A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary

After about a week of these diary entries, they go to the archive.
Saturday 15 January '05
We spent the Saturday in Melbourne for a wedding, one of Jan's nephews was married at Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula at the local yacht club. The bride arrived by boat and it was one 'photo-opportunity' after another. They're both attractive and the stage management showed it all off. They've lived together for years and have two small children so this was an 'event' after the event really. We wish them well, they're a nice young family.
Monday 16 January '05
Coming home on Sunday, to a rain guage with about 12 mm of rain we were pleased that the the garden looked  refreshed. The next day I noticed the apricots I'd meant to cover with a net as they were nearly ripe, had been chewed by birds. The small tree in the back yard didn't have a big crop this year, but we only managed to save four apricots. Grrrr, next year.

The award winning pumpkin keeps growing, It's about the size of a football and the plant taken off, heading out trying to climb trees, strangling the tomato that had self sown and smothering the Australian Sunset pumpkin plant in the same bed. No one told me about the size of the Atlantic Giant plant. I'd naively expected some nice compact bush with just huge pumpkins. Think Triffids. I don't know whether pruning the runners back will starve the pumpkin so I'm reluctant to hack.

Now that I've selected one fruit I'm having to break off all the other small ones so that it gets all the water and growth. The flowers are pretty but when they set pumpkins about this big, they're out!
Wednesday 18 January '05
More rain yesterday, while I was in Sydney. A real dump of water, 72mm (that's nearly 3 inches in old measurement which I confess to being still attached to). It came with some dust from the west and left the cars dirty but gave everything a good soak.

Being away for those few days also meant that there were a couple of large zucchini in the garden. They grow as you watch them I swear. Occasionally there are really big ones (they hide when you come near, scuttling under the stalks) when I catch them, I've scooped out them and filled the hollows with savoury mince and oven baked them. Usually we eat them small, sliced and steamed.

For these in-between ones, I decided to dry them as zucchini chips. The drying book suggests a few minutes blanching in the steamer which was the only boring bit. I prepared six trays of the steamer, sprinkling some with chilli, some salt and pepper, vegetable stock powder and plain sea salt. About seven hours later they'd shrunk to the size of a fifty cent piece and there was barely enough to fill a soup bowl. The flavourings were concentrated as well by the shrinking, and we voted the plain salt and pepper best. With a glass of wine and some humous dip, we nearly ate all of them in one sitting. The few that made it to a jar went soft by the next day so I think they're a 'same day' snack. I'll add the drying process to the list of '101 things to do with a zucchini glut' and photograph them for you before they're all eaten.

(Which I've now done as you can see. We've also found that blanching is unnecessary, they don't last around here long enough for the storage to require the quick steaming. If they dry for half a day longer, they're crisp and stay that way. Slices work well also, and bigger is better for scooping dips.)

Saturday 22 January '05
Jan's rose garden has been looking wonderful (the vegetable garden is 'mine' - the flowers 'hers'. Even though Jan weeds the veggies more than I get time to, I'm responsible for planting, watering, snail squashing, harvesting and gloating etc.)

We've had cut roses inside for a few weeks, but they never look as nice as this bunch in the late evening light.
Sunday 23 January '05

I've photographed Bungendore's Royal Hotel many more times than I have the bottom pub (that I've never got around to calling it by its historically correct name the Harp Inn, having only ever known it as the Lake George or the bottom pub). There's a TV program (and book?) in the works I heard the other day called 'The Royal Tour of Australia' looking at all those Royal hotels across the country.
If you drive past these days you'll notice a lot more cars parked outside. 'Our' Royal has been given a big kick along by new owners and they've just opened a dining and outdoor beer garden area that looks pretty good. We went round for a drink on their opening with a sausage sizzle and jumping castle for the kids. As you can see from the photograph it was a family day. There's still construction and landscaping going on but it's a classy and tastefully designed addition to Bungendore's dining and entertaining options. We like places that we can walk to and have a few drinks without one of us being the 'designated driver'. (There's a later entry that shows the 'official invited guests launch')

Monday 24 January '05

I saw some leaves with legs near the outside light a few days ago and thought they were a spider hiding in a leaf collecting insects at night. After walking past a few times I came up close and saw these two, I presume different varieties of, moths. I haven't been able to identify them (I've only searched the internet, I must buy a 'moths and butterflies' book.) On the plain wall they stand out, but they still look like leaves, great camouflage.
Fred Harden    
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden