Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some days

Some days I don't feel much like having a never ending list of chores to do. I don't want to have to feed the chooks, check the sheep, drive to violin lessons, wash up, make beds, iron etc. I just want to have nothing to do. It never happens, there is always something that requires attention. I guess today is one of those days where I don't feel much like having responsibilities. I am doing my chores though and I will definitely feel better once they are finished. Actually, I feel better already.

Georgie looking a little tired
Georgina, one of our oldest ewes had a new lamb last night. I was really hoping for a little female but true to form, Georgie delivered a strong little ram lamb. Only one this year.

Hope has named him Gallifrey and by the look of him so far, he will be a nice looking suffolk so he will remain a ram and be sold for breeding.

I am going to log off the computer now, get my jobs done for the day and then maybe just maybe do a little bit of nothing.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to Basics Week 12

Week 12 of recording what has been happening around Sunny Corner Farm and garden thanks to Belinda.
  • 2 mini white cucumbers
  • 2 rows sweetcorn Honey and Cream F1
  • 2 rows radish Cherry Belle
  • 1 row lettuce Reine des'glaces
  • 1 African horned cucumber
  • 3 rows Indian ornamental corn
  • mixed button squash
  • 1 green river cucumber
  • 1 rockmelon Hearts of Gold


  • Chillies- Bell, Paprika, Black Pearl,Rocotillo, jalapeno
  • Tomatoes- Gippsland seeds heirloom mixed, Diggers 5 colour mixed
  • 3 Tomatillo
  • 2 Black Beauty eggplant
  • 2 rosita eggplant
  • 8 mixed capsicums
  • 6 Lebanese eggplants


  • garlic
  • red onions
  • lettuce
  • herbs
  • broad beans
  • cauliflower
  • cherries
  • mulberries
  • strawberries
  • parsnips
  • still planning a new kitchen
  • organising Christmas and birthday gifts
  • thinking about Jodie's swap


  • making gifts
  • making Tim's Advent calendar
  • baking
  • weeding
  • mowing
  • milking
  • online shopping


  • Freecycle old school uniforms
  • gave a tray of seedlings to Tim to plant at work


Friday, November 26, 2010

Gardening Day

Just as I suspected, I didn't have as much success on the shopping front as I would have liked but there is still time.
Today was a day. I did do some inside work first- I washed the lounge and hall walls. Then I went outside for some sun, fun and exercise. The sunflowers are starting to bloom and are just, well, so sunny. These ones are near the shed the ewes and lambs spend the night in and under constant threat from a mother sheep who might get her head throught the fence.

I harvested one third of the garlic today which was about 70 bulbs. I haven't weighed it yet but we should have enough garlic for the year and some to give away too. The two beds where the garlics were are now weeded and ready for some more planting. It was a great day. Tim and I were home together and working together.

It's amazing what a difference a week can make. This is one of the little lambs born last Friday afternoon. She is a lovely little girl and because she looks so nice will probably be registered as a stud breeding ewe.
Cricket tomorrow, The Ashes and the 14Bs. Another great day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pausing before the rush

Today has been one of those days where the weather was right, the mood was right and the timing was right. I seemed to acheive a lot. It is however just a pause in a busy week in a busy time of year.

Tomorrow I am going into town bright and early to not only do my Christmas shopping but I have to do some birthday shopping too. We still have five birthdays to celebrate before years end and two of those are on Christmas day. The food isn't a problem, I have a turkey,a duck and a leg of lamb in the freezer and the vegetable garden is really earning its keep. I'm looking forward to the festivities of the Christmas season and spending the day with my parents and sister.

Perella Rougette Montpellier lettuce

The lettuce is lush right now. It is nice to not be relying on the store bought iceberg. I actually like the crunchy iceberg type of lettuce but sometimes the shop lettuces are a bit insipid. I have my lettuce growing with the carrots. I"m not sure if companion planting is fact, fiction or a bit of both but I do try to grow good companions near each other. It seems to work so I just keep doing it.

