Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Rainbow Bunting and Herbert Peabody

Joining in with Yarn Along at Small Things.

Wow, I haven't been Yarning Along for ages - I have missed it!

My reading at the moment - well, my read-aloud with Whirlwind - is this wonderful book, Herbert Peabody and His Extraordinary Vegetable Patch. My sister found this gem for Whirlwind for his birthday. I don't know how I hadn't come across it myself!
We are taking turns reading a page each aloud. And I am loving Herbie. How could you not love a book with quotes like these:
Herbie always has 'tea with real tea-leaves, because tea tasted better when it came from a teapot.'
'Herbie like the rich dark colour of the soil. It was like a crumbly chocolate cake.'
'He had built the kitchen himself using an old timber shop counter and a wooden filing cabinet. They were both dented and cracked, but he liked them exactly as they were.'
Are you loving Herbie as much as I do?!

Knitting wise, I have been making this rainbow bunting to put along the front fence. Yarn snob that I am, I have to say I am using acrylic as I think it will stand up to the weather better and it is cheaper. I don't like knitting it much as the feel isn't that nice, but it looks good. I will make an I-cord to hang them from.

And these are some seed packets Whirlwind made for one of his friends who wanted to start a garden a few months ago. Aren't they lovely? He has such a kind heart, my Whirlwind.

So looking forward to seeing all the Yarn Along posts, especially as most of you are in winter - perfect knitting weather - while we struggle along in the heat and terrible bushfires. It has been a sad Christmas this year here.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

We Met Oddball!

Today we went to Warrnambool for a swim and Cuddlepie insisted that we go to 'Penguin Island' (actually Middle Island). He absolutely loved Oddball  - you may remember me talking about the movie here - and wanted to go to Oddball's island.

He was swimming and didn't notice the ranger and the two Maremmas enter the water. The ranger walks them across to the island in the afternoon and picks them up in the morning. Cuddlepie was so excited when he saw them!

'I got to pat Oddball!' he yelled.

We were pretty thrilled with our brush with fame!

You can read about the Maremma penguin program here.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas To All!

Wow, I disappeared for quite a while there, didn't I?!

I am just popping in quickly to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Have a lovely time with family and friends and I will be back next week to show you what I have been up to.

Here's a little sneaky peek!

Monday, 28 September 2015

This Week's Menu - Very Eggy Indeed!

Joining today with I'm An Organising Junkie for Menu Plan Monday,

At Home With Mrs M for Meal Planning Monday

and Darling Downs Diaries for Good Morning Mondays.

I am up to my ears in eggs! I have gone from trying to find cake recipes that use no eggs to finding ones that 'only' use four and wishing they were using six or more eggs!

I have nearly all these colours, although my olive ones are lighter.

So it will be a very eggy menu this week.

It is Monday night here so I have already done Monday's menu. I did lots of my weekly baking today, even getting up early and making two batches of biscuits before breakfast. I love those productive days. When I get up early, I just seem to achieve so much more. 
Yet even after making chocolate chip biscuits, jam drop biscuits, carrot cake, choc brownies, raspberry coconut slice and berry tart, I still have this many eggs!

Yes, that is seven boxes of a dozen, and I hadn't collected the eggs for the day yet.
Sweet potato frittata
Berry tart

Monday's berry tart

Roast silverside, potato wedges, tomato salad, green peas, honey carrots
Fruit salad

Spaghetti and meatballs
Lemon meringue pie

Salmon quiche
Chocolate velvet ice cream

Chicken wraps
Banana custard

Saturday - Grand Final Day

BBQ (for lunch, which tends to extend into dinner)- steak, sausages, green salad, potato salad, coleslaw

Egg fried rice
Apple pie

Chocolate chip biscuits
Jam drop biscuits
Carrot cake
Raspberry coconut slice
Chocolate and hazelnut brownies
Lemon slice
Apple and cinnamon muffins

Have a lovely week, and please do send me your eggy recipes! I would really appreciate some new ideas for using up eggs. 

I'll head off now to quickly stir up some lemon curd before bedtime - double recipe, another eight eggs used!

