Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Belated Blog .....!!

Christmas has come and gone and January is already half over ....  my blog is always the last thing on the list of must do's.... so today is finally the day to catch up.  It was our first Christmas without dad and my eldest daughter had an old photo of him restored, enlarged and reframed for me as a gift ...that's him on the right, about 17 when he played football....I love this photo .....  I got quite emotional when I unwrapped good to try and remember him this way.... a young man with his life still ahead of him.

Beautifully framed restored photo of my dad...
 My younger daughter also spoilt me with a beautiful new set of gardening tools and something that I had never seen before...... "Swags"  for keeping vegies fresh in the fridge...have to say they are amazing...I've used them for carrots and zucchini's so far and have to say they have kept things very just dampen the 'swags' and put in the veg and keep the bags dampened in the crisper...easy !
The "Swags" all dampened and into the crisper....excellent idea.
 We took my mum to see her brother in Ballarat for a day trip late December and were amazed at the gorgeous Christmas decorations that the town had on display....they were absolutely beautiful and mostly made of flowers best friend has family in Ballarat and she agreed to take a night time snap of the floral reindeers in all their glory.....very festive indeed.
One of the many beautiful Christmas decorations in Ballarat ...they do a great job !!
 The new year has started out with quite a big commitment to the local CWA...we have a lot going on for Australia Day...7:30am free breakfast for 120 locals  !!...then Australia Day in the Park commencing at 4pm..serving tea and coffee to all the locals for free !!.  We also have the Ficifolia Festival in Drouin Feb 11th & 12th..... this year we are holding a garage sale at the CWA hall called "Grandma's Attic"...selling second hand items and serving (you guessed it) tea/coffee and a homemade biscuit for a gold coin donation... It's fundraising for the CWA so I suggested we also do Recipe in a Jar to raise additional funds.....I have put together jar's containing oatmeal cookie ingredients using recycled & thoroughly washed Moccona Coffee jars from the Op Shop Warehouse in Drouin... taste tested the recipe I found on line ..they are tasty and economical to make ..... hopefully they should raise some extra $$ for the CWA.

Recipe in a jar for our CWA fundraiser...hopefully we will sell a few of these.
Each jar will make 12 biscuits...they require very little effort to make.
  What would a blog be without a photo of my latest cup of green tea.....

Another addition to the green tea many creative ways to serve it.
Being January the garden is going well even though the several really hot days have been tough..... zucchinis have gone crazy and a big batch are pickling away as we speak... more of that next time.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Five Eggs & Four Chooks ....??

Having had chickens for several years now I thought I knew quite a bit about them..... I have updated to four new girls now...the old ladies didn't settle down so they went to a guy in Longwarry who lets them run around his property....Three of the new girls were already laying and one was just about since Sunday there have been four eggs from the four chooks every day....but this morning there were five eggs !!! ... two of them are not as big as the others but I have no idea how one of them has laid two eggs?? .....I have had two double yokers lately ... is this the same as a double yoker but in different shells????.... has this happened to anyone else?

The egg mystery..... four chickens + five eggs = ????

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Broad Bean Blog......!!

I know a blog about broad beans doesn't sound all that interesting but this is the first time I have prepared, packaged and frozen anything from the garden..(unless you count a miserable attempt 2 years ago at freezing zucchini which was very ordinary when defrosted)...I usually give any oversupply of vegies away...but I am determined to preserve as much as I can for later use....(following instructions from the internet)...I removed them from the pods......blanched them for 1 minute in boiling water...then into an ice bath to prevent them from continuing to cook...then into reusable plastic bags and into the freezer....hopefully this will result in lovely broad beans when defrosted.

shelled and ready to go

into the boiling water

then the ice bath

into snap lock bags ...then into the freezer.
It seems so easy but I guess it all depends on the result when defrosted...hopefully they will be great.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

It's in the Bag ...!!

Share The Dignity is an annual campaign, which in 2016,  runs from Saturday 19th November 2016 to Saturday 3rd December.  My daughter hosted a "Bags 'n Brunch' morning tea inviting family & friends to support this great cause.  Twelve of us gathered to share morning tea and 27 bags (along with mine) full of toiletry and personal items for women in need were donated ..... she then delivered them to a drop off point in Warragul where they will be distributed to charity organisations to give to women in need or victims of domestic violence.  Hopefully we have managed to spread a bit of Christmas comfort to women and show that people really do care.
27 bags full of thoughtful personal items gifted to help women in need at Christmas.

There is still time to get involved if you think you can seems a truly worthy cause....find out more about it here.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Everythings Super....!!

A weekly catch up of all things super....firstly that amazing super moon...unfortunately it was pretty cloudy where we are so viewing wasn't the best....but there were amazing images circulating...It really looks spectacular....

