Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday is funday !

A nice quiet start to the day with breakfast accompanied by "Macca". A Sunday morning ritual. Then a quick trip into the Village to drop two more patio chairs off at the dump. We started out with ten and one by one the arms have broken off. Its such a shame as they were nice looking chairs. We are down to the last four and I think that it is about time I researched some replacements. It would seem that nothing is built to last anymore :-(

Back home to do just a little yard work. The Gorgeous Boy transplanted some tomatoes. He had planted some seeds a few weeks ago believing them to be chives but up popped tomatoes...each and every one. Well you can't waste a healthy seedling can you? So he temporarily transformed my new soil store into a small garden bed. In went the tomatoes with a few lettuces that he was thinning out and voila, instant veggie garden. While he was doing this I found this growing on one of the mushroom compost bags.

Now that is one big mushroom. Note the Biro beside it for size comparison. A little stuffing on that and you could feed a family of four ha ha. I ended up chopping it up and putting it in the compost...too much of a good thing !!!

This afternoon I finally found the time to pickle the chillies that The Great Dane gave me from his garden when I visited last Wednesday. A bottle for the Farm, one for the Granny flat and four in my pantry. The few remaining ones I minced up and poured a little of the pickling vinegar over them. Into a small jar and into the fridge for if I am in a hurry and need a little chilli quickly. Many years of living in Asia and a meal is not a meal without chilli.

Don't they look lovely and bright? I think I will sit and have a rest now. I still haven't read my Organic Gardening magazine yet. So much to little time....sigh.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Give us this day our daily bread.

We awoke to a lovely crisp bright morning ready to start the weekend. What beautiful weather we are having at the moment. Threw a load of wash on...a loaf of bread on and into the garden.

With the cooler weather the field mouse population has increased dramatically. I hear their scampering around in the roof and when I start the engine on the ride on mower it is not unusual to have one shoot out from a hiding place underneath. I would always have said that I was a lover of children and small animals but the deer, wallabies and mice have been testing my patience lately.

I discovered this morning that the mice had eaten through the plastic packet in which were carefully stored my "Phoenix" cucumber seeds. Those magnificent cucumbers that survived all through the summer come rain or soaring temperatures. When they appeared to be dying back and we considered pulling them out , in a blink of an eye...they perked up and off they rambled again. How carefully I saved and dried those seeds. Today...gone lah! Pass me the ratsak!!!!

We spent the morning sowing seeds......a new moon planting with MORE peas. The GB tells me you can never have enough peas, sugarsnap...snow peas, any peas. Beans......oh what will we do with all the beans when they start bearing? Purple kings, Blue lakes, butter beans, broad beans, borlotti beans. We put in broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, spinach, rocket and I am sure there are more that I have forgotten. The only thing that slowed us down was that we were rapidly running out of space. We need to get that long garden bed made along the bottom of the bank soon.

The bread was made and the veggies cropped for dinner. I had defrosted a small half leg of lamb that had been boned out. I was planning to grill some eggplant and zucchini, roast some beetroot and serve it all up with carrots and baby potatoes. While the soup (you remember that pea and ham soup that I froze!!!!) was heating up I sat down to read a couple of blogs. Well great minds must think alike because the latest post from "Through my kitchen window" featured roast lamb with Mediterranean vegetables. I hadn't planned to make the yogurt with garlic but since I had a little left from my last batch I mixed some up and served it with the lamb. Nice touch Mariana.

This afternoon I started to clean out the fernery at the back of the house. First job to weed the floor. Next to do a little re potting. I will continue with this tomorrow. The Gorgeous Boy chopped wood, some for tonight and some for during the week.

We took a bottle of wine over to the veggie garden and sat and watched the sun go down. The sunset wasn't very spectacular tonight but the wine was good ;-) The days are getting shorter and we both had to put on a jacket. I think it is getting very close to mulled wine season.

The fire was lit, dinner served and all is well with my world. I hope that life is treating you as kindly :-)

Friday, May 29, 2009


I'm Back !

