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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....

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