Monday, 14 October 2019

I try to win

Dear Family  & Friends

I try everything I could think that would probably work when it comes to growing my garden. With little strength and a small battery capacity to draw my energy from, I have to find ways to work efficiently specially as we have big garden to manage.

recycled pots as barrier of direct sown seedlings in the garden

My garden is never sprayed for any pest. I let them all be because nature's ecology just balance everything out and that's how it should be. So, slugs and snails are common pest and they like eating some of my young seedlings. The need to pre-sow seeds into little pots before transplanting them into my vegetable garden helps the survival chances of the seedlings, but it's a lot of work for me!

sprouted seeds got a bit of protection from being eaten by slugs and snails

Lately, I came with thoughts of insisting direct seed sowing in my veggie patch and use the little pots to act as barrier instead. I went about cutting out the bottoms of the recycled little pots and lined them up firmly into the ground, and within I sow the seeds. Once the seeds sprout and are big enough, I'll just lift up the pot barrier and every plant would be in their respective places too.

my new method of protecting my direct seed sowing of veggies - with buried bottomless pots

Well, that's the idea. I will have to see how well this will work for me. It's sometimes a fun & game situation with my gardening chore...and I always try to win the game:) As this week promises to be cool and very sunny, I'm already winning just being out in the garden:)

Hope you have a lovely week too:)


Wednesday, 9 October 2019

There's always onions in the garden

Dear Family & Friends

I'm not going to ran out of onion ever again. Nor would have the need to buy onion bulb to plant in for many years to come. When I planted my first 10 teeny weeny walking onion bulbs five years ago, I was so tense and anxious to be successful with it. Little did I know that it is the most easiest bulb plant to grow. It produces the spring onion greens and tiny onion bulbs too:) The onion bulbs grows only to a marble size, but you can turn it into pickled whole onions:)

onion bulbs are popping out from the top

The bulb onions are also used to produce more plants. In my garden, there's spring onion popping up everywhere as I have the habit of a squirrel who hides all those little onions into any vacant soil that I can push and bury it in.

In our kitchen, we use a lot of chopped up spring onion - both the green leaves and the stem: for stew cooking, mix for egg omelet, or fresh mix with salads! Everyday, I go about pulling at least two onion plants to bring to our kitchen. We eat onion daily!

autumn clearing up of old plants and re-planting some new ones once again 

Another plus with this plant is that comes winter, when there's so limited veggies growing, onions can stand bravely despite the cold season - making it an all year food for us:)

We're now enjoying cooler weather - a perfect autumn season, full of sunshine yet not hot:) I hope you are having the same enjoyable and blessed week ahead too!


Friday, 4 October 2019

To rejoice or to cry?

Dear Family & friends

I definitely want a productive and abundant garden but this week I felt a bit confused. By the garden washbasin area, there's several buckets of various fruits and nuts waiting for my attention. Should I rejoice or cry over the non-stop autumn harvest that we got?

daily snack from the garden
The grapes harvested by bucket loads were attracting a lot of wasp and bees. Some of the apples harvest still waiting in the buckets were slowly rotting as they desperately need to be sorted out. The plums were ripening fast too! Although the bucket of walnuts just sat there, yet the fact that more of those are coming in torrent just reminds me that it needs to be done too!

productive garden that is more or less looking after itself these days

Besides those fruits and nuts, I also have to continue on harvesting the tomatoes, peppers, courgette and figs almost everyday as is! You can just imagine my stress building up as I lose my battle in coping with them all.

It's unbelievable how much we have and it feels wrong to just waste them as there's no one around our village who could share them with us:( So I try my best to preserve as much as I know and could do.  I can't help but be overwhelmed. Next year, I should have a better plan to find where I could share our yearly abundance.

I still work to keep on filling every vacant space with plant cover

Despite all these, I have no regret planting so many fruit trees and shrubs, and will continue on doing so just because we got the land to fill and everything seems to grow well without much care. I see the importance of growing all sorts of plant variety to maintain a happy ecology within our environment and capacity. So, I just have to march on with my head held high.

Hope you're always aiming for a good day:)


Sunday, 29 September 2019

Courgette spaghetti with prawns

Dear Family & Friends

I'm still unrepentant as to why I planted so many courgette this year. For it wasn't a problem to have a glut of courgette. I easily learned how to be creative with it. We have it almost every day of the week but in so many different forms and variation of cooking:) and I froze some for the months to come when we would start missing it once again too.

