Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dearth of Blog Entries

 We have been a bit slack with putting up blog entries for a while. Our excuse is that other activities have filled our time and taken up our energy. Spring and early summer are always the busiest periods of the year for us. This year even more so, because of the rampant growth we have experienced as a result of all the rain and the humid conditions. We don’t know how people in tropical areas cope in normal years, let alone with this season’s tragic events.

Apart from dealing with planting, summer pruning, bushfire readiness, managing rampant growth, harvesting early crops and dealing with issues that crop up in life we have been doing a lot of plotting and planning. We will detail some of our ideas for 2011 in a future blog entry, but here are a few things that happened towards the end of 2010.
We have had a late planting season due to the weather and some replanting has been necessary where small seeds were washed out. Lots of growth and although some vegetables have been slow to harvest, others have been prolific. For example we have had loads of huge, delicious cucumbers. Apart from eating these in salads Heather has made a delicious Cucumber and Apple Chutney.

Tomatoes in the garden have been a bit slow, but those in the hothouse gave us a Tommy Toe on the last day of November (our earliest yet) and we had a steady supply all through December.

We have tried Blueberries bushes several times before, but each time our northern exposure and hot dry winds have ruined the experiment. This year we tried again in a very protected position and (fingers crossed) they are doing well. One bush was even kind enough to grow a berry for us to share. One shared blueberry is not much, but the taste was superb.


Most of our fruit trees were planted in 2005 & 2006. This year is their first prolific fruiting year. The mulberries and red currants bore plenty of fruit and the birds were kind enough to leave most of it for us to enjoy fresh or in jams. Most apple, pear, plum, nashi, quince trees are loaded with fruit. The almond crop is a bit light on- possibly because of the wet conditions. All four avocados (including our 7 year old seedling) had masses of flowers. Unfortunately most of these came to nothing, except for our Bacon avocado (4 years old) which has about a dozen marble sized fruit. We didn't get anything off our white currents, but the red currents more than made up for it with their brilliant colour display.


Many of our hens went broody in early spring so we let one sit on a set of eggs. We have a very fast and lively Bantam rooster as well as a big handsome, slowish Australorp rooster. We were hoping to get some new Australorp chicks by crossing the latter with an Australorp hen. The result was not very spectacular with only 4 out of 9 eggs hatching out, and these all appear to be fathered by the bantam rooster. Then things got worse when the Isa Brown mother proved rather careless with her little ones, leaving us with only one chick surviving. Hopefully that one will be a hen!

Next time we try for chicks we will isolate the Australorps first to increase our chance of getting their offspring and we will use one of the bantam mothers to raise them.


This year we grew our biggest crop of garlic yet. The photo only shows our first barrowful. Normally garlic doesn’t involve a whole lot of work, but this year the continual wet weather in late spring meant it was a real battle to collect the bulbs when they were reasonably dry and before they started splitting open and shooting again. Before Heather could plait them they had to be dried under cover, their condition checked and sorted according to size. We harvested about 20 kg and these are now safely hanging and airing in our barn.


We are heavily involved in helping to organise Healesville Organic Farmer’s Market’s 2011 Autumnfest and the seventh market birthday. Apart from an expanded organic produce market, there will be entertainment and displays and talks relating to sustainable and environmental issues. The afternoon will culminate in a grand celebration of the opening of Healesville’s new Labyrinth. For a peek at the concept plan (It is under construction now) see . This year’s event on March 19 (mark it in your calendar) will be the biggest yet, because Healesville Music Festival is also being held on this day and we are working with their team to meld the events into one big day of celebration in Healesville that runs from around 8am to 9pm at night. More about this event in the coming weeks as details get finalised.

Out of the Black

Our daughter Sally has been invited to exhibit her photographic work at Yering Winery (Matt’s Bar). “Out of the Black” is her response to the physical and emotional trauma of Black Saturday and its aftermath, in photos. She has had several small exhibitions already, but this is the biggest yet. Our involvement apart from being in her support team, revolves around making 35 recycled timber frames to mount her work. We will do a separate post on the exhibition, but if you are interested, it is a free event and opens on February 4 and runs till March 20, 2011. If you would like a digital flyer or are able to advertise the event, email us and we will send one to you. Yering Winery’s web page is
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