This is the first zucchini almost ready to eat. This one will noy make it to maturity, it is destined for our plates very soon. At least two members of the household have missed zucchini. The kids can take it or leave it.I love it. I am adding some squash seeds to my shopping list for tomorrow because I don't have any and I love it too.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baking Day

The fourth Tuesday of November is my local CWA cooking competition. I don't enter the baking usually but I might have a go next year. The kids have been entering since 2000 and usually have a little success. The reward though is definitely in the task for them. They have the fun of baking and any items not up to the exacting standards of the CWA, become dessert or a lunchbox treat.

This year Hope had to make meringues. Six snowy meringues that are meant to be about 4cm in diameter. We didn't measure them but we did taste some and they were winners in our house. A little whipped cream, some strawberries and mulberries on top and we had mini-pavlovas for dessert last night.
Grace had to make Rock Cakes. I'm not sure but I think the age groups may have been mixed up because the meringues were the more difficult recipe but had to be made by the younger children.

I don't attend the CWA meetings often as Tuesdays are busy for me with a lot of driving. I can however recommend membership to the organisation to any ladies out there who have contemplated joining. The title "Not All Tea and Scones" is right.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to Basics Week 11

Thanks to Belinda, here is my Back to Basics post for the 11 th week. Time has really flown.

Sowing and Planting
There hasn't been very much sowing or planting this week at all. I did put in a few more dahlia tubers but that is about it. Very lazy this week.

  • lettuce
  • broad beans
  • strawberries
  • herbs
  • onions
  • flowers


  • deciding on whether to install a new kitchen or not. The quote for a new kitchen was $8030 which is apparently fairly reasonable.
  • writing lists and checking them twice


  • mowing
  • general sheep farm activities
  • finished mulching the entire orchard
  • house painting (This was Tim actually, I was busy mulching)
  • working on secret handmade gifts.

Lambs aren't the only new babies on the farm. We have one lonely turkey chick this year. I am hopeful that there is time for another clutch to hatch out because this little baby has a name and his/her destiny doesn't involve the freezer. I'm hoping it is a her.


  • Freecycled my old breadmaker


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The weekend

This weekend passed by in a flurry of activity. Cricket on Saturday, a party on Sunday and the usual hubbub of homelife in between.

Tim finally finished painting the back verandah so I thought it was fitting to make sure the kitchen window was shiny and clean so I could enjoy looking at the fresh paint (and the view).

I always love standing at the sink and day dreaming a little while washing up. Ofcourse it does lose its appeal late in the afternoon in the summer when the sun is setting over the mountains and it is very hot.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Home Alone

This afternoon my nearest and dearest are all heading off to the cinema to see the newest Harry Potter movie. I am not a fan of the cinema. Never have been, I don'tlike the smell of the movie popcorn (they love it) and I always get a bit fidgety when I have to sit still for too long. I can't even remember the last time I went to the movies. Movies at home are ok for me because I can talk, I can sew or I can just get up and walk away.

I have been enjoying a little rest indoors because it is very windy this afternoon and decided to finish off a few sewing projects. Grace asked me to make her a group of Babushka dolls from this book. They really are a cinch to make up.I just have to jazz them up a bit with some beads and buttons and they are done.
On the afternoon shift at home I also got to watch these two little ladies come into the world. Their mother had been waddling around for the past week looking like she might pop.

This is one reason why we chose Suffolk sheep as the breed for us. Black lambs. They are especially cute. The two lambs born a couple of days ago are only cross-bred lambs but purebred suffolks are born black and over time grow white wool on their bodies whilst their faces and legs remain black.
I am also on fox and crow alert. Foxes and crows love vulnerable little lambs. I guess they must eat too but not these babies thank you.
Bye for now,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Novelty Gardening

My bath tub rice 'paddy'

Every year I try to grow something that I haven't grown before. Sometimes the new plants are a success, sometimes a failure. Sometimes they are a one off and sometimes they become a favourite. I have grown peanuts and popcorn which we always plant now even if they don't offer a lot for the space they take up.

