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Monday, July 1, 2013

Rainy Days, Camembert, Peas

It has been raining off and on for the last week. Just enough to make everything under foot soggy. Too difficult to work in the garden and probably not a good idea anyway especially with any digging tasks which could lead to damaging the soil structure. Too wet to go fencing and earn some money. It pays to have prepared a reasonable supply of firewood in advance otherwise things could get really miserable.

10 mm Overnight

Footprints in the grass

So the first few days it was attending to those jobs that were put aside for a rainy day. Catch up on sewing i.e. repairing any work cloths that need patching, Into the workshop for some ride on mower repairs, Build an insert for the filing cabinet to hold the DVD collection. Sharpen a few tools ready for the next interesting job.

Food is not ignored as we have eaten or given away all our Camemberts. We always seem to make too many rounds and they all mature at once. The solution was to pass spares onto friends to repay favours sometimes in advance of expected favours. Today though we tried another approach i.e. using less milk and making fewer rounds. sometimes moderation is difficult. This batch is 7 litres of milk but has had the cream from the original 21 litres added back. This could be called a triple cream Camembert. Used B Flora starter from Cheeselinks  and added both varieties of penicillin i.e. Candidum and Geotrichum and just followed the recipe.
Camemberts ready for brining

The sauerkrauts made earlier are fermenting and will soon be refrigerated just in time to make some more batches. The cabbages have done well and there are another two almost bursting ready to be picked. Might think about trying some recipe variations for different flavours. There are still three small Wong Bok to be made into Kim Chi tomorrow.
Ready for the plucking
Sauerkraut bubbling gently

And something that has never been done before and that is start the tax return on day one of the new financial year. Always an onerous task continually put aside in favour of other more exciting work here we are within an hour of completion just waiting for the arrival of some bank statements. Hopefully the Tax Office will owe us money and make it all worth the early effort. It is nice not to have this task hanging over our heads for the next few months.

But things are looking up. The prediction is for many fine days ahead which means the July garden tasks can start. Artichokes need to be planted out, Bunching shallots need planting, Turmeric needs harvesting. And of course weeding has fallen behind.
Some things are really taking off with the rain such as the Citrus and the Peas. The Peas are the best we've grown for some years. The last time was when we made a bed with just old horse manure. This time we'd run out of compost and green manure options. Instead lots of Blood and Bone was churned into the soil. Also the watering system was changed i.e. took out the overhead watering nozzles and watered by hand. This is because the plants last year suffered quickly from mould on the leaves. Also only watered the seed once after planting until they had germinated. I think in previous times we may have over watered and rotted the seed.

Climbing Peas over 2 metres tall. A mix of podded Peas and Snow Peas
With all Citrus we have tried to plant early, mid and late ripening varieties to ensure the maximum availability. Most of these were planted in 1995 in shallow holes (hit bedrock) mounded up with soil. Windrows of grape marc were placed between trees which were 5 metres apart (wish it had been more for the tractor to pass through). Every few years several barrow loads of cow manure was put under each tree and covered with weed mat. The weed mat has now been removed. This Imperial in the picture always manages good sized fruit. Far too much for us to consume. The fallen fruit will be mulched and composted.


Imperial Mandarin. This one ripens during July and August. The sister to this although also an Imperial ripens May and June. Possible just a slight location variation makes all the difference. 

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