Back home its time to start getting out into the garden and thinking about spring.
TB has been sprouting onion seeds in the polyhouse so they had to be planted out in their bed. It was cold and soggy work so I’m glad he was doing it! It was also extremly fiddly work getting all those small shoots separated. To stop the cat digging them all up again TB had to resort to major barrier construction.
I’ve been tackling a job that I neglected last year – pruning the roses. Plenty of scratches and catches but at last they are back to a strong framework. Clearing around the base of the plants and seeing how large their bases are reminds me that these plants, with one exception are all well over 20 years old. What gives me greatest pleasure is that several of them were grown from cuttings from the Parliamentary rose gardens and no I didn’t nick them. I asked the gardeners for some pieces when they were pruning and then struck the cuttings myself. My Princess Elizabeth and pink Paris roses both resulted from this process.
The good thing about clearing up the rose bed is that I can throw all the grass to the chooks who have a lovely time eating it and also scratching through any attached dirt for insects.
I was interested to see on the Taste Le Tour segment last month the discussion of how much grazing, 10 square metres of grazing, was allowed for each of the iconic Bresse chickens to ensure the quality required for sale.The only problem with this bucolic scene is that after a few weeks these Bresse chickens are switched to a corn and dairy diet and then stuck in a dark cage to finish them off before slaughter – not so good after all!
Speaking of the Tour recipes I made this one Cherry and Hazelnut Torte when I spotted some cherries of markdown at the supermarket (I’m assuming not Australian, but who can go past a large amount of very tasty cherries marked down for immediate sale at $2). Thankfully I can report that the hazelnuts come from a local farm and were purchased at the Environment fair held earlier this year at the Environment Centre, near the National Museum of Australia.
Very moist and tasty.