Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eostre Moon Sleepout

We camped out on the trampoline last night and couldn't have asked for a better night. Perfectly cool, clear skies and a full moon.

We went for a nightstalk with our torches, watched the stars, found satellites, saw a helicopter pass overhead, watched and listened to the small flocks of cockatoos that flew over us on their way to their roosting tree and then bickered for an hour like kids at a sleepover, had a midnight feast and heard the story of Eostre and the Rabbit before snuggling down to sleep. After which I quietly took a few photos - this was one of them.
If there's a nicer way to spend a night I don't know it! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pics at last!

Finally some pics - the patch looks so bare now since I've ripped up all the summer fruiting stuff. time for a clean canvas!
Here are the peas and ....carrots!

The other beds are a mix of stuff. Can't wait for the 'weeks ahead' photos. They grow so quick in Blogland!

Today Hubby sprayed poison (yes I know it's dreadful) around the house before the rains come and the millipedes do too. For those of you who aren't familiar with Portugese Millipedes (and I'm sure they're fine in Portugal) these introduced little blighters emerge after the first rains in plague proportions.
We have tried every natural trap there is, and sure pots of water with little lights etc work - but when you're talking about millions of the things coming in at once those remedies are a pee in the in the ocean. We literally need a moat. They have been getting worse and worse over the last few years. Last year we woke up every morning to our hallway and toilet walls that were black and wriggling. I kid you not. They form a mat of bodies over every surface and release a pungent odour in the oil they secrete. It meant about an hour of vacuuming every morning before we could start the day - and the house reeking for hours after from the smell of the bodies you'd walked on, and the full vaccuum cleaner which had blown out that smell throughout the house.
We finally sprayed last year around the perimeter and it meant that we just had to sweep up the piles and piles of them every few days. I filled our kitchen bin to the top with bodies in one morning.

Can you tell I really dislike these things?!

On a brighter note - I have promised the Munchkins a sleep out on the trampoline tomorrow night. It's a full moon or close enough to for a short bushwalk, and likely to be one of the few dry and warmish nights left of the year so we're taking advantage of there being no school the next day (Yay for holidays!) and making it fun. Might be some pics if we're lucky enough to spot some interesting animals.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Operation Chilli Dog and birthday greetings to Cynthia!

Bindi the Dobermann is an ...interesting mutt. Stunning looking, a true beauty, affectionate and very loving (when she's not mauling the kids), highly intelligent...and a thief.
She steals any morsel of food from the kitchen or anywhere - she has pinched entire school lunches that I was in the middle of preparing and left for 5 seconds to deal with some munchkin disaster, stolen whole pounds of butter, tipped breakfast bowls off the table int he time it took us to go get a spoon etc etc. NOTHING edible can be left unattended.

It occurred to me that years ago when our ball mad Border Collie took to jumping up and stealing all the mandarines because they looked like balls, that we cured him by painting the bottom few fruits with Chilli oil. He tried one ....and tried his luck again once more before deciding they weren't such a good idea. Cured.

So tonight after Bindi stole one of the kids bowls off the table (tipped it onto the chair so she could lick it out). I put her outside as usual as penalty, then liberally sprinkled chilli powder over the remainder of the contents of thebowl. I let her back in, shut her in the dining room and left the room so she felt she was alone.....ha HA!

Needless to say she took the bait...but this dog is like no other...she decided it wasn'tbad really....lick lick, not bad at all actually and promptly finished off the bowl licking it especially clean.
Admittely she went to the water bowl after with a little more urgency in her step but that was about it as far as a reaction.

This isn't over - there are hotter things than chilli powder. Breakfast tomorrow = Stage 2 in Operation Chilli Dog.

On another note altogether it is our dear Aunt Cynthia's birthday today and I've heard she occasionally drops into this blog - so if you're reading this Cynthia, we hope you're having a lovely day and are thinking of you!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Autumn plantings underway

I met up with a new friend today - the mother of one of Elder Munchkin's school friends. the morning went very quickly as she and her husband are avid gardeners so there was lots of info to share. I'm thinking of trying out her hexagonal bed idea. She said there was noticeably less evaporation from those beds than the rectangular ones they'd put in.

In any case I was inspired to get out into the garden after they left despite my early decision to wait until the rains before planting stuff.

Today I planted some lettuce, celery, 2 types of broccoli, broccolini, bok choy, spinach and snowpeas. The ones I got are a dwarf variety (not sure if they are hybrid or not - they were from the nursery) and I made a kid sized frame that the munchkins can walk all the way around to access both sides without trampling everything else in sight! All up I spent $20 on seedlings but I know I'll get WAY more than that of vegies from them. I had thought about only planting from my saved seed, but decided to get a head start with these and use the seeds for successive plantings downthe track.

Last week I did plant some sugar snap and bush feast peas (just a few) and they have already sprouted. Some of the garlic has too, though it needs a little TLc as the soil was a little water resistant. It felt so good to get out in the garden today after the long hot summer. I had lost a little enthusiasm after collecting the last of the bulk of the harvest and watching every starting to seriously dry up. It's good to see moist soil again and green shoots appearing.

Pics over the next few weeks - once the hols are here and I have more spare time!