch Creams. 
A healthier Autumn Easter egg hunt.

 I am a laggard with some things (like blog posting of late). This is my attempt at making the orange peel and vinegar cleaner that I've been watching everyone else make for years. Ridiculously simple.

 We have a tiny cumquat in a pot, this summer it grew enough cumquats to not do much with, but just before they all turned off waiting for me, I managed to make one delicious jar of my favourite marmalade. I am so excited the cumquats are the thin skinned extra juicy variety, that makes a wonderfully sweet and tangy marmalade, I will definitely give that bush some more love.

The nectarines were attacked by birds, they even got inside the nets, but the few that were left were so heavenly scented and sweet they were too good to waste, we cut away the bird pecked fruit and ate the remainder, savouring each mouthful. As we say every year, next year we will get those nets on early.

Cucumbers and zucchinis are filling my crisper with shades of green, pickles and chutney are on my to do list.

This year we have eaten a lot of grated raw zucchini mixed with herbs chilli, parmesan and olive oil on pasta, it is less soggy and sweeter than the cooked variety.

Tonight we had bruschetta with tomato and basil, so good. For the recipe visit Christine's blog
Slow Living Essentials, I was far too busy enjoying it to take a photo.

 In the evening gazing inside at us from outdoors are praying mantis  It seem a particularly favourable year for these fascinating and garden friendly bugs, they are hunting the moths and insects that are attracted to our house lights, they are awesome to watch, such speed and ferocity.

Unfortunately I forgot to turn the lights off at our house tonight.  I have been a supporter of Earth Hour since it began but somehow it slipped my mind, probably due to the deliciousness of that bruschetta and having one child away at Cubs camp, perhaps we will do a belated hour another night.

The Sydney Opera House


  1. Was it Earth Night? I didn't realise. Now I feel bad for not having known. Love the shapes of your pumpkins very beautiful.

    1. Yes it escaped most people's attention that I know, not so new and interesting for media attention perhaps, I love how it has become a global phenomenon.

  2. So nice to read your bog again. Was having blog deprivation.

    1. Like your typo, I wonder if bogs are as revealing as tea leaves, not such a fancy porcelain cup to peer inside. The sister also is miffed if I'm not writing, lovely to know its enjoyed.

  3. If only you could train your dog to pick up odds and ends left around the back yard ! The pumkins look great were you able to give them a water during the hot summer? I have about 6 or 8 small butternuts which I'm hoping will ripen before our first frost which no doubt is lurking around the corner.

    1. It does feel like a frost is lurking, autumn is most definitely here. Some sun tommorrow should help those unripe pumpkins along. If only I could train zef to put my tools away for me, or pull weeds instead of pumpkins. They have been watered through summer, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when destroyed by our canine friend.

  4. Great range of produce! I wonder if your mystery melon is a Minnesota Midget? It sure looks like my Minnesota Midgets. Is it quite a small plant? And quite a small fruit?

    And love your collection of feathers. I have quite a little collection of coloured feathers from this summer's visitors and they look so pretty.

    Like your use of the zucchini!

    1. I'll have to look up Minnesota midget, I don't know how the melon arrived. Probably from last years diggers melons of the world seed, strangely we didn't get any of these last year so my only explanation is that the seed sat dormant for a year in the soil. Plant was small, 3 fruits on the smallish side maybe 20cm long. I do love a feather, and trying to figure out who left it behind. Do try the raw zuchinni, it's surprisingly good.

  5. My goodness you have had a good haul really! Those beans look lovely! Our pumpkins looked a bit like that too and a few went mushy very quickly which was odd...i'm blaming all the rain and humid weather!
    Love all the feathers!

    1. How disappointing on the pumpkin front, it would be hard for them to cure in the wet weather. The bush beans were great, I far prefer them to the climbing variety


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young