Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A feeling of Spring in the air

Today is sunny with a light breeze and warm - i.e. I can be outside gardening without a jacket. It feels like Spring although we are still in our Winter.

We were lucky to receive a gift of beautiful fresh lemons (thanks L x). I shall be whipping up lemon honey (curd) someday soon. Yummy.

This morning I've been hauling compost around and spreading it on the garden beds. Have transplanted a few strawberry plants and planted the rest of a bunch of leeks I bought a week or so ago. I find it very easy to get distracted when outside as there are always so many things to do, like weeding - my least favourite job! Anyhow, the veg garden is looking reasonably presentable for a change. I just need to finish off laying gravel on all the paths, which will make it look a lot better, plus be a lot less muddy.

The new calves are getting slightly less wary, and let me get close enough to take this photo without zooming
in much!:

I've also picked a few calendula flowers to dry, so I can make some oil for soap. Over at Down to Earth, Rhonda has a new recipe for calendula soap that I'm going to try soon.

Monday, July 28, 2014

New arrivals

We now have 2 new calves. These are two little boys, and will be steers! Haven't they got cute faces! But we won't get too attached, as they will be dinner at some point in the future (sorry to all you vegetarians out there!). Meanwhile, they have lots of lovely grass and free space, and a happy surrogate 'mummy' to look after them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Citrus time

Over the last couple of weeks we've been getting some pretty stormy weather, lots of rain and it's been cold with southerly winds. At this time of the year, when we get a day with some sunshine it's a welcome break. Apart from a few showers this morning, today was pretty calm and sunny. The washing even dried on the line for a change!

Here on CTF the citrus trees are producing. This year we've had quite a good harvest of reasonable sized mandarins, the Satsuma variety in particular has been the best we've had so far.

The mandarin trees are only small, most of them only about 1m high and only a few years old. They are in quite a sheltered north-facing spot and I have been feeding them regularly. Despite the Summer droughts they seem to be doing a lot better than our other citrus trees which are in a much more exposed position.

This is our Seville orange tree, planted near to the mandarins so also in a sheltered position. It's also very small but bearing fruit. The fruit is not ready yet though - one we picked and tried was really sour! (UPDATE - have since realised - doh - that this orange is supposed to be sour! It is a cross between a tangelo and a mandarin and great for making marmalade.)

The one citrus tree I'm really looking forward to bearing fruit though is the 'blood' orange. I think it may be a few years off doing so at this stage as it is less than 1m high now.

Other citrus varieties we have are grapefruit, Rangpur limes, lemons (Meyer, Lisbon, Yen Ben), lemonades, kaffir lime and tangelo. The lemons are still a way off producing, but the limes are really quite hardy and the lemonade tree has a fair few fruit on it this year, although not yet ripe.

What citrus do you grow and what is your favourite?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Rain and photo

It is pouring with rain here, but the worst of the hail storms have passed over thankfully. We're now getting cold southerly winds and it's not a day for being outdoors!

On a different topic, this morning while searching the net I found this old photograph of a huge cabbage tree:

A large 'cabbage tree' (ti kauka - Cordyline australis) in flower, with two men under it
 A large 'cabbage tree' (ti kauka - Cordyline australis) in flower, with two men under it. Harding, William James, 1826-1899 :Negatives of Wanganui district. Ref: 1/1-000492-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Have a great day!