THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Despite lots of rain and cooler temperatures this past week, I noticed the House Sparrows seemed reluctant to drink from the water bowls and large grey saucer.

I moved the metal water bowls to the shade of the plastic plant pots again.  I tend to move everything around on my balcony garden regularly.  I need to turn the plastic pots every 2-3 days as the plants grow to one side……  towards the sun/light.

Finding some way to offer shade to the large grey saucer proved to be a little difficult.   Living in a small studio-style apartment means I don’t have the usual old bits and pieces that many people collect in sheds, garages & attics etc.   I didn’t even have a piece of cardboard to place as a shady ‘verandah’ or ‘awning’.

FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY

I didn’t want to spend money on a solution so looked at my few outdoor odds & ends and suddenly had a bright idea.   I’d bought a plastic soil sieve last year (for some reason which I’ve now forgotten LOL 😀  ) and with the bright blue parsley trough off the wire hanger/shelf (which goes over my balcony fence railing), I realized that turning this plastic sieve upside down and lodging it under part of the wire frame would make a great semi-shaded space for the birds to bath, splash around and drink from (without the hot sun).

Voila……see the latest in outdoor furniture for the Birds (below)  😀

A shaded Bird Bath and to top it off, a Sparrow immediately came for a drink. (sorry no photo)

Pruning all the wildly waving herb branches off the other weekend, meant cutting down some of the shade these plants offered the bird’s water bowls (which were previously sitting in the soil next to the Mint and Tomato bushes).

When you have limited space on an apartment balcony (or courtyard), plants that grow both high and wide have to be kept trimmed if you want to grow lots of different herbs/veggies.   There is no space for luxurious foliage.  Besides, herbs love a good close cropped ‘haircut’ – makes them grow faster and stronger.

Secondly, while not obvious in my photos, the outside air-conditioning vent spews out very hot air down the centre of the space, so you can’t place potted plants in the centre of the balcony.

Having emptied the tomato, baby spinach and some other plant pots last weekend, my balcony garden is looking a little empty at the moment, but I still managed to scrape together half a salad on Monday night.   I already had a bag of Organic baby salad leaves in the fridge, so my cut herbs finished my salad off very nicely indeed.

…..and a few sprigs of Lemon Verbena for some herbal tea.

These were the last of the heirloom red Truss Tomatoes that ripened and since I’d lost patience waiting for the other 20+ tiny tomatoes to ripen, I tossed them all in a roasting pan with lots of root veggies, herbs, garlic & lemon wedges to form a large plate of mixed roast veggies for dinner the following night.

In fact, there were plenty of soft roasted garlic cloves to add to the next night’s casserole…..again made with lots of herbs.

For those of you with just a sunny windowsill and no balcony, front or back yard, you can still grow a few herbs which add taste, nutrition and plenty of ‘greens’ in the absence of green vegetables to hand.  Many act as companions to vegetable plants and deter some of the pests that might be attracted to your vegetable leaves or fruit.

Most herbs have medicinal value as well.

 I might add the roasted tiny green tomatoes were absolutely delicious.   Have you ever tried cooking green tomatoes that way?   I certainly hadn’t before Wednesday night.   I’ve always waited until the tomatoes ripen to a sunny bright red before eating or cooking.

(Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of the roasted green tomatoes).

So any of you Aussies (or other folk) out there who are finding a lack of your home-grown tomatoes ripening in this weird Summer we’ve been having, try tossing them into a roasting pan with lots of Basil, Rosemary & Oregano leaves with a generous sprinkling of a good olive oil and try Roasted Green Tomatoes.  (of course you could always make some Green Tomato Chutney, but I didn’t have all the ingredients for that).

The Rocket which I’d cut down to stubble the previous weekend, had regrown in just one week.

……and the real reason for this post is……

Overnight I updated Apple’s Catalina software to the latest version and lo and behold……..

….wait for it…..

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I think my WordPress problems are fixed.  Dare I say it out loud.

Yes, I could press the LIKE button on blogger’s home page direct, AND make a comment direct (without having to re-log onto WordPress every time).

I only had a few emailed notifications to read this morning, but I’m hoping some of the blogs I follow will upload a new post in the next day or two to confirm my WordPress issues are gone.

So for those of you who have Apple computers and receive the new post notifications via email (and not use the WordPress Reader) AND HAVE BEEN HAVING TROUBLE USING THE LIKE BUTTON  AND TROUBLE COMMENTING, please let me know if your own WordPress issues are resolved with the latest Apple ‘Catalina’ software update).

Edit at 7.00pm:  I just visited another Blogger’s new post via the email notification link and was able to LIKE and COMMENT freely (like back in the pre-Christmas period).

So looks like there is something in the Apple software update last night that has resolved the WordPress problem for me.