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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Offline

I'm taking a break from the online world. My internet connection and speed is helping me along with my desire to be more present and completely engaged in life.

I'll be back soon or not soon. Who knows?

And I'm not alone, offline is apparently the new luxury.

Bye for now,
Tracy

Friday, April 7, 2017

Five on Friday

It has been quite a while since I posted a Five on Friday post. So long in fact that we now have new hosts for the get together. Amy has handed the reins over to Carly and Tricky. Anyway, I am here with five photos. I think I have shared most of the pictures on Instagram at some point this week so apologies if you've had to see them twice. 


1. This nerine has been flowering quite nicely. I think I planted it years ago mostly so I could have an entry in that section of our local agricultural show.


 2. The ewes are enjoying the autumn. It is so much kinder to them than the summer heat and they really do seem happier.

 3. The windy weather brought an old, dead tree down on the fence last weekend. I'm glad it didn't do much damage and we have some firewood from it too.


4. I'm enjoying the autumn too. Enough work to do and enough down time to enjoy a cup of tea and some writing time. I love the early night fall and the cool temperatures.

Chooky aka Hawkie

5. It's Chooky's birthday today sort of. Three years ago today she lived while every other chicken and turkey on our farm lost their lives. It was a sad, sad day then. But, we have her and she has become such a coddled little bird who spends her days following me where I go (when she can).


Anyway, that is it for me for this Five on Friday post. If you would like to join in please click on over to the FAST Blog. Or maybe even click on over just to have a read.

Bye for now,
Tracy

Monday, April 3, 2017

Menu Plan

It has been a while since I have written up a menu plan here on the blog. In fact I can honestly say that since changing my diet to plant-based, I have been quite remiss in planning what we eat, relying more on what is in the garden, in the fridge or what I feel like just before meal preparation. I've been a slacker. 

Today I am limited in what I will be cooking. There's the no oven issue and I haven't been shopping for a while. So tonight it has to be whatever is in the pantry or fridge. Or maybe I could just take out some leftovers from the freezer (that's looking good at the moment). I'm grocery shopping tomorrow whether I like it or not.

So here goes.

Main meals this week: 

Monday- eggplant and green bean curry, split pea dahl and brown basmati rice.
Tuesday- Chilli with rice or corn chips/ tacos, salasa and guacamole.
Wednesday- Potato salad and kimchi
Thursday- Girls night out with Grace and Hope. Yum!!!
Friday- Scrambled tofu with tomatoes, chilli sauce and toast
Saturday- Zucchini and chickpea burgers with tabbouleh.
Sunday- Pearl barley and vegetable soup.

That's the plan at this stage but hey, it's only a list and no one cares if inspiration strikes and I cook something else. I'm definitely locking in a nice dinner out on Thursday night though.


 Something good I have eaten already today is homegrown popcorn. I decided to shuck a few cobs and pop them at morning tea time. I think they look quite pretty. Some ears were pollinated better than others but that's how it goes.


And with more luck than skill, I estimated the capacity of the saucepan just right (this time).

Now, time to cook the curry and dahl.

Bye for now
Tracy

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April to-do list

Butter

A quick to-do list which I'm sure will need additions throughout the month.

  • A new oven (if not a whole new kitchen)
  • Finish winter sowing and planting
  • Pull up hall carpet
  • Gather and stack some wood (it's getting cooler)
  • Write everyday (letters, diary, journal)
  • Exercise everyday
  • Meditate
  • Knit or crochet a scarf (have to find the right pattern first)
  • Plan our trip we will take in September
  • The regular chores and the daily dramas


I'm also thinking about what to do for my Biggest Morning Tea next month.  At this stage without an oven it is going to be tea/ coffee and a packet of biscuits from the shops. I'm keeping my donations box up all year  and plan to add any loose change to it when I remember. Every little bit counts.

Right now the sun is shining so I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon out in the garden. Unfortunately for me it is blowing a gale outside and I do not like wind above a zephyr.

Bye for now,
Tracy

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April- no joke

I am astonished that we are a quarter of the way into 2017. Slowing down and being in the moment is what I am trying to do but still the clock ticks and the days seem to pass by so quickly. This past month has been full. We have had to to and fro and do quite a bit  but it is all settling down now and back to routine. Perhaps I will be blogging regularly or perhaps I am just an April fool.


 In the garden, the dahlias are truly only starting to shine now. Very late for them. In the past I have entered them in our local show which was last weekend. None were right then (and I wasn't home anyway) but they bloomed lovely from Monday. The rain we had was probably the key but I like to think they just didn't want to be judged.


