Archive for October, 2017

We’ve been continuing to add to the garden, even if I haven’t been all that good about posting the details. One of the major additions was a group of hardy kiwi plants two years ago. They are gendered so we have six females and two males. (one male can pollinate over ten females) All have settled in and are growing, with several doing better than others. They flower and fruit on the second year wood, so we did see a small number of flowers and the berries set in late May. kiwi1

The only problem was that we had no idea when they would ripen or what they would look like when they did. As a result, I spent nearly four months doing regular squeeze checks for ripeness until they turned in mid-September. They were well worth the wait and were sweet and delicious. Easily the best kiwi I’ve ever had.kiwi1kiwi2

They are shade tolerant so we’ve given them the west run of the south fence. The thing with the kiwis is that they are quite vigorous growers and you have to be pretty severe with the pruning, if you want them to maintain a shape. I’d like that fence to be as covered as possible so we attached some support grids to the fence and have been attempting to espalier them along it. It’s going well, but each year I’ve ended up with a chunk of pruned off twigs. Last year, I discovered that the trimmed bits are capable of rooting so this year I made a serious attempt at propagation. I’ve got around 10 survivors in gender marked pots. The plan right now is for me to bury the pots for the winter and we’ll see if any make it. If it works, we’ll finish the west fence and probably add them along the east run as well since the fruits are so tasty. I’m also hoping to be able to share with friends and family.

I’ve added an update on the kiwi journeyin spring 2020.


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This may not look like much but it’s the start of making a new batch of walnut ink. I made the last one around 10 years ago and it ran out this year. It’s not a complicated process. I just took the hulls off a whole lot of walnuts and added water. You have to take the time to remove the nuts because if you don’t squirrels will chew into the tub to get them. (yes, I did learn that one the hard way) It’ll soak for a few weeks. Then I’ll strain it and ditch the hulls. After that, it’s just a matter of letting it evaporate to concentrate it down. The last batch never completely hardened, but was a very thick sludge, right to the point where it ran out.


The warm brown tones of the finished ink are a colour range I’ve found it to be very useful for both writing as well as antiquing paper and fabric. To keep it that way I’ll have to be careful not to expose it to iron since that will oxidize it and turn it black.

This is a much larger amount than I’ve ever tried so there might even be enough to try some light fabric dying, but we’ll see how much is left after the straining.

Due to the number of nuts I ended up with, I’m also going to see how they are to eat. The nuts have been washed and are spread out upstairs to dry and cure for another couple of weeks and then I’ll get cracking!

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