Monday, May 30, 2011

Figs and macaron...ahhhhh....

To cheer up a grey rainy few weeks where I've been laden down at work, then coming home to a kitchen full of ants, sick children...

I took myself to La Belle Miette!

I am somewhat of a macaron fiend...

 Ummmmmm...I may or may not have popped in for a quick cupcake as well  :)

How adorable is the hippo mat!!

I came home to find Mr Bok had bought me a gift, a perfume I've been lusting after for so long.  Smells of fig trees in all their gloriousness, the greenness of the fig tree and its leaves, the ripening fig itself, then the warm woodiness and somehow I get a hint of grass and coconut too.  So lovely to wrap yourself in on a cold day.  I keep catching whiffs of this divine fragrance and then realise belatedly that it's me!  How lovely!

After dinner we huddled around the dining table and each took a teeny tiny bite of each macaron until they were all gone.  Master Bok, Miss Bok, Mr Bok and me.  Yummmeeeeeeee!  My favourite was the pink grapefruit...and also the cherry blossom and sake...ooooh I also loved the salty caramel.  And the pistachio.  Hrmm...they were all delightful!  Not a single crumb was left for the scavenous ants.

The ant problem now...this is the 6th day I've come home to find them in the house.  They are so diligent, patiently tracking their way in through the laundry, around the dining area until they get to the kitchen.  Thank goodness they move in neat orderly lines else I'd never be able to get rid of them.

Any tips on keeping them OUT?  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Can anyone identify these birds?

Each morning of late we've been woken by hundreds of parrots, they are all white and seem like a cross between a cockatoo and an owl in appearance. Actually you know what, they rather look like Mr Lavender, my old lavender aracauna man hen! They sound like babies crying when they call to each other.  They seem to be moving enmasse to - somewhere, I'm not sure where, but they are clearly on the move and not looking to settle down in the area I don't think.  Yet they return from time to time.

They look like Mr Lavender below..same face and type of feathers anyway.

They are so noisy!  The poor bok flock run and cower inside whenever they hear the parrots calling.

Anyone have any ideas about what they are?  I thought corellas initially but they don't have the right colours.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Golden podded peas to heaven - or hell!

I love a beautiful Autumn day - especially when it's a weekend!

Well if what some people think is true and the rapture is due to take place today then I'm glad that I had the chance to spend 5 minutes in my garden in the sun, admiring what has appeared this week...

Golden podded peas!  I've never grown these before but they sure are beautiful...lovely purple flowers and then golden pods ready to go into a stirfry!

My sugar snaps have been giving us a good yield but they aren't as fun to look at.

Chillies survived the frost surprisingly...although our basil really carked it!  Booooooo...

Astrid is back to herself but is always at the backdoor trying to come back inside  :)

Well today has been a lovely quiet day spent with the family - what are you doing with your potential last day on earth?  My New Zealand blogger friends - I'll be waiting to see if you're still around, you're the first to be raptured apparently. I doubt I'll be included in the exodus going on the stressed out grumps I've carried around with me this week...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What kind of eggs are these?

Look what I found!

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...what bird can they possibly be from?

*kekekekekekekekke* they are forgotten easter eggs!  OH YUM!!  It's so lovely to come across surprises like this!    Especially when a little glum that Mr Lavender has left the flock and has gone to learn how to go from being a manhen to a rooster!  I wish the little lad luck.  I'll checking in on him from time to time so will post pics as I go of what he is growing into!

Happy Sunday night everyone xoxo

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I really really hope she is a she and not a he!!!!

Uh oh.

I was hanging out with the bok flock this morning feeding them hot porridge (it's been freezing here in Melbourne lately) and I noticed that young Lavender the aracauna is growing up to look rather like...and I really hope not...a ROOSTER! you chooky friends of mine, what do you think?

It really has been absolutely freezing here.  Even so the girls are rallying and still laying eggs for us amazingly!  Some veg in the garden have suffered whilst some others have been ok despite the early frost. I have read some reports that fennel stunts the growth of other vegies around it but so far so good.  Nothing is really putting on a growth spurt though due to the rain, hail and horribly cold conditions!

The lime verbena has put on new leaves - tiny very very lime green ones, not sure why...any ideas?

My lovely Astrid is back outside wandering about, I've been so worried about her in case she fell ill again especially as she seems to love standing in the rain...but she seems to be back to herself again!

The cape gooseberry pops out more of these beautiful lanterns each day. Not sure when to harvest them, will have to look it up.

