Tag Archives: Feijoa

Winter

pomegranate

June

The pomegranates we hoped to sample have burst.
Firmly secured to their bare branches,
they are still too high for us to reach.

Corpulent macadamia pods fatten ‘on the vine’.
Smooth brown nuts in moss green shells,
each day I gather them from the ground.

The last feijoas lie scattered, rotting away on the soggy earth.
More than one hundred have passed my lips this year.
They still taste sweet.

Across the road, black and white cows munch away on green grass;
One or two have lain down in the sun.
Beyond, the Kaipara is soft in shades of blue and grey.

Yesterday at dusk I heard the chirping of a cricket,
then a cold wind chased me indoors.
Surely June is too late for a cricket’s cry.

Jane Percival, 2015

Changing of the Season

 End of Summer

Maize being harvested.
Maize being harvested.

It’s definitely Autumn.  As I sit at my computer I can hear the rumble and whirr of the combined maize harvester driving along the paddock adjacent to our property.  As it moves down the rows, capturing everything in its path and discarding all but the individual maize kernels, great clouds of dust rise around it.

The wind has picked up this afternoon and is blowing in from the north… It was supposed to rain, and perhaps it still will, but right now it’s a mixture of bright sunlight and racing clouds.

The Garden

This beautiful buttercup squash weighed 3.189 kg.
This beautiful squash, ‘Burgess Buttercup’  weighed 3.189 kg.

Clean Up Tasks

It’s the time of year for clean-up and maintenance tasks in the garden. The squash and pumpkins are ready to be cut from their vines and stored in a dry and airy place.

The twisted brown tomato stalks need to be pulled out and burned, along with the remains of our former passion fruit vine.

I made the decision to remove the vine after it had finished cropping, due to it being afflicted with disease.  It has been incredibly productive this year, and I’m sure we have eaten more than 200 individual passion fruit.  So, it was with a heavy heart that I cut it away from the fence yesterday.  All that is left is to dig the roots out of the soil.

Fruit

A scattering of fruit; Feijoa and Guava.
A scattering of fruit; Feijoa and Guava.

Plump feijoa and red and yellow guava are strewn on the grass outside our kitchen window; an array of yellow, green and red baubles.

While the guava are quite definitely edible, now that the feijoa are ready they won’t get a look in with me. Back in Spring when the blackbirds were stripping the petals from the flowers, I could not have imagined that the trees would be so heavily-laden.

A pair of kererū in the yellow guava.
A pair of kereru in the yellow guava.

For several days we’ve had two plump kereru camped out in the fruit trees.  At night they seem to seek refuge in the golden totara, but by day they stay in the yellow guava, gorging on the fruit (they can swallow the guava whole!) or just sitting still in the sun.

Juicy pears.
Juicy pears.

We’ve also had many pears.  The only problem is getting to them before the blackbirds!  But if we go out early in the day we can usually rescue most of them.

Vegetables

peppers
Capsicum, Eggplant and Chillies.

For the first time, we’ve had eggplants that have grown to maturity and we’ve had an amazing crop of capsicum.  I’m hoping that these will keep cropping until May or June.  We also have abundant habanero and one other (unidentified) chilli pepper.  This latter plant came from a packet of chilli ‘Caribbean Blend’ so I’m not really sure what it is. We sampled it (with trepidation), and although it was hot, it didn’t seem as hot as a habanero, nor did it have the beautiful floral flavour that a habanero has.

Chilli peppers strung up in the barn.
Our new seasons’ chilli peppers strung up in the barn.

As you can see from the photo above, I’m going to dry the chillies this year.  We have such a huge chest freezer, that even with the baskets at the top, we tend to lose track of small things.  It will be interesting to see if I’m successful or not.  I thought it would be great to grind them up and use them with a pepper shaker.

This morning I took a bucket to the farm across the road and collected some field mushrooms. Yum!!! These are my favourite funghi.  They have such a rich taste in comparison with button mushrooms purchased from the supermarket.

Field mushrooms, freshly-picked this morning.
Field mushrooms, freshly-picked this morning.

They’ll be great sauteed in butter and stirred through some freshly made pasta.

After the Harvest

What's left after the harvester has done its job.
What’s left after the harvester has done its job.

The harvester has finished in the field.  All that is left behind are the husks and a few dried leaves.  It’ll be tough for the small shrubs we have on the fence-line, especially now that the wind is coming from the north.  For a good six months they’ve been sheltered by the maize!

The maize field is now stark against the sky.
The maize field is now stark against the sky.

Winter!

