Wednesday, July 30, 2014


It's a very spring-like day here today. I know a lot of people don't like winter but I'm not one of them. I like all of the seasons almost equally for different reasons but I like them to behave themselves. I don't want warm spring-y days in the middle of winter because it scares me more than just a wee bit.

My black mulberry has a few leaves open already and some small fruit which will undoubtedly be knocked by frosts. The same thing happened last year. Perhaps I have a particularly foolhardy mulberry bush. Who knows? The white mulberry has more sense and is still dormant...thankfully. I would show you a picture but I am still not on good terms with my borrowed camera and its macro mode.

It is a lovely day though even if it shouldn't be this warm. Make the best of it I say. I've done all of my jobs for the day, gardened and weeded, been for a walk around the bee hives, written a couple of letters all in the lovely sunshine.

And it's perfect clothes drying weather. Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze.

 It doesn't get much better. And I found the secret stash of chocolate that Tim bought. I'm a happy girl.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Catch Up

I haven't blogged much this week due to my camera having flat batteries and I have to say I have been busy toing and froing as well. Grace has music exams this week so we have had extra practice sessions and rehearsals with the accompanist for her violin. Driving wears me out, I just don't enjoy it no matter how I try to change my attitude towards it. Enough whinging.
Yesterday was a gloriously rainy day. Thunder and lightning here and there throughout the day. I love those kinds of days. I also love the sunny ones which is what today is like. 

There are still a few wispy clouds about but it is very pleasant outside even if a bit wet underfoot. The rain and now sunshine is just what is needed to make the grass grow which is what we always want.

I'm trying out my borrowed camera. It is compact and easy to use. That is, I can press the on/off switch and click away but it is quite unsteady. It took a few shots to actually get the rosella in the frame properly without any shaking and even still the focus isn't the best. As for macro shots which I take quite a lot of, it was just not good at all. Perhaps I need to read the instruction manual which I am not wont to do. I'll be happy when my batteries are recharged and I can use my own camera even if it is old and clunky.

The garden is a little bare right now but it is still has something to offer every day.

The pick of the week are the cauliflowers. This variety is Quickheart and they are absolutely lovely and tasty and surprisingly there is not a bug on them. I did give them a dose of Dipel early in the season but other than that, they have been fending for themselves. I think the cabbage moths gave up after that and the aphids are preferring the broccoli. Whatever, they are delicious.

Now I have several letters to get ready for tomorrow's post and some soda bread to make.

Take care

Christmas in July Wrap Up

I have been involved in a swap or two lately. The Down to Earth forum kitchen towel swap, Cheryll's Christmas in July swap and Lisa's ornament swap. I'm now going to take a short break from swapping to work on making a few things for home. In reality I will probably be tempted and join in some more swaps and not make anything at all for me.

 This is what Kaylee sent to me in Cheryll's swap. The guidelines were for three handmade items chosen from the list here. I love my new holly tea towel, snowman mug rug and Santa bon-bon. Kaylee gave me a few extras- some nice fabric which will be used soon, some tea, and some chocolates which mysteriously are missing from my picture... yum.

Thank you Kaylee and Cheryll.

In Lisa's swap, I received a parcel from Peta which suits me perfectly. Two Matryoshka / babushka ornaments which are going to live in my 'studio' always. They are sweet and cute and just plain lovely. Thank you Peta.

I'm one lucky gal.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tomato Soup Recipe

Tomatoes are most definitely out of season here so they have been off the menu but I can't resist a  bargain. $1.50 for 3kilograms and only a couple needed to be passed on to the poultry. The cheap tomatoes tied in well with my yearnings for a bowl of soup for supper too.

Roasted tomato and garlic soup
2kg tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used tarragon and oregano)
1 garlic bulb
500mL stock
Preheat oven to 180deg C.
Place quartered tomatoes into a baking tray with herbs, onion and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 45 minutes (or until garlic is soft).
Remove garlic and allow to cool slightly.
Squeeze garlic from the skins into a large pot. Add the tomatoes along with any juices from the pan. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
Season as desired.
I add a drizzle of cream to my bowl of soup which mellows the acidity of the tomatoes a bit. A little parmesan is quite nice too.
A bowl of soup in a cosy kitchen with those I love close by is just right, right now. If only it was so easy to make peace and happiness everywhere. The news makes me sad. Sorry!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Seven Things About Me

Simone over at Vintage and Me very kindly nominated me for a blog award. Thanks Simone.

Here is what you need to do:
  • You need to thank the person who nominated you, and give a link back to their blog.
  •  You list seven things about yourself that your readers don’t know or seven things about you that you want to share.
  •  Then you need to nominate some blogs that you love reading!
I'm a rebel so I'm going to list my seven things that you may or may not know about me but I'm going to leave it up to you if you want to play along (I know some bloggers take umbrage to these kinds of games). If you do decide to play along, please let me know so I make sure I  read your list.

