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Friday, September 20, 2013

Shearing and other spring things

Fresh eggs, the warmer weather has boosted production in the chook pen.


A kind friend from a neighbouring property sent me a beautifully wrapped package of bread books.  I think it would be safe to describe some of them as vintage.  Thank you Judy.


Our first sunflower for the season growing in amongst the garlic.
   

Jodie made this delicious marmalade using her own cumquats.  I have used it to marinate a roast duck as well spreading it thickly on toast and pikelets.  I am not sure I have seen a more perfectly presented jar.  Thank you.  Jodie, you are a generous and talented country cook! 


The kids love picking wildflowers from the paddock and I love receiving their little bunches.  


Shearing time.


These two agile sheep dogs, Cucumber and Frank, get a chance to practice their skills at working sheep through the paddocks and yards.  A good sheep dog is worth his or her weight in gold at shearing time.  


How is spring looking at your place?
I hope you are enjoying some flowers and sunshine and maybe even a little shearing.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fashion not food, just for today


Today I am turning my attention away from the usual subject of food and farm life to fashion, more specifically my summer wardrobe.  With the season changing and the temperatures already starting to soar I have found myself scrutinising my clothes and attempting to assemble some outfits.  This is often easier said than done.

I am fairly small and in my mid 30s but I do not want to dress like I am 16.  Equally I don’t want to dress like I am 60, although I do know some very hip women who are in their older years!  

1.

My clothes and accessories need to stand up to outback travel, the supermarket, the preschool drop off, school activities and the odd casual lunch or coffee date with friends.   My trips to town can often involve picking up feed for chooks or horses and visits to rural suppliers for various farm bits and pieces. 


2. 

3.

In our searing summer heat I am paranoid about the sun and I rarely wear sleeveless tops or dresses.

With all of these factors to take into account I have found myself doing quite a bit of online shopping.  Apart from the obvious disadvantage of not being able to try clothes on, online shopping is incredibly convenient.  It means I am not trying to purchase clothes as I hurry between appointments, pick-ups and errands and I have more time to think about each individual piece of clothing and how suitable it will be. 

4.

Online shopping also offers far more choice.  Locally we have available the usual shops found in most shopping centres.   At the other end of the scale we have plenty of country style clothing available which is appropriate for certain occasions but is often expensive and not really my style.

5.

6.

Some of these links are to online stores that I have used recently with great results.  Others are things that I have found and bookmarked.  I thought you might like some of them too.  

1. My current go everywhere bag from Apple and Bee
2. Elk hats are my favourite, I have several
3. Crumpler bags can withstand almost anything
4. This cotton dress from Firefly looks cool and comfortable 
5. My preferred supplier for indestructable Saltwater Sandals is Fine and Sunny
6. Pretty shirts and dresses for grown up and not so grown up girls from Little Tienda


Do you like shopping for clothes?
Are you fussy?
Do you shop online?
How is your summer wardrobe shaping up? 
I am interested!

Friday, September 6, 2013

In My Kitchen, September 2013

Welcome once again to my kitchen, I just cannot believe that the season is changing once again and the months are whizzing by.

My friend Summa makes gorgeous macarons.  In our part of the world macarons are still somewhat of a speciality and certainly not something seen regularly in the local bakeries and cafes.  Love your work Summa!


My friend Paula grew these Ruby grapefruits and tasting them proved to be a turning point for me.  I have always wanted to enjoy grapefruit but just haven’t been able to.  I chopped these up and served them with natural yoghurt and loved them.  The yoghurt just helped to smooth out the sourness.  

 

Home grown thyme in one of my favourite little teapots and rocket and coriander in recycled tomato tins.  This little arrangement just made me smile.

I am always searching for new ideas for morning tea, snacks and lunches for the family.  Recently I borrowed The Thrifty Kitchen from the library and I immediately baked the apple muffins and muesli slice.  I highly recommend this book if you are looking for tasty family recipes and ideas.  As well as recipes it is full of tips on saving money, sensible food shopping, packed lunches, meal planning and minimizing food waste.


With an almost endless supply of greens in my garden this greens pie with nut pastry was a great way to use up some green leaves.  Although the crust was very crumbly and a little messy to serve it was tasty.


 Much like grapefruit, beetroot and I have only just become friends.  Since I have been growing Golden beetroot I have started to appreciate the colour and taste of this delicious underground vegetable. 



We buy Rio coffee mainly because these are the beans our local cafe uses so we can buy them locally.  The packaging recently changed on these particular beans and I love it.  I am easily enticed by pretty packaging!



What are you cooking at the moment? 
Are you enticed by clever packaging?

Celia is the host of this fun kitchen tour, please visit her kitchen and join in the fun! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vegetable garden tour

Spring has certainly sprung in the garden.   My winter vegetables are rapidly finishing and I am cleaning up and making room for the spring and summer vegetables.   My spring seeds are starting to emerge in their tiny biodegradable pots.  

new asparagus

I suspect tomatoes are something every gardener wants to grow successfully.  Previously I have had seasons of tomato abundance as well as seasons that have been quite disappointing.  It is that time of the year again and this season I am spreading my risk by raising heirloom seeds as well as planting out store bought seedlings.  The seedlings have been planted quite deeply with only the tops of the leaves poking through the soil.  I have read that this technique makes the plant stronger and helps to develop more roots. 

The gardening engineer has also developed a clever combined trellis and shade structure to protect the crop from our fierce summer heat.  Thanks Terry.  The mystery and challenge of the perfect tomato crop continues!

freesia

In our patch we have dedicated a whole bed to flowers.  This is partly to keep the bees happy and partly just for fun.  We are enjoying daffodils, freesias and borage as we wait for sunflowers, cosmos and black cumin. 

Planting
Capsicum
Grapevines
Kale
Passionfruit
Rockmelon
Snake Beans
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Zucchini

Harvesting
Beetroot
Broccoli
Carrots
Cauliflower
Coriander
Kale
Lettuce
Mint
Rocket
Silverbeet
Snow Peas
Wongbok

Watching
Fruit trees developing beautiful blossom.
New asparagus spears poking through the soil.
The bees getting very busy in the broccoli flowers.
  
Ongoing tasks
Mulching with recycled hay from our stock yards.
All vegetables are receiving a fortnightly dose of liquid seaweed solution.

a serious load of mulch

Kipfler potatoes
grapevine cuttings
broccoli bits after picking the main head

Liz from Strayed from the Table hosts this little garden tour.  Please visit her garden and the other gardens on her blog for some spring inspiration.

What are you up to in your patch at the moment?