Collecting Seeds & Observations

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Last week I harvested some seeds from our sage and cilantro plants.  I just adore the flavour of cilantro.  I know it’s love or hate for most.  How do you feel about the herb/spice?

The petite seeds are now drying in our kitchen window.  As I harvested the seeds, I made a small observation and then tucked it away in my mind.  Several of the sage flower stalks had spiderwebs throughout.  On those particular parts of the plant, there were very little seeds.  In a way, it’s a small price to pay for the grounds keeping skills of the spiders.  There were still plenty of seeds to collect from the rest of the plant.

Our agapanthus are just about to bloom, and are crawling with little spider friends.

The hive is well and happy.  Mike took a peek inside and saw they were beginning to shape comb.  Yey!

The garden is cranking out food – so much so that we’ve not bought any type of leafy green in nearly 2 months.

Our little patch of baby monarch butterfly caterpillars are all gone.  Sadly, they were munched on by some very clever birds!  The only reason we know that’s what happened is a bird left the decapitated head of a caterpillar for the sake of giving us a rather brutal clue.

Some really good food has been masterfully (totally bragging here) created in our kitchen over the past few months.  I’ve taken to making buttery and garlic naan bread, palak paneer (with tofu) and Jamaican patties (with stuffings of spiced beans or even left over palak).

Here are some of the vegetarian recipes we have been leaning on:

This super easy naan recipe is completely vegan and crazy delicious.  We often don’t have any left by day 2!

These Jamaican patties took me back to my teen years microwaving pre-made patties from the supermarket.  We didn’t use mince, but chickpeas and beans instead.

This last recipe is for palak paneer.  My all time favourite Indian food.  I thought this might be quite difficult to make at home but it’s very simple and cheap too.  I’ve made it with the paneer but found it’s just as good with tofu.

When bees swarm

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The other night Mike rushed out and caught a hive that was swarming.  He had a bee hive box ready and promptly brought the lot to our house.  He found a nice place for them and hoped that the queen was inside.  When we checked in the morning it looked like all was well.

Yesterday afternoon however, as I went out to hang some laundry to dry, there was a mass of bees frantically flying around the house.  They were moving so erratically that I stayed inside until they settled on the trunk of a tree in our driveway.

I’ve not been stung by a bee in a few years now (despite having spent plenty of time around native bees in Western Australia by the thousands) I learned early on – it is true if you stay calm you’ll be of no notice to them.  These images and video were taken only one foot away from the swarm.  Mike and his brother called the “bee doctor” (a relative) after work and got some advice before they collected the bees, conditioned the hive again and transplanted them back

Collecting them is quite simple.  In this case (we had a bee suit) the guys placed the hive back under the low hanging branch and gently pulled the swarm from the very top of it’s perch downward.  This causes the bees to fall en mass.  Which is actually a really cool thing to see happen.

So far this morning… all is well.  Hopefully soon they will start to tend their eggs and begin to gather pollen and nectar.

Mr. Giggles

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Mr Giggles.

This little giggly one is now near 6 months old.  He finds plenty of amusement in the silliest of things.  He’s curious and is constantly trying to work things out… like his jolly jumper.  I’ve caught him a few times looking up at the main spring and trying to wrap his mind around how he gets the bounce in it and nothing else.

He has a really enthusiastic deep hearty laugh, that I don’t think we will ever tire of hearing it… Some nights before bed I play videos and Mike and I relive the little victories we’ve had getting to this point.  He’s gotten so big.  He’s now over 20 pounds!

Garden Update:

We’ve been harvesting (and eating) loads of kale, spinach, rocket, watercress and multi-coloured frilly lettuce.  The little caterpillars are growing on our swan plants and just about everything we’ve planted has taken root and is growing really well (apart from our eggplant – can’t figure out what’s up with them!).

The sheep have grown just as quickly as Wesley…they are so plump now!

A Rainy Sunday

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Last night the rain came crashing down.  It sounded like bowling balls falling down, hitting heavy enough to cave in the roof.  In the early morning we woke to a bit of a pond drowning our lawn.  We’re loving the little boost to our rainwater tank and hopefully we’ll be sweet for most of summer.

Naturally it’s a bit wet and cloudy outside today – so we’re keeping ourselves entertained indoors. Wesley has been loving story time, and is just learning the enjoy the peek-a-boo game.  He now has two teeth.

We’d intended to begin building some garden boxes from scavenged/reclaimed wood this weekend but may need to get that project started in a few days time.  The past few weeks Mike and I have been planting and growing a variety of veggie seedlings, and will be ready to put those into deeper soil soon.

At this rate it’s looking to be a bit of a movie day.

Is there anything you’ve seen recently you would watch again?  

We have Netflix as well…

We’d love to be exposed to some new films or tv programs.  What’s on your radar?

I thought I’d share some music we’ve been listening to lately…  The first three tracks are by kiwi artists.

Thomston – Collarbones

Kings – Don’t Worry Bout’ It (another Kiwi artist)

BROODS – Free (STONE RED REMIX)

The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down ft. Daya (Hipst3r Edit)

Wentworth – You Don’t Know Me

 

Slow Cooked Vegetarian Chilli

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This slow cooked vegetarian chilli will put a little fire in your belly.  It was inspired by a food blogging friend Elaine who writes Foodbod.  She posts really creative vegetarian food often with middle eastern influence of fragrant spices and sauces.

Right, so yesterday I was inspired to make some slow cooked chilli.  This all went into a slow cooker and was left to simmer for basically the entire day.  I scavenged for it in the pantry but you could throw in whatever you wanted for your chilli too.

  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3x capsicum (red orange and yellow)
  • 2x Spring onions
  • 2 table spoons of paprika
  • 2 table spoons of chilli powder
  • However much salt you prefer
  • 5 large pieces of garlic crushed

This all simmered on low heat from 10am to about 4pm.  Then in the last hour I added two heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder, which took off the acidic edge and gave it a really dark rich look and taste.  I’d never thrown in cocoa before, and saw that Elaine had done so… honestly am never not putting it in again!  It was delicious.

The topping is a mixture of: Colby cheese, cilantro, parsley, raw red onion, lime zest and juice with avocado and finally a few green jalapeños.  I also toasted a few pieces of tortillas in olive oil and butter for yummy dipping vessels.

For the 400 hours that this meal cooked, Wes and I ran amok.  He and I headed to the Manawatu river for our daily walk.  It’s about 6.5km – I puff away and eventually end up misty and sweaty and he sings like a wee little bird or passes out for the 1.25 hours it takes me to get the walk in.

He cut his first tooth yesterday, and I couldn’t help myself and have since been calling it a “Toof”.  I’m sure my ridiculous vocabulary is going to mess him up some as he gets into school.  I count before I pick him up “One, two, free” and can often hear Mike cutely doing the same.

Wes is such a beautiful, happy, content little boy.  He gets the giggles when I change his outfits, because he has ticklish armpits and he laughs at me when he has done a little poop and it surprises me.  He enjoys my interpretive dancing (the more awkward the more giggles I get) and sometimes talks himself to sleep.  We’ve seen him grow and change each day, and I am smiling whilst writing this because he really brightens my day.

The red marks all over my neck and chest in the image above, are from his little fingernails which I promptly trimmed last night as he fell asleep.

In other non baby news…

My younger sister Andrea is marrying her soulmate Kris in Cuba this week, and the family are all in attendance to celebrate for a week of fun in the sun.  We really wished we could have been there, and have been sending loads of love and support to them for their special day.  They will definitely have some really cool new memories together to cherish.  I know Wesley would have loved to watch everyone dancing…