In the Garden

Baby Sparrow

We came out to go over to the shops and found this little bloke lying apparently dead on the roof of our car.

Closer inspection showed him to be blinking rather bemusedly as though quite unsure how he had arrived there!

After half a minute in Wendy's hands he sat up quite happily.

We placed him deep in the shrubbery in the front garden.

Click the image for a larger picture.




Grape shootGilbert's Grape is named for the farmer who gave me the cutting.

This year Bijil and I dug around Gilbert's Grape in the spring, and with some struggle, shifted it to his side fence next door. There it will cover the tank and fence.

Hannah and Basil are delighted to find some grapes have already come despite our butchery as we levered the old man out of his place.

I've shifted a table grape from the middle of the garden to Gilbert's place, but Gilbert's Grape is not giving up. A new shoot has surfaced, indignant at the imposter.

I like the serendipity of self seeding fruit trees and survivor shoots. They are often tougher than the original plants. So Gilbert's Grape will be allowed to stay.


Grape Vine



Ready for mulchToday was Virginia Nursery day. We found three apples; a Granny Smith, a Red Fuji, and a Pink Lady. We also bought pears, a pomegranate, and a Hardenbergia; more about them later. The van stinks of nursery pots andDynamic Lifter.

Planting began with a collection of weak Seasolsolution, frozen lamb, the trees, spade, and a pair of secateurs. And the trees. 

First the lamb. Road kill is good fertiliser. OurNavel/Valencia has thrived not only on Zinc-Manganese but also a cat, a dog, a rabbit, a stray chook my daughter rescued and brought home, and a galah who walked under the tree and lay down and died.  The lamb is not road kill. It got lost in the freezer sometime in 2011 and none of us are game to eat it. It went into a hole in the middle of the other three... Read the rest...

Ready for the final dig inThis weekend I've been getting ready for apples, and maybe, pears. Both these fruits metabolise without a big sugar spike, according to my doctor. They are also lower in sugar than tropical fruits.

I've had a spot chosen for some months where I've been assiduously destroying any hint of couch and also spot spraying the sour sobs. We will put in several trees together, as apples don't self-pollinate, and need another variety which flowers at the same time. From what I can find, Ballerina, Jonathon, Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Fuji would be a great mix.

Apple trees can become quite large, so I will be looking for dwarf varieties when Bijil and I head out to Virginia Nursery tomorrow. Size is not a problem for the area of our garden, but too much height makes netting the trees much harder... Read the rest...

Robinia Thorns grief is when there is nothing to be done
but sit with shit on your shoes
and endure it

there is nothing to negotiate
no fixing
no stopping
and no hoping

hoping pretends
to postpone a future which
on wednesday
will be what already is

         - - -

a prayer contemplates the failure
of his biological frailty

acceptance honours what God has given
and dissects 
eviscerating every passion
in a thorough exploring

this slow measuring of sorrow
hallows the soiling of the soul
and wonders at the sublime scent of decay
as new life begins 

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Fig Leaves



There lives the dearest freshness deep down things...  (Hopkins)









Claudette Crow


Claudette ate the few loquats on our tree and liked them. Now she flies to a neighbour's house, picks their loquats and brings them home to eat here.









BroccoliYesterday (October 17)  I sliced off the last of our broccoli. ( Well, I left one new shoot to see what will happen.) 

In mid August I wrote the following; you can see this stuff has given us an enormous return.

Today I did my seventh pick of the broccoli. The first pick was of the main flower head, just like the ones you see in the vegie shop.  Instead of pulling out the plants, I simply sliced the flower head out and left the plant behind. We did the same with the cauliflower and the cabbages.

The results have been fascinating. The cauliflower has simply sat there for weeks. There has not been the ghost of a shoot anywhere.

The cabbages put up new shoots. They have been slow growers and not filled out in solid hearts, but we have used the small less dense regrowth in salad and chow mein. Today's little one will go into my lunches over the next two or three days.

The broccoli have been amazing. A couple have stayed bare of regrowth, but most of them have sent up more small flowers than we can eat—and I love the stuff.  These would be of no use to a market gardener because of their size, but the taste is just as good.  I am up to pick number seven!

I began by simply cutting off the little heads, but as the number of shoots has multiplied, I spend a few seconds pruning back the shoots to leave just a few, which seem to be larger as a consequences.

 The heads now seem to be a lot less dense.  I notice a broccolini had flowers open, so I think these original plants are at the end of their season.  Some later broccoli are still giving us tight heads.

I eat them raw with lunch, and we blanch the excess and freeze it. We drop them into  a stock pot of boiling water for a minute only, and then straight into a sink of cold water to chill them off.  When they are frozen I add them to the vegie steamer a minute or two before serving. We find them as good, and better, than frozen broccoli from the supermarket. The same process works for cauliflower.

 We watered this broccoli a few times in the beginning, but for most of June and July added no water at all. I don't think I have watered them since! The wet July, and the permaculture base of the garden, have done all the work for us.


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