Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Another Year Older.....

 Happy 2015...Last night we saw out the old year with some friends....just a quiet night spent chatting, sharing nibbles and a few drinks and waiting for midnight....The older I get the less I feel the need for big celebrations to end the year....but I love new beginnings and love starting with a  clean slate and the chance to reinvigorate my life, passions and what I hope to achieve over the next 12 months.

I do make resolutions but whether I can maintain them or not doesn't matter, the fact that I am lucky enough to live where I have the freedom to make these choices is enough for me.  I'm just happy to be able to do my own thing and try not to judge others for what they do, with obvious exceptions.
Is World Peace and abolition of terrorism too much to ask for in 2015?  Probably, but I will put the message out there anyway. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.....

Wow this month has really flown by...not sure where it went .... the media showed us so much sadness and tragedy in the lead up to Christmas ... hard to keep the Christmas cheer going but as they say life goes on.. This evening we will be sharing Christmas Eve once again with the family of my girlfriend who passed away in will be tough but I know she would wish her husband and children the courage to continue on without her. I will definitely be thinking of her as we watch the carols tonight. Christmas day is at my place tomorrow so lots to do this afternoon to get ready for that.    Did manage to make a few home made edible goodies this week.     Made "white Christmas' for very dear friends to go into a hamper of edible goodies....have to say it was was part of a hamper I thought they would take with them when they went to visit family in Ballarat....oops they have eaten it all already !! 
Found a "white Christmas" recipe..... delicious
Bikkie mix in a jar..... chocolate, cranberries and pistachio......made these for my husbands two nieces who have both moved out of was in a magazine last year and I resurrected it again this year.  Hope they enjoy ! 
Just need to add melted butter and an egg and you have instant bikkies...

Boy these babies of mine have grown !!...a couple of weeks is a long time in chicken years...still sleep with their mums at night and they protect them from the other two chooks who give them a bit of a battering every now and's like that.
Five chicks are now teenagers.... !!
 Then we have what was in the garden today....first of the zucchinis and snow peas.....dried my garlic crop, now all trimmed up and ready to be stored...and sadly just one little lonely egg....production is way down in the henhouse!
Today in the garden...

It is the time of year to think of we open gifts and share delicious food tomorrow, I will take time to reflect on those less fortunate than I am and hope that I have made conscious Christmas decisions....I look forward to the New Year...hopefully not as difficult a year as this one... wishing everyone peace and joy.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Slow Living Monthly Nine for November .....

Just joining in with Linda for the November Slow Living monthly nine...can't believe the year has gone so fast and so much has happened...

Nourish: Hadn't had the chance to get to the supplier for bread flour for a few weeks....really missed my homemade bread...raisin loaf was the first thing that went into the bread maker.  I was on a detox from the naturopath due to arthritis pain and inflammation... no gluten, no dairy and no sugar...I only lasted 9 days out of the 4 was incredibly difficult and I have to admire those that can follow this regime....Will try to eliminate different foods in the New Year.

Home made raisin is delicious and so much nicer than the store bought variety.
 Prepare:  Like everyone else I am trying to get prepared for Christmas...we hosted a family gathering for 28 people which required quite a bit of preparation.  ... Trying to work out how to get Christmas gifts for everyone without buying into the crass commercialism that is the Australian Christmas season...have a few homemade ideas....lip balm, bath fizzies and a delicious "white Christmas" recipe I would like to try...also preparing cookie mix in jars as gifts...did some last year and they turned out okay.

Reduce:  We have the use of a wood will be living in the garage on permanent loan...we used it to shred all of the branches we took down along the sidefence from the neighbours hedge...into the chipper and then mulched under the fruit trees...

Green: I created a very small garden pond that I hope to encourage frogs into, to create some biodiversity in the garden..water for bees and insects ...hopefully the frogs will eat any mozzie larvae...I installed a beautiful water Lillie that my dog daisy devoured and left just a few straggly leaves...hopefully it will grow back....if I don't hear any croaks soon I will buy a couple of little guys to go in there.

Little water pond for frogs...hopefully

Grow:  The vegie garden is loving the last of the Spring weather...rain and sunshine in the same day....everything is growing really grows so fast we sometimes don't get the chance to eat it before it goes to seed...need to be a bit more on the ball and use them up.

Newly planted more corn and butternut pumpkin
Tomatoes are going well

Nothing grows quite as quickly as baby is amazing to see how much they grow overnight....from checking on the internet I think the white one is a male...they all still sleep under mum...very cute.

These little babies grow like weeds....

Create: My daughter had a lesson on making Candles and we had a session and made a few goodies for Christmas...really enjoyed making the soy melts..they are very easy ... popped on some home printed labels and they are good to go....they are in plastic packing but it is reusable..just pop the melts out into a burner and the packaging is good to reuse.

