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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Garden Construct and Structure


This has to be the hardest we have worked in the garden! 
Spring and summer are pretty full on with the growing but in this pre-winter period we have been attending to the structural parts of the garden - Remember...this garden just two years ago was a paddock. We have put in some vertical structures like the arches and old gates (like sbove). These give the landscape some substance in winter when most of the garden is dormant.


Over the summer we have been getting ute loads of sandstone "crazy" pavers. These are a random mix of shapes and sizes that we have loosely sorted ready for laying down the central path of the garden.


Some painting jobs are prepped; like the folding seats and a couple of arches but there is lots of linseed oil maintenance waiting to be done too on timber fences and the fowl yard.


Lots of trimming back, dahlia shifting, seed saving, seedling exchanges and vine tying. 


The bulbs!
I've planted about 100 bulbs this autumn, mostly white tulips and white daffodils. I've mixed the varieties in the same colour so that I get a lasting display over the spring between the early and late bloomers.


I've planted out violas and pansies for winter colour into spring and we have our cold crops under way and battling the rabbits. Our pasture has been improved and Neil-Not-Veal (calf) is also thriving on cut lucerne and an oat, corn, barley mix. He has grown his winter coat and is getting jolly boisterous.


Our major project over the coming months though will be a dry stone wall down one boundary side. We will be hosting classes taught by a master Stonemason/Waller from Derbyshire UK. We have sourced some lovely sandstone that splits safely like butter and should produce a beautiful traditional boundary to last centuries to come.


(photo by Valerie Carline)
This is similar to what we are working towards and daily we indulge in gate fantasies....


like this beautiful one in Ross.
Timber or metal???
To tie it in with the shed....but that's a yonder still project again!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

We Grew Chickpeas


It was our first time growing chickpeas so the Shearer put in a modest little patch, maybe .75m x 1.5m. He had acquired a packet of seed from a cool climate seed stockist. At worst we thought it would be a green manure crop.


From memory we sowed them in summer, just as we would the beans and they were quite fast growing, becoming little bushes with soft ferny leaves and developing masses of small white flowers. I thought I had taken a photo of the flower stage but couldn't find it. From the small flowers developed soft velvety pods, each containing one or two peas.


We allowed them to ripen and towards the dying off stage we then pulled them and hung them upside down in a shed to dry further. The podding was a little laborious but....


our reward is 1.5kg of our very own dried chickpeas. We could store them like this but I'm a bit of a spontaneous cook so when the preserving season winds down a little I will soak, cook and process in the pressure canner so they are shelf stable and ready for use in a moments notice. We will of course keep some for seed for next years' crop.
We rate this experiment a success and a good yield for crop space and a pantry staple at that.





Monday, March 19, 2018

Another Before and After- Sort Of


This small front strip of garden has had a few stages in it's transformation. Above is how it looked when we first moved in and...



you can read the story of the exciting path find here.


It has since been given a tidy and some planting while other projects took priority. I have planned all along a white garden for this front area and our budget somewhat hi-jacked has priority constraints too. 
Last year I planted 50 white tulips and white daffodils and two Teddy Bear magnolias flanked the front door.


This month I started removing the temporary plants not part of the scheme and laid some weed matting and defined the two beds with some convict bricks. 


Finally I have my long awaited gravel and the front is coming to plan. It's a sandstone colour and goes well with the dressed stone of the cottage. The Erigeron "Seaside Daisy" forms some permanent clumping in the bed and mostly annuals will provide the changing views of this garden. The battering westerly winds would be too much for standard roses etc. 
The plants in this area have to survive quite extreme conditions; westerly sun and winds, frosts down to -7C and low water. We are very mindful of not interfering with the house foundations and the natural breathing of the building.
So for next spring I have planned that white larkspur, wall flowers, and sweet rocket will accompany the white bulbs and be followed in summer by white cosmos and dahlias.

The next part of this project is to paint the windows and front door fresh glossy white and perhaps the front iron fencing too...or perhaps black for that.... 




Thursday, March 1, 2018

Help or House Guest


The kitchen is in full swing at our house, late February and March being the busiest time, and any house guests are welcome to pull up a chair, don an apron and select their knife of choice.


We prepped jalapenos and pickled.


Made a simple spinach and cheese filling seasoned with freshly grated nutmeg - oh divine! Rolled pasta sheets and made fettuccine too. 


We have had a pasta maker for years but last weekend at the market we spotted a deluxe pack version of our Atlas machine which included the ravioli roller.
$10 for the lot and used probably once!


With fresh ripe Roma tomatoes avalanching  on the benches, aromatic green basil in abundance and Craig's homemade Parmesan cheese...
Mama Mia!
Be our guest....


Monday, February 19, 2018

Around The Block...


It all started with a couple of buckets of Greengage plums that were given to me as the strong winds gripped Campbell Town yet again. 
"I'm just returning these buckets" I called out to the shearer 
"I'll see you in a minute"
Well Greengage gardener wasn't home so I left the buckets and spied another neighbour on his front veranda, so I stopped for a bit of a netter and next minute...


