Welcome to fayhelwig.com
Fay Helwig is the owner of Das Helwig Haus B&B near Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt established in 1993. Since 1996 Fay’s garden and The Remembrance Field of Red Flanders Poppies, dedicated to the fallen of all wars, is open to the public every year during October and November.

Archive for the ‘Organic Gardening’ Category

09   Mar
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 09-03-2014

THE HARVEST SEASON

This is the weekend when the Granite Belt celebrates the seasonal harvest with the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival in Stanthorpe. Thousands of visitors flood into the town to celebrate at this main street carnival. The apple harvest begins at the end of January and continues through until the end of April when the last of the green-coloured Granny Smith apples are taken from the trees. These crisp and crunchy apples are superb for hot winter pies. The grape harvest begins in the vineyards in February and continues until the frost is on the vines. Once more this dry summer season has provided excellent conditions for a great vintage.

That is the big district picture.

Here too at Das Helwig Haus we gather in a harvest of produce grown in the garden surrounding our home. I begin our productive season about mid-October, when the frosts are finished, with the planting of an extensive vegetable garden. I continue the harvest of these vegetables until the end of March. By then the pumpkins have been piled on the veranda.

Pumpkins

If stacked on their sides and stored in a dry position with a good air flow mature pumpkins will keep for twelve months.

Read the rest of this entry »



03   Mar
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 03-03-2014

SUMMER ENDS

February, the final month of summer, is a time when I have to harvest the last of the summer fruits and vegetables. Already there is an autumn chill in the air and the currawongs are calling. After experiencing two wetter than average rainfall years in 2010 and 2011 we have now had two drier than average years in 2012 and 2013, but that is how an average rainfall figure is achieved. In particular we didn’t get any spring storm rains in 2012 and the spring storms of 2013 were patchy. One storm that came our way in December was narrow and damaging, wiping out most of the tomato crops on the southern end of the Granite Belt. Here, we only received light hail which merely pitted the leaves on my pumpkin vines.

Pumpkin leaves

Pumpkin leaves

Read the rest of this entry »



02   Oct
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 02-10-2013

OCTOBER (1)

Australia is not only the largest island in the world but also the smallest continent. The surrounding seas and the continental land mass create a climate that varies with tropical monsoon rains in the north to snowfalls in the south, both of which could be happening at the same time. Thus this past month much of Queensland recorded exceptionally hot September weather, while it  snowed in the city of Hobart, Tasmania.

I get disgusted with our weather news readers who in the winter comment about the extreme cold weather we sometimes experience, but when they can speak of heat extremes in other regions during the spring or summer months they promptly forget to mention our glorious weather. While they were reporting last week that 19 towns in this State had experienced their hottest ever September day, they neglected to mention that our morning temperature had been a cool 6°C. In this cool mountain climate we rarely experience a night above 20°C. Also when with ‘shock and horror’ they mentioned that two day heatwave in Queensland they neglected to explain the reason. For three summers the inland of Australia experienced flooding rain which left expanses of water and lush green grass for the succeeding year. Due to that moisture, we experienced a particularly cool spring and summer during the last year. But, in the summer of 2013 inland Australia missed the rain and is now experiencing drought conditions. So, it is a natural phenomenon that when our weather fronts cross the dry inland deserts they will bring eastern Australia hot, dry and unpleasant weather. It would appear that our media would prefer to indicate such hot days are due to Global Warming. Yesterday I heard a TV journalists make this statement, “The September average maximum temperatures for most of the State were the highest ever recorded.”

The warm days brought the Flanders poppies in the Remembrance Field into rapid growth and they have begun to bloom in time to create a display for next weekend when Mountview Wines are hosting a Country Music Muster.

A scattering of poppies

A scattering of poppies

Read the rest of this entry »



25   May
Filed Under (Organic Gardening, Self-sufficiency) by Fay Helwig on 25-05-2013

MAY (3)

This week I have been busily dehydrating Pecan nut kernels and chillies. In other words, I am drying them as a way of preserving them.

