Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This week

Today' random picture: Last year's ewe lambs off to their new home

Well, well, another week speeds by. We've had a birthday celebration, end of school life for one of us and general day-to-day goings on. Today I am taking a day off just to let my mind catch up and do pretty much nothing. I'm enjoying reading blogs I haven't had time to peruse for a while.

I am so glad I've been menu planning. When things are busy or hectic, the menu plan makes life just that little bit easier. No need to think about what to cook for the main meal of the day. That's what I like about menu planning the most. Having said that, my menu plan for the coming week will be up in the air. I'm going away for a week (yay, I get to see some of my people) and I'm not sure what if any cooking facilities will be available. I do like to eat out so that's ok with me for a holiday. I'm hoping for some delicious vegetarian offerings because my town really is a haven for carnivores with vegetarians left with little to choose from. I do live in prime cattle and sheep growing country so that's to be expected.

For the rest of this week we will have:
  • Poached eggs and toast. Welsh rarebit for the egg shirkers.
  • Cauliflower soup
  • Vegetable biryani and onion bhajis
  • Pasta
Not a menu that's going to have me inundated with requests for invites. I am linking up with Cath today where you will no doubt find more inspiring menu offerings.

This past week I've also had some extra special snail mail. Belated birthday gifts from overseas which were not expected and made even more delightful because of the surprise element. Had a catch up with my parents. Done the chores as always and driven more than I like, as always. And today instead of sweltering in hot weather here too soon, I'm in a jacket to keep warm. Hmmm.

Take care

Monday, October 19, 2015

Menu etc

foxgloves and lavender

I'm glad to say I don't have to do much thinking for this weeks menu. There is a birthday coming up in the household in a week or so and the birthday girl gets to choose the menu this week. Hooray!

I haven't been online much this week. Well I  have been online, and probably more than I should but I haven't written anything here. It's a balancing act.

Flanders poppies in the vegetable garden

Lots of jobs getting done in the real world so that's good. Netting fruit trees. The birds have already had more apricots than I would like and I don't even really like apricots that much. Watering is daily for some young seedlings that haven't established themselves yet. Of course the self-sown seedlings power on and don't care too much about whether I tend them or not.

Broad beans- tonight's dinner
This week's menu:
  • Butter chicken tofu (my favourite way to eat tofu)
  • lasagne
  • Mushroom and leek pie
  • Fried rice
  • Beetroot tart
  • Asparagus and broadbean on sourdough (with goat's cheese)
Salads or other vegetables on the side too. Depends what says 'pick me' in the garden or 'buy me' in the greengrocers.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Selection- poppies

I'm a little weary today. I've had a nap but I think good, proper sleep might be the answer. Anyway, I am joining River with her Sunday Selections. Posting some photos I have taken that thus far I haven't found a place for on the blog.
My photos are of my Flanders poppies in various stages of development. I will admit here that someone might look at my poppies in the vegetable garden and think they are weeds because they in true poppy style, pop up here, there and everywhere. I will mow around them and the best specimens this year are growing amongst the onions or maybe it is vice versa.

Of course the flower is the pinnacle of poppy desirability. So lovely and delicate looking which belies its hardiness and ability to survive (and spread).

The unopened flower head. Well it is kind of weird and a little rude looking (maybe that is just me). I prefer to call it interesting and bizarre.

Finally the seed pod. They look so alien-like. This one is fresh and the seed pod hasn't dried out yet. I hope I remember to pick some before the seeds spread naturally because I would like to sow them in a few different spots next season. If that fails then  will just replant any self-sown plants. They do very well that way too. A greenthumb is not a prerequisite for growing poppies.

Thanks for visiting.


Friday, October 9, 2015


Already it is Friday. I would slow the clock down if I could. It has been a nice week though. Spent mostly at home working and not working. I have my scholar at home studying for those all important final HSC exams. I'm glad she has time for a cup of tea on the porch with me in between studying.

Herb garden this morning

The weather has been hot and dry with a day of gusty southerly winds which dropped the temperatures into the teens during the day. I don't mind a reprieve from the mid-30s degC but I really can do without the wind. It is destructive and will hasten the drying out of the grass and pastures. Today it's back to stinging sun and heat.

I'll tell you what does like the heat we have been having. The lavenders and consequently the bees. I also had a close encounter with a brown snake in the vegetable garden this morning and he/she seemed to be enjoying the hot weather too. I've shuffled the chores around now and mowing is at the top of the list. If there is a snake about, I want to be able to see it. This mornings one slithered away and hasn't been sighted since.

Fragrant Cloud

The harsh pruning I gave the roses last year has really seemed to have done them well. They are lush and have some promising looking buds. A couple of varieties are flowering already- Fragrant Cloud, Grace Darling and Knockout. I'd recommend Fragrant cloud, it's big and showy and has an amazing scent. Just how a rose should smell.

