Monday, August 30, 2010

Bloomin' Weather.

It's the end of August so still technically Winter but the fruit trees are busting into bud around here and I think it is all the beautiful spring days that we have been having.

Apple flowers.
Must remember to net before the parrots come.
It's early so we are hoping that they will still give us some fruit and not get all confused and lose it.

This apple tree is one of 4 out in the dam are but is the only one in bloom.  Two others have only recently been transplanted to this area and 1 is a seedling Granny Smith so we don't know if we will ever get anything from that.

The Apricot tree has flowers but no leaves and the seedling Peaches are starting to get leaves but no flowers.
I just hope that they all know what they are supposed to be doing and when because I have no idea.

No Buy Veg Challenge...August.

Tomorrow is the last day of August, can you believe that.  It seems to have come so quickly.  I think I say that all the time but it always surprises me, and disappoints me that I haven't achieved anything new.

No vegetables were bought during August so that is 8 months success.

I am missing the broccoli that the cow ate though but SoninLaw says he has heaps and I can have some of that so that's real nice of him.

I have been picking peas and asparagus though so they are new to the menu. Well, I don't actually have a menu but if I did...they wouldn't be added to it as we eat them straight from the garden as we are wandering around out there. 
Hang on...I did cook up some peas a couple of nights ago, grandaughter J. was out here and she helped pick, and eat, them.  She wasn't too impressed with the cooked ones though, said they were *yukky*  Now I'm not saying that I overcooked them or anything but Hubby also said that they weren't all that nice. 
That's OK, raw is good.

Now we need to get through September, should do OK but things are looking skimpy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting Fitter.

I have been riding the pushbike most days over the last few weeks, walking on the days when I haven't ridden.

I am pleased to say that I think the iron tablets have finally kicked in and started to work.

I had another bloodtest a week or so ago and need to go see the doctor for the results but I can tell that they are working by the way I am feeling.

I am no longer gasping for air before I get to the corner and though I am huffing and puffing still it is a good huffing and puffing, not an "I'm gonna die" one.

The doctor did put me on another lot of tablets as well a couple of months ago and I think it was those that have made the differece.  I have been taking the iron tabs for nearly 9 months and there was not a lot of improvement and all the tests were showing that there was nothing wrong and no reason for having no iron in my blood so I am pleased that it looks, feels, like something is finally working.

Now the hard work of getting fit is needed.  But as I can breath and am no longer getting chest pains when I try to do anything it shouldn't take too long.

It's up to me and I need, and want, to be healthy and fit as it makes things a lot more fun.  So I'm off for this mornings ride.  Who wants to join me?  I'm only going around the block plus up to the bridge and back, all up maybe 25 minutes.  Coming?  Lets go then...

Goosy Goosy Gander...

Walking around outside early yesterday morning I noticed some new visitors to the dam.

You might have to click on the photo to make it bigger but there are a pair of geese there swimming with a pair of ducks and a couple of ducklings.

They all stuck together and later on when I saw them crossing the paddock they were still in a group.

I'm thinking that the ducks are staying close to the geese as they would offer some protection from foxes.

Lemon Spread...Taste Testing.

I wrote about how I used all lemon juice instead of water for my latest batch of LS so over the last few days I have been getting different family members to taste it. 

Husband. "Ummm, very lemony"
Son.  "Taste like lemons".
Daughter T.  "gasp gasp, splutter, splutter, where's the water".
Granddaughter J. 3 years old.  "Water, discusding"

So, results were not promising...but I like it, it is lemony, that's the point People!

Daughter L. might like it, she eats the lemons and drinks the juice straight. 

I eat it from the jar.  I do use a spoon, I'm not a total feral.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heston's Feast

Heston's Feast  is a *cooking* show on at 8.30 on SBS, Thursday nights and is one of the few shows that I enjoy and watch.  he has a different theme each week.  Tonights was *Fairy Tales*
He cooked up a stuffed boars head...yumyumyum....Maybe we should try this next time we do a pig.
Or lets not but say we did.

