Monday, April 27, 2015

Next month we won't be eating any meat. It's something I started last year- Meat Free May. It may be a permanent change to the diet of some of us but that remains to be seen. Last year Hope couldn't bring herself to give up eating meat but she's a year older and wiser and more adventurous now and she's all for it. Last night she perused some of my cookbooks and decided I should cook this pumpkin and raisin loaf from my River Cottage Veg Every Day cookbook. I'm glad she did, it's delicious and I've already eaten more than I should. I didn't wait for it to cool, these sorts of cakes taste best still oven warm if you ask me.

The recipe is in the cookbook of course but it can also be found here. The only alterations I made today were to use mixed dried fruit rather than raisins and no nutmeg and that's only because I didn't have them in the pantry today. I think it would be good with grated carrot or even apple instead of the pumpkin if they aren't in season.

And why am I making a cake laced with pumpkin?

Well, there are one or two that have broken off the vines so I'm using them up before I'm inundated with pumpkins after the first frost. A simple pumpkin soup for Sunday soup night last night and the cake today. Still half of this pumpkin left to enjoy. I love pumpkin, it's right up there with a load of other vegetables as one of my favourites.

I'm happy to say that today, everyone is well and back to work and school and I bypassed the worst of it with just a croaky voice.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

My garden therapy

Yellow podded pea seedlings

With all of the germs that are being shared inside my house at the moment, I'm taking every opportunity to get outside and use my garden as therapy for body and soul. I think that's what is keeping me healthy despite all of the coughing around me. That's what I tell myself. I can't believe how poorly the two patients are. Grace has been off school all week which is her first absence from school because of illness in years.

Today it stopped raining and that's a good thing. More rain in a week or so would be very welcome but ideally we will have some sunshine now to let all of the pastures and plants grow. The animals will welcome some sunshine too. Sheep always look so forlorn in the rain. The ducks on the other hand have been enjoying the wet weather immensely.

Radish- Saxa

I love how a drop of rain can make seeds emerge so boldly from the soil. Much better than watering with a hose or watering can. I know it's all about the dissolved nutrients and things like that but I like to believe that is something more mystical and magical in the rain that makes it so beneficial.

And I have some fruit in the garden. I thought I was going to have to wait for the citrus to ripen before I could have something freshly picked to enjoy but no. The alpine strawberry is full of fruit and it's sweet and delicious. I don't think there are ever enough berries though.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Writing Weather

Rainy today

 Writing weather. That's what I call this lovely rainy weather that we are having here. I know it is causing destruction and devastation elsewhere but I'm thankful that it is just good tank-filling rain in my parts.

Outgoing mail

I'm spending the enforced inside time catching up on correspondence. When I haven't been ferrying an ill husband and daughter to and from the doctors that is. I'm also doing my utmost to avoid their 'dreaded lurgy' because I don't want it thank you.

Take care

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Too warm

Last week we had the fire on. Just in the early morning to warm the house up and only twice but this week is a different story. Phew. It is too warm. 31degC and that's in a shady spot on my veranda. Hard to believe we are half way through autumn with the temperatures. I'm watering the garden every couple of days still and new plantings everyday. I'm looking forward to some cooler weather that's for sure. 

I've been having a bit of a seed sowing spree. It's quite possible that I might have too many seeds. Certainly it gets harder and harder to find spots to plant things. I've planted a few broccoli and cauliflower plants in the flower garden. I think they are rather decorative and the fact that they can feed us makes them all the more beautiful in my eyes. It might also make them less noticeable to the cabbage moths but I doubt that very much.

It's the last week of the autumn school holidays. The holidays always rush by. I'm glad that we have spent most of these three weeks at home all doing our own thing but together.


Dahlia- tiger bey

Orange is the 'in' colour this week. Dahlias, nasturtiums, California poppies and my orange chrysanthemum are all putting on a show. The 'mums and  nasturtiums will still be good next week but I think the dahlias and poppies might be putting on a last hoorah. I'm not even sure what flowers I have coming on next. A surprise will be nice.

Right now I have to make compost and dinner. Or perhaps it would be best for the diners if I make dinner then compost.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wedding Road Trip

We had our sojourn to Wellington on Saturday. We've been there a few times since Tim's mother and sister moved there so we sort of know the town. Not well enough to know where to get a good cuppa but I know where you can get a rather ordinary one. What I notice each time we go there is that there are more empty businesses. Sadly I guess that happens to many towns that are too close to a bigger and 'better' shopping town.
This time we had a wedding to attend.

They have an interesting art installation at the southern entrance to the town. It doesn't say welcome to me but I'm not known for my great understanding of art.

I'm not used to such a flat terrain. Home to me is a snug valley with hills hemming me in. It is good to see other vistas though even if it is only to make one appreciate there own all the more. It's dry out there too.

I like gardens and plants so if there's a garden to visit, then I'll do it. The Osawano Japanese  Gardens are a nice spot for a visit and a picnic.

Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to take a cave tour this time. It was action stations to get ready for the wedding and then straight home on Sunday. A stomach upset for me last night and today spent catching up on the work I missed while away. It was only an overnight trip and I don't know how but there always seems to be so much to unpack, wash and put away.
I'm so glad to be home.
Back to usual tomorrow.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Well worth a looksee
Image from Joan's blog

My very dear friend and  penpal, Joan, has recently started a blog- A View to the Fells. It is well worth a visit to see  her beautiful part of England. the wonderful recipes she shares, her notes about her travels and much more.

If you have a moment or two to spare I'm sure Joan would love to have you visit.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Garden Share- April

Bee and basil
 April already. I think I marvel every month at how quickly the time flies so why should this one be any different?

I almost forgot it was Garden Share Collective day today. It's the first Monday of the month and I feel like it is Sunday. Actually I feel like there have been three Sundays this weekend.

the herb garden
 The past month the weather has played tricks. Is it autumn is it summer? And then there was the blustery winds. The minimum temperature measured on my veranda  was 8.3 degC and the maximum 39.3 degC. Yes , quite a large range. Rain for the month: 32.5mm. One of the bonuses of the warm weather is that we have had an extra honey harvest. A super filled extra quickly. I like seeing and tasting the differences in each harvest and each hive. Sometimes they are marked and sometimes barely discernible.

golden zucchini
  • pumpkin (the ones the rabbits knocked off)
  • tomatoes
  • flowers
  • potatoes
  • chillies
  • capsicum
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • herbs
  • sunflowers
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • citrus
  • zucchini
  • okra
  • and other stuff I can't think of

Finger lime- Rick's red

 What I'm not harvesting yet. The pumpkins are hanging on. I have had a few that the rabbits tried to make their own. The Hubbard last night became soup and was nice but could have benefited from longer on the vine and in the sun. I wasn't wasting it though or letting the rabbits have it.

Planting: I have seedlings of brassicas to go in the ground- broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts...

My list for April is:
  • broad beans
  • beetroot
  • cabbage
  • chives
  • leafy greens
  • Asian greens
  • rocket
  • snow peas
  • peas
  • turnip
  • onion
I'm sure I've forgotten things. I'll probably have a looksee at the garden centre  for any bargains that might be suitable too.

To do:
  • blood and bone spread around to deter rabbits (have to do that this afternoon)
  • weeding
  • composting
  • planting
  • enjoy my space

 If you've read this far, you get to see the girl behind the garden. Me. Thanks to Hope for taking this picture of me while her and her sister watched me work. That's what they do mostly. That and chatter away about this and that and nothing in particular and I'm happy for their company.
The Garden Share Collective is organised by Lizzie from Strayed from the Table. There are always plenty of vegetable gardens to inspire if you would like to click on over. Or you could add your garden to the list too.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

FNwF catch up

Thanks to Cheryll for hosting another fun Friday Night with Friends.

I'm happy to say I finished all of the triangle hexagons for my Lynette Anderson table topper project. Just have to stitch everything together now... just. I'll be travelling a little next week so hopefully I can make some headway while I'm passenger.

I like to have something to watch or listen to while I sew. This time it was Pride and Prejudice with all its grandeur, regency style dress and taking turns around the room. I love it.

Grace was my real life friend crafting alongside me. She worked on her crochet blanket. It's really a giant granny square with no end in sight. She wants to move on to a ripple blanket but not until this one is of a certain undetermined size.

If you would like to see what all of the other Friday night friends got up to, please click on over to Dory's blog and follow the links.

And the best bit. We had rain Friday night and a little on Saturday. Yay!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


I'm spending my spare time in the garden this week and doing a little sewing too. It's has been that much more pleasant to be outdoors now that the weather has decided it might be autumn. Mostly I've just been tidying things up and readying vegetable garden beds for some seeds and seedlings. I have piles (lots of piles) of spent beans, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini which are to be composted or given to the chooks. The chooks are probably sick of the wheelbarrow coming their way full of weeds and such.

What is still looking nice are the marigolds. I know not everyone likes them but I do. They are bright and cheerful, grow themselves and work well as a companion plant to many things.

And they are very generous with their seeds. I think I could supply most of the state with seeds if they wanted them and I could afford the postage costs.

Clearing one trellis of snake beans today I found dinner. Well part of it. Pink Fir Apple potatoes had grown unbeknownst hidden away under the jungle of beans. They are a lovely potato and obviously easy to grow.

It wasn't all potato serendipity in the garden. I did find one of my Atlantic Giant pumpkins gnawed by rabbits. Well I'm blaming rabbits because they are an ever present pest. Could have been a possum I suppose.

Tomorrow night is Friday Night with Friends. I'm not sure what I'll be working on. As always it depends on my energy levels at the end of the day. Perhaps more hexagons or maybe even a dress to wear to a wedding on April 11th. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Well, I am showing my first attempts at English paper piecing. Practice even if not making perfect is making me better at it. And I do like that it is so easy to just take it out of the basket and sew a triangle or two or even six together after dinner. It would be good if our lounge room lights were brighter because those tiny stitches are a strain on the eyes. I might need to use a lamp. Lots of ladies used those at Girls Day in the Country and I can see why.

I can't say I love EPP yet but I have pinned a project or two to my Pinterest boards so I guess I'm coming around. Very small projects I must say.

I'm loving these school holidays. No routines, no lunchboxes and pleasant enough to be outside most of the day.