Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sydney bound

Leaving the men folk in charge of the farm for the next two days while I gallivant around Sydney. I very much hope that it is raining here at home while I'm away and not raining in Sydney because I will be enjoying the city on foot. Hope and I are going to have a blast and Grace is going to play her violin. Win win.

As I will be away, I won't have internet connectivity. That's what happens when you don't own a mobile phone. So I will catch up with all of you, my lovely friends when I get home. Probably after I have had a bit of a rest.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beating the heat

The predicted heat for today has arrived. My weather gauge is telling me it is 43.2 degC (109.76degF) on the veranda and I definitely won't argue with it. If I had a swimming pool, I'd probably be spending plenty of time in there keeping cool but as it happens, I do not. In an effort to keep cool and carry on, I've been up since before the sun  getting the outside chores completed. I'll do some more when the sun settles behind the hills later. The rest of the day has been mostly inside. It's the best way to beat the heat here.

I've also been sewing. A couple of lightweight shopping totes to send somewhere or other. I like a sewing and a lot of the time I like to make things that require thinking and measuring and careful cutting. Not today! Today it's the easy stitching kind that's best.

Card and letter writing  are absolutely perfect hot or cold weather pursuits. The post office is kept busy with the amount of mail that comes in and out of this house. In fact, if I have your address, expect a little card and note from me next month.

What I haven't done is bake. I need to bake something for the lunchboxes and for my trip on Tuesday. I'll do it when I have the oven on for tonight's dinner- pizzas. Why do I do these things? I should use the outdoor pizza oven but it is rendered useless in these high fire danger periods.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Time Poor

Time poor. That's been my story of late. In all honesty though I don't think I've really been doing a lot. Well not anything that is of great interest at any rate. I'll have to try to change that. I know, I'll take a trip to Sydney next week and then come home to celebrate my son's 21st birthday. That should do the trick.

Quite surprisingly given my homebody tendencies, I am looking forward to the Sydney sojourn. I'll get to visit places I know from my life before the farm and have a look at the sites of the harbour. I'm also planning on doing a spot of shopping and eating out. I guess I'm looking forward to a break from my real life. It's nice sometimes.


Monday, November 17, 2014


As I no longer have to go into town on Mondays, it has become one of my favourite days of the week. It's my day that I feel I accomplish the most. The house gets a good going over, I organise my week and I have a bit of time to myself after I work.
Today I've been busy doing all of the usual chores. I did my exercising early because if I leave it to later, it just might not get done at all and I really NEED to exercise.


 I planted out my 'free' seeds that arrived from Diggers. They are free in that I didn't pay for them but I pay a yearly membership and the seeds are one of the perquisites.

The zucchini are absolutely relishing the hot weather. There are a few zucchini ready to pick and plenty of flowers coming on. I'm sure in a month or two I will be regretting planting so many but for now I'm happy.

 I'm also quite happy with this gladiolus. The corm came all the way from Sharon's garden when we swapped dahlias (Sharon sent me gladdies as well). Thanks Sharon. The dahlias she sent are coming along too but no sign of flowers just yet. I'm looking forward to the surprise as I have no idea what colour or type they all are.

Once I log off here, I will be busy putting together my Christmas swaps which go out this week. I have had a nice time sewing all sorts of Christmassy things but I do think I will take a break from stitching anything red for a while.

Before I forget, I have done a menu plan for this week. Here it is:

Menu Plan
Monday- curry
Tuesday-? takeaway/ toasted sandwiches (I'm taking a short trip tomorrow)
Wednesday- pie
Thursday- Stir fry
Friday- Pilaf
Saturday- Zucchini slice
Sunday- Pizzas


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seeing Red

Lots of sewing but nothing to show and tell because it is all secret sewing. What did I do to see red? I measured twice, I cut once but I didn't think thrice. I cut the chevron pieces the wrong way and it just won't do. Aargh!

