Settling into Autumn

We are well and truly hitting Autumn. We have had the fire going quite a bit, the nights and mornings are chilly, the garden is on it’s very last legs. Just in time for fellow blogger Anthony and his family (from Australia) to visit tomorrow, the garden has exhausted itself!! But we are very excited and looking forward to meeting them πŸ™‚

Either dead or dying

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When your garden looks like this on a very large scale there are several reactions all at once. Glee for one, lol. Things will slow down now and we can get to enjoy some other aspects of life and hopefully paint our lounge! Sorrow because we do love summer and horror, because that’s one grizzly mess to clean up!

But we do have sunflowers and we are still waiting on fruit and pumpkins to ripen.Image

There is still plenty to preserve. I have continued buying sauce tomatoes for pulping, cooking till concentrated and freezing. I did 7 jars of pickled garlic.

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A lovely fellow blogger πŸ™‚ sent me a link one day for an easy way to peel garlic that was on You Tube. It was bashing it to break up then putting in 2 stainless steel bowls and shaking it rapidly for 5 minutes. If anyone ever tries this and gets it to work please let me know HOW? because it didn’t work for us!

Still pickling beetroot

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Roger picked me some peaches to do…..Bless him she says, between gritted teeth πŸ™‚

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Capsicums are still coming and being frozen, as is, for stuffing with whatever over winter

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We have plans now for our marrows. I got given a recipe by a friend for Marrow Rum (Fran?)

You take the top off, de-seed it, and fill it with good brown sugar and let it ferment for 2 months in a cool place. Apparently it makes very good booze! I hate rum but am keen to try it, I am sure we will find takers for it.

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A large batch of apple sauce was made and frozen and another batch of cider vinegar is on the go.Image

You could be mistaken for thinking we either a) had a white telly-tubby call in or b) we were visited by martians – Roger’s first visit on the bees πŸ™‚

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He is really enjoying them and we are both becoming quite fascinated as we read more about their community living, work, and lives.

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Our kitchen window is the most used window in our house. Roger will often appear at it, grin, tell my to hold out my hand and pass me the first fig, strawberry, tomato…bird’s nests he has found etc. All sorts come through that window, or get passed out of it, often a beer or a fresh baked something. Twice in one week he bought these to show me πŸ™‚Image

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AND FINALLY!! A source of great excitement arrived.

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Last year I inherited by Mum’s new oven when she went into a rest home. A year later it’s arrived via my sister and hubby on holiday. It was a 3.5 hour ferry trip and over an hours drive away but was bound to get here sooner or later. The decrepid old thing we had was near it’s last legs, half the elements no longer worked and the racks caved in occasionally. You have no idea how welcomed this appliance was!!! It will make preserving and drying a whole lot easier that’s for sure.

Many of you are heading into Spring, I wish you a long and productive two seasons!!

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62 thoughts on “Settling into Autumn

  1. I’d love to hear more about the Marrow booze – I had so many this year that I went out visiting neighbours and would casually mention that I had a ‘gift’ for them… Most were thrilled, some were just confused.. I did make a batch of marrow jam, which I flavoured with lemon and raspberries – have called it ‘pink lemonade jam’ of course… Tastes brilliant apparently.

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  2. RT says:

    My goodness, if this is how you “wind down” in autumn, your version of lazing about must be about equivalent to my actually getting a little something done! Congratulations on the new stove – definitely a happy addition in such a busy kitchen.

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  3. Loving the look of those peaches! Have been following lately from our place out on the Coast, and am envious of the growing conditions here, Love how real your posts and pics are…not fancy or overly staged…have been thinking, now that you’ve got so many posts under your belt, would you consider putting up a section on your blog that has your top 10 posts, or a selection of your fav posts that you really want your readers to see? Or do a roundup of links to related posts from previous years when you reach a new part of the growing season? You have so many useful posts that don’t deserve to get lost in the archives. πŸ™‚ Heather

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    • Helloee Heather! I wondered where and how you were! Where is the Coast exactly? And thank you very much for your comments. Yes, I will do that πŸ™‚ I had been wondering if I should sort them into seasons πŸ™‚ Thanks Heather, I hope you and your family are happy in your new home….I thought you were still in CHCH.

