Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Well, that was Christmas!

We have had the most enjoyable Christmas in years!

We spent CHristmas Eve with our son and his family; with my Mother In Law and my husband's 93 year old grandmother in attendance-lovely BBQ meal and the 3 grandsons had a ball with the minimum of blood and tears!

Then our middle child became engaged on Christmas Eve to her partner of 6.5 years-they are also expecting their first child in April.

Christmas morning we catered for 11 friends and family for breakfast before the 3 hr drive to my mother's house for CHristmas tea. At her place were my brother & his 2 daughters, my stepbrother together with his wife & two boys-plus our son and his family drove up; as did our daughter and her new fiance!

With 7 children aged 8 & under it was a blissful day!

Since arriving home on Boxing Day we have been busily moving soil to backfill around the new concrete-labourious but satisfying!

Today I have harvested half a kilo of beans-plus I pulled up one of the potato plants and we are having fresh potatos with lunch!

Life is Good!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Berry nice!

Over the past few days I've realised how much fruit we are already starting to produce! We have apples, apricots,nectarines,plums,quinces, mulberries and lemons forming on their respective trees-not bad for 18months in the ground!

This morning I wandered through the berry beds and picked a couple of handfuls of raspberries,blueberries and strawberries to have on our muesli for breakfast-this is the life I had always yearned for!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Set in concrete....

We have been in the house for 1 year on Christmas Eve and have finally been able to arrange the concreting we needed out the front and back of the house.

The front of the house. A verandah will be added when finances allow! I can now finish creating the garden beds-which already have Little Gem Magnolias and two varieties of roses growing.

This section leads from the existing undercover area (which will be enclosed to make a games room)-the large pad will have a timber pergola built to enable grape vines to grow and shade the house-this area faces N-NE.

We are really please with the concretor and would recommend him to anyone in our area!

I have ended up having to spend the day at home due to my neck and shoulders being in spasm, but have found that seeing the Calendula oil seeping on the window sill ( Thanks Rhonda gives me a lovely sense of self satisfaction! I started it seeping a couple of days ago after reading on Rhonda's blog about how to make your own Calendula salve-quite fortuitous timing as I planted calendulas ( English Marigolds) in the vegetable garden this year purely so that I could harvest the flowers to make the salve!

I've also made homemade Coffee and Chocolate liqueurs over the past couple of days to add to the hampers I'm putting together for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gonna wash that grime right outta my hair....

Those of you reading along at home will remember that a few weeks ago I made soap for the first time ( using the recipe from here: ).

Yesterday I made up my own shampoo using offcuts from that soap. I shaved some of the soaps to tidy them up before packaging as Christmas gifts. Then I took the shavings, placed them in a jar and added around the same quantity of boiling water. A bit of stirring to dissolve the soap and I had my shampoo!

I know that there are posts elsewhere about using the soap just as is without diluting it-but I find I like the sensation of applying the liquid onto my scalp.

I used it this morning and it took the salt and grime from my day at the beach yesterday clean out! As someone with ridiculously sensitive skin I am really pleased with this lovely soothing soap-which is clearly multipurpose!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The bells of St Clements..

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of ST Clements...or so the old nursery rhyme goes! That particular refrain was running through my head all weekend after I finally planted the oranges I been wanting to get! His Lordship's 93 yr old grandmother gave us money for Christmas, so a dwarf Washington Navel and a dwarf Lane's Late Navel were purchased!

When we built this house last year I always planned to have a citrus "grove" along the back of the garage wall. It's an area of brick wall which is sheltered and faces North East-perfect suntrap here in South Western Victoria-which can be on the "cool" side! My MIL gave me a Meyer lemon when we moved in, so that had already been planted and now has two friends!

Due to the clay soil we have, all the citrus have been planted on raised mounds-which allows for perfect drainage.

Now all we have to do is wait a year or two!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh Christmas tree.....

I LOVE December 1st! I have always put the tree up and decorated it on the 1st. To me, it's a way of acknowledging where we have come from-although many people do not celebrate the "Christ in Christmas" and even fewer realise that Christmas day itself was originally a pagan celebration on the Winter Solstice, I enjoy the thought that what we are celebrating has been done so by generations before us!

This year there is a touch of sadness for me as I mark the last of our children to pass into adulthood-technically I am no longer responsible for bringing up any children!  However, we are blessed with being young Grandparents-we get to spend many hours running, playing and guiding the grandsons we already have and will look forward to doing so with the two babies due next year!