My list:
  1. My favourite birds are puffins.
  2. I like chocolate and soft drink too much for my own good.
  3. I'm a list maker.
  4. I am afraid of flying. I do hope to overcome this so I can travel to all of the exotic locations on my 'visit one day' wish list.
  5. I love to sing. I don't even care that I have a rather rubbish singing voice.
  6. I am 5'2"
  7. I have ten new chickens.
 They are ISA Browns which I have said I would not have again but here they are anyway. I bought them from the girls' school as pullets and although I thought I might have to wait until spring, they are already laying reliably. They certainly are reliable egg layers even if their temperament lets them down.

Now, there was seven things you didn't need to know.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Frosty weather of late which makes the mornings nice and crisp which you can read as freezing. I'm so glad it is the school holidays and we haven't had to trek to the bus stop.

The past few days have been quiet and peaceful and at home with no need to go anywhere which is my absolute ideal. I'll be savouring every last minute of these holidays before they end on Monday.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Swap Thank You

Recently Kimberley hosted a dishcloth swap. Make two dishcloths and post off with another kitchen item to your partner. I was partnered with Cat and received a lovely parcel. Two crocheted dishcloths in bright colours and a bottle of Eco Store dishwashing liquid. I have a number of knitted dishcloths but not crocheted ones . I do now and I'm keen to give them a try all the while I don't want to use them because they are too pretty. Cat also sent me some New Zealand sweets but as is often the case with chocolates and lollies, they didn't make it to the photo. Yum!

Thanks ladies.

FNwF- what I made

This is some of what I got up to during my craft time for Friday Night with Friends. He is a sweet little fellow and despite all of the tiny hand stitches, comes together quite quickly.

I have four swaps due for posting this week so I have to have nimble fingers at the moment.

Thanks Cheryll for hosting a fun night.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Garden Share- July


 Thanks to Lizzie, a group of gardeners blog each month about what has been happening in their gardens over the past month and what they plan to do in the coming month. There are plenty of lovely links on the Garden Share home page.

Thankfully today is bright and shiny so I could not only get outside to do some much needed work, I could also take some pictures too.

Lots of weeding in the flower beds. The chickens are happy for the bounty and I am happy to have the weeds gone (for however long it lasts).

The lemongrass is looking a bit lacklustre so I have tidied it up and divided the plant to give me more plants and invigorate it.

The past month has been a bit slack around here. That's what happens when there are work holidays for Tim, my usual routines go out the window in favour of walks, lunch dates, day trips and general laziness. Not that he is lazy but we just might be bad influences on each other.

Not a lot of planting this month.
  • potted up some chrysanthemums
  • potted up lemon scented geranium cuttings
  • onions
  • radish
  • pea/ snow peas
  • planted out a bare rooted rose

  • sugar snap peas
  • radish
  • carrots
  • cabbage
  • turnip
  • herbs
  • lettuce
  • tatsoi
  • rocket
  • capsicum
  • chillies
  • Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers
  • potatoes
  • Alpine strawberries
  • citrus- mandarin and limes

Broccoli are just starting to form and the cauliflower aren't too far behind. I staggered my plantings so I'm hoping to keep them going for a while. Hoping... there's a lot of that.

We have had a few heavy frosts and the potatoes which had volunteered in the garden had been hit just a bit so I dug them up today for tonight's dinner. Lasagne with garden vegetables... yum.

Plans for July
  • make a fairy garden
  • weeding and tidying
  • pruning
  • studying the seed catalogues

Friday Night with Friends- July

The first Friday of the month and thanks to Cheryll, I'll be stitching with a bunch of lovely friends. Friday Night with Friends, time to get together virtually to do some stitching. I think I have talked Grace into bringing out her crochet and joining me tonight.

I'll be working on some Christmas in July things. Ornaments to make tonight or at least get a start anyway which is the hardest part. I'm going to make sure I make an extra one or two because they are just the sweetest little Santas I have seen.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014


A not so fun morning digging up prickly pears. We don't have a lot of them on the farm. They are here and there and they are a nuisance. What works best for us with a small amount to remove is to dig them up, trying to get all of the root system and burn them.

 Have to be careful though, the spikes are nasty. I'm glad to say my job was not digging. I was on wood collecting duty.
The fruit is spectacular to look at when cut. Jewel like with such an amazing colour but the ones I have tasted have been a little underwhelming. It's definitely relegated to the weed status here.
I was glad to have a nice place to work today. And a fire to keep warm while doing it.