A pot of courgette spaghetti with prawns

With the abundance of courgette, we had them as fritters for afternoon snack, courgette fillers for crepes/spring rolls, as dips, baked with bread etc... I also use it with stew, with soup, fried tempura, countless other ways and I never get a single complain from the family, but just a smile of big contentment.

a simple and complete lunch meal for us:)

One dish that they want to have every week, if at all possible, is the courgette spaghetti. I don't have the kitchen gadget that cuts the courgette into spaghetti-like strands, but with a knife I could still do long thin strands of it. I cook it with spaghetti pasta and top up with prawns and mini tomatoes and olive oil, chopped cooked garlic plus salt and pepper. A quick, complete and very satisfying meal for every one:)

With a full tummy and a hot summer...we all feel like a short nap is to follow afterwards too. Sometimes life can be like that;P  Enjoy your day too. 


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Racing with time in preserving all our fruits from the garden

Dear Family & Friends

I'm getting frantic. Our CEO came back from the garden with 4 of ten-litre-buckets, full of grapes harvest and he said: 'I haven't even made a dent, there's a lot more out there!'. Now, this set me on a panic mode! Normally, he just brings back one bucket at a time because it takes us a while to finish eating it. But as time goes on, and the grapes hanging on the vines are getting too ripe that it attracts lots of wasp and some of them are literally drying up under the sun.

just some of the grapes harvested from the garden - and there's more to come

Quickly I search on how to preserve all those grapes without wasting the effort and time of our CEO who diligently did the harvesting.  It will take me a few days to process it all. I decided to dehydrate them and turn them into raisins. Some I will freeze as I only have one dehydrator. I'm glad that washing them won't take much time as it's all organic with no residue of chemicals coated on each grapes. It's just a matter of rinsing the dust off the bunches of grapes.

purple grapes to be dehydrated as raisins

My dehydrator has been on constantly. One of the girls also goes to the garden and delivers me  buckets of figs harvest every week. We can only eat so much fresh fruits in a day, so the urgency of preservation is constantly at my back. It's feels like I'm racing with time everyday.

summer fruits from the garden comes by bucketful

Our summer brings on these abundance from the garden, but once it's over, it will all wind down for the winter season, only to restart again in spring next year. All is just but for a season.

I sometimes find life overwhelming, but it's important to remember to chill out and take everything a day at a time. Let's go and have a good day today!


Thursday, 19 September 2019

The before and after works done this week

Dear Family & Friends

We finally took our summer holiday by the sea for the year - as soon as school holiday ended - it's perfect time for us as everything is not as busy and manic anymore:)

Nonetheless, we also managed to finish some little jobs here and there- at home, in the adjacent property. Work was done slowly, taking each day at a time as there's no pressure to do so otherwise. In the garden, the weeds were flatten out and thus we're able to see the extend of the area:)

in the garden - before

There's a dozen of different fruit trees and long lines of grapes of various sorts. Despite being neglected for a couple of years, we still managed to harvest a lot of fruits, and more to come. As for the grapes, we noticed that a lot of wasp has been feasting on it for it is so sweet. So, it's a bit competitive market out there. We let them have some and we have some too. Enough for everyone:)

in the garden - after

As for the existing house, we found out that it was left uncleared with lots of personal belongings, including photos etc... So many clothes laying on the bed and the cupboards were full too! We have to clear and place them in bags and we hope that the previous owner's family will come and collect it, otherwise...what shall we do with it?

in the house - before

It was not a pleasant job to clear those personal items of other people, but the family team were very game to work as a unit. We will use this house for some business venture we have in mind, but first, there's new windows to put in and other upgrading renovations to do....but all in due time.

in the house - after

This weekend, we still managed to pop into the city for a bit of shopping. The ladies got a couple of pretty summer dresses on sales:) they're happy with that too. For midday meal, we usually just buy take away food and enjoy them in the comfort of our cozy little it's a relaxing time for everyone while we are out and about. 

a plate of fresh tomato salad,fried cheese,aubergine in tomato sauce,creamy chicken and mushroom

It's important to have a balance of work and relaxing time together too. That's how our week ended last week. Hope you had a good week and a better one ahead of you too:)


Saturday, 14 September 2019

The House is now visible

Dear Family & Friends

Someone in our home always disappear towards the end of our home garden wall to get to our adjacent property, by climbing a temporary ladder up the wall - the shortcut way:) He does this whenever he got a free slot in his work schedule - his new habit at the moment:)

the before picture of the grapevine pathway leading to the house

Just doing little odd jobs here and there and discovering and getting to know more about the property layout. He gets a lot of joy and is so pleased with this purchase.

the after photo. just knocking down those tall weeds now reveals the sight of the house!

No major thing has been done yet, except quick clearing of the overgrown weeds to see the extend of the property.

Same pathway but going towards the entrance gate direction

More or less we know how we want to make use of this property. We have some business plan but it's a waiting moment before we get things a bit clearer.

we can now see the house clearer

Just as daughter 1 went flattening down those 5 foot tall annual weeds around the property, we then start to see the size and potential of what the property has to offer. Yes, slowly, everything will be clearer soon.