This is our tree this year-my apologies for the dark photo, but I had to use my phone as a certain daughter has "mislaid"my camera! We are yet to place the angel on top-our family tradition is that my husband contributes to the tree decorating by aligning the Angel when he gets home from work-whilst making some sort of silly "Dad"comment!

The past few days have seen us enjoying produce from our garden-fresh raspberries with yoghurt for breakfast and salads for dinner. The sense of achievement which comes from placing a meal on the table from your own garden cannot be surpassed in my opinion!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

As promised...

I alluded to a grandbaby announcement a few days ago...and here it is! Our youngest daughter and her partner are unexpectedly expecting their first baby-our 5th garndbaby to love and dote on! She has just finished her Yr 12 exams and plans to complete her first semester at Uni, then come home to have bubs and defer for one or two semesters.

We made an official announcement last night at her birthday celebrations-which worked well with both hers and her partners families present! This means grandbaby #4 is due in April, closely followed by #5 in July!

Around the house and garden we are starting to harvest raspberries and the potatoes, corn, bean & tomatoes are all starting to grow well. We are experiencing reasonably warm days with steady rain today-so I'm sure that the garden will grow prolifically!

We are planning to quadruple the size of the chicken run-extending it under some of the fruit trees. Also in the planning stage is fencing a section of the acre at the back, so that we can run some lambs each year for the freezer.

I've been using the homemade laundry powder for a while now and am loving it. We are also starting to use soap from my first batch-which I love! The honey & oatmeal batch is still hardening- I plan to give some as part of Christmas gifts this year.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Life has been a little hectic over the past couple of weeks, so it has been a tad difficult to drop in here!

Locally we have had a multiple fatality car accident which ended up claiming 6 lives-and the funerals are all this week. Although not close to any of the victims I did know them all-and taught all of the 5 younger victims at one point or another. My heart goes out to the families & friends concerned.

Our youngest daughter has finally finished her last exam, turns 18 this week and we have her party on Friday night!

Plus there is forthcoming news on the  grandchildren front-stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas...

I made the most of a morning at home to bake this year's Christmas cake this morning. The house soon became rendolent with the scintillating smell of spices and soaked fruit...............mmmmmmmmmmmmm! The fruit has been soaking in the pantry for the last two months, so has become rich and succulent.

I use the 3 in 1 mix from one of the Women's Weekly cookbooks. It is enough for a good sized cake, a lovely bolied pudding and a heap of mince pies- I've been using it for more than 20 years and every year have people ask what my secret is! I use port or muscat as the liquor to soak the fruit in, as I find it gives a real richness to the final product.

I have Frday put aside for making the pudding and I think this year I will use the remaining mix to make some individual Christmas cakes to go in the hampers I'm making.

Monday, November 7, 2011


We have had a hectic few days-babysitting, cricket matches on Saturday & Sunday, a spot of gardening, taking the grandsons for a swimming lesson,then a picnic lunch at the park and preparing ingredients for the next 3 days of meals ( because I'm busy at work again-covering for staff).

In the past this sort of scheduling would have had me pulling out my hair and becoming quite tense-these days I find that I know how to pause...take a big breathe and remind myself that in a couple of days life will return to normal!

Before I go to work in an hour or so, I have found the time to do a load of washing and hang it in the sun- I love to see my clean clothes swinging in the breeze on a sunny day! It gives me such a sense of satisfaction. When our children were young I think I was one of the few mum's in our circle of friends who loved washing the cloth nappies and hanging them on the line! To this day, if I see a row of nappies flapping in the sun I cannot help but smile-and it seems to be a rarer and rarer sight....

I've also finally trimmed the lavender bushes this morning-I have 4 which form part of a circular bed in the orchard with a quince as it's centrepiece. The resultant cuttings were thrown back onto the bed to form a lovely lavender smelling mulch..and after that I'm ready for the day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas on my mind.....

A couple of months ago I changed my working hours so that I would have Thursdays and Fridays off-giving me a four day weekend every week ( I have spinal arthritis, so this allows my body to recover from work..) and the past two weeks I have finally had the Fridays off!!! Still working on actually totally dropping the Thursday too...

Today has been very productive- I baked for His Lordship's work afternoon tea-it was his turn to provide it for the office again; then dropped the teenager at her VCE exam scheduled today. A bit of shopping for goodies for Christmas, then home to mow the orchard and potter in the garden. Fed some weeds to the hens-much to their delight!

