A cruise through the past week

13 May 2020
I have a collection of photos for you today with not much writing. The garden photos were taken yesterday and the others over the course of the past week.  I hope you enjoy them. I'll have more garden photos for you when I tidy the place up a bit and things start growing. Where you see the straw above, I've just scattered seeds - alyssum, aquilegia (granny's bonnet) and bee and butterfly mix.


Many of you have asked for more Gracie photos, so here are two. This first one was taken on the day she was clipped last week and the one below was taken yesterday as she was warming herself on the back verandah.

Also in the backyard are our chooks. We have nine altogether, a mix of various heirloom breeds. Here we have, from left, a light Sussex, blue Australorpe, silver-laced Wyandotte, and the three inline on the right are a gold-laced Barnavelder, a barred Plymouth Rock and a New Hampshire.  They're looking sheepish because I caught them jumping up to pick leaves off the passionfruit vine.  grrrrrr.

Storm clouds approaching.
Along with many other people we've been doing jigsaw puzzles.

From the front, this shows several mystery vines that came up spontaneously. I'm not sure if it's an old variety of apple cucumber that I grew last year or some weirdling from the mulch. Hopefully, it flowers soon and I can either tend it or pull it out.  Behind that is one of my David Austin standard roses, Mary Rose, and behind the rose is my lipstick salvia. More details about that below.  

Mary Rose on our kitchen table.  

Yes, I know!  I said I wouldn't grow vegetables again but I couldn't help myself. I needed to have some in there. These are rainbow chard, grown from seed, called Bright Lights. They have assorted stem colours of pink, ruby, cream and yellow. They're really versatile because they can be cooked or used in salads.
Can you see my little visitor on the birdbath?  It's a pale-headed rosella, a very timid parrot. They come in sometimes to drink here.

This is my favourite salvia - Salvia involucrata x karwinski Winter Lipstick. I just love it.  It's like an explosion of pink lipsticks. When I bought this plant two years ago, the tag named it as Chiapas Sage, which it doesn't look like at all  This beauty grows to around five metres tall and flowers from April till November when it's cut back again.

This photo shows our lunch as well as food for Gracie and the chooks. On the top left is a bowl of old bread for the chooks to which I added a bit of milk. In the dog bowl is the start of Gracie's lunch. She had a small piece of chicken and her homemade chicken and vegetables. And what have we been eating? A simple quiche - bacon, egg, garlic, onion and green onions in filo pastry. If you don't have time to make pastry for your quiches or apple pies, filo does the job nicely and all you have to do is unroll it and brush it with butter. I used eight sheets for the quiche.

I know it's very 1940s but this is my favourite dessert - vanilla junket with fruit on top. I'm happy to tell you that Woolworths now sell junket tablets (rennet) and making it is very easy. I make it in the afternoon to be set and ready for the following day. This used to be called curds and whey - of Little Miss Muffet fame.

You can always tell when we've done the shopping, our fruit bowl looks like this. The passionfruits are from the backyard and are just delicious this year. So there we have it, a cruise through the past week here at our home. What have you been doing this week?


45 comments

  1. Even when for various reasons I can't manage to tend a range of vegetables I can always seem to manage having some greens growing to cut as we need and they keep on giving with minimal care. So useful to have. Look forward to seeing the flowers when they appear.

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  2. Seeing your pictures always makes me appreciate the beauty in my own life even more. Your chooks always look so healthy, and I especially thought this when I saw their feathers in the last pictures you posted.

    I'm doing the last little bit of winter planting (more onions, cauliflower and some kale, as well as sweet peas, poppies and cornflowers). I have an awful lot of weeding to do too. We are pretty much empty nesters now so I'm plotting and planning how to use our spare rooms so that they are still there for the kids to visit but allow us more food storage space (my home is a very little cottage) and space to set up more permanently for sewing. I feel slightly shocked to have arrived at this chapter in my life!

    Madeleine.x

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    1. We're all shocked when that stage of life happens, Madeleine. You'll soon get used to it and enjoy the extra space (and money).