Bird’s eye chillies

More than a year ago when the Decker family were assisting us, Zachary planted the seed of some Bird’s eye chillies, which I had never previously grown. These chillies are a variety of the species Capsicum frutescens and have spread widely across South-East Asia, where they’ve become a staple ingredient in many dishes. Tabasco chillies are close relatives of the Bird’s eye and are well-known in North America for the famous sauce of the same name. Zachary nursed his seedling plants through the winter of 2012 and planted them out in one of my raised garden beds in the spring months. There they thrived!

Bird's eye chilli bushes

Bird's eye chili bushes

What am I going to do with so many chillies? I only use 3-5 such chillies in my home made tomato sauce.

  • TOMATO SAUCE

  • 6kg ripe tomatoes
  • 4 apples
  • 4 onions, peeled
  • 500g sugar
  • 250g salt
  • 3-5 chillies
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vinegar
  • If you have a juicer, it is quicker to reduce the tomatoes apples and onions to a pulp. Otherwise, slice ripe tomatoes into a large pot and add the apples and onions cut up roughly.  Add other ingredients, simmer 2 hours and then rub through sieve. Bottle while hot.

Read the rest of this entry »



18   May
Filed Under (Organic Gardening, Self-sufficiency) by Fay Helwig on 18-05-2013

MAY (2)

The winter frosts have begun, about three weeks later than the average for this district. Now the wonderful display of autumn colours is coming to an end as the trees drop their leaves. At the same time the green tips of the spring flowering jonquils and snowbells are poking up through the ground.

As I get older and my trees grow taller I have recognised the need to employ men to prune and reshape my bigger trees. This year I have employed Peter Gill an arborist to use chainsaws and loppers to reduce the height of several large trees, including the two Pecan nut trees I planted about 1994. Anyone living here on the Granite Belt can contact Peter by telephone or email him on pete2gill@gmail.com

Peter Gill contact details

Peter Gill contact details

Two large Pecan nut trees

Two large Pecan nut trees

Peter began by reducing the length of the branches of the ornamental, flowering-peach tree at the front of these two big trees, which had been obliged to grow lanky in their shade.

Peter begins

Peter begins

Read the rest of this entry »



12   May
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 12-05-2013

MAY (1)

The wonderfully pleasant weather has continued here at Glen Aplin now for more than three months, beginning with a remarkably cool end to Summer in the month of February followed by a glorious Autumn. Normally we would have experienced out first cutting frost about the third week of April but this hasn’t yet occurred. Possibly the reason is that we have not yet changed to a winter weather pattern and haven’t measured any rain during the last three weeks. Throughout the winter season the old timers will always be heard muttering when rain falls, “It’s gonna get cold after this clears.”

The cooler than usual end to summer, plus cool nights and warm days during autumn have resulted in a splendid display of autumn colours this year.

Our garden colours

Our garden colours

Read the rest of this entry »



28   Apr
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 28-04-2013

APRIL (3)

As summer ends it is time to tidy up the garden and mulch it down for the winter months. Although I maintain a few herbs during the winter I choose not to grow any vegetables at that time, but to rest my soil. It would be possible to grow plants like turnips, cabbage, broccoli and onions, but I will be away from here holidaying in Hong Kong and the Shaanxi Province of China during the month of June. So, I will fallow my soil and then in September-October begin planting summer vegetables.

Flowers are a different matter. I heard this morning from a friend in Ontario, Canada that her daffodils were poking through the snow. Here I have jonquils poking their green shoots through the straw mulch. My daffodils will follow in July. Much of my extensive garden is under-planted with bulbs and perennials, but each year I also plant out annuals to flower in the spring. Thus I have already put out seedlings of foxgloves, cornflowers and Iceland poppies.

