Friday, August 21, 2009

Another week gone by

So what's up here on Cabbage Tree Farm?

Well during the week we had a visit from a bunch of students and their tutor to learn how to prune fruit trees, which was handy for us as we needed a little professional guidance ourselves. Although we had made a start on pruning some of the bigger trees (basically into the vase shape) some required further pruning. We gleaned some handy tips from the visit.

G has planted a few more trees into the orchard: Apple 'Bramley's Seedling', Plumcot (cross between plum and apricot), Plum 'Billington', Plum 'Duff's Early', and Pear 'William Bon Cretian'.
Next job is I have to update the orchard map which is a bit scrappy and disordered jotted down on bits of paper. A good map is essential so that we can identify which tree is which (since the labels often blow off in strong winds, or fade in the hot sun). Does anyone have any suggestions for computer software that helps plan an orchard/garden? I have downloaded Google Sketchup but haven't had time to learn to use it yet, and am not sure if it will do the job I want it to.

The weather is warming up now and it's time to think about getting some seedlings going for the summer veg garden. Tomatoes are top of the list, as are chillies, More to come on this topic.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not so much going on

I've been pre-occupied with getting ready for the arrival of the new baby lately, hence the lack of posts sorry.
Consequently not a lot happening out on the farm at present. We collected a couple more fruit trees, 2 figs "Batley/Brown Turkey" and "Totara House/White Adriatic". They are only tiny trees so it will be some time before we get any fruit however! We put in another apple "Monty's Surprise", the one that is heralded as having superb anti-cancer properties. Also a pear tree "William Bon Cretian" (grafted onto quince to keep it at a manageable size, otherwise they grow enormous). I've heard that pears take ages to mature to fruiting stage - the adage "plant pears for your heirs" springs to mind, but hopefully we'll be able to eat some even if it does take a while!
In the kitchen this week I've made lemonade with 'lemonade' fruit (similar to lemon), so busy with the juicer again. It turned out really well so I'll make it again soon and post some pics/recipe. Also made up some more candied peel with the spent fruit, and put some of that in some buns along with the candied orange peel, this time adding a little splash of orange blossom water and omitting the sultanas/raisins. Came out very well.
We've had homemade pasta again, seems to take no time at all to make now that I know what to do.
We've had another goat curry and I also made a Thai red curry using up some duck out of the freezer. Not had a great deal of success with the ducks, but it came out well in the Thai curry, chopped up small, marinated in the red curry paste and then stir fried prior to adding the coconut cream and veges.
Very shortly will be getting one of our cows slaughtered so we need to get ourselves another chest freezer. Will post some info on that in the next week or so.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More fruit trees

On the weekend G planted some more fruit trees in the orchard, in amongst the yellow flowering mustard. The mustard encourages the bees for pollination and is good for the soil. He planted 2 more peaches (bringing our total so far to 8) - Kaitaia and Camden, and 2 apricots - Trevatt which is supposed to be frost hardy and Sundrop. Hopefully they will all do well.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Candied peel

We juiced up a whole lot of oranges and rather than waste the peel I decided to candy it for a change. The method is simple, just clean off the pulp from the peels and slice. *Then place in large pan and cover with cold water, bring to boil then drain. *Repeat this step twice more (removes the bitter taste from the peel).
Weigh the peel and add same weight in sugar, plus the peel, back into the pan. Stir until sugar dissolved and then simmer for about 1 hr or until the peel becomes translucent.
Drain on a rack or in a sieve. Use a dehydrator until the peel is dry but still pliable. Then dust with caster sugar and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
I chopped some of this peel and put into buns and it was very good.