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      • Miss H and I are staying out at our place in Granity, just north of Westport. It’s usually rented out long term but came free just after the house shift. So we are camped out here while mr B is in Chch and pieces the house back together to a point where we have power, water, hot water/gas, and is safe enough for a 3 yr old. Mr B is looking after/eating out of the garden, and pops over every 2 weeks for a visit. The only thing I’m growing at the moment is another little one…sure enough, make me a good batch of Damson Gin & then *poof! No booze for at least a year!

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      • Ohhhh, double wow!! Congratulations Heather πŸ™‚ though there won’t be any more Damson Gin for a while will there lol. And Granity, really!? That’s where Roger and I wanted to live, right there in Granity. Do you like it there? That’s a long way from home though for you, but I expect you are glad to be out of Chch for a while. You didn’t suffer any flooding there?

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  4. Marrows full of rum? Are you showing off AGAIN Wendy?!!! I still can’t quite get my head around you guys being allowed to distil your own hooch let alont using that hooch to fill up marrows just because you can…looks like I am going to have to start saving my pennies and pay you guys a visit around about early june with my cocktail glass in hand…

    How exciting that Anthony is visiting with his family and cheers for another blog to follow :). We must be a decent month behind you guys in New Zealand as we are still having decent growing weather and things are still alive and growing on Serendipity Farm. Maybe Tasmania really is the arse-end of the world! πŸ˜‰

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    • Lol, I think probably NZ is that πŸ™‚ Great you still have some growing there.

      You fill up the marrows with brown sugar, that’s it! You could do this…you could have a secret closet full of rum producing marrows πŸ™‚ I am pretty interested to see how this works out really.

      Very exciting to have visitors from Oz πŸ™‚ Even ones wielding their own cocktail glasses!

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      • Holy crap…no rum involved? Just marrow and brown sugar? I am IN! I will have to hide them someplace or I am sure that someone will consume them with gusto. If it isn’t Steve or Earl I can bet some native animal will turn up that is completely addicted to marrows filled with rum… Don’t panic…by the time I have saved up enough pennies to come to NZ I will be geriatric and won’t know why I have a hoard of pennies in the first place! πŸ˜‰

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      • Lol, saving pennies would have a hard time keeping up with rising air fares too.

        Yes, that’s it. I put a link in another comment here. I have no idea where or how I am going to store these – but I will figure it out. The English have been making it forever apparently. Maybe you could hang marrows full of rum to keep the wildlife out of your garden? If they fall out of trees and ‘unfortunately’ become deceased, that could be very beneficial to you!

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      • LOL! Great idea but the odds are I would end up having Steve twitching on the ground after sneaking up and trying to pinch my rum filled marrows! πŸ˜‰

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      • Even just stunned he would be SUCH a sooky-la-la and I would have to tend him for days if not weeks. Not worth the agro. Best I keep those marrows in the spare room under the bed so that only I know about them…(only me…my marrow preciouses… πŸ˜‰ )

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      • Steve keeps reminding me how he fell over and hurt his bum the other day when he was heading down to give some food to our last few feral cats…every half an hour he mentions it…every half an hour…for 3 days now…sigh… πŸ˜‰

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      • Or we work/walk too hard! πŸ˜‰ I did an 8km walk with Earl the other day and should have probably rested up the next day but did another longish walk so I guess I should be a bit more careful with my aging knees. Am going to take a nice leisurely slow walk today and let Earl frolic himself out with Mieka in her HUGE back yard while I drink a cuppa. Sounds right up my alley today πŸ˜‰

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      • I am going to take it easy tomorrow as my knee is actually swollen up a bit. Probably a combination of the cold and a bit too long of a walk. Wish we had a vineyard next door to trot around πŸ˜‰

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  5. I think a garden with hedgies in is a very happy garden indeed! This is the first time I have lived without having some around me – Urban living….. it lacks a lot!

    I am way behind on all my blogs and can’t even find out how to get back into my own – computer woes [again!]

    I am pleased you will be able to slow down soon. I haven’t started having heating on yet – must be warmer here in the far south πŸ™‚

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    • Oh, that’s no good Pauline. What a pain for you! Our dog has knocked mine off the arm of the chair a few times, every time I think “Please don’t let it be too broken!” Big outlay to buy another so I hope yours is not too big a problem.

