Friday, October 9, 2015


Already it is Friday. I would slow the clock down if I could. It has been a nice week though. Spent mostly at home working and not working. I have my scholar at home studying for those all important final HSC exams. I'm glad she has time for a cup of tea on the porch with me in between studying.

Herb garden this morning

The weather has been hot and dry with a day of gusty southerly winds which dropped the temperatures into the teens during the day. I don't mind a reprieve from the mid-30s degC but I really can do without the wind. It is destructive and will hasten the drying out of the grass and pastures. Today it's back to stinging sun and heat.

I'll tell you what does like the heat we have been having. The lavenders and consequently the bees. I also had a close encounter with a brown snake in the vegetable garden this morning and he/she seemed to be enjoying the hot weather too. I've shuffled the chores around now and mowing is at the top of the list. If there is a snake about, I want to be able to see it. This mornings one slithered away and hasn't been sighted since.

Fragrant Cloud

The harsh pruning I gave the roses last year has really seemed to have done them well. They are lush and have some promising looking buds. A couple of varieties are flowering already- Fragrant Cloud, Grace Darling and Knockout. I'd recommend Fragrant cloud, it's big and showy and has an amazing scent. Just how a rose should smell.

I am also making progress on my large cross stitch. I've challenged myself to stitch 100 stitches a day. It sounds like nothing and doesn't look like much progress but it is all I can squeeze into my day at the moment. I have no idea how long it will take to finish but it's not going to be soon. I'll try to remember to post some progress along the way. If I don't it most likely means I have put it aside again. That's me.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Honey Spice Loaf and my weekly meal plan

 Honey Spice Loaf
90 grams butter
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
Preheat oven to 180 deg.C
Grease and line a loaf tin
Melt butter and honey together in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Stirring until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
Stir in flours, sugar, soda, spices then add milk and egg. Stir until well combined.
Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes.
Stand to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack or plate. Let it cool or enjoy warm.
I use honey but golden syrup or the like could easily take its place. 

This cake lasts next to no time here. I made one this afternoon and I don't think it will make it to tomorrow's school lunchbox.

The weekly meal plan this week. I'm taking into account that we are having some warm weather and eating light. I'm glad to say that I have plenty in the garden now unlike the beginning of last month. I have one large pumpkin left from last summer so it needs using very soon (now).

This week in no particular order we will be having:
  • potato and warrigal greens with fenugreek and dahl on the side
  • risotto- either mushroom or honey-baked pumpkin
  • brown rice salad with braised celery
  • roasted pumpkin and onion tart
  • cauliflower and broccoli quiche
  • eggs some way on Sunday
There will definitely be sprouts along the way too. And asparagus every day. It's that time of year.

Edited to add: I'm linking up with Cath@home for her weekly What's for dinner post.

Better get cooking.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunny Sunday

jasmine- divine

It is sunny, it is Sunday and it is hot. Well not summer hot but plenty hot enough in the low 30s degreesC. The sun has some sting too. I am not a fan of really hot weather but I will try not to whinge and whine too much. It doesn't help so why bother?

Flanders poppies

 The warmer days (and nights) and moreover longer day lengths have made all sorts of flowers put on a display. Bees and bugs are busy. I think we will inspect the hives this week sometime just to see how quickly the empty frames are being filled. It really doesn't take bees very long to fill a super when there is a good flow of nectar and conditions are just right.

lavender plus bee

Today I'm doing bits and pieces inside and out. And finding it a little tricky to get my head around the change to the clocks for daylight savings. Didn't help that a cuckoo woke me up at 3:42am.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

catch up FNwF

It has been a while between craft project finishes for me and I'm not sure I would really call knitting a dishcloth a very crafty project but here it is anyway.
I joined in with a number of other crafty types last night for Cheryll's Friday Night with Friends and you can check out everyone's projects by following the link. 

 Now I have one very bright and bold dishcloth ready to brighten the kitchen and wash the dishes.

I didn't get around to any cross stitch. I was tired. I did locate an unfinished project which I think I started early in 2011. It has been so long I can't really remember exactly. I do want to finish it though. I will be stitching for quite a while yet.

 And no art journaling either. I can't locate my felt tip pens which has resulted in some deep cleaning and de-cluttering. It needed doing anyway. I am certain, as my son says, the pens will be in the last place I look.

