28 July 2016

Dead Man's Pass Reserve

Located in Gawler, South Australia, Dead Man's Pass Reserve is  a lovely place to walk your dog or to just enjoy a walk in nature on a sunny winter's day.

The scene that greets you as you enter the reserve.
The area is alive with sound as the six species of frog that call it home vie with each other to see who is the loudest.

It is also home to several species of birds, including the Australian Reed Warbler.
If you look closely you can just make out the Australian Reed Warbler perching on the reeds.
If you would like to hear the song of the Reed Warbler click here.

Two of the locals enjoying a drink at the water hole.

The reeds were in full bloom.

There are nesting boxes in many of the trees.
Bluestone was quarried in the area for many years and was used to build the Gawler Town Hall.
An old eucalyptus burnt out by fire no doubt.
Is this the tree that the unfortunate wanderer was interred in?
Winter time is the only time you'll see the river running so freely.

 If you're ever in Gawler during winter and you're looking for somewhere to talk a walk, or have a picnic, be sure to check out Dead Man's Pass reserve.

To find out more about Dead Man's Pass and how it got it's name click here.

25 July 2016

Curried Coconut Pumpkin Soup

I love pumpkin soup, it is my go to soup in the winter, but lately I've been craving something with a bit more bite, a bit more heat to warm me up these cold winter nights. I made this for dinner last night, it was delicious with just the right amount of heat I was looking for. It's also quick and easy, perfect for dinner on those busy weeknights or weekend lunch on a cold,  rainy day.


2 tablespoons yellow curry paste (I use Valcom)
1/4 cup of leek, finely sliced (you could use an onion if you prefer)
1½ tablespoons of peanut or olive oil
750g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
250g orange sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups vegetable stock
400ml can of coconut cream


Place peanut or olive oil in a large saucepan and place on stove top over a medium heat, add leek (or onion) and sauté until leek is transparent. Add curry paste and cook until fragrant.

Add pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut cream and vegetable stock, stir to combine. Cover pot, increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until pumpkin and sweet potato are tender.

Remove pot from stove and allow to cool slightly. Mash pumpkin/sweet potato mix and then blend with a blending stick or food processor until smooth. 

Please note - You are more than welcome to share my recipes on your own blog providing that you link back to my blog and do not claim the recipe as your own.

24 July 2016


Welcome to this month's Garden Share Collective, hosted by Kyrstie from A Fresh Legacy and Kate from Rosehips and Rhubarb, the theme this month is SEASONAL.

Seasons, they come and they go, and with each seasonal change the produce that we grow changes too.
My huge crop of oranges this year. 

Most fruit and vegetables have distinct growing seasons, peas grow best in the cooler weather that winter brings, while others like tomatoes and eggplants like it hot and grow best in summer. There are some vegetables that will grow in more than one season like cabbage,broccoli, spinach, silverbeet, beetroot and coriander but even they will do better grown in the right season.
Early Crop Massey
If you don't grow your own, knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season can help when you buy your produce. Sure, you can buy apples in December, but do you really want to buy fruit that's been depleted of all its goodness while it sat in storage, or would you rather buy something you know is fresh, that will taste better and be better for you, and in season fruit and vegetables should be cheaper. 

Seasonal growing can differ depending on where you live, what one person can grow in summer in say New South Wales I might have trouble growing here in South Australia, an example of that would be potatoes. I grow mine in the winter, because our summers are just too hot, a lesson I learnt the hard way. Coriander is another that I grow in winter as it is less likely to bolt to seed.
Broccoli in the background and cauliflowers in front.

Below is a list what is growing in the garden at the moment.
Wombok cabbage

And this is what I will be growing during the hotter months ahead, your list might look a little different. 
Sweet corn

For a month by month planting guide try Gardenate. It is easy to use and you can even have planting reminders sent to you via email every month.
The garlic is enjoying all the rain we have been having and is growing well. The plants on the left where the replacement that were planted last month.

For more information on what fruits and vegetables are in season in your state, click on the link below, it will take you to the Seasonal Food Guide Australia, then simply click on your state capital to see what's in season when. There is also a link that will show you where Farmers Markets are located in your state.
Seasonal Food Guide Australia


Much the same as last month, but at least the parsley in the insect garden is now big enough to start picking.