The Christmas goodies were mainly ingredients as I'm planning on a lot of handmade gifts for the adults this year. So far I've decided on the following:
* Homemade coffee liquer
* Spiced Christmas cookies
* Individual Christmas cakes ( made in muffin tins)
* Mini "blocks" of chocolates
* Cookies in a Jar mixes
* Homemade soaps
* Jams & chutneys
* Christams truffles
* Fudge made in the microwave

For the younger kids I'll be using alphabet cookie cutters to bake each of their names, then wrapping each in a cellophane bag for gifting.

How's your Christmas planning coming along?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kitchen chemistry

This morning my nearly 18 yr old daughter is sitting at the table studying for her year 12 exams whilst I make a batch of soap in the kitchen ( oatmeal & honey this time-smells like honeycomb!). She lifts her studious eyes and surveys me as I done the ever-so-sexy heavy duty black gloves to avoid caustic burns.
"What are you doing?" She asks. So I explain about the reaction between the caustic soda and the water and the safeguards I'm taking.
"Oh, so you're doing chemistry in the kitchen!" She says.
That is it in a nutshell. Every thing that we do for our family is either chemistry or physics-so all homemakers out there celebrate your science skills!!

Today is overcast and drizzly here, which means that the solar panels on our roof will not be generating any electricity. However, I'm enjoyingthe day anyway. The colours in the garden seem deeper-more intense; something I enjoy and take a few minutes to savour. The hens have each made a raucous outburst as they have laid and swallows have been swooping and dancing around the house; gathering as many insects as they can whilst providing me with the spectacle of a birdy ballet!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Role-ing along..........

OK- a pretty poor play on words in my post title, but after reading today's post at Down to Earth ( link below) I thought about how role models are another facet of the post I made on Sunday.

As I commented on the D2E blog, I don't actually have role models-people I appreciate & applaud, people whose skills I admire ( and sometimes learn myself!) but no-one whom I look at and say to myself "I need to be more like you". I've reached a point where I like who I am-mistakes, crotchety nature and all! I try to do the best by those around me, and I try to make a difference in the lives of those I have contact with-whether they know it or not.

Back to the whole Sufficiently Sufficient theme ( or garden going-ons!)- I'll be planting out some carrot & beetroot seeds shortly. I'm planning on doubling what I planted last year because the soil is much lighter than the virgin clay based stuff I had to endure a year ago! Organic matter, organic matter then yet more organic matter!

Tomorrow I'll be transplanting a couple of tiny eggplant seedlings which sprouted for me-they will live under a homemade cloche for a few weeks to ensure that temps are warm enough for them.

DOWN TO EARTH: The glittering prizes

DOWN TO EARTH: The glittering prizes

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's time....

At around 5am I awoke and was laying there  in my warm, comfortable bed mulling over some thoughts-as you do; and it came to me! Time is our biggest issue these days.......

Think back to how many times you've heard friends and family, frazzled and complaining that they just don't have time...... time to walk the dog, time to play with the children, time to tend to the garden.

I remember a conversation I had some time ago with an aquaintance; she commented on my vegie garden, stating "Oh I wish I had the time to have a vegie garden!" When I asked her why she didn't have the time, she said "I have to work" and when I politely asked why she had to she replied: "To put food on the table and pay for the childcare!" As I smiled politely ( and perhaps a tad knowingly) I saw the look of awareness dawn upon her face!

You see, my husband and I realised very early on that my working full time was not the best for us-financially or emotionally! We created a spreadsheet and listed ALL the costs involved with my employment: travel, clothing, makeup,haircare, childcare, convenience foods etc etc. Much to our surprise, we were only $20/week better off with my working! From that day, I have only ever worked in paid employment where the children were either with me ( or able to be cared for by my husband) and have found that I have the time to do most of the things we used to pay others for! Yes, at times it has been financially difficult-and we didn't have family around to help us with babysitting etc. Yet, we have managed to bring up 3 responsible, reliable members of society and our two daughters have both been involved with sport at a high level-travelling Internationally. We have a nice home and have worked hard for what we have-managing to do it on mainly one wage.

I'm constantly bemused by those who are rushing around madly, dropping the kids off at childcare, going to the gym to work out, complaining about the price of both these things and the fact that they seem to spend their lives in the car! Think of this: if you are not spending your day behind a desk, but are at home doing the housework and gardening to provide food for your family, then you won't need a gym membership to stay in shape! If you work less hours ( or none at all) you won't have those high childcare fees-and somebody else won't be bringing up your children! You can be the parent who is assisting at the school, being involved with excursions and reading programs.

