Saturday, October 27, 2007

Photo Friday: Silence

The topic for this week's Photo Friday is Silence.
One of the fascinations for such a topic is how does one grab the feeling visually. When I think of silence, one of the images which comes to mind is something from an old British black and white movie which has a pea-soup fog and the echo-ing sound of footsteps.

It seems to me that such a thick, thick fog provides a blanket or wall of silence against which sound echoes.

Here in Melbourne, we can experience thick fogs - especially in or close to the mountains. Upper Gully is in the foothills of The Dandenongs which are thick with temperate rainforest. The further up the hills you go - on some days - the thicker the fog. My picture was taken early one July morning at the Upper Gully railway station: an early morning blanket of silence which could echo with the footsteps of each new arrival to the platform to wait for the train.

You say to-may-toe : I say to-mah-toe


To-day I found the tomatoes I need for the vege garden - at our Upper Gully week-end market. I purchased eight plants - listed below. I purchased eight advanced plants for $14. To-day has been a very warm Melbourne day 28/29 degrees so I will plant them in the cool of early evening. For more information on tomatoes, and some good recipes go here.



Hybrid
Small tomato variety producing masses of good flavoured, bite sized fruit ideal for salads. Sweet Bite is easily grown in the garden or in decorative tubs and contained . Stake to support using a trellis

Patio Roma

An heirloom variety.

A vigorous compact plant that looks as good as freshly picked fruit tastes. Good yields of tasty bright red pear shaped tomatoes with excellent shelf life.


Roma

An heirloom variety.

This variety produces an abundance of great flavoured, bright red, egg shaped fruits. They are delicious eaten fresh in salads, sandwiches and a variety of cooked dishes.

Mortgage Lifter

An heirloom variety.

Bred by “Radiator Charlie” (M.C. Byles) in he 1930s, these meaty mild flavoured tomatoes with few seeds are said to have helped Charlie pay off his mortgage because they were so popular. The fruit is pinkish read, slightly flattened, globe shape, and ranges from 250-1500 grams in weight. Some tomato! It is said they make the perfect tomato sandwich.


Mighty Red

Large tomato variety producing many full-flavoured, globe shaped fruits.A vigorous, disease free plant, easily grown in the garden or in large decorative tubs or containers.


Green Zebra

An heirloom variety./Hybrid

The result of breeding four heirloom varieties. Green Zebra yields rich yellow-green, medium sized fruit with distinctive darker green stripes. The flesh is lime to emerald-green in colour; the texture of the flesh is cream and the flavour tangy. It needs staking and produces a heavy crop. Green Zebra is also low in acid. A great tomato for adding zing to that tired old salad.




An heirloom variety.

Black Russian is a must for black tomato fans with its complex flavour - sweet and spicy with smoky undertones. Drying the fruit enhances the flavour. The fruit is large, round and smooth and almost mahogany in colour. Black Russian is an open, pollinated variety with good disease resistance. It is early to mature and a heavy cropper.


Grosse Lisse

A mid to late season staking variety producing medium to large sized fruit. Excellent summer-autumn flavour.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Wombat, Spring, and the edible garden

Miss Eagle disguised as The Wombat of Upper Gully

To-day is Show and Tell over at Kelli's.

I have been s-o-o-o busy the last few weeks - for a number of reasons. The over-riding reason though has been the garden. Miss Eagle has been carrying on in the backyard like she's The Wombat of Upper Gully.
About a quarter of the backyard has been dug up and given to veges and herbs.
I have been wombatting in a most determined fashion, dear Reader, because Spring does not wait for anyone and can, at times, be quite anxious to turn into Summer and all that growing time is gone and cannot be reclaimed.
One of the difficulties in this mature garden is light. Fruit trees planted in the long ago are of great height and are heavy in branch and leaf - not to mention roots. I got quite carried away with the pruning of the plum tree to get extra space by the provision of more light. Above, can be seen a piece of the pruning I have rescued which I hope can do duty as a trellis for the snow peas whose seeds are planted beneath and around it.

I have tried to stretch my budget (if you could call it that) further this year by using a lot of seeds rather than seedlings. The wisdom of this decision will depend upon how many seeds come up, won't it?

A few notes of interest.
  • I am fortunate in the provision of various bits and pieces through "hard rubbish": waste items put out on footpaths for collection. Herself says that at The Trad Pad we are not into Retail Therapy but Refuse Therapy (Opp Shops and Hard Rubbish). And, guess what? No credit cards required!

