Friday, December 31, 2010

Kingscote district

Kingscote is the main town in Kangaroo island. There are several things you can do there but if you are not having a long visit in Kangaroo island, I think you can visit the main attraction there and complete in half-day.  If you are from Penneshaw you can drop a visit first at Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery to see how this eucalyptus oil is process or how the operation of eucalyptus distilling been done. They sell cute puppets of emu and you can see an emu from close range.
If you are a honey lover, drop a visit to Island Beehive and you can sample different  organic honey for free.  It taste like what in Malaysia categorise as 'Madu Hutan' (Jungle honey). Honestly, I don't really like honey but the one sold here was really nice. I certainly recommand to eat their home-made honeycomb ice-cream it taste really good ( a bit expensive though for a small portion of it). If you need a nice break and let the kids entertaint themselves, there is a cafe and a secure play area where you can keep an eye on the kids.
If you are famish and like to eat fresh seafood drop by at Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood & Takeaway, a family restaurant that sell fresh seafood as well to bring back to your accomadation. We ordered for 4 person meal but with 5 adults and 2 kids we cannot even finished it all. The King George Whiting Fillet was almost double the size sold in Adelaide and the yabbies was half the price perkilogram compared to Adelaide price as well. Kangaroo Island is a heavan for seafood lover and fishing enthusiast. This family restaurant is very near to Kingscote jetty. Since we have time to kill waiting for the ferry back to Adelaide, my husband did some squid fishing. We caught 2 squids in 20 minutes (5 minutes each in sequence, actual 4 squids but 2 managed to escape). I saw squid swimming in the clear water and we are very sure it easy to catch squid there with lots of squid black ink on the jetty walkway.
If you are not fishing you can feed the pelicans near the jetty.
Along the beach there are many fairy penguin cubby house. In the day the penguin parents went out fishing for food for their babies hiding in the cubby house and return when dusk. So the guided tour start at night, the first tour start at 8:45PM. You can watch the penguin siblings squabbling over food when the parents come home and how harrass the parents look like. Sometime the tired parents rest for one hour on the beach before feeding their babies.
The lambs in Kangaroo island is lucky it has a wide place to roam. It has been said that lamb meat from kangaroo island taste much better because they are stress free. This view is very common in Kingscote district.
This is how the lamb from Kangaroo island is shipped to mainland. You can smell the lamb at least 20 metre away.
Happy New Year 2011!
May this year bring more blooms and greens in your garden.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cucumber trellis in pot

Last summer we did not have any good harvest of cucumbers, although we had many plants. I tried growing them in different part of the veggie patch around the house to observe which environment was good for growing cucumbers at our place. But we only harvested about 3 cucumbers last season. We also did hand pollination  but did not succeed. I suspect it was either the variety I am growing not suitable for the climate here or the soil. Last summer was really hot and many heat waves. We grown only the ‘White Spine’ cucumber variety. This year I decided to grow ‘White Spine’ (last year left-over seeds), Crystal Apple (Phoenix seeds) and Green Gem (Eden seeds) cucumber variety.  For this year I decided to try grow cucumber in polystyrene box with our own designed trellis for it to climb and can give good air circulation.  We direct sow ‘Green Gem’ cucumber seeds and “Topweight’ carrot seeds in this container box in early October.

DSC09430Germination rate for both seeds were good. Cucumber has shallow roots and I did not want to waste space in the middle of the container made me sow some carrot seeds there as well. At this moment, I was not sure that carrot make good companion for cucumber or not so it was a gamble.


Look promising and buddy buddy these two.DSC09981

The cucumber plants has start climbing the home-made trellis from branches we collected from the drive through Adelaide Hills route. Carrots also growing nicely where it has more longer leafy tops.


There are five cucumber plants in this container and it has produced male and female flowers. The soil depth is about 20cm.


Cool cucumber good to cool down the body when the temperature tomorrow is forecasted to be about 43 degree Celcius. We have already harvested at least 5 cucumbers from this container and that is more than previous summer! There are many baby cucumbers growing from plants in this container. Hopefully it will produce MORE MORE MORE before it times is up. I just sow a batch of “Green Gem’ cucumber this week in polystyrene container since we got a good harvest from this attempt.


It is also the time to thin carrot from this container. Nice surpise that the carrot thinnings looks juicy to eat.  Carrot and cucumber can be good companion.


