Sunday, October 20, 2013

Farm life lately

A well worn desk, a wire bird cage and a horse biscuit cutter, all picked up at a local clearing sale for a few dollars.

Horse related activities including Pony Club and an outback gymkhana have taken up a lot of our spare time in the last few weeks.  I think we are becoming a horsey family, who knew? 

Ice-cream on the verandah for two tired, grubby kids who had spent the afternoon helping to truck feral goats.  Growing up on a farm really is a wonderful thing.  Everyday our children are learning so much, including a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility. 

I collected this tangle of rusty wire in the creek near our house.  With just a little tweaking I plan to transform it into a bird nest inspired piece of garden art.  Can you see it too? 

Thanks to Jodie's suggestion I blitzed a piece of elderly sourdough with some fresh sage leaves to make these chunky, fragrant breadcrumbs and later used them to crumb fish fillets.  I need to get more creative with my sage plant, this was a good place to start.

How is your weekend progressing?
Are you riding horses or cooking or eating ice-cream?

Jane x

Friday, October 11, 2013

Our beach shack, for a week

The morning we left for King Island started well before sunrise.  After two flights with our two young first time air travellers we had finally arrived at our holiday destination.  The first thing that struck me when we walked into our rented shack was just how warm it was.  We quickly discovered the fire had been lit prior to our arrival.  This was a magic touch.

We spent seven nights on the island and for this amount of time I wanted accommodation with enough space for everyone in close proximity to the beach.  I had secretly hoped it also had plenty of character as I had deliberately avoided booking generic cabin or motel style accommodation. 

I have always been fascinated by beach shacks and I couldn't help taking photos as the morning and afternoon light moved through the rooms. 

Located on the more protected, eastern side of the island the Naracoopa Beach Shack ticked all of the boxes for me.  It was warm and cosy with just enough room for a family of four.  With the beach literally just across the road and the jetty within walking distance, everyone was happy.  The fishing rods, buckets, bikes, surfboard and books added to the fun.  I especially enjoyed getting reacquainted with Enid Blyton and the Secret Seven!

Are you lucky enough to own a shack?

Do you love the idea of having a shack?

Do you love the big, flash, modern beach house or the old style shack?  It is the old style for me all the way!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Vegetable garden tour

Lately my garden has been in survival mode as we spent the last part of September away on holidays.  Before leaving I planted out all of my tiny seedlings, soaked the soil where possible, soaked my pots and left one request for the person taking care of our property…please turn the irrigation on once a day and occasionally water the pots.  When we arrived home I raced around the garden before I had even stepped inside the house.  Is this normal behavior I wonder?   Much to my relief everything was in good shape.

carrots and celery

We have received a few weeks of warm, windy weather and the garden has survived these conditions fairly well thanks to extra mulch, plenty of water and the addition of shade cloth over some beds. 

I am excited to see my first tomatoes starting to set fruit.  The first plant to set fruit is one that popped of voluntarily at the end of winter.   I find I can put all the effort in the world into certain plants, yet the self-sown vegetables are often the strongest.  Have you found this?

This is the first time I have sown seed in these Jiffy pellets.  Have other gardeners had success with these?  So far they are staying much damper than the seed raising mix that I normally use. 

the first crop of young apricots



My two quince trees which are absolutely covered in tiny fruit.
My apricot tree setting its first ever little crop. 
For snakes!

Ongoing tasks
Mulching with straw.
Cleaning irrigation filters and drippers.
All vegetables are receiving a fortnightly dose of liquid seaweed fertiliser.

a tiny rockmelon under an old washing basket to protect it from clumsy feet

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

Are you sowing or harvesting or busily preparing your garden for the summer heat?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our island adventure

One of my first impressions of King Island happened at the supermarket, shortly after our arrival.  The friendly staff packed our holiday supplies into cardboard boxes and then proceeded to carry them to our car, all with a smile and no questions asked.  Straight away I got the feeling we were going to enjoy our stay.

As our week unfolded we discovered thundering waves, shipwrecks, endless deserted beaches and a warm, honest country community. 

The exploring opportunities around the coastline are almost endless and it is possible to spend hours on the spotless beaches and bush tracks and not see another person or vehicle.  

At night we cooked simple family meals in our rented shack* and warmed ourselves by the fire while the waves of Bass Strait pounded against the coastline just metres from our front door. 

The websites promised great shell collecting and we were not disappointed.  Some of the most beautiful pieces were spotted on the beach right in front of our shack.  

Honesty boxes are used widely on the island for everything from roadside egg stalls to accessing the spectacular golf course, after hours.  In the main street of Currie I quickly spotted a charming unattended art gallery brimming with bright art work, shells and fresh flowers while the soothing sounds of ABC Classic FM floated through the air.  Visitors are simply asked to pay on an honesty system.

We blew out 7 candles on a special holiday birthday cake at The Boathouse.  This delightful little place is an unattended BYO restaurant complete with Classic FM, tablecloths, wine glasses, cutlery, crockery, fresh flowers and water views.  Visitors are simply asked to clean up after themselves and make a donation.  This concept may not work on the mainland but it seems to work perfectly on King Island. 

As a family we enjoyed this quiet holiday minus the usual commercial tourist attractions and conveniences.  Calling in to the bakery, butcher and other small shops was a pleasure when we needed extra supplies.  Cheese tasting and plenty of fishing opportunities added to our island experience. 

If nightclubs, shopping malls, theme parks and fast food restaurants are part of your holiday requirements King Island will not be for you.  I get the feeling these things are just not required by the locals, they would rather be chatting to their neighbours, creating artwork, fishing or tending to their farms and businesses. 

Have you visited King Island?
I have become intrigued by island life.  

* The classic beach shack that became our home for a week deserves a separate post, stay tuned.