  • Garden Picture No. 2 shows a white lattice propped against a plum tree. Garden Picture No. 3 shows a garden gate propped against the corner of the garden shed. These, if all goes to plan, will be trellises: the former for the ivy geraniums and the latter for golden zucchini.

  • In Garden Picture No. 2 you will notice in the foreground a wire edging. Hard rubbish again - in sufficient quantity to go around the areas I have dug on either side of the shed. Herself had expressed a desire a couple of months ago for some garden edging but hadn't got to Bunning's to do anything about it. Just this week the very thing has been provided! It has a tad of rust - but we find rust in our vintage a bonus!

  • Can't recall where the wire object from which the pots are hanging in Garden Picture No. 2 came from. Methinks that Herself acquired it in a swap or some long ago hard rubbish. The pots I have had for the best part of ten years and they are still going strong and they are planted with the seeds of cherry tomatoes.

  • The toadstool sitting under the pots was a gift, more than a decade ago, from some very good friends. Now this sort of garden ornament is not really my style but my friends are very dear. To make it more me, I have a friend who does a very good line in frogs drawn in an Aboriginal style so I got him to draw such a one sitting on the toadstool. Now this quirky object and I have a whole lot more in common.

  • In Garden Picture No. 1 the child's outdoor setting, the little wooden wheelbarrow, and the two wooden tubs are all found items. The large painted metal wheelbarrows I have had for a number of years. They came from garage sales.

  • The area dug is on three sides of the tool shed with a small bed (planted with nasturtiums) on the fourth side. In these three areas are planted: sage, parsley, basil, coriander, silver beet, rocket, climbing beans, golden zucchini, beetroot, cherry tomatoes and snow peas. I have seed-boxes containing capsicums (peppers) and sugar-loaf cabbage. I need to find a home for cucumbers.

  • My two yellow wheelbarrows contain: penny-royal, sage, thyme, common mint, Corsican mint, and oregano. In other parts of the garden I have other herb plantings with the addition of golden marjoram and lavender.

  • I have not yet planted tomato seedlings. I can only find Gross Lisse seedlings. I am looking for heritage tomatoes such as I planted two years ago. I will take a drive into The Hills later to-day to see what I can locate up there. And maybe I'll let my fingers do the walking using this list.

  • Here at The Trad Pad, we compost. We have two bins - but two older single women don't make a lot of compost very quickly. I add to our household scrap pile in the bin by adding, every few months, some additional layers. I will put in a layer of cow manure; a few months later, a layer of lime. Sometimes I find I have left a small amount of potting mix to its own devices in the tool shed, so it goes into the compost too. I didn't have quite enough from the two compost bins to provide an adequate layer over all of the dug area so there was a narrow patch on the long side of the toolshed where the rocket seeds have been planted which received cow manure. I prefer manure to blood and bone. Blood and bone is an organic fertiliser/nutrient but I prefer not to use it. If I could be assured that it comprised the remains of old and injured animals who have been killed in a humane manner, I would use it. However, most blood and bone would be the detritus from meat processing facilities which kill animals for food. So I prefer to go with cow manure because it means that an animal has not given its life for the main purpose of providing humans with food.
It hasn't all been veges and herbs. Pretty baskets a-plenty are decorating the trees in the back yard. Here are some of them. And I have not included any pictures of the succulent collection in the courtyard outside the sunroom. BTW, these wire baskets are found items!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kath and Kim: tunnelling through


It is nearly ready! Melbourne's latest Freeway - the Mitcham to Frankston or the Scoresby as it is often known. It is only ten minutes from Upper Gully and Miss Eagle will probably love its convenience. Shame on me - as I remember the beautiful farmland it subsumed - including a place with miniature ponies.
Herself can be a clever drawers at times and - as soon as she heard the announcement - she had the names: Kath and Kim.
I don't think the names are worth entering because you see, dear Reader, there are guidelines. And, after a read of those, it seems that Kath and Kim may not cut the mustard.
But that, dear Reader, should not really matter. The tunnels can have a flash, guide-line meeting name for the toffs. But for the rest of us we know that, just as at Fountain Gate in south-east Melbourne, Kath and Kim are stars so their names can become through common and widespread usage the names for the stars of convenience in private transport in south-east Melbourne.

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