Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Help... I need ideas.

Not so sunny Sunny Corner Farm today.
I think I am in a rut as far as blogging goes. I am at a loss of ideas to write about and would be rather grateful if anyone could spare a moment or two to leave a comment to give me an inkling of what people might like to read about here.
I can see at the moment that my blog is a bit of a hotch-potch of the different things in my little world without much focus. Perhaps that is the way to keep it, I'm not sure.
Anyway, I look forward to your insight.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rain... welcome here

I didn't realise how much the dry weather had been affecting my psyche until the rain set in on Saturday night. I have been suffering insomnia (and although I would love some extra hours in the day, those extra hours awake thanks to being unable to sleep really are a waste) which I think may have been partly brought on through worry about water or lack there of really. Much like those going through flooding rain right now thinking the rain will never end, when it has been dry for so long, it feels like it just might never rain again. I am happy to say that we have had a good soaking and my thoughts have lightened considerably.
So with tanks filling and it being too wet to do anything outdoors except the essentials (just a few days ago it was because it was too hot outdoors ??), some relaxing has been on the agenda. Crocheting a pin cushion, sewing, playing board games (not by choice), reading and just generally taking it easy. Back to routine tomorrow though, school is in. 
And some advice to myself. If it is rainy weather and you are baking for the school/ work lunchboxes. Make a double batch elsewise there will not be any for said lunchboxes.
Hope all of my blogging friends are safe and sound in the extremes that seem to be spread far and wide.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I am reading... rather random

It's truly not as bad as it sounds. The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins. Milkwood Permaculture seem to be putting the idea into good practice. The idea is that by the time the humanure has composted down, it is just the same as any other well rotted manure. I think it would be a while before the idea goes too far in mainstream circles. But I can definitely see that there are some great arguments for tapping this unlimited resource. This is a library book and it has given me some food for thought although I don't think I will be setting up a humanure system anytime soon.
Now on to sweeter things. The idea of paying it forward really is sweet. The recipient is happy(hopefully) and the giver gets such a buzz. I have been involved in a crafty pay it forward on the blog and I am also doing one with some of my Facebook friends but they all know about it. To me the best kind is when it is totally anonymous even if it is something everso small and only you know about it. I guess a random act of kindness really.
Sorry for such a totally random ramble. I think it must be zucchini overdose.
Anyway I'm sure I'm not as kind as I could be but I try.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Zucchini 'rosti'

A quick and easy lunch. Tomatoes with zucchini rosti. The zucchini fritters/'rosti' are quite bland and do need something on the side to add flavour but I like them anyway.My kids won't go anywhere near them though. They are also good to use in place of toast with a poached egg. 
Zucchini 'rosti'
400grams zucchini, grated and drained
1 egg
1/3 cup plain flour
1tbs chopped chives
oil for frying
Combine grated and drained zucchini in a bowl with chives, flour and egg and mix well.
Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, drop heaped tablespoons of miture in an flatten with a spatula.
Cook on each side for a few minutes or until golden.
I serve mine with sour cream flavoured with chives, basil and a small clove of crushed garlic. And a dash of homemade chilli sauce made using the recipe from A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise. This is an easy recipe and the sauce lasts an age.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Things I like today

Storm clouds rolling in. We are so needy for rain right now that however it comes and in whatever quantities, we will be grateful.
Corn plants with cobs forming. Not too long to wait for sweet home grown corn.
Eggplants producing aplenty. They are the tiny kind which don't seem to have the bitterness that larger varieties sometimes have.
A basket of goodness for tonight's dinner. We will be having a zucchini souffle with char-grilled vegies on the side (tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and maybe a zucchini too) with a balsamic dressing.
That storm that was threatening is here right now. So bye for today.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zucchini Cake

Most days we have this or the like for a snack but of late with the extreme heat, a plate of fruit has been a more pleasing meal than anything hot. My only wish is that I could grow more of the fruit ourselves.
I have been baking and cooking up zucchini as they come to try to avoid a glut and my usual go to recipe for zucchini cake is a chocolate one which you can find here. A lack of cocoa in the larder helped me to decide to make a 'plain' zucchini cake. Tastes just as good and is moist with a good crumb. But unlike the chocolate zucchini cake, there is no disguising the zucchini fact (so not as kid appealing). It is a quick to mix cake and the fifty minute baking time is just right to set the kitchen to rights and have a cup of tea ready when it comes out of the oven.
Zucchini Cake
1 large zucchini, grated and drained (about 250 grams)
¾ cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self -raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease and line a loaf  tin.
Beat oil, sugar and egg together until pale.
Stir in zucchini, flour, spices and bicarb until combined.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Great served warm from the oven  or can be jazzed up with a cream cheese frosting when cool.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

43 today and the winner

We celebrated Tim's 43rd without too much style here today. A trip to town for a pink slip, grocery shopping and some exorbitant school uniform purchases. I prefer to spend special days (actually any day) at home and make more of an effort but unfortunately this year, I was a slacker and bought a cake for the birthday boy. Tasted good anyway and it's the company that counts... right.
When we got home, Tim drew the giveaway winner and ...
the winner is Liz. I will package up your parcel and have it in the post in the next week Liz.
Thanks to everyone who actually reads my blog and a special thank you to those who leave comments from time to time. I know sometimes when I read a blog I am in two minds as to whether or not to comment because it does take a few minutes but I am going to be a more active commenter from here on in.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I'm feeling rather bland today and have decided to opt for a pictureless post which is strange because the blogs I love the most are those with pictures... great photography or even just a plain old snapshot of everyday life. I guess I am more visual than I realised.

