Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Solar baked Christmas cake

Last Saturday was predicted to be sunny and warm, so I woke up all keen and eager to make my (belated) Solar Christmas Cakes in the solar oven.  The weather in Cape Town has not been conducive to solar oven use apart from the one hot sunny day we had a week or so ago.  A windy, cloudy and sometimes wet Spring is lingering, and summer is still hovering in the sidelines.

But, on Saturday morning everything went well - I even had all the necessary ingredients on hand LOL  I awoke to a blue sky, and ignoring the wind, for that doesn't affect the performance of the solar oven, I got down to making the cakes. I tripled the recipe...
... and I scored 6 more egg shells in which to plant seeds...
In order to use the empty egg shells as
seed trays, the trick is to open the egg
shells as close to the  pointed end as
possible - that will allow for more sand in
the empty egg shell :)
... and found a small patch of sunlight on our wooden deck where I could place my solar oven to preheat.  In winter this deck is in complete shade.
Check out that little patch of sky at the
back - it looks promising, doesn't it :)
The cakes merrily baked away - this is after 20 minutes.
But, I think I got excited too soon.  One-and-a-half hours into the baking the clouds rolled over!  I gave the cakes a prick test, and there was still wet dough in the centre.  Damn!  What am I going to do now?  Can I afford to waste all these ingredients, and start again on another day...?

Or, should I switch on my (electric) oven and complete the baking process in that?

I decided on the latter.  But, idiot me, I placed the cakes in the oven whilst it was warming up - I didn't want to lose any heat from the mixture during the oven heating stage.  And I clean forgot that the oven heats from the bottom element and the top grill element - guess it is a year-and-a-half since I last used my oven - I can forgive myself for making such a stupid mistake.  But the result was that the tops of the cakes were burnt - some worse than others.  I tried waiting for the cake to cool down and "slicing" off the worst of the burn - and again forgot that fruit cakes need maturation time in order to mature and firm up.  Crumble, crumble, crumble... :)

Drat!  And I wasted 3/4 - 1 hour of electricity trying to salvage my cakes.

So I had to toddle off to the shops early yesterday morning in order to purchase more ingredients so that I could make a new batch of Christmas cakes - I'm also baking one for NGirl to take home with her, for RSon and for our two staff members as well.
I scored another six eggs shells - plus RMans
shell from his breakfast :)  From RMans shell
you can easily see how close to the top I break
the shell
I had a clear blue sky - and the photo below shows the cakes in their final hour of baking.  It was 26oC outside and 160 - 170oC in the oven.  Perfect:)

The other cakes won't be wasted though.  We don't normally make (or eat) Christmas pudding, but there is nothing to stop me from using one from the 1st disastrous batch in a fruit cake trifle :)

Here are the cakes as they continue their baking without their lids...

And here are the finished products :)
Now I'm happy.

And I am even more (if possible) convinced that my solar oven is the only way to cook!
Moist, heavenly smelling and perfectly baked :)
And serious solar cooking is once again on the menu in Cape Town - YAY!

Now, the rest of my Christmas preparations will have to wait until we get to the farm...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Advent

This year I decided to do a different type of Advents kranz.  A kranz is a wreath in German - and at this time of year is obviously a Christmas wreath.


It is, for me, symbolical of both the circle of life which begins with birth of a baby and the Crown of Thorns that was placed on Christ's head at his crucifixion.  It is an evergreen wreath and to which four candles are added.  One of the candles are lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas, with all four candles being lit on the night of Christmas Eve - which, due to RMan's family roots, is when we celebrate Christmas.  (But MKid, as did our two, has a special Father Christmas gift under the tree on Christmas morning.  We did that in order to combine my English roots and heritage, with RMan's German roots and heritage.  It also allowed the children to participate in the "guess what I found under the tree" conversations with their peers / friends, and helped to prevent their feeling left out when their friends talked about Christmas morning.) 


Last year I made an indigenous wreath in a florist circle...
... and, as happy as I was with it, I found that moving / filling the base with water was a hassle - and messy LOL  And the candles kept falling over...


So this year I decided to make something different.


A square wreath!?