Nuts in June

The nuts are starting to drop from our macadamia trees.  I’ve collected over 100 in the past week, with more falling when it’s been breezy overnight.  Even our smallest tree is producing a few this year.  We still have a decent amount of nuts from 2012, which we’ll have to get through.  It just takes time to crack them but it’s something that can be done in the evening while watching TV.  Once they are shelled, I’ll be toasting them and then grinding them; mixed with a little sugar and coconut oil, they make a really yummy gluten-free, vegan crust for a dessert pie.

Bristly Ox-Tongue

I’ve finally managed to identify a weed we have on our property.  Helminthotheca ecioides, or Bristly Ox-tongue.  It was apparently naturalised in NZ in 1869.  It’s a horrible weed as it grows up with nasty hairy spikes on its stalk and leaves, and these can really hurt if you try to pull one out with bare hands.  We’ve mostly eradicated these from our property, but they still come up here and there.  This is one ugly weed.

The Prodigal Hen

Strangely, Lottie came back last Friday.  It was a rainy, squally day and I hadn’t been outside much, but when we checked the hen house after dark before closing the gate of their enclosure for the night, Lottie was sitting on the very top perch (having evicted Lulu and Leila) as if she had never been away. The poor Orpingtons had had to vacate the bottom perch and were sleeping together on the floor.  We were away overnight Saturday / Sunday and weren’t sure what we’d find when we came back on Sunday afternoon – I was very curious to see if Lottie was still at home, and if she was, what shape she was in.

When we arrived, Lottie, the two White Orpingtons (Francesca and Pearl), and one of the Black Orpingtons (Fatima) were nowhere to be seen.  Lulu, Leila and Hannah (the youngest Black Orpington) were pecking around the property in their usual fashion.  We called and called, at first to no avail.  Then the four wanderers appeared, casually walking back from across the road.  My heart sank at the thought that Lottie might start luring the other hens away during the day.  That night when we shut them into their enclosure, we wondered what would happen the following day.

As it turned out, as soon as I let them out on the Monday morning, Lottie strutted off at great speed, across the grass, past the garage, down the driveway and across the road.  She hadn’t even had the decency to lay an egg before leaving!  Fortunately the other hens didn’t notice her departure, so not one followed her.  She didn’t return on Monday evening, but to be honest, I wasn’t worried as my thoughts were that she was likely to cause more problems if she did come back permanently.

Then surprisingly, later on this afternoon, who should we see but Lottie making her way back home across the road.  Tonight she has been shut in a separate area of our enclosure, and I won’t be letting her out tomorrow.  We’re going to see if she copes with being kept shut in for a few days… it will be interesting to see if she lays an egg while she’s here.  When we checked her tonight, she was sleeping on the top perch of her house – all alone (of course).  At least she won’t be pecking and bossing the other hens around, and nor will she be leading them astray (tomorrow, at least).

Seasonal Fruit

We are still eating feijoas (although surely they will have all finished ripening, soon) and are starting on tamarillos.  There is a farm up the road that sells bags of the latter for $2.  These are so much nicer than any I have ever purchased from a store, and our own orange variety, ‘Tamarillo Bold Gold’ is also producing fruit for the first time.   The fruit is smaller than the reds, but very juicy and sweet.

The bananas look like they are starting to ripen.  They are certainly getting fatter and the top rows are definitely turning a lighter colour.  As these are the first bananas I’ve ever grown, I have no idea what to expect as far as time to maturity is concerned.

Our two young lime trees are a mass of flowers and small fruit.  Typically, a strong wind started blowing in today from the North West.  I’m hoping that it doesn’t inflict too much damage on the new growth.  The lemon trees also look to be producing buds, but not as energetically as the limes.

Garden Diary

It’s been wet off and on for over a week now.  We do get a degree of sunshine during most days, but then the clouds build up and it’s gloomy again.  I think this June our solar generation will be the lowest ever.  Thank goodness it’s not long until the shortest day.

In the vegetable garden, broad beans have come up, as has curly kale.  The Egyptian Walking Onions are looking good, as are our mixed lettuces, beetroot, rocket and radishes.

I don’t know why I grow radishes – probably because the variety I have sown, ‘Easter Egg’, is so pretty when they are small – white, pink, purple and red – but I tend not to eat them myself as they are too peppery for me.  And this from someone whose favourite chili is the Habanero. 🙂

Speaking of which, I am still picking habaneros, and our basil still hasn’t died off, although it’s getting a little straggly as I have omitted to keep up with removing the flower spikes.  I have had absolutely no luck with parsnip seeds this season – nor with leeks.  I’ve sown a couple of rows of each of these, but none have germinated.  Very annoying.