Thursday, March 24, 2011

Race to build Sleepout #6

Izumi was my number one helper once again, this time using a broom to hold the Gib (plaster board) in place on the ceiling while I screwed it in place. Once I had all the Gib on, it was time to add all the skirtings and window moldings then stop all the gaps with stopping compound. Once all the wiring was finished and power connected I no longer needed to run an extension lead from the house which was a potential safety issue with all the rain we've been having.

Fast forward a week or so and all the painting's done. The colour's called "Tea Ceremony" which seemed kind of appropriate, in view of our niece who's Japanese (she's also trained in the art of the Tea Ceremony). So all that remains are a few finishing touches, including carpet which my mate Bruce came to lay for me today. Bruce is actually a north shore linolayer but he often lays carpet too. And "Voila" it's practiaclly finished... at least on the inside.

So, we're finally ready to start using it. 
The race is finished! 

There's still a bit of work to do on the outside like finishing the decking, installing the underfloor insulation and adding flashings and guttering to the roof, but that can wait for now as April's going to be a busy month.

Read next article on this subject here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tomato Harvest

It's an exciting time in the garden when all your effort starts to pay off. The great thing about our tomato harvest this year was that it lasted so long. They started ripening slowly on 24th Jan but after the first fews days we were picking on average about 2kg (4lbs) of tomatoes every day. The harvest has lasted for about 8 weeks so far but it's slowed right down now. It was quite hard to keep up with at one point, but thankfully Izumi is very creative in the kitchen so she had many uses to put them to.

We found that in order to beat the birds we had to pick the fruit as soon as they started changing colour,  which meant I never got to take a photo of a mass of RED in the garden. We just left them in a bowl on the kitchen bench in the sun or on the window sill and they would be ripe the following day. The photo above shows an average days picking in the 2 bowls.

I grew to appreciate the small size of the main variety we grew as they were perfect for snacking on with a bit of cheese and an olive and on savory crackers too. They were just the right size and had such a beautiful tomato flavour. One one occasion at the beginning of the harvest we pigged-out on a whole bowl in one snack-sitting. But it didn't matter — there were hundreds still growing out in the garden.

Izumi made a really exotic Indian tasting relish with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli powder and ground coriander, which we shared with friends. Some of them liked it so much they asked for the recipe so they could make more of their own. The great thing about sharing it with friends was that before we knew it we got given stuff in return that our friends had made: Home made lemon honey, jams, feijoa chutney... It's been really great! I can see we're going to need more jars for next years crop now.