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. This photo is deceptive, it’ a mess and there is a ton of tree material to dispose of.

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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.

Kitchen:

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. 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.

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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.

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Preserving pepper / capsicums. We did not grow these 🙂 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 .

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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.

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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 🙂

Home:

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 🙂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”.

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 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 🙂

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

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Our weekend ….and this is how my husband “shops” no-shop style

No secret we are secondhand shoppers only. Everything we own is recycled from free or secondhand. Myself and another blogger were just saying a couple of weeks ago how everything you need turns up somehow if you are prepared to wait. Rather than impulse buying at malls we just have a list of items we need…and we need to buy them as cheaply as possible because we have little spare money. My husband takes a trip to town every Saturday morning and spends the week searching under $1 auctions on our most popular auction site, he’ll bid on things we need and hope to get stuff for $1-$2 so he combines collecting his treasures with dropping in at odd garage sales. I don’t generally go with him – he leaves at 7.30 am while I am still sitting in a zombie state trying to wake up, it’s winter here and outdoor shopping doesn’t appeal at present, he spends hours looking at tools and other very exciting junk which is actually very boring for his other half and he probably enjoys having me tag along as much as I love having him underwear shopping with me….rolling eyes and lots of sighing!! These are his latest purchases.

Electric jug $2 – Two years ago we were bought a jug as a gift. It cost $89 on special and I know this because it broke down 2 weeks later and we had to return and exchange for another. Two weeks ago this expensive jug started leaking. Roger picked this one up this week at a garage sale.Image

Cast Iron Frying pans $15: Normally he wouldn’t spend this much but these have been wanted for a long time. The large one is the same as one he dropped and broke the handle off last year….which wouldn’t have mattered too much but it took a big chip out of the side. These are hard to find and usually much dearer than this.

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280 bricks $1: He bid on these and no one else did. We wanted something to make a path through a muddy part of the garden. Image

Last week he had bought something else from these people and got talking to them on Saturday. They owned a free range chicken farm but were getting rid of everything to try something else, the recession had hurt them. They had 1000 chooks they were selling cheap so Roger bought 3 red shavers for $10. He was then GIVEN 2 automatic water feeders (something we were wanting) and a aluminium sliding window to add to his new collection of recycled windows for another glasshouse.

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25 kg bag of animal food nuggets $1: People had bought them for their sheep but they didn’t like them, it only had a little taken out of and Roger got it for pig feed.

So all this cost him $29 and the women with the chickens asked him if he was needing any chicken wire (and yes we do!) and on Sunday he is going to help them take a whole lot down and he can take it away. Roger would never ask for anything (except from mates if they were throwing stuff out) but he stops and yaks to people and comes home with all sorts. (I have grave fears for the state of our property as all sorts appear in ever growing heaps waiting to be tidied and stored somewhere out of eyesight!!)

So, me… I did the housework and some baking, planted mustard and cress in containers…actually the old trays of an old discarded beehive I found out in the wops. This is how they look this morning after a neighbouring cat used it!

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GRRRR!!

I went to my granddaughters birthday party an hour and a half’s drive away. This is what I drew for her in my quiet times over the weekend. I send her a picture every week.

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Now, these are the 3 dogs we have at present, the grey one is my son’s whose holidaying with us at present. This is what happens whenever you sit down to eat.Image

This is Bob. Bob is 18 years old and this is his beanbag bed. He loves it, it’s like his “blankie”.

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This is what can happen when you go and help your husband unload 280 bricks off the back of a truck and try and secure your chickens back into their run, AND you leave 2 big dogs inside with a beanbag (because they chase chickens).Image

So this is how I spent yesterday evening, mending a beanbag with Bob sitting waiting patiently, on the beanbag, on the sofa.

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