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  3. Enjoyed my visit. Looks like you had a lovely week.

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  4. Gracie looks great Rhonda, Hanno did a good job of clipping her. Chard is so useful, I can completely understand why you put it in. Our veggie garden and kitchen herb garden is coming along well, though some things are doing better then others.

    xx

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    1. We caved in and went back to the groomer, Em. She was too much for us to handle. Good to hear your gardens are doing well.

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  5. Your garden looks really good and inspired me to plant some veg in a raised bed my husband made. I have not had much luck with vegetables as there is not much sun in my back garden (thanks to a neighbour putting up a huge extension) but the raised bed is now at the sunny side of the house so hopefully the garden bed will thrive.

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    1. Good ! I'm glad you planted in the raised bed. What did you put in?

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  6. so enjoy seeing your photos, I feel like I have visited a favourite Aunt. Gracie is such a gorgeous looking dog....and such big ears!
    As we have a family business, we are still working thru these uncertain times (but less sales, and staff hours have had to be cut back) I recently planted out kale, carrot, broad beans, peas & broccoli and hoping our Melbourne weather has a burst of sunshine to help them grow.
    Lots of home cooking happening, and our daughter who lives with us, at present, will not allow one scrap of food go to waste ~ she has lived on Lord Howe Island, off & on for some years and the community there has a great mentality of use up what you have & make do.

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    1. It sounds like a busy home, Jenny. Good luck with your plants.

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  7. Salvias are among my favourite plants, Rhonda. They grow so well here and are quite hardy. I love the range of colours they come in. Your chickens have beautiful feathers and young Gracie look ever so cute. Verandahs are such great spots for finding warmth to lie in.

    I'm sitting out on our verandah as I type this. Our lovely old Labrador, Sir Steve, is sleeping at my feet. He's had a very rough week. He had surgery to remove a tooth which went really well but he sadly suffered the equivalent of a canine stroke very early on Monday morning. He is back home with us now, after being in at the vet hospital for a little while, and is showing some signs of improving and becoming more steady on his feet. Ever so glad he's still here with us.

    MegXx

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    1. Aww, I'm sorry to read about Sir Steve. What a shock for all of you. I hope he continues to recover and gets back to his old self soon.

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  8. A lovely catch up - Gracie must enjoy the clip - I must say my poodle is in need of attention in that area. Our passionfruit are always purple so was interested to see your yellow skins. Love Leanne NZ ps one must always have a vege garden - I plan to have raised beds when the need comes.

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    1. Hi Leanne. The yellows are called Panama passionfruit and are really delicious.

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  9. how lovely to see your little dog and also the parrot bird drinking in your garden. I think it's nice to grow veg amongst the flowers, some veg has very pretty leaves, like chard. Interested to see what the vine turns into.

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    1. Yes, the chard fits into the flower garden really well.

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  10. Great to see the photos of Gracie and a catch up on a lovely simple week Rhonda. So refreshing and reassuring to know that around the world we are keeping calm and carrying on as the saying goes. We have been gardening most days in the spring sunshine and dog walking in the woods. I made homemade strawberry ice cream and my very first soft cheese from yoghurt, inspired by one of your posts. I added lots of chives from the garden and it's a winner - I'll do it again certainly.Thank you!

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    1. I'm glad you made some cheese and enjoyed it. xx

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  11. Thank you for your posts Rhonda, I love all that you share. Perhaps you could help me with a solution. I love using fillo pastry but don't use the whole box at one time, I could get two pies out of the remainder but that means freeze and thaw a couple of times. Somehow some is always wasted which is not good.

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    1. Hi Madge. When I buy a new box of filo, I break it up into a few smaller batches. Otherwise you could make up sausage rolls or little fruit tarts and freeze them until you need them. xx

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  12. I love walking through your garden and home Rhonda. So relaxing and inspiring. I made 3 jars of your chilli jam on the weekend for the first time and I am so pleased with the outcome. I put a big spoonful in the beef stir-fry we had for dinner tonight and it really lifted the flavour. Thank you!

