Weekend Reading, Garden, Hanno's birthday

18 September 2021
Surprisingly, life is rolling along nicely here despite the chaos that Covid is causing in Australia and around the rest of the world. We don't go out much, usually just for groceries or medical appointments, so when our gate is closed, we're in this slow bubble that feels like we're working on a small and isolated homestead. But it's not as quiet as you may think because our family visits, or they phone to ask if we want anything at Costco or Ikea when they go there, and, of course, we see the grandkids too. It's just the right mix of house and yard work, quiet time and being social when we have visitors.




This is the Digiplexis with its first flower spike, the background flowers are wallflowers.


Standard Mary Rose, cut back and just starting to shoot again with snap dragons, salvia and geranium. 


The back garden is 99 percent complete and I'm pleased to say it's flowering beautifully. I cook our main meal at lunchtime and after cleaning up I'm usually out in the garden by about 2pm.  It's such a pleasure to sit out there watching the birds and enjoying the fresh air. We have a flock a homing pigeons a few doors up and late in the afternoon they're let out to swoop and fly around the neighbourhood. It's a sight to see. And just this week the Willy Wagtails arrived from Papua New Guinea so I've been watching their antics as they fly overhead.  If you look up, it could be lorikeets, King parrots, cockatoos, ducks or geese, but there's usually something to see.


I harvested this big ginger yesterday - it's 23 cm / 9 inches long.


Hanno harvested and juiced some of our lemons during the week so I froze some and made a couple of bottles of lemon cordial. I think homemade lemon cordial, with either icy filtered water or mineral water is one of the best summer drinks.

Today, I'm going to reorganise the tea towel and dishcloth drawer. I admit it, I've gone a bit mad with the dishcloths so I have to take out some of the old tea towels to get everything in. While I'm at it, I'll clean and reorganise the three drawers under the stove.  They contain the main plates and bowls we use as well as mixing and serving bowls, with frying pans below. Now that we're older, I try  to keep everything we use on a daily basis within easy reach. If I don't have to struggle with daily chores it gives me more time and energy to do things I enjoy. I hope to get all the drawers done before lunch. We're having another quiche today because when I shopped during the week I bought some fresh asparagus.  When you don't buy out of season vegetables and wait for their prime time, it's always exciting when they come in season and use them when they're at their cheapest and most tasty.


We have a very special day tomorrow.  Hanno's birthday, he's 81 years old.  I've asked him if he wants to go out for lunch and he's "thinking about it". My guess is that we'll have lunch here.  Hanno's had a hard time of it this past year so everything is slower now and there are more cups of tea on the front verandah.


Summer Memories, an off-white potted rose in the backyard.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I send warm wishes to everyone in lockdown and hope life improves soon. Take care of yourself, enjoy every day and take it easy.  💖


Weekend Reading

37 comments

  1. The garden looks beautiful, Rhonda. I love the rose. Happy Birthday to Hanno, I'm sure you will have a delicious lunch together, wherever he decides to go. Like you, I am fortunate to have a lush garden and comfortable home during this pandemic. It has made such a difference. The Hachiya persimmons are ripening in the backyard orchard, so I will be harvesting those next week. Maybe I can grow ginger in California like you do...

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    1. Thanks Stephenie, I love your garden too. I think you could grow ginger but it takes about six months to grow. xx

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  2. Happy Birthday, Hanno! I know that no matter where you are, you will be enjoying a lovely celebratory lunch together. Have a wonderful time. Yes, we can grow ginger in California. Do you use a shallow pot for it, Rhonda? It was advised to me once that it is required for a good crop.

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    1. Thanks Hopflower. Yes, grow it in a shallow pot. I use a vintage enamel baby's bath.

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  3. Happy Birthday, Hanno. Wishing you both a splendid spring time in your beautiful home and garden. Thanks to you, Rhonda, I have learned to close the gate. It is so pleasant to potter about without interruptions or social demands from time to time. I suppose I should also thank Covid for the new protocols that support our nesting behavior. Chill winds and changing leaves on the other side of the world where I live. Your flowers are lovely and to hear of the birds returning near you just as great flocks of geese fly over us, heading south before snow flies.

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    1. Hi Rita. I'm really pleased you're experiencing the benefits of a closed gate. xx

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  4. Happy birthday dear Hanno! We hope you all have a lovely day. Sending lots of love from all of us at the farm.

