Friday, December 31, 2010

So long 2010

I'm not sure why starting a new calendar and a new year makes such a difference but it always does. Drawing a line under the old year and having a fresh start the very next day. Letting go of the things from the old year that are not the best and resolving to keep going forward with the positive. On that note, I am welcoming 2011. May it be a great year.I probably should have had the heart to pull this compost pumpkin vine out two months ago but I just wanted to see what it would become. Will it be a true to kind variety that we planted last year or will it be a crazy hybrid variety? It is growing well and has huge flowers. It might even be an Atlantic Giant from Hope's plant from last summer.

Crinkles the ram ready for retirement(he doesn't think so)
Just in time for the hot weather we are shearing. The rain has delayed us and we have never sheared this late before. It is hot work but the sheep certainly seem grateful.
I would like to wish all of my friends wherever they may best wishes for a happy 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Heat at last

Summer from the back door
Today we have clear skies and some hot sunshine warming up the soil. It is summery at last. There has been no gradual change to make it easier on the body, it has just been cold one day, hot the next. The soil is very moist so the plants will be relishing the warmth. Todays garden work was done early and now it is inside until the afternoon. I can handle that.

First tomatillo flower
My tomatillo plant has a flower which is quite exciting. I have never grown these before so I'm keen to taste them and experiment a little. I almost pulled this plant out because when young, they are a lot like the awful thorn apple. The leaves however have a slight capsicum-like aroma when bruised whereas the thorn apple smells pungent and horrid so I thankfully left it in situ.

The sunny days are drawing the flowers out of their shyness too. My dahlias are just starting to open up and although they lack perfume, they make up for it with their showy blooms.

I hope the weather is kind at your home too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back to the commonplace

The wonderful hectic pace of pre-Christmas has passed and things are back to the commonplace and common pace of life. Gifts have been exchanged, phone calls made and a large amount of food consumed. Now it is time to go back to normal and prepare for the new year and things to come. My little parcels have been delivered and well received.

Vintage tea towel apron
I can show some of the items that I made. I used a tea towel from my grandmother's vast collection of souvenir tea towels. I think I still have about 30 left from various places she visited in her 86 years. I used this pattern with a few modifications including making the strap in one step with one long strip of fabic rather than the more time consuming steps in the pattern. )I'm lazy, what can I say).

Super quick button rings
I also made a few items of jewellery. Some button rings inspired by some made by Jodie and some very geeky Lego earrings which I didn't take a picture of. The rings took all of about five minutes to make and are super cute. Once Grace and Hope saw them, I had to make them one each too.

Ted, Grace,Hope Kelly, Tom, Me
We spent Christmas Day between home and my parents' home and also on a treasure hunt at the lookout. A fun day but I'm still tired.

Boxing Day everyone descended on our house. Tim worked( and was busy) but the rest of us enjoyed mini pavlovas, scones and tiny chocolate button biscuits with tea or coffee. The girls made a great new friend, my sister's mother-in-law, and spent the morning beading together. There are bracelets galore at our house at the moment.
Today however was much more 'normal'. Gardening, tidying, watching the cricket and relaxing which is how I plan to spend the next few days too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all those who visit. I have enjoyed writing my posts and sharing a little of what happens around our home and farm. I have especially enjoyed making new friends and getting to know some wonderful people through their blogs and via email too.
My sister travelled up from Sydney yesterday and is staying at my parents' home. She didn't come empty handed but gave me these lovely little gingerbread houses. Everyone knows that moving a house is hard work so they arrived in pieces and this afternoon I had the fun job of assembling them. Dessert tonight is sweetly sorted. Thanks Blore aka Kelly.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Crafting

I know I am down to the wire but I am really enjoying making up these little gift bags for my close family. Everything in the bags is hand made by me (except for a little bracelet made by Hope, the resident beading fan). I'm still adding little bits and pieces as they come off the hook, out of the kitchen or as the last seam is sewn. There seems to be a myriad of ideas on the internet which are quick, easy and ever so cute. In return my sisters, my mum and Tim are all making something for me or giving me something repurposed. Apparently one of my sisters thinks that giving me something back that she 'borrowed' when we were in primary school counts. I'm just interested to know what it is and if I ever missed it.