This guy is amazing and nothing that he cooks up and serves to people is expected.

The big house from the Hansel and Gretal story that he made for the dessert was pretty cool.  I would eat that.
This house was all edible but big enough for a person to fit cool.

I think I'm clever when I make real lemon jelly...I have so much to learn...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lemon Spread.

Tonight I did a comparison cook off on lemon spread using cornflour only or cornflour and custard powder.
I stopped buying custard powder when I started making custard the real way, using eggs but as I had been given a couple of packets I thought that I'd try both and see if one was better or not.

I used a different recipe than the last lot and this one is way more lemony.  I like it but I don't think that Hubby will.

Lemon Spread.
1cup lemon juice.  Instead of water.
3/4cup sugar.
1/3cup lemon juice. 
1Dsp cornflour.  2 if not using the custard powder.
1Dsp custard powder.
Heat sugar and cup LJ.  Dissolve powders in the 1/3 cup LJ then stir into the heated mix.
I didn't add grated rind this time as I used all juice and didn't think it would need any.

The spreads taste very similar, not sure if I can pick a difference.  There *may* be a slight difference but not to say one is better.  The mix with the added custard powder is more yellow but that is not a good enough reason for me to start buying it again. 

All Lemoned Out.

Hubby spent most of the weekend juicing lemons from our overloaded tree.  I have more than 15 litres of juice in the freezer and 7 more in the fridge waiting to be turned into cordial and L. took a couple of bottles home with her.

He is all lemoned out which is a good thing because though the tree was only about half done I am unsure what to do with all the end product.

Cordial and lemon spread are on my list of todo stuff for this afternoon, the freezer has enough to last *forever*, we give heaps what to do...

I look out the window and see all the lemons left and laugh as I wonder what to do with them.

I used to think that you couldn't have too many lemons can.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What Is Simple Living?

I am having conflicting thoughts on living a simple life and cannot decide what *simple* really means to me. 
I want to grow our food, I don't want to buy in fertilizers but I am sometimes too slack to go out in the paddock and collect the cow manure.
I eat meat but wont kill or clean the animal so I can. 
I hate food waste but don't always freeze things soon enough and I don't use what is in the freezer anyway as I prefer eating the food fresh.  But I end up eating too much so it's not *wasted* 
I hate throwing stuff away but then our house and yard look like a tip.
I reuse glass jars and bottles but don't have a lot of room to store them so they clutter the bench.
Same goes for plastic bags that we reuse.  The drawer where I keep them is chockers and wont shut properly.  But I *need* to save them all as soon we wont be able to get them from the shops and I use them for storage.  I usually use the reusable bags but grab the plastic ones too often.
I use plastic jars and containers as storage as I am prone to dropping things, especially when my hands aren't working properly, but  should I be getting rid of all plastics...I don't use them in the microwave so that is something.  But should I be using a microwave anyway...Didn't I read that they are unsafe too...
I have way too many clothes but they fit and I *love* them but as a *stay at home work in the yard* type person there are only so many outfits that I need.  And I have too many.  But I love them....
Because I don't like stuff ending up as landfill I have a shed full of stuff that we no longer want.  But I cannot bring myself to get rid of it.  I have started but it is so hard and taking so long and I get stroppy if someone else does it. But we can't use the shed for what it was built for.
I want to travel and explore our country but don't want to fork out money on petrol.
I don't like using chemicals and poison filled bought products but live with a smoker.  And I do use some chemicals and poison filled bought products but only if they are cheap. 
I want to cut down on our power usage but I have the computer on most of the day.
And it is easier to use the power mulcher than to chop the stuff up by hand.  But it uses petrol.  But it's easier.
I want to get more achieved but I waste time on the computer more often than I should.

Hypocritical or what!