Its been a long and busy week and I was away from home far longer than I expected to be. I left early Sunday morning and arrived back mid day today. As I turned the key in the front door it was such a lovely feeling. Oh but its good to be home. :-)

We headed down to Brisbane on Sunday to join a group of friends from a wine tasting group that dates back to the days of the wine tasting lunches at the Lyrebird Restaurant. How many years ago was that......I'm guessing it was around 1994. Lovely friends who have not changed over the years. Its always good to catch up. It was a degustation lunch at the Manx Restaurant on the river. Tomato consumee, soft shelled crab, duck breast with du puy lentils and Panna cotta with quince. All served with delicious wines. I have to say that the dessert wine did it for me...a sparkling moscato. Mmmmmm. Thankfully Mama was there to pick us up and take us home. What a nice day.

The rest of the week passed as a blur with me changing my plans almost hourly. I managed another trip to the dentist to tell him that the antibiotics weren't working, a change of script and I have an appointment week after next to have the offending tooth pulled out. You can't rush these things you know!!!! I needed to know that Mama would be there to pick me up afterwards as previous experience tells me that I will go to pieces. Pain...that's nothing....its the sitting in the chair with my mouth open and every man and his dog having a poke around in there that's the problem. How weird is that!

I did spend one day shopping for some new clothes. I must be unlike most of my fair sex in that I do not enjoy clothes shopping OR having my hair done. Hmmmm. Day one and I came home with two new sets of underwear. That wont take me out and about this winter!!!!

On my way down south the next day to do an inspection of our rental house I popped into the shops and managed to pick up a skirt,top,two new jackets a pair of shoes and a scarf. It was exhausting. That's it for this year. Why can't I just wear my jeans and t-shirt every where? OK so the knees are a little stained from kneeling in the garden...they show I have a life !!!!!

While I was down there I popped in for lunch with The Great Dane and his wife Gemini. Lovely people and a lovely lunch of home made meatballs and pickled red cabbage. How good is that!

That morning on my way out I had dropped Tiggy of at the vets to have his teeth cleaned. He always gets very excited when I take him to the vets with all those doggy smells. Being a boy he tries very hard to "mark" over any interesting smells that he can find and I usually manage to stop him doing so. This occasion was a disaster. I put my handbag on the floor by the reception desk while checking him in. I kept reigning him in to stand close by me....big mistake. As I bent down to take out my purse I noticed more intense sniffing and pulled him in close. That was the mistake. He promptly lifted his leg and peed into my handbag. Thankyou Tiggy. I love you too !!!!! The nurse was lovely and trying hard not to roll around on the floor laughing, kindly offered me some "spray and wipe." Which I of course gratefully accepted. I have to tell doesn't do it!!!!! I spent the remained of the day hoping people wouldn't think I was some poor old lady with an incontinence problem. Said bag is now in the garbage bin. I really couldn't stay too angry with him as when I went to pick him up they told me he had an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic and his heart rate kept dropping and they had to keep reviving him during the op. Poor little boy. Maybe we need to look at a doggy tooth brush. Now that could be an interesting exercise. I will think on that for a while !!!!!

Thursday came and I should have been back on the farm but our brother in law had sadly passed away on Monday after battling cancer for a long while. We headed over to the Gap for the funeral service which is unfamiliar territory for us. After a quick phone call to a friend who lives in that area he was able to direct us. Aren't mobile phones wonderful! It was a long morning but we were able to catch up with other family members at the same time. I dropped the Gorgeous Boy back at the office and returned to our city home. Off with the "good" clothes and on with my work clothes and out into the yard to mow, brush cut and do a general tidy up before heading out for a quick grocery shop. Fortunately Mama cooked dinner that night. Thank you Darling it was wonderful. Roast Pork and vegetables with her special mushroom and potato bake. AND pan gravy. Clever girl :-) My favourite dinner and it couldn't have come on a better day.