Tomorrow I'm off to town for morning tea with my youngest sister, Kelly. I'm looking forward to it even if the crowds will be a little overwhelming.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Outdoor Gym

No, I didn't brave the inflatable pool structure. That was strictly the domain of the kids at the local pool Christmas party. The water was simply too cold for anyone else.
Today I got my workout in the vegetable garden. I'm completely tuckered out and feeling good about it. I also have some fresh spaces to fill up with more plants.

Much better than a gym. Resistance training, stretching, some modified yoga poses all in the fresh air and thankfully in the sunshine. I'm hoping the sunshine continues for a little longer though every day some clouds build up and threaten more rain. We have rain predicted for Christmas day and beyond. At least our temperatures are predicted to be around the 26degree mark which will be very pleasant.
The weather doesn't matter, my sister is coming for a visit and we will have a merry time.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Yesterday afternoon I picked up my crochet hook and some Nundle Wool Mill wool and tried out Jodie's Christmas Star tutorial. They were fun, they were easy and very quick. The girls have claimed all of the stars I have made so far so I'm going to make a few more for me and also for my sisters.
Yesterday I also received my washer swap parcel. It came from Pixie and I feel very lucky. A sampler of herbal tea, some crnaberry and raspberry tea, a Santa stitchery and a very cute Christmas wash cloth. Thanks Pixie.
I have been sewing and cooking today. The cold weather meant everyone was extra hungry.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feeling Rich

I'm feeling rich. not in a financial sense but my life is feeling full and happy. The kids are at home for the school holidays, Tim has managed to secure the day off work on Christmas Day and things in general are going smoothly. Tiny the newest little lamb is very cute. She has a big voice and will be frolicking with her older siblings soon.
She is only ten days younger than her brother but he is big and she is well...tiny.

I'm also feeling rich because we have an abundance in the garden. The whole meal can be provided from our own produce. Last night I dug some of the Cranberry Red potatoes which make the sweetest pink -tinged mash.

As a treat we even had dessert. A bit slap-dash but chocolate dipped strawberries. The best part is that the biggest eater, Tom, doesn't like strawberries so there was more to go around. There are still plenty in the garden and the peach tree has just started to ripen, yum.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Craft goodies

Earlier in the year I participated in Jodie's washer swap and received a lovely gift from Janice and made a new friend too which was even nicer.

I didn't hesitate the Christmas washer swap and sent away a little Christmassy washer parcel to Fiona. I sent it Tuesday afternoon and it has already arrived so I must say Australia Post have really been working hard. I also sent a tin of tea as that was one of the themes for the swap.
I have also been lucky of late. I entered and won a give away from Kris via Kerryanne's blog.

Here is a close-up picture of the cute little teddy on the table runner. This is a very sweet and easy project. Mine is gracing the coffee table now until after Christmas.
Today we have had more rain and now it is decidedly balmy and sunny. Perfect for gardening so that is what I am going to do.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bits and Pieces.

Whilst in town for an end of year violin concert, I ventured into the greengrocers. I was surprised to see little plastic containers of flowers. There were nasturtiums, pansies, snapdragons, marigolds,fuschias and perhaps a couple of others.

Each little punnet was selling for around the $6.99 mark. If the punnets had 100 grams I would have been surprised which makes flowers at the fruit shop about $70 per kilo.
I've never tried eating snapdragons or fuschia but I will give them a go next time we eat something appropriate to accompany them. Obviously though I am missing out on a gastronomic delight if price is anything to go by. I think however the flowers most likely end up as garnish or as a point of interest in a salad and even then they are quite often left uneaten.

