Friday, 29 November 2013

The journey of Amiah Grace - 40 weeks till birth

Part 2 - The Birth 

(part 1 see here)

Tammie is here, I cannot express how relieved I am to have her here with me. This birth is just going to be be amazing. We just need this baby to come. Lets plan. lets keep busy surely babies like to ruin your plans coming at the most inconvenient times. We shop even go to the next town a whole hour away, we go to the library and Tammie cleans she just keeps cleaning. At first I feel terrible, I didn't ask her to come wanting her to clean my house. I hope she doesn't think that is what I have done. Then I am told some wise words. I realise she is just trying to help me and support me, it is what she wants to do, she wouldn't do it otherwise (I hope these wise words were true).

41 weeks. This is OK, I can do 41 weeks. Tammie is here another week. Immali was born 41+3. But the niggles are there, what am I going to do if she doesn't come. Will I really need an induction, surely I don't babies come when they are ready, 40 weeks is an average not a norm. 40 weeks is not the normal. Normal for me is whenever Ukpik decides to come. I rest in that peace for now. We have a lovely week together. I am growing huge, everything is getting hard. I cannot sleep I cannot sit I cannot walk much. I just plain hurt. I am so very thankful Tammie is here helping keep my house running. I truly hope she doesn't think I am taking advantage of her. She is an absolute blessing.

I am 42 weeks, what am I going to do. Tammie is going home. She cannot stay. I cannot ask her to stay. I want so badly to ask her to stay. But her family misses her, they need her, they now need her more than I do. 2 weeks is a long time for a mumma to be away from her family. I give her my blessing to go, as much as it hurts I know it is the right thing to do. I try to write her a card so she knows how truly grateful I am that she came, How thankful I am for everything she has done. I am not sure I wrote it well. I hope I did. She leaves, I cry.

I sit in my very clean house. I decide I can still do this. God will be with me. I pray almost constantly that my other friend Lusi will be able to come to the birth. I am stressed she will not make it. And then what will I do if I have to transfer, there will be no one to watch the kids. What will I do.....

God reminds me I almost felt him screaming at me, shut up and listen to me. Trust me please just trust me, I have put you here right where I want you. Trust me, have faith, all will be as it should be. Listen to your song. And I did I listened over and over and over. I wiped all other songs off the ipod and stuck 'Speak, O Lord' on repeat.

42 weeks plus 2. 1:30 am. I wake to a sensation, what is that, what could it be. CRAP my waters broke. There's no towel, why oh why am I not sleeping on a towel I am 42 weeks pregnant what on earth did I think was going to happen. I leap, if you have never seen a 42 week pregnant lady leap out of bed, you probably never will. It is a physically impossible myth. Yet somehow with the cot side-carred, I leaped off the end of the bed. Not one drop of fluid on the bed, not one single one. I am the pregnant ninja woo cha.

I leap, run, waddle. Yes a combo of all 3, try to imagine it. I can't I have no idea how I got to the bathroom before my waters exploded into the toilet. I then spent the next hour sitting in the bathroom with a little fan heater going. Happily keeping Lisa awake so I have someone to chat too, it was so special having her part of the birth even if she was 5 hours away. I wished there was a way to transport her to me. The contractions slowly kicked in and built up. It was time to wake Damo. It was time, it was really time, I was going to meet Ukpik.

I lent over to kiss Damo awake my dreads tickled his face and he woke thinking he was being attacked. Was rather funny for me, I literally wet myself laughing. Been some time since I have been able to scare him so badly. Once he recovered from the shock he got to work setting up and filling the pool for me. He did a great job and it was full in no time.

It is time to call Lusi. I ring her mobile, I ring it again, wake up Lusi I quietly scream as the phone rings. I ring again, no answer. Time to ring the home phone and wake up her 5 kids. Still no answer. Seriously Lusi are you sleeping in earmuffs. The answer machine kicks in, I leave a message along the lines of get your arse out of bed, this baby is coming. Lusi should never camp with me, now I know how deeply she sleeps, oh the tricks I could play.

It was hard to get into my space and also decide if the pool was hot enough, full enough, oh no its too cold now. I was busy contracting while Damo waited for me to give the ok, but he left the cold water running. I didn't know. He tries to top it up but the pump, that pumps the water from the hot water system is busted. It broke during the first fill. He buckets in what he can till it is just warm enough to get in.

