Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mid-week greetings..

A big Wednesday hello to you!

It's up, baby, it's up! The new/old/refurbished gate, that is...

After much digging with my dad's auger, the holes were ready and the posts could go in. They weren't concreted in,  instead I chose to ram the earth clay back in around them with his crowbar. A little 'fudging' had to take place when it came time for the hinges but we now have a fully functioning vegie patch gate!

With a latch! Whoop! I can't tell you how excited I am not to be fussing with chicken wire on a stick anymore!! A thousand times easier to use and to think, it only took two years for me to get around to this job!

Broccoli has been rehomed into newspaper pots..

..and over the weekend I found myself making mini wigwams from twigs and willow for some dwarf summer beans/spring peas.
This weaving business is really very relaxing (if one can ignore the bleeting of the goats across the paddock pleading for their dinner). Very calming for the soul..

Some people have mentioned the sprout rack pictured in my previous post. I thought I'd share a pic in all it's naked glory..

Just the bare bones here - and what basic bones they are. Two end pieces secured by two support rails = a very functional sprouting rack. If I were to make another, I would raise the front rail slightly so that a folded tea towel could fit underneath to absorb the inevitable drips - it's kind of a squashing act at the moment.

The front rail is also meant to be bare (hubby did ask!) - it was just sealed with a simple homemade beeswax/olive oil polish  as I was concerned about the cheesecloths/sprouts sitting directly on paint..

It holds four #20 Fowler's jars (pasta sauce size), comfortably.

These little guys have also been making appearances at the oddest of times...
They're being set aside to go into a colourful baby blanket for someone dear who's due in a few months. What fun they are to pull out of my bag when the youngest has sport or I'm waiting to pick the others up from somewhere!

What interesting things have you found yourself up to this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Smiles

I'm feeling in the mood for some Saturday Smiles. As always there is plenty to get done here but sometimes it's nice to just focus on the good stuff...the stuff that makes us do our jobs a little quicker so we can get back to those things that make us smile!

My second gate that I can add to my name - this one is out of scrounged pickets and lattice off-cuts.

I think I'm getting the hang of which way the brace goes in relation to the hinges (top of brace points towards latch, bottom of brace is on hinge post, {yes? please say this is correct!}). Even though I  think I've broken every single rule on gate making with this little project (with hubby even rolling his eyes when he saw me cutting gate posts with a pruning saw - hey, it worked!), it's been a fabulous learning curve and I'll remember all my mistakes for next time and do them slightly differently..

Snowpeas are out in the greenhouse!
...and sprouts are sprouting in the kitchen on their new rack...

I'm loving them in a salad with yoghurt, nuts, chia and sunflower seeds..anything that is in the pantry, really!

Homegrown sprout salad - tasty AND nutritious!

I couldn't resist this birdcage on my last tip visit. I've brought it home and planted it up with some pretty colour. Just deciding now where it's new home will be (it's too heavy to hang up - I already tried that..)...

The busy one has found her way with a hammer and pliers. I'm not exactly sure what she's making...

...and I don't think she is either! Half the fun is finding out what it's going to be as it gets made...

Rosemary is flowering...

..and I've made a start on The Purchase. I'm loving how it's spinning up, all flecky and speckly, although I keep having to remember to keep it thick. The last bobbin of alpaca was a little too thin and I think I want to do something chunky with this wool....

The Purchase, 1kg Bluefaced Leicester (oatmeal)

Broccoli's up!

...and raspberrries are in leaf..

 I've also come across THE most cutest crochet pattern here.

Can someone pleeeeaase have a baby girl so I can pass it on???

                       ...and lastly, the apricot is in blossom! Here's wishing you a Saturday full of smiles!

{Thankyou  to all who replied to my previous post, I was blown away by your feedback. I just want to let you know that I read everyone's comments and am so very appreciative of this blogging community which we participate in!}

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Do you ever get the feeling that while you're plugging away for a better life, you are considered a puzzlement to the rest of your community?

Your life revolves around making the lives of those around you better, yet still you feel sadly misunderstood by the majority of people who's paths you happen to cross each day.

Why is that?

