Monday, August 29, 2011

Still Twitching

My eye is still twitching every so often so my self-imposed computer exile was not necessary. There are however advantages from taking a holiday from technology not the least of which is making headway on to-do lists and just plain getting things done. I do miss reading the happenings in blogland. So, I am back online.

Now a dirty filled bathtib is not the most exciting thing to look at but I'm excited about what is in there. Last year I grew rice in this tub and this year I have planted and replanted many times in my mind until I have finally decided what to put in. It is another experiment and when it gets up and going properly, I'll share. Until then, it is under wraps.

Citrus is at the fore right now. Lemons, lemonades and mandarins. The mandarin tree is just by the front gate which makes for easy lunchbox filling on the way to school. I picked a full basket of lemons this morning and plan to make some cordial later and also some lemon butter. There is also a rogue lime in the basket. I have gone over that tree at least four times and every time I miss fruit. This one I couldn't miss, it has been on the tree so long that it is yellow and was very noticible amongst the greenery. The two orange fruit are from a roadside gleaning last Thursday. They smell like oranges but the juice and flesh is quite sour. Well, they are now in some citrus and poppy seed biscuits.

Even the peas are looking a little citrusy. These are a yellow podded pea . A variety I haven't grown before and as the peas are all a little late this year due to our cooler winter, I haven't tasted it yet either so I can't report on it other than it is a nice compact bush with lovely purple flowers and pretty pods.


Friday, August 19, 2011

A Break is in Order

I am taking a wee break from most things computer related. I will check my emails but not much more than that for a short time (hopefully). I have had a twitching eye for almost three weeks and it is vexing me to say the least. I am pinning my hopes on a break from the flickering small screen of the computer righting it.
Until next time,

Monday, August 15, 2011


The black mulberry is full of buds. I hope that they will be safe from the cold weather that we still have left this winter. The white mulberry lags behind this tree and isn't showing any signs of baby mulberries or leaves as yet. The mulberry is always the first to offer some signs of spring in the orchard. I have seen along the road on my way to town, many trees in full blossom but in our little valley, the spring comes a little later and so we don't have any blossoms just yet. They will appear in their own time. We can manipulate things on a small scale like sowing seeds early in heated seed trays but in the overall scheme of things, as a gardener and as a farmer, you are dictated to by nature and the weather. Everything has it's season.

I am adoring my daphne bush right now. It is such an unobtrusive little shrub and really unless you look at the blooms up close, it could be overlooked. That is when the scent comes in. It has the most intoxicating perfume which belies it's humble looks.

I especially like daphne because it is the plant that Tim bought for me when our son was born. I know that a bunch of flowers is romantic in many women's hearts but for me a lovely plant that can keep on giving speaks love to me.


Friday, August 12, 2011

On My Mind- Finances

Finances are on my mind today. Not in a worrying kind of way, just wondering. What is happening with the economy and what it means to people? The media is full of stories of doom and gloom for the economy not just of Australia but the world but I'm not sure what impact it has on most people in their day-to-day life.

My aim is to stay unaffected by any downturn that eventuates. Spend less, grow more and stay happy living simply (well as simply as possible).

This is the first time I have joined Rhonda's On My Mind Friday so I am hoping I have linked up properly.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Turnip Soup

I have mentioned the humble turnip before and that I am a fan. I think it is often overlooked because many don't really know what to do with it. Yesterday I pulled a few out of the garden and whipped up a quick, easy and oh so delicious soup. The colour is bland but the flavour and creaminess is sublime. Turnip Soup


1kg turnips, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic

30 grams butter

500mL stock


Saute the garlic and turnip gently in the butter until the garlic is cooked.

Add the stock and bring to the boil.

Turn down heat and simmer until the turnip is tender.

Puree and serve.

It is as simple as that. It might be necessary to adjust the consistency after the soup has been pureed and this can be done with water until it is just right for you. A little cream can be stirred in too.

The soup bug has really bitten here.