This morning I went with the girls to The Princess's school to join the children for the Friday Chapel service. Today the prep class were singing a special song to celebrate Pentecost. They had made little headbands with a cardboard flame on the front to represent the Holy Spirit. You were beautiful Sweetheart. I was very proud of you. Then back to load up the car and return here to the Farm. " Gee but its great to be back home, home is where I want to be. yeah......."Simon and Garfunkel you said it all.

First things first.....I wandered over to the veggie garden to see how things had survived. Its looking good. I gave everything a water and cropped the veggies. Lots of lovely figs Mmmmm

Then I headed back to the house. Oh no! We used to have a little problem with citrus leaf minor on the new citrus. We don't any more. The dreaded "Wobblys" have been in while I was away. We don't have any citrus leaves any more. Grrrrr. To add insult to injury they have also eaten two beautiful flowering vines and been into the herbs and massacred the parsley and horseradish. Its probably their revenge now that we have fenced off the vegetable garden from them. :-(

One of the sad citrus trees and a white flowering vine in the back ground

Just before dusk I managed to plant out some celeriac seedlings that The great Dane had given me. Thankyou Jorgen They travelled well.

Its been a busy week. I'm glad to be back. Time for bed now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A quiet Saturday.

A quiet day today. It was cool this morning. I think it felt chilly because there was a strong breeze. Good to get the washing dry, except for the showers that came through on and off all day. I decided it was time to clean out the kitchen in the shed. Long overdue but looks good now its done...another job ticked off the list.

I made two loaves of french bread this morning, using Crazy Mummas recipe. They turned out very well but not as crispy on the outside as I would have liked. One we ate with lunch with pea and ham soup and the other I have popped in the freezer. When I defrost it I will sprinkle it with water and pop it in the oven to warm up and crisp the crust.

The Gorgeous Boy dug some baby pink fir potatoes for dinner tonight. They are his favourite. We had them with fresh pan fried salmon with yogurt. dill and caper dressing and a side salad using mixed lettuce and rocket leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, capsicum and a spring onion from the garden.

Last but not least, introducing Tiggy...who thinks that I am going to take him for a walk as I just said that magic word.

Friday, May 22, 2009

and out came the sunshine to dry up all the rain !

My didn't we have our fair share and a bit of rain? I headed down to the city on Wednesday afternoon and crawled from Beerburrum to Caboolture as the highway southbound at Caboolture was flooded. What a long journey. Before I left the farm I cropped some veggies to bring down and checked the rain gauges. They were overflowing so I knew that we had over 50ml. I was amazed at how much water there was further south. With still more to come that night. The local rivers were overflowing and I was concerned that I would not be able to get to the station to pick up the gorgeous boy. All worked out well and we are safe and snug.

This is a picture of our little fig tree which I took before I left. We have two fig trees in the "orchard" that have been there for years and have struggled to even survive. The two that we planted in half wine casks in the veggie garden last year are doing extremely well. It is probably better soil/more water and fertilizer. A lesson in that for all of us huh! They are producing a lovely crop of fruit and it is a pleasure to go and pick one. To sit on the bench the GB built for me, to sit in the sun and eat it. Fresh, fresh fresh from the tree. yum. Life is sooooo good :-)

Now it was two days ago that I ate this little beauty but mmmmmm the memory lingers on.

A trip yesterday to the dentist proved that the cause of my discomfort was an abscess on a back tooth. Further X rays showed a fractured root so no hope of saving it. In the short term I am taking a course of antibiotics until I can organise for its removal. Procrastinate ? Me ? Noooooooo, how could you say that ;-)

Today I will help Mama clear up the rain damage to the back yard before a quick shop to restock the pantry. This afternoon I will pick up GB from the train and head back up the farm to see if there was any rain damage up there after I left. I am going to "Simply Good" the local bulk store to stock up on bread flour. I may try some spelt flour as well this time to trial.

Dinner tonight will be bolognaise a la Jorgen. I have copied down the recipe, it looked so good and with that in mind I have bought some fresh fettuccine as I will not be back home in time to make my own tonight. Time to get moving girl :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cooking up a storm.

Its taken me two days to sit down and write this post. I have been chipping and chopping, stirring and pouring and would you believe how many seeds there are in a melon.....phew!!. I have called it quits for today but will make some fresh bread tomorrow to take down to Brisbane with me.