During this busy period before I go away in June I have been fortunate to acquire the help of two young men from Taiwan via the HelpX website. I registered on site as a Premium Host for only $15.00 which allowed me to leave photographs, references, plus a statement about the work and conditions I was offering. Then a number of young International travellers applied to me via email giving their resume. I could check their details on the HelpX site and see their photographs. Then, when I had confirmed my arrangements I could drop my host listing off the site so I would not be bothered by ongoing requests.

Help Exchange work for accommodation and food in Australia New

volunteer work in exchange for free accommodation and food in Australia, New Zealand on farms, backpacker hostels and lodges.

Thus these two young men from Taiwan arrived here this week and began work on Friday. They have chosen to be called Hans and Laurence.

Hans and Laurence

Hans and Laurence

I was impressed when I noted that they had come prepared with strong, leather boots. Read the rest of this entry »



09   Mar
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 09-03-2013

MARCH (2)

Since the WET season began for Queensland with cyclone Oswald in the far north and then repeated flooding down the coastal regions of Queensland and New South Wales we have had six weeks of cool and misty weather.

In Stanthorpe yesterday I was asked, “Aren’t you sick of this wet weather?”

“No,” I replied, “My garden is flourishing, the river is flowing, my dams are full, but best of all the weather is pleasantly cool. It is like English weather.”

There has been no serious flooding in this mountainous region, but we have felt the effect of the floods due to the amount of heavy traffic that was obliged to travel between Sydney and Brisbane via the New England Highway because the Pacific Highway was closed. All day and night the trucks, semi-trailers and B-Doubles roar through Glen Aplin. This would only be a temporary nuisance except for the fact these heavy traffic vehicles and the wet conditions combine to destroy the surface of our roads. I drove over to Warwick twice this week and have never seen our highway in worse condition – rough and potholed. I shouldn’t whinge. At least our roads are still traffic-able.

Australian cloud map

Australian cloud map

I went to the Bureau of Meteorology web site this morning to copy the above cloud map for Australia. Our location is within that dip close to the Queensland/New South Wales border. The big white blob in the Coral Sea is Cyclone Sandra. It is hoped that she will stay away from the Australian coast. But, the winds south of Sandra are blowing cool, moist clouds over the Great Dividing Range.

I then took two photographs to show how this is effecting our location. Read the rest of this entry »



03   Sep
Filed Under (Organic Gardening, Self-sufficiency) by Fay Helwig on 03-09-2012

THE CHICKEN TRACTOR

It would be hard to believe that spring is here if it were not for the wattle blooming on the hillsides and along our length of the Severn River, as we are till enduring minus 3C frosts each morning. It was a miserable winter with bleak cloudy days in June and July that ended with dry days and freezing nights in August. We measured our last rain 45 days ago and the river level has dropped about a metre below the bank. Late this evening I photographed the boys casting lures in the hope of catching fish.

Severn River fishing

Severn River fishing

Last summer Steve asked if his family could grow a crop of sweet corn on our land and then employed a neighbour to bring in his machinery to break up some new ground for a vegetable patch. From July 2010 to July 2012 we have enjoyed the best two years that I have known since we moved to this region in 1992. They were what are commonly called La Nina years (wet seasons) but it now appears we are entering again a familiar El Nino year when there is less chance of regular rainfall.

Sweet Corn crop

Sweet Corn crop

The sweet corn was picked, much was sold as fresh organic corn, some was eaten and the balance cooked, cut from the cob and frozen for future meals. In April the neighbour returned with his machinery and mulched the corn stalks. Since then the field has remained fallow.

Corn stubble

Corn stubble

It is our intention this year to utilize this ground as our main vegetable garden, planting a section each month. Steve asked me if I knew about chicken tractors? Then he offered to build a chicken tractor. I knew them to be a chicken coop that is moved about with the purpose of allowing the free range chickens to cultivate the soil. Steve constructed a chicken coop using all recycled material.

