Garden and Simple Sprays, Preserving Autumn Foods…Pets

Garden:This week has been super busy with all sorts, neither of us has barely stepped into the garden except for feeding chooks, turning hoses on etc. Last weekend Roger cut down many of the boundary trees, left a few others thinned so today he is tidying up all of this, chopping larger wood for firewood, smaller wood for kindling. The rest will be put in a large pile till the leaves fall off for the garden. Then, in the middle of winter he will burn the rest in the middle of the yard and spread the ash.Β This photo is deceptive, it’ a mess and there is a ton of tree material to dispose of.


Two simple sprays we use in the garden are milk for moulds on zucchini, cucumbers etc and garlic spray for aphids and other pests.

The milk spray for mould is 1 cup of milk, 2 tsps baking soda and one litre of water, shake and use use as spray. This is very effective

The garlic spray for pests is generally older garlic left over from the previous season. Peel garlic cloves and put in blender with water. Strain well, pour into bottle and add a wee squirt of dish washing liquid. Top with water. There must be enough garlic to be pungent. This is brown in the photo as we added worm tea as other bugs don’t like the smell of worm tea. This also acts as a foliage feed.Image

Today I will be picking blackberries, zucchini, apple cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, the remainder of the cranberries and harvesting carrots and beetroot. The figs are nearly ready, yippee, except we get simply hundreds and they will need to be bottled but these are nearly our favourite crop and we eat them all ways.


A friend gave me a small box of pears so most of them were bottled. I don’t have a canning kit so we use the overflow method as is most common in NZ with fruits.Β Image

I had to buy tomatoes as well this year. I have enough for sauces etc but not enough to freeze for tomato puree for pasta sauces and cooking. As we don’t know what sprays have been used I also wash in a sink of water with vinegar added to clean off any chemicals. Sauce tomatoes are cheap in summer and I got these for $1 a kilo.


I have made around 20 of these packets for the freezer with more needed still. The fruit just chopped roughly, boiled in a pan till quite

concentrated then processed briefly in whiz so still a little chunky.


Preserving pepper / capsicums. We did not grow these πŸ™‚ Our green ones are coming on slowly (summer was not a great one) and I will be freezing them as they come for stuffing later in year. These coloured ones generally sell for around $1.30 each in late summer but I have been on the look out for cheaper. A town vege shop had them for sale for $1.29 for bags of three assorted colours. Also soaked before using .


The recipe for peppers in olive oil can be found here, thank you Backyard Farmer! They are simple but require a bit of time to slice. Quickly bring to boil in a mixture of boiling water, vinegar and seasoning, drain and pack in jars with olive oil.


A bonus is lots of seeds to dry and plant next year.IMG_3411

A dessert we have often is Berry Claffouti. Berries placed in a dish, sugar sprinkled over and a light but yummy batter poured over and baked. This is a favourite here and much enjoyed by quests. If making it just for us I will use yogurt but for visitors it is made a little more richer by the use of homemade ricotta using strained yogurt (or bought cream cheese if short on time)Image

Another bottle of berry liqueur was made, this time a mix of blackberries, raspberries and cranberries. No photo taken πŸ™‚


This week we had to have our old dog put to sleep. Bob was 19 and was sick and had dementia.This photo was taken 6 years ago when we got him. Bob was then called Clyde and his owner was going into a hospice and needed to find other owners for him quickly. Friends of ours mentioned we would probably take him and though I wasn’t too convinced I wanted him he sat on my knee and gave me a big cuddle when we visited them….yep, we were sold πŸ™‚IMG_0870

I had never much cared for Foxy’s but Bob was a character and endeared himself quickly. He was a great companion and is now buried in the garden along with Basil, my 15 year old “baby”.


Β When Basil died we got another dog from the SPCA. “Bree”. She had to be put down 4 months later as she had cancer. She was a beautiful dog, one that had been mistreated but was so lovable it was devastating to lose her. Didn’t even get a photo of her, she was silver and cream and a staffy cross.

