Its’ been about that since I last posted huh? Sorry. I know mum is champing at the bit for me to write something.
It’s been mad around here – between work being flat out and getting prepared for Xmas down here at the farm with the whole family – I’ve not had much time to blog. We have the whole kit an kaboodle descending on us in a couple of weeks for the Xmas break – kids, parents, a sibling, cats… the full shebang, so we’ve been madly re-arranging furniture, cleaning – buying stuff in preparation. We even braved Chadstone last night to get presents for the family. We deserve medals.
It seems now summer has fully hit – and the garden had really taken off, but when we arrived this morning there was a lot of damage – we must have had a big hail storm in the last week as things were ripped to shreds. God knows there was a massive thunderstorm last Saturday where rain was going sideways and the power went out. The storms are a lot more violent than the Queensland storms that I grew up with, but impressive to watch.
All in all the garden has been a bit hit and miss – I”m not sure if that’s because it was a ‘no dig garden’ or not – it seems there’s not a lot of top soil to plant things in – it’s getting better as the beds settle, but I still think we’ll need to top the beds up with a good 1/2 tonne of composty topsoil again before winter. No doubt it will be a bumper crop next year once the bed has broken down and composted itself so in that sense it has been a worthwhile experiment.
Most of the winter crops were fizzers – we had a good result from the broad beans and herbs – all else that we planted was a bit disappointing. We got about two heads of Broccoli, 4 baby beetroots, a bag of pearl onions (which I am saving to roast for xmas lunch… no that’s not the entire meal but a bit of our toil on the plate). We had a few manky carrots with more twists in them than a detective novel, no cauliflower – no brussel sprouts (think the soil had too much chook poo – they all went to flower without sprouts!).
Oh well, you live and learn don’t you. It’s been a steep learning curve and I think we’ll know a bit more for next year – such as – buy seedlings, don’t attempt to grow from seed if you’re not around 24/7 – the snails will thwart you every time. They have been shocking this year – it’s a continual battle with pellets and rain of late.
So all the spring stuff is in now – capsicums, basil, tomato, rainbow silverbeet, french tarragon (yes I found it!), parsley, new coriander (the old one went to seed) chervil, thyme, chili, watermelon, borlotti beans, spaghetti squash, lazy housewife beans, zucchini, rockmelon – we planted it all from the bounty of diggers club seeds we bought months ago – trouble is, we don’t know what’s what as it comes up as we didn’t label anything as we planted it (note to us… label things). Oh well it makes for an exciting time to guess what the hell is a weed and what’s a plant at the moment. J is notorious for pulling things out in his vendetta agains couch grass – I’ve had to very clearly point out where I planted lemongrass.
The raspberries have really shot up – but we’ve only had one actual berry so far and we split it. The strawberries are going gangbusters – we’ve had about 5 punnets worth so far and there’s plenty more to come. There are apples on the trees, the occasional plum (although not as many as I’d like) and as always a plethora of unwanted blackberries – in fact as I type J is out on the trailer with the spray trying to conquer about 20 acres of paddock riddled with blackberries. Truth be known I actually quite like them, but understand they are a pest. He just out and out refuses to eat them in protest. He walked away from a muffin shop last night in disgust because they dared to offer a blackberry muffin…. so I’m now resigned to the fact that I’ll have to eat blackberries in seecret for the rest of my life.
I’m actually looking forward to Christmas as I have about 17 days off which is unheard of! I often take a day here or there to extend my weekends but rarely take a big chunk of time off from work – we have a day at the Stony Creek Races planned after Xmas which should be something else. A few day trips here and there but mostly just kicking back with a few wines on the verandah and bbq’s for dinner is the plan.
Now to the bees… all was going well… until today. We arrived this morning and I was unpacking – J was up in the bungalow doing bloke stuff and I went out to look over the garden, I heard an almighty hum and saw a cloud of bees rising up over the fig tree (which is massive). Turns out they were swarming and it was lucky were were actually here so J could catch the swarm and re-home it. He encountered his first sting (which I think is pretty good going to only have one sting so far!) It took him an hour or so and a bit of swearing but we think they are ok for now.
So I have a recipe for you – my friend Desiree’ makes this phenomenal peach pie – and I asked her for the recipe a few weeks ago as peaches are back in season. I recommend you give it a go – it’s dead easy to make and the taste is sensational. It’s called Fairy Anne’s Peach Pie as Desiree’ got the recipe off a woman called Anne who she used to work with in a kids fairy shop – make it, you won’ t be sorry – the peaches caramelise and blend into the gooey filling – serve it just warm with ice cream and a dollop of cream.
As to what to cook it in, I’ve used a shallow pyrex pie dish before and that’s worked well. Today I’ve experimented with a springform cake pan… we’ll see, could be disasterous! (update – it wasn’t, but make sure let the cake cool right down before undoing the spring sides).
Fairy Anne’s Peach Pie (via Desiree’ Lang)
- 125g butter
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/4 C plain flour
- 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 3 Large or 4 med peaches
- 1 Cup sour cream
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp plain flour
Melt butter in saucepan, add brown sugar, flour and vinegar. Turn off heat and mix together until a pastry consistency.
Press into a pie dish, fill bottom and sides – prick bottom with fork and bake in 200 degree C oven for 8 mins.
Take out crust.
Pit and halve 4 peaches (if small) set aside – Desiree’ uses peach halves I cut them into 8ths and fan them out – I’ll leave it up to you…
Mix sour cream, brown sugar and flour in bowl – mix well, dunk peach bits in the mixture then place on pie base (pitted side up if you’re doing peach halves) pour over the rest of the mixture and then bake for 15 mins at 200 degrees C , lower heat to 180 and bake for a further 40 mins until sour cream mix is set and caramelised. Let the pie cool (the hardest part) and serve just warm… and thank me later for this sensational recipe.
And click the link HERE to see other photos from the past few weeks