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
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