Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lemon Butter

Winter is here and how. We've had rain, hail, sleet and blustery conditions which kept me inside all day yesterday. Today I decided to not be a sook and did some gardening. As my Grace reminded me, that our winters are nothing compared to our penfriends in the northern hemisphere.
It was rather cosy inside yesterday. Made especially so by the six hours of power outage. There is something about illuminating with candles. Not the best for letter-writing though and I'm a bit behind so that's what I'm doing with the rest of this afternoon.
There is also something about cold weather that makes the kitchen even more appealing. I have a pizza dough on the rise, carrot and cumin soup simmering for dinner and I just made some lemon butter. I probably should make a sponge cake or a batch of scones for the lemon butter to be spread on. Tomorrow!
Lemon Butter
 Lemon Butter
250 grams sugar
2 well- beaten eggs
90 grams butter
juice and grated rind of 1 lemon.
Combine ingredients in the top of a double boiler (or a heat safe bowl over a saucepan of water) and put water in the saucepan.
Stir ingredients over the boiling water until they are mixed together well and thicken. This step feels like it takes forever.
Bottle and seal well. Keep in the fridge.

It can take quite a while to thicken and if you get impatient (like I do) it's ok to mix everything directly in a saucepan over a low/medium heat as long as you are careful and stir continuously.

This only makes on jar of lemon butter but for that's just enough at a time for me.

My gardening efforts today were rewarded. Carrots for dinner. It was a toss up though because there was some nice looking turnips ready too and I love turnip soup. Once again... tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Out and About

It isn't the prettiest park around but you can't go past  a park called "Anniversary Park" when it is your anniversary. Right? This was at the tail end of a bit of a tiring day hence the less than enthusiastic grins.

The four of us spent a lovely day around Scone and Muswellbrook. A little bit of op-shopping (I bought some wonderful cards), bushwalking and having a leisurely lunch out.

I'm glad we did this walk in winter because it would be hard work in the heat of summer. The trip back down the hill is a cinch though.

More friendly wildlife. LOts of birds, kangaroos and wallabies on this walk and the odd cow too.

Now I'm going to stay at home for days and days.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Mini Holiday

We did have grand plans earlier in the year to take a trip up through Queensland to the Great Barrier Reef but what are plans for if not to change? I'm kind of glad we didn't travel that far from home. Tim has a cold, Grace has loads and loads of music practice to do and I'm a complete homebody anyway.
We did spend Sunday and Monday at the coast close to home. It is a bit of a trek to go to the beach, a 600km round trip. Thankfully the journey is through some really picturesque countryside.
I do like the beach in the winter. The sun isn't over powering with its glare and heat and it's much easier to enjoy the natural beauty of a deserted beach. Well it that's how it is for me anyway.

There was quite a bit of sun with the odd gloomy cloud casting shadows. I worked out that although I know what to expect of the weather here, it's a different story so far from home. Dark clouds loom but they just threaten and mean nothing. I'm sure a local would know when to seek cover and when it's going to stay dry.

The locals were very friendly. A little too friendly perhaps. Grace isn't fond of pelicans after a childhood incident involving her, a sausage, a pelican and a comical chase scene. I'm not scared. I've wrangled turkeys afterall.

Just before we headed home the fun shone brightly and maybe we should have stayed a bit longer. It was a pleasant 20 degC when we left and as we reached the top of the mountains on the way home, the temperature had dropped to single figures and the wind was gusty and cold.

I'll be gallivanting again tomorrow. It's our wedding anniversary which is a good enough excuse for an outing.

P.S. There really is no place like home.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pleasant Surprises

I love nice surprises. Who doesn't? My letterbox has been quiet this week and last but I did have a lovely parcel come in  which more than makes up for the other letter-less days. I joined Lisa's stationery swap and was paired up with Simone and what a great swap partner she has been. Friendly emails, a very generous swap gift and her blog is a nice place to visit too. If you want to see what I sent Simone, she has some pictures up on her blog and Simone's pictures are much better than mine.

A cheery card to say hello.

Brown paper packages... perfect!! What was even better was that I was home by myself so I got to be selfish and open them without help.

The girls have oohed and ahhed over everything now and wish they were swappers too. They know I'll share.

It would be nice to have a Typo store nearby. Our closest town is not the best place to procure stationery so I collect it on my travels and there are some very reasonable and tempting online stores too.

Alpine strawberry

A nice surprise of an edible kind. The alpine strawberry is coming into its own. Loads of little jewel-like fruits which if you have ever tasted them you will know they are delicious. If you haven't tasted them then I think the only way to do it would be to grow them yourself because I've never seen them for sale. Too tender to make it through the rigmarole of getting to the shops.