This season's novelty in the garden is my rice 'paddy'. I am growing rice in an old cast iron bath tub. So far so good. It sprouted well and has been enjoying the wet weather and the resulting humidity. I don't think my bath tub rice growing experiment will revolutionise the Australian rice industry but it adds an element of interest to the garden.

My steps to start the rice were:
1. Fill an old tub with compost and soil.
2. Soak some brown rice for about 12 hours. Organic rice is probably the best as it may be the least processed.
3.Water the tub until it is sodden and then scatter the soaked rice on top.
4. The rice sprouted in a few days and has been growing nicely since.

Just like all gardeners, I am hopeful of a bumper crop but even one head of rice will be nice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lambs at Foot

This morning Brenda, the black sheep of our flock, decided it was the right time to deliver her twin lambs. They are ofcourse cute even though they have the speckly, not sure if I am black, grey, white or somewhere in between colouring of a suffolk cross sheep.

We have no first time mothers this year so I am quietly hopeful of a fuss free lambing season.
I am grateful that the lambs didn't start to arrive yesterday when the weather was so unwelcoming for a newborn.

Veering off in a totally different direction, I finished the crocheted milk jug cover last night just before closing my eyes for bed. I was determined to have it done and it is. I'm now going to start one in a different colour and different pattern. I like to use them when we have tea parties. They seem very quaint and old fashioned but add a nice touch to the table.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The weather

From the back verandah

So far this month we have had 150mm of rain. There have been a few big down pours but mostly it has been steady rain that stops you from getting things done outdoors. I am definitely not going to complain about the weather, I am just going to put on a rain jacket, some boots and a smile and go outside and pull the weeds which are loving the wetness.

Usually this kind of weather makes my heart sing because it is a treat to be able to stay inside and attend to more craft related pursuits. I will get to those later though. I am working on a crocheted milk jug cover which Istarted at cricket on Saturday. I only have 1.5 rounds to go so I am determined to have it finished today.
Anyway, I am going to make the most of the soft soil and oull out those pesky weeds.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Afternoon in Town

As I posted yesterday, I did spend Sunday afternoon in town. I met up with my parents for afternoon tea at a new cafe. I have been there twice before and it has a lovely atmosphere as well as reasonable prices and a decent cup of tea or coffee. The building is lovely without even going inside. The last time I went into this building before it was a tea house, it was an op shop/ thrift store run by a church group. I liked it then too. The owners have transformed it and it has a lovely courtyard and garden out the back where it is a delight to sit and sip.
After a relaxing afternoon tea we spent a couple of hours enjoying classical music. The program was entertaining with a mixture of orchestral music, piano, a string quartet and a choir. Although my daughter's both play violin and Grace the piano as well, classical music is not my favourite genre. I did enjoy the break from my usual mix of country and 1980s treasures.

Since we started keeping bees, I have been more aware of bees in general. I often spot hives whereas before I probably would not have noticed them. When my son, Tom, did his first bout of fire fighting training two weeks ago, I noticed a hive in the carpark and it was still buzzing away busily on the weekend when he completed his training. It is a litle hard to tell but there are bees entering and exiting the small gap in the wood.

This hive is in this tree right in the middle of a carpark. It is less than a metre off the ground and the bees seem completely happy to be there. The tree doesn't seem to mind being in the middle of the asphalt either despite its rather tragic haircut.

Back to Basics Weeks 9 & 10

With the computer out of action, I missed a week posting but I will catch up here.

Sowing or Planting:
  • Beans-Ying Yang
  • Beetroot, mixed variety from New Gippsland seeds
  • Sweetcorn 5 rows
  • Pumpkin- Marina di chioggia

Planted out some of the tomato seedlings. There are 25 plants in the garden now with more to plant out.