So it seems that I am a mixed up wannabe *something* who doesn't know where she is going or how to get to where she thinks she would like to be. 

What I should be working on is getting fit and healthy, getting the house clean and tidy, keeping the vege patch producing enough to feed us and whatever else make us happy and STOP worrying about what other people say, write or think.  Year, that's sounds like a plan.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Sliding.

Went to the Fun Factory again last Tuesday, this time for the grandaughters 3rd birthday.
We must like this place as we have been a few times now.
That orange slide is still scarey and I'm not the only one that thinks so.  Am I, F?


I have finally transplanted the Blueberries and as it has been on my todo list for months I am very glad that it is done and out of the way.

The reason it has taken so long?  I am a S.A.  I umm and ahh about how to do something, spend hours reading up on how to do it, umm and ahhh some more and before I know it months have passed.

Yesterday I looked, again, at these poor looking plants and decided to *just do it*  So I roped Hubby into moving the 1/2 x 44gal drums into a suitable position (not the best or permanent spot, but it's suitable)  checked the ph, added some stuff to get it better suited to Blueberries, dug in some sawdust, added blood and bone, dug everything through then let it rest a bit.
We drove up the road a bit to collect some pine needles as I had read that they are good mulch for blueberries then called it a day.

Up bright and early this morning to get the plants into their new home, rode into town to vote then back here to get them mulched.  They already look heaps better and as it is raining they should settle in well.
I put strawberry plants around them as the drums are so big and the blueberry is so small.

All finished.  Fridge gardens in the background  .

Scraggly, but it has a few buds.

Facts of Living Simply

One fact of trying to live a sustainable lifestyle involves culling sick and excess animals. A sad but true fact.

I want to grow our own food which we are mostly doing but as we eat meat someone has to do the culling.  Or killing.  This is Hubbys job as I just couldn't.  I mean, physically I could not kill and move a cow to hang or to cut up.  I could physically do a chook, I would maybe have the strength to do that.  Maybe with the gun, I cannot see myself chopping off a head or wringing the neck of a live chook.  I'd eat vegetables if I had to do that.

I think I could catch and cook a marron.  If I needed to.

BUT, last week we had a chook that developed a growth on the side of its face.  It was getting bigger and the chook was unwell.  It needed to be put out of it's misery.  Luckily Hubby was home and he did the deed but if he was away with work and it needed doing I'm pretty sure that I couldn't.  Or wouldn't.  I would have to call on the son or son in law to do it even though I think that that is unfair.

It should be my responsibility. 

The same thing goes when we need to cull some roosters.  I want a rooster so that we have a sustainable flock with the end result being homegrown chook to eat.  But Hubby has to kill and clean the excess roosters and hens.

We did a couple of roosters last week and I forced myself to stay around and help.  Not with the neck wringing or whatever he did but with the skinning and cleaning part.  It was horrible but I now know how to do it if I ever have to. 

There have been suggestions on my learning how to use the gun so that I can do the whole lot.  I don't know if I will ever be able to do that but do think I should learn how to *just in case*

It is something that I have been thinking a bit on recently but something that I keep pushing out of my head.

Do any of you cull your own animals and if so do you have any words of wisdom for me please?


Monday, August 16, 2010


Our lemon tree is so full of lemons, I don't think we will ever get through them all.  Hubby picked another bucket of them on Sat so I have spent the weekend trying to use them up.  He juiced them and we ended up with 2 litres of straight juice.   
I made Lemon Cordial.  I rarely drink anything except water (and coffee) but Hubby does when it is hot.
Or there is no Coke left!

This is such a simple recipe and it was so nice that I wont  buy lemon cordial again.  The first lot was made from following a few recipes that I had, they were all more or less the same and I said to Hubby that I wanted to use less sugar.  He talked me into following the recipe but I was right, it was way too sweet even for him.  I just added more juice to get a taste we both liked.  I halved the recipe to start with , to see how it tasted but will make heaps more and preserve it in a way that I have read about.
The recipe we used is below.

