Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Gone fishin'

I spied a brochure at the local council library on threatened plant species for our local area.  I've been noticing a few native grasses and flowers around the place and was hoping to keep an eye out for some of the rarer ones and learn what to remove and what to leave be.  We have plenty of lomandra and dianella around which are flowering and fruiting at the moment.

On the final page of the brochure I spotted a logo for a native fish program.  We'd been planning to stock our dam with local fish for mosquito control, a food source for local birds and perhaps eventually our own plates.  So I called the council about the program: "Oh I haven't heard about that for a while, let me just find out."  The council have been very helpful each time I've called them and they didn't let me down this time either.  We were to arrange a time at the pound to pick up the native fish.  The next day I headed over there to pick up six fingerlings.  I was a little disappointed when the response to my question of what type of fish was "they eat mosquitoes."  Nevertheless they didn't cost us anything and would do their job.  The most common fish to use if silver perch and I have the impression that's what these are.

Acclimatising before release
Most likely silver perch and unphotogenic ones at that
The fish are now swimming free, feasting on mosquito larvae and with any luck avoiding the turtle and swamp hens.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

First harvest from the potager

Over the weekend we had our first harvest from the new vegie patch.  The tiny seedlings planted out a few weeks ago are thriving despite the dry and hot weather.  We've been watering nearly every day to keep everything going in anticipation of some rain.

We had a single day of light rain and a flash storm last week but barely enough rain to put any water in the tanks.  Showers are forecast for the rest of the week but the hope of rain and any sign of a puff off cloud seems to dissipate on a daily basis.

We hadn't had much success with asian greens at our old place - ending up with bitter leaves that were inedible.  I'm not sure what was causing it - lack of water, harvesting to late or some nutrient deficiency or imbalance.  A lovely friend raised some seedlings in a tray for us and these are from her plants.  The leaves were lovely and crunchy with a beautiful green flavour.  We added them in right at the end to our stirfry on Sunday night along with some mustard leaves which also came from the garden.  It's so good to have homegrown vegies again.

A special thank you to Erin for raising the pak choy seedlings for us (and the pumpkin too)

We have rainbow chard, tomatoes, yacon, corn, rocket and pumpkin all on the way too so we're looking forward to some yummy dinners in the next month or so.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Tanks for nothin'

Swimming pools demand bigger water tanks, especially in our long dry springs.  Unless of course you want to be single-handedly responsible for the emptying of Lake Wivenhoe.  Fortunately squandering Brisbane's safe drinking water didn't make it to my parent's bucket list so they installed three large water tanks to top up their pool over the dry spell each year.  This more or less made their little tanks superfluous so when they had their outside paving done they were set aside for someone else's rainy day.

The garage at our new place stands alone from the rest of the house meaning no water or power nearby so I've been making the trek from the house to the shed with buckets of tap water to keep the seedlings from turning into crispy flakes.  Thankfully I won't have to do this much longer - those spare tanks from mum and dad's wound their way here soon after we moved and have been sitting patiently next to the shed waiting for the plumber to install them and for some of that wet stuff to fall from the sky (and no I don't mean lorikeet poo, although it is in greater abundance than raindrops at the moment).

By some stroke of luck and good timing both the plumber and the rain came yesterday and even better they came in that same order.  The pipe was still dripping this morning and there's about an inch or two of water in the bottom judging by the knuckle test - possibly even enough to reach the taps.