Most importantly,  it is one which I can easily transport to the farm for MKid's sake - we may be in an out of ordinary location for this our first Christmas on the farm, but that doesn't mean we can't have the normal trappings and traditional decorations.


This year, for RMan's sake and in memory of his late father who recently passed away, I have kept the conifer / evergreen theme.  But. I also like a bit of colour, so a couple of geranium flowers provided just what I needed.  Then a whimsical hint of Angel's Hair and I'm done.


We lit it last night, being the first Sunday in Advent.  And I like the wreath.  I also like being able to adapt each year to suit my whim.


Which one do you prefer?


But, for me, like so many others, Christmas is completely about celebrating birth, family time and continuing traditions.  It wouldn't be the same without them.  So, if I am able to maintain this particular tradition, whilst giving it a tweak now and then, what's the harm?  :)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Eco-friendly cooling

RMan spent the entire time at the farm last weekend preparing for the hot weather of summer.  I have previously mentioned that we took some recycled balustrades to the farm - for our front porch.  This is what we still have at our town house...
Recycled balustrades
... and I have other plans for that LOL


So, whilst I painted the balustrades which we had installed on the porch a dark green colour to match our green power room door :)...


... RMan got busy with organising some  shade...
Butterfly clips
He spied these at Builders Warehouse - Butterfly Clips.  I didn't have a clue what he wanted to do with them, but we both have our ideas on how we are making our farm comfortable for everyone, so I patiently waited for the plan to be unveiled :)


RMan attached an eye bolt to the walls of the house...
Wall mounting method
... and another eye bolt with threaded rod and a nut to the poles he had installed on the patio
Pole mounting method
Then he strung some stainless steel cable (recycled from the balustrades) between the eye bolts and spent many long, laborious hours installing each butterfly clip, one at a time, onto some Alnet Cooltone shade fabric we had purchased from their factory shop, and to the cable until we had this...

Butterfly clips on recycled stainless steel cable
Taa Da!  We have shade for the upcoming hot summer months.  And RMan has made it retractable - a very basic method, but it works!  Clever RMan! That means we'll still be able to enjoy sunshine on the patio in the cooler winter months :)
Finished product looking in (and please note
the beautiful newly painted balustrade - painted
in 35oC - hectic!  Best thing about that
was that the paint dried in 1/2 hour LOL)
But, we still have to install two wires in the centre, running parallel to the top poles, to prevent the shadecloth from sagging or ballooning in the wind.


And, finally, RMan fixed the shadecloth to the walls.  This he did, in the pouring rain, howling wind (and that wasn't easy!) and 35oC sunshine, by catching the fabric with some wooden battens and screwing the batten securely to the wall - no more flying of the shadecloth - at least on one side!  On the outer edge, by these two poles below, we'll have to make another plan.
Finished product looking out
Finally, RMan installed a mister system on the horizontal poles.  This system is very eco-friendly, as it uses less than a litre of water  / hour and it's cooling effect has to be experienced to be believed!  
Eco-friendly cooling
Reckon we're all set for summer now - so can someone please tell the weather.  Unlike the farm, cool, windy, rainy days persist in Cape Town, which is great for the dams, but not so good for producing fruit on my veggies.  My lettuces love it, but my tomatoes have yet to produce flowers, never mind fruit!

Welcome

Continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, please won't you join me in welcoming John from somewhere in the United States.
As John is a chef, his blog is about cooking  - and other stuff such as how to make flour from acorns and information on a link on how to make a zee pot :)  (and a warning to Jane especially.  There is a graphic photo of a deer - please look away)


John, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow.  And, if I am on the farm it may take a little longer...LOL

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Hello & Welcome

Continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, please won't you join me in welcoming Sue from Northern Michigan.
Sue has two blogs - the first is a blog about life beyond gardening - a blog about stuff that keeps her awake - now that I can certainly relate to :).  I loved her posting about peeling a whole head of garlic in 10 secs.  And I love the photo's of the fall leaves and their stunning autumn colours! You live in a beautiful part of the world, Sue.
Her other blog is about her garden of raised beds (and recipes of what she is cooking from what she harvests) and her old stone cottage - oh, I'd love to see a pic of the outside of that cottage :)  I also love those photo's of her pumpkins in all their different shapes and sizes - you can tell I'm a frustrated pumpkin grower, can't you LOL


