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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Stone and Wood


I loved your comments and sharing on the last post, thank you so much for engaging.
Once upon a time, the aim of this blog was to serve as a bit of an instructional/conversational for my children (and anyone else coming along) but I have come to appreciate it's value as a pictorial journal for myself. It helps to remind me, jog my memory and store great inspirations, so bare with me as I upload these photos from our farm visit in January. It is perched high atop a mountain and has views to the east coast beaches of Tasmania (see above beyond the random limb-wood fence of the herb garden)


So here-in follows some aspects of the garden that I particularly loved. Like the layers of planting using colour and texture. Above are trimmed Macrocarpa trees, their cut limbs stacked providing a natural fence line, some have even been encompassed by the growing trees. Natural, architecturally interesting and providing much needed wind breaks.


Gorgeous colour combinations and leaf styles - long strappy with smoky ethereal silvers. Art pieces throughout the garden in bold sizes complimenting the planting groups.


I was particularly taken with the stone work and walling around the garden...


The incorporation of iron implements and articles...
like this bed head.


Wagon wheel hoops and tools. Rusted and blending with the natural stone colours.


Gates and gravel. Most of the garden is done on a very low budget and with mostly recycled materials.


Spectacular cloud pruning of a box planted mid 1800!


More cloud pruning.


Room upon room created with curving shrubbery, serving also to slow the wind that must race across and buffet the mountain top.


is a working organic farm and has accommodation and participates in the WOOFing scheme.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tragic Nostalgic or Hoarder?


Kitchen utensils made by three different generations. The small rolling pin was my mother's made by one of her cousins, the middle spatula was made by my brother and the newest (2002) was made by my daughter. I bet you have lovely versions too in your kitchen. 


A cake tin made by my brother at school. I know Nan used it, then it found it's way into mum's cupboard and now it is used in my own kitchen. His name and class is scratched into the back and I get a special feeling every time I wash it up.


Particularly good for making Sesame Seed Squares or Pumpkin Fruit Cake from my grandmother's recipe book.


A crocheted bedspread made by my grandmother for me when I was 13 years old. Still used and useful and treasured. I was taught to crochet at six and I know exactly what goes into making this cover. It has an incredible amount of weight in it and I was shown how to manoeuvre it carefully so it wasn't stretched or the seams strained. Will the next generation appreciate it?


A little tatty but precious nonetheless this panel of lace from my mother's wedding dress. 
My nest is so engulfed with nostalgic possessions though that I wonder if I am about to tip the scales towards hoarding. As my mother declutters and downsizes and childhood memories found in odd teacups and dad's swimming prizes  make their way towards op shop piles I can't bare to let them go. I feel compelled to rescue and store as the "keeper of the memories". My brothers don't want silver cake forks but their children just might. Does this happen to you? Are you trapped by
"nostalgic materialism"? Is there a word for it? One things for sure, they'll be some "stuff" for the next generation to deal with. I only hope I won't be called upon to downsize before I go. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Quinoa and Black Bean Bake


It's not a great "foodie shot" so please take my word for it, this is delicious and if you are a bit stumped about what to do with quinoa (kee-NOO-ah) here is a good recipe to try. (If you are looking for a good dried bean recipe...also a good one to try!)

I had to buy the qunoa, capsicum, spice and cheese but even so this costed out for us at about $4.25 and would feed 4-6 people.

Quinoa is high in protein and contains iron, calcium and phospherous, B vitamins and vitamin E. 


Quinoa and Black Bean Bake

3/4 cup of white quinoa
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 med carrots chopped
1/2 a red capsicum chopped
approx 400g of prepared black beans*
approx 600g of chopped canned tomatoes
1 cup of water
generous seasoning of salt and pepper
1/2 teas cayenne pepper
1 tabs of smoked paprika
a handful of chopped parsley
grated cheese for the top

Wash the quinoa well to remove saponins and then soak in a bowl well covered with cold water overnight if possible. 
Place the quinoa in a saucepan with about twice the amount of water and chopped carrots. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer till the quinoa is translucent and looks like it has little sprout tails and the carrot is tender.
In a baking dish, combine all the ingredients except the cheese.
Bake in a moderate oven covered for about 30 mins then remove the cover and top with grated cheese. Cook till melted and golden.

*By "prepared black beans, I mean dried beans soaked overnight and rinsed and cooked till tender or use canned or tinned beans. 
I grow and can my own using a pressure canner.




Monday, June 12, 2017

Show Time!


We've often driven to the Campbell Town Show in years past. It's full of sheep and ALL about sheep for one thing. It's also the longest continuously running agricultural show in the southern hemisphere (established in 1838). As a member of the community now, I thought it would be nice to contribute to the showcase of what folks are doing. That's my pickled jalapenos up there with the blue ribbon wrap.


I've never entered a show before and there are quite a few rules and important cut off times. Make sure you study the schedule and plan ahead, get your written entries in before the due date and read carefully what you need to do for compliance. One of our big carrots won the biggest vegetable competition! Huge surprise Even if you don't think you have a winner, enter anyway, it's about coming together as a community and presenting a display of skills and interests reflecting a busy and enterprising district. 


We also entered the fruit and vegetable basket section. We want to share with people what we are growing and get people talking about heritage vegetables again for back yards.


We took out two firsts, including the Bern Scolyer memorial prize, a huge honour. Again, we didn't think we had a winner, but it is about standing shoulder to shoulder and presenting a collective interest and display. There is nothing prouder for a community than seeing an exhibition hall filled with colour, craft and produce from all ages.


Even our dear son-in-law was determined to enter his jam sponge in the Man Cake competition.


