Tag Archives: Summer

Summer in the Garden

Garden 2

Garden 3

Garden 4

Garden 1

Garden 5

So far our first growing season in our own home has proven to be a quite a learning experience!

At times it has been very challenging. We’ve lost a blueberry plant to an unknown fate. A mystery bug (I suspect earwigs but haven’t enough proof) has eaten one and a half of our two raspberry plants (not the fruit, the leaves and stems!) All but one each of our watermelon and cucumber plants have mysteriously disappeared. One of our passionfruits’ new growth has been repeatedly gobbled up by something, preventing it from growing. We’ve had hot days then cold days and gale force winds. I can’t even remember the last time it rained…

But! Despite all of that, we’ve also had some wonderful successes in our our little garden. Our raspberry is bouncing back. The tomatoes are out of control. The beans have produced more than I could ever have imagined. The zucchinis are in good health. The elderflower is flourishing. We have at least 6 pumpkins on their way. And most happily for me, one of our two Camellia Sinensis (tea) bushes (that we thought had died) is starting to show some new growth, just as we were about to pull it out and replace it with a big blackberry bush! Over the last couple of weeks we’ve eaten homegrown rainbow chard, strawberries, sugar snap peas, basil, zucchini, perpetual spinach, one cucumber and mountains of beans, and now we’re starting to get tomatoes. Though we started small with just two raised beds, we have managed to grow quite a lot!

Even though it can be frustrating at times, we’re really enjoying having a productive garden. We love being able to eat fruit and veggies that we’ve grown ourselves. Nothing makes me happier than spying Katie at the veggie patch, picking something fresh for our dinner. It’s so nice knowing the things we eat don’t have any chemicals on them and that they are in our bellies within minutes of being picked. A lot of the veggies we grow (including all of our peas) don’t even make it into the kitchen. They are so good we can’t help but eat them straight off the plant!

With the successes and struggles of this season in mind, I’m now starting to make plans for the next growing season. It’s time to expand our veggie patch from the two raised beds and I’ve earmarked half our front lawn for some serious redevelopment. Soon it’ll be time to put things in for winter. I’ve already got some kale seeds that are calling me…

What’s been happening in your garden this season?

Reuben

PS All these pictures are from Katie’s Instagram account. We’ve gotten a bit out of the habit of taking photos over the last few months, but we are both determined to get back behind the camera this year!

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Summer Reflections

I’ve spoken before about the fact I tend to be very future orientated. I always have a list of plans, goals and dreams for the near and not-so-near future. I don’t dwell on the past much and, in some ways, I think that’s a good thing. Focusing on the future keeps me moving forward and means I don’t carry a lot of baggage. Like most people I’m nostalgic about my happy memories and hold them close to my heart, but I’m pretty good at letting go of life’s unpleasant and less important bits.

Daisy and Strawberries

All that said, in the past couple of weeks I have found myself looking back a bit more than usual. The season has changed and summer is here which, in our part of the world, means the end of the year is drawing near. The start of a new year is always a good time for a bit of reflection. Our recent bloggy win has also got me thinking on our blogging journey and all that has transpired since we started sharing here in May 2011.

I often feel that we aren’t making any progress. I look around our house and see all the work we haven’t done; the walls that need painting, the kitchen that needs replacing, the roof that needs retiling. I look at the baby fruit trees and think how long it will be before they are providing fruit and shade. I look at our tiny veggie garden and see the things that have been eaten by bugs or destroyed by frost and I think how much we have to learn. I look at my Etsy shop and think how far away some of my business goals seem. But when I focus of these little details I’m missing the bigger picture. I’m not seeing the forest for the trees.

Mango and Sandals

Just over two years ago we were living in an apartment in the city, dreaming of fresh food and more space. Today we live in a country town with a population of 500. We have a little veggie patch bursting with lovely rainbow chard, peas and herbs. We have two sweet hens who provide us with eggs. We have tiny fruit trees in the earth and strawberry plants reaching for the sun from hanging baskets swinging outside out front door.

Dear Delilah Packages and Peas

Just a little while ago we were worried we’d be trapped in jobs we found unsatisfying for the rest of our lives. Now Reuben has a job (in an area we never imagined he would) that he finds interesting and fulfilling. I am living my dream of running an Etsy shop and in recent weeks it has been so busy, I have hardly been able to keep up with it. Every day when I log in to check orders and respond to customer enquiries my heart is full to bursting point with happiness and gratitude.

