growing your own, Uncategorized

Our First Home-grown Mandarin

Graham and I made a big decision this morning. We thought about it a little, then we went out to the back of our place, and we picked a mandarin from our mandarin tree. If you haven’t been following this blog, that may seem a little uninteresting to you, but if you’ve been following this blog, you may know why this is such an important thing.

This little mandarin tree (bush really, because it’s still so small), has been planted in the ground for only about three years, and this year is the first year we have actually had fruit go last all the way to maturity. There are only about 20 mandies, lovely orange coloured globes of fruity goodness. Well, 20 minus one, because we plucked on from the tree, brought it inside and ate it. It looked exactly like a mandarin, smelt exactly like one, and yes it tasted exactly how a mandarin should taste, tart and delicious.

A little too tart, really, but still very tasty. We will leave the remaining fruit for a few more days, so they can ripen some more, and get some sweetness happening. The one Graham and I shared today, was worth trying, and I’m glad we did, but I hope and expect the next one will be even more delicious!

I love having homegrown things. Tonight we are going to have chopped cos lettuce and baby spinach, which either Graham or I will pick from our vegetable patch, yum! This will be the first time of this season too, and I love the way all of these delicious things are moving into the stage where we can taste the value of ‘Home-grown!’

If you have any ‘home-grown’ success stories, or even horror stories, I’d love to read about it, leave a message and we can all congratulate or console you!


community, Uncategorized

Winter is Here!

Yes, the seasons move on, from one to the next, and the next, then the next, then back again. The season has now definitely moved on to winter in the southern hemisphere now, in South Australia, where I live, for sure. We’ve had mostly grey skys with rain the past few days, with more rainy grey days to come.

But that’s the way of Nature, things grow, watered by the rain, they flower, then fruit, green leaves provide shade, change colour, fall off, withe he fallen leaves providing nutrients to the soil, helping more plants to grow. We harvest the fruit, or pick the vegetables and herbs, and are thankful to the people who did the planting, and to Nature too.



Winter is cold, yes, and not all people have warm and safe homes to live in. I am so grateful that my home and my household provide safety for me, and I can live here, do the things I want to do, and know that when I go to sleep at night, I will wake up, still able to do all I want to do. Living this life is a result of many things, some of them provided by me, some my partner, some society, some the government, and so on.

I feel for those unable to live such a good and safe life, and wish they all too had access to better things is life, better ways to live. Life though, that gives opportunities, but not for all. People will apportion blame to those without the whatever it takes, to get on well in life, but really, who can honestly say who is to blame for a life that goes upside down, unable to be set up properly again?

All it takes is for one thing to go wrong, and then another, and we may be disabled or dead, Snap! just like that … The seasons of a life are changable, our lives are changable, and we must be prepared to make the best of what life gives to us. Having said that, I realise that this is easy enough to say, but taking advantage of these things isn’t always easy. I realise that, and am mindful to not lay blame on people for not having things.

The Blame Game is an all too easy road to take, but really, should we do this? I’m thinking, sadly, about the women recently murdered, raped, abused, and also men similarly murdered, or who have killed themselves because they no long want to be alive … Suicide surely is never the best available option, but when a person has sunk to the depths of despair, it can be difficult to see any other solution. If this was an ideal world, which it certainly isn’t, nobody would feel like that. I wonder if that ideal world is ever going to be here? I doubt it, though, there are far too many people making money from the despairs of others …

Does anyone know a better way for our world to be? And end to wars would be a good start, the weapons-makers could make other things instead. We could all begin to think kindly thoughts instead of unkindly thoughts, when we have the choice. Being kind, instead of being curt, smiling at others and not frowning at them. Giving freely whenever possible, using less, giving more, growing our own, sharing produce. Many things and ways, but how to encourage others to be involved?

Community, that’s the way to think, building communities that promote the ideas of giving, growing, teaching, sharing. In my community of Mallala, there are people who will give excess fruit if they have it, lemons, for instance. In the nearest bigger town of Gawler, there are people who grow their own and get together regularly to share what they have, all working at strengthening the community. Strong communities can help to build strong people, strong and caring people.


Are stronger communities, ones that grow and connect with others, sharing knowledge, sharing good ideas, sharing the idea of sharing, are these the things that can bring about the ideal world I dream about, I wonder? I’m interested to know what other people think – is there hope for our future? If so, how will it happen, please leave comments here.

growing your own

Growing Our Own

We love mandarins in our household, as I’m sure many households do. They’re usch neat packages from Nature, wrapped up and ready for us. We love them so much, a couple of years ago, Graham, the main gardener in our house, bought a mandarin and planted it. He’s been looking after it well, watering the plant, and putting down mulch to conserve the water.

By the way, he’s been using shredded waste paper for the mulch, and it seems to be doing the job well. It’s a far better thing to do with paper, than burning or throwing it away, that’s for sure. Last season, we had flowers on the bush, and some tiny little green fruit began growing, but they all fell off, and never made it to possible eating stage. I think the tree was the victim of a run of hot weather.

This year the mandarin is going along better, it’s made it through the summer without suppering from too much heat, and the tiny little mandarins that came from the flowers grew, and grew, and grew. Some of them are still growing, but they’re hanging in and getting bigger all of the time. Mandarins are changing colour, from green to orange, slowly headed for sweet loveliness!
IMAG0309Looking at the photo, you can see some of the fruit is turning from green to orange, hooray! I can see I think six of the mandies in this photo. I’ve been counting and recounting them, but I’m not sure how many there are. Sometimes I could see 18, other times I’ve counted up to 21 lovely mandarins. It doesn’t really matter how many there are, but I count them anyway. Humans are strange like that, I don’t really know why.