I found an old bay leaf tree doing well behind the water tank, it's putting out tiny buds, does anyone know what to do with these?  I'm just leaving them for now.  Not sure if they are flowers or seeds??

Do you remember a while ago I told you about my citrus issues...well I cut this lemon right back so we'll see if she springs back to life again in Spring. I cut back a dwarf lemon and kept it behind the water tank too thinking it would never survive but it has come back and looks like it's pretty happy!  So I have hope for the other one.
The babaco is still flowering.  Feel so sorry for it as there are absolutely no bees about to enjoy!

p.s. I've noticed that all the comments to my last post over the week - including comments I've made! - have disappeared, must be due to the blogger issues, but I'm certainly not deleting them and I really want to try the remedies some of you suggested!  Hope blogger sticks them back on...or could you please re-post...?  Thank you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Help! Can anyone help me get to sleep?

Hi everyone,

This isn't a gardening post. A post about something else that is occupying my nights and weekends at the moment and I'm wondering if it's something some of you might be able to assist with.

I'm a UN volunteer...before I continue this post, I have to say that I am not a political person as such and do not get into the politics of why a situation is, whether it is right or wrong - none of that rhetoric - I volunteer because I want to help innocent civilians.  As a human, I want to contribute to the world in which I live.  I've been lucky in that I've received help in the past from total strangers and even though I am an often cynical lady, I do feel that most people want to do the right thing and I still retain a certain wonder at the kindness of some people. I'm not a wealthy individual and cannot afford to donate much financially to worthy causes  (although I do where I can, particularly to an organisation that helps homeless kids in my hometown - they once helped me a long time ago) so I feel that at least I can donate my time.


This year I started on a new project for Eastern Uganda working on Human Rights and got pulled into a project on sustainable agriculture as a side shoot of what I was doing (more on this in another post as I'll need to ask for your knowledge with regards to seed saving and storage) but I've been sidetracked of late.  The Libyan Crisis happened and I started on an urgent project for OCHA, helping to map the Libyan crisis.  Work I've done on each project has been ultimately very rewarding but I'm finding it difficult to unwind enough to sleep at night.  I'm constantly on twitter feeds and news sites to report on what is happening to enable humanitarian agencies on the ground in Libya to get a map of what is happening where.  When I'm not doing that, I'm researching the treatment of people in Uganda and the abuses they suffer.  I'm the sort of person to get pulled into people's stories and some of what you discover is truly heart breaking, it keeps me up at night and permeates into my dreams. any of you know of any ways to help put an active mind at rest enough to enable sleep?

Sorry that this is a totally incomprehensible post.  My mind is such a fog at the moment.  One of you will know a sure fire herbal remedy or something!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A lovely morning with Astrid and the Evil Dratted Caterpillars

Happy mothers day!  What are all your lovely folk doing today?

Do you like the portrait that Miss Bok (6) drew of me...?    Also the orchids Master Bok (2) got for me, not colours I usually get but a nice change.

This week, the vet was very surprised to see Astrid alive.  He expected that she wouldn't make it...and then told me her eye would probably not get better at all.  It was rather depressing.  But after persistent nursing from me, eye and nose drops and antibiotics daily...

Well.  Here's her eye looking brightly up at me!

I was very dark on white butterflies this morning.  Now my philosophy is rather zen or so I try, that is, plant some for the bugs and some for me.  But they have no respect for the zen!!!!  They have decimated ALL of my brassica.  Again.  So I took great pleasure in picking them off and feeding them to Astrid even though I really just wanted to pull out all the plants and jump up and down on them in a huge stomping  tantrum.

Just about the only Winter veg doing well are the rainbow chard and the peas.  Sigh.  My poor old eaten broccollini (x 6), cauliflower (x6), brussel sprouts (x 4) and broccoli (x2).  NOT HAPPY!  So some pics of my sugar snaps, snow peas and purple podded to soothe the soul...

I'm a bit bemused that the Autumn fruiting raspberry canes are growing leaves??  I cut them down so not sure why they are sprouting up again...

The baby fig is leafless but lots of spinach is springing up around it.

I found some surprise peas in with the garlic too!

And a clear sign Sophie has been in the thyme trying to lay eggs here again - she left behind indisputable evidence! 

Olives are just about ready for picking and curing.

Hope I have better luck with the sweetpea in this hanging basket this year.

Hope you all have wonderful Sundays!


p.s. If any of you have any experience with setting up seed banks, please let me know.  It's a project I'm working on for Eastern Uganda.  When I get more time I'll do a proper post on it, but for now, if you know of anyone or if you do yourselves, please let me know.  Thanks!!


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