Sue, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow.  And, if I am on the farm it may take a little longer...LOL

Friday, 25 November 2011

Ocean's bounty

Yesterday, in the late afternoon RMan and I were on our way to the shops when we noticed a lot of activity on the beach.
The sea is a seething mass of life -
marine and human LOL  The fishermen
with their net are in the right hand corner
On arrival we discovered that the sardines were running in Hout Bay - something we have only seen occur two or three times since we moved here in 1994.

Goose bump inducing, exciting and so invigorating to see such a large number of fish - and the seething horde of seals and seagulls who appear to have been well fed.  Unfortunately, I did not spy any dolphin this time - perhaps they were following a larger shoal of sardines up the east coast?
Well fed seagulls with eyes bigger than their
stomachs... The fishermen with their net are
in the right hand corner
Some seagulls were so weighed down by their meal that they could no longer fly to catch their food - but rather had to waddle at the water's edge, whilst their eyes try to convince them that they could fit in... "just one more fish"...
One of the catches...
A group of professional fishermen braved the cold wind and water to wade in waist deep with their nets and return to the shoreline with their haul, which they then proceeded to place in the waiting tubs before hauling them off to their vehicle in the parking lot.
Jannie - the lone fisherman
Jannie's catch - the fish that is, not
the polluting plastic bag...

Truly inspiring to see the ocean's bounty so close up.  And to see first hand a remnant of history illustrated with the casting of nets into the sea and the bountiful harvest of ocean life.  No engines, nothing mechanical, just men and their nets.  And the children scrambling to gather up the sardines which managed to escape the nets...  I guess there are some well fed people who shared this bounty last night.

Now that is what I call a truly eco-friendly way of harvesting a meal :)


Update:  According to our local newspaper this evening, this is not a normal sardine run, but is due to a red tide out to sea which is forcing the sardines closer inland.  Whatever - the seals, seagulls and fishermen are enjoying the windfall.  

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Veggie patch progress

Due to the heat we experienced I didn't get to plant all my seedlings - and not even one lemon tree.  It wouldn't have been fair to the plants.  So we schlepped all the trees back with us...


And the balance of the unplanted seedlings have been left, under irrigation, in the far corner of the veggie hut, safely cocooned in the styrofoam boxes that RSon salvaged from his friend's restaurant.


But I did get to prepare, and plant up, the balance of the shadecloth veggie hut.  Well, me and my helper, John :)  Amazing what a bit of male strength can do!


I had started on the central portion on Friday afternoon, and continued with a bit more on Saturday morning, but by 9.30 a.m. it was too hot to continue working - even under the shade cloth.  Then we had our meeting at 10.00a.m. till 1.00p.m.  After the meeting RMan and I just platzed until about 3.00p.m. - it would've been dangerous to work in that 35oC heat!  From 3.00p.m. to 5.30p.m. we got busy on the patio - but that's another story...


Sunday morning we woke to overcast skies and drizzle.  Very welcome drizzle. And my helper arrived better-late-than-never at 8.30a.m. so the two of us got to work.  The entire area was picked and turned, and compost, bonemeal and Talborne Organics for Vegetables was added to the soil.


Drizzle turned into a downpour a couple of times - which resulted in everyone seeking shelter during the worst of it.  And, venturing outside again afterwards resulted in my Crocs getting heavier and heavier with the squishy, clinging muddy clay.  Eventually I ditched those too and just walked barefoot in the veggie patch area (not outside though, because of the devil thorns!)


But, we completed our task, and I got to plant some ginger, spinach, more tomatoes, peppers, parsley, lettuces and beans.  And scattered / sowed even more lettuce and raddish, mealies, popcorn and carrots.
The shadecloth veggie hut - picked, composted, fed
and planted.  And weedguard was laid as a path
to prevent grass / weeds from growing in the wet,
fertile environment that I have created
within the veggie hut.  I had to anchor it down with
the balance of our poles, as the wind still blows
through the shadecloth.
RMan, bless him, even after his own hectically busy day, managed to find the time (just before we departed at 7.00p.m.) to install the porous pipe irrigation.  And, boy, does that porous pipe work...

