29 March 2010

Beekeeping at Bill's

I went over to my beekeeper friend Bill's place last Thursday to learn how to start shutting down the hives for the winter. I hope to get my own hives in the spring.  Meanwhile it has been greating helping Bill a few times this summer and learning how to check the hives and extract honey.  They are amazing creatures and the honey straight from the hive is incredible!  It's like tomatoes from your garden vs. store bought ones.
Smoking the hive to calm the bees

24 March 2010

Seed Saving

It's that time of the year...saving and storing seed from my most productive veggies.  So far I've got corn, string beans ('Blue Lake Climbing', 'Purple King' and 'Rattle Snake' ), chives, and tomatoes set aside.  This will be my second or third season collecting from some of them and they have been very productive.  This year the beans have been less abundant than last with the rain we've had, but I'm not complaining!  I put more blood and bone on the veggie patch hours before the huge rain and hail storm in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and I'm getting a second round of beans.  I'm going to have to net them though to keep the possums out!  It's the start of breeding season and they've recently started a full-scale invasion.  Think pub-crawl on a Saturday night.  Previously, we were living in harmony - I have been throwing anything with blossom end-rot developing (usually a few days after a big rain storm) up on the carport roof for them to eat and they only seemed to leave their little teeth marks in a few on the vine.  Now, they are eating any ripe tomatoes (well...eating a few bites and chucking the rest on the ground as they do) and all the young beans and flowers. Time for some netting.

Here are instructions for saving tomato seeds,

19 March 2010

Vintage patterns and me

This was one of the first things I made in a beginner's sewing class with Lisa at The Dancing Queen fabric store in Richmond.  I made number '3', the green one with top stitching. Unfortunately, the style made me look huge and I've never worn it.  Must alter it someday...

I LOVE this pattern!  The mid 60's...the era of women with concave spines on pattern illustrations.  What's up with that?  The handbag is described on the back as a 'Burmese Fishing Basket' (obviously pre-military regime and zero human rights in Burma).  And you can turn the hat upside down and it doubles as a salad bowl!  I made view 'A', pants with CUFFLINKS!

18 March 2010

Turnips and Toile

My brother used to say that I should have a TV show called 'Mel makes a mess'.  At the time he was referring to gardening and cooking.  Well, I'm still making a mess in the garden and sometimes in the kitchen, but also at the sewing machine the last two years. Hence the blog name - Turnips and Toile.

I am fearless and creative with anything plant-related, especially in my veggie patch.  I have heirloom 'Listada de Gandia' striped eggplant growing with Purple Basil, Easter-egg Radish and Green Zebra tomatoes.  The fig cuttings I struck last year are now fruiting shrubs.  Mangelwurzel, Daikon radish and yes, Turnips have been planted for the winter.  However... the sewing table is a different story.  I am a sewing tyro with vintage coutoure taste in patterns.  I have a new machine, an overlocker and all the accessories but limited knowledge of what to do with them.  I mostly live in jeans and a t-shirt.  This is another creative outlet for me and maybe a chance to spruce up my wardrobe a bit.

My fantasy...veggie gardening in my 1940's Nora Charles-style robe.