Friday, April 27, 2012


I was more than a little lucky to capture this bee on the wing. The beauty of digital photograpy, no worries about wasted film. Pity about the big woolly ram in the background.

The herb garden in autumn tends to be a little messy. There are  seed heads to remove, the ever present weeds to deal with and straggly woody growth to prune back. That is what I have been doing for fun the past few days, tidying up the herbs before winter. I am feeling tired though and my work has been in fits and starts but hopefully I will conquer my weariness soon and have enough energy to do what I have to and then some.

Now, off to deal with the limes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

 The story of my life of late has been to and fro. Travelling between home and our home away from home in Sydney. I am home at last feeling like myself which is a very good thing . It does seem like  a lot about me is defined by where I live and what I do or perhaps it is just that where and how I live and what I do is a true reflection of myself. That was all a little too much so I will move on to what I have been doing outside now that I have had a few days at home to catch my breath and to catch up.

The limes have been ready to pick for a couple of weeks but had to hang on until I could be here for them. There are ever so many and I'm sure in the depths of the freezer I still have a bag or two of last years lime juice. I might try selling some of them and I will be making up some cordial, baking and making some pickles (if I can find a good recipe). Unfortunately the abundance of limes has coincided with a lack of eggs due to moulting so the baking is taking a back seat right now.

The last of the raspberries are super sweet albeit a little sparse on the bush. This variety the Atherton raspberry has small fruit and they do seem to have more seeds than regular raspberries but they are good to eat nonetheless. Never enough raspberries for jam. Actually very few raspberries even make indoors here.
It's good to be back,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The past two days I have been harvesting seeds. Sunflowers yesterday which were earmarked for the poultry and today fennel.

The fennel seeds are being shared between us and the birds.Not all of the poultry like them but those that do tuck in and make up for those that do not. Grace, Hope and I have been snacking on them today too. We all like the liquorice/aniseed taste. Whatever is left will go into the spice jar for use in cooking until the next batch are ready to harvest.

Slowly but surely I am getting the garden back in order. Cool season crops planted in spots as they become vacant and weeding, weeding, weeding.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another big trip to Sydney over the weekend to take Tom back for university after a mid-semester break. I'm so grateful that Tim does most of the driving most of the time when we go on long trips. This time however we had to travel down separately and I had to drive the almost 500km trip on my own with the girls. We had a good time in the car listening to music and having Grace recount various books she has read recently. That girl sure can talk. But I don't like driving, for me it is just a way to get from A to B and then back again.

This whole experience of having my son move away from home has taught me about living more "in the moment". Instead of wishing I was home on the farm whilst I am in Sydney, I just enjoy the time there. In the past whenever we went away I would always be longing to come home. Now I guess because part of my heart is in Sydney, I really don't mind being away so much. In fact I will admit I was a bit teary last night when we left for home minus one member of the family.

We spent a day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Hope requested a picture of the fireworks. I'm sure that pyrotechnics for pleasure is an environmental nightmare but there is something about fireworks that a lot of people enjoy. They are pretty even if they don't last long.

We arrived home to cool, wet weather just perfect for settling the new plants I bought into their new home. The selection of plants in the city is much better than here, the price too. I got a few natives for the driveway, a camellia (because I like them and it has Grace in the name), a few lavenders, a variegated elder and a couple of cacti for the girls. Plants and books are definitely my weakness when it comes to spending and although I like online purchasing, it was nice to actually be able to choose plants in person.

I am tired today but hoping to have a good nights sleep tonight and be rready for a full day of farm and garden work tomorrow weather permitting.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Puss in the garden

She is an indoor cat who likes the great outdoors. We take her outside on a leash and today she was apparently thirsty. She also took a dip under the hose too. This cat really loves the water.

