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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanks to my blog

 I often usually have my camera on hand no matter what I am doing. I take it in my handbag just in case there is something that is photo worthy whether it is good, bad or just amusing. The beauty of digital photography, no wasted film or even printing of those ridiculous shots that were never meant to be. I take the camera when I am out and about on the farm and click away to my hearts content then edit and delete when I get home.


Today I was enjoying the bean flowers and thought why not take a picture. At a glane, they are  understated but up close they are quite pretty. And I thought, yeah why not take a bean flower picture for the blog. I'm glad I did because...

 I found some beans. The first for this season. So thanks to my blog, we will be having beans tonight (not enough for a feast but the first taste is always the best). If I didn't get up close to that bean flower, I wouldn't have found the beans amongst the foliage. So I am one happy gardener and cook (Hope won't be as happy).


See, I really do take the camera everywhere. Even when feeding sheep though they don't really need to be fed, they just like it.

This afternoon I am packing and preparing for a train trip to Sydney. It is Tom's birthday tomorrow so I am heading down to be with him for the evening at least and he can even draw the giveaway (though I would really love to give everyone something). I'm going to catch up with a friend from school, do some sightseeing in my old hometown and then bring my boy home for the holidays. Good times ahead. I'm making some shortbreads for the trip and packing some hand stitching. 6 hours  on a train is a long time so I hope to get at least a little bit done.

Tracy

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Catch Up and don't forget the giveaway

 
A bit of a busy week to-ing and fro-ing. I managed to do some  Christmas shopping on Thursday and donate blood as well. Then it has been farm work which was made a little less pleasant by the heat. We have had temperatures in the high 30 deg C and have been told to expect the low 40s by the end of this week. I'm not looking forward to that. Although I like to embrace the seasons as they come, I really don't like excess heat and if it is coupled with humidity then it is not for me.
 

Heads down enjoying their hay
 This week we marked the lambs. That is tail docking and castration of males which aren't suitable for breeding. Our lambs are ear tagged when they are younger to enable us to keep track of their pedigree which is important when dealing with registered pure bred animals. It really isn't a pleasant task for farmer or animal but necessary for longterm animal welfare. Sheep with tails are prone to flystrike which can be deadly quite quickly. I know in some cooler climates where flies aren't the problem that they are in Australia, sheep can keep their tails but not here. Anyway, we carry out the procedure quickly and with care and with the animals' best interests at heart.

 We had a red bellied black snake make a visit on Thursday afternoon. I had  been over to the turkey house to visit mother turkey and her new chicks and all was well. Forty-five minutes later there was much ado in the house. Our male turkey, the other female and mother were flapping and carrying on a treat. I initially thought they were attacking the newly hatched chicks (although they have never done anything like that before) but no, the three were teaming up against the above snake. I know they are defensive but I had no idea that they would fight off a snake in defense of their young. The good news is that no birds were harmed though the snake didn't fair as well.

After a lot of craft and sewing being done recently, I haven't even toched any fabric until tonight. My mother gave me a bag of squares which came through the op shop she volunteers at. They are gaudy and bright, 1970s looking and not my style but they apparently belonged to someone who cared about them so I'm not letting them go to waste. I do need a bit of inspiration working with bright fabrics and there is plenty to be found here. I hope to have this little project finished by Tuesday night because come Wednesday, I am heading off on a big train trip to Sydney for Tom's birthday and also to bring him back home next weekend. I lose my sewing zone then because he will want his room all to himself I'm sure.

Don't forget the giveaway. It is only small but good things come in small packages. Right?
Tracy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving

Bhut jolokia

My newest plant arrived in yesterday's mail. It is a Bhut jolokia chilli which is apparently the world's hottest. I can assure I will not be testing the claim, I will leave it up to the resident chilli fanciers. My tolerance for spicy things has waned in the last two years for some unknown reason but I will probably have a little try and regret it after. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has tried this chilli and how it rates heatwise.

 I love getting mail (bills excluded) and our letter box has been very active of late. Secret parcels coming in and now I have a few to post away.


All of my remaining swap parcels are being posted tomorrow and I hope they will be well received at their destinations. I enjoyed getting to know my swap partners by reading their blogs but it does feel a little creepy strange looking in on their lives without even saying hello because everything is top secret.

I'm making a day of being in town tomorrow and doing some Christmas and birthday shopping and also donating blood. And while I'm in the giving mood, I would like to offer a set of  my felt ornaments as a giveaway.

