Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Trove updates

Because I can't get enough of researching the history of my place. I found, via our local Council website that the land in our area was released as part of an estate in the mid-1890s. So I tried searching Trove for the estate name. With some great results! In order to release the land, the joint venture had to go to court to have some Chinese market gardeners who had been squatting in the area evicted. The joint venture won. Shortly after the estate was released, a white man was charged with assaulting an Aboriginal woman who lived in a camp near the estate. He chose to go to jail rather than pay a £3 fine. She was fined a few shillings for public drunkeness. And according to a letter to the editor, there was quite a problem with the local pub (long since gone) letting its rubbish pile fester!

When we first got our house, it seemed like countless numbers of people could have lived in it. Being able to trawl the papers and see the actual names, and you start to realise how few families have h

Friday, July 29, 2011

First asparagus

Last winter I bought two asparagus crowns. Because we didn't have any garden beds ready, I put them in a pot (in a 50/50 blend of potting mix and straight manure) and hoped for the best. Every time I was doing something else in the garden, they got a handful of compost or manure or a bit of seasol. Asparagus are apparently heavy feeders. They did extremely well in their pots! You aren't supposed to eat the spears the first year, so I let them all grow into tall, ferny fronds. More and more shoots kept popping up - even well into early Autumn!

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that the fronds looked dead enough to cut back - as you're supposed to do with asparagus in winter. Only a couple of days later, one of the crowns had some little shoots peeping up through the dirt. It's supposed to be dormant! Well, a couple of days of heavy rain and those little shoots were over a foot long! So I decided enough was enough, and cut two for eating.

We've nibbled on the woody stem end in that photo. Couldn't help it. They taste amazing - like the best bought asparagus I've had, only sweeter. We'll be eating these on pizza, along with the homegrown silverbeet and some brie. Yum.

Conclusion: Perth is quite the place for asparagus to grow.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A sheepish aside

A handsome Cormo

There hasn't been loads on here recently about my spinning and knitting, but believe me I am. I'm nearly done with a handspun cardigan, and just finished a handspun cabled beret last night. But I think this is worthy of a public announcement.

In 1959 an Australian farmer looked at his prizewinning merino flock and decided the sheep weren't productive enough - that is, they weren't making enough lambies on the dodgy Australian pastures. So he crossed in some Corriedale lines - all the while selecting for the best possible fleece - and developed the Cormo breed. The fleece is as soft as merino, but stronger, and the sheep are more pest resistant, produce more young, and are better parents.

In the late 20th century more and more wool processing facilities closed down in Australia. We even lost the small-scale, innovative research facility, the CSIRO scour, a few years ago.

But the Cormo is still a rare breed. A Melbourne woman, Kylie Gusset, is crowdsourcing the raise funds to process the smallest batch of Cormo that one of our few remaining scours will alow - a ton. It's operating like a co-op, so you can buy in to receive yarn or handspinning fibre from a super-high quality flock of Cormo sheep that are sustainably farmed in Tassie. Doesn't matter if you're Australian or international (I don't think). Go donate at Ton of Wool, and you can follow her efforts on the ravelry thread here.