We have been so boring of late. Staying at home mostly and heading to Nundle (to swim in the nicest public pool I have been to) on the particularly hot days. There has been a reprieve from the heat but not for long. I have even fired up the oven for pleasure rather than just necessity.

Tomorrow is Tim's birthday and he will be drawing the giveaway so please enter if you want a chance to have a little bit of my stitching sent your way.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Bag swap... with a difference

Kimberley's shopping bags.

A nice easy swap to start the year. Kimberley is hosting a shopping bag swap on her blog. I have joined up for something fun to do amidst all this heat. If you would like to join, head on over to here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Please excuse me...

On the verandah (in the shade mind) today it was 44.4 degrees C/ 111.9 degrees F. Not pleasant for any species. I dread to imagine what conditions are like further west. Please excuse me I think I am melting. That air-conditioned house in town with a pool and a tiny yard is looking more appealing by the day. Stay cool, Tracy

Monday, January 7, 2013

Surviving and thriving.

I'm feeling a bit like this pumpkin vine today. Wilted. I am truly surprised though at the resilience of plants. I certainly couldn't stand outside in the sun all day and survive. I feel the most for the livestock. Ours have plenty of shade and access to creeks and clean water but I know there are  a lot of animals out there which aren't so lucky. Even if you do all of the right things, such high temperatures can have fatal effects on animals.

I am taking note though of the plants and in particular the varieties which are thriving not just surviving our heatwave. The pumpkins are all wilted but once the sun goes down, they perk up, hoping that tomorrow will be cooler. A wilted leaf doesn't lose as much water through transpiration so wilting can be a good thing.
Then there are the zucchini plants which are absolutely thriving in the heat. The chillies are loving it too and hopefully it means the chillies this year will be extra hot. Corn are also extra tall and hardy looking this year. Of course if I didn't water them, none of them would survive and I'm grateful for the little bits of rain here and there that we have had that have allowed me to actually grow a summer garden this season.
Talking about zucchini, they are now starting to their thing and grow at a great pace. Tomorrow morning I'm firing up the oven to make freezer meals out of this lot of beauties... zucchini slice, zucchini chocolate cake, zucchini cake with lemon glaze and maybe some biscuits, soup and souffle for the table rather than the freezer. We'll see. My intentions are good but I might just run out of steam.
So far I have been a bit too hot to be experimental in the kitchen and we are eating later than usual to make it more pleasant. Tonight we are having a lasagne which I think I can make with my eyes closed but we did have a rather nice tabbouleh parsley salad with pearl couscous on Friday night which was a bit different and delicious too.
Swimming tomorrow.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 the list and my giveaway.

New Years's resolutions don't seem to work for me (probably not a lot of others either from what I hear). Perhaps because they usually involve deprivation, giving up something or other that we usually enjoy. Being healthy is always a top priority for me so it goes without saying as part of my list. I am going to try to focus on a few things that I think will add something to my life even if it is in only a trivial way, anything that makes life more rich is good in my opinion.
So for 2013 I am going to:
Become more flexible. Literally and figuratively.  Something that I have noticed as I get older is that my physical flexibility has declined and I would very much like it back. So more stretching, yoga and exercise. I should be back doing the splits and cartwheels in no time... right?
Write more letters. I have mentioned before that in my teen years I had penpals from across the globe and I really enjoyed it. So staring in 2013, I am going to be sending and hopefully receiving more letters. If anyone would like to correspond in a more traditional way, please feel free to email me with your details (my email address is on my profile page) and I will be more than happy to write you a letter. My first letter is heading off to Tim to be waiting for him when he returns to work at the end of the month. I have a few other people from my past and present I have in mind but I really would like a few more penpals.
Dinner at a local French restaurant.
Try some new recipes. One a week in fact. I'm sure my family do get a little tired of my usual repertoire so some more exciting things on the menu will be nice. I will even try to make the meal more of an event than usual.
Hospitality. I am aiming to open up a bit more and invite people into our home to share time. I always struggle with the idea that I am not good enough to cook for others and that perhaps our home isn't good enough to entertain in. It is well past time to let go of these silly notions so this year, even if it is just for a simple cup of tea and piece of cake, I will open our doors wide and let friendship in. 
Enjoy the local area more. It is something that is easy to do, forget to enjpy the great things that the local area has to offer. So in 2013, I'm going to take more notice of the local beauty, merchants and events.
There, that's only five things which should be doable and not one involves depriving myself of anything. Now on to the giveaway.
In celebration of 400 posts (401 now) here on this blog, I would like to have a giveaway. Nothing too thrilling, just a little of my handiwork and maybe one or two other things. The giveaway will be open to anyone and followers here and on Facebook will receive an extra entry. The giveaway will be drawn on 17th January (by Tim, it's his birthday) so please leave a comment and good luck.
Happy 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm blaming the weather.

I cannot upload a picture today. Blogger is not playing nice and I am blaming the hot weather because that is about as far as my technology skills extend. I wanted to post pictures of the gifts I made my family for Christmas because they have all been delivered now. I wanted to post about my ideas (not resolutions) for 2013 and I wanted to post about a giveaway because this is post 400. But...
It can all wait until tomorrow or later this evening when things have cooled even if it is only just a little bit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I have big plans

I do have big plans for little things in 2013 but right now I am heading off to bed to dream about them because I'm super tired.

We travelled from here to Wellington, NSW on Tuesday and I did the driving because Tim has injured his ankle. I really do not like driving but if I have to do it, a drive through the country is my kind of driving. No city traffic please. I can see much beauty in the landscape further west than us but...

it was a joy to arrive home today. To our hills and valley and green. And to my very own bed too.
Happy 2013,