 
I will leave the giveaway open until next Wednesday, 28th November and then draw a name. Just leave a comment to be in the running. Like Sunny Corner Farm on Facebook for an extra chance too.
 
Tracy

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ducklings



Tracy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More of the same

Marie

 More baby ducks. There has been quite a hatching over the past two days. I'm not entirely sure how many ducklings are over in the poultry yard (duck mothers are being quite secretive) but I do know a couple of them will be a little confused. Their mother is Marie, who is very much a  chook and has already been busily scratching up morsels for them to show them how it is done. They are ducks and really don't do the scratching thing but not to worry, neither party cares whether they are the same species or not. They just know that Marie is the mother and they are the babies. And a very proud mother she is.

Crocheted Christmas baubles

More Christmas ornaments. These are the crocheted baubles I made lsat night. They are super quick and easy to make and although they are not really my style, I am happy enough with them. They are for Christina's ornament swap so I had to make something to my swap partner's tastes which hopefully these are. And that will be it for ornaments for now unless I see something that I really must make.

Big day in the garden tomorrow so an early night for me.
Tracy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A change of plans

Freshly drawn comb
 Yesterday my plans for today involved a fair bit of fencing and marking lambs but none of that eventuated. The lambs can keep their tails a day or two longer. Today was pretty near perfect for hive checking and maintenance so that is what we did. It was sunny but not too hot, a breeze was blowing but it wasn't windy. Sounds like pretty good conditions for almost anything really but the hives really are best checked when the bees are active and happy. All was good and there is a lot of new comb being drawn out in the new supers and some honey being made too. Just as it should be. I did manage to get a bee in my bonnet but thankfully both bee and me were unharmed.

 The bees have been busy in the kurrajong tree which is amass of these bell shaped flowers. They remind me of Christmas bells but it could be that I am just seeing Christmas everywhere because of the ornaments I have been making. Right now I am making a few crocheted baubles using this pattern which is I'm glad to say easy to follow. No pictures tonight because the light is not right for photography.
 I'm looking forward to the agapanthus flowering. They are however quite enchanting before the flowers open fully if you have time to look.

Morning tea
 Changing plans and reducing todays to-do list allowed us to have a proper morning tea rather than a quick cuppa. Scones for elevenses is always nice and extra good today because I made the strawberry jam just last week.

I even enjoy washing up after morning tea. Looks much nicer than the pots and pans from a dinnertime cooking spree.

All in all, a great day even if there was no rain despite the forecast being for wet weather.
tracy

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sewing time

Dolly in bits and pieces.

I have really been making an extra effort to spend time doing things that I like to do, not just the chores that have to be done. Even just a few minutes a day adds up to a project completed. I used to make quite a few dolls but haven't done it for a while so I thought why not (and in the process, I have realise dhow much I have missed it). This one might not stay here on the farm but I am enjoying the process of making her for someone special and I am inspired to make a few more things for Christmas and birthday gifts.

I have always just used the dining table as my sewing area but now I am set  up in Tom's room. It has taken me eight months to claim his desk as my sewing table(and to claim his empty book shelves as well).
The sewing zone with assistant.
And guess what? In two weeks time, I will have to relinquish this space because he will be home for the summer. Hooray. When he returns to university next year, I won't delay in setting up shop again, it's great to have a place where the maching can be set up ready for those spare moments when a seam or two can come together.

No sewing tomorrow. It's a shepherding kind of day planned. Marking lambs and a spot of fencing.
Tracy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Olive Bread Rolls and another ornament

 Saturday the wind was brisk and the temperatures were low for this time of year so I made soup. We still have about a dozen pumpkins left so, pumpkin soup it was. What I made to go alongside was olive bread rolls and they were pretty good. A crunchy crust with a nice soft crumb... just right. I cheated and used the breadmaker to knead the dough but that's what is for and it left my hands clean for more ornament making.


 Olive Bread Rolls
 
Ingredients
1.5 cups milk
25 grams butter(softened)
500grams plain flour
10 grams yeast
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
 
Method
Place ingredients in bread maker according to your machines instructions. My machine takes them in the order above and set the machine to dough. Then let it do its thing.
If you made them by hand, you would mix the ingredients in a bowl then knead until smooth and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl/breadmaker and knock it down and divide into 12 balls.
Place the balls of dough on an oven tray lined with baking paper and leave to rise for 30- 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 220deg C.
Brush the bread rolls with milk and sprinkle with seeds if desired.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and sounding hollow when tapped.

They are tasty but don't have an overpowering olive flavour. Too good to feed the leftovers to the chooks, I make them in to breadcrumbs and store them in the freezer.