This last pleasant surprise really was a complete surprise and maybe not too pleasant for some. The picture doesn't do them justice because they really are cute. These are couple of microbats which have taken up residence in one my 'ornamental' birdhouses. I never would have known they were there but the dog has been keenly sniffing this birdhouse to let us know something was going on. We have had them on and off in a bat box but not in one of the birdhouses before. well not that I know of anyway. I wish I could open the lid and look at them but they don't like that so once we knew what was going on it was roof back on and good luck bats. I hope they are happy there and hang around.

I'm not sure how it works that someone who is scared of hermit crabs and won't touch chickens likes bats. The foibles of human nature.

Today I've busy working outdoors as it has warmed up nicely, about to do some baking and then packaging up a pleasant surprise for someone else.


Monday, June 16, 2014


Vegie Bed 16

As it is the 16th of the month, bed 16 in the vegetable patch got some attention today. I also had to catch up on bed 15 because I was too cold to go outside yesterday. I am quite happily surprised that my system that I started last year works for me in keeping on top of the vegetable garden in particular the weeding. One bed per day, corresponding to the day of the month with a few days spare.

Bed 16 is easy peasy this month. Weed around the garlics and tatsoi, pick some chillies and parsley and spread a little compost around everything. The chickens only got half a bucket of weeds out of it but they didn't complain.

I splurged on Friday and bought the ducks a watermelon. They were on special at the supermarket and if you have ever seen ducks tucking into watermelon then you will know that it is money well spent. Cheap entertainment for sure.

One of the success stories from this summers garden was the Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber. These cucumbers have not stopped producing. They are slowing down now but given that we have had some bitter weather including frosts and sleet they are doing remarkably well. All of my other cucumbers have died off. They have a slightly tart flavour but in my opinion not too sour and are just as cute as can be. I picked these today so a salad is definitely on the menu tonight.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Parrots and Peas

Naughty bird
Parrots and peas do not mix.

Yellow podded pea flower
 My sugar snap peas and the yellow podded peas have been flowering. Which makes me very happy. What doesn't impress me is going out the day after I took this picture to find the birds have been having a grand time nipping the shoots and flowers off. They are oh so cheeky and bold those parrots.

 I guess I will just have to plant more to compensate. Not right now though, it's too cold. I just want to stay inside today. I'm not, but I want to.

I have devised a few contraptions with foil, old CDs and noisy tinsel to try to deter them. I do hope it works. I don't want to share my peas.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wet weather gardening

My new wet weather boots

It is quite wet out today. The rain held off yesterday which is a good thing because the girls had their athletics carnival.

There really isn't much gardening going on today. It's all just wandering about camera in hand. Seeing what is good to pick, what isn't quite ready and just getting a little bit of outside time in between showers which have just turned into a downpour. Lovely!!

Rain = Bad hair day apparently. And no comment except a stuck out tongue for the paparazzi. I'll show some pictures of garden things instead.

Tatsoi needs to be picked. I'm making spaghetti for dinner (I'm already hearing rumblings of discontent) so a nice salad alongside will welcome the extra greens. Yum!

Eureka lemon on its way to ripe. I wouldn't say the tree is laden but there are a few lemons which will be ready to pick soon. In the meantime I was given some yesterday which should tide me over.

I bought this plant labelled as 'dogbane' but from what I can tell it is Coleus Canina or Scaredy Cat Coleus, Plectranthus caninus . It may well live up to its hype and keep away cats and dogs but I wouldn't know. I do know that it doesn't the deter rabbits which have been very bold of late and have been raiding the herb garden. I must try to stay up a little later and try to get on top of that problem.

As it is truly pouring down now, I'm through with the outdoors today and I'm dreaming of what I might knit first from this book. It's the loveliest knitting book I have seen in a while. Very dreamy and whimsical. This is a library copy but I think I will have to buy it. If you would like to check out some of the designs from the book along with some other designs by Tiny Owl Knits, there is a page on Ravelry.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Get Rich Slow Scheme

I hope you weren't mislead by the title, I was just being silly. I have no scheme to get rich slowly or quickly or any other way. Sorry!
My life is already rich in the things that matter anyway. 

I was referring to my haul from the scrap metal yard the other day. $15.50 plus 10 cents I found on the footpath. It is money for nothing though which is a nice bonus. Aluminium cans sold for a grand total of $5.50 and two car batteries (one of which picked up off the side of the road) for $5 each. Not bad but it's a grubby way to make a buck. Selling rubbish has to be about as frugal as can be.

At this rate I should be winging my way to the UK on my dream holiday in a hundred years time.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weaning and Waiting

Trilby and Teddy

Weaning. Trilby is being weaned and she is not happy. Teddy is none to happy either because he is away from the other cattle and only has a calf and our crotchety old ram, Crinkles, for company. For such small cattle, they sure make their feelings known. Bellowing enough for a whole herd. The mothers aren't concerned at all.