From this vegetables combination I made Vietnamese Roll.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cherry Picking (さくらんぼ)

Usually every year we go cherry picking before Christmas. However since this year the weather here got warmer later than previous years and it was like winter some of the days, cherry and its relative ripen late. We have been checking when the Forest Range in Adelaide Hill will open for cherry picking this year. We went cherry picking on boxing day. Previous years, it closed after Christmas. What I observe is that usually cherry are grown at slope areas.

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Cherry trees under the nets to protect from birds. There are 2 types of cherries grown here, Red cherry and White cherry. The red cherry are grown on the upper part and white cherry below. The fee entrance is $3 for adult and $2 for children and you can eat as many as you can and to bring back home is $6 per-kilogram.

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The red cherries which is so much sweeter than the white ones.

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Dracula kid, don’t forget to bring some towel to wipe off the stain and wear dark clothing for cherry picking. Rayyan mouth still red even though after I wiped, should have bring some wet towel alongSmile.

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Like Christmas tree decoration the white cherries.

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We started cherry picking from the top so after eating all those very sweet red cherries until you don’t one to see another one anymore and walking towards downhill it was a refreshing taste for white cherry which is less sweet but still taste nice.

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We brought home almost 7 Kilograms of cherries. The drive back home was a bit winding and upsetting for the stomach with too much cherry for one day. But it was a fun day.

For more Outdoors visit Susan.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Flinders Chase National Park

On our second day to Kangaroo Island we visited Flinders Chase National Parks which have the island two most popular landmarks ~ Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. There was a bush fire on 2007 cause by lightning strike and the results of that can still be seen today in this National Park.
Before reaching the Admirals Arch, we passed by Cape du Couedic Lightstation which is very closed to this site.
We can see many revegetation area in this park.  The Admirals Arch magnificent archway sculpted by wind and sea for many hundred thousand or million years. There were many New Zealand Fur Seals relaxing on the shore and we can observed them from the platform.

It is very interesting that the sea lion colony here is a different species from the ones at Seal Bay Conservation Park which is located not that many kilometres away.
The Remarkable Rock viewed from a far to soak the sight of nature. It was raining, if it was sunny it will be more magnificant to look at.
The Remarkable Rock.
Do not attempt this when it is raining and slippery. The rock formation from this view looks like a giant parrot head.
While we were driving out from the park, we were lucky to spot 2 wild echidnas crossing the road. Echidnas is not the same as porcupine. Although both are mammals and resemble closely to each other, echidna lays egg.
If you like to see many koalas in one area do visit Koala Walk which is very close to the Flinders Chase National Park. The entrance fees were only $2. You will see not only koalas but wallabies. The money goes for conservation.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Festive Harvest & Catch

21/12/2010~ After returning from our trip from Kangaroo Island there were several types of vegetables that were ready to harvest. I did not realised there was a cauliflower curd forming from one of the plants at the other side of our backyard fence. I thought it will not give us its anticipated white cauliflower curd as the weather is warm now, smallish size but not complaining because it is edible. After 3 days on an island, I miss my fresh vegetables. The vegetables harvested this day ~ Chinese celery, lettuces, cauliflower, Lebanese eggplants, broccoli shoots, carrots, cucumber, squash, tomatoes and our first capsicum for this summer.


22/12/2010~ Instead of harvesting the whole water spinach, I harvested them with cut and come again method. Our first time growing water spinach in Adelaide and so far this veggie like the summer weather here. Sometimes I like to eat tomato which is just about to turn red. I grew some ‘topweight’ carrots in clay soil during winter and I was surprised when I was pulling it out from the soil it was actually medium size and in good shape as well (no forking or weird shape roots). Moreover, it was growing in very partial shade, in winter growing among calendula and broccoli and before harvested were squashed by potato plants. I did not remember them until I was tidying the potato plants did I saw this carrots. Previously, I tested many times growing ‘all year round’ carrot in clay soil but it did not grow well. Why oh why our cucumbers do not grow even and straight like the one sell in the market.


23/12/2010~  The hidden vegetables or in hiding? Better harvest this hidden vegetables before they got too mature or completely forgotten. Vegetables harvested on this day : Bush beans, carrots,Chinese Broccoli (kai laan)., turnips and tomatoes.


24/12/2010 ~ Shopping & Barbecue. Did not have time to cook so vegetables not required this day.