One thing I won't miss out on is strawberries. We are having our second flush from our strawberry plants. The fruits are much bigger than those from a few weeks ago but every bit as tasty and lush. To date I am still waiting for enough of a glut to make some jam. I'm not hopeful of that happening, the adults here are the most guilty of eating the berries before they make it inside.

Our last lamb for the year was born today. Exactly one month after the first for the year. A cute little cross-bred ewe who has been nicknamed Tiny because she is so.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going Nowhere

Last night Grace was supposed to play violin in the orchestra(hence her all black garb) at a church carols service. We made it 15km down the road when we could go no further, the road had been cut by flood waters. This stretch opened up today but 10km further down the main road, it was still shut. Despite the disappointment of the missed carols service, it was nice to go nowhere.
We have been having real treats from the vegetable garden. Baby vegetables. The carrots are really just the result of thinning but they are big enough to eat and very easy to pull with the ground so moist. The beans are babies too and the first I have picked so far this season. Ideally they would have been a little larger but I'm an impatient gardener.
Now, back to the sewing, knitting and my current crafty fad, the very twee crocheted milk jug cover. I'm carrying my little craft bag everywhere and crocheting every chance I get.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I should be doing...

Globe artichoke in flower
is working out in the garden. There is mowing and weeding galore to be done. The recent rains and now warm weather has brought on a flush of growth both wanted and unwanted. The globe artichokes that are left on the plant are starting to display their true thistle nature. They look lovely and have a very delicate perfume but they have to go. They are draining the plant and besides that they are a thistle and have the potential to become a weed if they spread outside the garden.

Corn amongst the weeds
This is one of the beds of sweetcorn. It is hard to find the corn amongst the weeds. It isn't laziness either. I have been busy, it has been too wet and I have been Christmas shopping during the last two days to make sure that when school finishes on Thursday we don't have to be busy.

The end of year always seems to be a busy time anyway. A lot of events scheduled and things to-do. By the end of the week though it will all settle down and we will be in holiday mode. I hope.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to Basics Week 13

My 13th entry for Belinda's Back to Basics Challenge.

Sowing or Planting:
This week there has been zero sowing or planting. It has simply been too wet. There has been quite a bit of sewing though.

  • zucchini
  • lettuce
  • herbs
  • carrots (thinnings aka baby carrots)
  • strawberries
  • cherries
  • mulberries
  • onions

A gang of gruesome cicada shells

Grace and Hope have been harvesting cicada shells too. Last year there were very few around but this year they are in large numbers.

Climbing Princess beans just starting to produce beans.
  • finally went to the kitchen showroom and made our choices. New year, new kitchen.
  • looking into purchasing some more registered suffolk ewes and a new ram next year


  • a lot of craft for gifts and for fun
  • logging up learner driver hours so our son can get his driver's licence
  • house painting is officially half finished (the weather has been against us all the way)


  • attended community Christmas tree lighting and met some new neighbours


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plaiting and patchwork

I have had a lovely weekend at home. With cricket cancelled yesterday and Tim on his four days off from work, it meant we were all home together for the whole weekend with nowhere to go and it was such a treat. Everyone had their own little projects going on but we were together. Grace is origami crazy right now and Hope spends her spare time beading. Tom is having a couple of weeks of lighter study before really cracking down for his last year of high school in 2011. Tim spent most of the weekend feeling poorly with his ear but is hopefully getting better now just in time to go back to work on Tuesday. I made a few things. One was the Joy Quiltlet above.

I have made this pattern quite a few times now and it really is quick to make up and ever so sweet. This one is off to a lovely lady in Queensland as part of a Christmas swap. I'm still working on a few Christmas gifts for family members and as they read this blog(but lurk behind the scenes and never comment), I won't show them until after the 25th.
This afternoon I have been plaiting garlic. I still have about 150 bulbs of garlic to go. I don't know if I do it properly but it works for me. I just plait them up like a French braid, adding a new bulb with each plait. They hang in the laundry which doesn't have a window and in the past, have lasted about 8 months before sprouting. We love garlic and go through at least a bulb every week.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 4 of Advent

Today I am not going to harp on about the weather. It is still raining but I enjoyed it. I have stayed inside (after morning chores), done some craft and sewing, cooked a little and looked after Tim who is nursing an ear infection and we even found enough time to have a nap. It was a perfect day for it.

