Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quiet Times

Thursday 25th October 2012

Things have been reasonably quiet here of late.  Apart from Emily and Dave visiting us the past weekend - that is never quiet, but always lovely to see them.

I haven't even spent much time in the garden.  Yesterday I did pull out the last of the beetroot and that will be preserved today.  Also the spinach had gone to seed so I removed that.  Later today I plan on getting in the garden and digging these areas over, and hopefully transplanting my Rosellas so they have more room to grow.

The tomato vine is still continuing to produce along with the sweat peas.  They have a wonderful smell and I love seeing them in the house.

I have planted some zucchini in the garden along the drive and in spite of the lack of rain the plants down there are doing really well.  I do have far too many pumpkins and will have to cull some of those before they get too big.

We have stray chicken at the moment and it loves to scratch around in my garden.  I have tried catching it but it is too fast for me.  Hopefully it won't cause too much damage to my plants.

I have some Queen Anne's Lace that keeps reseeding every year.  I love the bright white flowers and the fact that it is just there every year.

The rocket is doing well and I have even picked the small leaves for a couple of meals now.  This should be good once it really gets going and hopefully save me from having to buy as much lettuce.  The slugs keep eating my lettuce :(

We have even had a couple of cucumbers.  Judging by the flowers there will be a few more to come, which would be great as I would love to have enough to make bread and butter cucumbers and relish.

Ron and I spent a day last week having a big clean up around the place.  We took half a car load to the charity shop, gave a dinner setting to Emily, and a couple of trips to the local tip which has a trash and treasure shop.  It feels really good to have things cleaned up.

Everything is as it should be!  I hope it is the same for you!

Take care

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Wonders

Monday 15th October 2012

We had an amazingly busy weekend here!  It all started when I purchased an old cupboard from a friend during the week.
There was nothing wrong with the cabinet as my friend had already shabbied it up nicely.  It was just a little too yellow for my house, I'm more of a white girl even though yellow is my favourite colour.

After a lovely cup of tea on the front steps, in the sunshine with Ron and the dog................

 and admiring the flowers out at the moment........

We went off the the hardware Saturday morning and bought some necessary goodies - plants, fertilizer.....oh and paint stripper.  I had already tried sanding off the paint with the intentions of having it back to the timber finish.

Note all of the sanding dust in the above photo!!  The previous finish was doing nothing much but clogging up the sandpaper so I thought paint stripper would do the trick!  This also had little effect.  By this time I was starting to regret touching it at all, but decided to try painting it white.  This turned out to be right solution and I absolutely love it now!
It has pride of place in our dining room and I will change out the items on top of it frequently.  I have placed most of my patchwork quilts in it to keep them safe.
As I said, yellow is my favourite colour so I decided to keep this on the inside.  Such lovely colours when I open it up.

Ron helped me clean up the mess I had made in the garage and then after washing my car, which was also covered in dust, we checked our phone messages to find one from so dear friends of ours that are moving at then end of the year to 12 hours drive away.  They wanted us to join them for a quiet night, so we bought some chickens and chips on the way. 

I also got a message from Bec that afternoon asking if we would like to meet them for a BBQ breakfast in the morning, so we packed up the picnic gear and headed off to the beach to have bacon and eggs cooked on the BBQ.  The weather was absolutely lovely and the company even better!

Bec and her fiance, Rana.
Of course the dog had to come also as this is one of the few beaches that you can let your dog run on the beach without a lead.

 The only problem was that the tide was in and there wasn't any beach.  This was just too much for Cindy (dog) and she insisted on walking on the waters edge.  This wasn't an easy task as Ron had to walk on the footpath while the dog scampered along the waters edge below.
This lead to HEAPS of laughter from us all and some very curious looks from other people.  One woman even walked up behind Ron to see why he was walking the way he was!  This just caused Bec, Rana and I to laugh even harder!

What a wonderful way to spend the morning.

When we got back home, it was the general washing, tidying up and later in the afternoon I had to bake.  Ron was completely out of goodies to put in his lunchbox, so I made peanut butter and choc chip biscuits, lemon cake, muesli bars, bread and some mini lemon meringues.  I also put a rolled pork in the oven to have as a roast for dinner and this would then give me cold meat for sandwiches for the week.

I hope everyone else had as good a weekend as we did!