25/12/2010 ~ We went fishing at Port Victoria and on the way home stop at Adrossan to do some crabbing. At the moment in the freezer we have enough seafoods to sustain us at least until we wish farewell to 2010.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Kangaroo Island

Last weekend we went to Kangaroo Island and stayed there for 2 nights. This is our first trip to this island and we stayed at Seal Bay Kaiwarra Cottages, the nearest accomodation to one of the island main attraction ~ Seal Bay Conservation Park. It is supposedly summer but the weather was like winter. Fortunately we brought many warm clothes along to this trip. This is the cabin that we rented which is connected with a farm and many bottlebrush plant growing here. We did saw some wallabies hopping at night at the surrounding area of this accomodation.
The closest grocery shop and petrol station from this accomodation is Vivonne Bay Store & Bottle Shop. I highly recommend to bring many food stock to Kangaroo Island as not many shops around and place to eat. Most of the shops close very early about 5 PM and of course the price are more expensive. Luckily we brought along many snacks and food to prepare along this trip as our rented cabin is fully equipped for cooking.

Since most of the attraction is closed at 5PM, on our first day we went to Vivonne Bay which was proclaimed as the best beach in Australia. Although it was cloudy and sometime raining, the water was still very clear at dusk. Since the water was cold and we cannot swim in the water, we did some fishing instead.

 We managed to catch a calamari in just 5 minutes after we started fishing and the most fun thing is I can actually see the calamari swimming try to catch the bait because the water was so clear. That was the biggest calamari we ever caught. Not all place in Kangaroo Island are permitted to fish so do check the fishing guideline of Kangaroo Island. I think we were the craziest tourist that did fishing when its raining and windy. Vivonne Bay jetty and a lone fisherman (my husband).
In Kangaroo Island there is a place called Little Sahara where you can do sandboarding.
As it was raining on the second day of our trip in the morning, we went caving at Kelly Hill Conservation Park.
The highlight of our Kangaroo Island trip is the visit to Seal Bay Conservation Park where we took the guided tour walking near Australian Sea-lions at the beach. Seal bay is one of the few places in the worlds where you can closely obseve sea-lions swim, play and rest on the beach.
A big male and its harem.
A sea-lions mother can swim to the sea for 3 days without coming back to land to feed herself 30% of its weight for her baby milk supply during this duration the baby is left to defend for itself. A very tired mother sea-lion just came back from sea.
Rayyan was sleeping half through the tour initially but when we heard a mother and a baby sea-lion calling and searching for each other, Rayyan woke up. The mother and baby sea-lion can recognised each voice and that is how they reunited again. A very hungry baby sea-lion suckling. Did Rayyan understood the mother and baby sea-lion communication?
 Two very adorable juvenille.
One happy family.
Keeping warm under the bush protecting itself from the cold wind.

There is also a boardwalk for self-guided tour but it is not accessible to the beach. So I highly recommend the guide tour it is an experience you won't forget.
Even though we had a wintery like weather during this trip, we had so much fun. This is our first family trip after giving birth to Rayyan. It is not easy travelling with 2 very hyper active small boys but with my mother and sisters together it was so much enjoyable. Our trip started with Ilhan had a black-eye when he banged his face to the chair when the ferry was rocking so much due to the weather. Before that he was saying 'pirate ship' many times and running around won't sit down even though I tried many time to catch him. Ilhan started to cry and then he became sea-sick, it was a bit stressful during the ferry journey to Kangaroo Island for the little pirate. However, after reaching Kangaroo Island and a few minutes drive we were greeted with beautiful scenaries.
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

At the other side of the fence December update

It was a nice surprise coming back from our trip to find that the Evening Sun sunflowers that was sowed about 3months ago have blooms. One plant is so tall that it is the same height as our roof and we can see it from the house window. I hope many of them will grow taller than the fence.

A close up look of the tallest of them all. The Evening Sun sunflower has many blooms per plant.

Some of the tomatoes has ripen as well.
I have not the time yet to sort this mass of tomatoes branches and stake them properly.As the fruit gets bigger and heavier the plants are leaning towards the ground. Some of the tomato fruits that touch the soil is a bit burnish. So for temporary measure, I use the coriander branches that I have harvested under the fruits so it won't directly touch the ground.
Our first attempt at growing onion from sets and this one is already the size of a tennis ball. I am not sure when is the correct time to harvest them. Any tips?