The Spring garden is going 'super' many beautiful colours in the yard which seem to have popped up from nowhere...the bees are loving the flowering sage, borage and lavender ..

Picked most of the broad beans...still a few left in the vegie patch...and also dug up the rest of the potatoes...a couple of artichokes which I am going to practice on ...rhubarb and a little cauliflower.

This year I am growing beans between the corn.....supposedly they will use the corn stalks to grow up alongside of them....will see how that goes....some early zucchinis popping up too.
Little blue thing on the bottom is a sprinkler head...should make things easier
 My hardworking man has very kindly installed a watering system in the top garden to save me having to drag the hose through the garden beds to get there...hopefully it will also reduce the water usage as he has put drippers on the fruit trees and tomato plants and little spray heads in the garden boxes.
Drippers on the root line of this apricot tree.
 But the really super exciting thing is I have some tiny little apples on a couple of the apple trees...and also both pear trees have quite a few baby pears on them. ... they are mature trees but have only been in the ground since the start of the year so they may fall off before they ripen...fingers crossed I get a couple to keep growing....even just one would be fabulous.

Tiny little apples appearing on the apple trees......

Also baby pears have popped up on both the William and Packham pear trees....fingers crossed
The weekend also saw us attending our usual get together for a 'Super' Asian style luncheon...J & A stole the show with a fabulous chicken satay entrĂ©e that was voted 'dish of the day'. ... the Big K & Robbie provided all of the main which was Changmai slow cooked pork (fabulous) and a chicken dish with Asian greens, rice and Roti bread...the delightful J&M provided a lovely rice pudding dessert with lychees, lemon curd & passionfruit.

The super spread from the Big K and Robbie.
Hoping things are just 'Super' for everyone out there....happy gardening !

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Trouble in The Hen House .....

I thought today would be a good time to add two new young girls to the hen house....I've put the new ladies in the pen and left the old girls in the yard to get them used to each other, then plan to lock them all in together tonight...unfortunately the older girls are not all that keen.....
Some new point of lay girls seem quite at home in their new house.
 ....the grand old ladies have not stopped squawking all afternoon...they are standing in the rain, huddled together making an absolute ruckus ...having a stop work meeting I think...fingers crossed all settles down tonight ...!!
The old biddies ...ARE NOT HAPPY !!!
 On the subject of "old girls" , this old girl got onto a bicycle for the first time in I hate to think how many years.....we borrowed bikes while we make the decision if we should each buy one (in our latest get fit attempt).. man and I decided to ride to the two towns trail and just go halfway and then back home....just over 8kms, which I will admit did require me walking the bike up the hills...thankfully not too many...  my man took the opportunity for a photo pic outside one of my favourite gardens as we rode home.......all was going quite well.

....a timely warning to all old ladies who think it's a good idea to try and steer with one hand while you try to get something out of your bag.....DON'T...yes I had a spill, thankfully landed on the grass and no damage done other than a grass stain on my pants and a slightly bruised ego....I asked my husband did I at least fall gracefully and his reply was.... "Sorry babe..but NO, you landed like a sack of spuds"...

Once my man stopped laughing he decided to take a picture....thanks for that Ed !!
I'm not deterred .... we are thinking of buying each other bikes for Christmas...see how that goes hey.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Garden Update....+

Things have been growing amazingly well over winter...I've had the joy of giving so many baskets of vegies away each time we visit really is the perfect gift...nothing like a load of fresh produce to get people excited and more importantly starting to talk about wanting to grow some for themselves.  I would love to encourage people to just have a really is something so basic but so rewarding.

The garden has loads of broad beans planted throughout which are now producing. ..... word from the "experts" at Permaculture group is pick them before they get too big as the smaller beans are more tender than if you allow them to get large and they get the thick tough skin around the bean....It's probably a personal taste thing, but the small beans were delicious, boiled for 4 mins and then tossed in the pan with Butter/oil and garlic and onion salt....very tasty.
Loads of broad beans throughout the garden.

Currant bushes and broad beans throughout the garden

Loads of borage popping up all over the garden.,..self seeded and bringing in the bees !!

The flowering sage is also a great bee attractor.
 The artichokes have started to appear on the plants....I have never grown them before...planted them as an understory plant for the fruit trees....not too sure about how to prepare them...looked on google but it seems challenging....I would love to try marinated artichoke hearts, but this years crop may just be practicing on how to dissect these tricky guys...members of the thistle family.
The artichokes have flowered
 We had loads of broccoli this did take a while to start...I was beginning to think nothing was going to appear but once they form the start of the heads it's all systems go and they produce lovely big heads in no time.
Broccoli en-masse this year....yay.
 Over winter I thought that our Kiwi vines had was a great relief to see them get going again once Spring arrived....hopefully kiwi fruits in the next couple of years....I get so excited about trying to grow our own fruit....I know, simple things right !
Kiwi his and her vines....using up the fence space next to the garage...I can't wait for fruit.
 I did want to share a tip that perhaps everyone already knows ... but I didn't....putting your freshly cut broccoli heads in a glass of water then into the fridge keeps them fresh for about a really does work....give it a try if you aren't already.