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    1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the chilli jam. I'm never without a couple of jars of it. It's good on all sorts of things and really adds a great zing to food.

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  13. Rhonda, I saw a sign for David Austin roses in Mitre 10 for $10 before Mother's Day but there weren't any left...no wonder. I haven't been too successful in the rose growing department for some reason but I can get spinach to grow well so that's something considering we seem to have an army of insects just waiting to swoop on any new plants in the garden. Miss Gracie looks very serious and is probably dreaming about her next adventure. LOL!

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    1. That's a real bargain on the roses, Chel.

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  14. Your quiche looks divine! And what a great use of the filo! Thank you for the idea.

    We are growing Bright Lights chard as well. I enjoy it raw in salads.
    Looks like you are staying just busy enough. ;0D

    We remain mostly at home, as it is our natural state of comfort. Looking forward to my pup-sitting job starting today and a lovely carriage house to enjoy for the next few days. Life is good.

    Enjoy your bloomin' flowerbed!

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  15. What a lovely garden you have. I've tried many times to grow aquilegia in my back garden, but without success. My mother always seemed to grow them with ease. I decided to give them one more try, this time in the front garden, and now I have a small, very pretty display. Hooray! Junket was the very first thing I made in Domestic Science at high school in 1967. I wasn't keen and haven't tried it since

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  16. I have the same garden trolley as you but mine is green, it’s a great hit with the grandchildren especially....Sharlene

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  17. Good to see the garden and Gracie again, Rhonda. I bet she enjoyed her grooming; our pet groomers are not open yet, but soon will be they say. I need to make an appointment for my Sheltie, who needs a darn good brushing out. He is usually groomed about every three months due to his double coat, which tends to mat at times. The groomer has a nice table and head loop that I don't have; although I do my best to brush and bathe him between times. He always comes back looking like a show dog and feeling so much fresher. The little parrot is darling; we have quite a few hummingbirds here to watch.

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  18. What a beautiful glimpse into your week! Chard is a great choice for the flower garden. I wouldn't be able to not grow at least some vegetables either...lol

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  19. I love all your country photos, so beautiful, I especially love your chickens. Makes me a city girl, wanting a garden of my own with chickens scraping by. Thank you for sharing.

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  20. Passion fruits...yum! I wonder if I could grow them here in California? How exciting to have a parrot at your birdbath. My birdbath developed a crack in it after twenty years, so I need to replace it. My neighbor when I was growing up used to grow chard and raspberries. She would always send me home with some of each. She planted a seed in my mind. Now I find that growing vegetables is so rewarding. I am harvesting artichokes right now, and soon the apricots and rhubarb will be ready to pick.

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  21. So beautiful!
    Love looking at your photo's Rhonda.
    I have started a new batch of Ginger Beer.
    Made some very yummy corn relish with my leftover corn cobs from my vege garden.
    Next on the list is making rosella jam with all my rosella's I picked yesterday.
    I have been planting out veges/flowers and herbs that I have grown from seed.
    I am still doing learning from home with my 9 year old, my 17 year old went back to school this week.
    My days are very full!
    Trying to get all the usual jobs done here on our farm, and school work!
    But I still try to find time to play in my garden, love this time of year so very much.
    Reading your blog is always such a treat!
    Blessings Jo
    Xxxxx

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    1. Just as you like looking at the photos, Jo, I like hearing about women and men being productive in their homes and making the most of what they have. You inspire me. Thank you.

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    2. Hi Joanna - how did your ginger beer turn out? I was just reading about this in Rhonda's book over the weekend and am a bit timid to give it a try. Guess I'll just have to get my apron on and get to it, eh?
      I'm wishing you all the best with the home learning. My boys are 4 and 7...it definitely makes for busy days! Blessings to you.

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  22. Alot of what I do, I have learnt from you Rhonda.
    I'm not sure how you thank someone for that but I do from the bottom of my heart.
    What a gift you have given us, to bless so many homes!
    All I know is I am so glad your home found it's way into my home.
    You are a very special xxxx

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    1. I am glad I found my way there too. I hope you'll pass it on.