I've surprised myself using so much red. It is bold and bright and demands attention. If I was a colour, I would NOT be red.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Back to basics

I'm not sure if it is the heat, the time of the year or just a whim but I have been contemplating this and that of late. Random things and some not so random. What I do know is that I feel that I have a need to go 'back to basics' and tighten my belt both figuratively and literally (that might take a while), pay more attention to what needs doing and just do it and perhaps even spend less time online. Get my routing in order... again.
It is so easy to become caught up with online things where one page leads to another and so on. My online time needs to be quality time, interacting with friends and learning things, not just meandering wherever the next link takes me. Having said that, it is sometimes a meandering results in a nice piece of serendipity that leads to a new blog and a new friend.

With the incessant heat, I've been doing all of my outdoor chores in the cooler times of the day. That is in the mornings and evenings though last night it didn't seem to cool down at all and we were at 30degC at 9am this morning. That is more than warm enough for me. The sheets were dry in next to no time which is the silver lining to the cloud (or no clouds unfortunately).

Immi with Gidget playing on the rocks

Part of  thinking in a 'back to basics' kind of way means I am menu planning. My menu plan does not make for the slightest bit of interesting reading but I'll put it here anyway just in case someone wants to read it and in case I lose my piece of paper where it is written.
Menu Plan
Monday- curry
Tuesday- Steak with potato salad with chilli Caesar dressing (Annabel Langbein recipe)
Wednesday- Pasta bake
Thursday- Lamb and chickpea tagine
Friday- Stir fry
Saturday- Pumpkin and leek tart
Sunday- Chachouka (eggs baked in a capsicum and tomato stew)
More meat this week, I'm donating blood.
Today I've given the pantry a going over. It needed it. I have no idea why I bought a can of mango many moons ago. Maybe someone gave them to me, I don't recall but they were definitely out of date. However they came to be in the larder, they are gone now and the chooks enjoyed them very much. I hope they won't mind regular rations this evening after such a gourmet start to the day.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday Night with Friends

I'm quite happy with my effort for this Friday Night with Friends this month. It's always a good sign when you want to keep what you've made. I'll just have to make another. The only problem is I can't show or tell because it is swap sewing. It's that time of year where anything I make is either being sent away near or far or is going to be wrapped up and secreted away until birthday or Christmas.

I've been making sure I have everything sorted too with lists and such. I'm very good at writing lists.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Swapping, Christmas Style

October was the month to swap Christmas gifts on the Down to Earth forum. I know that seems much too early to me too but with all the hubbub that surrounds the end of the year, October does make sense to avoid pressure and stress. It also makes perfect sense when you swap items that are Christmassy and can be put to use during the festive season.
I swapped with the lovely Becci and she sent me a wonderful parcel filled with some her crocheted goodies, some FruChocs and a beautiful handmade card. I like the Christmas star dishcloths so much that I think I might make some myself to include in one of my other swap parcels.
Thanks Becci.
What did I send to Becci? 

 Some Christmas bunting.

A Christmas stocking made from some unwanted jeans. I popped in a couple of other goodies  and a handmade card which I didn't take a picture of.
I do like to sew and make and be creative. I just forget how much when I have been out of practice.

Good Intentions- NaBloPoMo

I had very good intentions of typing up a little something to share here everyday in November as part of NaBloPoMo but between a severe electrical storms and the monopoly of the computer by a student with an assignment due, I have stalled already. Maybe I can catch up. 

Lots of rain, wind, lightning, thunder and hail on Wednesday afternoon. It was oh so nice to have a cool change and some much needed precipitation even if some of it fell as hail and damaged fruit.
My fairy/gnome garden looked like a winter wonderland for a little while. But it's back to hot and sticky weather now.

Tim's idea of snow-cones

The hail looked almost good enough to eat. Not quite but almost. The cordial didn't help.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I am definitely getting my daily fruit quota. I like to have at least three pieces of fruit a day (especially bananas, I can't resist them). The fruit of the day today though are mulberries and loquats. They are ripe and sweet and juicy. I had enough to make a batch of mulberry and dark chocolate muffins as well as plenty to eat fresh. I wanted to use white chocolate but I didn't have any.

