October 22, 2008
We were walking down the lane yesterday as a part of home-schooling activities. The weather was quite alright for taking a walk with blue skies above us and plenty of sunshine. On the right and left side of the country road, there are little forests and meadows with luscious green grass. A horse was grazing on the side of the road in front of someone's yard, barred with a long strip of electric fence. A little dog came out of his house, sniffing at us. There's an empty goat house on the side of the road. Common view. What's not so common is that to see in the countryside these hectares of land are not grown with fruit trees. It seems there's a lack of interest in growing fruit trees but just letting gorse or other prickly bushes taken over the land. What a pity.
We're only living on a 8 acres property but we never are tired of planting. When we bought this property 5 years ago, we found that the back of the hill is covered with wild blackberries. So thick other plants can't be growing themselves under it. There were gorse bushes everywhere and each year it should spread its seeds anywhere. If we did not do anything about it, our hill won't be looking like today. It was a hard work, time consuming and money spending. A lot of time if we look back but it's the efforts which will worth the future.
Until today, with all the blackberries are gone (you may view the photo album on our picking blackberries), we're still battling with their sprouts which are growing madly this year. A trip down the hill every now and then will be both inspections on their growth and also exercises for all of us. Our hill now is planted with pinenut trees, walnut, macadamia, almond, some stone-fruit trees, and also puriri ([vitex lucens] a native New Zealand tree) while Maori herb such as kawa-kawa bushes are grown in the wild happily.
I also make the use of rose garden to plant garlic. It is said that garlic can help enhance roses fragrance by planting them around the roses or near them. I have about 30 rose bushes and if I plant 5-6 garlic plants around the roses, you can imagine how many garlic heads I harvest in Summer. It is not the quantity that I am looking at here, but the quality of them. I don't use chemical pesticide, so both my roses and my garlic are pretty much organic. Barbara ever made sugared rose petals to make the use of them.
Here's the look of my rose garden last year:
What I am looking at here that the use of the land. We all want to keep New Zealand green and with planting fruit trees, there will be benefits for many parts: we as the consumers, insects as the pollinators, and the land itself. If we start from our household (me in New Zealand), followed by your households worldwide, I believe we will be able to keep the earth happy. Don't you think so? I am certain if we start making our household green and start planting herbs, vegetables, or fruit trees, and make use of the space we've got, we can help the world staying green.
Here are oranges I picked from our young but madly fruiting citrus trees and cooked them in orange and star anise syrup to send as an entry for HOTM this month hosted by Ilva of Lucullian Delights.
Orange Slices in Orange and Star Anise Syrup
6 oranges, peeled (use the peels in the making of syrup and remove the white bitter pith), and sliced
2 oranges, peel (use the peels for garnish) and juice
1 cup (more or less depending on the sweetness of the oranges) caster sugar
1/2 cup water
2 star anise
Cook the orange peels, sugar, star anise and water until bubbly, then reduce to simmer. Cook until thicken. Add in the orange slices, simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the stove. Let cool, and then sprinkle with the rest of orange rind. Serve with thick Greek yogurt or as the company of other desserts or breakfast with muesli. Enough for 4-6.
Just a short note: I'm going to join Pink Paris-Bre(a)sts for Pink October hosted by my Kiwi friend and fellow home-schooler mum, Bron Marshall in Christchurch. Join us if you can!