Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yum ... feta and wtf is that !

Yum ... feta

We decided to try some Feta  with a few herbs in oil.  Soaked for a few days.. wow.  Awesome, as opposed to the goats milk feta from a previous blog post !

Hard at work with the feta in flavoured oil


This year we didn't have a Spring to speak of and it's been quite hot. Trying to live with a low environmental footprint, we have no A/C etc and on a warm day (as it was on Sunday !) it reminded me of how effective  the mud brick construction and closed windows  are at keeping the house cool on such a hot day.  I took this photos of the thermometer proving the point.

Inside Temp ion the LHS; Outside Temp on the RHS
36.9 outside and 26.1 inside. Nearly 11 degrees difference.  We had just got back from a swim on the nearby Nymboida Rv, so we enjoyed how cool it was inside, amazing difference !

Fruit Fly

We tried a different method of fruit fly control this year involving traps for male adults on fence posts and enclosures and spraying organic deterents on the tree trunks. We can report back it didn't work at all and sadly we lost all our fruit.  We cleaned the peaches and nectarines off the trees the other week, and this week the apples off our two trees. We need to cook them in garbage bins in the sun for a few days :(  Next year we will bag them individually, as much as we can, it's the only process that seems to work)
Fruit fly stung apples

Weird Lookin' !

No I am not talking about me but in the process of stripping the fruit fly stung apples off the tree we came across this unlikely looking fellow

Macleay's Spectre
Wow.. what a beauty, a Macleay's Spectre (Extatosoma tiaratum), a female I believe, from all it's thorns.  No they don't bite or sting and prefer Eucalyptus leaves (like a Koala !).  She must have got lost on her way to the Gum Trees !  She was perfectly camouflaged and even waved about, when the leaves moved in the breeze.

Monday, November 4, 2013

the stink !

You Drongo !

We know when we start to see these around

Spangled Drongo

that we will have these on the citrus.

The aptly named Stink Bug, 4th instars Nymph stage

Sure enough..... there they are, Stink Bugs !  and it's time to spend a few hours picking them off the trees.

Being sap suckers, they can do quite a bit of damage.  We usually do 2 rounds, about 2 weeks apart, collecting 100's each time by hand, into a bucket of water with some washing liquid..  Only takes about 90mins a time, so not too bad but you need to make sure they don't spray your eyes, bad enough on the face with the sting from the acid (and the stink !)  Washable gloves, long sleeves and protective eye glasses are definitely the go !

Apparently the Drongo eats Stink Bugs, not a discerning palette' I guess but unfortunately (or fortunately) most of our citrus is under netted cover to stop predation from mostly possums but this has the unfortunate side effect of stopping the Drongo from getting at the bugs.

Something New

We used to often see in Cambodia, raised wire platforms 1.5m off the ground, covered in cucumbers etc which sprawl across the wire providing shade for plants grown underneath. We thought we would try that over here in Summer.  We found an old Aluminium door frame, covered it in chicken wire and Cobb 'n Co Hitched it to four support posts.

The plants will trail up the support legs and provided shade for less tolerant veggies underneath, well that's the plan !  We'll see how it goes.