Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday morning

Saturday morning is precious family time. As a rule, Quin snuggles in bed with us then Ads gets up before us and grinds the coffee. We are not huge coffee drinkers but enjoy it as a Saturday morning treat with crepes. I'm tempted from my warm snuggles with the sound if Ads grinding coffee beans in my granny's old grinder.


We don't have any fancy fly-you-to-the-moon coffee machines with pods, cup warming plates or frothy milk makers and that's the way I like it. Saturday morning is a time to savour, not rush. Especially if it comes with fresh crepes, sugar split on the  floor, and cuddles on the kitchen. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Chokos (aka chayote, from Mexico), are they the answer to world hunger and climate change? Well, maybe that's stretching it a bit far! However, chokos are probably one of the easiest and most productive vegies (although it is technically a fruit) you can grow in Australia.

They are in the cucurbit family and have a similar taste and texture to squash and zuchinni. It has high levels of amino acids and vitamin C. We found out about them when we were over east a few years back and have been trying to get seeds ever since. Then we found out that they don't grow from seed but from the fruit itself. I've never come across it in Perth. We went down south a few weeks ago and saw some at the Manjimup farmer's markets, so we bought a couple. One has started to sprout so it'll go in the ground soon. We've decided to rip out our perennially disappointing passion fruit and use its trelissing to grow the choko up.

Ok, it's not the prettiest thing around and lots of people dismiss it as only good for animal fodder but I actually like it, especially if you pick it small. That's when it's sweetest. It is perennial and doesn't suffer from mildew apparently, unlike the zuchinni which can be a pain to grow.

If it's a winner we plan to tell everybody in WA about it to spread the word. We'll report back on its progress.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What do patches mean to you?

A few mornings ago I had no school trousers for Quin to wear to school. Were they on the clothes line? No. Were they in a crumpled heap in the corner? No. Were they accidental put in the wrong draw? No. They were all in the mending basket. Why? Because my 6 year old prefers to get from point A to point B mainly by rolling and crawling, ninja style, which leaves gaping holes in the knees of his trousers (at least its not his knees!). I was left with two choices; Target or patching (there is a third choice here involving going over to Mum's to use her fancy machine, or even better having her mend our clothes on her fancy machine - I'd make the tea...but this was urgent). So, of course, I dragged out the old faithful Singer sewing machine. 

Often I try to patch with the fabric on the inside and then just zig zag like crazy. Its not as noticeable as a full on patch on the outside. But this time, I went for fully visible and proud pirate patches. 

And as I was zig zagging away I was thinking 'why doesn't everyone do this?'. I think its because we are too worried about what a patch means. I think we no longer value thrift or kooky creativity which a patch can symbolise. Or worse than thrift, maybe a patch means downright poverty. 

To me it means none of that. These patches, the six that I sewed over ripped knees of school trousers mean 'Get stuffed Target!'. They mean 'up yours Kmart'. They say 'no' to fast fashion where billions of items are made in third world countries with un-unionised workforces, then sold to us cheaply ('Ooh lets get one of each colour!'), then chucked because its poor quality or we just don't fancy it any more. I love patches and so does my boy. 

Okay, he does look a little bit povo because I was in a rush and didn't even bother hemming the edges, but you gotta admit, he looks happy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spraying the almond tree for shothole fungus

This year we got a good crop of almonds but every single one was shrivelled up and yucky. I later found out that this was due to shothole fungus and that it's very common in backyard trees. The give away sign is leaves with small round holes in them (hence the name) and dots of gum oozing out of the nuts. So this year I'm keen to get on top of it and it turns out it's not too hard. You need to spray the tree with a fungicide such as bordeaux or copper oxychloride. Many people think of spraying fruit trees as evil but there are many sprays which fall into the category of organic so I don't have a problem with it myself. I would much rather have a productive tree using organic/benign sprays than an unproductive 'spray free' tree.

Our almond tree is just starting to flower so I sprayed today and will follow it up with a repeat spray at budswell stage. Spray when the branches are dry and rain is not expected for six hours.

Hopefully we'll have our first good, edible crop in January 2014. I'll let you know of course!