If anyone has ideas about this, please leave a comment, I’d love to discuss the matter. Is it greed-related perhaps? Wanting to have lots of good things?


Dogs & Gardens

If you have a dog, and you have a garden, you probably have two of the best things in the world! A dog or two really make a garden, and having dogs gives you reasons to be out in that garden with them. From the fun to the dreary and mundane, and everything in between, dogs and gardens are great things to have.

Dogs help by doing some pruning, at the moment, one of our three dogs has been increasing her fibre intake by trimming the grass that is slightly long … They get rid of pests at times too, which can be somewhat scary, when the pest is a venomous snake, BrownSnake_Australiawhich has happened in the past. It’s still too cold for snakes at the moment, but we’ll be keeping an eye out as things warm up in Springtime …

Dogs also keep themselves fit by chasing birds. I’m glad that most of the time, the birds are quick enough to fly away in time. Sometimes they aren’t and it’s especially this Springtime/mating season when the birds can get ‘distracted’ and it’s the dogs and not the birds that get lucky … That’s the way of Nature, carnivores eat flesh …

Our garden provides us humans with food too. At the moment we have garlic and herbs growing, and we have tomatoes at the growing leaves and flowers stage, so tomatoes should follow. We also have almond trees with lots of blossom, so if we get organised and put up some netting, we can beat the cockatoos and have almonds later in the year. We also have two large Old Man Saltbush trees as well as I think three smaller ones. We don’t use these much for food, but the option is there if we want to.

We have had lettuces recently, and there are some small baby spinach plants outside. On our back patio we have two hanging baskets with strawberry plants in them. There’s one strawberry that has reddened up nicely, and we may be eating that one very soon. There are a few other strawberries coming along there too, even though it isn’t really strawberry time quite yet. I hope for lots more strawberries a little later on.

Our dogs would probably like to eat all of these things, but they either can’t get into where these goodies are, or they’re up too high for the dogs. Our dogs are fed well, and they won’t starve because we don’t let them eat our home grown goodies! I love the idea of us feeding ourselves, and I sure appreciate all muAH7rk(1)of the work my husband does to keep the produce plants going so well!


What’s happening in the Garden?

Today is the last day of summer, according to the calendar. Nature of course does her own thing though, and apparently there are still some hot days on their way.

We have various edible things growing in our backyard at the moment. Edible means sometimes the same thing and sometimes different things to humans and canines. The dogs will eat whatever us humans eat, but our dogs will also chow down on the long bits of the back lawn. We humans leave than one foe the hounds, that’s for sure.

The things growing for humans at the moment are soybeans, capsicums, strawberries, thyme, chives, rosemary and lavender. The strawberries are coming along with perhaps two ripe enough to pick at the moment. The capsicums are also growing nicely, and the plants have capsicums growing from teeny to mid size, and we’ve been harvesting one or two at a time as needed for our dinner. capsicum

The soybeans are an experiment. My husband Graham remembers growing them way back in the seventies, so he’s going back in time. I’ve never eaten them from home grown, just processed into other things. I hope it all works out well – I’ve read varying things about the need for strict preparation, although Graham says he’s had them raw way back in time… We’ll see what happens once they’re ripe enough to pick.

The funny thing about growing your own food is the famine and feast thing. It takes what seems like forever for things to ripen to harvesting stage, and then once things ripen, you can have so many things go off because you can’t eat them in time … This of course where the current ideas on ‘Farmer’s Markets’ are such a good thing. If you have heaps of something, you can take it along to the market and swap your stuff for somebody else’s stuff, and everyone walks away with fresh food to eat and nothing goes to waste.

Will this cutting out of the middle person be the new way, or will the regulators step in and ruin everything? No-one wants food poisoning, but I have a feeling that the kinds of people who grow their own care a lot about what they grow, and do the right thing so others can enjoy the fruits of their labours … What do you think, have you had fun times growing your own? I’d love to hear about your stories!


Home Grown!

It’s now Spring, and at last our garden is beginning to pay its way. We’re finally able to pick our own produce! My husband, Graham, bought two raised garden plots in Summer, filled them with compost and soil and then planted some seeds.

First up were the baby carrots, lots and lots of baby carrots, coming up so thickly it was hard to thin them without pulling up too many. We more or less left them alone, and picked some now and then, tiny carrots brushed off and consumed with satisfaction!

Then the basil came along. Actually, thinking back, that may have happened the other way around, it doesn’t matter. We have lots of carrots and lots of basil. We also have capsicums growing, and we’ve had a couple of tomatoes, mature enough to eat. So far, in terms of taste, the tomatoes are the winners. The tomatoes grew from compost made with vegetable peelings, etc, and are cocktail tomato size, a delicious mouthful of flavour!

The baby carrots are OK, but not brilliant, and the basil is tasty, but basil is basil… The capsicums are still growing and we don’t know whether they’ll be great in flavour or just good. What else? Hmm, the beans were OK, but nothing wonderful. But, like the basil I think, beans are beans…

We’ve had some super dooper heat waves which may have had an impact on the vegetables as they grew, I don’t know. The weather is cooler now, I hope with no more heat waves to come. I’m excited watching the tomatoes growing from the blossoms, and I hope all of the little green blobs turn into delicious red flavour bombs!

When I go out into the vegetable garden area, I still take a look at how things are going, and I still pull up some carrots. I usually wait to eat them now though, the thrill of growing our own has dimmed a little, and I bring them inside and wash them!

Growing your own (or having your husband do it), is the way to go!