    It’s a week of birthdays here too. Will turns 14 and he has requested sushi for lunch and a day on the farm bushwalking and maybe having a campfire if the weather permits. Grants birthday is later on in the week and I think you posted this reading list just for him. Sweet and sour pork is one of his favourite meals and he always picks it if we get Chinese. Occasionally I’ll try and take him to a more authentic place and he’s always disappointed. 😂 Rice pudding is his favourite dessert. I might cook him sweet and sour pork and rice pudding for his birthday dinner, he’ll be stoked.

    Xx

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    1. Thanks Em. Happy birthday to Will, I hope he has a great day. There's nothing wrong with sweet and sour pork and a good rice pudding. It would make an excellent birthday feast. Happy birthday, Grant.

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  5. A very Happy Birthday to Hanno. He looks great but I am sorry to hear he is having a harder time of things. If you are staying in for his birthday I know he will love whatever food you make for his special day. The garden is looking lush and green. In my part of the world it has been pouring rain though our summer was very dry and hot and we had so many wildfires. I'm not looking forward to the colder time now that I am older. In the past it was no problem at all but these days the blood is slower to circulate. I try to 'brighten' things up with soft cosy lights, blankets, warm fuzzy socks an a heating pad. Take care and keep safe.

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    1. Thanks Joyful. I wish be had some of your rain, we've had no rain during September. I'm sure you we comfy over winter with your lights, socks, blankets and heating pad. Stay well, dear.

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  6. When you harvest your ginger, do you pull up the whole thing or leave some roots/plants to keep growing? We planted some ginger from a grocery store root that sprouted on the counter,and it's done really well. Not sure how to know when to harvest or if we should leave some when we do, though.

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    1. I did pull out the entire ginger root, Helena, because I need to replenish the soil in the pot - it's an old baby's bath. Usually I leave a couple of pieces that have already shown signs of a green shoot. It's easy to grow isn't it. Good luck with it this year. xx

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  7. Happy Birthday Hanno! Wishing you both a lovely day and health and happiness in your life together.
    We are going into autumn, each season brings its own pleasures. Enjoy your garden. Xx

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  8. Happy birthday to Hanno and very best wishes for the year ahead. I hope you both have a lovely, peaceful day wherever you decide to have lunch!

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  9. Lovely to read your blog having visited Australia twice, reading how you live is delightful.. I think with that amazing ginger I'd make ginger beer; my grandmother used to make it in a big zinc bath and added stinging nettles, I don't know why,, fresh lemon juice is very very nice I agree.

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  10. Happy birthday, Hanno! A cup of tea on the veranda sounds delightful.

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  11. Happy birthday to Hanno. He is still young...

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  12. Happy birthday to Hanno!
    For the first time turmeric is growing in my garden. Ginger didn't take root. My mother grew both in her garden so each time I water the turmeric plants I think of my mom and watering the plants in my childhood home. Wonderful memories!
    Savitha

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  13. Happy Birthday Hanno! Hope he has a wonderful day and spends it as he pleases. Looks like a wonderful garden to spend time in.

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  14. Your garden always looks lovely and under control. I am still waiting for some flowers (that aren't wattle and bulbs) to appear in my garden - they will be another month or two away when the ground warms up. Happy Birthday Hanno! I hope he had a lovely day. My mum always made orange cordial from their trees on the farm, which is just delightful - so much more flavour than what you get in a store bottle, but I have not tried lemon. I love all things lemony so I am sure it is a real treat, especially in summer. I am quite envious of your ginger haul - I love it as much as lemon but alas can not get it to grow in this climate. Hope you have a lovely week ahead Rhonda!

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  15. Happy birthday to dear Hanno, lovely photo and I know you will have a special day! Ginger is very expensive down here and I seem to use it a lot so I freeze it in a zip lock bag and just grate it straight into the cooking. I don't peel it,the skin just sort of folds back and then straight back in the freezer,no waste. I love that the flowers I see in your garden now I will see in flower in ours in a few months. Have a lovely week!