... this is the before picture - from the 8th November ...
Before - just after it was planted / seeded up
... and this is from the 20th November - 12 days!
12 days later - growth everywhere :)
All my seeds are popping themselves above ground - lettuce, rocket, carrots, marigolds (round the tomatoes) and beetroot - everyone of them :)  And I haven't lost one of the seedlings I planted due to lack of water.


And that is without anyone watering them, weeding them or keeping a watchful eye out for them.


Thank goodness for the shadecloth veggie hut and the pipe.  They are definitely the way to go!


If disgruntled means that you're discontented, angry and dissatisfied, then I reckon I'm very gruntled with my shadecloth veggie patch :)

Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow to my American followers.  May the year ahead of you be a gruntled one.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Hot as...?

Wow - talk about extremes.


When we arrived on the farm on Friday it was a warm, but comfortable 27 - 28oC (82 - 83oF).


RMan got started on fitting the new belt to the mower, whilst I started on de-rocking and forking / raking through a new area in the shade cloth veggie patch.  Englishman knew of, and offered the assistance of a local labourer he uses, which, after all the effort of the first bed, I gratefully, and willingly, accepted.  But he was only due to work on Saturday.


Why didn't we do more while we could...!
Dashboard temperature gauge
displaying (driving) external temperature
Saturday was absolutely unbearable!  We had to go to a ratepayers meeting (which lasted from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.) - and sitting in a smallish room with a corrugated tin roof, together with about 20 - 25 other people, the heat became stifling.
Pool thermometer hanging by
a window in the farm house
Driving home after the meeting, the car's external temperature display gave us a reading of 35oC (95oF).  Opening the door and stepping into the house the (pool) thermometer showed a very comfortable 24oC (75oF) - a clear indication that the double glazing, vaulted ceiling and the new ceiling panels are all doing their job. How can double glazing in new builds / renovations not be required by law in this country?  Yes, it is about 50% more expensive, but the power saving from not having to use heaters / air conditioners, should surely be the driving force behind such a law.  Given the sad state of our power supply, and the predicted sad state of same, I am at a loss.  And as for corrugated tin roofs - when on earth are they going to completely ban those heat traps?
Car dashboard thermometer driving home last night
Then finally, driving home at 10.30 p.m. last night, as we approached Cape Town on the N2, we drove through a heavy rain storm.  There the temperature was even more comfortable.  A measly 13oC  (55oF)


This range is almost like hopping on a plane in the southern hemisphere during a heatwave and arriving in Europe 12 hours later to their autumn / winter temps!


Heat makes me wilt - the cooler weather immediately rejuvenates me.


Thank goodness RMan is making eco-friendly provisions to ease the discomfort on the farm... (sorry, you'll have to wait until later in the week for info on that :)  )

Sawubona (hello in Zulu)

Continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, please won't you join me in welcoming Jeannine from Scottburg, KwaZulu in Natal.


Janine has two blogs - the first is a blog about organic gardening and permaculture.  There is a mine of information on her blog.  And she has also written a book about companion planting and organic gardening - and how do I know?  Well, I entered a competition on Sprig a week or so ago to win one of 4 signed copies she is offering.
Her other blog is showcase for her artwork - and she has some wonderful work which she has on display - my favourite piece is this one :)


Jeannine, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow.  And, if I am on the farm it may take a little longer...LOL

Thursday, 17 November 2011

It works!

You all remember that RMan bought a second hand ride on lawnmower a couple of weeks ago?

Well, after getting a new 12 volt battery, changing the oil, giving it a major clean, changing the belt and sharpening the blades, and then firing it up, he decided to give it a whirl at our town house before schlepping it to the farm.
Cutting, cutting, cutting...
It worked a treat - it even has a reverse gear LOL


So, naturally, we put it in the trailer and took it to the farm with us.


