Swings and roundabouts

It’s been a week of mixed blessings at Chez Fork. Today we received a totally unexpected package from one of TB’s family in Adelaide. It is a wonderful selection of cured meat products, metwursts, bacon and fritz (or devon if you’re from NSW), which came from Linke’s Butchery, in Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley. All these items are made on the premises and we know from past forays they taste very good.

A 'care package' of Linke's cured meat products.
A ‘care package’ of Linke’s cured meat products.

We were really thrilled and got straight into eating the fritz with our lunch. There could be bacon on the menu this Sunday morning I think.

On the not so good side we have just found out that we have a termite infestation in our house. The treatment to get ride of the termites will start next week. Thankfully the treatment is by baits in closed containers so our land will not run the risk of contamination which was a problem when spraying was the standard treatment, not all that long ago.

One unexpected result of this discovery is that we cannot continue with the regeneration of our front garden bed which was started just two weeks ago. It turns out that if we disturb the termites they may retreat to their home nest and that will nullify the baiting process.

Garden work with local magpies
Garden work with local magpies

The termite-chewed woodwork (the posts and planks in the photo above) went before we found out we had a problem with an active termite nest.

Our 20 year old Lomandra half way through pruning before it was moved to another part of the garden.
Our 20 year old Lomandra half way through pruning before it was moved to another part of the garden.

It will take at least a month, possibly two before we will know whether the termite treatment has worked. Until then we’ll just have to stick to working in the back garden well away from the house.

Weekend Work

The weekend was spent clearing away the last of the summer and autumn crops, preparing beds for new crops and making compost for the spring growing season. TB focused on clearing some more of the back garden and I got stuck into the front garden veggie patch. As with all things when you are paying close attention in the garden you can find both good and not so good things.

On the positive side we have now harvested our water chestnuts. TB had bought a very large plastic tub to grow them in. Frankly I’m not sure what you would use the tub for apart from growing water chestnuts. It was a bit hard to get the plants out of there but it wasn’t long before we saw the results of all that growth. Round tubers at the end of yellow stems, all throughout the tub. The weigh-in came to just under 2.5kgs. This is a big improvement over last years harvest and will keep us in stock for quite some time to come.

In the front garden I found that the unharvested edamame plants yielded me just over 60 seeds for planting next year. But there were also some of the not so good things as well. You can see the very sorry state of my collard greens. Only the stems have been left by the caterpillars of the Cabbage White butterfly. After prodigious amounts of squishing TB sprayed the plants with BT (the bacteria that kills said caterpillars) so we will leave them and see whether the plants recover or not.

A far more sobering discovery came when I pulled out two of my garden stakes. What are these little white ants I said? Just as quickly replying termites. Yuk. One garden stake had been chewed in half and one was being munched, as you can see from the photo. While these stakes were not the ones closest to the house they were less than two metres away. I’ll have to wait on an inspection to tell whether they are confining themselves to the garden or whether we need to take further action.

We also built a large compost heap of all the old plants, the content of our two compost bins and three large bags of leaves we scavenged from the deciduous trees in a nearby park. To get the old plants to a usable size TB went over them with the mower. A garden tool with many uses!

The reward for all this activity was the delivery of the two ‘poppy head’ plants supports that I ordered at the Lambrigg Open Garden Day. I can’t show you a photo just yet as they are having their toenails painted (marine blue if you need to know) with rust-proofing paint.