31 October 2019

October in the Garden

October has been a  funny month weather-wise, it started out warm, then got cooler, then got warmer again so I packed away all my winter clothes and the following day the temperature dropped again and I was back in winter clothes. The last two weeks of the month have been almost identical temperature-wise, they started out warm and just got hotter with last Thursday's temperature reaching 39.1°C and today (Thursday) 39°C.

I spent a few hours out in the vegetable garden last week pulling out the brassicas and I also changed the layout because I realised with everything that I want to grow this summer there wouldn't have been enough room with the existing layout.

I removed the existing centre garden and widened the two garden beds, the bed on the left measures 7 metres x 1.9 metres, and the bed on the right measures 4.3 metres x 2.3 metres with a pathway running down the centre of the garden. I have five different types of pumpkin, two varieties of zucchini, as well as two varieties of squash that will be planted out in the bed on the left and I will also be planting sweet corn in this bed as well.

The bed on the right will be planted out with tomatoes, (which I have already planted out), carrots, lettuce, basil, beetroot, and I will be growing kujari melons, watermelon, rockmelon and cucumber on the cyclone fence that borders the vegetable garden.

Kestrel potatoes
 I harvested the potatoes this month and was happy with the number of potatoes I ended up with. It was my first year growing potatoes using the Ruth Stout method but because I was not as careful as I should have been in keeping them covered I lost about 1/3 of the crop because they went green. I will try this method again next year as it was so much easier than the traditional method of growing potatoes, and I will also be growing a lot more.

The beans are growing well despite the heat and although they are not very tall they have started flowering. I have been keeping the water up to them and covering them with 75% shade cloth on these really hot days and I'm hopeful of a really good harvest.

That's all for this month's garden update, I will be back at the end of November with another. Until then, take care. Jan.



14 October 2019

Sunday

I was so annoyed with myself this morning because I thought I had slept in, it wasn't until an hour later when I looked at the clock in the kitchen that I realised that daylight saving had started while I was sleeping. Can I just say, and I know that I'm in the minority here, that I hate daylight saving time, I always have! I realise that there aren't actually any more hours of daylight, but  I think it's so unnecessary in a country that already has so many hours of daylight during summer to artificially extend it. If they moved it to winter when we actually could use more I wouldn't have a problem with it.

It was another overcast, windy day today and so much cooler than yesterday, the BoM keeps predicting rain but so far there has not been a drop, it would be nice if they could get it right occasionally.

I took a walk to Aldi and Coles to pick up a few groceries (the stores don't open here until 11am on Sundays) and dropped into Bunnings for "a quick look" and I didn't get home until well after lunchtime, these came home with me.
Tomatoes Genuwine, Rouge de Marmande and Blue Berries, a purple capsicum and Fairy Tale eggplant.
I have sown seed for tomatoes and a few have germinated but not many and the ones that have germinated are growing at a snail's pace so I thought rather than wait until they're big enough to be planted I would get a head start with these. The eggplant and capsicum haven't germinated at all, I am going to sow more seeds but just in case they don't germinate either at least I will have these. The eggplant is only a small one but as I'm the only one who eats them it is a perfect size.

I did get the beans planted and I will take a photo once they are established and growing, I didn't manage however to get any more seeds sown.

While I was down in the garden I harvested the last of the sprouting broccoli, the rest is starting to flower so I will leave it for the bees until I need the space, a Purple Sicily cauliflower, my first time growing them and I will be growing them again next year.


I picked the one and only Violaceo di Verona cabbage, it's my first time growing cabbage and I'm not sure it was ready to be picked but the whitefly has arrived and I didn't want it to be ruined, as it was I found two Cabbage White butterfly caterpillar feasting on the inner leaves. 


In the basket along with the cauliflower and cabbage are some Golden Podded peas another first for me this year, some Sugar Snap peas, the first snowpea (Mammoth Melting) and a single broad bean. The asparagus is doing so well this year that I can barely keep up with them, not that I mind they are delicious.


Tomorrow is Labour Day holiday here in South Australia and at this point, I don't have any plans, some seed sowing maybe, we'll see. Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely day and if I do decide to do anything tomorrow I will be back with another post. Bye for now.

Edited: I actually wrote this last Sunday and for some reason, it didn't publish.



5 October 2019

A Busy Day

Yesterday I had one of the most frustrating and disheartening mornings that I've ever had, so much so that it left me feeling so bad that I didn't do any of the things I had planned to do, but today is another day and everything that didn't get done yesterday will be done today.

It's awful here today, looking out of the window you would think it was going to rain any second, but step outside and it's hot, dry and windy.

I've sorted through my winter clothing and stored them away, anything that didn't get worn over winter has been set aside and will be donated. I also sorted through all my summer clothes, I have more tops than I thought I had but I do need more bottoms (skirts and 3/4 pants) and I would like a few more dresses to wear on those really hot summer days.

The bathroom has been cleaned, a task I don't like but one that is a necessity. Curtains have been rehung after being washed yesterday (one of the few things that did get done yesterday), I did a load of towels, hung them out and folded more clothes.

This afternoon I watered all of the pot plants inside and outside and got half of the front garden watered, the other half will have to wait until tomorrow which will be much cooler than today and I will be spending most of it in the garden planting out the rest of the bean seedling and sowing seeds for pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.


I hope you all had a lovely day, I will be back tomorrow with another post.





24 September 2019

Haemochromatosis

A little over ten years ago two of my relatives were diagnosed with haemochromatosis, have you heard of it? It is a genetic blood disorder also known as "iron overload disorder". It was suggested that all members of the family be tested and when my results came back I discovered that I didn't have haemochromatosis I do however have two of the genes that cause it which puts me in the medium-risk category for iron overload. A few months ago, I had started to feel extremely tired, thinking that I might be anemic I had a blood test done, turns out rather than my iron levels being low they were in fact way too high. 