I know that there are many who would lift up their voices to shout me down-mentioning women's liberation etc etc.....and to them I say that women have actually had many choices taken away from them-what sort of a society are we that women are leaving their babies of a few weeks old in the care of others for a full day, so that the mother can go back to work???

I shall step down from my soap box now..but I'm interested in what you think.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A whiter shade of pale.

A few days ago I made up some home made laundry powder and have been using it since. I've been satisfied with the results..............until today! Today I soaked some whites in hot water mixed with 2 scoops of the laundry powder-one of the items was His Lordship's cricket shirt from last season which was stained with sunscreen around the collar area. Now, I had tried many things to get that stain out-much to my frustration! After a few hours soaking today most of the stain has disappeared 8-) !!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

DOWN TO EARTH: On my mind ...

DOWN TO EARTH: On my mind ...


I've just finished mowing around much of the block. At the front of the house we have a section of grass ( in a semi-circular shape) surrounding a beautiful gum tree. As the grass is mown there, the smell of eucalyptus melds with that of the freshly mown grass-it is pure heaven!

Up  the back of the block is the orchard, chooks and vegie beds ( fenced off to keep the hounds out!) with grass pathways-so as I mow there I am checking the growth of the trees & vegies. i throw some snails to the hens and muse that we have apricots, nectarines, apples, plums and quinces forming-not bad considering all the trees were planted last winter!

As I head back to the house, it strikes me how lucky I am.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Domestic Deeva...........

I'm quite the Domestic Deeva today! That's Deeva with two "e's"-see what I did there? My name's Dee ;) Gosh but I'm funny sometimes! :-)

I've made a massive batch of biscuit dough, split it into 4 and put 3 in the freezer. Note for young players: When adding flour to wet ingredients, do NOT turn the mixer to full speed immediately! Yep, we had a flour cloud in the kitchen! You'd think that after all these years of baking I'd be beyond making a newbies mistake...........nup, still managed it.

I've also cleaned the windows along the back of the house-a very considerate husband of mine had been mowing and edging. He managed somehow or another to get grass clippings all over the windows ( maybe a similiar situation to my efforts in the kitchen today...) .......nothing a wet broom and elbow grease couldn't fix.

I also whipped up some more laundry powder, so my tin is now full. I think there's enough there to last at least 6 months! 8-)

My other effort today was to start on some homemade Christmas decorations. I'm taking part in a "Thrifty/Frugal Living" Christmas Decoration Swap-you have to make a decoration for someone else doing the challenge and post it to them. Maximum cost is $ far I've created the following decorations:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Somebody stop me.....

I'm on a roll! After yesterday's laundry powder making session ( oh so easy!), today was the day I entered the world of soap making! I'm amazed that it takes only four ingredients ( one of which is water!) to create a household necessity!

Anyone who can cook can make soap-it follows similiar processes ( albeit with a couple of precautions due to the caustic soda)-in fact, I developed a craving for custard once my mix reached trace point!

I'll add photos after I've turned the soap out of the molds tomorrow..................imagine, me- Domestic Goddess!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cleaning up the cleaning..........

As someone with sensitive skin who also wants to spend less on the essentials, I was eager to try the recipe for home made laundry powder found on the Down To Earth site ( link: .

This morning I made my first batch of concentrated laundry powder-and it is so easy!!!! Have to love that! :-)
I mixed together:
4 cups Lux soap flakes
2cups washing (lectric) soda
2cups borax

and placed it all in a plastic container. 2 tablespoons/wash will work out very economical and will give my skin a break too!

Next project is to make some homemade soap using olive oil & copha. If the soap turns out I'm contemplating putting together some gift baskets with home made, green cleaning products for Christmas presents....

Monday, October 24, 2011


We had a thunderstorm which lasted more than an hour last night-one of the dogs and the cat were quite unimpressed; whereas I enjoyed it immensely! Apart from the fact that I had spent some time about an hour earlier hand watering the vegie seedlings!

Earlier in the day a Great Egret had landed in the back yard and I watched it for 15mins or so, feeling blessed that I had the opportunity to do so. I didn't take a photo, so have borrowed one from the net!
Great Egret | Ardea alba photo

Thursday, October 20, 2011

While my back was turned...

I got home last night from a week away with friends ( and yes, I do feel fantastic and refreshed-thankyou for asking! :-) ) and went to bed wondering how the seeds I planted last week were going.