Your eyes are always peeled to see what exciting, new, life enhancing discovery may be waiting around the next corner..

Always alert, on the ball. Nothing is too much to ask for this family/life/earth/body/*insert other* of yours.

Yet others still look at you with puzzlement and that bewildered expression when you tell them what you have been up to that particular day....

"You made a rack for growing bean sprouts? Huh. How uh...... good."
Why is that?

No lengths are too far for you to take, the humble homemaker, who takes pleasure in providing good, wholesome, ethical food for your family to enjoy and be nourished by...

Standing by, as always watching to see how this meal went down, taking notes for next time (which really should be written down as the mind isn't up for this kind of mass data storage).

Green cleaners, thrifting, growing, sewing, knitting, tip scrounging, making, baking, eating, taking.

How far will you go?

How far are you prepared to go?

For the nurturing of your family/life/earth/body/*insert other*

Do you feel you are understood?


Perhaps a little Misunderstood?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This day...

...we had no need to rush..

Hubby cleaned the fireplace flu  - this was desperately needed!

Windows were flung open and fresh air drifted throughout the house..
Brownies were baked  for 'The Cafe' - an afternoon where neighbourhood kids sold homebaked goods in a school friend's front yard.. The Cafe made $40 (for charity).

My turn for Friday Veggie Group rolled around yesterday, which you can read more about on our new blog.

Friday Veggie Group hard at work with the usual banter. Thanks, ladies!
Self-sown purple cauliflower. I love the generosity of Nature at times like these!!

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been refining my hack-sawing skills. These are seed trays made from tip-scrounged timber and will be lined and planted up with salad greens for the primary school fete later in the year. 

No painting required - it's the 'rustic' look we're after..

I'm was excited with how they turned out - I think I want to make some for home now!

The hacksaw also 'saw' some more action..

for Sprout Solutions - hopefully

This project was going swimmingly until she dangled her hair in the paint tin by accident..Oh!

I hope you're having a cracker of a weekend out there!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The tip-scrounged book I picked up recently on sprouting has proven to be a most valuable addition to the bookcase. Written in my opinion before it's time (1986), it details the use of living foods (sprouts and wheatgrass) in our diets, their benefits and how to go about growing them at home.

The health benefits of consuming 'live food', that is, food that has the ability to give life (what other food can you think of that can do this?), are enormous. I won't try to cover it all in detail here, just rest assured that growing sprouts at home on a small scale is a fantastic thing we can do for the health of our bodies!

I have started with two pasta sauce size jars (Fowlers #20) and put a small amount of legumes in each. The first jar held some whole lentils while the second contained some of the mung beans I purchased recently.

Both being larger legumes, I followed the suggestion in my book to soak them in water for twelve hours before draining them and then rinsing twice daily. Here is their progress since they were started three days ago:
The lentil sprouts are nutty and a little grassy flavoured. Quite tender to the bite.
The mung beans on the other hand were grown in darkness, as per the books recommendation.. This was done by wrapping it in a kitchen towel and placing in a dark corner of the kitchen:

Sprouted mung beans can be eaten at the appearance of a root, or later as shoots emerge.
Both jars of sprouts were grown in the same spot, held in place upside down with the use of an empty ice-cream container.  The stage the mung beans are at now are what I remember from my oh, so delicious salad I consumed while out and about recently. They are very flavoursome, not  as 'grassy' as the lentil sprouts although ever so slightly chewy. I put this down to them not being grown under pressure, which my faithful little book suggests. To do this, the beans will need a vessel that eliminates light, drains freely from the bottom, while being open at the top to allow a small weight to be placed on top of the beans on about the second day. The beans apparently like to squish together as they grow and not be jostled about when rinsed, making them deliciously plump. I'm racking my brain to think of a suitable vessel and am coming up at a loss. I don't really want to sprout the beans in plastic if I can avoid it.

I would also like to try my hand at making a rudimentary shelf/rack to hold the jars on such an angle that they drain without toppling over (quite a problem in my makeshift ice-cream container rack!). This past week I've found myself refining my hacksawing skills on other projects, so feel ready to give this a go! Now, to just source some hardwood . Other beans/seeds I think I'd like to try include mustard, rocket, lettuce, sunflower and fenugreek...