Not a very good photo but you get the general idea.
Discover:  It was a month of discovery for me....I learnt that I can't change things just because I want too....I realised how much I enjoy playing "words with friends" each morning..... all part of brain training and trying to avoid dementia !! ...I have 18 games on the go with 2 very close girlfriends...I was initially much better at it than they were having always loved scrabble, however over the past year they are not so rusty and are winning a few......better lift my game!
"Word's with Friends" on the iPad each morning over breakfast..a great way to start the day.
I also discovered that no matter how much love and attention I give to sick animals nature will take it's course ...this poor old girl didn't get any better and we lost her on Tuesday...I always get a bit sad when I loose a hen..... they are such stoic birds...she died without too much fuss thankfully. She is from my original 4 isa brown hens...Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte and Carrie...yes the Sex in the City girls...what can I say I had just watched the movie...I know, no excuse.....only Carrie left now.
Poor old girl   ....RIP
Enhance:  I managed to get to writing group at the Community House a couple of times this has been a bit hard to get there with doctor and hospital visits with my aging parents...It's great to get to the group when I encourages me to continue on with writing the novel...!!
 Book club for the month was Careless People..a non fiction book based on Scott F Fitgerald and the writing of the Great Gatsby...have to admit it is interesting but very hard going...don't think I will finish this one.  My girlfriend lent me A Lady Cyclist's Guide to's really good and am enjoying this one...would recommend.

Enjoy:  It's the end of Spring and I have really enjoyed this Month...Lots of catching up with family and friends ....seeing how all the kids have of my cousins engagement....I try to keep focussed on the positive to help deal with all of the difficulties we all face each day. Enjoy the run up to Christmas and remember things don't have to be perfect.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The End of Spring....Hello Summer...

We had a very busy weekend ...yesterday was our turn to host the family Christmas Gathering....28 people for was a beautiful sunny day....great to catch up with everyone and the weather was just perfect...gorgeous sunshine but not too hot.....the kids had a great time playing cricket in the yard and also getting into the Christmas gifts I had given them...simple pleasures really are the best.

All the adults at the table....the kids picnicked on a blanket

Gorgeous little faces lined up for a family photo....great memories here.

The girls getting into painting their Christmas pressies....the two little guys are looking not that interested I think....
Today is the last day of Spring as we welcome Summer to the hills.....Life changes with the seasons and today we also visited Ed's elderly aunt who has taken seriously ill and has been hospitalised and not expected to survive...she is a lovely lady who has recently developed dementia and now has heart failure ....our thoughts are with her family as they take her through this very difficult journey.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Killing Them With Kindness ?...........

I have another sick chicken...this poor old girl is pretty lethargic, has a floppy comb and very watery motions and is emaciated....I have isolated her into the chicken my husbands trailer...she is eating and drinking a little but is on the way out I think...I'm trying to boost her with meal worms....dosing her with antibiotics, upped the ACV in her water and will keep my eye on her....I have a very strong suspicion that by spoiling my chickens with treats, lots of green leafy stuff and organic seed mix has been detrimental to their health.  All of my girls are underweight even though they have access to food all day and free range in the back garden a couple of times a week, have a large enclosure the rest of the time.  I cannot get them to eat layer pellets....they just flick them all over the yard and refuse to eat them....they have become very fussy which is obviously my fault.  I have had them for 3 years and they usually lay every day even throughout winter...I don't think the nutritional value of the leafy greens I grow for them is high enough, they need more protein and calcium.  I know isa browns don't live as long as other breeds but I'm sure they would do better on layer pallets...

3 year old isa brown....she is not looking too good
To top it off I went out this morning and the girl on the left of this photo....she is only about 18 months old....was very dirty on her bottom and didn't come for food...on closer inspection I saw she had a very soft shell halfway out of her vent which had broken and that was all over her bum....I had to carefully remove the crushed shell which thankfully was still intact...then put her into a salt bath and cleaned her up...hopefully she will be okay she seemed to perk up once the egg was out.

Looking a bit better afterwards....but these girls are both very thin also.
The new chicks will certainly be raised on layer pallets...they will get tough love...not too many treats and limited leafy greens.....I think the incorrect diet has caused me numerous problems over the past couple of years.....Does anyone else have feeding issues or any tips?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sweet 16 ....

The chicks are 16 days old today....I couldn't believe it when I saw 4 of them roosting ....this roost is about 40cm off the ground....they flap their little wings and fly/jump all over the place.......they are looking a bit odd as they are losing the fluffy down and their feathers are coming #5 was sitting underneath mum....they still tuck themselves up under the hens all times of the day....... incredibly cute and they grow like weeds....fingers crossed I have some girls among them.
Not the best photo but I was in a hurry in case the little monsters jumped down......
 The very first flower on this tiny rose is huge...and smells amazing...Haven't grown roses before so was very happy to see this..

