Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Ideal Life


"Good books, good friends and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life".  

~ Mark Twain


Well I don't know if a sleepy conscience paves the way for an ideal life. However good books and good friends really do enhance life. At the moment I am reading (again) Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking" and re-reading "At Home in Mitford" by Jan Karon. Which goes to prove that good books and good friends can be one and the same. 


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Holey Hibiscus Batman!


"Remember that children, marriages and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." H. Jackson Brown Jr





My holey hibiscus

I went forth into the garden today to do some weeding and sundry other gardening jobs. In one garden I discovered this poor hibiscus had been playing host to lots of caterpillars. Does this sort of thing happen to your hibiscus plants? I have been diligently watching my newly planted hibiscus. I have been hunting up and removing the caterpillars from my Rose of Sharon. However the hibiscus shown in the photo above was not so well tended. 


Banjo and Moxie



I don't know why I should have such trouble working my way through all my gardening tasks. Especially now that I have the very excellent help of the pair shown above. 


I did manage to prune my potted Hydrangea this morning. 





I applied Gypsum to the soil of this recently potted Blue-berry bush. 



I also did some very careful pruning on this mandarin tree. It suffered during the hot, dry, summer and it was difficult keeping the water up to it. Particularly as we were spending more time renovating our home in the city to prepare it for going on the market. 

And, of course I did quite a bit of weeding. 



When lunchtime rolled around Don and I drove down to the river for a picnic lunch. The lunch consisted of egg and lettuce sandwiches (as our picnic lunches often do) followed by carrot cake. However while we were lunching, the weather changed rapidly,   the sky turned grey and a cold wind bore down on us. So it became necessary to eat rather more quickly than we had bargained for. 

After lunch we drove into town to pick up our mail and some groceries as well as fill up the car and some jerry cans. And so another day ends as evening draws in. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

In My Garden ~ May 2017

In General
 The weather has been beautiful the last few weeks. I have been weeding, establishing new seedlings, creating new beds and making compost.

The mulberry and cumquat (Citrus japonica) trees are the only plants fruiting at the moment.




I applied blood and bone and sulphate of potash as well as compost to my mandarin and lemon trees last month. They are both in need of skirting and opening up in the middle. I have lots of fruit on the mandarin tree though I don't know how good it is going to be considering the long dry period we had prior to cyclone Debbie.

We have a grapefruit tree that is in need of some TLC. However I would like to see the plant removed. Don wants to keep it. We don't eat grapefruit and no one we know wants any grapefruit when harvest time comes. Could it be that people actually like the idea of eating grapefruit rather than the actual practice of eating grapefruit? Everyone tells me to keep the tree, but no one wants the fruit. I can't see the point of wasting time and money looking after the tree if we have no use for it.

Planting
I have a new hibiscus plant, salvia seedlings, dianthus seedlings and a blueberry bush I want to plant out. The blueberry bush is going into a large pot near the outdoor area.

I would also like to plant out some more lettuce seedlings toward the middle of the month.

I would like to prepare a new garden bed ready to plant some tomato seeds or seedlings. Also I would like to plant some comfrey seeds next to my compost bins.

I have two pots containing turmeric. I am on the watch so when the leaves die back I know it is time to harvest the turmeric. I will be replanting healthiest looking roots/tubers after digging plenty of compost through the soil. As a matter of fact I could get busy on preparing the planting spots now.

Turmeric in pots


Pruning
As mentioned I need to prune my lemon and mandarin tree.

Watering
Passion fruit needs less water this month. The Lychee needs to be monitored and watered as needed - it doesn't like to dry out.

Our passionfruit needs less water now.


Fertilising
I want to check the pH of the soil around the mango trees. If the pH is 6.0 or more I will add gypsum if the pH is under 6.0 I will add lime.

Pest and disease management
Lychees - I will check for enrose mite and spray with wettable sulphur if needed
Mango trees - I need to spray with a copper based spray to combat anthracnose. We had almost no mangoes last year but that was due to the weather rather than the health of the trees.

Thanksgiving.
 Australia has thanksgiving day in May. I will pause and give thanks for my burgeoning garden. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Economy





Economy is  a poor man's revenue; extravagance a rich man's ruin. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, 1 May 2017

What Sherri Did in April 2017




In General

This month we began our homestead living in earnest. Our residence in the city has been sold and we have moved to the homestead. For the past number of years we have been managing our homestead in short bursts. Now we hope to see the gradual unfolding of our homesteading plans.


Good-by little house in the city.


First the unpacking.

As you know we also brought home two puppies during the month. Moxie and Banjo are a real delight and will grow to be great company for each other and us. It is really nice to have canine company once again.

Watching the action from inside the dog run


I also updated my CPR this month.

My specialist and GP had sent me for a number of tests over the last couple of months as a follow-up to some of the readings on my scheduled six-month tests. They were monitoring some abnormal readings which could have been a result of the chemo I had back in 2014, however the last lot of tests showed that the abnormal reading had returned to normal.


In the garden
I have planted out my keyhole garden; planted out some snow peas against a trellis; made a new hot compost pile, created a new perennial 'onion' bed planted with Spring Onion, Society Garlic and Chives. I have done lots of weeding - the weeds certainly sprang up following the rains provided by Cyclone Debbie.

I have also planted up some pots for colour. Included in the planting are Lisianthus, Dianthus, Pansy and Freckled Face.

Keyhole garden with compost basket in the middle
What I have been reading

I have spent little time reading as the weather is too good to spend time indoors. However I have been reading from a publication "Tools for Living a God Centred Life" which is giving me some helpful reminders.

I have also been reading from 'Life Magic' by Ruth Ostrow.

I have been re-reading Peter Cundall's Organic Gardening. Which is a magazine from the Gardening Australia Collector Series.  (Actually it is number one from the series.) I also read this month that Peter Cundall turned 90 on April 1. Happy Birthday Peter, you have been huge inspiration to me and countless other gardeners.

I hope April was a good month for you too. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

Turning the Compost

"Turn your spoil into soil" ~ Unknown



Ideally I would like to turn my compost every three to four days to keep it hot. At the moment I have a couple of little distractions that are taking my attention away from compost making.



So I turned the compost for the first time on Monday.

In this photo I have lifted the wire cage off the compost and set it to the side. The compost is turned back into the wire cage. First I have put some manure in contact with the ground.





After shovelling some of the compost in I have added water to aid the decomposition process.  I want to avoid the compost being too dry or too wet. What I want in the heap is to have the wetness of a rung out sponge.

Adding bran to the compost pile during turning

 Towards the middle of the pile I have added a bucket load of bran and watered the pile again. The bran will help the pile to heat up.  

Molasses mixed with water ready to be added to the compost pile

When nearly finished turning the compost I added a cup of molasses to a watering can of water and poured this mix over the pile. This is also supposed to help the heating and fermentation process in the pile. 

The compost pile turned and covered


Don turned the compost pile again yesterday.


Watching all the action from the dog run.



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Helping dreams become reality




When our thoughts, words and actions are in harmony with the person we want to be, our goals, and the life we wish to create, we draw people and opportunities into our lives to help turn our dreams into reality.