4:33am I get into the pool it was great. It didn't give me the space to retreat into myself as much as it did last time. But the movement in the water was lovely. Lusi took over the hot water job, and kept adding kettle after kettle of water till it was hot enough. Every time the water sloshed in it pulled me out of my space. There was no other option that is just what had to be. A full hour she did this till at 5:35am I give her the evil eye to stop.

The next stage just seemed to drag on and on, I could not stop myself fighting the contractions and fighting transition. I knew I had to just relax and allow it all to happen. The fear hit, fear I didn't know I had, what am I doing, I'm nuts. Please someone tell me it's ok, someone say something, remind me I can do this, remind me it will be over soon. I need someone to speak these words.

Then Igloo woke and wandered in, the offer of watching a movie before 6am was enough to send him running off. Within a minute of Igloo leaving the room I could feel the head ready to be born. He distracted me from my fears and gave me a sense of urgency, I didn't want the kids around, it is time to get this bubba out. It's time to let go and birth this wee bubba. Next contraction I tried not to push, just little pushes trying to let my body do it to try and prevent tearing. The contraction after I thought stuff this it hurts to freaking bad so pushed the head out with all I had. Another contraction and I tried to let my body do the work to birth the body. It didn't so with the next contraction and having had enough of the pain I pushed with whatever I had left and Ukpik was born at 5:50am. The transition that felt like 2 hours was really only 20 minutes.

As I pulled bub up I was sure I saw all the bits that made a boy. I almost announced it was a little boy but didn't. Lusi came running at the sound of crying and all three kids followed. I think Immali woke as Ukpik cried it was very special. Damo or Lusi asked if it was a boy or girl and I thought I would recheck. I looked everywhere for the sac and doddle I thought I had seen but it had fallen off and I had a little girl in my arms. I am not sure I have ever looked at my kids bits so closely. But I just had to be sure I was actually right this time. Lusi even managed to snap a pic of this moment.

I had some no bleed tea and some homeopathics and the placenta was born at 6:10am with the damn membranes once again trailing behind and getting caught in the cervix. Spent the next probably half hour working on extracting the membranes. I was so exhausted but I just kept on pushing and pulling and pushing and pulling and eventually they all popped out. They ripped a few times in the process and I was getting worried I wasn't going to have enough left to pull on. But as God promised it all came and and everything was fine just as it should be. 

I am not sure when we cut the cord, Igloo had the privelege this time. I tied the cord and then Igloo got to cut. He loved it, was such a special moment. I wish I had the thought at the time to get a photo. I had enough of the water, it was starting to get cold, it was icky, butj ust as I was trying to climb out she demanded to be fed. I complied but then got stuck in the pool feeding her for the next I think half hour. Before I had enough and took her off so I could get out and rinse off. We dressed her in her special new nappy and wrapped her in the blanket of love that all my friends made a piece of and spent the day snuggling. Was an all round lovely day. I shed a few tears for Tuktu, I was sad that Tammie was not there. But little Ukpik was perfectly chubby at 4.2kg. It is amazing how babies are born beaming love.

 Kids helping Damo pack away the pool
 First carry in Didymos AHI

She is 10 weeks old now and the song "Speak O Lord" is still our song. When she is especially grizzly I put the song on and sing. She calms down and sleeps. No other song works. It will forever and always have a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The journey of Amiah Grace, conception to 40 weeks

Part 1 - The Pregnancy




It is November 2012, I get my first cycle since July 2010 after conceiving and birthing my beautiful Immali. It is a day we have been waiting for finally it might be time to add to our wonderful family. By mid December I knew, I just knew there was new life growing inside me. But I waited and on Christmas morning I rushed to the loo so I could pee on the stick with enough time to wrap it up and give it to hubby as his Christmas present. Can I tell you this is no easy task with 3 kids rushing from their bedrooms eager to open presents. I was so relieved and excited to find those double lines. A perfect Christmas gift from God. And it was I had to wait almost 2 weeks to see those beautiful double lines again.

We got through Christmas and new year. It was exciting. I don't think I waited to tell anyone this time. Then we started planning the birth. I contacted the closest midwife to us. I had met her when pregnant with Immali. I thought she would be perfect, she was just lovely last time I met her. But I thought it has been two years lets meet again. We chatted for a couple hours, talked about birth, talked about what I wanted, talked about what she wanted, talked about her fears. A knot grew in my stomach as the meeting progressed. When she left I just fell into a mess of tears. She didn't seem right for us personally. She was still lovely and wonderful, but I had changed. What was I going to do, there are no other options. There is no one else. I cried for days and days.

