Working on the basics - gardening, food and knitting

11 July 2017
We're in the middle of our winter work at the moment.  Now that we're older, it's easier to do most of our garden and outdoor maintenance while the weather is cooler. This year that's meant replacing the wisteria and rose arbour in the front yard which was about to collapse.  It's been up for 20 years so we got our money's worth out of it.  Hanno waited until the wisteria shed its leaves and cut it back along with the Cecile Brunner rose that stands on the opposite side. When this arrangement is in full flower, we had a delightful mix of green foliage, curly tendrils, pale mauve flowers and tiny pink roses dotted throughout.  But now that it's all down, the wisteria and rose are just stumps in the ground, I'm wondering if we should erect another wooden arbour, buy a metal one or leave it open.  I think I'll have to look at the space for a few more days before I know which is best.

Along with that work, which has all been done by Hanno, we're renovating the driveway garden. I found a online business near here with tube stock of native Australian and exotic plants.  I put in an order on the weekend and instead of it costing a lot of money for established plants, we can plant up the entire driveway garden for under a hundred dollars.  We'll add a soaker hose to get them established, pour on some mulch and that area should look good and keep improving while the plants grow and fill in the spaces.

Out the back the vegetables are still motoring along in this fairly mild winter. Gardening is a bit of a gamble at times and often, at the beginning of a season, you have to flip a coin to decide whether to take a risk on certain plants.  We usually plant out tomatoes a couple of months later but the coin flip paid off this time. Had there been a harder winter, I wouldn't be waiting for tomatoes to ripen as I am now.  I had the first cherry tomatoes during the week and I can hardly wait for those larger Rouge de Marmande, a French heirloom, to be ready for our sandwiches.

I'm making vegetable and beef soup today and will probably make a few tiny herb dumplings to go with it. I doubt there has been a winter in my life when I didn't have this soup bubbling away on the stove. During the week we also had little cherry cakes, corned beef and cabbage, and sushi that Sunny sent over.  All of it was delicious. What have you been cooking?

I wonder if you take your knitting with you when you go out. :- )  Below is the view from the car park when I looked up. 

I took Hanno to his eye specialist this morning. He can't drive after the consultation because of the eye drops they use.  I didn't go in, just sat in the car and started casting on another dishcloth.  I'll do another post on dishcloths on Thursday so we can discuss the pros and cons of open weave cloths.  I love them and hope to convince you of their worth. So until then, happy knitting and gardening.  🤓