Thanks Cheryll. I really enjoyed doing some knitting and relaxing a little last night. I can feel my creativity stirring again.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Companion planting and other garden happenings


I've mentioned companion planting on the blog before. I don't practice it with any great zeal or worry too much if I've planted bad neighbours near each other. They either get along or not. I'm sure it works to some extent but perhaps the difference is only between a mediocre harvest or a great harvest or maybe no difference at all in some cases. If you are really keen on using companion planting principles in your garden then a good place to look is the SGA guide. It's comprehensive and set out in quite an easy read table format which I like. Although it is an Australian guide, the suggestions aren't always appropriate for my climate. I don't grow potatoes at the same time as my winter brassicas or peas but they are supposedly good neighbours. The potatoes however don't enjoy the cold winters here which the peas and brassicas do and conversely, the brassicas and peas do not enjoy the summer heat that the potatoes relish in my garden. And that may be the key to it all. What works for you in your climate is the best practice to employ.

I planted out a number of potatoes yesterday and while there may be some self-sown sunflowers nearby I didn't remove them. I did however sow some marigold seeds amongst the potatoes because they are good companions but mostly because I like marigolds and I want my garden full and lush and forest-like this summer. And full of flowers too.

rocket/ arugula


spring onion

There are a number of things flowering in the vegetable garden now. The rocket, some spring onions, coriander, sage, thyme and lavender. I leave most of them alone for as long as I can spare the space. The leaves are for the most part still edible and often the flowers are edible too. The added bonus is that the flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden and they look pretty or at the very least interesting.

I have to say I have been driven to distraction by the computer today. If you are my Facebook friend then you will know I don't actually post very much at all but I do like to 'like' my friends' posts and keep up to date with their happenings. I haven't been able to make it load properly on my computer for a couple of days now. Text only is what I am getting. I've tried all of the tricks and suggestions and I'm ready for a break. Thank goodness for FNwF and spring cleaning and a little bit of yoga. I also planted some Purple King beans to keep my mind on good things instead of technical issues which I have not a clue about.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

After a bit of thinking (yes it does help to do that) about my lack of creativity in the kitchen of late, I realised part of my problem was I had stopped planning my menu. So, after consultation, a list of meals for the week was constructed and voila, I know what to cook and no more of the last minute dilemma of what's for dinner. The best part, I didn't have to think about it really, I just asked everyone else one what they wanted.
Butter tofu, lasagne, zucchini fritters and salad, gnocchi, stir fry. Nothing exotic but tasty, healthy and easy-peasy.
Now I hope that by signing up for Cheryll's Friday Night with Friends I can get back the crafting bug. I'm planning to finish off a dishcloth and then do something in my art journal. If I haven't fallen asleep by then I'll probably do a little cross stitch on my large work in progress. 

I am in love with my garden right now. It is blooming and a treat to be outdoors. None of the taxing sun and heat that is to come (next week it might be a different story).

My track record with tulips is pretty poor. There is no trouble getting the plants to grow but it usually gets hot quickly before they flower. This year when I was planting out some new bulbs I put these ones in a shady spot out of the way and hooray, they are flowering. The reality is, by the time I had planted out the other 200 or so bulbs, I was over it and just dug a trench and dumped the tulips in the garden behind the shed without any thought or care and they repaid my lackadaisical attitude very kindly.

Thank you tulips.

I wish gardening was that easy all the time. I would definitely never fall out of love with my garden if that were the case.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Creativity...where are you?

I've noticed something. Of late I have had very little creativity. No crafting whatsoever and almost zero in the kitchen too. I thought signing up for Cheryll's FNwF a few weeks ago would get me moving but no way. In the kitchen, I am doing what has to be done and that's it. Boring! That's not me. I like to try new things, make things and just generally have fun.

My friend Sue told me in a letter to stop looking for my creativity. It will come back of its own accord. Or not perhaps. I think it might be time to try to force the issue a little.

Joan has said at different times she has "lost her mojo" but always seems to locate it and has plenty to show for her efforts. And don't even talk to me about Shez and Jeanette, they amaze me with their creativity and productivity.

I'm trying a new recipe tonight. A cauliflower and coconut tart. Looks good in the pictures and hopefully does justice to the cauliflower because if I grow something and nurture it then I want to make something special with it (if I can). I've never made a tart base in this manner before so that will get some creativity going in the kitchen or have me offering up eggs on toast if it all goes haywire.
Thanks for reading today and looking at my totally random and unrelated pictures from my time in the garden this morning.