Broccoli into a glass of water and then into the fridge
Couldn't let Halloween go by without a quick comment....I was minding my grandson so we took him  to The Courthouse in Warragul for a Halloween night....he didn't have his costume so we made do with a pirate skull mask and a bucket of lollies..he thought it was great.  I couldn't resist taking a pic of a young boy whose mother had gone to a lot of effort and put a zip on his face.. it was really effective and looked great.

My Gboy went to his school Halloween disco as a zombie...complete with fake teeth, latex skin and blood capsules.....awesome !!
He loved dressing up as a Zombie....
What would a post be without a picture of my latest cup of tea....this one was shared at the Emerald bakery ....I still attend the writing Group in Emerald and we head over to the bakery afterwards...... it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways there are to present cups of tea...this one came with a cute little heatproof cup...
A lovely cup of green tea.............enjoy!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Trying To Catch Up......

So much has happened over the past few months and so much of my life wasn't my own......the responsibility of looking after elderly parent's is often overwhelming and can become all consuming.  Things are slowly getting back to normal and I am starting to relax and get back into the swing of things.....the things that form the simple life that I want to lead....I'm getting the Spring garden planting going so next post will hopefully be a garden update. 
Over the last two months I tried my hand at making Kombucha....I purchased the mother scoby at the Warragul Farmers Market and followed the instructions and made Kombucha tea and produced a "son of scoby".  I passed the "mother" onto my daughter and then started a second bottle with "SOS".  Next time will try a second ferment process by adding fruit which will give the Kombucha a fizz. 
My homemade kombucha tea....mother scoby in the bag to give away... the gift that goes on giving.
After Dad's funeral my husband took me away to Lakes Entrance for the weekend. ..... It was a wonderful relaxing.  .... The weather was ordinary but everything else was lovely.  Lots of delicious food and great cafe's.... Boat trip to Metung in the morning and AFL Grand final on Saturday afternoon and lovely market on the marina on Sunday morning.

Always a great surprise to see how cafe's serve up the green tea.....although milk was an odd accompaniment .
The boat trip to Metung was a real surprise...... it's a great spot and the pub had a fantastic outlook over the water and great food.  They also have a pet pelican in the yard who was incredibly tame.  .
This guy was so tame he walked right up to you...could have watched him all day.
 End of September saw us having our usual "monthly" luncheon with friends.  It was at our place this time and the theme was casual and bring a one pot dish to share....we had some fabulous food and Janine's chicken was absolutely amazing.

Dinner in our al-fresco with the gang....a great afternoon of delicious dining as always.
My man and I went shopping in Warragul to get goodies for the luncheon as we provided a starter (crumbed flat head fillets) and a cheese platter. to Stella's Pantry for some amazing cheeses and also stopped in at the Bean Scene to get some freshly ground coffee. ......  we stayed for morning tea and I ordered green tea (no surprise there as I don't drink coffee)...and it was served in the most amazing tea device......I love how serving tea has come back to being the pleasurable experience it once me old fashioned but for me it's all in the presentation....although nothing beats a fine bone china cup .
Have to admit I had to be shown how to work this gadget ....but what a great idea.
 Most importantly .....this month my GBoy lost his first much excitement....the other kids at school told him you get $5 from the tooth fairy....Wow when did that happen ??

My gorgeous little excited because 4 more teeth are wobbly... !!
On the subject of teeth....the fluffy girls had a trip to the vet's for their injections and the vet advised they both needed their teeth cleaned....Daphne has been the first to go and have a clean....which turned into "13 teeth needing to be removed"....she is only 7 years old ....poor girl...thankfully dogs have 42 teeth so she still has some left... Maltese x are prone to tooth decay...Daisy is going next week...she is only 4 so fingers crossed not too much damage already done.
Daphne giving me a look....I already feel guilty !!.....she is still cute
...even though in front she has one tooth up top and two at the bottom

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Time is a Healer...

It's been a few months since I have been on this space.  After an exacerbation of his illness and 4 weeks spent in the hospital, doctor's advised that Dad needed to go into a nursing home. .... He was very resistant and unhappy about the situation and along with dad it was extremely difficult for myself and the family, but we had no alternative due to the amount of care he required.  An eight week struggle ended on 22nd September and dad passed away  in hospital with mum and I holding his hand and my daughters with us.  I played Doris Day songs to him as she was his favourite......I hope we gave him the much needed comfort as he slipped away.....old age is not for the faint hearted ....... and my heartbreak is tinged with relief that dad's suffering is finally over and he is at peace.