Wednesday, January 23, 2013

School Holiday Food Fun in SA

As my children get a little older each year the fun seems to increase, but so does the need to find something for them to do during the school holidays. With the summer holidays being the longest I find it nearly impossible to avoid the beach (not my most favourite place but the children just love it). The activities I personally prefer are all centred around food and skill. Yes, we could try shooting an apple on top of each others heads with a Nerf gun, but I'm sure someone would still have an eye out.

I wanted to give them one special outing each week. One of those weeks was spent visiting their grandparents farm just west of the Barossa Valley, where they spent their time kangaroo spotting in the paddocks and to my shock, learning how to set up rabbit traps with their foot and setting them off with sticks of bamboo. Honestly, how was I going to top that?

Tooperang Rainbow Trout Farm, Cleland Gull Rd, Tooperang (Mt Compass, SA)
Avoiding the heat we finally made our way down past the small South Australian town of Mt Compass to Tooperang Rainbow Trout Farm, just a little way off of the Victor Harbor Road. Being one of the first ones in the car park was a blessing, as we discovered later how packed with 4-wheel-drives it was on our way out. Having grown up in the country with no 4-wheel-drive cars and then seeing a huge array of city folk driving on sealed roads to go fishing inland is hilarious sight to see, to say the least.

Tooperang is the epitome of sustainable fishing. There is constant renewal and an open season. The trout farm hosts a series of ponds to choose from with fish ranging in size and gullibility. The smaller ones are much easier to catch than the wise old large fish, which everyone at least has a good try at. The men are the most prone to spending the longest time on the large pond to try their luck of hooking themselves the biggest.

Tooperang Rainbow Trout Farm three bottom ponds - first ones in for the day!
As a day out with children, it was such an enjoyable trip!
With very cheap rod and reel hire, and bait with whacking stick at the shed door, you could turn up any weekend on the whim during the open season. We spent the day before teaching the kids how to use their own rods and the technique of casting. The only things we really needed to teach them on the day was how to keep quiet and to sit down on the bank so that the fish couldn't see them.

"Bring your own rods and tackle or hire on the day.
So cheap and affordable!"

Amazingly, fellow fishermen soon started flowing in, such is the popularity. So getting in right at opening time (10am Sat/Sun) is an optimal time. The closer to lunch time, the more people flow through the gates.

Entry for adults $5, children $2.

Our fishing result for the morning was a total of 8 very yummy trout.

I've learnt a new skill of fishing, I'm so thrilled to say. I was a little squeamish about the business end of fishing but my hubby Lionel had no mercy and made me learn how to remove the fishing hook myself from the fish mouths. I am glad I have figured that out and can happily add it to my list of credible skills.

Our meal that night was an absolute success - happy little eaters with pleas to go back again one day. Oh yes, please!!!

We followed up our holiday fun with our annual trip to Beerenberg at the Adelaide Hills town of Hahndorf for strawberry picking. It has become a family tradition as it is so much fun. It's a simple day out, after a huge drive. We stock up on sauces and jams too while we are there. There's even a new addition of a strawberry board to stick your heads through for a photo opportunity.

Entry cost is $5 for adults and children are free. Bring your own container or use one of theirs; strawberries are weighted and priced at the end. Great idea for jam enthusiasts.

Janine and the children strawberry picking at Beerenberg, Hahndorf (South Australia)
We made it on the day that the Tour Down Under cycling race was about to go through. We got out of Hahndorf before the race began, but we were treated to an inordinate amount of Lycra clad riders out on their warm-up rides right throughout the town. Got home in time to watch it live on TV instead to get all the action rather than the whoosh of wind on the road side. The kids even scored a free ice block in the main street before the race.

Another very yummy day out - all you can eat before you have to pay for the rest! Top marks♥

Some of my favourite Beerenberg products I couldn't resist.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Efficient Garden Watering

Before and after weeper hose watering
One of the hardest things for me as a gardener is to get my garden watering just right so that my plants survive the heat and retain the soil nutrients. So I began a watering experiment.

Keeping the foliage free of water spray during the evening watering is important to avoid fungal infections in plants. Not to mention sun burnt plants during the day. So getting the water to the plant roots is incredibly important to keep the garden alive during summer with a minimum of water.

My watering experiment focused on watering the main flower garden; non-vegetable, non-lawn areas.

In other words:

Trial Included:

My parents on the farm installed dripper irrigation in their house garden.
While I explored the soaker hose, weeper hose, buckets, watering cans and handheld hose.

I did not include standard garden sprinkler, pop-ups or misters as they would definitely have wet the foliage.

Australian Soaker/Sprinkler Hoses are flat plastic with holes on one side only that spray out. As a result, I turned the Soaker Hose upside-down to water around the base of the plants, in essence to act like a Weeper Hose. The Soaker became very brittle and hard to snake through the garden. With the holes further apart than desired, getting the moisture in the right spots was difficult.

Most Ineffective Method:

Bucket Watering
The water did not penetrate to an acceptable level and took considerable time and effort to transport.

Any method that required constant attendance proved to be the worst. Most of these methods were best for the application of liquid fertiliser on an occasional basis, only.

The rate of evaporation and run-off was very high, even with the watering can and handheld hose method.

Most Efficient Method:

Weeper Hose
The weeper hose method was the best by far. The efficiency at a low level was amazing and delivered water to a very deep level like a dripper system.

The reason why the weeper hose was better than the drippers was due to the fact that ants cannot get into the hose. Dripper systems are well known for getting blocked, most especially due to the ants moving in, looking for water.

The snaking ability of the weeper hose was amazing. It was long enough to weave in and out of the garden bed and there was no 'wrong' side.


Weeper Hoses are more efficient if slightly buried under mulch to reduce evaporation. This also acts as a deterant against theft.


Mum, Dad, I'm buying you a weeper hose next. No more bucket and handheld hose for you! Your shoulders can rest easy. No more bucket watering when the drippers are clogged.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spoonflower Nature Inspired Designs Launch 2013

Nature Inspired fabric designs by Janine Z on Spoonflower - 8" x 8" test swatches now available
Wouldn't you know it! My love for nature and gardening has finally carried over into my craft life this year. Since discovering I have been dreaming up ways to turn my own designs into fabric. I have been image-transfer-to-fabric obsessed for year now. And it has only grown!

My first Spoonflower fabric order I turned into tea towels (cotton canvas) using my grandma's old wood oven recipe cook book -beautifully handwritten, stained with time and the juices of cooking, with not a single temperature or cooking time to be found amongst the pages as that is how wood stove cooking is done - blind guess work. The romance of the kitchen was brought to life for everyday use. Those tea towels are still my absolute favourites. I hardly ever have them put back in the drawer. Between you and me, I think all my other tea towels are getting just a little jealous.

This year I am launching my Nature Inspired designs in my own store on Spoonflower making them available to YOU! I'm so excited.

Click on banner to go to shop

I have a lot of tweaks in mind to create variations of the current designs in store. Most of my patterns are for soft furnishings, wall paper and decals in mind but can be used for absolutely any project in mind.

I have many more that are yet to be released. In order to list them for sale I need to order test swatches for approval to activate the listings. I can't wait to share my other new categories with you this year.

Please drop by to check out my new store. I'd love your feedback.

Let's get crafty!