Lemon Cordial.
600ml straight lemon juice.
600gm sugar.
Put in pot and heat, while stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
It is now ready to use.  Add water to taste.  Ice if that is what you like.  How simple is that?
 Not very expensive to make, it has nothing *fake* in it and the people that I used as testers all said that it was very nice.  I did ask them to be honest in the remarks but as they all had more than one glass and there were other drinks on offer I'm taking it to be a keeper.  I added homegrown passionfruit, made into  iceblocks to the jug of made up cordial and that added a nice taste as well.

So that is a cheap recipe but I wanted cheaper.  I had a thought and made this.

Lemon Honey Cordial.
400gm Honey  or 1 cup. (I used Powder Bark as I had a bucket in the kitchen)
500ml Lemon juice.
Heat, stiring until honey has disolved.
Bottle and add water to taste.

The taste of the honey comes through so will vary with the type of honey I use.  Probably wouldn't be cheaper if you had to buy the honey.

So what to do with all the skins instead of throwing them to the chooks?
Yep...Candied Lemon Peel.  I really like that stuff.

Candied Lemon Peel.
Boil lemon peel in water for 5-10 minutes.
Strain, and repeat with fresh water 3 or 4 times.  This removes the bitterness from the pith part of the skins.
For 1 cup of peel use 1cup sugar to 1/2 cup water.  Bring sugar and water to the boil, add peel and boil over low heat until the syrup is reduced.
Spread out to dry.
Boiling in the syrup.
I spread it out on some kitchen paper that I had here from the last lot I made and I will save it and use it again.

So what else could I make with this stuff...thinking, thinking, thinking...Jelly!  Using the cordial as the base.
I have never made *real* jelly but have always meant to so this was the time.
My research showed that you use 1Tbs of gelatin to 500ml of liquid so I halved it, again I wanted to taste test before making lots and made it up.

Lemon Jelly.
250ml or 1 cup of made up cordial.
1/2 Tbs gelatin
I heated 1/4 cup of the cordial and whisked in the gelatin, added rest of cordial and poured into dishes.
Let set in fridge for a few hours.
This is the end result, after maybe 4 hours in the fridge.
It has set firm but is not rubbery at all and the taste is divine.
Hubby was impressed and the sugar filled jellies from the shop are now a thing of the past.
I will experiment with different flavours of these.

I also made some Lemon Spread.  I call it lemon spread, it could be curd, butter, some other name...
It has  no eggs and is quick and easy so stays in the recipe bag.  Did do it a tad differently this time but it still passes my taste test but *may* not be as nice as I usually do it.  I will make another batch and compare the two, next week some time.
It didn't make too much, that's a shooter glass there to give you some idea on the size of the jar.  There was a few spoonfulls that didn't fit in either container but that's how I managed a decent taste test.

Lemon Spread.
1cup water
3/4cup sugar
1/3cup lemon juice
2Dsp cornflour.  Or 1Tbs CF and 1 of custard powder.  This makes it nore yellow.
grated lemon zest ! or 2 depending on taste.  I like adding more than 1.

Heat water, disolve sugar, I disolved the CF in the juice then added that to the boiling water/sugar mix, stirring all the time.

Because it has no eggs this is great for making when the chooks go off the lay.

I keep it in the fridge but I don't know how long it would keep for.  I make it up as I need it. 
I will keep the juice in the freezer.

You can have it on bread, toast, use it in tarts or baking or eat it out of the jar, using a spoon!

The original recipe called for a cup of sugar but that was too sweet for us so play around with it and tweek it to meet your taste.  Original recipe also had 1oz of butter but I don't *do* butter so I leave that out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


A while ago I mentioned how I had left a gate open and was lucky that the cows didn't get in and eat our food.  I have been really good with the gates since then.  I go outside this morning and see this..

