Friday, February 22, 2013


I'm waiting for my shoulder to improve, so my sewing is also waiting...  These couple of items are at the top of my to do list and I'm itching to get back to them (they've been waiting in this state since Australia Day). 

 So close to finishing - all I need to do is insert a zip...

The promised jacket for my husband.  A toile in pieces...  Maybe if I wait long enough they'll join themselves?!

How are your sewing/ crafting/ gardening plans going?  What are your strategies for getting back on track when your plans are interrupted?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another garden post

Yes, another garden post!  Sadly my shoulder has had a relapse and my sewing, which was going so well, has all but stopped for a little while.  Hooray though, our garden is doing great!

Here's what we found in the backyard today...

Nine nectarines!  Two eggplants, some green beans, some small capsicums, an egg (thank you Harriet!), two different types of zucchini and eight different types of tomato.  We are also being flooded with tomatillos, basil and chillis.  Hmm, now what to eat first..?!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blackberry picking in Canberra

Apologies to my non-Canberra readers, but ages ago I wrote a post where I mentioned we had gone blackberry picking and now I regularly receive hits on my blog from people looking for information on 'blackberry picking in Canberra'.  So here is some information that may help those people.

When my husband and I first went blackberry picking about six years ago I emailed Canberra Connect asking for information.  If you want to go blackberry picking I suggest you find out the current ACT Government policy on blackberries, but this is along the lines of what they said at that time:  Because blackberries are considered a weed the ACT Government regularly sprays poison on blackberry canes throughout the ACT.  However, they signpost the poisoned areas and never poison during fruiting season.

This is what I've learnt from several years of Canberra blackberry picking: The best blackberries come after lots of Spring and early Summer rain.  The biggest and juiciest ones are always deep in the middle of a huge clump of very spiky canes, so wear old clothes and know when to stop going deeper!  I find it easier to take several small containers rather than one big container.  Once you get home and have eaten your fill of fresh blackberries and made jam, freeze your remaining blackberries and they should keep until you want to make hot crumbles and tarts in winter.  To freeze blackberries: wash and drain them, line a tray with baking paper and spread a single layer of blackberries on the tray.  Freeze them overnight and the next day pour the frozen berries into a ziplock bag.  Freezing them in a single layer means they won't clump together and are much easier to use straight from the freezer.

As for where is a good place to go blackberry picking - you don't think I'm going to give away my top spots do you?!

Frozen berries packed up for the freezer.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Unplanned production and destruction

Phew, our weather has finally cooled down into something a bit more summer-like (and less extreme heat wave) and our garden is loving it.

 Our nectarine tree - netted against the circling birds.

 Our first nectarine of the season - it looks just like one you'd buy in the shops (but this one was grown without chemicals and didn't involve long distance travel).

 Inside the nectarine.  It was tasty and sweet.

So this is the reason we have netted the nectarine - a couple of days ago this was a sunflower...

 We've had quite a few rosellas and galahs around lately, but the destructive birds attacking the sunflowers are sulphur crested cockatoos.  These cheeky birds are so brazen they even left their calling card (a feather!) - you can see it here in the grass next to the sorry remains of the fallen sunflower seeds.

 One of our heavily cropping chili plants (completely avoided by the cockatoos!).

 Bright balls of sunshine!  Yellow zucchinis.

 Not sure if you can see the numbers on the tape measure, but this Dutch Cream potato is over 20cm (9inch) long!  This is from the stray potatoes we missed from last years crop that just popped up in the garden this year.  This guy is part of almost 7kg we dug up.  Pretty good for a potato we didn't plan for or help too much over a blistering hot summer!

I hope you have a garden nearby to enjoy - or maybe some cheeky local wildlife to add colour to your day!