Back in February, I wrote about our summer experiment with “tea” made into ice blocks/icy poles/popsicles. Summer is again approaching, and with the unseasonably hot spring, the boys wanted to make more. So they did.
During the past few months, we’ve also been experimenting with green smoothies. Even Boy Two (the avoider of all Green Things at all costs) decided that green smoothies were pretty cool. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago they were on a roll. They had made their tea ice blocks, and Boy One suggested we make some green smoothie ones. Upon a quick web search I discovered that we were not the first to try this (shocker, I know; we’re so original! haha) but it was still his own original idea at the time.
Best thing, they were a hit - and very easy to make, since we simply made a batch of smoothie, poured some of it into moulds and drank the rest. I don’t know if it really made too much difference, but if we want the smoothie to be fairly runny, I make it thicker at first, pour into the moulds, then add water to the remainder and give it another quick blend.
I’m looking forward to experimenting with more flavours to keep it interesting through the summer.
I really wanted to call this post “Killing things can be therapeutic” but then I realised what day it is, and decided not to. On second thought, even the title I gave it is a bit questionable, but still…
Anyway, I was talking about what I did in the garden today.
We planted some pumpkin vines a few months ago, and they’ve done a lot of leaf growing, and quite a bit of flower growing. However, the little fruits that emerged never really passed the button squash size before they would rot and fall off - or fall off and rot. I had pretty much given up on the pumpkin prospects, and decided that today was finally the day to clear the area for something else.
So I grabbed DH’s heavy duty rigging gloves to protect myself from those irritating little hairs, and started pulling out vines. I noticed a few fruit that had passed the teeny-tiny size and were still looking good, so I decided to give them another chance and carefully work around them. In my enthusiasm, I still managed to uproot those parts of the vines, but they had their own roots, so I’ve re-buried the roots, trimmed excess leaves to allow the fruit the best chance, and we’ll see how they go.
Halfway through I realised I hadn’t taken a “before” photo, which would have been cool, because the “after” shot would have been spectacular. But even in the absence of photographic evidence, the activity itself felt good. Cleansing, even. Now, if only I could find the same enthusiasm to de-clutter inside the house.
Another interesting thing that happened was that, while I was reefing out vines and flinging them across the garden into the pile, I suddenly realised that my shoulders weren’t hurting so much. Earlier in the week, I woke up with a stabbing pain between my shoulder blades, which was excruciating if I so much as turned my head, let alone threw things (well, technically, I didn’t throw things, but that’s beside the point). It improved a little bit at a time over the last couple of days, and it’s not “cured”, but I realised that today I wasn’t actually consciously thinking about it the whole time.
Later, DH joined me and helped plant a whole bunch of seedlings and seeds in the freshly cleared space. Unfortunately, the main pumpkin roots were infested with nematodes, so we have planted mostly marigolds and nematode-tolerant plants. We really should do some more soil improvement, but we wanted to hurry up and plant things, so we’ll work with it as we go along.
It’s been raining. A lot. Today I took the opportunity, during a break in the clouds (which wasn’t as long as I needed, so I still got wet), to take the houseplants outside and repot them before they decided to die completely. I honestly didn’t realise that cockroaches would lay eggs around the roots of peace lilies. Now I do.
While concentrating on moving pots, I didn’t even look at the backyard. Then I decided to walk over to see if the rain had produced any more little green leaves in the garden. Suddenly I realised that the path was a little, well… cluttered. The grevillea trea near the swings has finally fallen over. It hasn’t been the healthiest tree, although it has still had leaves and flowers. I haven’t investigated fully, but I suspect that with the ground softened by the rain, and the tree already being a bit weak and top-heavy, it was finally time. It’s quite possible that the roots have rotted.
Then I noticed that the cassava has gone over. Again. In pretty much the same spot as last time - except that now there is a no-dig garden there.
And if I leave the cassava for too long (like, more than a couple of days), I can bet you that there will be new cassava roots trying to grow into the no-dig garden. This time, I’m not sure I want to replant it. Or at least, not in the same place. I’m thinking that spot, next to the arrowroot, would be good for the gingers, galangal and turmeric that are currently in pots. Speaking of which, we dug up some arrowroot tubers the other day, and I roasted a few of them last night, like potato. The child who refuses to try most vegetables, particularly new ones, agreed to taste it (OK, so I tried very hard to promote it as potato first, without actually totally lying) and decided he liked it. I confessed that it wasn’t potato, and he still liked it! Yes, it’s different from potato, but it’s useful enough that I’ll definitely be making more of an effort to use it from now on.
As many of you (oh, wait… is anybody reading this anyway??? *crickets chirping*… um, OK, never mind) will know, it’s summer here. We’re so close to autumn, but it’s definitely still summer.
I’ve had the basis (and the photos) of this post in my head for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve finally decided to get some of it down in writing. There are a few photos, so for the sake of page loading, they’re on the next pages - just click on the page numbers.
I’ve talked about our almost-accidental pineapples before, and we’ve enjoyed a whole two pineapples from our back yard already! Very exciting. What we didn’t see coming was the flowering of one of the extremely neglected pineapple plants at the edge of the vegetable garden, overlooking the bog pond. They’re hardy things; truly drought-tolerant. They’re not dead! Apparently all that was required was some more water, which has been provided by some good falls of rain and extra watering of the plants we placed right next to the pineapples. So we’re watching the beautiful progress of our newest pineapple. Just like watching the grass grow, only prettier… and slower.
Technically, it’s iced herbal infusion with a twist, since we don’t actually drink “real” tea. Anyway, during the summer, we’ve made a few batches of iceblocks (icy poles) with juice or lemonade. We have décor Lickety-Sips? but obviously any similar moulds would work.
Recently I decided to try something a little different. Instead of filling them with sugary liquids, I wanted to use something healthier.
I made our favourite herbal infusions, enough of each to fill a set of moulds, and made herbal tea iceblocks. For the boys, I couldn’t completely avoid sugary liquid, because they like honey in their tea, but we ended up with chamomile for DS1, ginger for DS2, peppermint for DH (he varies his teas, but I decided peppermint was good for a cooling treat) and rosehip for me.
The boys were a little hesitant, but tried them - and approved them heartily. An interesting - although not surprising - result was that the sweetened iceblocks were softer (more like “real” iceblocks) than the unsweetened ones. There must have been enough honey to stop them from freezing hard. DH’s and mine were just like solid ice with flavouring. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I like my iceblocks a little less teeth-shattering. I also like my rosehip tea unsweetened.
I think some more experimenting may be required.