 Chillies are excellent this year and by excellent I mean HOT. They look quite spectacular too in my opinion. The Aji Yellow above are mild in comparison to some but still spicy enough to add a kick to some dahl or curry.


I'm still planting the winter garden. Trips away, rainy days and some family health related transport duties have put me behind just a little. Of course the 35℃ we had mid-week means I'm not behind at all, the plants must feel like it is still summer.

Anyway, it is school holidays now and that is always great.

Bye for now,
Tracy

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Planting and such

A box of goodies arriving from Diggers is always exciting. I'm looking forward to getting all that garlic in the ground plus the homegrown cloves I have. I must have planted the right amount last year (not that I remember how many that was) because we still have some garlic left to eat as well as plant. It rarely works out so well.

I ran out of the crimson and chocolate flowered broad beans and they really do look lovely in the garden so I ordered some of those too. From what I can tell, they don't have any difference in taste but they do add some interest to the colour palette of the garden when they are in flower.

Having the usual problem a change of season brings. The old plants- tomatoes, chillies, eggplants, beans etc are still in fine form but I need room for the winter vegies. So I'm pulling out bits and pieces and popping plants here and there in the spaces available. I did hoe a rather large patch to grow some overwinter grains.

What else have I been up to. The regular work plus a road trip yesterday to pick up my parents. It was lovely to see my sister who met me half way.

I've had to go shopping more than I like too. Someone in my household loves to walk around clothes shops and can do it for longer than my nerves can cope with. I think her next shopping expedition will have to be with friends. 😧 Having said that I can probably spend quite some time walking around plant shops without the same anguish.

Anyway. I am home alone and not for long and I want to get those garlics in the ground.

Tracy

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Autumn

I'm so glad to see autumn making an appearance. The heat can remain a memory until next summer. Thank you. Now if some decent rain would fall but we can't have it all our own way.

I spent the last throes of summer working in the garden when I could. But mostly staying indoors keeping cool, writing letters for Letter Mo, reading and most definitely not baking. Our oven is broken and apparently too old to repair so we are working on what to do.


Brain Killer chilli

The summer garden has been quite productive. It's surprising how well it has stood up to the heat and wind we have had to endure. The tomatoes and chillies of course have been the best performers. I planted quite a few pumpkins in the spring but as always it was the volunteer pumpkin in the compost heap that has outshone them all. I'm glad the seed came from an organic jap pumpkin and it is producing true to type.

Chives

The herb garden has needed some attention. I let the path get very weedy so it has kept me busy this week. Only a couple of square metres to go so should be presentable by this evening. I've been piling up Johnsons grass runners and plants to burn once it is permitted. It came in with some mulch and is proving a demon to get rid of.


Like I said, the chillies have been great producers this summer. There are still plenty more out there. I hope some will overwinter. I've been enjoying experimenting with curry pastes, trying to get the spice level just right. We generally like our curries quite spicy which is lucky.

Back to school and university has also taken up some time too.

Anyway. That's some of what I have been doing while I've been absent from the online world this past month. I didn't realise it had been so long since I posted. Time just gets away.

Bye for now,
Tracy

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Offline a bit

I've kind of been spend a bit more time offline this week and haven't had the chance or the inclination to sit looking at the screen too much. 


 Doing lots of this. Gardening before it gets too hot which at the moment means before 8am. BTW, that's me there in the background. Grace must have been taking pictures while she keeps me company. She starts university in nine days time so she needs to make the most of her lazy days.



I'm surprised at how well things are handling the heat and blistering sun. But they are as long as they get a good deep watering.


I have also been doing plenty of writing in the more traditional sense. Sending out bits and pieces for the Month of Letters and receiving some too. This great card came in yesterday. I love it.

Tracy

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Routines

School went back this week. I kind of feel like that is the start of the year for me because it is back to proper routines and chores and getting things done. Well hopefully getting things done.

I have been a real slacker in January. I feel kind of lethargic because of it really but the new page on the calendar is giving me inspiration to get up and get going. Exercising, writing and such.


And some down time too. We have a really nice spot down by the creek that runs through out property. It is peaceful. I can't say it is quiet. The creek is fast flowing (especially so at the moment because we have had a lot of rain) and noisy. Definitely not a babbling brook. I came home from my cold swim energised though. Maybe it was the mindfulness, the energy of the water or the bracing temperature of the water.

Before I run out of oomph, I should get started on my day.


I'll leave you here with a picture of the flowers on my lilly pilly. It's nice when a rescue plant rewards your kindness with flower or fruit or even with just surviving.