Pine Pallet

Sheeting

Firstly the boys were put to work dismantling the pallets with sheeting which could later be used for walls. For several days we heard them at work hammering as Steve used this as a manual arts lesson, instructing his sons on the correct use of saws and hammers.

Slatted floor

Slatted floor

The boys positioned the slats between the floor boards of the chosen pallet.

Chicken house closed

Chicken house

Chicken house gets a roof

Front door

Front door

As you can see from the above photos this luxurious chicken coop has a wire netting window, slatted floors to allow manure to drop through to the ground below, a nesting box with a lid we can lift to gather the eggs, a small side door above the grain feeder tray, a roost and a large front door that can be latched open to allow the hens access to free range scratching.

Free range chicken

Free range chicken

The chicken coop was shifted onto the proposed summer vegetable garden, a section fenced, 10 hens bought and installed in their secure premises. No fox will be able to penetrate their home when they are roosting at night.

Secure hens

Secure hens

As they were already laying hens when purchased, we and the family have been able to enjoy fresh eggs from happy hens.

Healthy Hens

Healthy Hens

Wildflowers, wilderness and wine

Wildflowers, wilderness and wine

I grew up on farms where we always had hens and ducks. Again as I reared my children we were never without poultry pens. Then when Eberhard and I moved to live at Glen Aplin on the Granite Belt we decided to breed geese to serve to our Bed and Breakfast guests as German style Christmas dinners. There are quite a few anecdotes about our poultry in my book Wildflowers, Wilderness and Wine like the time we had been showing our flock to guests. I said, “We had better let the geese go.”

“No,” Eberhard replied. “They might want to sit on the veranda and have another cup of coffee.”

My hard of hearing husband had thought I said guests, not geese.



07   Aug
Filed Under (Organic Gardening) by Fay Helwig on 07-08-2011

FIRE AS A TOOL

I grew up on a cattle property in the foothills of the Bunya Mountains north of Dalby in Queensland, where it was my father’s custom to burn off the old dry grass every spring prior to expected rain. Thus as children my sisters and I learned to light fires and, if necessary, to fight fires to keep them under control. We saw fire as a useful tool, but today many people fear fires due to the devastating bush-fires of recent years.

Ever since moving to the Granite Belt in 1992 we have made it a practice to burn off our grass land towards the end of winter to prevent a possible spring bushfire. At this time of year the air is cold and the ground damp so fires are more easily controlled than later when warm weather arrives. An account of the worst bushfire I have seen in our district is given in my book Wildflowers, wilderness and wine. That year the fire occurred in October when a strong Westerly wind brought down a wooden power pole on private land and grass was ignited. With a strong wind behind it the fire roared through the dry grass, crowned into the leaves of the eucalyptus trees, jumped the highway and sped through the ravines and across the hills to the east of us, destroying homes and taking the life of one woman. That night the same fire came upriver towards us barely kept under control by the volunteer Bush Fire Brigade, commonly known as ‘Bushies’. It was these men who decided the next day that because we had kept the land near our home clear that they should burn back from there to meet the fire. They were using fire as a tool to fight fire.

Also recounted in Wildflowers, wilderness and wine is the history of our friendship with Nick and Mary Jane Hese who first came to Das Helwig Haus B&B as guests in 1994. They became firm friends who offered us their assistance and knowing that Nick’s occupation was as a professional firefighter I enlisted his help the following August to burn our firebreaks. That day he arrived on his motor bike with his leather jacket sprinkled with snow. As not enough snow fell to wet the ground we were able to burn the land the next afternoon.

You will also find in Wildflowers, wilderness and wine an account of how Nick and Mary Jane later purchased their own land here on the Granite Belt where they often spend weekends. Once more Nick came this weekend to assist me with our burn-back.

Nick has lit the first fire

Read the rest of this entry »



porno izle porno izle pornolar porn porno porno porno izle e-oyun gamedayz porno izle Porno izle, Porno Watch/