Summer lovin’

Hi, I am back πŸ™‚ Working on a new laptop that I hate, Windows 8 sucks by the way, for anybody thinking of buying a new computer! And for anybody waiting on an email reply from me please let me know because some of my emails are disappearing out into the net world never to be seen again I am discovering – I have replied to all! This has been an expensive month after having to replace a laptop, vacuum cleaner, cell phone and repairs to the truck – how glad I am now that I worked all those hours!

We are harvesting from the garden with some great successes this year but also disappointments. We lost all our tomatoes this year, I think my husband was to blame for that one though he is keeping quiet about what he possibly did to them. I have a feeling that the “foliage feed” he used was something else entirely that he knows I wouldn’t have liked him using but he did in error. Our self sewn beetroot that we transplanted out in great rows all failed, a terminator gene maybe? Our strawberries have not done well.Β But after a few years of failed potato crops because of a bug problem here this year we harvested over 70 kg of beautiful potatoes. The raspberries went crazy and we gotΒ over 40 kg with autumns berries already on their way, the beans and zucchini are always great cropping, the blackberries,Β cranberries, peaches, peppers and chilliΒ will have very good harvests, silverbeet (chard) lettuce andΒ broccoli have all self sewn everywhere for regular picking. The pumpkins are spreading out everywhere again with plenty on. We got heaps of onions, garlic and carrots and have stared replanting empty spaces for autumn. The herb garden is wonderful with another rock garden dug up and planted in herbs (another post!)

After saying I wouldn’t be freezing vegetables this year, I am πŸ™‚ Old habits die hard and it seems stupid not to when you have it lol. Jams and chutneys and being made at the moment, last year I made around 35 jars of our favourite Zucchini Chutney and just used the last of it two weeks ago so will make the same this year. We still have heaps of bottled fruit left from last year and 14 jars of other chutneys Roger wont try so I will be sticking to just the one in future. We ran out of tomato sauce a month ago and the commercial stuff is disappointing in comparison so I will have to buy a mountain of tomatoes to make more.

I have made no liqueurs or wine so far this year, I just haven’t felt motivated to. I have gone back to work doing strictly one day a week plus m on-call shifts which are simply by phone if any issues and occasionally going in to help with something. Roger is still doing 5 days a week but the work is far less demanding physically – I have to say I didn’t realise how exhausted he was and how hard he pushed himself on the farm. He had little desire for the garden but now is back to his old self and out there for hours….it’s tidy again! πŸ™‚

Me, most of what computer time I spend is on the Freeconomy page – we have grown from 130 at the beginning of December to nearly 500. It is working fabulously but there are occasional issues of greed, grabbing, rudeness, a couple of people selling stuff they got free on other pages! People are people and there are all sorts out there, after banning a few we are going great.

I am back to making my soaps and hope to do a market this weekend. I have been busy drying herbs and local weeds/wildflowers for use during the year. How to package them at reasonable cost is always a consideration but I have settled on this, brown paper with a band. Printing whole sheets for wrapping was too expensive.

Anyway, I think this is about as long as it needs to be. I hope others are enjoying their summer, or keeping warm through their winter.


45 thoughts on “Summer lovin’

  1. I have missed your regular posts so am glad you have a new computer even if you don’t yet like windows 8. I found it quite challenging when I got mine a year ago and had a few teething issues too. It took me almost a whole year before I upgraded to windows 8.1 – and really it wasn’t my decision the computer just got fed up with me saying no and did it anyway. πŸ™‚ It turned out to be the best thing! All the idiocies of 8 are replaced by the things we know and love in previous versions.

    Great to hear how well your freeconomy group is doing.

    I have loads of tomatoes, but they are slow ripening. I think there may have been a lack of afternoon sun in my courtyard – this tropical weather we are ‘enjoying’ brings rain most days.

    Your soaps look beautiful! and are beautiful I am still using the ones you sent me last year, they last it seems for ever!!! I saw some other handmade soaps on another blog where I was finding out how to make a ‘soap saver’ for the shower and the woman just used the printed band, no brown paper, so you could cut back even more if you wanted.

    I hope you have a wonderfully successful market day! xoxo


    • Hi Pauline πŸ™‚ So, I can just download Windows 8.1 and it will be more “normal”? It just seems like this thing does really weird stuff!!