I had a bag of delicious juicy pears!

Around the next street I saw another keen fellow gardener mowing his lawn and he waved me in...

Next minute....


Ripe perfect plums all golden inside with a halo of red.

Well if I've got this many plums I'm going to need some apples to make sauce and chutney,

So around the corner....


To my next dear and generous neighbour.
We had a delightful time wandering the garden from apple tree to apple tree, sampling and selecting and 

Next minute....
"Don't go without some of these golden cherry plums, they're perfect for chutney!"


My car smelt like the most divine fruit shop and it was certainly more than a couple of minutes later. I had the best time dwelling with my neighbours over small talk and basking in their gardens. I find that the most amusing thing about living in the country, everything is small scale and so close I could walk everywhere but even a trip to the shop,the library and the petrol station takes at least a couple of hours!

The stove has been going full pelt all day and I've bottled pears and tomatoes, made a double batch of plum chutney and a double batch of Worcestershire style plum sauce, all with the help of a 3 year old and thankfully a "Poppy" as well!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hummus and Seed Cake - But Not Together


Our singing group meet up coincided with Valentines Day this week and with a plethora of love songs in our books I set the mood with hummus and beetroot dips. To create the heart motifs in the centres, choose a wide shallow dish, like these small fluted flans. Place an oiled cookie cutter in the middle and fill the outer being careful not to disturb the position of the cutter. Next spoon in the contrast dip and gentle slide the cutter straight up.


I kept these really simple as one of our group is multiple food intolerant and I really don't think the internet needs yet another hummus recipe but I will say that a point of difference in this batch is that I make my own tahini in the thermomix - easy peasy, Beetroot is ready now in our garden and again, there are multiple recipes you could use. This one is without dairy or cashews. The beet was roasted in the oven, cooled, peeled and wizzed with lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt and garlic. Just a simple puree really.


The Shearer will come home to a custardy carroway seed cake and I have adapted the recipe for the Thermomix and you'll find it here.
I had a little mixture left over and made a few small heart shaped cakes for my work colleagues too.


I offer love to you 
it is limitless
please spread it
X


Monday, February 12, 2018

Original Owners


I've been doing some research on the house here and there, in fits and starts but I've recently had a great find that has helped. We acquired a map of Campbell Town in an antique store and it has original names, lot numbers and block sizes penned which has provided valuable leads for research.


I can see "Daniel O'Meara on our block of land and others in the near area also. Using that information I have been able to find that the land was purchased prior to 1845.


A record of the Census in 1843 reveals that he was living in High St but we cannot be sure that it was in this particular house as street numbers were not in common use then. Also note that Campbell Town is spelt "Campbelltown" and also "Campbellton" in earlier times which makes the research a bit laborious when using search engines of specific words.


Also from the same Census document we learn that the house he was living in was also "unfinished" and that the proprietor was "Mr. Joseph Solomon". I have found Joseph Solomon has purchased land also close by. Was Daniel O'Meara renting from Solomon at this time somewhere in High St? I suspect so as he lists the house as being made from brick and wood, whereas this house is made of stone and brick. This is also prior to the birth of his children.


Daniel O'Meara was born in 1825 and I have been able to find that he married Bridget Mary Jordan and they had five children, two dying in infancy and possibly a third. Daniel died in 1859 and the above image is of his Will. Bridget re-married in 1861 to Charles Blake and seems to have moved to the Deloraine area. I believe their son, William Morgan O'Meara is the gentleman mentioned in the below advertisement placed in the Launceston Examiner newspaper 05.10.1878, almost 20years after Daniel's death.


The stable mentioned in the above advertisement is long gone and only a rough outline of the building with stones in the back yard remains. Using an inflation rate of 3.8/annum, I work the rate of rent out to be the equivalent of $8720.00/year or $162/week in today's money. I haven't been able to ascertain yet what it sold for or who bought it.

It is around this time that there is a record of a William O'Meara holding a liquor licence for the Red Hills hotel at Deloraine and his sister Jane O'Meara held a liquor licence for the Formby Hotel in East Devonport and later in 1898 for O'Meara's Hotel in Ulverstone. The O'Meara families grew and became very well known in the Westbury, Deloraine and Devonport areas. I am speculating that after Daniel's death and the subsequent re-marriage of Bridget, the family seems to have re-located to the central/north west area of Tasmania.


Locals say this is a picture of the house, now ruins. in the bottom of our paddock. This land according to the map originally belonged to W H Fitzgerald. It is now the grandson's "archaeological dig site".



And this is the cottage next to that one, now also demolished. This land was owned by William Pears and I believe it stayed in the same family for all that time. These two latter cottages were obviously built by the same builder sharing many similar features. William Pears was a brick maker according to the Census of 1843 and I have no doubt he was a very busy man and employed full time with all the building booming around Campbell Town in those decades.








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