      We have 5 resident hedgehogs that we know of, they are so cute.

      I would’ve thought it would be colder where you are but I think your summers are generally warmer, maybe we are just wusses πŸ™‚

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  6. I have certainly enjoyed watching your gardening growing, the harvesting, and the preserving. Spring is taking tentative steps here. So far our days have fluctuated between 70F and 20F… with some snow thrown in for good measure. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your recipe for the pickled garlic? We plant LOTS of garlic to where we are harvesting at least 100 bulbs. Love the hedgehog. Nothing so exotic in our backyard unless you count the red fox(es) that make regular trips through… hoping they will find a break in the fencing around the chicken run.

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    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I am looking forward to watching everyone else work over my winter πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      I just added the link for the pickled garlic in the post. We love it.

      Foxes look very cute but yes, it must be a worry with chooks. I never realised that other countries don’t have hedgehogs, I always just took for granted they were common creatures, how ignorant of me πŸ™‚ They are terribly cute snuffling around and eat insects. We have a problem with small wetas that can only be found in this area, they eat young shoots and nest underground so a pain in the neck….I like to think the hedgehogs help keep their population down a bit.

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  7. I wish I had a hedgehog! Are they prickly, like porcupines? Their fur looks similar in the photo. Love your darling tele-tubby! LOL

    As to the garden dying off, check out this link: http://www.permaculture.com/node/140

    You may have come across Fukuoka’s work before; I first read about him in a Mother Earth News article back in the ’70s, I think it was. I’d love to have a place like his; zone 1 with the kitchen garden, zone 2 grains, etc. Do note the lack of work required to keep it going. Only problem I can see is that it might take a few years to be sure of having food to eat every year; I don’t see myself not eating for months (might do me good, though!), so would likely have a conventional garden in one spot (the eventual kitchen garden?) and then do the experimental stuff elsewhere. Of course, if one lives too close to people, those who like to control the world would likely descend and ban the ‘eyesore’; although I bet they are the first to treasure a wild meadow or mountainside . . .
    Anyway, hope you find it interesting.

    Marrows: Mum used to grow them and by themselves they are a bit tasteless; she would make a stuffing similar to what one would use in a chicken, cut the marrow in half lengthwise, take a small slice of the bottom so it wouldn’t roll (you could make a cradle out of aluminium foil, too), put some butter, salt and pepper in the cavity (you could use other spices, too; there’s some in the stuffing, obviously, but by putting them in the cavity, you flavour the marrow ‘meat’ more effectively), then pile in the stuffing and bake. I’d try at about 300F and see how long it takes. Mum had a wood stove, but knew how to cook on one, so no temperature controls. Marrow can be used like apple to extend other, more pricey fruits when making jam, too.

    However, the marrow rum has my vote! I’d try one with a few raisins, too, just to experiment. And I wonder if lemon juice would add a nice flavour. If one had lots of marrows, you could stand them on end in a large box, put different stuff in each, separate them with a bit of cardboard just in case and shove them under Narfie7’s bed for a while so she would have something to check on while hiding under there . . . Even so, plain brown sugar sounds delish, once it’s done its thing . . .

    Garlic: I wonder if you cut a wee slice off each end, then bashed and shook . . . sounds like a great idea if you can make it happen. I usually slice like that, then crush with the wide side of a large knife blade, then the husks just fall off. Never tried shaking them. A tip for the future . . .

    Pickled beets: mmmmmmmmmmmmm Mum used to make them every year and I LOVE!!! them! Wish I could drop in for a quick meal somedays . . . of course, once I got there it wouldn’t be a ‘quick meal’ anymore . . . πŸ™‚

    I never thought of freezing the green peppers (capsicum) like that . . . good idea if I ever get a freezer . . . I have a small one I inherited in my BC storage, but it needed cleaning out at the time and now I doubt it’s usable. I really like that bowl holding the seeds. I need a photo of it, empty! hint . . .

    Congratulations on the stove, too! It will make such a difference!

