Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Farewell to Autumn......

It's wet, bleak and miserable in the hills today......Autumn is certainly on the way out as Winter lets us all know she is just around the corner....no complaints, we've had loads of beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures this Autumn....I've planted out plenty of seedlings and am currently looking around for a greenhouse....nothing to  big, just enough to propagate my own seeds...hopefully save money by not buying costly seedlings to feed to the snails !!....Growing  vegies certainly makes you very aware of the change in seasons....The chickens also react to the seasonal changes....yes they were moulting...lots of lovely new feathers now...but not many eggs....its gone from feast to famine...only one or two a day...makes them all the more precious don't you think.

The beautiful birdlife around here ..... they love the bird feeder in my garden

Autumn's carpet....I love it .. unfortunately my husband doesn't and they eventually succumb to the leaf blower....

The neighbouring Golden Beech sheds into our yard....it's so beautiful, wish it was on our side.

Precious goodies from the girls....the fewer fresh eggs it seems, the greater the enjoyment...go figure
Next week we welcome winter .... the season of lazy days in front of the log fire....loads of pumpkin soup and freshly baked bread.....knitting ...umbrellas .....new gumboots...big puddles... and loads of warm cuddles.....

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

How The Mighty Have Fallen......

I'm sure you've all experienced beginners luck at some stage.....well I sure have...or else there was divine intervention !!  I blogged recently about my amazing luck with the very first attempt at making a sponge....it was fabulous and I was beyond happy......take two....tried to make one for my daughter's birthday on Sunday....went as per the recipe this time...no forgotten egg yolks tossed in at the last minute....sadly this is the result....looked good coming out of the oven but, OH DEAR.......as the seconds passed she deflated like a hot air balloon....as did my joy !!  I'm not put off yet...I intend to give it another go and make the same mistakes as I made the first time....who knows .. ..anyone else had this problem...are sponges as difficult as every one says.... ??

It was a very sad looking sponge.....not sure what went wrong....perhaps the angels weren't on my side this time..

Monday, 12 May 2014

You Learn Something New Everyday.....

I love following other blogs .... there is such a diverse community of bloggers out there ......I find out so much information it's incredible.. ..While I mostly follow like minded blogs, occasionally I stumble across some really interesting characters out there ..one of the blogs I love dipping into every now and then is this one.....he is very entertaining and has a huge following....his latest post was a you tube clip of singer ....Paloma Faith....I have never heard of her....maybe it's just me??...but I think she is fantastic....I did a bit of youtubing and found heaps of her music....I adore this one....there is so much information being shared on blogs....what a great online community blogging has created...

Then I went way down a rabbit hole and found this beautiful blog which is so full of fabulous and creative posts......very inspiring......I could certainly spend a lot of time here a story about Ajanta an ancient Buddhist temple that originates from 230BC......incredible...I so want to go there ...it's on the bucket list that's for sure.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mother's Day Moments.......

First off I need to say I am not a cake baker....the handful of cakes I have made in my lifetime usually came from a packet (with the exception of a family fruit cake I love to make from scratch)....so it was with great trepidation that I undertook the somewhat daunting task of trying to recreate the much loved sponge cake of my beautiful sister in law who we lost 14 years ago....Unbelievably it turned out ....considering I was just about to put it in the oven and realised I had not included the egg yolks and whipped them in at the last minute.....I thought it was destined for failure....I think mysterious forces were assisting with this little project.
My amazement when I took this out of the oven was incredible...I was speechless.
It was such an emotional moment for me when I creamed the cake this morning....incredibly the smell of the sponge transported me back in time as the smell was so familiar....olfactory senses are truly amazing.......it brought back a lot of memories and I have to admit I shed quite a few tears....I still have to pinch myself that I made a successful sponge on my very first attempt.....It meant such a lot to me to be able to complete this cake as a tribute to her memory.
It was extremely satisfying to manage to recreate this old family favourite.
After noon tea ......family favourite finger sandwiches...there would be uproar if I didn't serve these !!
 It was a lovely afternoon and one I will always remember.....sometimes small achievements can mean so much.  I will certainly try to continue the tradition of making the birthday sponges from now on.  I hope everyone out there had a truly memorable Mother's Day.