The bleedin' thing has eaten 1/2dozen Brocolli, a patch of peas, a dozen small cabbage, the green ones that we prefer!!  Two beds of lettuce.  Broken some trees in the shade area.

May be able to save this lot of peas.
I am no longer confident that I will meet our No Buy Veg challenge.  I want to cry, I was *this* close!  Oh well, there is still enough stuff to last the rest of this month so I'll just have to wait and see.  We do grow in another area that it didn't get to but that stuff is not as close to being ready as this lot was.

 Another bad thing is that I have no idea how it got into the backyard.  All the gates are shut properly, no fences are down...So how do I stop it from doing it again.  This black cow is the only one to escape from where it should be so I'm thinking it's time we had some beef in the freezer.

Washing Clothes.

I buy most of my clothing from op-shops.  We are also given some and recently I was given a bag of lovely things for the grandaughter.  The first thing I notice with these clothes is the smell.  And no, it's not a musty op-shop smell but the smell of laundry powder and/or fabric softener.

I don't like it.  I find that I need to wash these things a couple of times just to get rid of the *lovely scent*  And though I wash them in plain cold water there are always heaps of suds after these things have been in the machine.  This shows that most people either use too much powder in their machine or the things are not rinsed enough.  Either way, I think that less LP needs to be used.

Because I find that heavily scented, chemical filled smells make my Fibro worse I have been trying to cut way down on using anything *chemical*

So I don't use shampoo or conditioner, I don't use bought cleaning products, no perfumes etc. and I don't buy washing powder.  I don't think we need to use it to have clean clothes.  On the odd occasion that I do need to use soap to get something clean then I use a powder that I make myself or just rub the mark with laundry soap.

I use a twin tub washing machine and let the water run out onto the fruit trees so that is a good reason in itself to not use the chemical stuff.  Most of our clothes come out clean when washed only in cold water.  Hubby's things sometimes need a soak or a rub but rarely does anything of mine.  Yeah, it could be that I don't work as hard, it could be that I put things out to be washed before the dirt becomes ingrained, it could be because I wear black for dirty jobs...Whatever the reason, I find that my clothes come out clean enough. 

To make the powder that I use I grate a cake of yellow laundry soap and mix it with a cup of washing soda.  I have used the Bamix to chop the soap and that turns it into a much finer mix but I no longer have that.
I used to add some Borax as well but no longer do.  I would suggest you don't use that if you run the water onto gardens or lawn.

You don't need to use a lot of the mix, maybe a spoonful or 2,  but it does not *sud up* like the bought products. 

When I first started making my own laundry soap I added water to the mix and it was like a gloopy mix.  Many years ago I read somewhere about not adding the water and having the mix as a powder so I tried that.  I find it works as well but takes up a lot less room.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pickings For Tea.

I have been out, in the rain, and picked some stuff to cook up and have with my patties.

I dug up a sweet potato, picked a cabbage, a handful of peas, 5 spears of asparagus, a couple of carrots and a red capsicum.  Grabbed a butternut pumpkin from the shed and now have it all on the stove.
Added some onions from the cupboard and a brocolli picked a couple of days ago.

I filled up a bread and butter plate with the veg, added 2 patties and  sat down and enjoyed a yummy, cheap, healthy meal.

 Unfortunately there aren't too many patties left.  I ate more than I should have throughout the day and the 3 year old grandaughter was out here and she had a couple.  At least they are better for us than the cake I made the other day.

I will cook up some more lentils tonight and make some more patties tomorrow.  Maybe some of those will make it to the freezer.  And I have enough vegetables left for the next couple of days.

Lentil Patties For Tea.

In between cleaning up a bit I have made some yummy Lentil Patties for my tea.

I had some leftover lentils in a pot that I wanted to wash so I added some sauce and oatmix to them and  mixed it all together
Doesn't that look good?

I then plopped them in a frypan and cooked them on the stove. 

And this is what I ended up with with.

