Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Cosy Nest

The weather was inhospitable this weekend at Shoestring Cottage.  Mr Shoestring was very pleased with himself because he managed to blow up the waste disposal unit and then temporarily repair it with an  old electric drill motor.  He thrives on these diversions during the weekend!  I was startled when he described an electrical flash coming from the motor and was not bold enough to use the "new improved" machine, but Mr Shoestring had a very happy time tinkering with it.  He then declared a craving for a curry and made a delicious one - a beef rendang.  I will post the recipe so you can try it for yourself if you like curries.  He topped it with finely sliced crispy fried onions and almonds, which made it all the more special.  We picked our broccoli too, so I will post some of our favourite broccoli recipes also.  Apart from the pansies and snowflakes battling on bravely, there were a few cyclamen in flower.  Even without their flowers their leaves (variegated of course!) make them worth growing but their scent is delicious too.

In between showers it was possible to get a bit of weeding done; the national collection of oxalis varieties continues to multiply, undeterred by my persistent efforts to reduce its numbers.  Also, after my bold predictions about Jerusalem artichokes and how productive they are it was very disappointing to find that the tubers are being eaten by some mystery pest.  Could it be slugs or snails?  That doesn't seem very likely as they are quite some distance underground.  And the holes nibbled are symmetrical deep and round, not what you would imaging from a snail or slug.  I shouldn't be digging up the tubers, and it was unintentional; they were just turned up while I was weeding.  It is uncanny how often the most precious of bulbs and corms are disturbed in this way with a vicious trowel during gardening sessions.  Who knows how many of the lilies I planted last weekend will make it to maturity if the weeding continues?  So far I have managed to stab a lot of jonquils, daffodils and lachenalia bulbs - how much easier they seem to be to locate than the dreaded oxalis and other bulbous weeds!  The trowel seems to make its way unerringly towards them.  

There is no television at Shoestring, which I find restful.  Saturday night was a good time to go to bed and listen to the radio broadcast of the Silver Ferns play England in Singapore in the world netball champs.  Mr Shoestring was given this beautiful old radio as a Christmas present and it adds to the excitement when there are strange clicks from time to time and brief pauses in transmission.

Listening rather than seeing the game is very exciting, the match one sees in one's head probably bears very little resemblance to what happens on court, especially when the commentators confidently assert a goal has been scored and then admit they were too hasty and there was no goal after all.  But it was delightful to hear the audience start to sing Pokarekare Ana in the background all the same.  And we won!

I finished of my library book and it was a very encouraging read.  Though I complain so bitterly about my war with birds (who by the by are still continuing to eat the grass seed, despite the fact that Mr Shoestring generously bought them some special bird seed, which they studiously ignore in favour of the precious lawn seed), the author of my library book has a much more difficult time.  She gardens in the Adelaide Hills and has to do battle with possums, peacocks, foxes and all manner of native parrots which snap off her rose buds and decimate the vegetables.  Apparently the blackbirds are particularly fond of tomatoes, not a problem we have ever had.  So it was comforting to lie and listen to the storm raging all around and read of somebody else's ghastly gardening difficulties.  If you see this book in your library make sure to take it out, you will be encouraged to continue with your own efforts and count your blessings.  It is A Garden In The Hills by Christine McCabe.  

During the night there was a powerful storm, intense flashes of lightning and impressive claps of thunder.  It was sorely tempting to wake up Mr Shoestring so he could enjoy it also and rather disappointing when he seemed unimpressed the next morning when I described it to him.  (I think he thought I was exaggerating!)

Lots of progress was made in the stitching department though.  This crossword fabric stitched up into a new dress.  At work we are trying to master the daily cryptic crossword.  We are making very slow progress and some days give up almost immediately, but when I saw this fabric I could not resist.  In fact it is tempting to fill in some of the spaces with embroidered words for fun.

And there was this "quilt as you go" quilt for which I had been stitching squares for a long time.  When it was time to start putting them together I hit upon the idea of making it reversible.  Originally it was to be green and yellow but it occurred to me that the back of the quilt could be green and terracotta coloured, that way there would be a spring time version and an autumn version.  I astound myself with my own brilliance sometimes!   Now that it is being stitched together I think I actually prefer the terracotta/green combination.