Friday, 9 May 2014

A Few Things For Friday.....

It's chilly today but at least that big golden orb is shining upon us.....a quick check around the garden today and I notice those damn sneaky snails are back......I don't know where they go but as soon as I put in any broccoli seedlings....there they are chewing away, destroying them overnight !!  Time to get out the traps from last year...top them up with beer and see how it goes.

Bloody snails....that's all I can say....they are so destructive !!
 Planted out some nice little natives that I picked up at the Foster Market a few weeks ago....hope they do OK...it's the first time I have bought tube stock....it's cheaper than buying more established plants...fingers crossed these tiny plants will thrive were I planted them.

I finally have the recipe that I mentioned in my March post....my beautiful sister in law passed away at 41 from breast cancer 14 years ago....she made the most amazing sponge cakes for everyone's birthday...my brother found her recipe book....all of the recipe's passed down to her from her grandmother.....I am going to try this sponge for mother's day....not sure how I will go because Kerry learnt by watching her grandmother and the instructions are very brief...."beat egg whites"...for how long??? could be a bit of trial and error with this.....I truly hope I can do justice to her amazingly light cakes......and try to recreate some of the beautiful memories she left us with.

Hope I can get this sponge to work from this recipe....bit light on with the directions.!!
Last weekend was our turn to host our friends luncheon....we take turns each month to host a Sunday lunch and cook something we have never cooked before...each couple bringing a different course....we did a Rustic Autumn Luncheon......my man, who is not so good in the kitchen, but very handy with the Weber..... made the chicken recipe below...I did slow roasted lamb.... fig & prosciutto pizza with gorgonzola..... and fresh beans from the vegie garden with bacon & mustard ....lovely entrees, salad and desserts provided by the rest of the gang.....all was delicious and we settled in for a great afternoon.
Smiles all around as the crew tucked into lunch......all served up on my beloved vintage dinner plates collection .....
The chicken prepared by my man as per this recipe....his amazement when the cooked chicken came out of the weber looking exactly like the picture was priceless..(unfortunately we didn't take a finished picture in the hurry to get it on the table)....there is a whole lemon in the cavity of the bird and you squeeze this lemon over the cooked chicken and bread before serving....it was so tasty.

The chicken all prepared and on the sourdough ....ready to be put into the Weber.....
This weekend will be full of preparations for Mother's Day....the family are all coming here for afternoon tea on Sunday....hopefully the weather will be kind to us...Mother's Day holds a poignancy for us as it no doubt does for other's who have lost loved ones... my sister in law is always in our thoughts particularly on Mother's Day and now we will also remember my friend Heather who passed away in March leaving her three children ...it will be a difficult day for their family...our hearts and thoughts are with them.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Much Ado about Rats ......

My trip to the henhouse this morning was met with what I thought was another dead little rat (or big mouse) in the chook house......until he moved slightly when I tried to pick him up on the rake....I was suddenly mortified that the poor thing had been laying  there slowly dying....I know all of the people out there who have been raised on farms etc. will think I am clueless and won't understand why I am upset over a dying rat.....but I had not thought about the suffering.... We have put bait stations in our back garage as the rodent population was making their presence felt ... I thought I was OK with this as I was told the rats go away to die...I didn't realise they would die slowly and painfully....this feels very inhumane and while other's will say that I am killing them any way what's the point...my problem is that seeing the rat motionless but alive was disturbing....so as usual I googled to find a more humane solution....I went here.....they suggest catch and release (which I have done in the house for mice) but we tried that without success in the garage...also tried the snap traps ...but I think we have clever rats as we never caught a single one....the bait has been very successful to date....but now I don't know... while searching for solutions I found a website that is dedicated to photos of rats cuddling things....people have rats as pets......it's a dilemma ....so I'm putting it out there....what does everyone else do?.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Monthly 9 Link Up - April.......

