Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Made Bread.

I used daughter L's recipe and even though it is a white loaf it was alright.
The bread was crusty on the outside but light and soft inside.  It wasn't very high but I *may* have put it in the oven too soon.

But it was made from scratch, no bread machine here.
Next time I will use wholemeal flour and add stuff but this, with some Choko Pickle and cheese, made a nice lunch. 

We had it with Tomato soup, shhh, out of a can!  But Hubby like it.   Next time I will  take some soup out of the freezer so it will be better.
I am going to try the *Five Minute* bread but this one was quick and easy to put together so I'll see if one is better than the other.

I'll ask L if she minds me putting the recipe here and if she doesn't I'll add it

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Made Soap.

Well, kinda.  I helped DD make soap.  We made the soap together.  Whatever way is was we did it.

We have both been wanting to for ages but you read about the dangers and it makes you a bit wary and you keep putting it off.  Because it's not safe.

Yeah, right.  It's just like anything else and of course there are things you need to be careful of but it's not like it's going to explode and blow your head off.   Unless maybe you did something stupid and weren't careful with the mixing but I think that a normal person with a bit of common sense should be OK with it.

The ingredients we used were all L's and as she wanted a Castil soap that she could use for anything they were pretty basic, Pure Olive Oil, water and the caustic soda.   It remains to be seen if we will be happy with this soap seeing as it only has Olive oil but our next batch will be a different recipe so we will be able to compare.
Weighing the water.
Adding the Caustic Soda to the water.
I had a turn mixing...

She had a turn mixing.
Pour it carefully into your mould.

Wrap it up and wait a couple of days before we can see what it looks like and then a  longer wait before we can use it.

But we both now have the confidence to make some for ourselves whenever we want to.

Neither of us has a Bamix or a stick blender strong enough to mix soap with and when Hubby heard that it would take a long time to mix before it was ready he made up a little mixer thing for us.  It goes in the cordless drill and worked a treat.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unwanted Nighttime Visitors.

I was lying in bed this morning wondering if it was too early to get up when I heard a noise outside.  So no, not too early and I get up, look for a torch, discard 2 that need new batteries, rummage under a pile of stuff and find another one and go out in the wet and cold.

Everything looks OK but I put on Hubby's old workboots and as I go clumping towards the chookpen I see some red eyes in there and I start shouting at the bloody things.  I hear them go out through the fence and think that there were at least 2 of them.   I go in the pen and see the chooks roosting, some in the fruit trees, some on the ground.  They all would have been an easy target.

Hubby will be home sometime today but not up to doing much so I will put them, the chooks,  in a lockup pen closer to the house tonight and borrow a foxtrap from a friend.  I might even sacrifice my liver to the buggers.  Well not my liver but the one in the fridge that I was planning on cooking for lunches.

Hubby will ask why I didn't get the gun out and shoot them but it was 4.30am.  And dark.  And son still has the gun.  And I can't shoot animals anyway...

I hate foxes.

Hours later....I am back from a walk and can definitely smell fox outside the gate and front fence.  I will ask son to bring his dogs out today and maybe get him and the daughters to save the dog poo for me.  I have heard that is a deterrent and other years when we have put it out we haven't had the foxes back.  Could be a coincidence but worth doing anyway.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Choko Mustard Pickle

This afternoon I made the "Easy Choko Mustard Pickle" from the Year In A Bottle by Sally Wise book.  Hmmm.  It's OK but I must have done something wrong.  I did double the recipe because the kg of Choko it needed was only 3 and as I had a bucketful to use I thought doubling the recipe would be the way to go. 

Maybe it wasn't.  I think there was too much liquid for the amount of choko and the cornflour didn't seem to thicken it so I added more but it still didn't thicken.  I was going to let it simmer away but it was getting too soft so I took it off the stove and bottled it. 
 The recipe said the Choko should be finely chopped but I think next I won't make it as small as I did today.

Sometime over the next week I will make up a different batch but I will use my mothers Cauliflower Pickle recipe, if I can find it.  Not sure why I didn't use that today as I know that is really nice when she makes it so I would know if I had the taste right or not.  'Cept I couldn't find it...
With this one, maybe it's suposed to taste like it does... I just had another spoonful and the 5 jars will be eaten as it's not awful and I'll see what other people think of it before I decide if it's worth trying again or not.  

The whole process would have been easier, and safer, if I didn't have to keep kicking the cat out of the way  so I could get to the stove.

Really Really Free Markets Have A Blog.

And I just found it. 
If anyone is interested the address is http://rrfmwaroona.wordpress.com/
It tells about what they are, where they are, when they are...