Tracy

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Commenting Issue resolved

It's all about the cookies apparently.

Third party cookies needed to be allowed for me to comment on some blogs. Of course it took a good few minutes to work out how to actually do that but I'm back in business.

Tracy

Sowing day

I probably should have a sewing day (maybe a little bit of sewing later). The weather is absolutely delightful today. Gone is the heat ... for now. 





It's steady rain now. I know because I was caught out in it. I actually love walking in the rain.

On to sowing. I really wanted to get out in the garden today while the sun is hiding but I'm happy enough to get some seeds going for the autumn. A whole heap of brassicas- cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli. Makes my mouth water thinking about them.


I also started a new batch of sprouts. I'm not really a fan of gadgets but I really like this sprouting container. I bought it with a gift card a couple of years ago. It certainly makes sprouting less messy. Today's sprouts on the go- alfalfa, broccoli and mung beans (my favourite).

As for sewing. I think I will do a little when I go offline. I love bunting and have a few scraps that I think would make perfect bunting.

Anything that takes my mind off things that have been troubling me of late. The big things that little old me in the middle of nowhere can do little about. Just keep calm and continue to do the right thing.

Tracy

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sun and rain

Mixed bag as far as the weather goes but predominantly hot. The garden here is loving and the grass is growing faster than Tim or I can keep up. It's great to not be worrying about water for one summer at least. The rain is quite hit and miss though and we are lucky this time.
The rain is mostly coming in storms. Quite nasty storms actually. The cat hides under the bed, the chooks take cover and the ducks just think it's fabulous. We had 24mm of rain on Wednesday afternoon and 49mm on Friday. Lots of wind and thunder and lightning and tree limbs down all over the place. 

Buddleia 

As I said, it is doing wonders for the gardens. Flowers galore.


Roses still have blooms here and there but they are fading now. I think my roses are a bit wimpy and things have to be just right.


It's a small window of opportunity when moisture, sunshine and temperature are in perfect balance and they say ok, we'll put on a show... today only. 😕🌹


It's not all gardening and working. It never is. It's the last throes of the school holidays so that means we have the country music festival. Surprisingly it wasn't too busy yesterday. I'm glad.

Tracy

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Month of Letters.


Once again I will be taking part in the Month of Letters in February. It coincides with InCoWriMo-2017 so I can play along there at the same time. Fun times.

Letter writing is not for everyone but it is something that works for me. I enjoy taking my time writing a personal letter and trying to add a few bits and pieces that the recipient might enjoy and sometimes a bit of mail art too. Though my version of mail art can only be very loosely described as such.

And of course if anyone reading wishes to have a missive from me in their letter box next month (and I don't have your address already), please feel free to let me know in the comments (I won't publish comments containing addresses of course) or in an email.

And what am I doing right now? Writing letters while the temperatures are too hot outside.

Tracy

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Commenting Issues

In my what seems like never ending issues with the internet, I am having problems leaving comments on blogs. Not all blogs just some. I've looked at the Blogger help pages and forums but can't make any sense of it. I am logged in but when I visit some blogs it comes up for me as not signed in. If I try to sign in again it just takes me to my Blogger homepage. Aargh! The approach I am taking at the moment is to wait and see if it sorts itself out.

Anyway. I am still here and still reading but can't leave any comments.

Tracy

Monday, January 16, 2017

This week

To be honest, I feel like I am behind already this year. How can that be when the year is so young. I'll blame the heat, it's good for things like that. I did spend the loveliest hour in the garden this morning, planting a few bits and pieces that needed to be planted probably a month ago. Better now than not at all though.

This week we have a birthday in the house. Tomorrow actually. I love birthdays. Mine and anyone else's especially my loved ones. 



We had a tea party here on Saturday for a Grace and a couple of her school friends. Funnily enough not much tea was consumed because it was simply too hot for them to bother with anything besides iced water.


I did enjoy baking for the tea. I haven't been baking much at all of late. No one seems too interested in eating much when it is so warm. Still can't seem to lose any kilograms or even grams though 😒


Lots going on in the garden most of it involves watering. I am enjoying this pineapple lily(?). I don't know where I got it from or even when I planted it but there are two in the garden but only this one is gracing us with a flower spike. Nice.

Cooler yesterday and today(so far) which is a treat.

Tracy

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It is still so very hot here but it isn't troubling me too much. I can handle dry heat just fine as long as I do my outside things in the mornings or late afternoons/ evenings. I've spent a good part of today deep cleaning the dining room and consequently wondering how wise it is to have a collection of teacups and saucers. They do collect the dust. Anyway, I am having a tea party on Saturday so it was a good time to make them all sparkly.