The only treatment for women past childbearing years, which I am, is to become a "therapeutic blood donor", so once a month, for three months that's exactly what I became. My last blood donation was a couple of weeks ago and I'm due to have a blood test next week to see if having blood taken has worked in lowering my iron levels, hopefully, they will be okay and from now on I will only have to give blood every three months instead of monthly. 

High irons levels may not sound like a bad thing, but left untreated it can lead to some major health issues such as cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes and congestive heart failure. People most at risk for haemochromatosis are those of Northern European descent, if you would like to know more about it this website, has some very good information.

23 September 2019

The Week That Was

Apparently, I'm no good with writing a blog post every day so here is what my week looked like instead. I'm hoping that once I get back into the habit of writing again, writing on a daily basis will become easier.

Monday - A Rainy Morning
I woke up to rain this morning which put the kibosh on the plans I had to work in the vegetable garden today not that I mind, there has been so little rain through winter, which is our wet season, that I'll take all the rain we can get, and there are always things to do in the house and that's just what I did. 

The rain cleared in the afternoon and I went for a walk. I'm trying to make this a part of my daily routine as my second youngest daughter is getting married next April and she has asked me to give her away, as you can imagine I was absolutely thrilled that she asked me and I want to look the best I can for her big day.

Tuesday - An Appointment and a Visit to the Library
I had an appointment in town this morning, which ended up being a waste of time, I did walk there and back so I got my walk over and done with early.

While I was out I paid a visit to the library and picked up some books, I love to read and try to read for at least an hour a day and on average I read a book a week.
I've just finished reading The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew, by Milly Johnson and thoroughly enjoyed it. 
The trip into town wasn't a complete waste of my time as I saw this family of ducks on the way there. There are usually a lot of ducks and ducklings around at this time of year but due to the lack of rain, we've had just over half of our normal rainfall this year, the river is basically dry except for a few large puddles, not ideal conditions for raising a family in.

I've sown a lot of seed this year and for the most part they are germinating well I did notice though that not all of the bean seeds have germinated so I've had to sow more, I think the problem was too much water and they rotted away, I've resown and hopefully will see some germination in the next ten days or so. 

The beans that have germinated are doing well and are more than ready to go into the ground something I'm hoping to get done this coming weekend.

Wednesday - Hablar Espanol?
I've always wanted to learn another language so when Spanish lessons were offered at the local community house I signed up for them, not long into my second year of learning the language my teacher was offered a job, so Spanish lessons were put on the back burner. A few weeks ago I heard that my teacher was available again and I signed up for lessons straight away. I don't know that I will ever need to use Spanish but they say that learning a different language is good for your brain so I have nothing to lose.

Thursday - Too Hot to Work Outside
A very warm day today with the temperature reaching 30°C and very windy as well so I spent the day inside catching up on some housework, dusting, cleaning windows and vacuuming which since I bought my Dyson is no longer the chore it once was.

Friday - A Day in the City
 I took the train into the city with my daughter, I don't enjoy going into Adelaide (or any city for that matter) too crowded, too noisy, but I needed some art supplies and it was cheaper to travel into the city to buy them, then to order online and pay shipping costs.  

While I was in the city my daughter and I decided to do some clothes shopping, I don't often shop for clothes and I had forgotten how unforgiving dressing room mirrors are. I knew I had put on weight,  but seeing myself in the mirror was a bit of a shock so I've decided that along with walking on a regular basis I would start intermittent fasting as well. I currently weigh 74.3kg (163.8lbs) and for my height, 175 cms (5' 81/2") that means I am 5kg (11lb) overweight, my goal is to lose between 5 - 8kgs. 

Here are some photos I took while wandering around Rundle Mall. It's hard to take a photo without people in it when there is an endless stream of humanity going in both directions but I did my best.
Augusta - one of the four mall pigs on a day out in the city.

Truffles and Horatio 

Oliver
 


The Spheres - more commonly known as the Mall's Balls
There are always buskers in Rundle Mall and these guys were really good. the elderly gentleman wasn't part of the act, just a regular visitor to the mall who loves to dance with the different buskers who are performing.
I spotted this artwork on our way to afternoon tea at San Churro, one of many pieces of street art that can be found in the Adelaide CBD.


Saturday - The Weather Can't Make Up Its Mind
I was so tired from walking around the city yesterday that last night I went to bed at 10.30pm which is something that doesn't happen often, I slept very well, and woke up at 7.00am but didn't actually get up until 8 o'clock. When I opened the curtains I found that it had rained overnight, 12mm all up, wonderful for the gardens but it's now too wet for me to plant the beans out, so I think a lazy day is in order. One thing I am hoping to get done today is getting these beauties hung up. I walked past the shop this picture was hanging in for two weeks before deciding to buy it. I don't often buy big items like this but I knew if I didn't buy it I would regret it so home it came. I love birds, especially our Australian natives so I know this will be hanging on my wall for many years to come.



Sunday - The Beans Are Planted
Well, at least some of them were. It was a strange day weather-wise, grey and overcast, then the sun would come out, then it would get windy and start raining and after being rained on a few times I gave up and called it a day. The beans that did get planted are the variety "Painted Lady", also known as seven-year bean and I've planted them on an arch so they won't be disturbed, the arch is not the best quality so I hope it doesn't collapse, I've tied it to the fence for some extra support.


I've tied the arch to the fence in the hope that it will keep it in place.

The beans were starting to get a little pot bound

Painted Lady beans, I planted three on each side of the arch, it should look lovely once they start to flower.
 That's it, that was my week, how was yours?