And so I am left pregnant and without a midwife. Life goes on as I decide what to do. I am sure that I am pregnant with twins. I feel connected to two little lives. My little Ukpik and Tuktu, yet I feel more strongly connected to one than the other. I announce that bubs name is Ukpik with no mention of Tuktu. I start planning for a holiday birth. My beautiful friend and midwife, will care for me through my pregnancy via Skype and be with me while I birth in someone elses house, someone elses space, in the unknown with 3 kids and no Damo. I was terrified and excited at the same time. I cannot express how excited I was to have Lisa with me while I birthed, it made me smile every time I thought about it. But I was scared, I was scared how I was going to cope, where I was going to stay, how I was going to get home with 4 kids on a 5 hour drive. The most precious friend in the world offered to leave her family for 2 weeks and come to be with me and help me while I was away. She truly is a gorgeous person. She has become my sister. With her there it seemed much more possible.

I decided to have an ultrasound. If there were two precious babies I needed to have the car kitted out before the birth and have everything I needed for two packed. Have a plan in place for all possiblilites.

About 2 days before the ultrasound, something was different. I no longer felt the need to say babies, I no longer felt Tuktu was there. My little boy had left me. I struggle to type this out now, but it needs to be spoken. People may not believe me, what proof have I got. But mothers intuition has got to count for something. And so I go off for the ulstrasound hoping I am wrong. getting them to accept my midwife referral was a task, but eventually we go in. There is one precious little bundle with one perfect heart beat. My little Ukpik is strong and healthy. We don't find out the sex but I am sure a little girl is waiting to meet me.

The fear and scare of birthing away from home continues to eat at me. I decide to research unnassited or freebirthing as an option. Could I really do this? What would I do if I bled, what would I do if.... there were so many if's that went through my mind. I need a doula. I will have my friend but a doula if I can get a doula I can do this. Yes I can this will be perfect, it will be amazing.

Doula 1, a number of life changes means she can no longer support me. I am totally crushed, just shattered. If I can't have my midwife then I need her I cannot do it without her. I cry for days. Then I am thankful for her honesty and love. She cared for me enough not to give it a go knowing full well she might fail. She gave me time to make the plans and prepare to birth without her. I will always be thankful for her honesty.

Doula 2, lets just say she scared me. She had never attended a homebirth and I was honestly scared she would not cope at an unnassisted birth.

Doula 3, mid July I am due 1st September, she seemed wonderful, perfect this was it problem solved. Plus she can encapsulate my placenta. However she decided that I didn't need enough support from her. She is not a babysitter, she felt my needs too menial.

34 weeks, no doula, no midwife to be with me. Do I go ahead with this plan. am I a crazy lunatic. No this is what I am suppose to do. I want to birth in my space, in my home, with my things, my shower, my toilet, my bed. I just cry and cry. Kierra was an amazing shoulder if she lived any closer she would need a raincoat.

I find peace I can do this. God whispers to me, I will be with you, I will hold your hand, I will guide your baby, trust me and everything will be just fine. Then he gives me this song:

I told very few people of my plans. I don't want to hear their fears. I don't want to take the risk of those becoming mine. I need a clear head and positive thoughts. I know what I am doing carries risks. But I have planned for them everything will be fine. The people I told were all very supportive, thank you to those who stood by me and put up with me. Lisa was my rock, through it all. She supported whatever decision I made, no matter how many times I changed my mind, she supported me and did everything she could from a distance. I seriously must have been driving her mental. I'm sure she wished she could reach through the phone and shake some sense into me. She has the patience of a saint to put up with me.

I become more and more pregnant as you do. Things are going well. I am seeing the hospitals antenatal clinic. Ukpik is strong and healthy, I am strong and healthy everything is going wonderfully. Braxton kicks start kicking in, it all starts getting very exciting. I talk to Ukpik each day. I tell her I cannot wait to meet her. I tell her I miss her brother and wish I could meet him. I tell her to stay put please stay put till my sister friend gets here. One day short of 40 weeks my beautiful sister Tammie turns up. She is here yay woohoo, once she has cleaned my house let this show get started. No honestly I didn't think that, I wanted things to kick in that night, I hadn't asked her to come wanting her to clean.