This morning I couldn't wait to get outside and check. I'm pleased to announce that the corn has sprouted, the beans are bursting through and lettuces are springing up too! The potatoes are at the point where I will have to start hilling up some soil around them soon. Tall strong spears of asparagus were reaching for the sun ( not anymore-I picked those babies!) and the cabbages have headed beautifully.

Ah, Mother Nature-you are simply wonderful!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In the cabbage patch....

A few months back I decided to raise a few garden beds for vegies...being in a country area I found a supply of sheep manure close by and layered it with straw scattered with Seamungus pellets. After a few weeks I planyted various seedlings of cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. We have been eating cauliflower & broccoli for a little while now. Tonight I harvested a cabbage and decided to make a version of my Mum's chowmein-yummy!

Bev's Chowmein ( Dee's version)
500g mince
1 onion- sliced
celery stick-sliced.
2 minute noodles-chicken (crushed)
Curry powder to taste
pinch of chilli powder
hoisin sauce.
1 cabbage-shredded

Brown mince, celery & onion together. Add shredded cabbage, two minute noodles ( include seasoming from pack) and stir until combined. Pour in around half a cup of water and cover until noodles are cooked. Remove lid, allow most of water to dehydrate, then stir in Hoisin sauce.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mad day away from home!

I've just finished one of the longest days I've had at work in quite a while! Tired much? :D

Although not being home for more than 10 hours I still had the enjoyment of letting the hens out this morning, then collecting their eggs when I put them into the henhouse tonight! I also took one of my flatbreads filled with homemade rhubard chutney, homegrown spinach and cheese. Tasty and satisfying!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Warming the cockles....

In my ever so humble opinion there's nothing to warm the cockles of your heart more than the sense of satisfaction when a job's well done! This morning I felt the buzz of achievement as I walked through the vegie garden to let the girls out of their pen-the beds planted out yesterday were glistening with the last beads of rain from the overnight drizzle, there were a few spears of asparagus to be harvested and I cut the first cabbage head.
Then this afternoon I tried my hand at making some simple flatbreads with the assistance of our 3 yr old grandson. Angus took great pleasure in helping roll the breads out thinly; although I think he enjoyed it even more when I sprinkled a freshly cooked one with cheese, rolled it and handed it to him! He immediately went to his Dad and requested that they make them at home! :-)

 Above: The potatoes make their appearance
 Above: The teepees on the left are for beans and the drink bottles are mini cloches for tomato seedlings. On the right of the pic you can see one of the potato strips. This set up is mirrored on the other side of the block.
 Above: Raspberry beds on the left, vegies on the right.
Above: The girls doing what they do!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Plant the seed...

The husband & I have spent the afternoon in the garden ( the term loosely applied to the area out the back! ;-) )...all the grass paths in the orchard area are nicely mown due to his diligence!

I spent the time planting 2 varieties of corn, broccoli,3 types of beans, spaghetti squash, 3 varieties of pumpkins and I also threw down some more lettuce seeds. I'm kind of following a moon planting guide-and today was supposed to be good for plants producing crops above the ground..ergo the varieties above!

After planting I collected a couple of handful of snails ( which seem to congregate on the sides of our water tanks) and threw them to the hens-much to their delight! It seemed a small payback for their efforts in supplying our lunch today-frittata made with our eggs and every vegie in it was from our back yard...ah, bliss!

I really must dig out the camera and post some shots!

The potatoes are sprouting nicely. I don't bother chitting ours ( chitting is the process of letting the seed potatoes sprout from the eyes prior to planting). All the fruit trees look incredibly healthy-except for the nectarine which has leaf curl...grrrr.

Our septic dispersion lines run the length of the three apple beds and the trees look exceptional at the moment-covered in buds and the leaves are a vivid green. Let's hope we can get a few pieces of fruit this year!

Friday, October 7, 2011

On my mind......

This morning for some reason I bought the AWW- a magazine I purchase rarely! The story which caught my eye was about Rhonda Hetzel and her husband-people who has chosen a frugal way of life; people after my own heart!

There was a link to Rhonda's blog and I immediately went over for a looksee! I can see that I'll be popping in there more often! :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sweet,sweet corn...

I finally managed to get outside and do something other than mow or spray weeds today-YAY!

 Planted the first tomato seedling from the seeds I'd sprouted on our kitchen window sill. The variety is "Santorini" and came free with the Burke's Backyard magazine last month-be interesting to see how they go as they are meant to be able to survive on natural rainfall once established. I've used a 2 litre soft drink bottle as a "cloche" to give it a bit of a head start-will plant out more next week when they are a tad stronger.