Bless him.  RMan was itching to try it out, but we had to finish the veggie shade cloth structure first - well, a happy wife is a happy husband - or so I'm told.  And a happy wife doesn't nag the happy husband, who is then naturally free to do what he wants - and thus the happy husband ends up even happier LOL


But eventually RMan got to play on his toy...
It worked really well.  Really, really well.
Elytropappus rhinocerotis

Image source:
httpwww.plantzafrica.complantefgelytrorhino.htm
Even the renosterbos closest to the house was no match for it.  Not that that is a long term solution.  This renosterbos actually needs to be ripped out of the soil.  (I'm not talking about the threatened renosterveld plants, rather I'm talking about one particular bush Elytropappus rhinocerotis, which is perfect for a snake to slither under to obtain shade in the heat of the day.)  Slashing the top will probably make that more difficult in future as the roots are just going to get bigger, deeper and more tenacious I fear.  And this member of the renosterveld family is very common and not threatened.  It is widespread (and spreads like crazy) and is a drab, uninteresting plant.  And, due to it's resin content, a definite fire hazard on a farm.

But, bear in mind that MKid is joining us for Christmas - and we want him to be able to play freely without fear that a snake could be lurking in the undergrowth.  So the renoster bush has to go - at least that which is growing closest to the house!

But, RMan discovered that the belt that drives the blades kept slipping off.  So he is going to move the jockey wheel to keep it away from the drive slip-ring. Hopefully this will sort out the problem.

So - the fun had to stop until RMan had time to consider and plan / prepare for some modifications.

Which are now arranged :)

So - this weekend, where they are predicting temperatures in the mid-30's (centigrade), we are once again travelling up to the farm.

For apart from the fact that we still have to get the veld grass down to a safe (grandchild) level, there are still so many auction goodies which we have to clear out of the garden and garage of our town "house-which-is-(still)-for-sale". The balance of the wooden battens / planks.  a couple of basic cupboards. More tyres.

And seedlings. More seedlings.  And even more seedlings.  I think I have about 160 in all.  If not more.  Which means that I have to dig up / pick axe some more of the veggie hut soil, and rake, rake and rake the stones out / away, add plenty of compost / bonemeal and Talborne Organics nutrients, complete the installation of the porous pipe and then get busy planting....  But at last I will be doing it in the relatively shaded veggie hut :)  And I will have my broad brimmed hat on!
Lemon tree saplings
And, talking about seedlings, we also plan to plant another 15 lemon trees too.  That will give me a total of 30 lemon trees planted thus far.

So, a busy time all round.  Hopefully we can fit it all in - but I think that will depend on how hot it actually gets.  Working in the garden at 34 - 35oC (93 - 95oF) is very hard work and not ideal.  Stressing the plants with that kind of (planting) heat is also what we hoped to avoid.  But we will link them up to the irrigation system (with the porous pipe) as soon as possible after planting.  I have a feeling that we will be up just before first light, work until the heat becomes unbearable, have an early lunch and a siesta, and then continue in the cooler late afternoon until sunset.  Which is, naturally, the perfect time to sit on the patio, glass (or bottle of beer in RMan's case) in hand and end off a day with a braai (barbecue).  I have a overwhelming desire for some barbecued baked potatoes with crisp skin, and corn on the cob, both slathered in cholesterol reducing butter and a sprinkling of freshly ground salt and pepper...

We're leaving at, or before, sparrow fart tomorrow (Friday) morning - so I'll see you next week :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pumpkin progress - here and there...

On our last visit to the farm I was fascinated to see my pumpkins which are growing in a pot (situated below a pin prick in the irrigation pipe) were doing so well.

I couldn't wait to compare the photo to my pumpkins growing at home.  Both the ones at home and the ones on the farm were planted at the same time (well within a couple of days of each other).

This is my pumpkin (in a pot) at home...
...and this is my pumpkin in a pot on the farm...
Can you see the pumpkin plants amongst the
weeds outside the pots?
There is no comparison, is there...!  And the pots on the farm contain two plants each, whereas the larger pot at home contains only one plant.