      We have had just one day of rain in a couple of months and that was two days ago. There have been two fires, it’s frightfully dry here – one on the old farm Roger worked on which wasn’t too bad but a serious one the other side of Blenheim last week.

      I originally only had a band around the soaps with no wrapping, I found though they can fade in the light and lose scent so decided on full wrapping. I am wondering if you got the email I sent you last night? If not can you email me and I will copy it – I only seem to work on reply!


      • I didn’t get an email from you so I’ll send you a note.

        Yes, you will find a link in your ‘store’ or ‘shop’ I forget which it is called – where all the programmes are kept – most are free. There will be an updateto windows 8.1 link there. It took a surprisingly short amount of time and was hassle free [for me] They give you back your traditional desktop which is the bit that drives most people mad and the bits you don’t get back are all easily accessible in the ‘point at your bottom right corner’ scenario. I mostly use it for turning off and accessing the hard drive and programmes. Happy to answer any more questions – if I can πŸ™‚


  2. Forty kilos of raspberries! That’s a lot, I can only dream of that at this stage. I like the packaging with the paper and band – looks good. Have you tried tomatilloes yet? I just grew them for the first time – they are easy and prolific, and are great for salsas and chutneys etc. Great for padding out dishes with tomatoes.


  3. Tomatillos are related to the Cape Gooseberry, so yes, in the tomato/potato family. I expect they would grow very well in your climate. My Cape Gooseberries are doing really well. They are delicious.


      • Yummy! Gooseberries, the real kind, are so good. Yet, I hated them as a child. My grandfather would take me out to pick gooseberries in the garden. He would be raving about how delicious they were, and, in my heart, I was saying, please don’t ask me to eat anymore. They’re disgusting. How our taste buds change.


  4. My goodness, you have a wonderful harvest, and you have certainly been busy with it. Windows 8 seems to drive everyone bonkers. The version I have on my Nextbook is okay-ish. Most of Windows 8 just seems to be unnecessary fluff which does nothing but confuse. I find it helpful to remind myself that underneath the Windows dressing the computer is not much different from the very first computer we owned in the 1980s. πŸ˜‰ Windows 8, 7 or 10, I am glad you are online again. πŸ™‚


  5. I am so happy for your successes! And I feel your pain over the loss of your tomato crop. I have been living vicariously through your posts as our garden is still but a dream at this point. Winter just won’t release her grip at this point.


    • Yes, the tomato crop is a biggy, I rely on it for so many things. Not much can do about it though, other things will be just as welcome. That’s gardening! enjoy your dreaming, it will be here soon enough πŸ™‚ Funny how Xmas seems to come around so quickly but summer takes forever when waiting lol

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess I’ll have to thank Pauline for the downlow on Windows 8.1. Hate, hate, hate windows 8. Glad you are up and running again though. Everything is a learning process. Even when we think we know what we are doing. Mother Nature can always throw us a curve.


  7. RT says:

    I’m happy to “see” you again and glad Roger is able to spend more time in the garden. He does seem happy there. I determined last fall that I’m done with “growing” tomatoes. Growing is in quotes because I have never had what I’d call a successful crop. I’m going to spend my gardening efforts elsewhere this spring – just haven’t settled on a plan yet. I am looking forward to Spring here. Will you be doing anything to stretch your growing season this year?


    • Thank you πŸ™‚ We usually have good tomatoes but Roger has said often over the past few years they aren’t worth the hassle. we get psyllid (sp) bug here and they require constant monitoring and spraying to get rid of them – maybe he killed them on purpose because I keep telling him to keep growing them lol.
      Our winters here are very mild compared to yours, we get just frost in the back yard but not in the front…we will grow more through winter.


  8. Glad you’re back! Windows 8 is not my favourite either, I pretty much only use the computer for my blog theses days, as win 8 drives me “mad”… I love the photos, you’ve had quite a harvest, and you’re making me want to make jams and stuff with your delicious jam photos… (And I’m not the jam making type πŸ˜‰ ) it will have to wait though since we are in the middle of winter, and berry season is faaaaar away πŸ™‚


