Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weather: A glorious lifestyle

I have to be honest. I wasn't all that keen to move out west from the City when Amy first suggested it back in 2007. I like my cafes and my cinemas and my on hand shopping centers and for a pudgy city boy, 2.5 acres sounded like a lot of hard work. But after three years out here I am sold! Well actually I was sold in the first 6 months as I learned the joy of digging gardens and the joy of erecting a chicken coop and housing chickens who provide your daily eggs. But what makes it even more delicious is the living artwork of nature we get to enjoy every day.

I still work in Brisbane which is an hour away but the drive is mostly highway driving and I get to see some glorious sunrises and sunsets over the hills rolling throughout the Lockyer Valley. The first photo is the glorious sunset I was privileged to witness on the way home on Monday afternoon. It was like God himself taking a final look at our little piece of the planet as he moved on for the day.

This morning was mist. Thick glorious mist that covered the low lying areas (we are on top of a hill) and slowly rolled up the distant mountains with the warming sunrise. I enjoyed the view very much with a good book and a cup of coffee. Ahhhh. I really couldn't be more content I don't think.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paw Paw Trees: Four new arrivals

Friends in Brisbane have given us four new Paw Paw trees to plant, nurture and enjoy. Our original tree is still growing strong and at almost two years has started fruiting though nothing full size as yet.

We will plant these new arrivals in a couple of spots around the property and I will post photos of their new homes once completed.

Paw Paws are another favourite around here, especially for Amy so an abundance of them won't be a problem!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sweet Potatoes: A Month of Monsters

We hadn't altogether planned to begin growing sweet potatoes but when a store bought specimen began to sprout in the potato cupboard we decided to plant him out. Well he grew a nice crop alright including this monster that burst his own skin he was growing so fast. We harvested a dozen all up from our pioneer so very happy all round.

Our South American friends are packed full of goodness and taste great as well. "Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Pink and yellow varieties are high in carotene, the precursor of vitamin A.

In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fibre content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.(NCSPC)

Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light coloured flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance. Some Americans, including television personality Oprah Winfrey, are advocating increased consumption of sweet potatoes both for their health benefits and because of their importance in traditional Southern cuisine.

The peptic substance (0.78 percent total, 0.43 percent soluble) present in fresh tubers contains uronic acid (60 percent) and methoxyl (4 to 5 percent). Other constituents include phytin (1.05 percent), two monoaminophosphatides (probably lecithin and cephalin), organic acids (oxalic acid), phytosterolin, phytosterol, resins, tannins, and colouring matter. (Hug et al., 1983)." - Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Watermelons: 12kg Monster

Our experiments in watermelons have been mixed success. Some end up of good size and absolutely delicious to eat. Nothing beats homegrown for flavour I can tell you! More than half end up attacked by local wildlife and end up as chook food but this monster self volunteered at the sandy garden at the end of the chicken coop. It weighed in at a hefty 12kg once we picked it and is rock solid full of goodness. We are too busy admiring it at the moment to eat it but intend to feast up its gooey red internals on the weekend. Slurp!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Water: A veritable downpour!

Energy: Sunkissed

We've gone Solar! We have installed a 1.2KW system as phase one of our switch to energy efficiency as well as a solar hot water system.

Once we extend the house further later this year we will have even more roof space to install a second group of panels. We are very fortunate [well for a whole variety of reasons :)] but with regard to the solar panels because our roof is north facing and we get loads of sunshine most days so our system is ticking along nicely already.