Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Food Garden - Making some progress

On the weekend we worked some more on our first vegetable plot - added some pavers round the back, weeded, and raked in some blood & bone. We've had plenty of rain so the soil is looking great. Just now I constructed a bean/pea climbing frame (experienced gardeners: please don't laugh!).

Inside I have seeds growing in toilet paper rolls, these are broccoli and they are just starting to push up out of the soil. When they have grown enough I will plant the seedling, together with the toilet roll into the soil, and the toilet roll will decompose.

On the weekend we should enjoy our first harvest (LOL) cress and mustard!

Edited to add: I've decided to keep an online journal of my food garden adventures, where I will post more details about my vegetable growing. Please visit here if you are interested.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How cute are they?

... in their new winter clothes, courtesy of Grandma?


These little red books sit in our study, bought a few years ago from a book fair. They are a set of old-fashioned books on symphonies, composers, and musical terms. Perfectly appropriate as I teach and play piano in the study, and was looking for some red items to go with the colour scheme in the room.

And I couldn't resist photographing these Royal Gala apples in the kitchen.

Pop on over to My Secret Garden for more lovely Red things!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Impatient Gardener

My food garden is at a standstill. I am waiting for seeds to arrive by mail, and now rain is falling, quite heavily at times (absolutely bucketing down as I type)

In the meantime, I'm glad I bought some seeds for the girls to grow on the kitchen bench. Two days ago we "planted" cress on paper towel on a plastic plate, and in two days we will fill the other half of the plate with mustard seeds, so we should have mustard and cress ready together.

The weather has become quite wild outside, I'm thankful to be inside with the heater (drying the washing) and have had some delicious Apple and Cinnamon Oatcakes for morning tea.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vintage glass

A camellia in a vintage glass that belonged to my Gran. I love the pale pink paint on this glass. I don't know much about glasses like this, but maybe someone can tell me about it? I think it is the finest glass I own, I'm almost afraid to use it!

I haven't participated in Vintage-Thingie Thursday for so long, it's good to be back!

Click on the picture above to visit others' lovely vintage thingies on Thursdays.

Dropping all my bundles

Ironically, after writing last night's post, this morning just before waking I had a dream.

I was in a train, returning from the city, with the plan to get off soon and drive home from the station. I missed my stop, and in a panic jumped off at the next one. I had too many bags, boxes and parcels to get out all in one go, I stood in the doorway of the train, hoping the guard wouldn't shut the doors before I got all my belongings off the train. Finally, I had everything out on the platform - boxes of stamping supplies, bags of piano music, miscellaneous shopping ... all looking somewhat familiar to me ... then I looked at my watch. It was 3.09 and I needed to get everything back on another train, travel back one station, then drive 20 minutes in afternoon traffic to pick the girls up from school at 3.10!

At this point I was woken by Steve asking me "do the girls have any school blouses?" I shook my head and pulled the covers over me, leaving him to dig through the laundry basket and wash and dry 2 school blouses, before I eventually struggled out of bed about 10 minutes later.

I guess maybe that was a sign that I need to slow down? Today is a free day, but now I have Laura home with a sore tummy. Anyway, there's plenty I can do to calm things down around here, starting with that pile of bags, CD player etc that I discovered near my kitchen just now ...

(And, by the way, I gave up on Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It was just too weird for me. Started on Bend it like Beckham instead, a good light read.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today I am ...

... reading: One Magic Square, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Romans 1-3, Real Life magazine

... buying: 1 olive green cardigan, 1 bag cow manure, 1 bag dolomite, 1 bag blood & bone, 1 bale sugar cane mulch, 1 trolleyful of groceries

... creating: a set of cards for the workshop I am teaching on Friday night; a scarf for Laura with pink and yellow bobbles, a food garden, a CD of my piano accompaniments for my recorder group

... eating: chocolate & macadamia muffins, beef stew, sweet potato, lemon slice, choc chip cookies

... organising: piano teaching supplies, craft supplies (some to sell second-hand on Saturday), family paperwork, winter clothes

... listening: Irish music, Mozart, woes and whines, giggles, sounds of two computer keyboards clicking as Steve and I are computing in the study

... busy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Making a start in the food garden

Well here are the photos I forgot to take yesterday, the weeded vege plot, and the birdbath. I still need to weed back to the fence, and pull out some agapanthus, but my back had had enough for one day, so I stopped. I'll do more gardening after Laura's flute exam tomorrow, when my hands are not so vital (I'm accompanying her on piano, and yesterday after gardening could hardly move my swollen left hand!)

And here is my birdbath, constructed (!) from recycled bricks and a lovely garden bowl we have had on our back step for years. Although I'm not sure it's really the right shape for a birdbath, I guess I'll have to wait and see if any birds try it!. Anyway, if nothing else, it adds a bit of ... something ... to the back garden.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Productive Day

Today was a good day. A great day.

Before school I rushed around and finished tidying the house before I had a scrapbooking class here. I took the girls to school (such a beautiful morning!) then hung out the washing and got ready for the class.

