Sunday, 20 March 2011

Harvest dinner

This is the post I meant to share nearly a month ago, before the damn earthquake interrupted everything. Anyway, here are the results of a late summer harvest... Desiree potatoes, zucchini, red onion, carrots, basil, chilli and assorted tomatoes.

I chopped them and put them in a dish, then made up a white sauce and poured it over the top.

A bit of grated cheese, bake it in the oven and then... yum! I served it with some crumbed chicken and a tomato salad.

Remember those blueberries I picked one day? I did make friands and they were delicious too. The rest of the blueberries went into the freezer, although sadly I had to take them out when we lost power. I ended up taking them to my mum's so they weren't completely wasted, I'm a little disappointed that I won't get to use them myself but glad that they weren't just thrown out like some of our food had to be. Anyway, I know my mum will enjoy them and maybe there will be some yummy blueberry treats waiting for me next time I visit! Till then I'll be savouring the memory of that friand.

Friday, 18 March 2011

In Memoriam

Today was the service in remembrance of the Christchurch earthquake. We went along, on bikes, and sat in Hagley Park with thousands of others. Thinking thoughts of sadness, loss, but also hope and unity. It felt right to be there. My city, I grieve for you but I also believe that we can rise up and, eventually, build you better and stronger than before. We just have to be strong till then.

I'm also thinking of Japan and the terrible events unfolding there. All around it has not been a good start to the year. So I do what I always do in such times and retreat to the garden, look at the flowers, and hope for a better day tomorrow. Kia kaha.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sandy soil

It's hard to believe that over a week has passed since the grey and dreadful day that changed the face of our city. Slowly, we pick up the pieces and try to move on. We are cheered by messages of support from all around the globe, comfort from neighbours, help from strangers. Kia kaha, they say. Be strong.

At home we have power, and a trickle of water that increased a bit in pressure today - enough to finally make it to the hot water heater. The irony was, when I turned on the shower and jumped in, there was not enough cold water pressure to temper the hot! So my shower was rather short and very hot. I'm sure it will improve over the coming days though, as people are working around the clock to rebuild the infrastructure.  I am so grateful to them.

Above is the lake of silt and mud that poured into our backyard about 2 hours after the initial quake. It poured out from the corner of the house, flooded the garage, and raced down the drive.

A yummy mixture of sand and liquid clay.

Which left an extremely sticky yet slippery layer to navigate. (The wheelbarrow lies, useless, with its punctured tyre.)

The sand was almost 20 cm deep in places.

This is a video Jon shot of the liquefaction as it happened - gives you an idea of the powerful forces under the earth.

Here you can see it starting to drain away, leaving a thin layer of mud and a huge pile of sand... time to get those shovels out.

I was gutted when I saw the flooding in the potager. However, most of the water quickly drained away and there was not so much silt here, just a thin layer that will be easy to scrub off.

Here it is a week after the event. I really need to get out there and start weeding, some day when I have time! Luckily a lot of the plants are finishing off and don't need water. They do need harvesting though - tomatoes are actually rotting on the vines which is annoying! I also noticed the borlotti bean pods are dry and ready to split, and the spuds have needed digging up for a while now.

But lookie - I've finally got flowers in the vege garden! The cosmos is providing a beautiful backdrop to the elegant leeks, and the calendula Sunset Tones are opening their little faces. The yellow one is Common Calendula (horrors!), but the others have their bright tones muted by burgundy edging on the petals.

Pretty. And in other good gardening news, I won a competition on Flaming Petal for a new echinacea plant. It's called Pink Poodle and is covered with frilly pink petals, a bit like a dahlia. Looking forward to growing this new treasure!

 So here we are with the sun setting over the potager, and the bright faces of the pansies reminding me that tomorrow is another day. Thanks for stopping by to visit me, and I hope that wherever you are in the world, someone is taking care of you. Kia kaha.


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