strawberry jam and our garden progress....

 Do you ever have something small on your too do list that for what ever reason you just don't get too?  I am the queen of procrastination!  Which is rarely a good thing.....One of the many of mine is Jam.  I even knew it was easy to make, I knew strawberry jam doesn't require pectin as it is naturally occurring and I was sure I could vaguely remember seeing a recipe with strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.

So yesterday I was sorting out my fridge and having a bit of a cook up using the odds and ends.  I made a big pot of soup, vanilla custard for dessert and I had stack of strawberries from the weekend markets to make into jam.  I ended up with two big jars and a little left over - its delish! And no added nasties.   


Here is the link to the recipe.  
simple strawberry jam

One of the things that prompted us to buy this house was its large block.  Its a 1300sq/m block.  The house is small and plain.  But the block was amazing with established Gums and shade in the heat of the day.  We wanted to produce some of our own fruit, vegetables and herbs, have chickens and also have lots of room for the boys to play and the dogs to run.  I wanted to be able to cook and preserve from our own home grown produce.  We are getting there in some areas but in others it has been slow.  With 3 small children and a business to run we do not get as much time out in the garden as we would like. 

It was bare when we bought it, and the soil was neglected.  Well it was not quite bare.  It has about 8 or more tailor loads of rubbish/wire/scrap metal and junk on it. 

I was going through some photos the other day and thought it might be good to share some.....

This is some of the junk that was about the place when we moved in.  There were no sheds, not even a clothes line.  Grant put up the little silver shed first as storage and we built the large shed when we could afford it.  

 




We got a bob cat in to shift about some soil.  We are on a hill here and there was some steep drop offs.  We got him to move the soil to create more gentle slopes and also prep the area where we put the big shed. 






 The boys are always part of the work we do around here.  Grant is amazing at including them. 


 The brand new sand pit the boys built.  three years later they still spend hours, upon hours in there.  Its due a fresh load of sand to top it up. 

William drilling holes in the bottom of a wine barrel to fill with herbs.  That's Gussy in the background, he was so little.  You can see where behind William we fenced off areas to the children and the dogs bit by bit to grow lawn.


The first garden bed we planted out.  We have about 12 espalier fruit trees growing among the trellis that goes from the front to the very back of the yard creating a screen.  We have apples, pears, peaches, lemons, oranges, olives, nectarines.  There are veggie beds behind it fenced off from the dogs and a gravel path for the kids and the dogs to run up and down on.  Dogs like to patrol the boundary, so we designed this into our garden when we planned it.  

Here is an example of one of the espalier fruit trees.....in the heat of summer the dogs tend to claim this area as a cool spot to lie much to my frustration. Despite having other cool, damp areas.  I have even planted carpet roses to deter them.  We will bring in some manure, straw and I will replant some bits throughout sometime in the near future.....

This is the same garden bed a few years on.  It's so pretty when it flowers. 
Grant built the pergola too.  We bought it off Gumtree for a few hundred dollars and the entire thing has cost us about $600 and some time.  Grant pulled it down and then slowly rebuilt it here with a few adaptations to suit our place.  Its in the process of being painted now and it looks as good as new!  

Currently we are working on "green walls". To cool the area around the paving, shed and iron fences.  This is a new trellis for our hybrid berry.


This is the fence next to the sandpit.  We have decided to grow jasmine up a trellis and a lavender hedge in front of it.  It's a hot area in full sun and cops the outflow from the sandpit.  


And here is the trellis complete.  We need to bring in several loads of soil and pea straw to prepare it for planting at the end of March/beginning of April.  Once it's covered in jasmine with a thick, informal lavender hedge it will be very pretty.  The boys love being able to pick bits of lavender to make "wombat stew" in their sandpit. The slate paving was all here, we just pulled it up and re-used it to extend the paved area around the sandpit.  It doesn't all match perfectly, but I think that's the joy of gardening.  It can be a mis-match, and re-claimed materials can add to the quirkiness.  It gives it more of an organic feel I think.  And also saves money.  Its a clear visual separation from the "entertaining area", to the children's play area.  The water can also run off into the ground from the herb beds too and the out flow of sand from the sandpit settles into the gaps happily.   

There is more to show, perhaps in another post.  There are the large veggie beds which are resting during summer, the chook yard,  the wood shed, the giant cubby with stepping logs Grant and the boys built.  It's all been done slowly, over time. There have been failures, and trial and error.  But it's all been a learning curve.  

Hope you have a lovely day!
Xx

6 comments

  1. wow your gardens are quite amazing! love the mismatched pathways too :)) like your idea with the shade trellis' those will look amazing too with the lavender hedges
    look forward to seeing more of your gardens
    thanx for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I might wait till Autumn until I share more pictures, its nearing the end of summer and Im itching to get into giving it all some much needed and over due TLC. We have a trailor load of rubbish to dump on the weekend, hopefully we can then go for a drive and pick up some horse manure and straw and get stuck into it, ready to plant at the beginning of Autumn.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the look of your garden. It is early spring here after a winter that "wasn't". I live in western Colorado, USA. We are considered high dessert here and have had little to no rain/snow this year :(
    Having shade trees makes such a difference. We have 3 large trees in the front that were planted before we came here. They are NOT where they look the best but they shade the whole of the front yard, as we call it, so I am keeping them all. Your green fencing is such a good idea. Every little bit that cools is helpful and refreshing.
    You are making great progress. I look forward to more pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have some fantastic trees out the front. Perfect for climbing! I so wish they were out the back as the fron of our place is on a road that has a bit of traffic, so the children are not allowed to play out there.

      How much rain you you get yearly? I would be interested to hear. The area from where I am originally from is very dry, Adelaide is better though.

      xx

      Delete
  4. Historically we average about 9.5 inches a year but have been under drought conditions for a few years now.
    Our water comes from reservoirs in the surrounding mountains as we can take very little water from the Colorado River that runs through our area. It is owned down river in other states. We are at an elevation of 4500 feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, very similar to the area where I grew up which is also semi-arid, We used to get about 9.8"/year so much and muchness. It was HOT and dry. To irrigate from the Murray river which is our main river we have to have a water license, you are only allowed to water in your allocated time and in drought there have been some pretty tight water restrictions out in place. Water here is expensive to buy. Many people have tanks which is a huge help. Where I live now is a couple of hours away and it rains alot more, it is still not "high rainfalll" but it is lovely. :)

      xx

      Delete

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