    • Oh my god, it drives me nuts too! It really does, I am surprised I haven’t managed to throw it at a wall! I will follow Pauline’s advice and download 8.1. Homemade jam is one of the best foods you can eat lol. I didn’t make any at all last year but missed it so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha ha ha oh that windows 8! It’s a wonder the air hasn’t turned blue, all over the world. I just got a new laptop and it’s taken me a little to get use to. Not sure what version 8 but my only advice is, use a mouse. Using my fingers on the pad is an exercise in frustration. My husband just about threw it across the room! Oh well will check which one I have and investigate the upgrade. I love your soap, it looks very wantable in it’s packaging πŸ™‚ Is it available online? I’m going to try the bottling process one day, just not worth it at the moment, but I love the idea of having your own recipe in the cupboard. Nice to see your blog pop into my reader x


  10. Your soaps are packaged so beautifully, Wendy – very professional but still with that lovely homemade touch. I’m sure you’ll do so well at the market. Great results with the majority of your produce. So glad to catch up on what is happening in your world again. xoxoxox


  11. It’s good to see you back, I’ve missed you. I too hated Windows 8, but I was fortunate in that a man I met through freecycle added a program with the start button I was used to from previous versions so I wouldn’t have to deal with the start page of apps. I get that Microsoft wanted to change the computers to look like our phones and tablets but it didn’t work for me.

    I am drooling over the amount of produce you have and can’t wait to start planting my garden I know it will be a few years before I can expect to come anywhere near the amounts you are harvesting but being just me I will be fine. πŸ™‚


    • Thanks Lois πŸ™‚ I have changed the program this evening and it is a lot better…didn’t work for me either!!!
      You will really enjoy your garden this summer I am sure πŸ™‚ Hard to start from scratch again because it takes a long time to build up the soil etc but it’s yours and you know you are there to stay πŸ™‚ If it were let to me there would be a tiny very manageable garden lol


  12. Heaps going on in your neck of the woods Wendy. Glad to hear that Roger is now happier and not slaving for the man as hard and can get back into the garden where he loves to potter around. I wish our garden was as fecund as yours. Mine seems to be constantly a month behind everyone elses gardens. One day I am going to get a massive harvest and have NO idea what to do with it all ;). Glad you cut back your hours and are starting to feel human again. Excellent soap and isn’t it sad that people get so very greedy when someone is generous. It makes me sad to be honest. We bypassed freecycle and went to a local school with our old laptop that we no longer need and they were most grateful for it too. They are going to use it as a loaner computer for families in need.


    • Lol, I guess you will figure it out once you pick it all πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure at all that I had the time or energy for doing anything with ours but when the time comes you just feel the need to do something! I am feeling quite good now thanks, not pushing myself to do anything but keeping busy with stuff that is important. Yes Fran, greed makes me very sad 😦 It’s funny because I hadn’t seen my niece in Oz online for a while so checked on her. Apparently (and she had no idea of my page) she got sick of seeing people on Facebook grabbing all the free stuff and selling it she is grabbing it all and distributing to appropriate charities. Nice to see a young one acting on her desire for better than that, I am proud of her. Have a great week πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Wendy and Roger. You sure have plenty to do on your slice of life. I don’t know how you manage so much. I picture your pantry like the lovely ones you see in country living magazines. Sorry to hear you had a mishap with your tomatoes, such a shame to have to buy what you need. I’m hoping to try a pot or two this summer in our postage stamp sized yard.

    I can hardly imagine someone participating in your Free Economy project for their own financial gain. But like you say, there’s all types. It really takes some audacity to think that’s ok, to benefit from someone else’s hard work. Errrrg, it must have been maddening. Glad you caught them!

    I like the idea of brown paper wraps for your soaps. Has the ‘homegrown’ vibe that’s perfect for your product. Printing is expensive here too. The equipment is cheap enough, but they getch ya on the ink.

    We’re starting to see milder weather more consistently thank goodness. There won’t be any gardening or yard work for a couple of months but the shops are now stacking up on all the tools and stuff. Normally it’s the May Long Weekend that people go mad. I’ll at least get a preview when I meet up with Pauline and Alys and others in Washington in 4.5 weeks. Anxious! Cheers x K


