Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sunny Winter Days and Poppies

Just 5mls of rain has fallen this June and as the average for this district is 80mls we're feeling the dryness. Clear skies and no rain, we've had some serious frosts down here in our valley too. 

My little Curry tree, a retirement gift from a work colleague, has felt the brunt of the frosty mornings. I wonder if it will rally back to life again in Spring.

New shoots on the lemon tree, shriveled..!

These sunny winter days are perfect for getting stuck into some serious garden maintenance, so I started giving this section a little trim.
I didn't take a 'before' photo of this garden, but this is how it looked three years ago during summer, with the Glory vine in full leaf.  All of the shrubs and plants were planted more than ten years ago and were getting leggy, high and wide, making it difficult to back the car out of the drive without running over plants. It had become ugly and messy.

 Then Brian came along with his motorised hedge trimmers and within five minutes it looked like this.!!

With a few wheelbarrow loads of compost from one of my compost heaps, and some waste hay from under the cow's hay rack, the beds were ready for planting up with some new plants that I'd  propagated months ago, and some cuttings from other parts of the garden.
The little red brick border that Brian made years ago, is visible once again.

 The two wood fires are burning around the clock. The kitchen stove for cooking and the slow combustion in the living room keep the old house warm and toasty. It's a drafty old place though, lots of windows and external doors with little gaps.  Wonderfully cool in summer, but a little bit cool in winter. 
Brian has had two weeks of annual leave, so the wood heap is looking healthily stacked  with chopped and split wood.

 Comfort food cooked slow in the wood oven is often on the menu during winter. 
A beef and vegetable baked concoction (stew) for dinner one night, became soup the following day. 
I always cook a bit too much. You never know when an extra mouth to feed might turn up unannounced, otherwise there are leftovers for lunch the next day.
But sometimes there's not enough leftovers for two, or however many I might need to feed, so a bit of bone broth from the freezer, tipped in and heated again makes a nourishing soup.  Cooked rice, noodles or leftover vegetables lurking in the fridge are good added too. Every soup tastes different and it's impossible to make it again exactly the same. 

A distorted view of Mulga Bill who is being very well behaved and comes to the fence for a chat at "haying up" time.

 Lavender is putting on weight and still loving her food now that she has company with whom to share it.

A most wonderful surprise arrived in the post from one of my blog buddies. Poppy seeds so beautifully presented in a decorative envelope and little note to warm my heart. She prefers I don't mention her name, but she knows who she is, so once again, many thanks!
I have scattered them in gardens all over the house yard, hedging my bets in case one garden performs better than the others. Now waiting for the rain and anticipating mystery poppies in spring.
And talking of Poppy, I will have more news for you tomorrow on that subject. 


  1. You can't beat a bit of a tidy up can you. It makes everything seem under control .... for a while :-)

    Love the photo of Mulga Bill.

    1. I'm working my way around the gardens Sue, and it really does feel good to look at the small achievements in garden control each day.

  2. Older homes can be so drafty. We replaced all of our windows and doors last year and boy has it made a real difference. The house stays nice and toasty now and its so quiet - we can hardly hear any traffic from outside. I love your front porch! What a nice place to hang out. I bet you have an amazing view from there.

    1. Hi Clarissa, I keep saying that as long we are still "young" and are able to keep very active, we don't feel the cold. ;) We need to keep these fires burning all the time though, so the kitchen and living areas are comfortable. Gosh the house was like a fridge after we'd been away for 4 days and the fires had gone out; all toasty warm again now though. That verandah pictured is actually on the western side of the house, where we rarely hang out except for morning smoko on weekends. The eastern side verandah is nearer the kitchen and is where we spend lots of time all year round. Views are good on both sides. X

  3. It has been so dry hasn't it? For the first winter I can remember I have hardly had clothes draped inside to dry - fortunate really as there is very little place to put them. I am finding my tiny kitchen wood oven keeps me as her slave, stocking it with wood every hour on cold days. It will be nice to put in a slow combusion for next winter in the extension. Im glad we got half the roof insulated, though there is still none over the lounge/hallway/master bedroom.


  4. I'm envious of your cold weather. It's still quite warm here in CQld. I think we've little fire once this year. I love soups in any weather and they are such a good way to use up leftovers and to get a healthy dose of bone broth!

  5. I feel like I'm playing catch up on your posts dear Sally, such a lovely time of year for gardening, soups and wood fires. Stay Warm xxx Jude (fairywrencottage)


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