Check it out and if you are in the area then come along to one.

Choko Season.

It's Choko time again and though Hubby isn't too keen on them I think they are great.  They don't have much taste by themselves but they do take on the taste of whatever they are cooked with.  And I *have permission* to plant a few more.  Last year I had a massive one out the back, it had been growing between a couple of the tank gardens for around 3 years but last year after it died down after fruiting, as they do, it was eaten by slaters.  Luckily I am a slack gardener and had left a few fallen fruit in one of the tanks and a couple sprouted and they are this years vine.  It's not as big or as healthy as the last one but is still giving us enough fruit.  I say fruit but it is probably classed as more of a vegetable.  I planted a few more around the place last year but not many survived so I have 2 growing and giving us fruit now.
Choko in a tank garden in backyard.

Choko planted behind a drum alongside the driveway.

I will plant a few more this year as eventually I want to do away with the one out the back as it shades the big tank garden too much.

I add them to all soups, stews and one pot meals.  The daughter added 1 to her vegetarian lasagna that we had for last nights tea.  I use them as a dessert by adding to apple or pear and cooking them and serving as stewed fruit.  I actually add them to most things, much to Hubby's disgust.

I have a bucket of fruit inside now waiting to be made into pickles.  I was supposed to do it last week but haven't yet.  I did make some into a Bread and Butter Pickle and they are really nice but these ones will be more like a Cauliflower Pickle.  So...Best get to it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Really Really Free Markets.

These were on again in our town yesterday and as I have been decluttering I had quite a bit to take down.  And I am pleased to say that most of it went.  There were a few things that I was thinking if they didn't go then I would bring them back inside and keep them but someone needed them more than I do so that is good.  Yes, it is, really.

Because of the weather the markets were held in the hall this time and there were tables set up along the walls and down the middle, most of them were full of stuff.  The first 45 minutes or so were very busy with dozens of people going through everything and taking want they wanted.  It was great.  There was even free tea and coffee with freshly baked that morning muffins and choc chip biscuits. I saw a couple of people taking photos, there may be some on the Facebook page. 
Oh!  there was music too.  A group of people were on the stage playing and singing.  Real cool.

I know that the people putting these markets on would have had to pay to hire the hall so it was great to see such a great turnout.  It shows that there is a need for such a thing and if it saves stuff being dumped then it is all good.  A few people knew that the money was coming out of the pocket of the people who organised it so a bit of money was donated to help cover the costs of hall hire.  I think that was real nice of the people who thought to do that and next time I will donate a bit too.  I don't think that the people who organise it should be out of pocket at all but they believe in the concept so much that they don't seem to mind.

I came home with a few things but all stuff that I will use.
Notice the Earth Children books.  Two of them in hardcover.  A great start to me collecting the series.
I have been umming and arhing about buying a rack for the back of my bike and lo and behold, one was here.  A couple of other books that will be taken to the next one when I have read them.  Some lace curtains in the bag, I'm going to see if I can make them fit my living area windows, if not then they will go back to the next one for someone else to use.  A floor jigsaw for the grandaughter to have out here.  A good haul and not clutter AT ALL!!

The next RRFM is on Sat, 16 July. in the hall as far as I know but check out their Facebook page, become a member, come and see how they work.  I'm sure they will have just the thing you need.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No Power.

We had no power again today, this is the second time time this month that the electricity has been disconnected because of work of some sort on the lines.  It is good as it is a sure way of getting me off the computer and doing stuff.   No point sitting here if it's not working now is there.
So today I raked out one of the chook pens and topped up the drum gardens along the driveway with the scratched over grass clippings and I have done the same to a couple of the tank gardens out the back. I then scrapped off the top few inches of dirt, managed a few wheelbarrow fulls and used that in some of the tank gardens that were getting low in dirt.

The chook yard is now covered in all the grass clipping and weeds from today and in a few weeks time it will all be done again.

The Chrysanthemums that were leftover from the old garden that was in the middle of the front yard have been dug up and replanted so that area is one step closer to being finished. 

Came in and had lunch and was able to have a coffee thanks to the wood fire.
Power still wasn't back on so I went out with the thought of mowing a bit.  Put petrol in the mower, pulled the cord...and again...and again...and again...Think I might have to dip the sparkplug in to the fuel as I sometimes need to, some times I have heaps of trouble starting this mower...Hubby comes over and gives it 1 pull...Now I can mow.
Don't you hate that...when you try and try and try and *they* manage it first go.