So, we still have Syd, a hulking great farm dog who sleeps on the couch and gives huge bear-like cuddles. He is the cuddliest dog you could ever meet, I am sure.IMG_3178

I have virtually always had a dog and always will, there is no greater love and loyalty than that of a dog πŸ™‚

And we now have mittens who is happier to be able to come upstairs now the demented, geriatric who used to chase him away has now gone!IMG_3130

18 thoughts on “Garden and Simple Sprays, Preserving Autumn Foods…Pets

  1. I loved reading about your garden’s productivity – despite it being such a blah summer you still have a lot to show. All those methods you describe – except for the spray for mould – I am familiar with from my ‘simple life’ living back in the 70’s πŸ™‚ I shall also try out your milk spray for mould as I haven’t used that before.

    Your descriptions of your lovely lost pets is so heart-warming Wendy. It is such a wrench when we must let them go, even when they are really ill, it is still hard. I am glad you bury them in your garden too – I have always done that and found it so comforting!

    Isn’t it amazing how, even when we are luke-warm towards them, they manage to wriggle into our hearts! It is great that you still have one dog – heavens, he is ENORMOUS!! Or is that a particularly tiny person he is towering over?

    My last dog was an Old English Sheepdog, she was a hoot and quite brainless and I loved her to bits. If I ever find myself truly settled again I would have another one in a flash – I quite fancy a labradoodle, but would look for a rescue first……..


    • We did pretty well this summer Pauline, despite it being a “blah” one. Some things did not so well. Ah, for the simple life, hectic at this time of year but rewarding at the end.

      Thanks Pauline. Bob was becoming very challenging and we let him go as far as we could handle. He had been a real sweetie, a little live wire. It is very hard to let them go, terribly sad and we are missing him even though it’s alot quieter!

      Syd is very large, that is a tall 7 year old he is trying to sit on. He would dearly love to be a lap dog πŸ™‚

      We had an Old English Sheepdog living next door until he got too aged, he was beautiful. Years ago I had a Standard Poodle / Irish Setter cross, he had long black ringlets – was as thick as two planks in some ways but a beautiful dog πŸ™‚ Labradoodle are gorgeous.


  2. Wendy, agree with Pauline…love reading about your garden and all the food you all put up. I’m going to have to try the berry claffouti, it looks delicious! Thanks for posting the recipe for the mold spray. I’ve read where it is good for roses too. Must give it a try this year. So sorry about your dog. 😦 It’s one of the toughest things to do. We had a brother and sister lab/golden mix and Jed is still with us at 16 years old but we had to put Ellie to sleep last September. I buried her out behind the garden near the woods. Still miss her. 😦


    • Thanks Annie πŸ™‚ Do try the claffouti, it delicious and so easy. Perfect with just cream.

      Oh, I am sorry about your dog too 😦 They have such individual characteristics and leave such a gap don’t they.


  3. We’re not particularly dog people here but found the same with our cats. I was given permission to pick up 1 and came home with 2. I simply couldn’t separate them or choose between them. Thankfully hubby okayed it. They heped bring me out of my deep depression I was in at the time with their love and snuggles. I was heavily pregnant at the time and hubby would arrive home from work to find me fast asleep in the recliper with a laptop and 2 kittens on my lap and my bare belly showing (I hated my belly being hot or covered even in mid winter as it was then). What a sight!
    Your garden puts mine to shame for productivity. I’m very envious but also so glad that despite the awful summer (was here too) there have been some people with harvests. it gives one hope. πŸ™‚
    I too have been in the kitchen with the tomatoes. 20kg for $30 all diced and bottled or tomato sauced with the plums I bottled a few months ago for ust this time. πŸ™‚ I also scored a box of mangoes – all dehydrated – and about 9-10kg of mushrooms – gifted or dehydrated. I love summer bottling and preserving although I much prefer witer gardening. πŸ™‚


    • I must admit the cat is alot more soothing to be around! I often will take time during the day to lie and listen to music with ear plugs in, he will always climb on my tummy. When we first got him my favourite times of the day were to go downstairs and cuddle with him, and I needed that at the time πŸ™‚

      You got pumpkins! We just looked under all those sprawling leaves to find not nearly as many as we had hoped for…nowhere near. It’s been so hit and miss this year but spuds, pumpkins and tomatoes are always so important for storing.