The night comes and goes no baby. I am 40 weeks.

Part 2 is here

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Who doesn't love corn

There are fewer and fewer varieties of corn available in Australia.  This is concerning as it is no longer possible to import corn seed for the purposes of growing (although supermarkets do import popcorn for eating, most of which is contaminated with GM corn).  Many of the varieties that I grew when I was a teenager are no longer around in Australia.  Some are no great loss while others will be sorely missed.

Many people who sell corn seeds on Ebay or similar places sell such small numbers of seed that you can not get a crop.  Even if you are lucky enough to get a crop their stock is often suffering from severe inbreeding depression because they do not know what they are doing when saving seed so it is nearly impossible to recover the variety.  Many also sell unknown crosses of corn because they do not know what they are doing when it comes to saving seeds.  When people are out to make easy money like this they also tend not to select for any desirable traits, so popcorn stops popping, long cob forms have regular sized cobs, coloured corn loses its vibrancy and so on.  This makes the heirloom corn situation in Australia rather dire.

It is not all doom and gloom though.  I know a few people who grow corn and attempt to keep their strains pure as well as avoiding inbreeding depression while selecting for desirable traits.  Others are developing new varieties.  Some of which have kindly sent me some of their seeds to grow. 

As well as these dedicated growers and seedsavers, the Australian Government has a seed bank containing seeds of various vegetable and agricultural plants.  They occasionally distribute small amounts of this seed to researchers, plant breeders and very rarely people who are interested in maintaining a particular line.  They impose a lot of strict rules regarding seeds when they do distribute them, I am lucky enough to have some of their corn seeds.

I am working on improving the Glass Bead corn by selecting for it to be a better popcorn.  So far I have made a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  If all goes well I will continue this and end up with an improved strain of glass bead corn, if things go poorly I should be able to cross it with a different type of popcorn to incorporate some more of the "popping" genes.

I also have dreams of breeding an improved blue sweet corn or blue super sweet corn.  If it works this will take me a few years.  I also have a few other plans, but do not want to say too much about them as I do not know how much time or space I will be able to put into any corn breeding projects so may not actually start them for a few years.

Below are some pictures of some of the corn seeds that I currently have, I have included a tape measure so that you can see the size of the seeds, some are huge while others are tiny.  They have come from people who are preserving particular lines, people who are breeding new varieties, as well as from the Government seed bank.  I also have a bunch of different yellow sweet corns and supersweet corns as well as bicolour sweet corn and supersweet corn but have not taken their pictures as they pretty much all look the same when they are seeds.  At this stage I have too many to be able to grow them all each year, so only the best will make it through.

Argent White Supersweet - I LOVE argent so it is too bad I have so few seeds
Fingers crossed I will get a good crop out of Argent and be able to save seeds.  I really do love this variety of corn, I don't know why it is so difficult to find.  Unfortunately I had a low germination rate from a low number of seeds so things are not looking good.

Aztec corn

Aztec multicoloured - a different variety of multicoloured corn

Glass Bead Corn - you can see that it is almost a popcorn and is distinct from other 'Aztec' types
This is the glass bead corn that I have been working on.  You can see clearly that it is a pop corn, what you can't see is that it is not a great popcorn yet.  Hopefully a few years will fix that.  It is very different from the two types of multi coloured Aztec corn above.  It also has some genes that the other types do not appear to have.

Blue Sweetcorn

Floriana Red Flint

Giant Incan White
Where do you begin with Giant Incan White corn?  So much potential.  Each kernel is absolutely HUGE.  To the best of my knowledge nowhere in Australia has this except for the government seed bank and they are not at all keen on distributing it to anyone for any reason.  Unfortunately it is also extremely daylight sensitive so I do not know if it will grow where I live.  I also do not know what "Viability NULL%" means.  I hope it simply means that it has not been tested and will still germinate well for me.  It has been planted and I am trying to be patient so only time will tell.

Hopi Blue Dent

Hopi Turquoise

Long Ear Synthetic

Mini Blue Popcorn - look how small the kernels are
I used to grow this when I was a kid.  The cobs are small and look pretty good.  The seeds are tiny, compare this to the size of the Giant Incan White and then to a regular corn seed.  From memory it produces half a dozen cobs per plant.  Like all popcorn it pops white.  It is fun for the kids to grow.

