Monday, July 29, 2013

Pictures, Progress and Planning...........


A few random photos from around the place this morning....

Water kefir & citrus cleaner brewing on the bench

Our first crop from this Meyer lemon tree

Sir Bebe le Pew keeping an eye on the Bringer of the Bucket

Roxie-our 3 year old Isa Brown


I feel warm just looking at this pile
We have been having rainy periods interspersed with sunshine-perfect for the garden! In here you will see 3 varieties of cabbage, kale, pak choy, rocket, mixed lettuce and peas. In the background you can just see the broad bean plants.
Vegie garden coming along nicely

Another view
The rear of our home faces North East-which is fantastic for passive solar principles in the Southern Hemisphere ( the opposite applies for those readers in the Northern Hemisphere!) and is why we chose this block & this house plan.
From day 1 a timber pergola has been planned for the area outside my husband's study window-it is a large window and the winter sun that streams through helps warm the living room which is just behind the study.
The concrete pad has been in position for nearly two years now...and we have finally saved up enough to buy the timber! I'm hoping to have it up by Spring...and will be growing a grape vine over the top.
As the grape vine is deciduous it will shade the study window during the warmer months and give us a lovely area to sit and enjoy our BBQ's; then in the winter the sun will be able to do it's job of helping warm our house....and of course fingers crossed we will have grapes to eat as well!
The concrete pad waiting for the pergola to provide summer shade 7 winter sun...has been here for two years.

Showing the site of the planned pergola in respect to the house. The covered are you can see in the background will eventually be enclosed as a year round family room-it comes straight off our kitchen dining area.

No idea why blogger has turned this plan! The red lines are where the beams will be-a grape vine will be grown over the top of the structure.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Heart in my hands.....

This is not the post I had intended today-it has come about from a discussion held over at the Down To Earth Forum.

One of the members there asked...."will you hold out one of your down to earth hands...?" and I wrote this in response:

Oh yes...I know those hands...chipped nails, scarred skin and all. The same hands that have grubbed in the soil, kneaded bread ,wiped tears and stroked little heads.

Those hands tell the story of your life and I always smile when I see another set like mine. Those hands are seldom empty and always available to take those of another in need.

My mother has hands like mine-and each day I'm proud to see more and more of her in myself.

These photos are of my left hand ( I'm right handed and taking a photo was a *little* tricky!).... I don't wear my wedding or engagement rings-haven't done since 2004 when I started training in the ocean for an English Channel Relay swim ( I was terrified of losing them). I don't need obvious accoutrements to know that I am married and committed to that marriage............and hasn't the choice to not wear my rings caused quite some conversations over the years!

 These hands have scars and sunspots-the veins are becoming obvious as my skin begins to thin with age. They are the hands of a proudly middle-aged woman...because hello people 45 IS middle aged!

I have some arthritis in a couple of fingers-the same ones which were broken and dislocated playing sport ( I gave up netball two years ago due to my neck issues)...unusually my hands & nails are clean-because at this point I'm still not able to a few weeks there will soil under my nails again!

What story do your hands tell about you?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Piece of pie....

I'm not the type of person who copes well with being housebound....actually, being housebound is OK-it's being housebound on restricted activity that sucks!I am NOT sulking around at all. 

I've been wandering the yard, assessing and planning-yet not able to turn a single sod. Patience Dee, patience!

I am able to cook though-and after a slowcooker beef and vegetable casserole the other night had enough leftovers to put together a family sized pie-which should do His Lordship & I for two or three meals ( depends on how much he scoffs at each sitting!). Plus I made enough pastry for another pie-which can stay in the fridge for a few days. :)

Fats rubbed into flour

Dough ball-notice the largish smears of fat.

Dough ball divided into 4 and placed in fridge

Rolling out the base-see the fats?

Rolling onto the dish

Ease into dish to fit

Fill with COLD filling

Roll out another disk, top pie and crimp edges together. Pierce top with fork a few times to allow steam to escape

Finished pie with flaky, crisp pastry.

Pastry recipe:

4 cups Plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup lard (cold)

3/4 cup butter (cold)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup very cold water

Add flour, butter, lard,  and salt to a large bowl.

Mix flour, butter & lard with a pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water. Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened. Knead lightly to mix in all the flour then shape it into a great, big, wonderful ball of pastry dough. (Don’t overhandle.)

Divide evenly into 4 pieces, flatten slightly ( makes the disk easy to roll) and place covered in fridge until ready to use.

Fill as above and cook in preheated 170c oven for 45-60mins.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Alive & thriving..

...sort of.

My surgery took twice as long as expected but was successful in the end-phew!

My recovery is going well and I left hospital yesterday and endured the 3.5 hour drive home. I get weary easily at the moment and am on restricted movement for another 5 weeks..... boredom central awaits! :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


This time next week I will be heading to Melbourne for spinal surgery-so I'm aiming to have myself as organised as possible! I have no idea when I will be able to blog again....

To prepare for the 6 or so weeks that I will be out of action, I've managed to complete a few jobs thus far; such as:

* Roses pruned ( I am NOT trusting my non-gardening husband with that!)

* Animal food bought & stored

* House thoroughly cleaned ( I am NOT trusting my non-cleaning husband with that...this way he can do just the basics!)

* Hair cut...because I most definitely am NOT trusting my non-hairdresser husband to care for my previously below shoulder length hair! Maybe I should have contacted the ex Prime Minister and enquired whether she could spare Tim for a few weeks? Oh well...the short wash & wear style I'm now sporting will do for a couple of months.

I have been gifted some Water Kefir grains from a friend-and tonight we sampled our first " brew"...His Lordship approved! It was reminiscent of a cider...mmmm.

Last Saturday night I served up a couple of curries- Chicken & Spinach Balti and a Red Lentil & Potato Curry. Now these delicious dinners have provided a few meals since ( sorry...too busy scoffing to think about photos!) and tonight I used the last of the Red Lentil & Potato to make 8 "burgers"-we had 4 of them for dinner.
His Lordship's Open "Burger" ( yes..that is bought sauce on the top-don't judge me...he has a bad back at the moment,so is being indulged somewhat!):
My version-no toast or egg, but with some homemade chutney:
Red Lentil & Potato " Burgers" Recipe:
4 cups leftover Red Lentil & Potato curry
1.5 cups rolled oats
1/2-1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs ( I used sourdough)
1 egg.
Mix all together by hand-adding enough breadcrumbs to be able to form a moistened patty.
Form patties, place on plate and put in fridge to rest ( uncovered) until ready to cook.
Preheat pan, lightly oil and cook each patty for approx. 3 minutes each side or until brown.
The resident superintendent was somewhat underwhelmed......
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...