Sunday, October 28, 2012

Of Late..

Of late, we've been walking our new companion, Harry, regularly. Trying to incorporate a little exercise into the everyday, a poochy pal is surely the best way to do it!

He is settling in so well with us, I couldn't be happier. He is currently on the eldest's bed snoozing, tonight it may be the middle tween's and then tomorrow, it will most likely be the youngest's. Nothing like a roster to keep things in check. My only concern is our front fencing and the cars that like to speed around the bend. Until I can sort out a solution, he is on a retractable lead when outside with us, and then let free inside the house. He loves a trip to school and is slowly sniffing out the neighbourhood (and leaving his mark!). 

New yarnings were cast on...

In the form of a vintage vest pattern. It's been a while since I've done any knitting and the arrival of a new baby in the extended family was enough motivation to get the needles out again!

Strange things continue to brew on the kitchen bench...
{water kefir}

I have been crazily sewing up little girls smocks to sell!

I think I am fast becoming addicted to fabrics from yesteryear, I find them so sweet! Last weekend saw the Suitcase Rummage back in town and I took myself, the 11yo and her chum down for the day where we enjoyed a fun day out..
It was lovely to meet a reader of my blog (hello out there!) and have a little chat, as well as talk to a lovely blogger who had her stall close to mine. Several stall holders had returned from the previous rummage and it was a really nice feeling of a growing community.

After the 11yo's stall commenced with a quiet start last month, it really went off this time around! She sold out of her origami cranes on string and had quite a few takers for some cards and origami fortune cookies! As you can imagine she was totally stoked and absolutely made her day!

This week I have been a tourist in my own town.

Do you ever do this? I can't remember the last time I was up at the top of the mountain viewing the lookout, but with my mum entertaining an overseas visitor, it was a great excuse to join them.

And there is nothing quite like a friend's 40th birthday celebration calling everyone to wear their 'Ugly Frocks' to get one feeling good!
A houseful of guests in their ugliest, most hideous frocks (or shirts), their 'formal thing gone wrong', was a most successful recipe for a party!

Enjoy your Sunday, people!

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Creatures, Great and Small..

I was going to write an attempt at a witty post entitled: The Truth About Cats and Dogs.

I changed my mind.

For one, I am not feeling overly witty at this present moment, and two, it just doesn't feel right for me to try and be witty in this post.

Let me share some creature happenings with you that have been occurring here of late..

We were treated to a glorious display of plumage last Friday at veggie group when the neighbourhood peacock graced us with it's presence. It's so strange that this peacock goes from house to house in a street not that far away from ours, picking up food here and there and roosting in the trees (or on top of cars even!) in any particular backyard that takes his fancy on that given day. Truly a glorious display, worthy of sharing here..

About two weeks ago we said goodbye to our ancient cat. She was without a doubt, my best friend. I had been staff to her since I was 17 and she had moved from house to house with us, put up with the arrival of our daughters (and their toddlerhood), and lived through several life risking adventures. She was the best companion a person could hope for in an animal and I am so sad to see her go. We knew that her time was near and at 18, she did very well in my opinion. I am glad she went the way I had always hoped she her basket, sleeping.

So I suppose this is the truth about cats..and dogs. They do not last forever, as much as it feels like they'll be around for it. Her days were good, her life was filled with many pats and she will remembered with a smile and a laugh, that funny cat who used to race through the house and hide behind the shelving, only to tear around the house again two minutes later..looking expectantly at us like we should be in on her secret!

I will miss this cat, my chief dye inspector and sniffer of the breeze.
Goodbye, friend. x

My girls had a lovely reunion recently with a dear family friend who is somewhat of a whisperer of horses. It was so nice to see them back in the saddle again, after nearly a year and I think he enjoyed it just as much as they did! And the pony too, of course, the sweetest little appaloosa you ever did come across...

We have ducks here! Spring brings that kind of event, you know ;) This proud mama (and papa not pictured) managed to hatch 8...Eight! little ducklings. Every day I keep an eye out for them, hoping that they have not been visited by the fox. They are on there own these ducks, being wildlife residents on the dam, their welfare is solely up to them...and a pinch of luck. 

And finally, I want to introduce our new companion. He was adopted from a nearby shelter and is the most placid, cuddly dog I have come across..
The girls are SO ready for a dog, and after feeling the loss of our cat, I think this is the best thing for everyone, all round. They have been asking for a dog for years..and years,  and we had always  put it off, waiting for the right time.

As much as we miss that cat, this really is the best medicine for a sad heart. A new energy, a different kind of energy, a Doggy energy? I am not even much of a doggy person, yet am finding myself being won over by his sweet brown eyes and swishing tail, his soft fur and eagerness to please. The way he sprawls out for a belly rub, just so. Is sleeping on your back with legs up in the air really that comfortable?
Oh, yes, this little guy is going to win all our hearts..