I made another ornament yesterday. This one was a real test but turned out ok for a first attempt. The instructions are here and  they are comprehensive enough to allow someone who finds origami type things a little challenging. I made another this morning without looking at the instructions so believe me, that means it isn't too difficult at all.
Tracy

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweet afternoon

                                 

The strawberries are coming in in enough numbers for a batch of jam even if it is a small one. Our jam supplies are down to a jar of unopened plum jam which is almost two years old. It will be fine to eat but that freshness of the strawberries will beat it hands down. I am waiting on a lemon which will come home from work with Tim and then they can bubble away and I can bottle them up. I think scones will be on the morning tea tray on Wednesday when Tim is on his days off from work.

I had a sweet time this afternoon finishing off a few ornaments for the swap I joined on Christina's blog.
Ornaments on Westringia.
I'm glad I joined because I have found quite a few new to me blogs which are offering up some wonderful craft inspiration. It's great to see different ideas and perspectives from others who it seems might mostly be a bit younger than me (though I am just as young at heart).Edited to add that I meant to say I am older than my two recipients and at a different life stage, not that I'm an old biddy (that I will never be). Besides that, I just love Christmas and have been watching my very favourite Christmas show as I stitch.

It has been a very sweet afternoon indeed. I also made honey joys and a chocolate slice for lunchboxes.
Tracy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lots to love today

 You just have to be a little in love with the garden when there are enough strawberries to eat fresh and to make some jam too. They are all a good size as well which is another bonus. That drop of rain has really freshened them up.

 The borlotti beans are starting to show some good growth. The snake beans are just popping up through the soil, the climbing princesses are living up to their name and climbing higher and higher. The red kidney beans are a little slow to germinate so I might plant some more seeds just to be sure. And I popped a dozen more yin yang beans seeds in today. The good thing about beans is that even if you get sick of them green, they store well and take on a whole new dimension in the kitchen in the winter.
 The small amount of rain that we had (10mm) might not have been enough to fill the tanks but it has refreshed the plants. The goodness that comes down in the rain does wonders and already the tomatoes are showing signs of improvement.

 I'm really enjoying my poppies at the moment. Because of the dry conditions they aren't as large and lush as usual but the flowers are still bright and cheery. This year I didn't sow any Flanders poppies (and none volunteered) so this is as close as I can come to a red poppy for Rememberence Day tomorrow.
 The poppy is interesting no matter what stage the flower is at. Before opening it could probably be described as borderline obscene by some.
 Then it has the gorgeous and quite short lived flower.
 Before progressing onto the seed head which looks almost alien-like. They look good in a bunch, dried and in a vase for a little while before harvesting the seeds.

 Another thing I loved today was having muddy hands. I do wear gloves when I work in the garden but when I sow seeds I sometimes find it easier to have a more hands-on approach. We haven't had such moist soil for a while so it was truly a treat to be a little bit dirty. It's good clean dirt ...right.

About the only thing I didn't enjoy outside today was these beasties. Those dreaded ladybirds that eat potato leaves like nobodies business. They also seem to have a taste for zucchini leaves and pumpkin leaves too. I did my fair share of natural pest control today and am glad I did.

Now I am going to do something else I love to do, some sewing. I have a few swap items to finish up and package up so no pictures just in case someone who isn't supposed to see just might.

Hope you are having a good day, doing what you love.I'd like to hear about it.
Tracy

Monday, November 5, 2012

A change of heart and mind

Firstly, I want to thank all those who sent me messages and comments last week when I wrote that I was going to stop blogging here. I am not publishing those comments (though they are worthy of being published). I just want to keep them for me. I really should explain what transpired.
 
Last week, I took a bit of a fall whilst out and about on the farm and in the aftermath of a bump to the head (I am fine now although I have looked better), I made the rash decision to stop blogging. What I should have done was rest and let my mind get back in order before logging on. To cut a long story short, I have realised that I do not want to be away from this place. I have many wonderful friends that I enjoy visiting and having visit me even if it is only in a virtual sense. Hopefully with a clear mind, I can be back here with renewed energy and sparkle.

 
 

And in farm news, still no rain although there are clouds on the horizon. It is dry, dry, dry.
Tracy

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Due to circumstances that I had not forseen, I will not be updating this blog. I will leave it active for those who visit searching for how to grow rice at home (because it is why most people visit).

Edited to add: Thank you to everyone who has left me comments or written me emails and messages. It warms my heart and has encouraged me to return here sooner rather than later or never. Never undersetimate the power of a kind word.