Thai Supersweet

Variegated Aztec - each kernel is stripey

It may not seem normal to catalog seeds like this, but it should be useful in the future.  As I start to improve varieties or create new varieties this will be useful to look back upon to see how far each one has come.

I am glad that the government has a seed bank with things like this, I am also glad that they distribute it to researchers and breeders.  I am very lucky that I have been considered worthy of growing these seeds, especially the Giant Incan White corn.  The only down sides that I can see are that they only give 30 seeds and you only get one shot at it, so I have all my eggs in one basket.  If we have a late/early frost, locust, fire, flood, or anything else that causes crop failure then these seeds are gone and there is no way for me to ever have another try.

The only corn seeds I will be selling for the moment are the glass bead corn, hopefully I will be able to add some of the others at some stage.  Everything that I sell is listed on the For Sale page if you are interested.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The best pancakes ever

I made the best pancakes ever, seriously far out. Do not cook these if you do not want to eat them all.

I will do my best to share the recipe but I am a bit of this bit of that abracadabra I have food sort of cook.

So here is is:
  • handful or so of almonds
  • shake of the bag of chia seeds
mill in your thermomix speed 9 till it sounds milled (seriously who counts) or buy them premilled and at this point make some grinding whizzing sounds yourself.
  • 1 banana
  • 4 eggs
Mush it all together on speed 4 or mix as fast as your little arm will go.
  •  roughly 1 cup of self raising flour or whatever flour takes your fancy that day
  • 1 cup of milk (ooh looky aren't I fancy measuring)
  • a good pour of honey from the jar
Mush it all together again with your choice of musher.

Cook, eat, drool, lick the bowl clean even the batter of this stuff is good.

Enjoy my fellow bloggers

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Newborn's letter to mummy

Dear mummy

I like it when you wear me in your sling and hold me close to your heart.
I listen to you breathing where I feel safe and calm.
I love to fall asleep in my sling,
I listen to your heart and when my eyes start to wake I see your smiling face, it hasn't gone away.

Mummy did you know the world is very scary.
I hear so many sounds, I cannot see what or how big they are,
but when I hear your heart I know that you cannot be far
I know that you will keep me safe and I will not meet harm.

So mummy next time I fall asleep on your chest, please oh please keep me there. Let me listen to your heart and hear your gentle breath. Let my eyes peek open and see that you have stayed where you were left. I love being so close to you mummy and being where you are. You are my safe and gentle place in this very scary world. There is so much for me to learn mummy, please stay with me while I do. I promise one day I will run away and learn all by myself. So hold me close now while you can and smell my tiny head, kiss my cheeks and whisper in my ear.

your gorgeous little newborn who doesn't like to be put down.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Newborn baby carriers (Part 1 of 4)

Trying to pick a carrier for your new little squish can be a little daunting. But never fear Tracey is here.

First and most importantly is baby wearing safety. In any carrier you use please follow the TICKS guidelines:

When choosing a carrier look for comfort for both you and bub. Look for ease of use, look for practicality, and most importantly look for something safe and ideally provides the M sitting position (you can find more information on the 'M' position here and for specific newborn 'm' positioning here) . Little Miss A was a wonderful help as she helped mummy model these carriers for you. Here is a sample of baby carriers suitable for carrying your newborn. She ranges in age from 1-4 weeks in these photos. Miss A was 4.2kg at birth and 55cm long.

The photo represents the range of carriers available on the market.

Pst click on the image to enlarge it...

There are some carriers that are specialised for newborn carrying either through design or special inserts. In the photo these are the Manduca, ring sling, Infant Kinderpack, Close Caboo, Tula, Wrap, Sretcg wrap, Ergo, Mysol and Pikkolo.

Other carriers can be adapted:
  • The baby hawk I used a ribbon to cinch the body panel smaller so that the fabric stretched from knee to knee exactly.
  • In the Angelpack and Action Baby Carrier I used a rolled flat nappy to provide a more m shaped sitting position for bub. It allowed a proper C curve of her spine and kept her weight off her little feet.

What did I find most comfortable?
Overall the wraps are the comfiest, the least comfortable was the Britax carrier that I could not get off fast enough I was in agony after wearing it for the 5mins for the photo.

