I went to a meeting last week to help kick start the discussions off about a community garden in Yass.
It was held in the Yass Shire Council building and there was a good turnout of approx 30 people. This meeting was really to gauge interest in the idea and see if a steering committee could be formed.
The main idea came when a government initative Sustaining our Towns came to town a few months ago. For those that do not know Sustaining our Towns is a NSW Government funded project to help reduce the ecological footprints of individuals, homes, businesses and communities in thirteen Council areas across South Eastern NSW.
They put to us then (they called a meeting a few months ago – open to the public) that there was $10k available for suitable projects. There seemed to be at this meeting a belief that a community garden could be the go.
So next steps. A steering committee has been selected (which I am on) and we will have our first meeting in October. Hopefully we can work out a framework and some suitable land.
Land that is
To qualify for the grant of $10k we do need to be following organic principles on the garden.
Well it looks like we will be seeing out first nuts this year.
We have planted over the past three years.
The below is a photo of a young almond from out front.
Also in further signs of spring, one of our new elderberry bushes is beginning to flower. Over winter we planted 5 elderflower bushes (Sambucus nigra). This is for future production of wine (both still and sparkling), beer and jams. We will see how these first 5 plants go and next winter look at getting a few more.
This also goes into something I have been thinking about and that is living fences. My thoughts being in when the fence out front actually falls apart it won’t be replaced, we will have this hedge instead.
One to remember – Purple broccoli takes all winter to head – I had thought that I planted kale next to the regular broccoli, it turns out that it is in fact purple brocolli, note to self Green brocolli is followed by purple brocolli.
I had also been taking the leaves off and giving them to the chickens.
This actually works out well as my green brocolli has now flowered, and we have 3 massive puple brocolli giving us a tonne of stuff.
One of the winter chores is to ‘control’ your blackberry, ours is a variety called silvenberry. Over summer we got some fruit from it and other than picking the fruit, generally we ignored the plant. The fruit itself is great fresh and like most berries can be frozen. But also like any bramble you need to control it as it spreads quickly. So for those interested in growing it, some information.
Blackberries are the great excape artists of plants, they want to spread, we keep ours in a raised bed and have three blackberry plants.
If you are going to plant some I would recommend a raised bed as they do like good drainage, when it comes to soil type they are not too fussy.
The way it spreads are three fold.
This year we did prune them fairly heavily so I am not sure we will be getting to much fruit from them this summer as generally the fruit appears on 2nd year wood, but as I generally ignored them the summer past this needed to be done.
One last point is that the runners will become kindling for the fireplace.
Now my raspberries are a different matter, they spread via suckers and as all my raspberries are what is referred to autumn raspberries, they are much easier to take care of, in winter you just trim them all down to the ground. They fruit on new wood. If you have summer raspberries they friut of second year wood, so you only take out the parts which friuted the year before.
And the best part was we were getting raspberries till May.
Alyssa finally figured out how to ride her bike. I know she is a bit late, but we were concerened she would never work it out. It just seemed all too much for her, pedalling, balancing, braking and looking where you are going. And then something clicked woo hoo.
As most would know I don’t drive and ride everywhere. Lynsey learnt when she was about 4 or 5.
Well CONGRATS ALYSSA. There is no stopping you now.
For those that do not know (and that is probably most) Yass has a local radio station. Now if you ask a local they would probably be surprised as well. In town it is 100.3 on the FM band.
Anyway the music lets say is generally of an older style and a lot of country – not my taste , but really when you think about it, who has the time to volunteer for community radio? Retired and semi retired.
This mumbling fool has always wanted his own show. So I gave the station a call, have done a few fill in stints and today they rang me up and said I can have Tuesday night 6-9pm.
The training was interesting, Jan was the person that trained me and she has a Monday 9-12 noon shift, so she gave me 11am – 12 noon each Monday. Well her segment is called Memory Lane (40′s, 50′s and 60′s). Not wanting to alienate myself completly I sifted thru hundreds of CDs to find a suitable mix (and NO SWEARNG). This I have done for 4 weeks. I also got a 3 hour fill in spot, 9am – 12 noon on a Friday. This time easy listening.
After approx 6 hours with someone there and being read the legal requirements I am now ready to fly solo. As my show is 6pm – 9pm Tuesday nights no swearing in music before 8.00pm – So the mix, well it will definately have a punk edge to it, but a lot of Australian music. I also like a lot of indi pop. I guess my perfect mix will be somewhere between JJJ and FBI. Something that shows the past but also with a touch of what is now. So the the big question is what to call the show? I need ideas people.
Now I will add a Radio page to the blog, this is where I will list each shows play list. Also if I can find out if I am legally allowed to, post the MP3′s of the show.
In fact over the 14th and 15th The official Yass fall was 117mm, the most in 21 years.
So of course my first thought was lets check out the river, which was a little swollen, so then we thought lets go to the dam. Well in Yass it is really just a big weir. So the 1st photo is on the 15th, the second day of rain. Note the overflow on the far right is not being used. But is still looks good.
Now by the 15th the rains eased but all the water was still flowing into the dam from the Yass River.
Now note the far right overflow. Also there was a tonne of branches being wased down.
Now further down the river has busted its banks
And now down at the Riverside park. (Near the old railway bridge). Right here there is an actual path that allows one to cross the river (normally).
Now here is the other end of the park. There is an actual road crossing here and to the right of the posts a footpath. The riverbank here has come up at least 15 metres. Also in the background you can see the street sign.
Now finally behind our place you can access Yass River prior to the dam wall. Now there is a bridge under that water and it is usually 2 metres above the bridge to the water. As you can see no bridge and the water level would be at least 1 metre above.
And a final one of Yass River once again before the dam wall and were there is a boat ramp.
Water flowing into the tanks.
One of the advantages of living in the country is that we have an orchard farm in Yass, probably the last in the area. Basically they produce Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and Apples. All seasonal, once the sign is has been taken down, the fruit season has ended (usually the last apples are approx June each year). What this means for us is that we try to get most fruit seasonally and not get those cold storage apples from Woolworths (to be honest we do get some in the off seson).
So two weeks ago the sign outside the farm let us know that they were open for business again. So what did we get. Well a flat box of approx 30 peaches for the high price of $10. But then the real bargain, Lee-Ann mentioned that we want to make jam. For that we got a box of nectarine 2nd’s for the high price of $4. Not sure how many but when we peeled and removed the seeds we had 3kg.
So the weekend was jam making. The result 9 jars and in the fridge two more containers of jam (so 11 all up). The idea being that we don’t buy jam for the year now (well once we get the plums that is – and we already have a few jars of peach jam made).
The other bargain was limes at $4.99 a kg so we bought some. Now what to do with limes. Basically there was only one option I could think of, lime cordial.
Take 10 limes (juice and zest), 1 tblsp citric acid, 1.4kg sugar and 4 cups boiling water.
Add zest, citric acid, sugar into a bowl. Pour over boiling water and stir until sugar is disolved, add lime juice. Bottle and place in fridge. Easy. This will make approx 2 litres of cordial. Now while it makes a fantasic cordial it is great for making a gimlet (which of course we did straight away).
Using Gin or Vodka
Place ice, gin/vodka, cordial in cocktail shaker. Give it a shake. Pour into cold cocktail glasses (any glass will do) add wedge of lime and a dash of soda water (add soda water only if you like) and presto.
mmmm so nice – and we are getting another bottle of vodka for tonite