Once again the blue-banded bees are back ( they are late this summer just like the summer itself). There's a new batch of them each year and they choose the same chain of hearts 'branch' to sleep on each year. It is lovely to have native bees choosing to sleep on my veranda. And very interesting from a scientific viewpoint.


The weather is perfect for letter writing. I do a little every day. I do love all the wonderful and creative mail art out there travelling to and fro across the globe but truly I am not so good with it. I try to write some words of meaning and make a nice envelope but I am trying to be more creative in my presentation. Flip books, pocket letters and the like. Practice makes perfect.

This afternoon I am dealing with the zucchini glut of this week. Zucchini slice in the oven and some fritters ready to cook.

Tracy




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hot days


Early starts to the day are my favourite kind no matter what time of year. I get some time to myself, listen to the birds waking up and enjoy a cup of tea. At the moment my quiet time is a bit rushed because I have to get outside before the sun is shining too brightly. It's hot. Around the 39degC mark yesterday but actually tolerable because the humidity is so low. Tolerable for me at any rate.


The plants are actually loving it. There is enough soil moisture here for now so they just grow and grow while the sun shines.


The leafy plants aren't as keen but I love the look of this lettuce setting seed. And new lettuce seeds how good is that?


Chillies are putting on fruit. This one actually looks a little scary and the tag warns that it is extremely hot. I hope so.


Ronde de nice zucchini are growing faster than I can keep up. There are a few here of a size suitable for the table but the gigantic ones are destined for relish, slice and cake. maybe even some soup. I love zucchini soup no matter how ugly it looks.

Ok. Off for a walk before the heat.
Tracy

Sunday, January 8, 2017

So far so good


Not too much creativity for 2017 to report on as yet. By the end of the day there should at least be a few letters with some mail art. it's a letter-writing day. I'm tired and can't get myself into gear to do much else. I'll have to catch up my walking for #walk1000miles. 

Walking 1000 miles sounds a bit daunting but broken down into a daily stroll over the whole year, it's only 2.7miles per day. Doable. Truly I'm not aiming for the full 1000 miles, I just want to walk a bit and be inspired and encouraged by others. And perhaps encourage and inspire along the way too. At the moment here it really is only pleasant to walk in the early morning or evening after the sun is behind the hills to the west.

Anyway, my letters await.

Tracy

Friday, January 6, 2017

The beach briefly


We decided to have a quick, overnight, trip to the beach on Wednesday. The weather was inclement for some of the trip but who cares. The beach  and lake are fun no matter. You get wet anyway.


The weather did fine up and lots of sunscreen was on order because boy is the sun powerful. Burns in minutes. I think I prefer the summer sun in the UK than here at home. Much kinder.


I'm tired today. Getting too old to have such lightning trips.We need a day or two to relax and recover from the driving.


 I've always been a fan of shells and rock pools and nature in general really. I haven't always been a fan of sand under my feet but I like it now.


And what a bonus. A rescue plant came home with me. Of course my son knows me well enough (probably anyone could guess though) that if there is a plant that needs a good home rather than a trip to the landfill, then it has my name on it. A lovely Norfolk Island Pine past its Christmas tree prime so here it is ready for a trim and a new home in the ground where it can stretch out some. Fingers crossed it likes it here.

Tracy

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hello 2017

What a lovely way to welcome a new year. 87mm of rain in our rain gauge overnight. I think most of it fell in about an hour yesterday afternoon. Very welcome was the rain too, the past few days have been awfully hot and humid. I'm used to the dry heat so the humidity is a little hard to handle. 






Towards the end of 2016 I was contemplating taking a month or so away from being online but I have decided that I just don't want to. I have a fairly good balance between being online and off and the friendships that I have here are real and valuable and I don't particularly want to be away from those friendships for a month.

Anyway!
It's that time of year when I update my notebooks. address books and make plans and goals for the year ahead. No resolutions for me, just goals and aims. Except of course my usual resolution to give up chocolate. So far so good 😜. In the past I have managed to last until Easter.

In 2017 I aim to be more kind to myself and others, write more, be more creative and do more of what I love.

On the home and gardening front. I'm aiming to get a few things crossed off my list like install a new kitchen. A new kitchen has been on my wishlist for more years than I care to remember.
Keep up to date with my gardening and grow good things to eat.

Creativity was sorely lacking in my life last year. I have a pretty dishcloth on my knitting pins and some mail art and journalling on the go too. Just easing my way back in to making and creating.

Happy 2017.
Tracy