Welcome to the home, Harry! You will be well loved here. x

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chiminea Curry

To commence, retrieve your new/old wok from the hidden depths of the kitchen cupboard, you know, the one that was given to you many moons ago and you never even took out of the box? That's the one.

 Light your fire, small sticks are on order for a fast, hot heat. Season wok and brown meat.

Saute onion, garlic and then...crushed spices/paste. Add some chopped tomatoes and cover with water. Allow the flames to die down a little..

Simmer until thick and it's calling your name. It's nearly there. Add a dollop of cream if you so desire and take some time to flick the separated tomato skins into a nearby bush while you wait, ah, the beauty of cooking outside..

Roll out some naan bread dough, made with kefir milk and cook directly over the heat. Glowing coals are best but in their absence, a small flame will suffice.

Enjoy your meal.

This is your dinner.

You made it without any electricity or gas.

It's cooked through. And hot! Quite astounding isn't it?

Food cooked over flames tastes a thousand times better than it's conveniently fueled cousins, absolutely!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Milk Kefir

I thought it might be a good idea to pop back and post a little update on our kefir that was gifted to us by a dear friend recently. I admit to being fairly reluctant to trying the strange brew, it was strange and new and smelt a little...unusual. I'm not one for big changes, in case you couldn't already guess. :)

However! I soon got over myself and gulped the first couple of glasses with eyes shut tight and breath held. And you know what? It wasn't so bad, not so bad at all..

To make the kefir, I have been filling a jar or mug each day with cold milk and adding the kefir grains. The previous batch is strained of the grains and placed into a jar in the fridge to ferment a little further and be on hand for when we feel like some.

For those who are not in the know, as I was just a few of short weeks ago, kefir is a beneficial, nutritious drink that comes in either milk or water form. It is loaded with probiotics, much more than yoghurt, and is particularly useful for improving our intestinal  flora.

It is made much the same way as yoghurt, being that the previous grains culture the next batch, although no heating of the milk is involved, which is great for the lazy  busy person like myself. :)

The grains are odd looking things, resembling little cauliflower florets, about 3cm in diameter..

It is also quite interesting, I have noticed, as I can 'see' when the grains are active, they take on a bubbly state around them and appear...gassy:

In the short few weeks we have been culturing the kefir, they have been to Western Australia and back, safely tucked into my luggage. While in the west, I was feeding them with light milk and noticed a warmer ambient temperature made the grains ferment a whole lot faster and curdle the milk in a matter of hours.

Here at home I prefer to feed them with whole milk, straight from the fridge and find that a room temperature of around 15c is conducive to a fermentation that both hubby and I find palatable. I prefer to 'catch' the kefir just before it reaches a curdled this time it is sour and slightly fizzy but not lumpy and requiring vigorous sieving.

To drink, hubby and I both have taken a liking to having it from the shot glass, baby!

Chilled, if possible, please.

 I am actually coming to like, even anticipate the flavour of the slightly sour and fizzed (yes, fizzed!) milk drink. With a general feeling of improved energy, and all round improvement, I will be sticking with this little drink for some time yet.

Since I posted about the arrival of kefir in our house, a generous reader has posted me some of her water kefir grains which I am also enjoying experimenting with. Stay tuned for more on this fascinating drink, also full of probiotics!

Have you had your kefir today? 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Fair Play

What good it does to go unplugged for a while. Even if the un-pluggedness is due to a computer issue that really irks to the bone! On the plus side, I have learned that I am a whole lot more productive on the home front when unplugged, and have, in general, a feeling of calmness about me.  These things are good to know, right?

So, just briefly today, a few pics of the local fair/show, whichever you prefer to call it, from the weekend.

I very much enjoy going to our local show, it is kind of a family event for us. My mum is on the organisation committee so we are guaranteed to run into her on the day, my brother works in sound and is also there each year, along with his family, who my girls take great delight in 'going off' with, exploring all that is on offer and learning which are the best (and those to mark as a not to visit again) places to spend their hard earned pocket money...

After arriving just as a torrential downpour hit, we made a mad dash to the nearest marquee to huddle for shelter. Luckily the 'shower' only lasted about ten minutes or so and we were then able to make our way to the craft pavilion, my favourite place in the whole event! 

Fellow spinners were spotted and said hello to, a little chat and quick inspection of their goods for sale. I love the way people always stop and take a look at someone sitting and spinning...

..or weaving, too!

I am loving the knitted displays this year, so many beautiful works. Loads of inspiration too!

Alas, no entries is the preserve department from me this year. You can take a look at my previous experiences in this area here. 

Saanen dairy goats. Aren't they just the sweetest things?

A venture into the poultry and cavies pavilion yielded some interesting sightings. Hubby was quite taken with these two inquisitive personalities..