Waiting. Unbeknownst to Teddy, he is in waiting for the butcher. I don't give advice but if I did, I would suggest that you a) do not name your future meat and b) do not have cute 'meat' that children become attached to.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

FNwF- what I did

I made a couple of trips to town on Friday. Toing and froing are not my ideal so I was extra glad to spend Friday night stitching away with friends. I don't mind a bit of music or television on in the background while I sew. This week I had a couple of DVDs from the library that I was keen to watch.

I can't show you the sewing I did because it is top secret for the time being. It did involve some or maybe even all of these fabrics. Very pretty.

I also got a start on a bag I've been meaning to make. I have an excess of scrappy lengths of yarn and Lucy's bag is just right to use some up. My bag won't be the bright, chunky masterpiece that Lucy's is but I am using what I have and that's a good thing. 8ply and a smaller hook size but it's still coming together quickly. That's what I like about crochet.

Now I'm off to check out some of the other Friday night sewing friends.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Warm hands

Thanks to my lovely friend Lisa, I have warm hands. Lisa sent me these handmade hand warmers and I think they are positively perfect. Chunky and bold and fingerless so I can have warm hands and still knit, crochet, write letters or whatever. I've said so before and I know I will say it again, my blogging friends are truly the best and they mean more to me than they realise.

It will be nice to have toasty warm hands as we head into winter. Today's temperature is quite nice but we are camping out tonight so it might get a bit cold then.

Only camping in the backyard but why not? It's the Queen's Birthday long weekend so we'll have a campfire and reminisce about the fireworks that were allowed when Tim and I were kids. They'll be bigger, brighter and louder than they ever were in real life I'm sure.

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Friday Night with Friends

It's the first Friday of the month tomorrow. That means Cheryll's Friday Night with Friends stitching and crafting alongside a bevy of bloggers (and non-bloggers too). It's not too late to join in, just add your name to the list.

This month I will be cutting and sewing an apron for a swap and if I can stay awake, I'll be crocheting something too. Maybe I will just get an early start and then it won't matter that I have an early bedtime.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Yesterday was a day for swapping. Swapping my normal work routine for a day out. Tim is on holiday from work afterall. We dropped the girls off at school and took a scenic drive to Murrurundi to do some bushwalking and geocaching. Murrurundi is the town I would be living in if I was a risk taker and bought  my dream house (one of them anyway) a few years ago.
Paradise Park is tucked away off the highway and is a real surprise if you haven't been there before.
The walking track isn't very long but it is definitely not a stroll.

It starts off fairly gently but the gradient increases quickly. The walk is graded as a 3 or 4 which means that some bushwalking/ hiking experience might be an advantage or necessary. I agree because it is a bit slippery and steep.

 The walk passes through the 'Eye of the Needle' rock formation. It is narrow and a bit of a scramble over rocks and tree roots but well worth the effort if you are into that kind of thing. If not then there are a few cafes in town which are quite nice.

 Lunch was at the Willow Tree Inn. It is really nicely decorated, a little bit pricey and very quiet on a Tuesday. Apparently on the weekends it is hard to get a table. I had lamb shanks which were lovely.Today, I swapped back to real life and had a Vegemite sandwich for lunch.

It's also a good day for swapping parcels. This package of goodies is what I am sending to Simone in Lisa's stationery swap. I do hope Simone likes the things I have sent her.

Hermit crab with no shell. YUCK!!

And the final word on swapping goes to Hope's crab. He/ she is shell swapping and unfortunately I found him in the tank sans shell. The crabs' creepiness has reached a whole new level. happily I can say it has found a shell it likes and is for the most part hidden away. They give me the shivers.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Party sewing and helping out

Chooky is having a birthday bash in her Chookshed this weekend and loads of us stitchers are partying along. Not everyone could be at the shed so most of us have to party at home. Not as much fun because when you are at home there are so many distractions (that I do love by the way) like housework and cooking and the rest of day-to-day life.
I am in a few swaps right now and a couple are being sent this week. I didn't want to use wrapping paper so I rifled through my vintage fabrics and tea towel collection to make a shopping tote to be used in lieu of paper. Thankfully my swap partners both like vintage linen and things so I am happily sewing away in a style that I would like myself. I also like that I can have one of these tote bags made in minutes not hours.


The reverse side of the bag has the words to "Advance Australia Fair" the two verses we sing anyway. And our national floral emblem the wattle. Can't go wrong, very Aussie. And, those linen tea towels are super strong fabric so very serviceable. Actually my theory is that the tackier they are, the longer they last.

Now on to helping out. I'm sharing a link here to Chooky's most recent post regarding a petition to sign to help out patients being treated for pancreatic cancer and the availability of life enhancing/saving drugs.

It's always a good thing to be reminded of how fortunate we are.