    Did I mention? I NEED a hedgehog, unless it’s prickly; it looks perfect for snuggling, is all . . . Hugs and hang in there . . . soon you will be snug indoors and crafting, reading, dreaming (napping?) to your heart’s content . . . ~ Linne

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    • Linne, you would not want to snuggle a hedgehog – those ARE prickles πŸ™‚ They are the cutest wee things though. They come on to the porch and eat leftover dog food. Hedgehogs would only ever be seen at night unless they were sick, they might be found wandering through the day. People now say because of the lack of threat from other species they are now seen during daylight. When you pick them up they roll into a ball t protect themselves but ours are getting used to Roger. I don’t handle them, when I was little I saw one spray it’s spines to protect itself, my sisters leg full of them – mind you it was being shaken by our dog. I have never seen that again.

      Doesn’t Roger look cute πŸ™‚

      I like that bowl too, just a wee one but very cute.

      Love that article, thank you. I might put a link for it in the blog, I have been wanting to show some articles like this. What a beautiful ethos.

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      • Oh, wouldn’t that be luvelly!! Same to you, if ever out this way, though I don’t like our chances. My son’s fiance is from Indiana and he is travelling there in July for her family to throw them a wedding reception, wish I could go! Are you near there?

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      • I am in illinois the state next to Indiana:-) I live in the Quad cities which is made up of 4 cities-two in illinois( Rock Island(mine), Moline, + 2 iowa cities Davenport + Bettendorf Iowa. That is why it is called the Quad Citeis:-) We are divided by the Mississippi, River. You are welcome to visit anytime:-)
        I have to go to Europe to see my oldest daughter in England, but they may be moving to Sweden in the next year since her husband is from Stockholm. I am saving to visit her which will take a bit to save. My first grandson ( he is 2 yrs old) has two passports-tee hee. I have to go to Sweden first in the near future + we have to save money, but New Z is one of the places I want to visit some day!
        When we have more free time some day, I want to travel. We never did while the kids were young since we just never had the money to travel. My youngest is now moved out + we can start saving a bit more to do things:-)

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      • Oh really ! One of my other blogging friends is in Illinois (I am pretty sure it’s Illinois?) Lois from Living Simply Free. She is lovely too πŸ™‚

        I would dearly love to travel. My kids and stepkids have all traveled or lived overseas, and sent postcards … I have been so envious of them at times. We are miles from anywhere here and that is reflected in fare prices. I very much doubt we will ever have the sort of money required to leave the country, but you never know what the future will bring I guess. Sweden would be a wonderful place to visit! I would dearly love to go to Italy.

        Well, I certainly do hope you manage to visit NZ, we do have a beautiful country and goodness, you would be most welcome here!!!!! πŸ™‚

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      • me too! I would love to save the money and travel once we both are able to do that:-) NZ does look beautiful!!!
        I would love to go to Italy,too:-) I want to eat all their great food:-)

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  8. Lovely blog, came across this in my travels, love hearing about gardens and saving money! Would LOVE to have some bees but sadly I am allergic.

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  9. Just dropped in from Lois’s blog and thought I would have a look at what you have been up to… I love the wind down of Autumn too the pickling and the chutneys etc… So much wonderful produce you have produced here.. We are planting more beetroot this year as we love it in a smoothie with apple juice… We now drink a couple of glasses each every day.. and Love it… Your New Oven looks wonderful.. and how cute is that hedgehog…
    We had Two wild bees nests in our garden last year in the rockery and one under the garden shed in the allotments..
    We are just entering our Spring here, and so our busy time for growing is under way..
    Its been a delight to land here and have a browse around your wonderful garden and the delights of your cooking skills.. πŸ™‚ I know I am going to enjoy following your posts πŸ™‚
    Sue xox

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    • Thanks Sue πŸ™‚ I love beetroot and apple too, and beetroot is just so good for you!
      Loving my new oven, huge improvement on the old thing I had.
      Nice to hear you have had wild bees nests, they need safe places to do their thing πŸ™‚ While I have new appreciation for them I am not quite so keen on getting up close and personal with them, that will have to be hubby’s job!!
      Enjoy your Spring, it’s such a lovely time in the garden, my favourite season.
      Thanks for your comments πŸ™‚

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  10. This post is tremendously inspiring, and has me salivating for your pickled beetroot (yum!). And thanks for the laughs over your gritted teeth gratitude with hubby bringing more work. What a bounty! And congrats on the wonderful new (to you) stove. What a welcome treat that must be. Thanks so much for all you share here. Cheers, Gina

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