Beetroot Soup

I made beetroot soup this morning and also a batch of nettle soup. I love the colour of the beetroot soup and it looks just right in my tea cup. Bold and hearty. Both are in the freezer for when the mood strikes. This usually means an easy lunch for Tim and myself when we have been working on the property and I don't have the time for elaborate preparations. Besides that, apart from Grace, the kids are not fans of soup so we tend to eat it when they are not here.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Doing nothing much

This morning I slept in. I was awake at 4:30am when it was time for Tim to get ready for work but I went back to sleep until 8am. It is a rare thing for me. I am and always have been very much a morning person. Up and at 'em before light and asleep by 8:30pm. It is just the way I like it. Today however I have been having a bit of a lazy day and have only done the essentials and taken some time out to peruse the farm and garden and to read too. I am currently reading "The Dirty Life" by Kristen Kimball. It is a book that speaks to me, farming and falling in love all between the covers of one book. What's not to like? This lettuce Freckles is looking lovely. I have seeds for iceberg lettuce and I do grow them and sometimes I even buy them from the shop but I just love the names and variety available to the home gardener. Where else can I have a smorgasbord of lettuce in one salad without a monumental price tag? Different lettuce varieties really do have their own distinct flavour and crunch.

Purple podded peas. These are just coming into bloom and hopefully there will be some little purple pods to bring into the kitchen soon. Peas are one of my favourite vegetables and I am looking forward to them eagerly. This variety even has the added charm of a slight scent to the flowers best described I think as just a hint of sweet pea.

The snow peas while still pretty look to me more like they mean business. They are here to grow and flower and produce delicious pods. This is from a dwarf variety which is currently covered in blooms and some very tiny little pods for those who take the time to look carefully.

The bees never avoid their tasks. Their lives are short so they have no time to waste. Not in a rush but focused on their life's purpose.The rosemary which is covered in flowers seems to be a favoured spot today for some. Where the other thousands visit, I do not know.

So today while am in the process of doing nothing much, I still hope to achieve a little. A restful attitude, a tidy and happy home, some gardening progress and some fun.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

River Cottage Bread- Focaccia

I have three school lunches to pack every weekday so it is not surprising that I use quite a bit of bread. I do buy bread but I truly love the aroma and taste of homemade bread. It is particularly good still warm from the oven and in fact very hard to resist. Last year I purchased the River Cottage Bread cookbook. I am a fan of the River Cottage programs and one day when I make it to the UK, I would love to have a visit there. Until then though, I am satisfied with DVDs and books. The bread book is in the handbook series and is a good size with plenty of how-to information as well as recipes. I have made a few different things from the book and I am intending on making them all.

To accompany a minestrone soup I made last week, I made the focaccia. As I am trying to follow the recipes correctly that is I am not cooking in my usual way of tweaking the recipe, I used salt on top of the bread. This was the only thing I didn't like about the bread. I don't eat salt so it was over-powering for me but not the others at Sunny Corner Farm. I can vouch that this recipe turns out a treat and as with most bread and baking in general, is greater than the sum of its parts. A crust with crunch and a light bready centre and the rosemary on top...delicious.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The beautiful spring-like weather of the last two days and thinking about summer bounty is awfully tempting. It lulls you into that mind-set that winter is drawing to a close and it is safe to pop in a few seeds. I will not be tempted. I am going to bide my time and wait out these warm days until I know it safe and those tender little summertime plants will be safe (from frosts anyway). Ofcourse in reality, I will succumb to temptation. Not this week but in a little while I will just have to sow something just in case it grows and gives me a headstart on the coming season.

It is so nice to live here and enjoy the fruits of our labour. I am always trying to live with seasonality in mind and enjoy what we have available at the moment. Right now in the orchard that is citrus. Lemons, mandarins and Tim's favourite, the lemonade fruit. In thevegetable garden it is a little more humble. We have an abundance of turnips. There are also carrots, peas, snowpeas, lettuce and rocket but it is the turnip which is king. It really isn't the most versatile vegetable but I am grateful for them even if the younger members of the family are not.

Today was just glorious. A winter sun which was friendly and warm without any harshness. We had lunch outside and work didn't seem like work at all today.