GREAT DESSERT: Earl Grey cheesecake.
GREAT DESSERT: Earl Grey cheesecake. Contributed

HARVEST: Plucking gems from Southern Downs garden

THIS gorgeous autumn weather has been so inspiring to me.

From the first glistening rays of morning light to the glowing warmth of sunset, it's weather perfect for creative pursuits and long, happy hours in the gardens.

After sowing all my winter seeds, it's been sheer delight to head outside every day to see which ones have sprouted and which ones are well on their way to becoming transplantable seedlings.

The radishes are always up first, followed closely by kale, broccoli, and other brassicas.

The beetroots sent up tiny leaves a few days ago, and even the carrots, which always seem to take the longest, are sprouting feathery little leaves at last.

As for harvesting, I've been bringing in lettuces and silverbeet, asparagus and tomatillos, capsicum and chillies, and an abundance of fresh herbs for hot teas and iced teas.

This week I harvested rose petals, gorgeous big, blowsy ones from my friend Oma's garden, and compact miniature ones from mine.

Wool tassels for medieval projects.
Wool tassels for medieval projects. Contributed

I trimmed off the bottom sections, since they can sometimes be bitter, and piled the rest into a saucepan, covered them with water, and simmered them slowly until the fragrance and colours of the petals had steeped into the water.

I add some fresh lime juice and a whole lot of sugar, and within an hour had shimmering glass bottles of rose petal jam cooling on the counter.

I also made cheesecakes this week, lovely creamy ones flavoured with Earl grey tea which gave them a luscious fragrance while baking.

They've been a lovely treat mid-morning after working with the animals and watering all the gardens.

Our medieval season is just around the corner, so we've been having a great time working on all sorts of fun projects.

We've been making, shaping, and painting medieval shields for our group members and for a Warwick school to use at their medieval fete, painting leather cutlery rolls that we use to carry our medieval cutlery at events, and making innumerable wool tassels to trim the edges of one of our medieval Bedouin tents.

It's been grand fun, and we're excited for our first medieval encampment to see all the new additions on display for the first time.



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