Why the difference?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it's the sunny position, smog free air and me not fussing with them LOL  They are certainly growing far better than my town pumpkins.  

CGuy took some more builders to his plot last weekend to continue with the progress on his house.  He had a look at my new shade cloth veggie patch and says I have a lot of seedlings already surging up to greet the world above ground.  That's amazing.  Five days!  And I'm very chuffed that my porous pipe is working so well!

All in all, I am very encouraged!

If this is the norm then I can see I'm going to be very busy on the farm. Can't wait!

Monday, 14 November 2011

My Hero

Image source: http://www.imdb.comtitle/tt0303078/


"The future of life on Earth depends on our ability to take action.  Many individuals are doing what they can.


But, real success can only come if there's a change in our societies, and in our economies, and in our politics.


I've been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles the natural world has to offer.  Surely we have a responsibility to leave, for future generations, a planet that is healthy and habitable by all species."




Quotation taken from the series: "The State of the Planet" presented by Sir Richard Attenborough

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More recycled tyres

Robert, one of the guys who works for RMan, accompanied him to assist in collecting the goodies from the auction.  RMan purchased a whole bunch of used tyres which we intend to grow potatoes in.  But Robert had another idea.  

He made this:
Robert's chair made from recycled car tyres
Now I think that it is extremely clever.  These chairs are definitely leave outside, all-weather outdoor furniture that are, apparently, extremely comfortable.  I could use one of those, situated under one of a couple of existing trees (albeit (in this country) undesirable alien Australian Black Wattles) on the plot which provide shade, as a spot to just take a moment or two to sit and silently contemplate the view of the Traddouw Pass, and to quietly think of anything and everything in general :)

I love an entrepreneur who is willing to give of his spare time and effort, and thus, if anyone in Cape Town wants to contact Robert to order one for themselves, please e-mail me and I'll give you his contact number :)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Porous pipe

I don't remember where on Google I found, and then read about, this, but with all things recycled, especially such items as car tyres my ears perk up (or should that be my eyes pop out LOL)  I cannot abide the habit of sending tyres to landfill - for any reason!  And, if they can be recycled, I'm thrilled to bits.

So when I spotted this, I had to find out if it was available in South Africa.

And, happily, it is!

It is called porous pipe - a drip irrigation system par excellence.
The drops of water are visible as they start
oozing out of the pipe (note the damage 
to my
garden fork - caused by the rocky soil :)  )
It can be laid above, or below ground with no problem - even clay :) Apparently it consumes / distributes 2 ltrs of water / mtr / hour (3½ pints / 39 inches / hour).  An added advantage is that it only requires ½ to 1½ bar water pressure.  It can even operate from a suspended bucket.


We laid out 16 mtrs (17½ yards), connected it to our existing (solid) black irrigation pipe and turned on the water.  (It could also be connected to a normal hosepipe with a clip-on attachment.)  Half an hour of watering later, the ground within a 30cm (1 foot) radius either side of the pipe was beautifully damp - underground - near the roots of the plants / seedlings.  Exactly where they need it :) Invariably, on a hot or windy day, water which lands on the surface is wasted through evapouration - a criminal waste of this precious, life sustaining resource. This pipe delivers the water below ground - it can be felt from about 3 - 6cms (¾ -  inches) deep.  Naturally, the depth that the pipe is laid determines how deep the water will penetrate.
Half an hour of watering (on the
surface of the ground) produced this
I have used this pipe both ways.  Inside the shadecloth veggie patch I have left it on top of the soil - so that hopefully the seeds (lettuce / rocket / carrot) will get enough water for their germination.  Being inside, and protected somewhat from the wind and sun, hopefully the evapouration wont be that pronounced.

And on the outside I have buried it below the ground - for the Borage plants, and the Aubergine and bean seedlings, as well as the (buried) bean seeds.
Some examples of how you could lay out the porous pipe -
the only limit is your imagination :)
For my readers who are in Europe it also goes under the name of Porous Pipe and Leaky Pipe.  For further information on how this pipe works please go to this or this link.  I can't seem to find an outlet in the US of A.  But, in both Europe and the US it may also be available at your local garden centre.