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  16. Happy birthday Hanno. May you enjoy an easier and healthy time very soon.
    Our number 3 son lives with us and is a frontline/essential worker. He was a bit antsy this morning with some potential covid symptoms so we all went and did the deed. I must say, that was fun NOT, although manageable. We are having a bit of a problem here in Ballarat atm. On the upside, your garden looks superb. Take care and celebrate well today.

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  17. Hi Rhonda, I enjoyed hearing about the honing pigeons, I bet they are something flying all over. Your ginger root is impressive, I've never grown ginger. I want to garden more in containers next year. The ground and bindweed is just too much to manage as I age. Please tell Hanno Happy Birthday. He has a wonderful smile that I bet makes YOU smile too.

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  18. A very happy birthday to Hanno!
    Can understand him being reluctant to eat out..with the lovely meals you cook Rhonda. 'Why would you eat anywhere else' to paraphrase part of The Castle movie ☺
    Have a great day whatever you do!

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  19. Hello from the States; HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Hanno, hope both of you are doing good and staying well. It will be Fall/Autumn up here in the Northern hemisphere with cooler temperatures next Wednesday. Enjoy your late Spring and early Summer.

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  20. Birthday greetings to Hanno! May you be blessed with good health and cheer this coming year.

    Sounds like you've found the perfect domestic groove. Enjoy.

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  21. Three cheers for Hanno´s birthday. The birthday lunch will be a happy warm occasion where ever you choose to have it. Your garden is a beautiful haven and I admire all your potplants. I´ve cut down on mine now and collect all those plants in a couple of very large containers - ex laundry boilers.

    Have to confess I am a little envious of the exotic wildlife you see from your garden - lorikeets and cockatoos...Willy wagtails, we have wagtails too who are only with us during the summer but I´m sure it´s not the same bird, no photo unfortunately. What a great idea that fridge hack wss. We live frugally and carefully but still now and again there´s something forgotten at the back of the cooler box. Will look at our fridge with new eyes now.

    Enjoy your quiet days in your lovely garden. Keep well and safe
    Ramona

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    1. Thanks Ramona. This is our Willy wagtail. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_wagtail 😊

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  22. Julie from MooroolbarkSeptember 19, 2021 10:03 pm

    Hello Rhonda, I hope Hanno enjoyed a wonderful celebration for his birthday. Lovely photo of him that you shared with us.
    It is a true Spring season this year with topsy-turvy weather and the garden looking so cheerful with all the spring growth and bursting with flowers. Rhonda I love your garden with so many points of interest. I thought about growing a memory garden bed devoted to my childhood memories of my grandparents garden. Snapdragons were a feature and many assortment of heritage bulbs. The beautiful scents of sweet peas and freesias I remember from this garden. What stood out the most was the rows and rows of vegetables which were separated lovingly with roof tiles as edging and were all hammered into exact lines and pantyhose/stockings as garden ties. Both my grandparents lived until their late 90s and every week a basket of assorted veges would be gifted to us. Jars of homemade assorted jams and pickles with the white wax inserts to keep them fresh were all stored in Nan's larder and were given to us with the promise of the jar being returned to her always. My grandparents were the masters of simple life and those memories have become so important as I advance in my years. This reset of our lives due to corona virus has given me an opportunity to cherish time now and the memories of the past. Enjoy the Spring days Rhonda with all the beautiful sights and fragrances of the garden and its visitors. Julie xx

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    1. So many beautiful memories to help you as you age. xx

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  23. Hi, Rhonda - Love this post for so many reasons. Happy Birthday to Hanno and many good wishes for a wonderful day, week, year! Love the ginger. I see you said it's easy to grow. Think I might try it. As much as I love ginger, the store bought ones just don't seem too great. Suggestions on how an out-of-practice gardener might start (stopped after my husband died; just couldn't do it 'cause the garden was so much a part of him)? Thanks.
    All the best, Caroline

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    1. It does need warm weather to grow well, Caroline. I see you're in upstate NY, but I'd still give it a go. I'm going to write about growning it on my blog later this week so keep an open eye. xx

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  24. Happy Birthday Hanno - I hope you've had a lovely day! Best wishes for good health, a flourishing garden, and much happiness in the coming year! Beth in MN

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  25. Rhonda,

    Your rice puddings link failed for me, but this one worked:

    https://www.bestrecipes.com.au/budget/galleries/best-rice-pudding-recipes/3bfo8msd

    *hugs*
    Kelley

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