SSC (Soft structured carriers)

  • Manduca - (3.5-20kg)
  • Kinderpack infant size  
  • Tula - (3.5-20kg)
  • Angelpack - (4.5-18kg)
  • Ergo Orginal - (3.2-20kg)
  • Action Baby Carrier (3.5-16kg)
  • Pikkolo -
Other brands not pictured:
  • Babyhawk
  • Beco
  • Boba
  • Emeibaby
  • Hoppediz
  • Jumpsac Orbit
  • Nuzzleme
  • Olives and Applesauce
  • Patapum
  • Pognae
  • Rose and Rebellion  
  • Storchenweige
  • Wompat
  • Yamo

Front Pack Carriers

  • Britax (3.5-15kg)

Mei Tais

  • Baby Hawk
  • Girasol Mysol
  • Angel Pack - (4.5-18kg)
  • BB-Slen 
  • Didymos
  • Ellaroo
  • Kozy
  • Wearababy

Stretch wraps

  • Stretch wraps: Moby, Hugabub, JPMBB, Wrapsody Stretch, Boba Wrap, Tricot-Slen, Natibaby.
  • Close Caboo Carrier

Ring Slings

  • BB-Slen
  • Didymos
  • Ellaroo
  • Girasol
  • Maya Wrap
  • Sakura Bloom
  • Storchenweige
  • Colimacon and Cie
  • Diva Milano
  • Hoppediz
  • Neobulle

Woven Wraps: 

Didymos, Girasol, Lenny Lamb, Natibaby, Didymos, BB-Slen, Hoppediz, Easycare, Dolcino, Colimacon and Cie, Diva Milano, Vatanai, Wrapsody Gauze, Ellaroo, Storchenweige, Uppymama,, Neobulle, Kokadi, Oscha...

I am sure I am missing many options. I am happy to add them if you let me know. All carriers are available from retailers in Australia. If you go hunting please tick the google box to search for Australia only and support the mums who are bringing these carriers to Australia.


 Stay tuned for the next installment babywearing a 3 month old....... 


PS there is an excellent PDF here that explains each type of carrier well worth a look, thanks Baby carriers downunder ....

Monday, 11 November 2013

Tandem wearing

Wearing two babies at once it is fun. You feel a little bit like a pack horse but it can be done.

I am by no means an expert there are many others with a vaster amount of experience than me.

But here are my tips. Little one on the front bigger one on the back. My favourite combo has been a woven wrap on front and a SSC on my back.

Oh look lets be honest I just love these photos and wanted to write a blog post to share them with you.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Pickled Eggs - with challenge

What to do with a massive abundance of eggs i.e. 8+ dozen eggs?

Option 1, have an egg overdose. I tried hard oh boy did I try hard. Eggs for lunch, eggs for afternoon tea and quiche for dinner. So after a day or two of that, I got pretty jack of eggs.

Option 2, feed them to the dog. Opted out of that dog food is cheaper.

Option 3, cook-a-thon. Meringue, magic bean cake, pancakes with double eggs, smoothies with 4 eggs. custard...... ok so I have a newborn this is not going to happen. I may have made each of those things once over a week. I need more hands, more sleep and more time.

Option 4, preserving the eggs. Insane yes. Has this ever been done of course it has. So we decided to brine some and pickle some. Do they taste good, no one will tell us.

Today we look at pickling the eggs.

Step 1. Boil 28 eggs (tip boil extra you may completely cock up the shelling of some and they wont be usable)

Step 2. Peel the eggs, oh yes have you ever seen an egg peeled. I am the master of all masters of egg peeling. I challenge you to better my peeling and share your pic.

Step  3. Pickle your eggs. We decided on a beetroot pickle.
1 cup red beet juice (from canned beets)
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
a few canned whole tiny red beets (or several slices of beets can be used)

We fit 21 eggs in this jar. Looking now I am wondering if they are too cramped. Time will tell.

Step 4. Store in fridge and wait 1-4 weeks depending where you are reading before you get to taste test your efforts.

Yellow podded snow peas

We grow a few types of pea at the moment, one that gets a lot of nice comments from people are the yellow podded snow peas.

I have trouble seeing green pods in amongst green foliage, so I have to find ways to work around this.  You may not think that this would matter too much, but if you do not pick pods every day and one starts to get too old the yield is lowered considerably as the plant will stop putting energy into flowers/new pods and concentrate its energy on developing seeds.  The yellow pods are easy to see in amongst the green foliage, this makes harvest fast, easy, and increases productivity.

permaculture vegetables
Yellow podded snow peas and flowers
The yellow podded snow peas are an old heirloom variety of pea dating back to at least 1860.  It is likely that this variety of pea was one of the ones used by Gregor Mendel when he was doing his famous pea breeding and working out the basics of genetics and inheritance.  A lot of the peas I grow have at least one trait that Mendel used in his pea inheritance trials, I find it very interesting.  I also like how simple it is to breed peas, especially when the genetics behind them is relatively well understood and is mostly not too complex.