Fortunately, being a rainy, windy day we were let off rather lightly in relation to the rides, thank goodness! Just a quick scoot through on the dodgem cars had everyone satisfied, including myself who was quite glad to be standing on the sidelines taking the photos..

Who can resist the animal nursery? Those kids are sooooo cute!

And because every mama needs a show bag, I could not walk past the intriguing drop spindle made, made I tell you, by my spinning mentor and friend..

I do love a new toy and found it most amusing on the journey home, while practicing on my new device,  the lengthy piece of fleece I had ever so carefully pre-drafted, caught the breeze, flew across hubby's chest, past the steering wheel and made a beeline for his open window!! Thankfully we caught it just in time, but not before a good chuckle by all..

Do you support your local show? OR... do you spin on a drop spindle? 

Perhaps you do both? Do tell!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Slow Living 2012 - Month 9

Pinch and a punch for the first day of the month!

Really, I don't know where the year is going! Time once again for the monthly round up of all things Slow. If you feel inclined to join in, please do! You are most welcome, just leave a link to your blog post written in this format at the bottom of this page and enjoy blog hopping to see what others have been up to, hopefully gaining some new ideas and inspiration. For a detailed description of each category, click here.   

September had a really nice vibe to it - loads of positive and creative energy saw me rise out of my winter slump and get cracking on projects sitting stagnant for far too long. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to look back over the day or week and say..Yes, I DID that!

{Prepare} You didn't really expect to hear that I'd been preserving this month, did you? There is absolutely zip in the way of harvests for bottling at the moment. I have however, been finding myself stocking up on pantry goods. This is so nice for a person that positively detests going to the shops to buy food.

On the other hand, eating from our bottled goods has been happening. Jams and bottled peaches. Pie apple and passata. Even blackberry cordial, it's all about emptying cupboards and jars to make room for more bottled deliciousness come the summer months. I was also gifted a jar of kefir grains that have proven to be most intriguing. I am really enjoying this learning curve and observing subtle changes as we consume this ancient probiotic beverage.

{Grow} So relieved to be out of my winter slump/hibernation, I got a little excited a couple of weeks ago and sowed a whole bunch of seeds. About 8 varieties of tomatoes, several pumpkin types and cucumbers too. 96 little seedlings have since been transplanted to paper pots..I know,  I just couldn't seem  make it to 100! Finding boxes to hold the newspaper pots is proving to be a challenge, however I did score gold a week or so ago, finding some corflute grape boxes from Aldi. Each box holds exactly 48 newspaper pots!

Harvests this month have included celery, silverbeet, parsely, oregano, carrots, leeks, lettuce, rocket, chives, broccoli and kale. So far I haven't seen any white cabbage moths around but I fear it won't be long before they arrive.

In the fruit orchard I was really pleased to see that our apricot trees have set some tiny fruit - I was quite concerned that they wouldn't as both were in blossom during the ferocious winds we had. Besides the blossom blowing away in the wind, the bees seemed non-existent during this couple of weeks.

{Reduce} Ok, let's see. I made bags from my first market stall out of newspaper instead of buying new ones. Sticks have been gathered from around the property with the plan of making some more garden tee-pees. Op-shopping yielded three bar stools for our pizza oven area and a retro vinyl air lift chair for our workbench in the garage. A tip scrounged sink also made it's way into the garden, perched comfortably on our old bassinet frame.

{Green} Vinegar spray has been my kitchen saviour this month. With two tweens who love to cook (and splatter and drip), it's a necessity to have by the sink. I've also been enjoying cooking with our chiminea a couple of times a week, eliminating the need to turn on the inside oven. Our woodfired oven also got a good workout this month by providing us with a week's worth of meals, yum!

{Create} I loved organising things for my first market stall this month. It was so much fun! Even the nitty gritty things like a little label to go on the bags or a clothes rack made from a couple of branches was very satisfying.

{Discover}.....uhhhh, does reading the newspaper count? That has been about the extent of my reading this month,  life has just been SO full lately. Catching up on your slow living reviews is a favourite too, you guys are a clever bunch of people with so many great tips share each month! Thankyou!

{Enhance} My turn for hosting veggie group rolled around again this month and I was pleased to break a little drought that had been happening with several cancellations due to sicknesses within the group and lousy weather that just seemed to go on for weeks. It was good to see the group together again and reconnect. I was also extremely proud to hear two of my veggie grouping friends on the radio being interviewed on the radio about our activities - a great feeling to be part of such a fantastic group.

{Enjoy} oooh, now let me see,  an 8 year old turning nine, an Oma returning home after epic travels, an inaugural market stall, spring weather, a family get together and school holidays, where should I start? They were all enjoyed during the month. Life is good.

How has your month been?