Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feathered friends.....

Part of my aim is to build up a flock of old variety hens. We did purchase 3 Isa Browns ( Ruby, Roxy & Rusty) last year for their egg laying ability and they haven't disappointed! We also have a Buff laced Wyandotte ( Millie) and today I have purchased 3 Gold Leg Bar pullets ( Lexie, Lucy & Lucky). They should start laying just as the 3 Isa Brown girls go into moult.

Bringing them home caused much excitement-for the cat as I carried them through the house in the carry cage, then for the dogs as I continued through the backyard...and finally for the four resident hens!

Ruby in particular ( she considers herself Head of the Henhouse) was VERY vocal-even to the extent of coming over to stand at my feet, looking up at me with much chagrin ( well, as much as a hen can muster!) and squawking rapidly at me! I sort of interpreted it as : "WHAT have you done? You have brought strangers into our midst! We've had a perfectly good setup here and there was no need for you to go making any unauthorised changes- I mean, what? Aren't we good enough anymore?"

I think you get the idea!

She then strutted over to Lexie ( who is 17 weeks old, the other two are 12 weeks) and started squawking directly into HER face. Lexie cocked her head, listened and appeared to say: " Meh, you seem to have an issue my dear. I however, am a tad peckish. Excuse me whilst I scratch and peck."

Which she happily proceeded to do-leaving Ruby quite confused! Ruby then strutted back over to the other 2 Isa's to tell them how she had given the newcomers "what for"! :)

Perusing the bedroom

Hmmm...what do I have here?

Lexie (middle) meets the welcoming committee.

Ladies- I don't think I like your tone!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Thrift..........

I've decided to start a regular post: Thursday Thrift. Now the idea is that a thrifty idea will be shared on a Thursday ( See how the name evolved? Deepthinker I am! ;) ) With a semi self- sufficient lifestyle, all ideas/actions & activities which minimise spending our hard earned cash become of great interest!  Feel free to email me your ideas or leave a comment below!

My first Thursday Thrift post is about an item which has become indispensible in my kitchen.  A relatively small object, it's original purpose has NOTHING to do with culinary activities whatsoever! This little piece of plastic transformed itself one day when I had a particularly difficult pot to scrub-despite much soaking the *ahem* slightly brown ( OK- burnt to a cinder!) food residue on the base was refusing to budge! I was contemplating the cost of replacing said pan.....

I cast my desperate gaze around the kitchen and my eye fell upon a foreign object-would it? Could it? I contemplated it momentarily before deciding Meh! I had nothing to lose!

With little hope I started to scrape and scratch at the *ahem* slightly brown ( Ok,OK-burnt to a cinder!) residue-when to my amazement my new implement started to remove it all!

With my pan restored to it's former shining glory I cradled my new found friend and placed it with reference in the second drawer.

I give you.....................a wax comb! Yep, my daughter's wax comb from her surf board had been left on the bench (grrrr...) and has now be commadeered into my kitchen parphenalia! These little beauties cost but a few dollars at a surf shop ( and can also be purchased online), have a curved end ( handy for scraping around the pan), a tapered side ( perfect for scraping off * ahem* slightly brown food residue!) and two sizes of comb ( which really scratch off anything attached to the pans!)-to say nothing of the fact that they come in many colours and can therefore be colour matched to your kitchen scheme ( if that sort of thing is important to you!).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday's Work.....

Much has happened since my post last week-it has been a time full of love & laughter for my family with our second child and eldest daughter marrying her long time partner!

They are expecting their first child in a few weeks, became engaged on Christmas Day and decided to surprise their family and friends with a Wedding! We only found out a couple of weeks ago-after they had planned and booked everything!

Much to our pride, they decided to keep the whole day intimate and on a budget, with the groom and his attendants wearing clothes they already owned-whereas the bride purchased her gown at a clearance centre! Smart couple!

Normally on Wednesday's I have the day off (although I do have to go into work for a few hours this afternoon)-so it becomes a day where I plan to complete chores or anything necessary for the running of the home.

On today's list were the following:

* Cook dogfood
* Make laundry powder
* Wash clothes, towels & linen
* Harvest whatever is ripe
* Make soap
* Prepare homemade sourdough pizza base for dinner

As I type this post at 10-30am local time, all of the above bar the soapmaking is completed. Before I started the day I mentally ran through how I could most efficiently use my time.

First I sorted the laundry and put a load of washing on.