Do you grow sprouts? What are your favourites? What method do you use? Aaaaand, how do you like to EAT them?

Monday, August 15, 2011

In my kitchen, August '11...

In my kitchen are some fresh eggs! Now before we go getting all excited, these eggs are not from new, we are looking after a neighbours girls for a week and are LOVING collecting the eggs. I am yearning to get some girls of our own again, (soon!)...

In my kitchen sits a bag of mung beans and a book on sprouting. The beans I went hunting for after having a scrumptious salad out and about recently which happened to have mung bean sprouts in it.

The book, well, this came from my last excursion to the tip shop/recycling centre - what a coincedence! I can't wait to start eating our own homegrown sprouts...

In my kitchen bubbles a syrupy orange glaze.... soak into my favourite Orange Cake

This cake begs to be eaten warm. So warm is how I eat it..

In my kitchen, I've been sitting at the table making carrot seed mats. When one is overcome with cold and flu symptoms, this is the most comfortable way to garden and feel productive!

The mats are made from thin serviettes and the seeds are spaced evenly with a glue of flour/water. After drying, they can be stored and planted out when needed, the serviettes breaking down into the soil and the carrot seeds already evenly spaced. Is there any gardening job more unpleasant than thinning carrots?

This is my first try at using the seed mats and I have to say, 'thinning' them this way before planting is 100 times more comfortable than crouching on the cold damp ground, thinning out individual seedlings.

The same goes for newspaper pots. Making them while feeling miserable and shivery means they are already there waiting to be used when the sniffles pass!

This kind of repetitive work is quite soothing in it's own way..

In my kitchen sits a bag of chia seeds. White chia this time, for more 'speriments. I have tried this chia in two loaves of bread already using the gel method and it's good - I like it because the seeds are hardly visible..

I like the idea of eating them raw, too. A teaspoon here and there sprinkled on breakfast or in a drink and I had even thought of trying to grow a little patch using some of this seed....hmmm....something else to ponder over!

Lastly in my kitchen sits a plate of sourdough pancakes. I decided to play with some leftover starter and make a batter...winging it as I went. Milk, honey, vanilla, flour and so on. Although no eggs - must try them with eggs next time.. compare of course!

Thanks to Celia for hosting "In my kitchen". Hop over to see what's happening in her kitchen this month or to participate with your own post.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This week..

Spring is imminent..

Cherry plum blossom on the round-a-bout. This tree makes good jam!
After seeing some delicious looking brownies over at Tania's blog (Ivy Nest) I simply had to try the recipe. Follow the links  - she's right, you really must try it, they're divine! Thanks for sharing, Tania!

Squidgy and gooey while crispy on the outside. My favourite kind of brownie.
Remembering to lick the spoon of course!
Most important. Spoon licking is just as important as the eating of the baked goods.
The brownies made their way with me to weekly spinning group which I'm still very much enjoying. The group that is! (Although the brownies too, as I disovered small people don't like walnuts, yippee!) Back to the spinning group, there is so much to see and learn there! And eat. LOTS of delicious homemade eats there.

My drum carding is going...ok. To be honest, I find the whole carding process time consuming and tedious, although spinning up the carded fibre is an absolute delight! Plus it's the best way I can think of to mix my alpaca and wool together evenly.

60% alpaca/40% wool (Finnx)
A purchase of the fleecy kind has been made. I could not resist the temptation of a kilo of Bluefaced Leicester top for an unbelievable price. It's soo, soo soft and guess what? NO carding! It's ready to go...

Bluefaced Leicester, Oatmeal, 1kg
Metres and metres of it. The Purchase is calling to me although I want to sit on it for a while to ponder what to do with such a goodly quantity. Something significant.

In the meantime, I crochet, crochet, crochet.
Handspun alpaca/wool for yes, another hat.
Have you ever used a bamboo/wooden crochet hook? This is my second and I'm hooked (I know, it's that old pun again!). Really, I do suggest trying one. It is such a sensory craft, using these natural hooks adds to the pleasure.

Handspun wool and natural hooks=Bliss!

What's happening in your world this week?