A plate of yummy patties.  More than enough for tea so snacking throughout the day is sorted but I will freeze some so I don't eat them all.  Afterall, I'm sure Hubby will want some....

I Am A Big Fat Lazy Slob.

I wasn't going to write about this as it is such a bad thing that it will show you all what a discusting lazy thing I am...But what the heck, I don't really care and it is kinda funny that I have let things get so bad and not really noticed.

And Hubby says no-one is really honest when they write stuff on their blogs so this will show him that sometimes that could be a good thing. lol.

So here goes...This is what my house looked like this morning...

This is looking in from the front door and you can see that it is a small, one room living area.

We have a bathroom, toilet and 1 bedroom as well.  None of them are much better than this. 'Cept the loo, that is such a small room and it is cleaned most days so that room I am happy with.

This is looking in from the back door.

I have two benches, both are covered in *stuff*

The table is covered in *stuff* and the sink is covered in dirty dishes.

I am not sure why the *stuff* is where it is and not where it goes.  OK I do know...The cupboards where the *stuff* goes really need cleaning out as they have so much *stuff* already in them that this *stuff* doesn't fit without a bit of swearing and whinging that I have too much *stuff*

 Under all that crap is the table.  Who can use a table that is like that?  That is BAD.  I am BAD!  I mean, really...That's BAD!

The Bedroom.

  The bedroom is not as bad as it has been but that is because it was
properly tidied a few weeks ago.  Yes I know it should be done every day
but as you can see, I don't do things like that.
Anyway, 10 minutes will get it tidy and another 10 will get it vacuumed.
So it should be *company ready* by next week.

I will do a quick tidy-up in the bathroom but that will never look any good.  And yes,  I do know that a crappy bathroom looks better when it is clean and tidy.  And as I will never have a *proper* bathroom I really should make this one the best it can be.  Even putting the vacuum cleaner away and dirty clothes in the basket instead of the floor.  Blimey, they are just basics and wouldn't take 10 secs so I really don't know what is wrong with me.

So there you go.  I am a total SlackArse and it is shameful how we sometimes live.  There really is no excuse for it either.  This is not the way my mother brought me up and I'm pretty sure that none of my family live like this.  So why do I?  
I also know that I am not as stressed and therefore not in as much pain when the place is tidy.   If someone knocked on my door right now I wouldn't answer it.  Well, I would but I wouldn't feel good about asking anyone I know in.  Sometimes it's a good thing that I have no friends as no-one is likely to just drop in.  
Or maybe my messy house is the reason I have no friends...what came first...

So what can I do to change?  I am a member of "flying in wa" and I always get things tidy when I post to that group so I should look in there more often.
I actually posted on there this morning as I needed their help.  It is this email that got me motivated to make a start on the house.

By this afternoon the place will be tidy and I will be ready for anyone so if you are in the area...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Planting Chokos.

It's a beautiful spring day here today, hard to believe that we still have a few weeks of winter left.

I have been out planting Chokos.  Our vine died down a while back but there are still dozens of fruit laying around the place, most of them have shooted and I have finally gotten around to planting some of them.

The vine that we have growing gives us heaps of fruit but it is in between two tank gardens and shades the back garden too much and Hubby wants it gone.  He has said that I can leave it there until I get more plants up and producing which is good of him as he hates Chokos.

So far I have planted 6 and plan to put in 6 more this afternoon.  If they all take off then I am unsure what we will do with all the fruit but if we don't eat it at least it will be free chookfood.   They probably wont all take off though.  I keep reading how easy they are to grow but over the years I have only had success with the one vine even though I have planted heaps.

Fingers crosses that a couple of these get growing and fruiting.

I have given heaps of the fruit away so other people can grow them too and I know more people that want some so after I have given more away I will put a sign up letting people know that I have some if they want to try and grow them.  I think the more choko plants growing then the better off the world will be.  Yep, I really do believe that...So... Save the world, grow a choko vine.