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!
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