Friday, February 12, 2010

Just because I feel like it


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cruising the blogs

I've been cruising the blogs again and getting a bit depressed looking at all the great produce everyone seems to be getting. Out here the harvest has been pitiful to say the least. Below is the tomato haul for the week, barely enough for a sandwich. But at least we have had a few. My neighbour though, has ripped his plants out in disgust and he's a gardener that could give Peter Cundall a run for his money.

This time of year four years ago we where swimming in tomatoes, we had tomatoes for drying, sauces and bottling. We had tomato's coming out our ears.

OK, that's the whinge out of the way now on to the good stuff. We had truckloads of rain late last week, around 65mm in fact. As well as giving us a heap of catheads it perked the garden up no end and, it looks like we will get a bit more before this week's done. The last couple of days have been pretty steamy, downright tropical in fact. And just like the tropics, today around noon the cumulus started building, so with a bit of luck we will get a bit of a storm that will wet us down again.

In other news from the boonies the washing machine is back in action after a couple of weeks resting up. It started making quite a bit of racket, and initial thoughts where it was bad news, it's long out of warranty and a three hour round trip to the nearest repairer. On closer inspection it turned out to be the pump, no big deal at all really, a job I could tackle myself. Our machine is a Fisher & Paykel, Smart Drive GW612 and the pump is a simple bayonet mount unit. The pump and other parts for most machines on the market are here if anyone is looking for them. I ordered my pump from here and received reasonably good service.

If anyone needs to tackle this job it is fairly straightforward. The procedure is as follows. First disconnect the machine from the wall (very important, both power and water) and pull it out so that it can be tipped back or, lift it on to a couple of saw horses. You need to access the pump from underneath (the only practical way in). Disconnect the two wires from the pump, flip the retaining clip back and twist the unit so that it can drop free. Put the new pump in and connect the wires again, now you're good to go. The bayonet mount pump seems to be a standard unit in the Fisher & Paykel top loaders so this repair is a reasonably easy home job .


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gardening Mates

Things are looking up out here in the boonies. The last week has been a bit cooler than heatwave conditions and as a result the garden has picked up a bit. The corn is flying along and developing pollen heads. The pruned tomato plants are showing good signs of recovery and the beans on the end of the shade house look like they will give us a few more beans before they sign off. The dwarf beans planted outside the shade have had enough and called it a day, but I'll get some more going in the next few days so it won't be to bad.
Last night we got a bit of the rain that has been moving down from Queensland, about 13mm so far and we may get more tonight and tomorrow. I took the opportunity to plant out the seedling tomato's I had ready to go and with a bit of cool and some more rain they should be off to a flying start. I had a bit of help with that job as you can see from the photo below. This guy and his mate are a permanent fixture around here and as soon as he spots me with a garden fork or hoe he's under my feet looking for any grubs or worms that get turned over.
That's one of the neat things about having a garden, you usually get to have a bit of wildlife as well, and we are lucky enough to get quite a bit. Of course living close to the river and a river bend reserve helps. Along with the usual insects we get all sorts of reptiles both large and small, and I have planted to encourage them. The garden is a mixture of native and exotic and I have placed logs and bits of garden furniture to create a habitat for them. 
 Most of the lizard population is made up of small skinks and geckos. Occasionally we get a snake or lace monitor cruising through and from time to time a bearded dragon or shingle back will be seen poking about.
Along with the reptiles we get the birds that like to eat them, Kookaburra, Butcher bird and Magpie. The Kookaburra like to use my weather station and shade house as a diving board for bombing their meal. There is a family of about seven that visit regularly and because we will give them an occasional handout they have become quite tame.
As today is cool enough for inside cooking I have taken the opportunity to throw a leg of mutton in the oven, so, tonight we dine in style.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The grass was always green

Something to think about for the people of a wide brown land.
"Will it ever happen, will the taps stop running? Will we become like the desert in Chile, where it hasn't rained for 300 years? I don't know. I sincerely hope not. Because if we think the shit is going to hit the fan when oil runs out, imagine what will happen if water runs out.
Oil has made life easier but without water we have no life."
Read the full post over at Nevyn's Place at the link below.

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