Saturday, 16 July 2011

April 2011 - The wild mushrooms

Poplar Bolete 
The number of wild mushrooms that we have in our fields, and down by the forest is amazing. We have found a large variety of mushrooms, some of which are quite edible, so this is of course very interesting!!

We harvest White Parasol mushrooms every year, when they are in season. And I like to dry them for use in stews etc, they have an amazing flavour, and you only have to use very little to be able to taste them, so they last us almost the whole year.

The underside of the Poplar Bolete
Obviously as we discover more types of mushrooms, I will be posting them on the blog, and tagging them with... ja you guessed it: Mushrooms. :-P

It's just kind of incredible that we have these amazing fungi growing inconspicuously most of the year, and we have never really payed much attention to them until now. They truly are marvels of nature, at their own

A small variety of the mushrooms we have found
I mean we have found poisonous as well as edible ones, and got an expert opinion on them. But although some of them are edible, I dare not try them, especially if they are slightly odd looking.. :-/ Cause you never know...

I know for a fact that we have Death Caps, and Panther Caps, Sunny Side Up's, Fairy Ring Fungi, Japanese Umbrella's. And that's just to name a few.. :-)

We will as we get to know these fungi better write more about them.

April 2011 - The chicken coop

The construction begins
We started the construction of the chicken coop on a high note, as we had already ordered the chicks, and were kind of forced to make a plan.. The raw structure was already in place, but we still needed to build walls and a door.

These were quickly put in place by Jan though, and we could soon start to clad the shelter half with the zinc sheets which we had lying around. We also recycled the roof sheets from the stoep. 

The beginning of the pigsty
And the rest would be covered in chicken-wire. The door included. But now that we had eventually started with the chicken coop, we thought it might be a good idea to get the pig sty started too. Luckily for us most of the construction was already there, and all that was left for us to do was to build up the back walls, and build a half wall in front so the piggies would have a shelter... Then the roof supports went on, and for the roof here we also used the recycled zinc sheets from the stoep..

And that's about as far as we got that month, cause then we had some very cold weather, and sort of got sidetracked with other projects... :-)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

April 2011 - The bread-oven

Jan starting our bread-oven
As April rolled in, we kind of missed our bread-oven which we had to sacrifice so we could place a water tank. An outdoor bread-oven has a certain charm about it, and even though its a science to use one, it still has that something special. The making of the fire, and so on.. :-)

So we had some bricks left over from the foundation of the carport, and then we ordered a lorry load of broken bricks. In the same token we also wanted to change the braai area so that it was more of an integrated story, rather than just a braai.. Adding the bread oven would do this job well. :-)

A little further
Of course, Jan had the willing help of Andreas, who loves doing anything that involves mixing cement and so on. So he enlisted himself to help, and was quite good at passing bricks, and fetching some more. When Jan got to the height where he had to start the dome, he came to a halt.... How would we do that? We discussed it quite a bit, it had to look nice with the cast iron door that I had snatched up at an auction, and it also had to be steep enough for the warm air to circulate properly..

One wall done, now the next one.
We decided to follow the curve of the top of the door. Doing this would create a lovely look, and provide an okay slope inside for the hot air to circulate. So the roof of the bread-oven was built as follows:

1. We constructed internal supports out of wood.
2. Over this we laid wire mesh.
3. We laid the first layer of bricks, followed by wire brick-course.
4. A second layer of bricks, followed by fire retardant insulation (Pink Aerolyte).
5. The whole oven including the roof was plastered with a thick layer of cement, after the bricks had set.
6. We allowed the whole thing to dry for a couple of days, after which we burned out the internal supports.

The completed oven
 Jan was amazed at his own building prowess... seeing as the roof didn't collapse. :-)

So there it stands, and we have already made Pizza in this oven.. not so much bread though, cause like I said: It really is a science to figure out just how one does that.... lol.. But we will get there.. one day.

Random garden shot.. :-)

Monday, 4 July 2011

January 2011

Double rainbow street side
Summer brought some interesting weather..this summer being no different..

But most amazing to me always is the clouds, and rain, and the light is creates in our little valley... truly a sight to behold at times. :)

Double rainbow field side
We have been quite blessed with regards to rain this year... having had floods twice, and just constant rain up until recently...

So everything is really green, and has been for most of the first half of this year.. It looks to be a truly good spring/summer ahead..

Our garden in January 2011