We are well into Autumn but the chill in  the air today makes me think Winter is not far away.  I am joining in with Christine with my monthly 9 link up for April.

Nourish:  I thought I would share something that I chanced upon here  this blog is enchanting and an  absolute "feast" for the eyes....I spent way too much time scrolling through all of her posts...the photos are just mesmerising...I love it...nourishment for the soul !!

Prepare:  I thought I had prepared my harvested pumpkin for storage....I left them outside for 10 days to dry then bought them inside and stored them in the laundry cupboard...that was two weeks ago...I noticed this morning that they are growing fluffy fungus on the stalks...I think it is too warm in the laundry....have read that you can wax the stalks so I am going to remove the fungus and coat the stalks with organic beeswax....hope it works...anyone else ever had this problem?

horrible fluffy fungus growing on the stalks of my pumpkins....all suggestions welcome.
Have added new mushroom compost / soil mixture to a few empty garden beds to prepare them for the autumn / winter planting....hopefully lots of goodies sprouting here very soon.

two beds almost prepped and ready for planting...just need a nice day to get out there and do it.
 Reduce:  I managed to have a wardrobe cleanout...not that I had all that much to get rid of as I am not much of a hoarder....but it was good to sort out things I haven't worn for ages.... and the charity bins were happy to get them.

Green:  As always am avoiding plastic wherever possible...juice and milk are in cartons, all food is stored in glass jars...even only buy take away drinks in glass bottles.....still haven't found a way to totally avoid gladwrap......will keep trying to come up with options...wish they made recycled plastic wrap...now there's an idea !

Grow:  Have my seedlings waiting patiently to be planted .  Baby capsicums were pickled , filled and bottled....last of the tomatoes have been put in the freezer...things are a little quiet in the garden this month......the lone fig however now has many friends....hopefully all will ripen up soon...

Lettuces, beetroot, broccoli, silver beet.. ,all waiting patiently in the greenhouse..

Onions , leeks, kale and chard .... bugs have already attacked the kale .....hopefully it will be okay when planted..
The first ripe fig....the start of things to come....he looks a bit like an ant eater... !!
Create: I managed to knit the cushion I planned in my March post.....that was one of my projects I wanted to finish...there's always May !!

Finished the knitted cushion from March post....a gift for my daughter.
Discover:  This month I discovered Pinterest....I know ....I'm pretty late getting on board but you could lose days looking at that stuff.......some of the photos are truly bizarre...there seems to be a bit of a fascination for people to put their pets in ridiculous outfits and odd places....I'm an animal lover and I'm not sure if it is cute or cruel ????......it's definitely odd.
I don't know.....kind of cute but also disturbing !!

This one seems a little cruel...don't know how they got him into that little jumper...he doesn't look terribly impressed

He looks like he is saying...okay you've had your fun, know get me out of here !!
 Enhance:  Then you finds things like this on Pinterest....this would certainly enhance my backyard

Then you see gems like this.....how beautiful does this look outside...
There seems to be a bit more than moulting going on in the hen house....this girl is the bossy chook and usually spends her time pecking at all the others.. ...looks like the other girls tried to enhance her tail....she has a big bald spot...maybe there is a pecking order challenge going on....has this happened to anyone else's feathered friends?

Quite a bit of feather loss on this poor girl.,...not sure if its moulting or hen pecking

Enjoy:  April was  a lovely month...Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year....the smell of wood smoke in the air as everyone around lights their open fires....we had a lovely trip to a winery...then celebrated my son in law's 30th birthday at a micro brewery in Mornington..a sunny afternoon.....beer tasting paddles and woodfired pizza's ...my man was in heaven.....needless to say I drove home !!

Hope everyone out there enjoyed April as much as I did.....May is our birthday month....my two daughters and step daughter all celebrate this month.....keep warm and stay happy !!