Take care

Monday, October 8, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Tuesday 9th October 2012

I have been absent lately from my blog as Ron and I took a few days off and went bush in the caravan.  He has been very stressed at work lately and needed a break, so we headed out to Emily's for a night before driving for what should have been only a few hours to arrive at our next destination.  Ron hates to stay on the more traveled (sealed) roads so we took a "short cut" (dirt road) of 40 kilometers off the beaten trap, but it really turned into a two hour trip as we got well and truly lost for over an hour.  Never mind, all in the spirit of adventure.  We did eventually at our destination of Leyburn and stayed for the night in a free camp!
The next morning we set off to meet some friends in northern New South Wales and spend a few days with them camping on a cane property.  Ticks can be a real problem on the east coast and even though I had bought our little dog a tick collar I discovered three ticks on her while we were away, so the only solution was to give her a haircut enabling me to check her more easily.  All we had on hand to trim her with was a pair of blunt scissors, but it was either her having a bad haircut or maybe getting sick.  The haircut won in the end and she didn't even mind.  I think she prefers having short hair in the summer so I am thinking I might keep it this way - but I will buy some clippers!

We came home on the Tuesday and I spent that afternoon and most of Wednesday washing, ironing and sorting.  We had plenty of it!  Wednesday was also Ron's birthday so we celebrated by having a lovely roast lamb dinner with Bec and Rana. 

Wednesday, however was a stressful day for Ron (work problems), so when I mentioned to him on Thursday that we should be up the beach fishing he made the decision to pack the van again and head back down to visit our friends - AGAIN!  We spent another three nights with them and arrived home again on Sunday.  This time we plan on being home a bit longer.  All in all it was good for Ron has he had a decent break and feels refreshed.

In between coming home and going again, I did manage to spend some time in the garden.  The seeds I had planted the week before had popped up!  This was thanks to the rain we had while away.

This is tiny rocket - the plants are more than twice this size now.

I have also had some plants come up where I have dug in some vegetable scraps.  I'm not entirely sure as to what these are, I am thinking pumpkin.
The weather has well and truly warmed up now so my English spinach is starting to go to seed.  I did pick some this morning and have plans of turning some of it into a pear and spinach salad for dinner tonight.

Spinach - the blue lines is string we have put up to keep our 16 year old dog off the garden.

Here is a colander full of spinach picked this morning along with a handful of strawberries and some tomatoes.

The Pakchoy is also going to seed so we will have to start eating that soon also.  I did take some to a friends yesterday for her family.
The tomato vine is STILL growing.  It must be getting close to 3 meters high now.  Some of the tomatoes have started to ripen so we have been enjoying the lovely summer flavour of those.  I love tomato that has ripened on the vine.  The shop bought tomatoes just don't have the same flavour.

The single chard plant that I have is still continuing to produce leaves.  I love this plant as it is so versatile.  You can have it cooked in a flan, like we did the other night, in salads, steamed, fried with some onion or even on a sandwich instead of lettuce.  I have planted some more seeds for chard but they are a long time growing so I might have to relent and buy some seedlings.

The flan we had was made with some yummy home made short pastry, then filled with the chard fried with some onion and then some sour cream and eggs poured over and then topped with some grated cheese.  I am having the last little piece for my lunch today along with some homemade yogurt and the handful of strawberries!  YUMMY!!!!!

The few flowers I have growing are all looking lovely too.  As a child I remember my mother having the entire end of a patio growing with sweat peas and I can always remember the smell of those, so this year I thought I would plant some myself.  I was hoping to share them with my mother as they are one of her favourite flowers, but she is away at the moment.  I was able to share some with a dear friend who was having a bad day yesterday.

I also have childhood memories of the paper daisies (everlasting daisy) that used to grow wild around our house so I bought some of those the same day I bought the sweet peas.  I must have been very nostalgic that day!

I love the bright sunny faces of these flowers!  And they dry really well so you can have them around for awhile.

Along with picking the spinach, tomatoes and strawberries this morning I picked some more of my beetroot.  There isn't too much of it left in the garden now so I think I will most likely pick the remainder in the next couple of weeks and make pickled baby beets.  I will also have to pickle the bunch I collected this morning.

It amazes me that even though our garden is teeny tiny I am still able to put some home grown produce on the table most nights.  As I have mentioned before there would be no way possible for us to be anywhere near self sufficient for vegetables but the thrill I get out of growing as much as I can overwhelms that disappointment.  Here's to more planting  ;-)

Take care