First on the list was the pea and ham soup....the rain and the cooler weather convinced me the time was right. I dug out a ham bone that was almost lost in the back reaches of my freezer and popped it into my largest pan. Wish I had taken a photo as I had to keep rotating it as it was too big for the pan. Did contemplate chopping it in half but last time I tried that I chipped a bit out of my trusty Chinese cleaver...wont do that again! Plenty of turnips, carrots, sweet potato and beans from the garden to bolster it up. I had it for dinner last night and have 5 boxes to freeze for dinners when I am in a rush.

Next, I picked the Lilly Pillys (in the rain I might add) washed them and boiled them up. When they were soft I hung them to drain overnight and turned my attention to the dreaded pie melon. I only used one as it was one of the smallest and weighed in at 3.4Kg. I removed the skin and roughly chopped the flesh and picked out the seeds......there went another hour or so of my time...sigh. THEN I read the recipe. Mix with equal parts sugar and leave to soak overnight. It actually said to use equal sugar to melon, before peeling but I thought that would make it a little sweet so modified the recipe. Two jobs waiting for tomorrow so I embarked on some Red onion jam that I have been meaning to make for ages. At least I could finish one job!!! While all this was going on I made a fresh loaf of bread to go with the soup and chopped up some Macadamia nuts and ginger for a fruit cake. I put those to soak in iced coffee and rum to...yes.....stand overnight!

The finished fruit cake.

I mixed up a batch of yogurt and it was time for bed.

This morning I returned to the kitchen bench.......added the juice and zest of 4 lemons to the melon mix with 60g of finely chopped fresh young ginger. (the recipe said 30g of powdered ginger but hey I like ginger). Into the pan to boil. I was working with 2kg of melon and 2kg of sugar and my pan was pretty full. It was taking forever to set so I rummaged around my pantry and found a packet of jam setter. Wish I had used 4 packets as one was just not enough so I resorted to the "cook long enough and it will eventually set" method. I am now the proud owner of 16 bottles of melon, ginger and lemon jam. Very nice it is too. I had to taste test it so I spread it on wholemeal bread for my lunch. I am pleased that I didn't use the full quantity of sugar because it is a very sweet jam.

Next came the Lilly Pilly Jam. I used the recipe from "Through my Kitchen window" and thank you is beautiful to look at and delicious. Quite tart and tangy. I love it. On Marianas recommendation to use a slightly under ripe lemon for more pectin I picked the first lemon from our new lemon tree. I have been nursing that tree for nearly 18 months and check the fruit almost daily. If that lemon was a sample of what that little tree can produce...Hallelujah. It was so juicy.

Now that I had my oven free (from sterilising bottles) in went the fruit cake. By the time that was finished it was late afternoon and all I had to do was print out the labels for the jam. Now I am not the computer whizz in the house...I muddle along....after not a little hair tearing I made a desperate call to dr.K. "HELP. " Everything was going wrong. I was changing a draft copy that dear Marcella had helped me set up and every time I tried to change anything it just got worse and I couldn't find my way back to the original. Such a dear boy that son of ours :-) He took pity on his poor old Mum and set me on the straight and narrow again with a new draft for labels which actually fit the label sheet that I have! Thank you dr K, you saved my bacon. The labels look pretty good too ;-)

Just had time to make dinner. I used up a little of the left over roast venison with a few mushrooms that have popped up in the garden with the rain. Some onion, garlic and a little gravy with a spoonful of Mamas plum jam to give it a lift. All wrapped up in a sheet of puff pastry and voila, instant dinner.