The house No. 4 and a glimpse of the roof of house No. 2 :)

We are always very grateful for all the blessings that comes our way...for we know nothing is within our power unless a more powerful One is showering His grace upon us.

Hope you have a blessed day and week too:)


Monday, 9 September 2019

Reasons why we need bees

Dear Family & Friends

It is a fact that all living things need bees to survive. For some of us, bees are simply annoying: they buzz around and sometimes even sting. If you're unlucky enough to be allergic, it can even be a lethal threat.

bee on zinnia flower

No matter how much you hate bees, we humans need them. They are responsible for much of the food that we get  on our plate. Bees performs a task that is vital to the survival of our agriculture by pollinating our plants - our global food supply. In a much simple translation, bees keep our plants and crops alive. Without them, we wouldn't have very much to eat.

harvesting nectar from each flowerlet to make honey

We can enjoy almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, blueberries, melons, cashew, coffee, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, okra, peaches, pears, peppers, strawberries, oranges, walnuts and watermelon etc.... all because of the bees:)

prior to that she has been collecting pollens, now stacked all over her body

For this simple reason, encouraging and caring for bees in our garden is very important aspect in our gardening. Bees are friends!

a closeup of how the bee attach pollen to her body to be carried back to their hive

Hope you enjoyed the enclosed photos of one bee in our garden who is covered from head to toe with pollen, yet, still carry on foraging for more. Amazing hard working creatures indeed:)


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Summer meals?

Dear Family & Friends

As summer goes by, the garden is producing more and more food to harvest, but with the summer heat, our appetite for food is lost somewhere too. We eat lesser on summer's day. Nothing seems to be as attractive as when cooler weather is here. Even the idea of BBQ fails to entice most of us.

BBQ meat with fresh garden greens

I feel like eating soup but I will let it cool before consuming it. I suppose, we get more dehydrated with the summer's heat that we like food that contains more liquid to replenish the body.

cold grain congee with herbs and a salted boiled egg 

Some of us tend to go for more vegetarian meals comes summertime. Pulses and grains with lots of fresh green herbs and drizzled with lots of extra virgin olive oil too! Salads and more salads!

seed, grains, beans and lots of herbs salad

That goes without saying that our grocery shopping bill drops a lot comes summertime. Grocery list only consist of ice cream and snack food!! For dinner tonight, I might just have a couple of figs from the garden and I'm sure it's sweetness will take me through till the morrow.

Hope you have a lovely day where you are.


Friday, 30 August 2019

Fruits and more fruits

Dear Family & Friends

Look at my tomato harvest this morning, aren't they pretty? We have been eating tomatoes fresh and incorporated with cooked dishes almost everyday. There's just so many tomatoes popping out of our garden during summer time. I have to start preserving them for the winter season as it's just too much for us to eat.

my tomato harvest this morning

Tomatoes are fruits. So, this adds up to the variety of fruits, one after another, that we can get from our garden during Spring all the way to autumn. Some of our autumn fruit harvest like apples can be kept  fresh all throughout the winter. So, we can easily have fruit supply all year without having to buy any from shops.

mini snackable tomatoes - but reaching to the point of having 'one too many'

This year, we will be able to gather even more fruits and nuts from the adjacent property we just acquired. We discovered a purple plum tree that's ready to be harvested. So pleased with this because it's a good sweet variety. There's also a lot more grapes dotted around the property and it's getting ready too.

an additional purple plum fruit harvested from the garden

It's been an unusual very humid day today and I was so relief when a sudden burst of rain poured down. I supposed my garden plants all shared my same joy....with that, I can foresee more fruits coming up! Wish you're all here to share the abundance....


Sunday, 25 August 2019

Summer is whizzing by

Dear Family & Friends

Summer days are going by so quickly, specially for us with many endless matters going on around us for which I believe will all work  'for good'.

Days goes by faster when you are having fun they say...that I missed a lot of my gooseberry harvest - they ripened far too fast before I managed to gather them all! and so with the red plums!!

one tub of gooseberries were harvested for today

We're also working on so many other project simultaneously as part of our daily life living responsibility as a family unit. Grateful for these two daughters who are very much a part of everything we do, with the same views as we go forward in life. Unity in a family is utmost important, and that's where we get our strength, joy and success:)

My pomagranate tree looks happy:)
I've learned to keep an eye with my more delicate fruit trees this year, specially those young ones, after losing a peach and almond nut tree that became unhappy for some reason:( So, I'm guarding my pomagranate trees steadfastly this time.