Italian parsley ready for picking.


Broad beans - 26 seeds of Early Long Pod 
Carrots - Chantenay - Top Weight - Nantes
Spinach - English Medania
Pak choi - Kwang Moon
Lettuce - Red and green salad

Things to do 

Not a lot really, by the middle of next month I should be able to start  sowing seeds for summer crops, before that though I might plant another crop of broccoli. 

That's it for another month of Garden Share Collective, thanks for stopping by. If you would like to see what other gardeners have been up to this month, pop over to either Kyrstie's or Kate's blog. I will see you next month for another round of Garden Share Collective.

21 July 2016

A Week In The Garden

I had the week off work last week, it was so nice to be able to stay home and potter in the garden instead of having to rush to get everything done. I thought I would document it so that I can look back to see what was happening in the garden and what the weather for the week was like.

Tuesday July 12th 

Sunshine, rain, hail and very strong winds, the only thing missing was snow. Two trees in my street, one an olive, and the other a jacaranda, lost a big branch each. On a quick trip to the greenhouse I noticed one of the cauliflowers was lying on it side, I will have to remember to fix it tomorrow if the weather improves.

Wednesday July 13th 

Another strange day weather wise, overcast, then sunny with intermittent showers thrown in for good measure. I still managed to spend some time in the garden, cutting the spent flowers from the Lion's Ear, tying up the larkspur that was lying on the ground where you couldn't see the flower stem properly. 

I noticed that the earwigs have had a lovely feast on the turnips and my only wombok cabbage, so I raked the pea straw off the bed so they wouldn't have anywhere to hide. I'm hoping that they will recover, but only time will tell.

 I finally remembered to move the coriander seedling that had come up (from the seed that was sown six months ago) between two rows of peas over to the carrot bed.

I also managed to get one and a half beds weeded before the rain returned.

Thursday July 14th 

No rain today, instead just periods of sunshine followed by grey skies. I added more soil to the potato pots, I'm really pleased with how they're coming along.
Four pots of Red Delight on left and four pots of Kestrel on right.
The three pots on the left are Kipfler, it's good to see them starting to put on some growth.
I had to give some of the peas a helping hand as I think some of them must have missed the memo about what their tendrils are actually for.
Dwarf Blue Bantam and Early Crop Massey.
Friday July 15th 

It has been an absolutely beautiful day today. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. It was the kind of day that is just too good to stay inside and it was a joy to be able spend some time in the garden.

The first thing I decided to do when I got down to the greenhouse was to put the seedlings outside so they could get some sun, as I lifted the first tray the weight of all the seedling pots was too much and the tray broke and the poor seedlings ended up on the ground. Luckily I was able to save most of them. The calendulas, which were more out of their pots than in  planted out in the insect garden, hopefully they won't mind the cold too much. The only ones that I'm worried about are the snapdragons. They are still so tiny, I'm not sure if they will recover.

I managed to finally take care of a job that has been on my to do list for far too long, but I kept putting it off because I just couldn't be bothered, but I'm so sick of the blackbirds kicking the soil and straw out of the asparagus bed I decided to just get it done. It took less than half an hour and now the asparagus bed finally has edging!
Asparagus bed before
Asparagus bed after

I sowed 26 broad beans, being a first for me I was unaware that they should have been sown last month, I'm hoping that I haven't left it too late.
"Early Long Pod" broad beans
The variety I wanted to plant was the "Crimsoned Flower" type, but I could not find them so I settled for Early Longpod. According to the packet they should be ready to harvest by October 21st. 

Finally time for a cuppa and to just enjoy the garden for a little while.

Saturday July 16th

Another beautiful day today. It took a few hours, but all the vegetable beds are now weed free, at least for a little while. I found a baby eggplant on the plant I am overwintering in the greenhouse, totally unexpected, but a very nice surprise.

Sunday July 17th

Another nice day, although not quite as warm as yesterday. With nothing left to do in the vegetable garden I decided to sow some seeds, Red and green lettuce, Mendania spinach, carrots Nantes, Top Weight and Chantenay, (I had sown some in the garden a few weeks ago, but they came to nothing, I'm hoping I have better luck this time), also some Kwang Moon pak choi.

