Kitchen Garden Guides

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Thursday: image The first week is done and dusted and it is very hard to know where to start to set the scene.... in the garden, the house or the big shed; maybe in the glass house (in this photo) or the poly tunnel....or one of the smaller garden sheds... perhaps in the wheel house or the studio would be best.... I am as confused as you are and wander over my acre in amazement at it all.

I expected to be moving into an empty house, all my things to be delivered in a week or two.... but here is a brief list of some of the treasures I have found which have made my first week much easier and more fun than you can imagine.

  • Garden stuff - ancient pitch fork, long-handled shovel, lovely solid rake with a short, dodgy handle, child size sharp spade, gardening gloves, hose and fittings, a rusty and very old steel-wheel barrow minus the barrow, a beautiful big flat basket for picking the delicious vegetables and fruit in the garden, a large bird bath that I have planted water cress in, an extensive watering system that does not seem to connect to water.....
  •  Kitchen stuff - table, 2 wonky but usable chairs, a more imagethan a bit wonky stool, all kinds of bowls and containers, a tea pot (now clean!), heavy chopping board, some quaint old utensils yet to be identified, 2 hand made vases now filled with flowers from the garden, a huge and uniquely pretty electric kettle (photo) without any of the electric bits but will be a great water jug or vase.
  • Other stuff - very comfy imagecouch, the little computer table I am sitting at, an old fashioned spring bed base which gets my futon mattress up off the floor, a good single bed and mattress for one guest, several small cupboards, an ironing board, a mountain of chopped and stacked firewood and one of those enormous exercise balls which is maybe trying to tell me something.....

The original part of the house was evidently built in 1876, and was one of the first couple of houses in Cygnet, according to Tonia, an extraordinarily interesting woman and a previous owner, who called in the other day. She is a landscape designer and spent some years making this garden what it is today. From what she told me, the house was run down, dark and overgrown with blackberries when she bought it from a chef who had a home theatre and indoor BBQ. The garden was a flat bed of trees and weeds. She has certainly changed all that. The house is now fresh and bright and the garden is full of winding paths, interesting plantings and features. She even had the dam dug to make use of a boggy area. An inveterate scavenger, she made use of everything that came her way and I will write about some of these another time. As well as all that, she is a potter and her works pop up all over the garden.... my favourite is a jolly little gardening gnome who welcomes me, like an expectant dog, as I come out the front door......

image As I sit here now, the sunset fills the entire sky with brilliant colour while the frogs sing happily in the dam (which I am going to call the pond, from now on). I knew this was the place for me the first day I saw it but it somehow has a magical feel to it as well and tomorrow it is even going to rain!

Friday: I am not sure why I waited until it was raining before venturing to the laundromat to do my washing! But as a consequence, I have now become the Cygnet library's volunteer gardener and met a woman who wants to practice her French! What's even more exciting is that I have found excellent coffee at the Red Velvet Lounge Cafe..... even if I did have to pay for an extra shot.

These Cygnetions have not cottoned on to providing for the young, foreign tourists who walk up and down the streets looking in vain for wifi.... or even for someone who doesn't wrinkle up their nose and say "What's that?". So, at The (Wise Cook's) Garden Shed, I will be offering free wifi and I am sure the Germans and Poms I have already heard in my first week here will walk the 1/2km to be online chez moi.... Son Alex told me last night that in Oxford they even have wifi on the buses.... free of course too.

image I asked Ben, the local butcher, if there are many feral animals in Tasmania and if he ever had their meat for sale. His answer was a little inconclusive but he definitely has wallaby (cousins of the kangaroo, for the non-Australians) from a bloke at Cradoc, about 10 minutes away. I bought some and am having it tonight, Asian style, with ginger and garlic (grated on the tiniest, most gorgeous little tool, unidentifiable until I removed the rust with a nasty chemical), black bean sauce...... and a kaffir lime leaf that Mary "found" on our travels.

SundayimageThe Cygnet market was quite small today because an art exhibition was being displayed in the hall and stall holders were not set up to show their wares in the rain. BUT what the market lacked in quantity, it certainly made up for in quality.....  You may wonder why a person imageon her own could possibly want the biggest lettuce she has ever seen! And now I have it on my kitchen table, I am wondering the same thing..... but I found it as irresistible as another woman may find a diamond ring and at $2.50 it was also affordable. It is over 60cm wide and weighed in at over 3kg..... now you must admit, that this is pretty amazing. I found this sprung but very rusty weighing gadget in the shad and I haven't cleaned it up yet, but its maximum weight is 22kg..... wow.... I wonder if I will ever have something that big to hang on it !! Looks like I will be eating a lot of salads and lettuce soup this week. Please let me have any recipes that may help me to use it; I'd hate to end up feeding it to the worms.

Hopefully by the end of this coming week I will have broadband and not have to stand on top of a windy hill, with my laptop on the roof of my car, to get the internet!!! And, wonder of modern wonders, my boxes, the contents of which I have not seen since early last July 2009, will find their final resting place here and I will have gardening tools, cooking equipment, cookbooks and more than a suitcase full of clothes! It will be like a birthday..... hip hip hooray!

1 comment:

Hugh said...

A bit late but heres a good warm chicken salad. Roast, peel and cut into batons a couple of capsicums. Season, oil and grill in a pan some strips of chicken breast. In a large bowl tear up plenty of lettuce (its going to wilt a bit,)some thinly sliced red onion, your capsicum and chicken. Toss with a french dressing (oil, white vinegar, dijon mustard, s+p) cover with a plate and allow to steam for a few minutes. You could add some roast tomatoes and toasted seeds/nuts, but I didn't. Have fun