Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My but its been a long time......

My but its been a long time since I have been here. So much has been going on in my life that I have had little time to sit and think....let alone put those thoughts into words. So what has been happening!

On the garden front, the "Great wall of Bellavista" was finished. We have used the space to grow potatoes, lettuce (mainly used for feeding the chooks) and some late cabbages, some eggplants and chillies. There is still work to be done but its definitely looking good.

All the raised garden beds were finally raised to their final height.....six beds 80cm high and two at 40cm high and we have been reaping the benefits of all that space with a wonderful winter crop of root vegetables, onions, leeks and garlic. Cabbages, cauliflower,peas and broad beans and lots and lots of different greens. We have been spoiled for choice.

Our current project is boxing up the asparagus bed and making compost bins. With the rain of late it has become somewhat of a quagmire around that area so we are working on laying drier pathways....more to come. My, my....its sounds like such a lot of work but it has been quite a while hasn't it :-)

On the social side of things, some of the ladies in the "Valley and I get together every Friday morning for a social get together to sew or knit...what ever the talent. I have been showing them how to patchwork and quilt and we are all currently working together to make a small quilt for Mamas classroom.

Which brings me to my belated congratulations to Mama for graduating her post graduate teaching degree. She has been teaching prep full time since mid year. She is doing a wonderful job and seems to be enjoying the work. The Princess is a happy little grade oner and doing extremely well. I go down each week to help out and do school pick ups and drop offs and the Princess and I spend time working on homework together. She is growing up so fast.

In the kitchen I have finally begun cheese making. The Gorgeous Boy bought me a cheese making kit for my birthday in August and I have finally started. So far I have made a cheddar, a Parmesan, some blue brie style cheese, some Camembert and a couple of batches of ricotta. I have managed to find a source of beautiful fresh jersey milk which is so rich its wonderful to work with. I am impatient to taste the cheeses, to see if they have the flavour they promise.

My sour dough bread is still a work in progress....I am disappointed in my efforts so far but refuse to give up. I have just finished making a new "mother" and tried it out yesterday. I even experimented with the "air kneading" method. ( As an aside I do have to say that bit of it was fun.) Of course I "googled" the instructions...where would I be without the Internet!!!! and watched a you tube clip. What fun...tossing and slapping a lump of decidedly sticky dough on my kitchen bench ;-) That was my workout for the week. It tastes fantastic and the texture is good but it never seems to rise enough. Its OK if you want sliced fingers but not that convenient to make a sandwich. Photos will of course be forth coming but not today.

Today I am somewhat at odds with myself. I was due to head off this morning down to the city. After the rain of late I have been watching the creeks. Yesterday the creek at the end of the valley flooded. It was passable but I do hate driving through water.

This morning it had dropped down and I was confident to head out. All showered and ready to go, I went for a test trip to see if the rest of the creeks were down. This is what met me at the next crossing

Needless to say I returned home ....here I am...changed plans, which is why I finally I have the time to sit and update my blog. LOL. I having been watching the updates of the local creek levels compliments of BOM all day. The levels are falling but I don't think I am going to get out today. Might as well go and do some sewing.

Thankyou Olive for prompting me this morning...I promise I wont leave it so long again.


  1. What a thrill it is to find your post on my reading list !!!
    I have a tip to get the sourdough to rise, from another blogger named Linda. A desertspoon full of vinegar is supposed to cure the problem. Now... I have yet to try it, so please dont blame me if it doesn't work. So far my sourdough bread always looked like frizbees when they come from the oven. I haven't been up to breadmaking lately as we are preparing our place for sale (sadly) We are both in our mid 70's and finding that we cant keep up the work necessary to keep 75 acres looking weed free.

  2. The trick to sourdough is waiting for the mother to be just right- all bubbly. Keep feeding it until it is just right. I use a little sugar to jump start mine. Yeast, commercial or natural loves sugar. I've never had trouble with either of my sourdough starts but then one is over a hundred years old and the other I'm not sure of the age but I've had it at least six years. I do let my sourdough rise for a long time. I left my last batch in the refrigerator over night. It was its second rise and then punched it down in the morning and let it raise again. It raised quickly and doubled in size. I'd suggest feeding your start sugar and feeding it for a week. You don't have to use a cup of flour to a cup of water. Just use a half a cup of each. I don't ever measure either the water or flour. Also, use bread flour as it gives the yeast more protein to feed off of.