That's all for today I think. Time to go play chasey with Tiggy who thinks he has been thoroughly neglected today. At least that is what I think he is trying to tell me as he keeps tapping me on the leg with his toy in his mouth. Come on Mum .....time to play.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Headed into the Village Market this morning to drop off some pie melons. We had grown them thinking they were watermelons. We kept cutting them open as the season progressed and couldn't understand why they were not ripening/ turning red inside. Ah...a lightbulb moment. They are pie melons !!!! There is only so much you can do with a pie melon....jam, jam or jam. Now we had a bank covered with them so I asked "Bill" who runs the fruit and veg stall at the market if his wife would like them to make jam. Yes please was the response, so this week we duly cropped most of them and took two boxes in to the village to drop off. Bill was not there today and his wife was running the stall.......she off course knew nothing about this and was horrified as we unloaded melon after melon. The charming lady accepted a few to experiment with and offered to put the remainder out the front of the stall with a sign..."free to a good home". I kept back a half a dozen to experiment with myself. More news on the results later.

The Pie Melons.
Back home to unload a trailer load of organic topsoil with the help of the gorgeous boy. This load we bought to keep as a stockpile to top up garden beds and topdress the lawn where necessary. More time spent in the vegetable garden tidying things up while the gorgeous boy mowed the paddock on his trusty tractor. It hasn't been done since before his op. and is looking neat and tidy as we go into winter. I picked some more cherry tomatoes to send down for The Princess to have in her lunch box for school. I can pick around 500g every second day at the moment and there is only so many ways to serve cherry tomatoes. We had some baby potatoes and our first spinach of the season for dinner tonight. Tasted sooooooooo good.

The Gorgeous boy digging potatoes for dinner.

An early night tonight as I have a big day planned tomorrow.......might have a go at making Melon, ginger and lemon jam and I have my eye on the Lilly Pilly tree which is heavy with berries. I saw a recipe yesterday for Lilly Pilly Jelly which looked very interesting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A mixed day.

Today was just one of those days. Checked the garden and cropped a few veggies for dinner tonight. I will make lemon and pepper lamb with stirfry vegetables using todays pick and some beans and capsicum picked the other day.

Then I weeded for a couple of hours. Back in the house to bake a fruit slice for morning teas and a loaf of bread. I had just about exhausted my supply of bread, both fresh and frozen. I spent an hour or two (time flys when you are having fun!) sorting my photos and deleting doubles and bad a few of those!! More work needed on that job but there are only so many hours in a day.

Looks good enough to eat :-) Off to cook dinner now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today is a root vegetable Moon Planting Day.

With that in mind I spent the morning in the vegetable garden. Pulled a few weeds, Fertilised a few hungry plants and remembered that I had just bought some tomato seedlings and 4 globe artichoke. I have this theory....better to plant on the wrong Moon than leave seedlings to wilt and die in the fernery...right huh! Artichokes, yellow pear shaped cherry tomatoes and one roma tomato plant are now in the ground....seasoled and I might say...looking pretty happy with life. I gave everything another water and noted some lovely fresh new growth. This afternoon I did get to do some mowing....a drop in the ocean! and continued brush cutting the bank. I have done about 2/3rds and its looking good. You can actually see the elderberry trees now.

I was reading Gavins blog....The greening of Gavin. He was sounding off about people sitting in their cars in the railway station car park with their engines running, waiting to pick up travellers. Hmmmm. He is so right. I thought that I was making headways in being more careful with my fuel consumption but must plead guitly to that one while waiting to pick up the "gorgeous boy". Must try more aware!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back at the Farm.

Finally arrived back at the Farm after picking up a cute little chair from "our favourite charity shop" for Mama. She is going to fix it up for The Princess to use as a reading chair. Nice choice darling.

The veggie patch looked a little thirsty but fortunately the new fence seems to be working as we have not had any more visits from our furry friends.

Spent a couple of hours watering and cropping

Think I may have some salad for dinner.

The passionfruit are beginning to ripen. These 3 had fallen off the old vine. The ones on the new vine are HUGE, when they start to ripen we will have passionfruit coming out of our ears. I had better start researching recipes.

In the afternoon I got out the brush cutter to clear an area to pile up the lawn clipping before I started to mow but as usual got a little side-tracked. Two hours later the bank is starting to look quite tidy!!!! Maybe tomorrow I will mow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Today is Tuesday

Another beautiful sunset. I wish I was there.