Pumpkin-picking Sunday

One of the simple pleasures of autumn is the bringing-in of the pumpkin crop.


The chooks are happy too – they get turned into this patch – closed to them since the crop was planted six months ago – to work their way through the old mulch in their search for insect snacks.


imageWithin half-an-hour, this healthy crop has been placed into cake-trays on a shelf in the workshop, with the smaller ones set aside for our four-month-old granddaughter, who is just discovering the taste of vegetables for the first time.

These butternut pumpkins are sweet-tasting, long-lasting and easily peeled.

imageThey are neither as decorative nor as large as many other varieties that I have grown in the past, but I have settled for what suits the kitchen.

They will last us until well into Spring, to that new season when fresh food is once again available.


The rains of autumn


The rains of autumn have come at last, bringing relief to a gardener weary of the chores of irrigation after eight dry months.

Winter crops are growing slowly on the seed tables and the chooks are taking care of the weeding. All gardening activities – including blogging – have been put on hold while I prepare for the final assault.

Fortunately for this ageing body, this last attempt requires me only to attempt intellectual heights, not physical ones. The same well-spring that drives this small garden has powered my life’s work in developing sensors and systems for improving the way we irrigate crops on a global scale.

IMG_20150519_081637_028So I’ve cobbled together a small budget to outfit my home workshop – right there in the middle of my garden – to make the final tweaks to a sensor design that began twenty-six years ago. Finally, the art of electronics and my own skill levels are good enough.

I’m going to “get the plants to do the talking”

That story has been told before (here).

Now I assemble my workshop from judiciously-chosen second-hand equipment available on eBay and Gumtree. Winter evenings will be spent down at my bench. Winter weekends will be devoted to getting those crops into the soil and sorting out weeds and soggy paths.

IMG_20150502_150442_453But it’s not all work. My granddaughter comes over and ‘plays’ in the newly-organized home-lab, making flashing lights and miniature weather stations from the junk that has been set aside after a long career building such things professionally.

Life seems good.

New rooster

Meet Colin!
The Berry Gnome has always wanted a rooster called Colin.
Now she has got one. :)

Purple mash

Well, why not? Purple potatoes are absolutely delicious. Roast or as mash. Depending on variety, obviously.

Today's purple feast - vegetarian shepherd's pie.
Delicious and just the ticket on a cold day.
Have you had purple potatoes before?