It's the only rose on the little bush and it's huge....
 Finally a bit of action in the vegie garden...this is the corn that I grew from seed....first time struggled at the start with snail attack but it seems to have survived....should be able to remove the temporary fence now...big enough so that the chooks won't destroy them.

Corn has struggled but it's getting there...
Just another day of watching things gives me such a sense of purpose....and I get so much joy from seeing what I can produce....although I can't take credit for the chicks...those hens are doing what nature intends them to glad I gave them the opportunity.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Sixties Style Luncheon......

It was our turn once again to hold the monthly luncheon at our place.... as the last of our guys turned 60 ... my theme was sixties as in getting older and moderating spending and thinking like transpired into what they ate in the sixties...we had a fantastic afternoon in the sun ... too much food and too much wine..!! As usual I kept forgetting to take the foodie photos....will never win any prizes for my food photography....but you can get the general idea.

Enjoying  a few drinks before lunch.....Daisy nicked my chair...didn't have the heart to tell her she wasn't invited !!
The boys ...all now 60....looking very laid back...... wearing  matching Tshirts ..... a gift from J & A recently back from New all gets a bit silly as the afternoon wears on !!
This was a delicious Cob Dip.... it looked lovely until we ripped it apart and then I remembered to take a pic....oops.
Wow, this one bought back some memories....cabana , cheese and cocktail was hilarious...but very tasty too !
Coleslaw ....Waldorf ....and would you believe lettuce cups were around in the 60's...have had a big revival since then !

This is a photo of the left over marinated BBQ pork fillets with pineapple rings....very retro.....

I really should take the photos before we start demolishing the food.....not to mention drinking .... because I completely forgot to take a photo of dessert which was that old favourite ....Pavlova.  Entertaining is really all about the fun don't you think.

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I don't have a twitter account or do facebook but want to do my little bit to get the message out to the G20 summit on climate change.  Please go to this link sent from OneMillionWomen campaign and add your voice if you agree that Climate Change should be an item on the agenda at this meeting.

Herman the German......

I have been gifted a portion of Herman the German friendship starter from my daughter, who received it from a friend...who received it from a get where this is going....yes ....I had to feed the mixture once on the 4th day (which was today) and then on the 9th day divide into four portions and keep the friendship cake moving by giving it to 3 friends....while keeping a quarter of the mixture for myself and making the cake....I'm told it is a delicious sourdough apple's a really nice thing to keep going so hopefully the mixture won't die and I will wind up with the friendship cake.

The sourdough starter mixture that keeps on giving....

Copy of instructions if you want to go to the website and start your own friendship cake.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hallelujah .....

Yesterday was 21 days and right on time the chicks started arriving....from 8 eggs the ladies got 5 healthy chicks and one had managed to break through the egg but appeared to be trapped in the membrane...after seeing this poor little body which mum had pushed out of the nest.... I had to assist as midwife...other's will say interfering the last two to arrive also appeared to be unable to break the membrane.

only two chicks in the photo...the others are tucked up under the mums..
The mother hens are fabulous...they don't seen to mind which chick tucks itself under them, they both just make sure all 5 babies are tucked up somewhere...nature never ceases to amaze me.
First close up.....they are so cute...Isa Brown chicks..
Hopefully there will be a couple of girls among them...I can't be so unlucky that all 5 will be roosters can I ??? this space.

Monthly 9 Link Up for October ......

Joining up with Linda for the monthly 9 link up for October....the weeks fly so fast...great to look back and see what everyone has been up to.

Nourish: Our health was in the forefront of my mind this month...had success with the first time using the seed sprouter....
Sprouting seeds for adding to healthy salads....
 Prepare:  Dare I say I have been preparing for Christmas...there I said it out loud....we have got quite a lot of entertaining to do in the lead up to Christmas....lots and lots to do....but it's my favourite time of year so there will be no complaints from me.  Will be trying to create a few homemade gifts this year...hopefully will blog about them is they turn out OK.

Reduce:  This weekend was tomato planting time...Cup weekend in avoid the need to buy new trellis for the tomatoes to grow on, I reused old garden stakes and using sticks that had blown off the gum trees into the yard and managed to make a rustic looking trellis...all tied together with string....see how it goes.

Rustic twig trellis....hopefully the tomatoes will grow ok on it.
 Green:  At last I have my long awaited man spent a lot of hours constructing this for many pieces.... this should now allow me to grow all my own seedlings from scratch....and hopefully grow food in the colder months of winter.....can't wait to get started.

The Greenhouse......great construction job from my main man.
Grow:  Been a bit of action in the vegie patch...really happy to have grown a few cauliflowers...and some lovely heads of broccoli...first success with them...beetroot is not as good as last year and leeks are ok but quite short in the stalk.... lettuces however are abundant. 
Daily goodies from the vegie patch.....
Create: Things are a bit slow in the creative area...still working on the mosaic and have a huge list of things to start on and finish before Christmas....better get cracking..