  • strawberries
  • broad beans (they are large now and need to be shelled)
  • lettuce
  • onions
  • wet garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • mulberries
  • herbs
  • flowers

Ying Yang bean seeds

  • Had the kitchen measured up for installing a new kitchen in the (hopefully) not too distant future
  • Thinking about The Anyway Project
  • Thinking about new ways to house the poultry sitting on eggs as we lost a clutch of eggs due to wet weather.


  • Setting up yards and shedding for the ewes for lambing due to start this week


  • My son finished his initial training as a volunteer fire fighter
  • potted up tomato and borage plants for my husband to plant at work
  • gave an impromptu tour and talk about our orchard


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dining Out

Tom enjoying his slow-cooked rabbit
Sometimes we make the most of a situation like being stuck in town waiting for our daughter to arrive back from a whirlwind orchestra tour and go out for dinner in a real restaurant. There were only the two adults and the almost grown up so we went to the local French style restaurant.
Tim chose the confit duck. This was my favourite of the three meals. The braised red cabbage in particular was delicious.

My choice was chicken. It was nice but I'm not enamoured with fruit (raspberry sauce) and meat together. It is probably a reflection of my humble tastes rather than a reflection on the dish.

I love the presentation of restaurant fare. The plate isn't over-crowded with a healthy amount of vegetables and it is obvious that attention is paid to devouring with the eye before a bite has even been taken.

To keep a good thing going, I am going to a cafe for a treat this afternoon while waiting for the next leg of the orchestra concert tour. As I am still recovering from last nights rich meal, I think peppermint tea will be the order of the day.
Take care,

Friday, November 12, 2010

First Tomato of the Season

This slightly anaemic offering was picked yesterday. It tasted delicious but that could have been more a mind-trick than an actual taste sensation.

I have no idea what type of tomato this is, it grew up over winter underneath my blood orange tree. It is most likely a garden hybrid and has the hybrid vigour which allowed it to survive our frosty winter. Hybrid or treasured heirloom variety, it is still our first tomato of the season and deserved a bit of special treatment. I simply sliced it up, served it with crackers and homemade Camembert. It was nice to have a hint of the summery things to come although the
tomatoes planted by me will be a little while yet before they have anything to offer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Colour is Back in Our Diet

Recently we have been mostly relying on the garden for our vegetable component of our meals. The odd bag of potatoes or carrots have been bought from the greengrocer but most days our meals are built around what we have growing rather than buying what we need/want to make a meal. This has meant we have had a decidedly green diet as far as vegetables go. Well, the colour drought is now over. We are picking a lot of strawberries and the mulberry tree is heavy with fruit at various degrees of ripeness and the first tomato came off the bush yesterday.

Eating from the garden and planning meals based on what is in season not just locally but right here on our property, means that we are eating it as fresh as can be and that we are saving money. It also makes the tastes you have been missing taste that much sweeter when they arrive. I am very much looking forward to the summer crops which we haven't had for so long.
Maintaining enough fruit in our diets from within our own boundary is a while off for us. Our trees and bushes do provide some but they are not mature enough to fulfil our daily quota. We are trying though.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back online

Iam back online after taking the 'old' computer to the shop and finding out it is beyond repair. I thought all was lost for my relationship with the internet but it turns out that it was simple to fix. My son's laptop can plug into the satellite connection easily. I was never without internet, I was just without knowledge to connect to it. There are some advantages to being stranded in a world without the world wide web. I have been very busy around the house. I made some log cabin quilt blocks for a swap on my yahoo patchwork group.
Had a few tea parties with loved ones.

Worked hard in the garden. Mulching, weeding, planting and ridding the potato patch of the dreaded leaf-eating ladybird.

At times, I have been sitting and pondering and planning. This is my favourite spot in the vegetable garden to rest. It used to be a wasted space with the huge rocks we couldn't move just sitting there. Now it has a mandarin tree in the centre and some lavenders to make it look pretty (the lavenders are larger than the mandarin as yet but it will win the race in the end).
What I have missed while offline, is visiting the blogs that I enjoy, especially those of people who I now think of as real friends.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Computer Woes

Yesterday morning when I turned on the computer, it was very uncooperative. I am writing this wee post on my son's computer at McDonalds where there is free internet.