      That’s a great price for your tomatoes and good scoring on the others – how wonderful. Dried mangoes, yum! We eat heaps of mushrooms here, ONE DAY we will try growing our own.


      • A tip learned from Dear Narf was to buy spent mushroom compost. Keep the compost and harvest the 2nd crop of mushrooms that grow. I bought these ones as again, Dear Narf had harvested her crop of shrooms and dried them so Dear Narf deserves all the credit for the brain wave. πŸ˜‰
        Yes, pumpkins are a staple aren’t they. I’ve only got the ones I bottled last year and thankfully I have those as I have little to speak of on the vines and it’s a race against time for them to ripen before the frost.
        Cats do know when we need the comfort don’t they.


      • OOhhh, I will have to look into that – I have no idea if we can get that here in this town.
        Yes, they are a staple, a low number is always a disappointment. We leave ours there to get a few frosts so that won’t hurt them – they are a richer colour for it.
        Yes, cats do seem to…and I never realised that before we got Mittens, hadn’t had a cat for donkeys years.


  4. RT says:

    Sorry you had to say goodbye to Bob – they do have a way of worming their way into our hearts, don’t they? I’ve already decided that, even though I’ll try growing tomatoes again, I’m going to make use of farmers’ markets to get a sufficient supply of tomatoes for canning this fall. I am intrigued by the peppers in olive oil. Are they “canned?” How do you use them? I have so enjoyed watching your garden grow: thank you for sharing!


    • The peppers aren’t canned, they are just soaking in oil to the top of setrile jar and an airtight, sterilised lid put on. Very simple! Backyard Farmer knows his stuff and I imagine has been doing these for donkey’s years safely πŸ™‚

      Yes, pets do work there way in and even though you know they are so old and nearing their time, it’s such a hard thing to deal with at the time. I guess any loss is loss, no matter who the being is.

      Roger has said next year we will just grow a few tomatoes and buy the rest. It is so hard here to beat a particular bug without strong sprays and honestly, the ongoing problems with them drive us to despair! They are so cheap to buy when in full harvest anyway, it doesn’t seem worth the hassles.

      I am pleased you enjoy the blog, I guess winter here I will be watching you there πŸ™‚


  5. Dear Wendy,
    I missed this post + did not realize you lost your Bob. I am so sorry:-( I try to check my reader every day, but I missed this post. I had no idea. We have been struggling with this since the winter started + it has been difficult trying to decide when to do it etc. It just never is easy:-) Your dogs are + were beautiful…they are so special:-)


  6. I read about using a bicarb soda spray for mould on zukes etc. as it has a better effect. I didn’t bother as so far mine just got over their mould by my sheer laziness and the mould ladybirds being out in force. Add chilli to your garlic spray and look out bugs! (Look out eyes too πŸ˜‰ ) I would have to be VERY careful about where I stashed my milk spray. If I was trying to be frugal and stash it in the fridge I dare say Steve would be complaining about “watery supermarket milk” all over again πŸ˜‰ I loved the look of those capsicum in oil when I saw them at Backyard Farmer :). I was so sorry to hear about Bob but I guess his passing has been Mittens release. Hugs from Sidmouth for Bob πŸ™‚


    • Thanks Fran. We are missing him like anything but have to admit the household has a much easier dynamic now. Bob was top boss, unfortunately his dementia meant he had little understanding of the fact he was NOT…we were actually supposed to be….and the other animals had their place here. He was a dictator of the worst type, bless his wee soul. We left it as long as we could cope with.

      Our chillis are one of the crops that did fail (mostly because Roger’s prize tomato plant that has actually produced bugger all) overshadowed it – but we were wanting them for bug spray.

      No, you wouldn’t want the spray in your fridge….a taste that would make you wary of milk for a long time lol


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