Are we There Yet?

As in, are we at the end of summer yet? Nope. We are just about to begin the ‘hottest’ month. Doh! The first two months of summer, as well as the end of spring, have just been like one big long February of stinkin’ hotness. It’s very hard to get things done outside. It has become apparent that there are only two weather switches this summer: Super Wet and Stinkin’ Hot. We have had a few bouts of heavy rain, which has been an absolute blessing for filling up the tanks. Then there’s the toilet training of the small child, which takes up a lot of time, with interruptions to everything. It’s tempting to just teach him to go to the toilet outside. But that wouldn’t do, now, would it? Plus, The Little Fulla is no longer having an afternoon nap most days since he has a big bed that he can get out of. I am mourning the loss of my precious afternoon getting-stuff-done hours, but then there’s only so much that can be done anyway when the heat and humidity combine into a fiery ball of humidex figures that suggest ‘avoid exertion’ or ‘potential heat stress’ levels.

We have been up to various things, like harvesting veges, trying to control the weeds, butchering chickens, preserving, drying more herbs, fiddling around with rain barrels, beginning some sort of garage clean-up, cleaning house gutters and chicken-coop-related things. I’ll do a proper update about the chickens later, but the ones that are still here are doing well, albeit not enjoying the heat any more than we are.

Well, hello, chickies.

I have been cooking a lot more since The Husband works later now and there’s some good stuff coming out of the kitchen. When we’re not resorting to wraps, yes, again. Because it’s totally acceptable to have wraps multiple nights in a row when you have gluts of vegetables to use up and it’s too hot to be bothered doing anything else. We are currently harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins, Cayenne chillies, carrots, parsnips, spring onions, strawberries, blackcurrants and more, with other crops to harvest just around the corner. I keep forgetting about the gherkins. They grow so fast and somehow end up getting a bit too fat… Oops! I pickled my first ever batch of gherkins on Sunday night and they are yummy. Harvesting and using crops from the garden brings forth an array of beautiful colours.

The two Wee Bee Little pumpkin plants are going like bonkers, with numerous fruit on them. I have been trying to find a really nice pumpkin for competition purposes, but I haven’t found one as good as last years’ winner yet. I did have a really good one, but somehow it ended up in the CHICKEN PEN. That’s what happens when you leave pumpkins to cure on the outdoor table and a small boy comes along and finds them. Three poor little pumpkins were rescued from the chicken pen, but they have a few impact dents now.

We also harvested the first of the Summer Delight potatoes from the Boysenberry Bed. The bigger, later crop is still growing in the new bed, flopping all over the place, as they do. And we also have cut-and-come-again crops to harvest from like kale and picking celery, as well as plenty of basil, parsley, chives and more herbs. I am currently drying a bit of rosemary, dill and basil.

Potentially the hottest weekend of the year somehow resulted in a batch of whole-chicken chicken soup (aka egg-eater soup) cooked by me, a batch of tomato soup cooked by The Husband, and a batch of gherkins made by me. Two words: air con. The chicken soup was made with mostly homegrown produce, including carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, dried thyme and a homegrown chicken, which is very satisfying. The only bought ingredients were salt, pepper and a garlic clove. I’m saving most of the elephant garlic I grew to plant next season. There was a bit of coconut cream in the fridge that needed using so I added that to some of the soup too, and it all turned out very tasty. We have made a good start with putting things away in the freezer and pantry.

We have giant pumpkins! One by the deck, two, I think, in the big pumpkin patch in the old compost area, a couple of small, slower ones out the front and one scarred one in the chicken pen. There’s just the small problem of the biggest one being squashed up against the paddock fence and me not being able to move it myself since it’s too heavy. We must do something about that pronto! They are growing nuts in the heat right now.

I have got a few more storage solutions for the pantry, we’ve acquired another door for the laundry that needs to be prepped, we have primer and paint for the new front door that needs to be applied and The Husband acquired an electric pump that we have been using in the rain tank beside the garage to get water out for the garden. Being able to water the garden from our non-drinking water, with a hose, with decent pressure, is very helpful and time-saving. Running around with barrels and tubs and fiddling with downpipes in summer rainstorms was fun but not sustainable.

There has been so much going on, I really must try and do shorter blog posts more often. Here’s hoping! I’ll leave you with a few images of Christmas goodness, better late than never. One of the best Christmas presents I got was a new pair of gumboots. My old gumboots were very literally falling apart. I’d had them for about 15 years, so they served me extremely well, those old faithfuls. I couldn’t bring myself to find some lesser replacements, as they surely wouldn’t be good enough. Ha, as good as ripped and dying gumboots? When I discovered some places that still sold the same brand and model of my gumboots, albeit a current-day version, I was as stoked as a child looking in a candy store window. Ah, gumboot love!

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