I am also making progress on my large cross stitch. I've challenged myself to stitch 100 stitches a day. It sounds like nothing and doesn't look like much progress but it is all I can squeeze into my day at the moment. I have no idea how long it will take to finish but it's not going to be soon. I'll try to remember to post some progress along the way. If I don't it most likely means I have put it aside again. That's me.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Honey Spice Loaf and my weekly meal plan

 Honey Spice Loaf
90 grams butter
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
Preheat oven to 180 deg.C
Grease and line a loaf tin
Melt butter and honey together in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Stirring until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
Stir in flours, sugar, soda, spices then add milk and egg. Stir until well combined.
Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes.
Stand to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack or plate. Let it cool or enjoy warm.
I use honey but golden syrup or the like could easily take its place. 

This cake lasts next to no time here. I made one this afternoon and I don't think it will make it to tomorrow's school lunchbox.

The weekly meal plan this week. I'm taking into account that we are having some warm weather and eating light. I'm glad to say that I have plenty in the garden now unlike the beginning of last month. I have one large pumpkin left from last summer so it needs using very soon (now).

This week in no particular order we will be having:
  • potato and warrigal greens with fenugreek and dahl on the side
  • risotto- either mushroom or honey-baked pumpkin
  • brown rice salad with braised celery
  • roasted pumpkin and onion tart
  • cauliflower and broccoli quiche
  • eggs some way on Sunday
There will definitely be sprouts along the way too. And asparagus every day. It's that time of year.

Edited to add: I'm linking up with Cath@home for her weekly What's for dinner post.

Better get cooking.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunny Sunday

jasmine- divine

It is sunny, it is Sunday and it is hot. Well not summer hot but plenty hot enough in the low 30s degreesC. The sun has some sting too. I am not a fan of really hot weather but I will try not to whinge and whine too much. It doesn't help so why bother?

Flanders poppies

 The warmer days (and nights) and moreover longer day lengths have made all sorts of flowers put on a display. Bees and bugs are busy. I think we will inspect the hives this week sometime just to see how quickly the empty frames are being filled. It really doesn't take bees very long to fill a super when there is a good flow of nectar and conditions are just right.

lavender plus bee

Today I'm doing bits and pieces inside and out. And finding it a little tricky to get my head around the change to the clocks for daylight savings. Didn't help that a cuckoo woke me up at 3:42am.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

catch up FNwF

It has been a while between craft project finishes for me and I'm not sure I would really call knitting a dishcloth a very crafty project but here it is anyway.
I joined in with a number of other crafty types last night for Cheryll's Friday Night with Friends and you can check out everyone's projects by following the link. 

 Now I have one very bright and bold dishcloth ready to brighten the kitchen and wash the dishes.

I didn't get around to any cross stitch. I was tired. I did locate an unfinished project which I think I started early in 2011. It has been so long I can't really remember exactly. I do want to finish it though. I will be stitching for quite a while yet.

 And no art journaling either. I can't locate my felt tip pens which has resulted in some deep cleaning and de-cluttering. It needed doing anyway. I am certain, as my son says, the pens will be in the last place I look.

Thanks Cheryll. I really enjoyed doing some knitting and relaxing a little last night. I can feel my creativity stirring again.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Companion planting and other garden happenings


I've mentioned companion planting on the blog before. I don't practice it with any great zeal or worry too much if I've planted bad neighbours near each other. They either get along or not. I'm sure it works to some extent but perhaps the difference is only between a mediocre harvest or a great harvest or maybe no difference at all in some cases. If you are really keen on using companion planting principles in your garden then a good place to look is the SGA guide. It's comprehensive and set out in quite an easy read table format which I like. Although it is an Australian guide, the suggestions aren't always appropriate for my climate. I don't grow potatoes at the same time as my winter brassicas or peas but they are supposedly good neighbours. The potatoes however don't enjoy the cold winters here which the peas and brassicas do and conversely, the brassicas and peas do not enjoy the summer heat that the potatoes relish in my garden. And that may be the key to it all. What works for you in your climate is the best practice to employ.

I planted out a number of potatoes yesterday and while there may be some self-sown sunflowers nearby I didn't remove them. I did however sow some marigold seeds amongst the potatoes because they are good companions but mostly because I like marigolds and I want my garden full and lush and forest-like this summer. And full of flowers too.

rocket/ arugula


spring onion

There are a number of things flowering in the vegetable garden now. The rocket, some spring onions, coriander, sage, thyme and lavender. I leave most of them alone for as long as I can spare the space. The leaves are for the most part still edible and often the flowers are edible too. The added bonus is that the flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden and they look pretty or at the very least interesting.

I have to say I have been driven to distraction by the computer today. If you are my Facebook friend then you will know I don't actually post very much at all but I do like to 'like' my friends' posts and keep up to date with their happenings. I haven't been able to make it load properly on my computer for a couple of days now. Text only is what I am getting. I've tried all of the tricks and suggestions and I'm ready for a break. Thank goodness for FNwF and spring cleaning and a little bit of yoga. I also planted some Purple King beans to keep my mind on good things instead of technical issues which I have not a clue about.