I transplanted some of the flower seedlingss,  Poached Egg, the larger poppies, and the wallflower into bigger pots and fertilised the potatoes, the rocket and radicchio have sprouted

Six of the broccoli plants have developed heads, I don't now how I missed seeing them when I was weeding yesterday. 

I'm hoping to be able to do a similar post next month to keep track of how things went, so check back then.

19 July 2016

Repurpose - Reuse - Recycle

A monthly post to (hopefully) inspire you to look at old things in a new way.

The Windows 7 Edition

Head on over to Craftmams Drive to see how Mr LMB incorporated 
an old window into stylish and rustic bathroom cabinet.

Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors used one to create a 
sign for her dining room.

They can be used to make a cold frame just like this one 
from Home Talk.

Or greenhouses big
Source: Donna Reyne Homecoming

and small.
Source: Flea Market Gardening
You could remove the glass and replace with mirrors like 
Monica from Crafty Nest did.

Lastly, you could use them to add extra living space to your home.
Source: Orange Spot LLC 
Join me next month for another edition of Repurpose - Reuse - Recycle.

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know.

10 July 2016

An Afghan For Harper

It took me three weeks to make and it used approximately 2, 375 metres of yarn and I am extremely happy with the end result.

She is a still too young to appreciate the time, the effort  and the love that went into making it. 

My hope is that one day she will use it for her daughter. 

And that with the right care it will one day be used to keep her own granddaughter warm.

The pattern used is White Chocolate Strawberry Double Shell Ripple by Roseanna Beck and can be found here.

8 July 2016

Growing Potatoes In Pots

Unlike most gardeners I grow my potatoes in the winter. I learnt very quickly that trying to grow them summer is pointless as they just got burnt to a crisp, so there really is no point even trying.

This year, I'm growing my potatoes in pots. No digging trenches, no worries about damaging the tubers when it comes time to harvest and no chance of leaving any in the ground, which I always do no matter I hard I try not to.

I had set aside some potatoes in the greenhouse to chit, but they never sprouted so they
went into the compost bin. Instead, I planted four Kestrel, six Kipfler
( one I haven't tried before) and 7 Red Delight, that had sprouted under the kitchen sink. 

I put about 10 centimetres of compost in the bottom of the pot, added some pelletised manure, put the potatoes in and covered them with more compost.

Top to bottom: Red Delight, Kipfler and Kestrel

It took about three weeks before I saw any signs of growth, but eventually, the Red Delight (the bigger plants in the photo below) started to push their way up through the compost.

The Kipflers, on the other hand, took so long that I was starting to think that they had rotted due to all the rain we have had, but when I had a scratch around in the compost I found some tiny shoots just starting to appear.

The photo below was taken yesterday, you can see how much they have grown in the last week.

As they grow I will add more compost until it is about 5 - 6 centimetres from the top of the pot and then it will just be a matter of waiting until they are ready to be harvested. 

7 July 2016

Lo Mein Vegetable Stir Fry

This was made using the leftover vegetables in the refrigerator that would have otherwise gone to waste . The sauce is something I played around with until I got it to taste the way I wanted it to. Enjoy!

Lo Mein Vegetable Stir Fry

Author - Jan McMaster
Prep. time - 35 minutes
Cooking time - 20 minutes
Serves 4 - 6

1 - 2 T peanut oil
Wombok cabbage, thinly sliced
Carrots, julienned
Snow peas, leave whole if small, halve if large
Cauliflower, cut into florets
Broccoli, cut into florets
Baby corn
Mushrooms, sliced
Bean shoots
Thin Hokkien noodles
Crushed peanuts or cashews for garnish

Lo Mein Sauce

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons ginger
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/3 cup vegetarian chicken stock
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar


Mix together ingredients for sauce and set aside.

Stir fry vegetables starting with the cauliflower, carrots and broccoli as these will take the longest to cook.

When vegetables are tender, give sauce another stir and add to wok.

Gently separate Hokkien noodles and add to wok, stir gently to combine and warm through. Serve sprinkled with crushed peanuts or cashews.

Please note - You are more than welcome to share my recipes on your own blog providing that you link back to my blog and do not claim the recipe as your own.