I always wish I'm more organized and prepared for everything, but sometimes I don't always win in the game set before me! Tomorrow will be better. Wishing you a great day.


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The old outdoor kitchen

Dear Family & Friends

Let me show you some of the very old features of the House of Petko before things get changed. At this point, we still haven't completely made up our mind how we will make use of this place. 

At the far end of the property next to the little house is an old outdoor kitchen. I was told that years ago, the whole community in the village shared this place to bake their bread and even roast in a whole lamb. 

the outdoor room with an old outdoor kitchen and a door that leads to a cool storage room

This is exactly the sight of it when we got the place. There's a lot of clearing, cleaning and plans to do on how we will proceed with it. It could easily be turned into a nice house feature:)

the old out door kitchen area

It's an old wood fire oven. I'm not sure I would know how to use it. It's a remnant of how olden days living was like, wherein the community bake their bread together in this oven on certain day and every family would have freshly baked bread for that day:)

the stone wood fire oven with it's removable wooden lid cover/door

I understand that a log fire is burned inside this oven to heat it up and then the ashes is cleared afterwards to put their goods to bake with the stored heat. We have seen some specialized pizza restaurant who cooks their goods this way as they say it's an authentic way of a true pizza taste. 

this is the entrance of the stone oven where wood fire is lit and later bread and food is baked

Next to this big stone oven...there's a small door that leads to an underground room. We'll take a look at that next time. I guess it's a storage system - sort of refrigeration area to keep their food.

For now, I'll have to discover some more interesting things and try to enjoy most of the day. Hope you enjoy your day too:)


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Went to buy another property

Dear Family & Friends

It was Sunday night, a property seller called to say that a meeting with a lawyer for the sale of the property is arranged for the following day. Talk about 'Impromptu'!! and all we need was to take our personal identification documents and some money to buy the property - of course! So, we got to my drawer, scraped and counted some money out - perfect! just exactly the amount we needed! Isn't that amazing? This isn't your normal transaction but it happens here:)

the little house looks nice and with few more work, it will be much better later:)

In between work schedules of the following work day, the meeting was slotted in between all parties and at the end of the day, documents were signed and transaction finalized. We just bought another property:) It was one long and very busy day! Not much different from doing our monthly grocery shopping, except that we need lawyer and licensed translator along with us to do the transaction.

our new garden looks very fertile because the annual weeds are almost 6 feet tall!

We don't do this often nor does it happens often, but it's one memorable experience to put in this journal. So many things are happening around us...our life has always been an exciting one, we just don't know what tomorrow brings but we are to be ready at all times:) Mind you, the layback character of our CEO sometimes comes very handy in times like this... for everyone's sake:)

More to come on this but for now...let's enjoy our day!


Saturday, 10 August 2019

Keeping on top with the summer garden

Dear Family & Friends

The summer garden is packed with all sorts of plants: layered with trees, bushes, undercover plants, and that includes weeds - my secret gardening strategy is simple:  I only pull out those in-edible weeds out from time to time:) That means there's not that much to weed:) One annual weeds that covers our garden is purslane, but we eat them and if we can't manage to consume as much, they remain there to act as a living mulch and eventually it will die back to incorporate nutrients to our soil when summer is over .

the ground is covered with various plants to keep moisture and shade
At some point of time, I need to make some space to plant some veggies for autumn! So this week, I tackled one spot in our garden that I haven't done any work for a long time. So, I ended up with one big mount of evil weeds - the creeping perennial couch grass!!

my pile of uprooted couch grasses left to dry on pavement before using it as mulch

Glad it wasn't a big space to work on. I pulled and dug till the hand trowel made a small dent on the palm of my hand - OUCH!...but in the end I managed to have a big enough clear space to grow more than a hundred onion bulbs. That will come handy for winter to spring season. Happy:)

I found some clear space to grow more onions:)

When the garden gets so dense, I always think I'm running out of space...but it's not the case, so I've got to work some more while I'm onto it:) Hope you are enjoying your day too.


Monday, 5 August 2019

How will I start with Petko's home and garden?

Dear Family & Friends

We feel so blessed to be given an opportunity to extend our property. It is a great blessing from Above:) God is good to us. The price was quoted:) and we shook hands on the very first meeting. I have photos from mobile phone but I don't know how to download it that way. So, no photos of it  for now. Sometimes new technical things just throws me out due to Old Age Dilemma!!

one day at a time

For now, I'm mentally preparing myself with lots of ideas and inspiration to put it into good use. It will be another project to look forward to without pressure and stress. I'm keeping my excitement because I don't really know how and where I should start. What I know is that there's always a beginning and from there we carry on one day at a time.

another exciting journey - let's go:)

I will try to journal this new journey and we'll see how things will unfold. Are you coming along with us on this journey? Let's go!