This is a very poor quality picture of my favbourite Christmas decoration. It is the first one that I ever owned. It was given to me by my penfriend, Nena, back in the 1980s. It is a little plastic snowflake and is a little treasure because it came from a good friend.

I hope everyone is having a lovely pre-Christmas season whatever the weather. Tonight we will be watching one of our favourite Christmas movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. My all time favourites though are the claymation films from the 1960s.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Festive Trees

We had a fun night at the lighting of the community Christmas tree. The weather held off and the night went off without a hitch. It is however raining again today. I do like a pretty Christmas tree and although I like the lights on ours, it would never win any prizes. It is a one of a kind though, a patchy old artificial tree with a lot of homemade ornaments. The kids love it and I don't want to change it either.

While the weather was fine and I was in town, Hope, Grace and I enjoyed the jacarandas which are in bloom. At the moment they are a perfectly festive looking tree which needs absolutely no added decoration. My jacaranda is only just starting to flower. We are 50km from town and about a month behind as far as flowering goes. It's amazing what adifference 50km and some hills and valleys make to the climate. I have seen a few people around town sweeping up the fallen jacaranda petals (and they haven't seemed to be happy about it either). I actually love the purple carpet that they lay, a perfect place for a picnic(when the ground isn't so wet).

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The Christmas tree lights that I wrote about yesterday are up on the tree. They are fragile as I mentioned and each year I am always a little nervous about turning them on. Maybe they aren't the safest option. This year I will have them tested to make sure they are ok from a safety standpoint. One thing is for sure, I can't replace the bulbs.

I have never seen bulbs like these ones in the shops. The string of lights feature a snowman, kewpie doll, the scary clown pictured above, humpty dumpty, some birds and candles. I have looked around a little online and found some similar bulbs and I was shocked at the price. I don't think I should have these lights anywhere near the tree that the cat likes to play in.

On to the title of the post. Waterlogged. That is what my young nectarine trees are. They are dropping leaves and looking poorly to say the least. Last year they were planted out in the winter and had to deal with scorching temperatures, dust storms, hot winds and locust once spring and summer arrived. This year, the soil is sodden and causing them to turn up their toes.

The ground just can't handle anymore water so it is not draining away. I am going back outside now in between showers to dig a small drainage trench in hopes of moving some of the water away from the roots.
Then tonight is day two of our advent activities. We are going to the community Christmas tree lighting after orchestra rehearsal.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Summer Advent

Today is the first day of summer but this is what it looks like out the back today. Cool and very wet. A good day for indoor pursuits which is exactly what I have been up to. I have done some online shopping which I must say is more pleasant than battling for a car parking space and much easier than the Woolworths self-serve checkout.

I also retrieved the storage tub of Christmassy things from the shed in readiness for the girls when they arrive home from school. They are very keen to embrace the Christmas season and all it means in seriousness and in fun. I have seen that many people are starting their advent activities and calendars and we are no different. The kids all have handmade calendars and the girls also have shop bought ones too because one just isn't enough. I have made one for me and Tim too which involves things we can do together and as a family rather than a little bit of chocolatey goodness everyday. Tomorrow we are going to the community Christmas tree lighting and tonight we will be decorating our own Christmas tree.

Tim is the one with the required patience for untangling lights that really weren't tangled before they went in the box. I'm not sure he will appreciate this picture of him online but I think he looks cute anyway. These are my favourite Christmas lights. They belonged to my great aunt and are quite old. They are made of rather ornate glass and are scarily fragile. They remind me of childhood visits to her home and actually of being quite bored while we visited but I love them. When they are up on the tree, I will post a picture which I'm sure will not do them justice.

I have been using the wet weather day to get some sewing done too but that is all top secret for now.

I hope the Christmas season is happy and fun.