Then I made the laundry powder ( using my food processor to whizz it all).

Hung out 1st load of washing and put 2nd load on.

Put dog mince in stockpot, with pasta,covered with water and set to simmer.

Then shredded vegies & garlic for dog food in cleaned food processor and added to stockpot.

Removed sourdough starter from fridge.

Hung out 2nd load of washing and put 3rd on.

Took scraps up to chooks and harvested apples, corn, tomatoes and zucchinis.

Hung out 3rd load of washing.

Prepared harvested vegies for storage.

Turned dogfood off.

Added flour etc to sourdough to make pizza base and set it to rise.

Washed dishes and cleaned benchtops.

I will still have to soap to make & dogfood to store once it has cooled, but in around 2 hrs I completed all the above tasks-which leaves me enough time to sit with a cuppa and computer! :)

Tonight when I get home from work I will put the pizza in the oven whilst I bring the washing in and the day's work will be done!

As I was working in the kitchen I decided to take some photos of a "working kitchen"-because the reality is that preparing food etc is a messy business!

I think many people are actually put off by the aesthetics of messing up their kitchen these days- we build beautiful homes and all the magazine shots show pristine, clean kitchens! Mine can look like that too.....but not when I'm using it!

Below: Work in progress!

To finish today's post I woud like to share a photo of the happy couple!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Musical madness....

Tired. Grumpy.

Somewhere in our little hamlet last night some selfish tosser decided to share their bass heavy music. Until 1.30am. On a Tuesday night.

Not happy Jan.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A day to dally....

Today finds me with a day to do as I like-I have had a long week at work, putting in more hours than I normally do and really needed today at home...well, at least half of it!

We are having various family members staying over this weekend-my brother; our son, his partner and their 3 boys plus our youngest and her partner will be here as well! So a quick trip to the supermarket saw me nab a couple of fresh chickens marked down to half price ( they had to be cooked by tomorrow) and they have been roasted-together with fresh vegetables from the garden everyone will be fed! I've now got the carcasses in the slowcooker to make stock for soup which will be made later in the week.

I've also freshened up some sourdough starter-I'll make the dough tonight, leave it overnight to raise then bake in the morning when I make the scones for cricket.

Yesterday I tried a garlic braid for the first time-I kept it small as I had already prepared most of the harvest for storage in a lined basket I have. Next year I think I will braid more!

At the moment my kitchen bench has citrus cleaner brewing ( thanks to Nellymary for the "recipe" ) and tomatoes ripening-the kitchen window faces North-East, so is a lovely spot to catch the sun and in the winter brings warmth into the house. The window looks out over the backyard towards the orchard and is one of my favourite places in the house!

There are moments when you know exactly WHY you have made the choices you have-and this photo is one of them! Grandsons devouring freshly harvested sweetcorn...fresh from our own garden!

I guess the whole point I'm trying to make in my roundabout way today is that no matter how much or how little time you have each day, there is ALWAYS an opportunity to do something ( no matter how small it seems) around your home which will nurture yourself and those around you!

Monday, February 6, 2012

She who maketh mistakes....

I was making a batch of homemade yoghurt this morning, thinking about someone asking me recently if there was "anything you can't make?" and my reply-which was that yes, there is much I don't know how to do but I'll go out and learn how if I want to! Recently I have learned how to do the following for myself after finding information online:

* Make soap
*Make laundry detergent
*Make sourdough bread, cakes and pancakes
*Make yoghurt in my Thermos
*Make my own citrus cleaner

That whole process of mentally musing made me ponder why many people DON"T try new things...and I think that it just could be through fear! In our consumer driven society all advertising is centred around perfection and the atainment thereof...our human frailties are focused upon, our imperfections are highlighted and the products advertised are always presented as perfect!

Reality has blemishes- as does some of the produce coming out of our backyard! When you learn a new skill, chances are the finished product will NOT be picture perfect-it will most likely be totally adequate and will come with a sense of achievment; but will show the handcrafted nature of your work!

She who maketh mistakes will be learning so much!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sufficiently SMART.....

It came to me this morning when I was tending the chickens before harvesting the nectarines for the day that the way His Lordship & I try to live can be summed up as S M A R T !

S ustainable
M indful
A ctive
R esourceful
T asty & teachable!

We are what would be considered a conserative, mainstream middle-aged couple; yet we have always been very aware of the attributes I've listed above and tried to apply them to our life together.

What about you? Do you live SMART?
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