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  23. As always, I have enjoyed your pictures and words and garden. Gracie is so cute and I am a little jealous of your chicken flock. I keep trying to talk Don (my sweet husband) into setting up a coop for me, but he isn't too enthusiastic because of our puppies and kitties and neighbors. I thank you for encouraging me to try again to grow yellow squash. Today I planted them in hills and hoping for the best! When they flower I will use the directions that gDonna gave on her blog to identify male and female flowers and attempt to hand pollinate. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Blessings from Carolyn in Florida

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    1. The male flowers usually come first, Carolyn, so be patient.

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  24. Love seeing your Garden Rhonda,wish i could grow some Veg in my little patch, but i have hardly any Sun on my little patch in Winter,i did however put some Spring Onion Seeds in a pot & happy to see they have started to come up! Love seeing little Gracie, such a cutie! I have a new little Cat now, he's 12months old! Such a sweetie!& keeps me on my toes!i found him starving & roaming around the area i live in,no one has claimed him? The Vet thought he was dumped? So he's now my new Fur- Baby!& he's thriving!thank you for your wonderful Posts & stay safe, x Carol.

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    1. I'm so pleased you're looking after your little cat, Carol. So many of them are dumped. It's a disgrace.

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  25. The Salvia is so beautiful - I'm not familiar with that flower. Makes me smile.
    Good for you, allowing yourself the delight of growing some veg even still. They're looking healthy.
    This week, I've continued tending to my container garden out on the balcony. I'm having great success - starting a gala apple tree from seed (it's growing!), harvesting some regrown lettuce and green onions for my salad, and starting some green/red peppers from the seeds in one I bought. For too long, I've longed to have a piece of land on which to grow veg and other plants. This, I realized while reading a section in your The Simple Home book, has kept me from the joy of living and simply getting on with it while I wait for that time. So, thank you for that.
    I'm also schooling my boys (ages 4 and 7) from home for now. It's a daily learning process for us all, but we're getting along well and I find myself looking for the precious moments and treasuring them all.
    We're enjoying a lot of sunshine as we head into summer here in New Mexico. I rather enjoy the dry heat here - a far cry from the dramatic humidity we had while living in Texas and Virginia. One can actually find relief from the heat under a shady tree. I understand that citrus grows rather well in this dry, mile-high climate, so that's next on the list.
    BTW, your new blog pic made me smile - oh, how I'd love to meet you. Blessings to you, Rhonda.

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    1. "For too long, I've longed to have a piece of land on which to grow veg and other plants. This, I realized while reading a section in your The Simple Home book, has kept me from the joy of living and simply getting on with it while I wait for that time. So, thank you for that." ----> Sarah, spot on! I too yearn for wide open spaces (being a country girl at such a young age) to roam and venture, to grow and harvest from. However, I am still working Monday to Friday and have three children ranging from 9 to 13 so obviously living though the school years. My husband is also still working fulltime. I am learning to be patient and find joy and abundance in what we already have.
      It has been a while since you posted and I am catching up on my favourite blogs this morning. I hope your little container garden is thriving and you are still finding joy in it.
      Kind regards, Vicky

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  26. Hello Rhonda, I used to visit your blog when I lived in England. Now, I am married and living in America (missing England, my homeland, terribly). We are living in California, which is pretty much a concrete city, but with a beautiful coastline. I love visiting your website to see your garden, and projects, and feel inspired by it. It brings a bit of 'British feeling' back into my life (even though you are not British, but similar!). We don't have much of a garden here so growing anything is difficult, but I do have some tomatoes, lettuce, garlic and ginger growing now. I am so glad you decided to continue with your blog, I think you have inspired many many people (probably more than you think!). Thank you!

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    1. I lived in Germany for two years when I was first married and I was so homesick! It's good you're growing a few things. It keeps you outside and gives you a freshness you can never buy.

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