Monday, May 31, 2010

Wet weather gardening

The wet weather has really penetrated the depths of the garden soil. Not like those showers that just settle the dust. Once the sun emerges from behind the cloud cover again, everything should really take off.
The broadbeans are coming along nicely and I will sow a successive crop soon. They are a favourite here.

This picture doesn't do justice to the cute little lettuce- Freckles. It is a bit overshadowed by the dill too.

There are still some potatoes in the garden. Despite already having a number of frosts, this purple congo variety are still putting on growth.

This is my meagre harvest of turmeric. I have grown it for a couple of years now after Julie sent me some tubers. I think I will only dry and grind one tuber and save the rest for next year. I am in an area that has hot dry summers and quite cold winters so not ideal for growing this type of plant but I won't let that stop me. The scent of the turmeric freshly dug is quite intense and conjures up pictures of spicy curries.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Practical Crafts

In 2008, Grace attended a workshop as part of her classes work on river health. Although their focus was on frogs, she made a nest box for a micro bat. I thought it was a nice thing to hang in the tree and at the most, only expected spiders and insects to take up residence. So, it was with great surprise that we found a micro bat roosting in there. How it knew it was a box made just for that purpose I have no idea. How it found it I also can't fathom. Now I would like to make some more for other trees on the property.

The cold, rainy weather is great for knitting. I have started on some socks with some cheap wool I bought from Spotlight. I'm hoping to have them ready before I head off to Armidale next month so my feet are toasty. I don't knit a lot but when I do pick it up I always wonder why I don't do more of it. It is relaxing , productive and very often produces a practical result.
So, no more computer today, socks are waiting.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Home Meat Production

Today was a meat 'harvesting' day. There is a duck in the freezer now waiting to grace our table. We have butchered sheep and poultry ourselves but have had beef professionally done because they are too large for us to handle . Sheep provide many meals from the one animal and are definitely worth the effort. Poultry on the other hand is very labour intensive and it takes about the same time to dress a duck as it doea to dress a lamb.Poultry are also more labour intensive on a day-to-day basis. Sheep don't require daily feeding and watering (not here anyway). Ofcourse once it is lambing time and shearing time, I might tell a different tale. It is good to know that the duck had a good life and was well fed but I just wish they didn't have so many little feathers.
It is all worth it when you can have homegrown, homemade duck ragu. This was the offering from our last duck. Unfortunately it coincided with my pasta machine being jammed so it was store bought pasta. Delicious just the same.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Biggest Morning Tea Month

For the past three years, my son has hosted a Biggest Morning Tea to raise funds for the Cancer Council. This year however we have done things a little differently. Instead of having only one big morning tea and collecting donations, we have made little donations ourselves every time we have had a special sit-down morning/afternoon tea together. So for the month of May, our donation box has been steadily filled.
This morning we had herb tea with some warm fudge friands. Usually I would use the espresso machine and make a cappuccino but the muffins are so rich and decadent that I thought a lighter beverage would be a healthier alternative.

I like to take a traditional approach and dust with icing sugar and have some fresh cream on the side. On the other hand, there is Hope who insists that I have what she calls spray cream (whipped cream in a can)in the house just for her consumption.
Bon appetit

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Beautiful Day

The weather here today is beautiful. The temperature is in the low teens, it is raining and there is some mist and low level cloud. My favourite kind of weather. Once the morning outside chores of feeding the poultry and checking the rain gauge were done, we were able to stay inside close to the fire. I have been perusing the catalogue from Heritage Fruit Trees too to buy some replacement apple trees for the ones lost to the grasshoppers last spring/summer. I am ever hopeful especially inthe garden and am willing to try again after a set back. I just love some of the names of the old type of apple trees and may even choose some based on their name alone.
I did pop down to the vegetable garden during a break in the showers. The asparagus is ready to go to bed for the winter. Although the vegetable garden isn't providing as much for the kitchen as it was even a month ago, there is still enough for us. The variety is just limited. We have plenty of rocket, turnip, lettuce, swiss chard, kohl rabi and still capsicums and chillies. The flavour of the month here is kohl rabi, delicious.

Thanks you for the comments about yesterdays post. The cakes definitely had too much baking soda as they tasted quite metallic. Puss isn't apologetic at all about using the dining table but wanted to say hello anyway.

I'm off to town this afternoon for Grace's violin lesson although it will be hard to leave home.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Painting A Pretty Picture

I have been told by people in the know, that I tend to paint a more rosy picture on this blog than what actually goes on in real life. Ofcourse I don't lie or fib but I probably do leave out the things that are not successful or as nice. I don't really know whay anyone would want to read the good let alone the bad. To prevent further rebuking from my husband and sisters, I will show some of the minor hiccups we have from time-to-time.

Thankfully, I can't take credit for this wee baking mishap. Hope was given free range to cook a batch of patty cakes alone on the weekend. Grace helped her with the oven and made sure the measurements were accurate. So I guess it was just a bad recipe. I did taste the cakes and I think there was too much baking soda in them and as the recipe did say 1 tablespoon, maybe it was the recipes fault. The chooks didn't mind them though.

I do love my pets but when I found this photo on my camera, I realised that I don't love them as much as my children do. While Grace was working on her science at the kitchen table, she allowed Puss to drink the water from the candle bowl. I'm not sure I would accept a dinner invitation to my house. Apparently this wasn't the first time it had happened.

I'm off to clean the table,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I can't juggle

I have been missing on the blogging front because I can't juggle and I dropped the ball. I was trying to do too much at the same time and something had to take a back seat. It was blogging. I still got school done, gardening, cooking, driving and all of the other day-to-day tasks but not the blog. Hopefully I can keep on top of it now.

There have been a lot of birds using the bird baths lately. This week we had out first frost so soon the birds will have to wait for the sun to make it over the hill or crack the ice for a bath and drink.
Todays loaf of Spelt bread
I have been on a bit of a bread making kick too. I've borrowed all sorts of library books on bread and dough and am really keen to make a few more loaves. I also got a cooking thermometer for Mother's Day today so my cheesemaking will be a little easier. I'm going to put up a batch of Camembert on Wednesday morning (when I have enough milk).
Bye for now,