Reubs and Sky

Just over a year ago we were renting (half convinced we’d never get out of the renting cycle) and we had a small amount of debt. Today we own our own home and we spend less on our mortgage than we ever did on rent. Though we earn far less than we did when we were living in Sydney, aside from our mortgage we are completely debt free, and we are working towards building some savings.

Christmas Bauble and Poppy

Not so long ago we were stressed and tired and lost. We were sick of our routine. We were worried about our future. We had vague imaginings of a different kind of life, but had no idea how we’d make them a reality. Things are so different now. The overwhelming worry and fear and tiredness is gone. Though (like everyone) we have struggles and bad days, for the most part we are content and thankful and hopeful.

When I take the time to pause and reflect on the last couple of years, rather than focusing entirely on the future, I can see how far we have actually come. We still have so much more we want to accomplish, and in the scheme of things we are only just beginning, but that’s ok. There will always be more to do. What matters is that we are on the right path. I am so proud of our progress and grateful for the changes in our world over the last little while. Our life is far from perfect, but I know it is exactly as it is meant to be right now.

Summer is here. All is well.

I hope all is well in your world too.

Katie x

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The Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Tomato Relish

Fruit

Trees

Basil Cordial

We love farmers’ markets. The second weekend of the month is always our favourite because the Bendigo Community Farmers’ Market is on the Saturday and the Girgarre Farmers’ Produce Market is on the Sunday. Today some of our friends came over from Bendigo and we all headed over to the market at Girgarre together. Unfortunately it was extremely hot and the flies were absolutely horrible so we didn’t hang around for long, but a quick lap around the stalls was all we needed to pick up some veggies, as well as homemade tomato relish and basil cordial. Can we stop a moment to talk about the basil cordial? The lady who made it was also selling mint, lemon and elderflower cordials, but I went with the basil because I fancied something a bit different. And oh my! It is good. And so perfectly refreshing on such a hot day. Basil cordial! Who knew?!

I hope you’re weekend was most lovely. Wishing you peachy things for the week ahead!

Katie x

PS We are officially sick of scorching summer weather. Autumn, where on earth are you?!

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Summer Strawberries

Toast with Cream Cheese, Strawberries and Honey

Strawberries, Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Sugar

Baked Cheesecake with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Yesterday was cool and rainy here which, after weeks of scorching temperatures and months of intense sunshine, was utterly blissful. To make the most of the cooler weather we slipped into long sleeves for the first time in ages, and headed to the local farmer’s market to wander about the gorgeous fresh produce. While we were there I snapped up four big punnets of strawberries for just $5! A lot of the strawberries were perfect but a few of them were beginning to look a little worse for wear, so after picking out a few of the best ones and having them on toast with cream cheese and honey, I decided I needed to do something with the rest sooner rather than later. Happily, the cooler weather made yesterday perfect for baking!

I drizzled the strawberries with a little balsamic vingar and sprinkled them with brown sugar, then roasted them until they were wonderfully syrupy. Of course, there was only one option for the resulting pile of delicious, sweet and tangy, roasted strawberries. I obviously had to put them in a cheesecake. Since my first foray into baking cheesecake I’ve quickly become the cheesecake queen around these parts. That recipe is a keeper!

Once I was done baking, Reubs and I spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the couch on my mum’s back verandah with our Daisy dog. We read our books and listened to the gentle pitter patter of the rain on the roof. Later, we had roast veggies and chickpea sausages for dinner, followed by strawberry cheesecake for dessert. It was lovely. A perfect Sunday really.

I hope you’re weekend was equally as delightful? Wishing you all shiny, happy things for the week ahead!

Katie x

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The Big Zucchini

I grew a couple of zucchini plants over summer and we have had quite a few to eat lately. Most of the zucchinis have been picked and eaten while they were fairly small, when they are at their tastiest, but there is a limit to how many zucchinis two people can eat! One of the little green guys wasn’t picked and was instead left to grow and grow. As you can see he got to be quite a size!

I know it probably sounds weird but I’m really quite attached to this zucchini. I’m such a rookie when it comes to gardening and I’ve had a few disappointments, so it feels really good when something goes right! Rohan from Whole Larder Love recently wrote that it’s the holding of home grown produce that gives the most joy, and I totally agree.

Because this zucchini is so big, it would probably be rather tough and tasetless to eat, so instead of becoming dinner this one is destined to be part of a zucchini and chocolate cake (or three!) I can’t pretend I won’t be a little sad when we cut it up, but I’m really proud to be nourishing our little family with food grown with my own two hands.

Am I strange for becoming a bit sentimentally attached to our homegrown veggies? Has anyone else out there had any little achievements they are really proud of lately?

Reuben :)

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