The class went really well and I even got a scrapbook page done for myself. When the girls went home I felt that I had had a relaxing morning - and now had a clean house and a free afternoon - woohoo!

I had lunch and read more of the book I bought yesterday - One Magic Square by Lolo Houbein. I've been thinking of growing vegies, and particularly using the square metre gardening idea, so when I saw this book in a bookshop yesterday I couldn't resist. It's an amazing book, and particularly written about gardening in Australia, so it's perfect. What I wasn't expecting was to be blown away by the reasons to grow your own food. So many good reasons, which benefit not only your own family, but the whole nation and world over time. I hope to talk about some of them over time (as I get into food production LOL).

Feeling totally inspired I went outside in the sunshine to dig up my first vege plot. Not exactly a square metre, but almost. It took me about 45 minutes to clear out the weeds, and I cannot believe that I forgot to take an "after" photo! That will have to wait till the next instalment. While I was out there I made a bird bath. (photo also to come)

Back inside to make another quick scrapbook page (and did I mention some more reading of the magic square book plus munching on the spoils of Mothers Day?) before picking up the girls.

Afternoon tea of fruit cake (baked last night - I've been on a roll these last 24 hours, I tell you) - a new recipe and it's a little dry, but it might be better in the centre. Then bring in the washing and pick some lavender, our two varieties are blooming madly with the rest of the garden since the April rains.

Dinner of sausages with then an invented dish - polenta, eggs, cheese and a few veges thrown in, cooked in the microwave then browned in the oven. Quite yummy and it used the rest of the polenta. I cleared the pantry the other day and am hoping to use up all the half-used packets in the next few weeks. With the new-found space I am storing valuable items like tinned foods to have on hand in case of sickness, emergency, or plain old lack-of-interest in grocery shopping!

If only every day could be so productive! I'm sure the sunshine helps. Summer heat drains me but in Autumn I can do anything!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Discovered ...

... on Mothers Day: Jonquils growing (multiplying, even), in the front garden, in Autumn!

Drooping so much that I had to photograph them from below. But oh, the scent!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day

Today is Mothers Day, a day to appreciate my Mum, and a day for my family to appreciate me! Actually I find it is a day to appreciate my Mum and a day for me to appreciate my family. Not that my family haven't made me feel special, because they have.

This morning I was given
... a lovely heart necklace by Laura (from the school Mothers Day stall)
... yummy dark chocolate hazelnuts by Emily, she even made her own bag header using my stamps, so cute
... DVDs from Steve:
- Cranford
- Pleasantville
- The Ghost & Mrs Muir
- Mrs Miniver
and 5, count them, FIVE Toblerones (my favourites!)

So I am well set up to watch DVDs I will love, and eat chocolate (while wearing my new necklace)

And then at church the children all gave their mums a sweet posy of chrysanthemums (above).

Our plan was to drop in and visit my Mum (I will see her later in the week for a longer visit with more family) but Laura isn't feeling so good, she and I seem to have colds. So we came straight home from church. But this is what I'll be giving her when I see her (sshh don't tell)

A card

A chocolate "slider" - a nice way to package chocolate

and an album I've put together from our family holiday in the Blue Mountains last month. I searched high and low at the shopping centre to find something to give Mum, but didn't see anything. Then I remembered my plan to do an album. I hope she likes it. I like to make homemade gifts but I'm never sure what people will think of them.

Last night Emily made burritos for dinner, she did a great job. Today there are plenty leftover, so she and Steve are getting them ready , I can smell them now. Hmm hmm.
Lovely not to have to cook Sunday dinner. Thanks Em & Steve!

I hope you enjoy your Mothers Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cold Weather Comfort

The other night we enjoyed our first soup of the year. Sweet Potato. Yummy!

During the holidays and first week of school I did as little grocery shopping as possible and tried to survive on what we had. We had no bread for eating with the soup, so Emily and I made Cheese and Herb Scrolls. Scone dough with grated cheese and herbs rolled up inside.

I think it was the first time I've made any type of scroll and it didn't fall apart during the cutting stage! The whole family loved them. Now I'll try again with other types of scrolls, sweet and savoury.


We have been doing a lot of bushwalking since it got cooler. I have been loving it.

Last Saturday we visited a state forest and took a few short walks through different types of forest, then on Monday we went on a boardwalk through mangroves then through the bush. Grandma and Grandad were with us.

Under the boardwalks were thousands of little crabs. It was too difficult to photograph them, they moved too fast.

Aboriginal carving of a man

Look how this tree has grown over the rock.

Quite a tame walk compared to this Saturday's walk (3rd bushwalk in a week!) which was 2.5hrs, steep at points, scary crossing creeks and rocks with the girls, filled with amazing scenery, and yet was so close to home that we couldn't believe that we have been living here 14 years without doing this walk earlier. I didn't take the camera on that walk. Right near the end of that walk we spent about 10 minutes swishing through ferns, first knee-high, then getting taller and taller until they were almost above Laura's head. It was almost hypnotic and when I went to bed that night and closed my eyes I saw myself swishing, swishing ...

We are enjoying such perfect weather for walking, I'm sure we'll be doing more bushwalks soon.