I managed to get hold of it through our local importer / distributor, Tina (click on her name to contact her via e-mail), who is situated in George.

Given that this is made from recycled tyres, and thus has a l-o-n-g lifespan, as well as being tough enough to withstand being pronged by a fork (or even nibbled by a mongoose), I reckon everyone who is able should ditch their conventional sprinklers and use this for their garden bed watering requirements, for we are all aware of the ever increasing shortage of fresh water world-wide. Every drop that can be saved is a drop which is available for use on another day :)  And the cost of the pipe will definitely be recouped by the saving in water / replacing of the perishable old type (green) garden hose in it's lifetime.

We will definitely be using it for all the new plants which go into the ground on our farm...

(Note:  I am not benefiting in any way for naming / promoting any products I mention on my blog.  I mention these products I find, and give links [where possible], because I have personally tried them out, and found them to be worthy of sharing :) )

Bore da

Continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, cwtch (hugs) to Cheri from a valley in Pendam, West Wales, UK.


Is your accent anything like Alfie's, the cousin from Wales in the TV sitcom "My Family"?  Wonderful lilting accent - so soothing to listen to.


Cheri's has a gorgeous Great Dane, Max - who reminds me of a (still) sorely missed friend of mine, Baron.  She has also posted some wonderful photo's of her area on her blog.  Cheri - a tip - next time you have a glass of chilled wine why not try and find Hartenburg Chardonnay - it's delicious :)
Cheri, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow  LOL

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Getting going, getting growing... part 3

Wow - we only meant to go for Saturday and Sunday, but instead we had another unplanned four day weekend - but we had to get finished LOL

True to form it was blowing a gale as we started to erect the shade cloth roof. But, working from the wind direction made the process easier - the wind just spread the cloth out over the structure - the hardest thing was keep it from blowing away - into the neighbours land...
Fighting the wind to erect the roof...
We managed to get the roof on, and using some of the battens RMan got at the auction, we, firstly, used them to install some top side supports and then, secondly, we used them to give extra strength to the shade cloth on the walls.
Then came the door...  Bear in mind that RMan is not a carpenter, of any sorts. In fact I'd say he's more of a 'reluctant' handyman.  But what he has created is absolutely, ruddy marvellous!
Measuring for the door
I can't believe the thought, planning, effort (as well as an occasional bit of blue language when something didn't go exactly to plan), and physical output that he expended, to achieve this masterpiece :)  But he persevered and this is what he created!
We have left the excess shadecloth at the base of the structure.  Behind it, and under the lowest wooden cross brace I have jammed in rocks of all shapes and sizes.  In front of that is the excess shadecloth which has been wrapped in long (pretty heavy) gumpoles - the "extra" we ordered and didn't use.  This will hopefully prevent snakes from gaining access to the cooler interior - and boy -it's much, much cooler in there!  Eventually, we will dig a trench around the structure and bury the surplus shadecloth - that should make it impervious to snakes / slugs / etc.  It will be wonderful to be able to grow veggies without the need of any kind of pesticide.  Am I being too optimistic?  I hope not.  There is no reason why anything should gain access to the interior.  Certainly no flies, beetles, moths, locusts, grasshoppers or snakes.  Slugs, I'm not sure. We'll have to wait and see...
A perfect door :)  We still need to add a lock to
prevent uninvited visitors from helping themselves
and to stop the door from blowing in or outwards
in high wind.  For now it's secured with a piece
of wire LOL
I even had time yesterday afternoon to plant some seedlings (tomatoes - about 12 different plants), onions and basil inside - and beans, aubergines and borage outside.  I also sowed some carrot, lettuce(three different types) and rocket seeds in the internal well composted bed.
Finally, it was time to install the porous pipe... But that I'll tell you about in my next posting.

All in all, beating the wind, 33oC (92oF) temperature, and my, in comparison, pathetic assistance, we finally completed everything by 5.00pm yesterday. Driving back to town exhausted by physical effort and from the draining heat we were both elated and happy.  Finally - my shadecloth veggie patch is finished.

Thanks RMan - I'm blown away.  And I reckon it's fantastic :)