Monday, November 12, 2012

We've planted a heap of seedlings in the side garden now. And A has set up lots of climbing frames for the beans that are made out of old chair legs and string. We still have to clear the pumpkin's bed and put them in. The tomatoes in the hothouse are flowering nicely and we're harvesting snow peas as well. There's nothing quite as delicious as a freshly picked snow pea that's been stir fried. 

The herb garden is growing back nicely after we re-transplanted it back into the small side garden under the kitchen window. We've got thyme, rosemary, thai and normal basil, yarrow, parsley, chives and probably a couple of other things that I can't remember. Having fresh herbs right outside the kitchen is the best! 

The flowers in the front garden are so pretty and the roses are all coming out now. We bought a heap of pine bark to put around the flowers and since doing that they look so much happier. Not having to compete with weeds probably helps them feel a lot more relaxed ... if flowers can relax!? 

Yesterday we interviewed a midwife and we're hoping she'll take us on, we'd be happy with her if she does. She only works part time which I like, and all her kids were born at home without any scans or unnecessary testing. 

This weekend we're hosting Dad's 80th birthday party so we've been doing lots of gluten free preparations in anticipation. It'll be nice to see the family, it's been over a year. I'm doing as much cooking as I can now so there won't be too much to do when everyone is here but of course some stuff needs to be fresh rather than frozen so there'll still be plenty to do. 

I have to bake a loaf of milk bread today because the kids are on a toast eating bonanza, I might make two and freeze some because they're hard to keep up with! In between vast quantities of washing and folding I might even have time to catch up on the B+B!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spring has Sprung in a Summery Way

Today the mercury hit 28C. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. I achieved exactly nothing all day because of the horrible nausea but A got up on the roof to find where the water is getting into the rumpus room from. Turns out it's getting around the vent from the exhaust fan that's above the bath. It'll be easy enough to fix which is good.

The flowers out the front are starting to bloom and we'll put a few more in over the next fortnight, and the big pink rosebush has its first flower, it'll be covered from top to bottom very soon. The apple trees are covered in blossoms too, and some of the fruit trees in the back yard have their first blossoms too. 

We've been spring cleaning like mad. It feels so good to be able to open all the windows and air the place out. We're getting rid of clothes we don't' wear, toys that don't get played with, sheets and towels and blankets that do nothing but sit in the cupboard. 

A put up a new shelf in the kitchen for sugar, coffee, tea, hot chocolate etc so that's freed up some cupboard space. The 1960s cupboards are a tad impractical for a 2012 lifestyle. I really can't wait to bulldoze the kitchen! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our News

It is with great surprise that I announce the impending arrival of a new family member! Yes, we are expecting a baby some time in Autumn. Which means we have a birth to plan! I'm told that another baby was born in this house so it's tried and tested. 

I imagine we'll set up a birth pool near the fire. That sounds terribly clichéd doesn't it, but sometimes it's nice to live in a cliché. I'm hoping for a daytime birth with the curtains open wide and the sun streaming in, looking out at the rolling green hill. 

I always said I'd go back for one more if I could guarantee either a girl or twins so I've put my order in and now I just have to wait and see what eventuates!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weeds to watch out for ....

Spike woke up the other morning with what looked like an allergy all down his face. Throughout the course of the day it spread and blisters formed and burst. I took him to the doctor and the doctor recommended that we go straight to emergency. He suspected that it was an infection that would need intravenous antibiotic treatment in a hurry.

We waited in emergency for HOURS while the redness kept spreading and getting hotter. Eventually we were taken through to paediatric emergency and assigned to a bed. The first doctor who saw him had no idea what it was so she asked her superior to come and take a look. He didn't know either so he got a specialist epidemiologist to come down and see us and he was unsure what the problem was so he sent his superior down.

The head epidemiologist was puzzled but he ruled out fatal skin eating disorders by virtue of the fact that Spike was still alive after waiting for so long in emergency (I got the impression he was REALLY unimpressed by it actually). 

After going through everything we could think of A remembered that he and Spike had been pulling up a strange weed in the garden the day before. Amazingly enough as we were leaving home, after going over everything, we thought to grab a sample of the weed. (we'd have raised it hours earlier except everyone was thinking it was something completely different so it didn't seem relevant to us). A ran up to the ar and grabbed our sample and the doctor took one look at it and announced that Spike had contact dermatitis burns from the weed.

We were sent home with burns cream and the burns were significantly better by the next day and are almost gone now (about a fortnight after it first happened)

the weed - later identified as a species of spurge

Farewell Winter!

We've started planting and preparing our Spring garden. This year we're redesigning the planting system in the hothouse, and planting far more small variety tomatoes because they're the ones we use most of, they taste delicious, and they're also more expensive.

We've planted pretty flowers out the front for the first time this year. I think some colour will look lovely out there and flowers are always cheerful. The apples in that section of the garden are now getting their leaves and one has quite a few buds on it! Unfortunately the pink lady that Vinnie chewed isn't looking quite as vigourous but it is getting leaves so there's hope for it yet. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gardening in Winter

After the disaster that became of our earlier broccoli, when it all went to seed after a couple of late summer stinkers (three days in a row of over 40C) we've just noticed that our next crop is doing beautifully. Winter is well and truly here and the days are quite cold, I suspect today didn't hit 10C, but the broccoli and the radicchio are loving life in the side garden. The hothouse is still churning out tomatoes despite the drop in temperature, but that won't be for much more than a week and we'll have to make green tomato chutney with the last of the unripe ones. 