How is it that this dry spring the mulberries are extra nice and the birds are leaving them alone? Well they are eating my strawberries and taste testing the cherries too. I don't know and I don't spend too much time trying to nut out why either. I really should have those fruit trees netted already but I am sometimes a slacker.

 I would include a recipe for the muffins but I don't really have one. When I make muffins I always follow the same rough guidelines.
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • about 1 cup of whatever goodies I want to mix in eg berries, choc chips, muesli, dried fruit
  • 90 grams melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk or yoghurt
Mix dry ingredients together and then stir in combined wet ingredients until just combined. 3/4 fill muffin cases and bake in a moderate oven until they are done (about 20 minutes). A very rough guide but it works for me. One of those 'recipes' that you can fall back on in a pinch without thinking too much. I'm sure most cooks have a few of those.

Now I'm off to do some sewing for swaps. Better make sure my hands are clean. Mulberries sure do make a mess. I read that rubbing the stains with the unripe fruit will remove the stains. I'm not trying that. That's fruit I won't have.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Menu Plan

I don't have lack of inspiration as an excuse for a boring menu and that's just the books that don't fit on the shelves (plus a library book). Yesterday I said I'd been a little lacklustre in the kitchen these past few weeks. In all honesty I think it is because I have been super busy outside and by the time dinner comes around, I'd rather just go to bed. It certainly doesn't make an ounce of sense to be spending so much energy on growing food- plants and animals - and then be too tired to actually make the most of it. No sense at all!

This week, I am armed with a menu plan. I used to plan for a whole month and shop for a month too but it wasn't working out for the best so now I shop weekly (if I have to). I have to go to town anyway so I might as well go to the supermarket. Thankfully my town trips are early morning so I beat the traffic. The shopping aisle traffic that is.

Menu Plan
Monday- curry
Tuesday- zucchini burgers
Wednesday- beef stroganoff
Thursday- mixed grain salad (from Colin Fassnidge's cook book)
Friday- chilli
Saturday- wraps
Sunday- eggs someway or another. We have a lot of eggs.

We have vegetables with our meals but I don't include those because it depends what's good in the garden that day. Broad beans tonight because I picked the last of them today and cleared that garden bed.


We don't usually have dessert. I think because I don't have a 'sweet tooth' but I did manage to gather some strawberries today so dessert is on the menu tonight. I also witnessed first hand the strawberry thieves at work. Rosellas. Well, they didn't get these ones.

Now I can write my shopping list.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Harvesting or not


Time to start harvesting the garlic. Three varieties this year but I just can't recall them right now. It's written down somewhere. Where??

I'm always happy that there is something in the garden that I can cook with but these garlics are extra welcome. I have resorted to buying jars of crushed garlic. I suppose I could just leave it out of my recipes but I don't want to. There has been fresh garlic in the greengrocers but it is all imported so I'm erring on the side of buying Australian. It's not bad. I hope this crop of garlic lasts until this time next year. Somehow I don't think it will.

I'm not harvesting loads of strawberries. I'll just have to be quicker if I'm to beat the culprit. That or net the strawberry beds. That would work... maybe.

Now, what to cook for dinner? I have been unimaginative in the kitchen lately. A little tired and disorganised perhaps.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fruit Bread

I like this fruit bread quite a lot. Too much so maybe, it's hard to resist. 
Fruit Bread
600 grams dried fruit (I used apricots, figs, dates and sultanas )
2 cups orange juice
1 tsp bicarb
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
Preheat oven to 180 degC
Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper
Combine fruit and orange juice in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
Cook for 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in the bicarb.
Allow to cool slightly. About 10 minutes.
Stir in eggs, sugar, flour and spices until combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared tin and smooth the top.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Remove from oven and stand in tin for 5 minutes.
Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Tastes great sliced thickly and served as is but adding a spread of butter takes it to another level. Well I think it does. Good thing there is no butter in the recipe.