Have you ever thought about?
Just do it.
There are so many categories and your community deserves your support and sharing.
And it's FUN!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

May Days


May passed in a blur for me. Work was extremely hectic and I was getting things prepped for the Campbell Town Show. The highlight of May for me was Mother's Day which we spent at Clarendon. It was a superb day of exhibition, skill share and garden stalls etc. They are making it an annual event and I think I will too. We celebrated the day together and there was no cooking or washing up and all the ladies really appreciated that!


The leaf turning this year has been long and lustrous. The crab apple has done a full leaf drop this year so I am expecting a big blossom flush and lots of fruit. The leaves, though a nuisance for some, have been raked often and placed atop garden beds preparing for sleep through the winter. My folly, the Tahitian Lime, has been swaddled in frost cloth and we shall see how she fares in spring.


The quince thicket that provided shelter and cool relief in summer for the hens in the yard has fully leaf dropped and allows in the warming sunlight shafts of the lowered trajectory path of the winter sun. Our handsome black Australorp cockerel, acquired in late summer, is out of quarantine and in full health and minding his flock. He is very attentive to his ladies, finding tid-bits and sharing them and pointing them out. Keeping a watchful eye on their progress round the paddock and calls me raucously when I fail to come down early enough to spread the feed!


Autumn is also the time of rodents! The mice especially have been in large numbers this year, trying to move inside to the warmth. The crows, kookaburras and other prey eating birds have moved into the garden, watching and swooping. Rabbits have moved into the paddock too and we catch them from time to time. They are skun and popped into the freezer and we keep out eyes peeled for mushrooms down in the pine tree corner.


It is the time to safely light the bon-fire and clean up garden debris, young and old enjoying the cold at their back and the warmth on their faces. Jumpers and boots are our uniform now for the next several months while the snows cling to the mountains and the washing is permanently ranged around the heater. 


Great nights for knitting and here is one I've just finished for Julien.
It's a favourite pattern I use and is available 


A lot of it is knit in the round and is quite quick with lot's of stimulating, yet uncomplicated, pattern changes. I use DK/8ply pure wool and 4mm needles. This was one of my entries in the show but it didn't place but I'll try again as Julien will need another one next year! You can view my project from last year on Ravelry here

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Ultimate Coconut Ice Recipe


This was a firm favourite growing up and I have memories of Mum making this recipe in triple batches and more for Christmas giving and for school fetes. It is not the average run of the mill coconut ice recipe, You'll want to pin this one. I know, because Mum lost the recipe about 30 years ago and it has been the subject of regular hunting ever since. She vaguely recalled the ingredients but not the quantities and every likely book she saw in an op-shop had us checking indexes and suffering endless disappointments. 
At last! The recipe is found. In an old school recipe compilation from her old home town in outback Queensland (with contribution credit to a relative of hers) I give you the ultimate Coconut Ice recipe, that it may never be lost again!
Be warned though, it is seriously divine and you will NOT stop at two pieces....


Creamy Coconut Ice

1lb icing sugar
8oz desiccated coconut
1 teas vanilla
2 egg whites
4 oz butter
pink food colouring

Mix sifted icing sugar and coconut in a bowl. Pour on the slightly beaten egg whites and vanilla.
Melt butter over a gentle heat until barely warm, not hot, test temperature with your finger tips. 
Pour onto the ingredients in the bowl and mix thoroughly.
Press half the mixture into a cake tin 7" square or similar.
Add just a couple of drops of pink colouring to make a pretty colour and press this onto the white layer. Pop into the fridge and allow to get quite cool and set before cutting into squares.

Looks perfectly ducky in cellophane bags tied with ribbon and is much more sumptuous than the usual recipes found in old cook books.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Autumn Picnic at Clarendon


During the week, my mother liberated her great-grandson from childcare and I packed a picnic and met them at Clarendon House to enjoy a glorious day of sunshine and falling leaves.


I whipped up some simple tiny, tiny quiches of egg and spring onion and kept them warm in the insulated carrier, along with some bacon wrapped prunes speared with toothpicks and baked for about 15 minutes. A steamed corn on the cob wet with melted butter and baby tomatoes and carrots, from the garden. Slices of watermelon and sparkling elderflower cordial and ice.


My grandson ran and played and scooped up armfuls of dried leaves to dump on our heads and let the wind take my colourful scarf like an exotic streaming banner. He calls Clarendon his castle - oh to have those simple fantasies again. "I'm Mike the Knight" he declares.


Stopping just long enough to take a selfie with Grandma.


Then away again to explore some more.

"No other Knight in all the land
Could do the things which he could do. 
Not only did he understand
The way to polish swords, but knew
What remedy a Knight should seek
Whose armour had begun to squeak."

from "The Knight Whose Armour Didn't Squeak"
by A.A. Milne

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mole Creek District


Our garden club had an excursion to the Mole Creek district so I am going to bore you with lots of garden photos because this little blog is actually a good pictorial reference for me and I find it handy to look back and remember dates, places, inspirations and even future holiday stay options.


After a lovely morning tea at the Deloraine visiting an extraordinary work of art in silk and embroidery and a charming Georgian cottage museum, we travelled northwest into the Mole Creek district and had lunch at Marakoopa Cafe and wandered their gardens admiring autumn colours. We had beautiful music provided by a string three piece, a real treat which added to the unique atmosphere of the cafe.


We admired the raspberry frame.


Their various poultry.


And their various landscaped "rooms"


On to Wychwood and their Glory Vine was a show stopper this year.





I think autumn is the best time to view Wychwood, it never disappoints. 


Next we visited Blackwood Cottages and grounds.
If you are looking for a quiet getaway, this is it! I am definitely ear-marking this for a weekend retreat.



I have glass house envy!


Urn envy...


and iron-work envy!


Stone wall lusting,


And hedging desires.


So easy to picture yourself here....


And more beautiful poultry.
The day was everything I could have wished for.

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