To-Do List and What We Have Been Up To

It is school holidays here, so I haven't been on the computer much. Just hanging out, kicking the footy, shooting hoops, gardening together, movies, library, playground. 

We just returned home from a weekend in Melbourne - the big smoke! We did a little bit of shopping and visited with family. My dad is doing well. He is walking now, using a cane, but the pain is pretty much gone. He did lose most of his hair. He thought he had managed to avoid that as it did not start falling out until about four weeks after he finished his chemo. He is hoping he may even be able to start driving again. God is good!

I took the two younger boys to see Oddball. If you are looking for a gorgeous family movie, this is it! 

It was very exciting to see our local area up on the big screen too. Lots of fun to recognise all the places we go to - the boys were thrilled to see the island they swim to was where the penguins live.

And being me, I was swooning over the gorgeous knitwear worn by the mother and daughter. I have my eye on this cable jumper!

The movie was shown as an activity run by the library so beforehand there was a craft activity to make your own felt fairy penguin. They turned out so cute!

The other family movie we watched this week and really enjoyed was Paper Planes, another Australian movie. 

Who knew there were world paper plane championships?! I was really pleased to find two enjoyable movies that you didn't have to worry about the content. Just good fun - I highly recommend both of them. 

My last list has a few carry overs, as I was expecting really, with the holidays.

Garden and Homestead

  • Weed and plant out wine barrel planter.
  • Plant seeds of: coriander, parsley, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, pak choi and lettuce.
  • Plant gladioli tubers.
  • Finish weeding in front flower bed.

Knitting, sewing, crafting
  • Three hours of hand quilting on Miss Ballerina's quilt.
  • One night knitting on Minecraft pickaxe.
  • One night knitting on rainbow bunting - for front fence.
  • Research sock patterns for dad's Christmas present.
  • Sort out two boxes from garage.
  • Take spare books up to Little Free Library.
  • Sort out baby clothes.
  • School holiday planning.

Actually, lots of carry overs! So this week's list looks like it will be pretty much the same content.

Garden and Homestead

  • Weed and plant out wine barrel planter.
  • Plant seeds of: coriander, parsley, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, pak choi and lettuce.
  • Plant gladioli tubers.
  • Plant potatoes.
  • Finish weeding in front flower bed.

Knitting, sewing, crafting
  • Three hours of hand quilting on Miss Ballerina's quilt.
  • One night knitting on Minecraft pickaxe.
  • One night knitting on rainbow bunting - for front fence.
  • Research sock patterns for dad's Christmas present.

  • Sort out two boxes from garage.
  • Take spare books up to Little Free Library.
  • Sort out baby clothes.
  • Do lots of cooking with eggs! You will see why when I do my weekly menu post later today.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Independence Days Challenge: Week Twelve

'So much of this (preserving) is really about working smarter, as they say, not harder. With a little practice you begin to see ways to integrate food preservation into your life. Instead of it owning you, you are using it to make time for yourself in the coming winter months, when one day you will be too busy to cook and need a little essence of summer to cheer you.'
Independence Days by Sharon Astyk pg 175

More and more is being done - I feel so happy and productive! 
The heaps are nearly all burnt away. We had a quote to grind out the massive tree stumps but phew, it was expensive. I think I will just have to plant around them.
The garden is putting on a growth spurt. The tulips are looking just too darn gorgeous for words (obviously I was just being impatient as now their stems have grown), lilies are poking their leaves above the ground, seeds have sprouted in the greenhouse, rhubarb, peas and herbs are coming along nicely, chickens are laying up to 18 eggs a day - paradise!

I have printed out my spring moon gardening planner. It really is a wonderful resource and helps to keep me on track. And it is full of helpful lists and tips - super brews for the garden, monthly lists of what to do in the garden and more. Love it!

1. Plant something

We have two loquat trees that always have little babies, so I potted up five loquat seedlings.
Aldi had some cheap plants this week, so planted two Italian Parsley, a Coriander and two Lavenders.
You can never have too many flowers so planted a mix of flower seeds next to and amongst the tulip bed, which included Queen Anne's Lace, Gypsophila, Nigella and five different types of poppy. 
I do realise that there seem to be more flower than food plantings at the moment! The problem being that the flower beds are ready, but I am still waiting for stump burning, fencing, etc for the veggie and fruit tree area. I am so hoping that the time does not get away and I will have to wait another year. 