For some reason yellow snow peas never really took off and no significant breeding work has been done with them.  This lack of serious selective pressure means that they have a lot of potential for anyone who wishes to breed them into something better.  I am doing a little pea breeding trying to make an improved yellow podded pea, but that is a long way off being completed (if I do continue to pursue it).  I keep the original pure strain isolated and am always careful when saving seed as I think that this strain is worth preserving.  I know that there are a few other people in the country who are using these to breed superior yellow podded snow peas, hopefully one day they produce something great and distribute it.

As a producer of food the yellow podded snow pea is superb.  It reaches five or six feet tall so it needs to be grown with some support.  It is a very vigorous grower, it is fast-growing and its yields are abundant.  Each plant seems to yield dozens of pods even with minimal effort on my behalf.  These peas are unlike many varieties in that they produce several flowers at some leaf axils, yet produce only one flower at others.  I do not understand why they do this or how to breed for more uniformity in double flowering.  At this stage it doesn't matter much as they do produce a lot of pods.  As well as producing a lot of pods they are rather tall plants, so at the end of the season they provide me with a decent amount of pea mulch to use on the vegetable garden (unlike the Lacy Lady peas that I mention in another post).

yellow podded snow pea Australia
Yellow snow peas, so abundant and vigorous their weight broke the support stake
The plants are attractive from quite an early stage.  They have a pink/red splash in the leaf axils which is normally only seen in purple podded peas.  The leaves are also slightly yellow as opposed to the deep green of regular peas.  Once flowering has got underway, the stems, leaves and tendrils become increasingly yellow.  The flowers also seem to change colour as they grow older.  They start out pink, then go through purple to end up blue.  Again this is similar to the purple podded peas, but the yellow snow peas seem to be more vivid in their colour change.  The flowers are very beautiful, people often comment that they thought I was growing the ornamental 'sweet peas' rather than something edible.  It is nice to grow something so beautiful that produces so much food, it also means that if you were to grow them in town people would be less likely to steal them.  Once the flower has begun to fade the yellow pod emerges. 

permaculture vegetables Australia
Several flowers and a young yellow pod - note the pink stem and purple splash on the leaf axil
This variety is usually grown as a snow pea, but could be used as a shelling pea or a dry pea if you wanted to.  If you harvest the pods while they're still young and about half the size you would expect from a snow pea they are reasonably sweet and crunchy, so you can eat them raw straight off the plants or put them in a salad.  As the pods get bigger the colour fades to a pale greeny-yellow and they don't taste anywhere near as sweet .  I am told that they are still good for cooking at this stage, but am yet to try it as they are not so good raw so I normally either pick them small or let them go to seed.  Larger pods also start to develop string which is certainly not something that a great snow pea does.  Once the peas start bulging out visibly, you're better off leaving them to develop into seed for next year's crop.

Yellow podded pea foliage, slightly yellow leaves and slightly pink stem
The seeds themselves go through amazing colour changes as they dry out and finish up with speckles and patterns, all different.  I have even had one seed that was completely purple!  I will try my best to grow this purple seed next time and see if that trait continues.  The colours of the seeds are at their most intense a few days after harvest.  They look as though they've been splattered with ink.  The speckles are at their most sharply defined and intensely coloured when the pea is allowed to dry inside the pod, especially those parts which are in physical contact with the pod.  Any parts of the pea which are exposed to air (even inside the pod) develop a softer and more blurry speckling.  You get to see every pea within the pod developing its own unique pattern of coloured speckles while the peas themselves adopt various shades of green or tan.  I think that it is amazing and beautiful.

Yellow snow peas and their flowers - yellow pods are easy to see and harvest

Overall I am happy with this type of snow pea and will continue to grow it unless  something better comes along.  There may be more tasty varieties of snow peas out there, but none I have grown are as beautiful and as productive as these.  As long as we eat them small they taste just as good as any other type of snow pea.
Some of the yellow snow pea seeds

I do sell seeds of the yellow podded snow peas on my for sale page whenever I have some to spare.