Content with her daily trip outside, she dried herself then curled up and slept on the black and white churn dash quilt I had just put on the bed this morning. She loves this quilt, it really shows the hairs she drops.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Autumn in my garden

There is a lot going on in the vegetable patch at the moment. Like with the change over from winter to spring, there is a little too much to fit in. The beans are still going strong so there is no room for the peas. The tomatoes and pumpkins are still ripening so they need to stay put too. Slowly though room will have to be made for the winter brassicas, broadbeans and other lovely cool weather crops. It is either make room or make a bigger garden.
The self sown coriander is lush and lovely. I know it is true but I find it hard to believe even myself that when I first started cooking when I got married that I loathed the scent and taste of coriander. Now I can eat it straight from the garden and the smell of the crushed leaves conjures images of deliciousness and exotic meals in my mind. In fact tonight for dinner we will have a red curry with plenty of fresh coriander just because it tempted me while I was in the garden. I love being inspired by the garden.

Although the winter vegetables seedlings I had in the greenhouse are no more, the turnips planted directly are thriving. They are an oft overlooked vegetable. They aren't trendy or pretty and might seem a bit old fashioned but they are delicious and wholesome. I'm looking forward to turnip soup in particular.

My cotton plants are still producing. I am yet to harvest any cotton but the swollen heads are promising. Patience is required.

I'm feeling so good today that I might even make dessert tonight. It could just be the sugar high from easter egg indulgence. What I am going to do right now is make a new oven mitt and trivett. One for the farm and one for the townhouse.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Townhouse living

We spent a good part of last week ensconced in townhouse life while we visited Tom. He was more than happy to have me visit because Mum is the cooker of cakes and dinner and packed lunches and I do house work too. Actually I just do what I do at home but on a smaller scale. I made an orange, yoghurt and syrup cake which was delicious. At home on the farm, I have a scale and just about everything else needed tyo make baking easy but in the townhouse, there is no scale,one mixing bowl, one wooden spoon, one baking tin and one whisk. I had everything that was necessary and even with the guesswork for the measurements, the cake turned out mighty fine.It is a compact little kitchen but that is all that is needed. I really do like the sunny aspect of it. it gets morning sun which is lovely and because of the French doors in the adjoining laundry, it is bright all day but without the heat in the afternoon. However, I do not like the oven... yet. I need to spend some more time getting to know it better.

Tim surprised me with a sweet little bouquet of grevillea and a lone bottlebrush that he picked while he was out and about. I would love to grow some of the lemon/cream coloured grevillea, they are a stunning large shrub which I'm sure the native birds here would enjoy.

I managed to squeeze in some 'gardening' too. We potted up a dwarf lemon for the courtyard and I actually planted some garlics and some sweet peas too. All the gardening has to be low maintenance though. Tom isn't as interested in growing things as I am but doesn't mind tending herbs and chillies so I will just gradually work him into a bigger patch... maybe.

I had a bit of disappointment at home. When I checked on my seed trays, I realised that I hadn't watered them and had left the mini-greenhouse open and they had all dried out beyond salvation. This afternoon it is back to the beginning for the seed sowing and hopefully a lesson learnt.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Welcome April

The days are stunningly warm and sunny and the only complaint that could be made is that just a little bit of rain would be nice. The sun still has a bit of bite in it but it is just so pleasant to be outside that I could easily forget about inside chores altogether. Which doesn't make much sense if I neglect to cook the things I grow just because I am enjoying the growing and tending so much. The crockpot and quick stir fry dinners balance it out, plenty of time in the outdoors with a nourishing homegrown and homecooked meal at the end of the day. The nights are just as lovely with their brisk autumn coolness. Although I enjoy daylight savings time during the summer especially during the school holidays, it really is time to change the clocks and enjoy the earlier arrival of nightfall.

The ewes have been moved to fresh pasture on our twenty acre block up the road. I have to walk them half a kilometre up the road and at first they follow me because they know that I am the source of all sheep snacks. However when they realise where they are heading, they take off and I can only keep up with the stragglers. Thankfully they know the way and always turn in at the open gate. You see, sheep really are clever or at least more clever than they are given credit for.