The chickens are very slack this winter, despite collecting three eggs a day last winter we aren't getting even one this year despite having three more chickens (although they're not quite old enough to lay yet). I'm wondering what we can do to get their shed warm enough for their taste - despite the fact that it was fine last winter!

We ate the rooster a fortnight ago, I was amazed by the intense flavour of non farmed chicken. It's a lot of work, all the plucking and gutting etc and it's not something I'd want to do routinely for poultry but the odd home brown rooster will definitely end up in the pot from now on.

TMX settles in

The thermomix is getting plenty usage, I use it a minimum of once a day, I can't believe how much easier things are with it. The other day I made lasagna in about half an hour. I made the tomato sauce while I browned the mince, then added it to the frypan and reduced it. While it was reducing I made bechamel in the tmx at the same time as I boiled the pasta, I added baby spinach leaves to the bechamel and blended them in. Then I assembled it all and baked it, and there was hardly any washing up to do!

Last night I made shepherds pie and even though I only steamed the vegetables and whizzed the garlic and onion up for it, I used the vegetable stock and beetroot relish to flavour the mince, so it really is changing the way we cook in less than a fortnight.

I made marmalade in less than an hour

Walnut bread with cheese, garlic and herb dip and beetroot relish (my new favourite breakfast)

Concentrated vegetable stock, ingredients vegetables, herbs, salt

Chicken green curry

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A new toy has arrived!

Winter is nearly here and I'm really looking forward to our second Arctic winter. I thought I would hate it last year but I just loved it! All the mist, the snow, the crisp sunny days, the cold hard rain, it was all unlike anything I'd ever experienced so I loved it, and this year I can't wait to do it all over again

Recently we purchased a new toy for the kitchen. We hosted a thermomix demo for a friend who was training to become a saleswoman, and ended up buying one. It arrived last week and since then I've done a lot of cooking and been totally amazed at just how versatile they are

So far we've made a few curries, lemon meringue pie, playdoh (which I dyed with beetroot and tumeric) walnut bread, dips, porridge, custard, soup, curry pastes, sorbet, and other miscellaneous things as well

Today I made the lemon meringue pie and I was blown away at how easy it was, and how fast it was done, not to mention how perfectly it all turned out. I normally avoid making anything with pastry but having made this pastry today I can see I'll be making a lot more pies and pastries! 

Here's the playdoh

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Veggie Gardener Stirs!

Here's what's happening in the garden at the moment. We've got heaps of seedlings started, some have just been planted out and some will go out in the next few days. We've also got strawberries, zucchini, and tomatoes fruiting and lots of herbs, salad greens, snow peas, beans, cucumber, beetroot, leek, potatoes, and a surprise pumpkin that's sprung up in the wood pile! (probably started from what we feed the chooks)

It's all been a lot to learn and manage but I really enjoy it and every crop which fails is just a lesson basically, although this year we're doing quite well (since my first seed planting which all failed!). This year the tomatoes aren't going as well as they did last year because we totally forgot to rotate them, but there's still 18 or more on the go and lots of flowers. The zucchinis aren't dong as well either and despite having been rotated I'm wondering if it's got to do with being near the tomatoes.

Yesterday we ripped out a huge pile of mint because it was taking over the whole hot house. We initially planted it in there while we were painting the house and needed to transplant the herb garden. We also ripped up the broad beans which were more or less finished for the season (will plant more of them next year). We left the roots of the broad beans in the soil and just cut the tops off because their roots make fabulous fertiliser. There was a heap of chard that we ripped out too but because it self seeds we have quite a few left in that bed.

The fruit trees are all looking healthy, even the apple tree that Vinnie destroyed has been going strongly and it's covered is lush green leaves.  We bought two blueberry plants yesterday and we'll work out where to plant them some time in the week when we have a gardening day. I'm also looking into cross pollination to see if any of the fruit trees we have need friends in order to make fruit. I've ordered a passion fruit tree that's frost resistant and I'm debating where to put it so it won't steal the sun from the veggie garden.

Here's some pics!

Broccoli, leeks, spring onions (probably too small to see) and teeny beetroot. 
 Potatoes, teeny beetroot, snow peas.
 Newly planted herb garden with parsley, thyme, rosemary and yarrow. Transplanted mint in hanging basket looking very sorry for itself.
Fruit trees in chook proof enclosure. Fig, pineapple guava, and red currant. 
Chard, zucchini, and tomatoes at the back. 
Cabbage, lettuce, oregano, sage, chives. 
Gardener's assistant

Updated from the slackest blogger alive!

I can't believe it's been over 4 months since I last blogged anything. it's not as if nothing is happening, it's just that I've been completely slack!

Recent news is:

We went on a holiday to A's family shack. I was feeling really down because it was James' 4th birthday so we packed up and away for five days. It was just what I needed to gather my thoughts and find my groove again.

the kids at the beach around the corner from the shack.

Crab that was at the beach. There were THOUSANDS of them, you could actually hear them scrabbling across the sand.

A wave breaking on the rocks at the lookout near The Blowhole

View from the lookout about 100m above the Tessellated Pathway

Angus enjoying the evening constitutional on crabby beach

Waves crashing into the blowhole. We happened to go on a day when the weather was wild 
so it put on a spectacular show for us.

echidna on the path near the blowhole look out. It was quite unphased by the tourists!

Devil's Kitchen

So it was a fabulous holiday. We went swimming on every day but the day the mercury hit 13 and we were all nearly blown away in a gale, but that was the day we went to the blowhole and the weather was perfect for that! The kids went canoeing, fishing (Spike caught a flathead and was very chuffed), swimming under the jetty (where we saw a stingray) in the warmest water I've ever swum in, bush walking, we played board games and card games and I read three books. Perfecto!