Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm Back for 2012!

It has been a while and life has been very busy since the silly season, so lets jump right in with an update.  Our Holidays in January were cut short this year.  yucky weather, 2 broken teeth (in separate people), and a general sick of being stuck in the van with 6 people took its toll so we came home about 2 weeks early.  Whilst we were away we lost our lovely goat Billy to a snake bite and then a few days after we got home we then lost our cat Pip to a snake as well.  To alleviate the extreme distress this caused PJ, we then went to choose him a new cat and of course Nish managed to con us into an early B'day pressie, so now there are 2 new kittens joining our family.  Meet Snuggles (PJ's) and Shia (Nish's).

Well onto the veggie patch and our first year in the garden is going great guns,  I have so missed having a veggie garden.  I think the pics of some of our harvest so far speak for themselves. 

 Cabbage was just so yummy in coleslaw

 We have already harvested upwards of 80 cucumbers and they are still coming and absolutely huge and tasty,  The kids are loving it

The corn is delicious and we have more than I was expecting,  I originally just planted a small crop so was expecting to get only a few meals worth but this corn had other ideas, I am getting 2-5 ears of each plant, have never seen anything like it, already had about 25 ears and we are only about 1/2 way through the harvest

 Jalapeno Chillies (green) and Hungarian Hot wax (red) they just keep coming and coming, I cant give them away lol.  I have been dehydrating them (thanks Laurel for the loan of the dehydrator) and then powdering them for storage in the herb draw.  Nice amount of heat in them (fairly hot).  But we learnt the hard way not to dehydrate chilli's in the house, the "burnyness" of them became airborne and had all our eyes and skin burning!
The tomatoes were annoying me a bit.  my first 2 rows planted back in September had grown and had lots of fruit on them but they were all green,  the plants were just so heavy with them they were starting to break their branches and escape their  staking.  We really haven't had enough sun here for them to ripen, but last weeks hot weather has kicked them into gear and so far I have preserved 12 ltrs of Passata. I still have 6 more rows of tomatoes growing that were planted later and the original 2 are not even 1/2 way through ripening,  so I foresee more preserving in my future.

The pumpkins and watermelons are climbing all over the garden with is good cause they are keeping the thistles down in their wake.  I have a huge back log of weeding to do and the thistles are taking over but the rabbits will certainly enjoy the food when the weeding is done so that will reduce the purchased animal food bill, which is always good.

When I got back from our holidays I had lots of tomato plants to tie up and as expected I knocked a lot of green tomatoes off in the process.  Rather than waste them I went on the hunt for uses.  There wasn't enough to make it worthwhile to make green tomato chutney but  I found a Green Tomato Pasta Sauce recipe on Pennys Recipes and got the OK to share it with you.

Green Tomato Pasta Sauce
5-6 medium size unripe, green tomatoes, sliced
1 ripe red tomato sliced
1 dessert spoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
5-6 basil leaves, torn
6-8 black olive, sliced
55g / 2 oz grated cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
150g-200g / 6-7oz pasta
    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
    Place the sliced tomatoes in a baking dish
    Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes
    Sprinkle over the sugar
    Add the garlic and basil leaves
    Stir everything around a bit to ensure even distribution
    Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are just starting to char
    Meanwhile place the pasta in a large saucepan
    Cover with boiling water, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked
    When tomatoes are ready stir an mush slightly
    Add the olives and cheese and stir into cooked pasta over a low heat
    Season with freshly ground black pepper
    Serve with a green salad

It was yummy and nice for a change from the standard red or creamy sauce.  Have a go.

I have also been trudging through my knitting basket trying to get my works in progress finished.  There is a skirt for either Kie or Tay, A cardigan for Nish, A bolero for me and a jumper for either Dave or PJ.  I have also got a Crochet Table cloth on the go too.  I did finish a bolero for myself already but have yet to take a pic so that will come up soon.    I also have started back as spinning group this year so there will be more squishy homespun wool around soon.

The sheep have been all swapped around and split into 2 mobs,  all but 2 of the adult girls are in with our big Border Leicester ram Honor.  The other girls are in with our new Merino Ram  Hercules.  He is in with 2 coloured sheep in the hope that I may get a coloured lamb.  He wasn't really big enough to go in with the big girls yet and I  didn't want to risk not getting lambs this year, so split the mob.  Due to paddock constraints he is also in with the the rest of the lambs from last year and even though theoretically the girls could get pregnant already we are hoping they don't. Unlike Honor at the same age, who was willing to have a go at any ewe, Hercie doesn't seem that interested.  He has had a go at one of the adult girls and got a swift kick for his efforts lol.

Well that is probably enough for now

Catchya Later

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