Hopefully I can have the computer problems sorted sooner rather than later but not having the distraction certainly does get some chores crossed off the to-do list.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

A new quilt in the making

I have decided to follow along Christy's Fifty States Quilt. This week the featured block is Alabama and I will make it up over the weekend or maybe tomorrow if I have time.

Today it has been lovely outside. Just the right kind of day for toiling in the soil. Not too hot and not too cold, just right. I put an older picture up of one of one of my dahlias, Lemon Snow, because for one thing, that is what I was planting today, dahlia tubers and also because I have flat batteries in my camera.

I was unaware of how much I use the camera until the batteries went flat and now I know. I am at a loss. There have been so many little bits of every day life that I have wanted to preserve for posterity and all I can do is file them away in my mind where they will be lost. When digital cameras first came on to the scene, I was adamant that I wouldn't buy one but I relented and I am so glad I did. Digital photography takes away the need for economy with film and it so easy to delete the lesser quality images and even improve those that nbeed improving.

Hopefully Tim will be home from town tonight with fresh batteries and it will be allsystems go tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Family History Workshop

My Great Grandmother
Today my local library hosted a workshop on indigenous family history. I went along because I enjoy history in general and exploring my family history in particular. Like a lot of Australians, I have a varied and rich family history featuring convicts and immigrants. I also have an indigenous famliy history via my paternal grandmother.
The State Library ran the workshop which focused on the services they offered and also other research tools. The afternoon was interesting and although I already knew about most of the resources available, it was good to meet some others who are interested in the same thing. It has also sparked my interest again to do a little more research.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spring Cleaning- The lounge room

Yesterday as it was the first day of the last month of spring, I thought it was just about time to start spring cleaning. If I wait too much longer, it couldn't be called spring cleaning at all.

I always start in the lounge room because that is where out fireplace is. Having a fire is nice and cosy all winter long but it does mean more dust. Every week, things get the once over as far as dusting goes but once the fire is out for the season, I like to give everything a good going over. I may have been a little premature because this morning the temperatures were down in the single digits.
I had a little help from Hope tidying up the bookshelves. They were a tad overcrowded and we have all been gulity of shoving books back any which way rather than putting them away properly. Still, I am going to procure another bookshelf to make things a little easier.

For anyone who is interested, these are some other areas of our lounge room. I bought this old Singer sewing machine with some money I made from sewing a few years ago. It doesn't see anymore sewing but the treadle has been part of a few games involving trains. I finished the blue cross stitch in 1993 and it is still one of my favoutites.

This corner is next to the fire place so it does get very dusty. It is an old hutch which my sister gave me. It was storing a mish-mash of items but I am going to put my vases in there now so they are easier to reach and they might make a pretty display too. The sewing boxes on the left which I have bought over the years from op/thrift shops house all kinds of sewing notions.
Yesterday the lounge room, today the dining room.

Back to Basic Week 8

Only a day late this week and I have an excuse. We had a heavy storm pass over yesterday which dumped 48mm of rain, blew a gail and had thunder and lightning too.
Sowing and Planting

  • 6 Hidcote lavenders
  • Westringia Winyabbie gem
  • 6 gypsophila
  • purple petunias
  • pink rosemary
  • African daisy
  • lobelia
  • 6 red carnations
  • Coleonema alba
  • lemon variegated thyme


  • flowers(roses in particular)
  • broad beans
  • cauliflower
  • herbs
  • lettuce
  • strawberries (they are just starting and so far none have made it out of the garden to the kitchen)
  • water (lots of rain)

  • looking at a course to start next year
  • refreshing the budget


  • spring cleaning
  • mulching
  • weeding
  • mowing


  • gave away a few things via Freecycle
  • 2 bags to charity

New skill

  • learner driver education. I really don't like doing this but my son needs to build up his driving hours.