I also planted 40+ sweet corn week I'll plant some pumpkin seeds to grow through the corn to keep the roots cool. American Indians used to plant what they called  the "Three Sisters"together....corn, squash and beans.......I might add some beans too and see how they all get on!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Not much to report over the past week due to being ridiculously busy at work,so gardening has consisted mainly of me planning! :-)

Tonight however, I have collected eggs and picked broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus for dinner! Each of these 3 vegetables is incredibly easy to grow, needing little attention if planted into properly prepared soil.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You say potatoes....

This afternoon the Husband & I spent the afternoon planting potatoes with two of our grandsons (aged 4 & 3). One of the joys of being grandparents in your 40's is having enough energy to deal with boisterous boys! ;) Husband dug the trenches, the boys and I laid the seed potatoes (well, they laid a couple each and then spent the rest of the time collecting grubs & worms to feed to the chooks!) and then we lightly backfilled.

We planted out Snow Gem, Ruby Lou, Bintje, Kipfler and King Edward varieties-hopefully in a few months we will have enough of a harvest to handle our potato needs for the winter! After last years Great Bobcat Debacle we are optimistic about our chances of gathering more than 5kg this year!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Over the next few days we are getting a concrete slab laid just outside our kitchen window. The slab will be 3.3m x 5.6m and will have a freestanding timber pergola built on it.

The area faces North East so receives lots of sun and will be perfect to grow grapevines-providing Summer shade and allowing the Winter Sun to shine throughthe 2.4m x 1.2m kitchen window!

When we built the house we kept in mind passive Solar principles as much as possible and by finishing this project we are providing more food (yay) in a relatively small space and also minimising our heating/cooling bills!

I can imagine sitting under the grape laiden vine on a hot Summer's day with cold beverage in hand and husband flipping the meat on the BBQ! :-) OK, so it will be a couple of years before we have grapes-but a girl needs dreams doesn't she?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the beginning.....

In the beginning there was a tree;and it was a good tree albeit a rather large variety of eucalypt. This tree caught the eye of the female of the partnership and she decreed: " I love that tree and I want to live near that tree, we must buy this block of land".

 So it came to pass that She & He bought the block of land graced by the majestic tree and made plans to build a shelter for their much loved friends and family. Behind the simple shelter they planned to grow food for themselves their loved ones; their own Utopia complete with a cornucopia provide from Mother Earth....

Of course, the story thus far hasn't really been that simple!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lemon Butter anyone?

The ingredients:
 The kitchen helper:
The process:

 The result!
The recipe makes two jars this size, I doubled it because of the ingredient quantity I had on hand. A couple of hints if anyone decides to try this recipe (which is VERY easy!)-

Take the time to remove any pips that may get into your lemon juice-we don't want to be enjoying a lathering of lemon spread and bite into a nasty pip now do we?

Ensure that you totally whisk the ingredients BEFORE you start the cooking process...this will make sure that you don't get any cooked egg white showing up in your lovely, lemon butter!

The resulting spread can be used on toast, scones as a filling for a sponge cake (on my To Do List for next week!), whipped with some cream for a pavlova or combined with cream cheese as a filling for tarts! Enjoy!

When life hands you lemons...

With today being a little on the "cool" side I am not keen to be doing a lot in the orchard/vegie garden, so I have decided to utilise some of the eggs provided by our 4 hens ( Ruby, Rusty, Roxy and the high maintainence blonde Millie!) and make some microwave lemon butter.

The MIL gave us a heap of lemons on the weekend, so this will be a yummy way of using them up! We have a Meyer lemon tree near the back of the house (close to a 6m long brick wall which creates a nice little suntrap for it), but it will be another year before we expect much fruit. I have plans of adding an orange in the same area...

The recipe I am going to try (found at

Microwave Lemon Butter.


Serves: 16
  • 250g (1 cup) white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted

Preparation method

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 6 mins
In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon rind and butter.
Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
Remove from the microwave, and pour into small sterile jars. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So we begin.....

It seems like an eon ago that the Husband and I decided that we would bite the bullet and make a tree change! Admittedly a small tree change-as we were already living on a quarter acre block in town...but after selling that house (the 3rd we had built) we initially put a deposit on a block in suburbia and planned a house to encompass our ever growing family and circle of friends.

However, we had seen these acre blocks and kept driving out to look at them. Finally, I turned to him one day and said "I want the acre. I want to be able to grow vegies and fruit for our family and have chickens and possibly a couple of lambs or pigs". The rest, as they say, is history!
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