2. Harvest something

The chooks received a lovely harvest when I trimmed back the massive mint plants. I wonder if too much mint will make mint-flavoured eggs!
Hit the 100 mark for eggs last week - 108. 
The rhubarb is just starting so am looking forward to rhubarb crumble next week.
Lots of lemons, mint and chives. 

3. Preserve something

Just some lemon cordial this week. There were no really good specials on fruit or veggies this week!

4. Minimise waste

I am still working on this. Packaging is my major issue. I am trying to buy as much as possible in paper rather than plastic. But obviously I am trying to avoid the packaging in the first place. I am so looking forward to the garden becoming more productive and not needing to purchase as much from the supermarket as more and more fruit and veggies are being packaged.

5. Want not

I have been sorting through my jar collection. Everyone keeps all their glass jars, right?! Glass jars and egg cartons - I just cannot make myself put them in the recycling (even when I had no use for egg cartons!) 

I am sorting them to see what I have for making Christmas gifts.

6. Cook something new

I didn't really cook anything new this week as I was eating from the pantry and freezer and using old favourite recipes. I hope to be more adventurous next week!

7. Manage your reserves

That freezer inventory took a while and my hands were numb. But I now know that we have a huge amount of beef! Pretty much the whole freezer is beef, so looks like lots of steak on the BBQ at our house this summer!

My canning stocks are getting very low, so really need to focus on this. We used nearly everything over winter, which I guess is the point. But I don't like to be Old Mother Hubbard with a bare cupboard!

8. Work on local food systems

This is not really what we are looking for in this category, but kind of relevant. Look at the stickers I made for my egg cartons! It was lots of fun!

I am so hoping that soon there will be so much happening in the garden that I will have to cut these posts down in length!

Have a happy gardening week.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Yarn Along, Without Much In The Way of Yarn!

Joining today with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Actually not much happening in the way of yarn at the moment! I am waiting for something to leap out at me saying 'make me!'  Just browsing books, magazines and Ravelry, which is always fun.

So just working on this at the moment:

If anyone is feeling deja vu looking at the photo, you are right - you have seen that yarn and pattern before! I have made this baby jacket in this yarn before, here. But it worked out so well and I had enough yarn to make it again, so am knitting it up for my baby gift box. I don't really have to think about it - it is a quick knit to fill in the time while I decide on my next major knit (or Christmas knits - that is what I really should be doing!)

The book I am reading may have something to do with this lack of action on the knitting front. I am so engrossed in it. It is called Sand In My Eyes by Christine Lemmon - I talked about it yesterday as well.

It is about a woman who is struggling in the midst of motherhood, giving up her career and a less than satisfactory marriage and how the wisdom and experience of the older woman who lives next door helps her. And, even better, it uses gardening and flowers as analogies! 
I don't know how many quotes I can reproduce here without you getting bored, but it is one of those books that has words jumping out at you on nearly every page. I suppose this book spoke to me so clearly because the main character is in a very similar situation to mine.

'what you are doing when your children are small is working on the underground roots, the things not seen, but vital below the earth.'

'The roses should remind you to rest. One needs rest in order to bloom again. I know it sounds hard, but mothers must take care of themselves. They more than anyone need sufficient rest.'

'Everything in life will dry up and crumble to the ground, but a soul in love with the Lord remains intact for eternity.'

'Did I cultivate beauty each and every day?'

'Have you ever wondered how sunflowers can grow tall and stand upright with all those heavy petals? I realised that flowers in general can only stand because of their stems. I don't think mothering, work, relationships and so forth can stand without a stem and, to me, that stem is spirituality. And if one of the petals, say "work" doesn't pan out, the petal falls off but the stem - God - is still there.'

'Life doesn't always go the way we plan, and we either become resentful victims of our lives or we shift the way we view things in order to see the good.'

I could keep going here! All I will say is I really recommend this book to all mothers.