    • Hi Boomdee πŸ™‚ Seeing your name there made me feel terribly guilty! I still have the corner of your packaging with your address on sitting on my sideboard to return a gift but honestly, even though it wouldn’t take long to do I just have such full days at the moment and so much going on. You are anxious about meeting all the ladies? I imagine that will all fly out the window within 5 minutes lol. But yes, I expect I would be the same. I am so envious of Pauline, she will have an amazing experience, as you all will.
      Yes, printers are cheap, the cartridges crazy expensive and you know – they probably cost bugger all to make!
      There are all sorts out there and yes, occasionally on Freeconomy. It makes me furious to see it and have to deal with it, I would rather not!
      You will be pleased to see the back of Winter and the return of Spring. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heavens, please don’t fret about mail. I’m so behind on everything, including blog visits. I don’t have even have half as much going on. I seem to be in some space time continuum where time is sped up and the days are zipping by (I think I’ve seen too many Startrek’s, ha) If I could be rescued by Chris Pine, I’m may never come back…snicker. He’s a dish! Reality check! I’m just poorly organized I think LOL.


  14. Hi Wendy, I’m a frequent reader at your blog who don’t comment much.. I love reading your posts in self reliance in your garden using easy, inexpensive methods. I loved watching your soap craft business bloom and did a happy dance for you. You are a very inspiring person.

    Could you share a blog post on what produce you freeze and how to prep them before please.

    I also wonder if the sudden loss of tomatoes and beets could be because they were self sown on the same spot for a couple of years…I could be mistaken that they were left on the same spot, but just thought of mentioning this here as it could be one angle worth troubleshooting.


    • Hello Kay πŸ™‚ Thank you for your comments and very nice to hear from you πŸ™‚ Soaping etc seems to be taking over right now so yes, going well thank you πŸ™‚

      You could well be right about the seed thing, thanks for that, I shall mention it to my husband. He does tend to use plants that self seed in the raised garden for his new ones and yep, all in the same are so that could well be a cause.

      I am well behind in my posts this summer and also well behind in preserving, as well as the garden! In fact I was looking back for a particular post to share with you and couldn’t find it for a while but as I was searching through I ws thinking “Hell’s Bell’s, we are not remotely up to scratch this year!” I was also wondering if I was the same woman who did all this other years lol. I may not get a chance this year to do that and would be very short on detail because we just are not doing it but trying to grow more seasonally but I did find this which shows what we usually do…hopefully back to normal next year! I did one post on growing our meals but also this one on preserving.


      • Thank you Wendy, I’ll go check that post. πŸ™‚

        Also, besides changing the spots for the plants and doing crop rotations, another angle worth pursuing could be companion planting… maybe you do companion planting already – Incase you haven’t, it could be something to think about that there could be companion plants for the tomatoes and beets that attract predators that kill your bugs… Or companion plants that distract the bugs to themselves (say, borage, nasturtium, etc), or some companion plants that repel the bugs with their smell…


      • I used to be a keen companion planter Kay, I often suggest to Roger he should grow this with that. Unfortunately he has taken over the veg gardening and has his own ideas lol, companion planting doesn’t sound like it would work to him. I just roll my eyes and leave him to it. I am thinking next season I will be doing the garden, this year he just hasn’t had time and with less work now I am more able to get out there. We don’t garden together, my ways are not right lol


  15. Sorry to hear you lost some of your crops Wendy.. We had a bumper tomatoe crop last year but a terrible potato one.. as we got potato blight .. So we win some and lose some.. Our turnips didn’t do much either..

    We are just getting ready to sow seeds… and Hubby digging over the allotments, the green house needs a good wash and cleansing.. but we are starting off the seed indoors on window sills.. for even though the sun has been shining there is sharp frosts in the morning.. And there is still time for lots more snow yet..But we are on the best side now and Spring is on its way πŸ™‚

    Sounds like you have had lots to keep you busy.. and pulling work in too.. My hat goes off to you …

    Your soaps are looking great.. and I am very pleased that your Free economy Page is going well.. Yes its a pity some take advantage.. but you get them everywhere as you say.. such is People..

    Sending you well wishes and not worries about any mail… Love Sue xxx


    • Hi Sue πŸ™‚ Yes, every season seems to have it’s great harvests and great losses – they matter. Tis what it is though, nothing we can do about it sometimes, tend to think hubby was responsible for the tomatoes but at the end of the day left to me they probably wouldn’t have even got planted πŸ™‚ Just not enough time this year to do as well as other years but hopefully next…..!

      Making heaps of soaps and skin stuff this fortnight, way behind in my posting!

      Enjoy your Spring and being able to get back in the garden πŸ™‚ xx


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