This project has been ongoing....but am getting back into it now that the warmer weather is here.
Discover:  Spent this month trying to learn all I can about bees...attended a workshop and hands on experience opening a hive....really want to have my own hive .... hopefully in the not too distant future.
The opened hive....bees really are fascinating...and the honey would be such a bonus.
Enhance:  The books I am reading this month....The Last Love for bookclub..unfortunately once again not a big fan.  I'm starting to think that I am a bit hard to please when it comes to novels...will see what the others think next week at the local community bookclub.

  I have just started The Rosie Project and have it on sound advice that I an going to LOVE this has been doing the rounds for quite a while and everyone seems to rave about it am giving it a go...hopefully I will fall in love with it as well.

Enjoy:  I'm enjoying everything at the moment...Spring is here and life is good....obviously not without its ups and downs but I'm a big believer in making the most of every day ... life is what you make it...follow your dreams and see where they take you.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Up Close and Personal....

Quite the experience yesterday....before getting my own hive I booked in to get up close and personal and see exactly what happens when you open up a hive...this one only had about 10,000's a relatively new hive...and I have to say I was amazed at how little the bees mind when you open it up and start digging around in there....they are Italian honey bees ...the mood of the hive is dependant on the queen and apparently people specifically breed the queens  to be laid back.....
After smoking the hive lightly.....Bec opened it up.
 Even after Bec pulls out the frames they are still not attacking us...they start to make a louder buzzing the longer you muck around with them....but I was not remotely intimidated or harassed by angry bees trying to sting the bejesus out of me...which is what I thought would happen by the way.
Close up look at the bees ...the filled in bits are capped larvae waiting to turn into bees...this is from the main brood section.
 You need to inspect hives weekly in Spring for lots of reasons but the main thing is to ensure the queen is ok...when Bec opened up this box she found a queen cell ..which is a cell that contains a queen need to destroy these if you already have a queen laying eggs otherwise when the new queen hatches the old queen nicks off taking half of the bees with her causing a really is fascinating how the colony works.  I am keen now to get my own hive even though my man is not remotely interested...the world needs bees !!
Whitish stuff outside edge is capped honey...Bec is scraping off a queen bee don't want those if you have a queen.
On another note it's Halloween tonight which doesn't have much meaning for lots of Aussies....but most kids seem to be into anything that gets them a big bag of lollies...we had quite a few knocking on the door and collecting their fluffy girls thought they would get into the action..!!!
These two are all set for Halloween.......actually we all had  spaghetti bol  for dinner ....they love it
Happy Halloween if you are a devotee....but if like us you think it is just another excuse for people to fall into the trap of unwanted doesn't hurt to  dish out treats to entertain kids. !!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Things we Do.....

It was a beautiful busy weekend....lots happening in the garden...picked up the Greenhouse..... didn't realise it would be in quite that many pieces...hopefully my man will have it together next weekend.
I dragged him along to a local amateur theatre production on Friday night ...featuring 10 , 10 minute plays selected from entries by local writers....I enjoyed it myself, but I doubt I will get the man there again....was nice to be involved and supporting the local community.

the herb garden is going well...chives have flowered ...they look lovely.
....turned over my diary page for tomorrow and the birthday marked there is for my beautiful friend Heather who died in March this year......still haven't taken her number out of my mobile or deleted her text messages....I miss her.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Some More of the Same....

It's just another day in's the usual busy run up to Christmas now with lots of planning underway....we are doing quite a bit of entertaining over the next few weeks...need to get organised....still have lots of time for the garden and growing stuff.
Day 2 of the sprouter...looks incredible...these little guys grew is really quite fascinating to watch what happens with just water.

They grow at an incredible speed...should be ready in a day or two.
Pickings from the vegie garden this morning...I know I bang on about it but it still surprises me every day that I can grow my own food...if a non green thumb like myself can do this anyone can...

Leeks, beetroot, kale, cauliflower and finally broccoli heads for the table...
 The girls also got into a bit of gardening action while I was outside...look at those little feet up on the furniture...we have a bit of fresh soil lying around the yard and they can't seem to stay out of it...
"Who me....What dirty feet"......
This project of mine is probably the world's slowest mosaic.....have set myself the target to have it finished before Christmas...there I've said it ..... I am the great un-finisher.
When both panels completed will read "Live a Simple Life" is taking ages as I have too many things on the go...
Should be picking up my greenhouse on the weekend....I am really excited about it...growing from seeds will be so much cheaper and much more rewarding I think...and the ladies are still on the eggs so hopefully chicks by cup weekend......enjoy your day !