Once started it goes forever and I managed to get most of it done, I still have a bit out the back door to do and then out the back around the big tank gardens and that area but am happy with what I achieved today.  Am so feeling it tonight though,  Everything is hurting but still, it's done and should look good for a week or two.

Maybe I should pretend there is no power again on Wednesday.  I get so much more done when I don't have the computer on but sadly, I don't seem to have the inclination to just turn it off and do what needs doing until it is done.  No matter, it's still all good.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Day Out.

I had a day out in Perth yesterday.  Went on the train with daughter L and her husband M.  It was great.  They showed me how to get the train to Freemantle so now I will be able to do it by myself.
The ride into Freo is nice, the train runs along the water as you come into Freemantle and you get to see all the ships coming in and going.
Once off the train we walked down to a shop called Kakulas Sisters, they bought a few things there and then we went on down to the markets.  I bought a pear to munch on, it cost 40cents .  Felt like the last of the big spenders but it was all I needed.  It was a really nice pear too.  On the way back to the station we walked into a Timezone type of place.  That was loud, noisy, lots of people...but we stayed a bit and walked around.  We probably stayed longer because M found a card that still had a bit of credit on it and we *had to* find a game to use it up on.  I then found a card that had no credit but100 points and as M's card had 13 points we got to spend the points at the counter.  We all ended up with a smiley face keyring and we got a big pencil as well.  It added to the fun but I suppose "you had to be there" to enjoy it.

Then back to the train station.  I "had to" use the loo there as I had been told that they were pretty cool looking and they were.  Massive and old style room.  If you are ever at Freemantle train station have a look for yourself.  I'm sure you will agree with me.
  On the train leaving Freo we saw some dolphins, that was also pretty darn cool.  Then back into Perth and on our way to Kakulas Brothers.  L and M go here quite often but this is the first time that I have been here.  It is the same family as the shop in Freo that we went to but prices are not always the same.  I think they get most of their stuff from here as it is close to the train station and the backpacks can get pretty heavy.  I didn't buy much, I mainly wanted a look and some lentils but it is a great shop for bulk stuff.  It has flours, spices, grains, coffee...heaps of stuff.  Well worth a look if you are in the area.  Well, well worth a train ride actually!

Then back home.  It was a long day and I did end up with a headache but 2 coffees when I got home soon fixed that.  I am starting to like this *day out in Perth* thing.  Anyone want to come with me next time?

More Free Food.

Son came out yesterday.  The freezer where he works broke down and the shop was throwing out a lot of the food so the staff got to take some home with them.  We now have 4 pizzas, in the fridge as they had defrosted and 4 boxes of Magnum icecreams in the freezer.  He also has some at his house. 
The sad thing is that he was working and didn't notice until later all the bags of icecreams going into the bin.  I think that is sad, the customers would have appreciated a free box of icecreams I'm sure if they were offered but apparently there is something to do with insurance that the shop is not allowed to do that.

I'm glad Hubby is home this week otherwise I'd be eating pizza all week by myself.  That would be sad.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thanks For Tea.

I call it tea, they call it dinner but either way a BIG THANKYOU for T and J for bringing it out and sharing it with me tonight.

I was going to cook up some liver and onions but the fish royales, wedges and peas and corn followed by homecooked muffins was much better.

I have the liver and onions back on the stove now and will have that tomorrow.


I'm sitting here eating a yummy Orange, just picked.  I'm not saying that we have a tree or two full of them though as that might encourage Orange pinchers to visit.

That's a pincher who pinches Oranges not a pincher that is orange. 

I saw a person that was orange once but that was due to a bad case of fake tan but I think an overdose of carrots will do the same thing.

Anyway, the Orange is was very nice.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Decluttering The Kitchen and Living Area.

 Well I was so sure that I would get all the kitchen cupboards finished on Wednesday but as usual, no, I was sidetracked.  I did tidy the bathroom so we can now walk in there without tripping over things.  And the bedroom has been cleaned.  A bit. Well clothes have been put away and the headboard dusted so it looks a lot better.  A few books have been put in the *to go* box.


I have sooo many things here that I don't use.  But I want to keep them.  Why?  What is the point of having things packed so tight in the cupboard that I couldn't get to it even if I did decide to use it.  There is no point to that.  That's the point!

One example was the coffee plungers.  Packed into Stored in the first cupboard that I cleaned out.   There were 2 in the cupboard in here but so much other stuff was in the same cupboard that I couldn't easily get one out to use.  And then I had to rearrange everything to put it away again.  Which is why it would sit on the bench for a week.  With the jars I pulled out to get to the plunger...No point putting them away 'cause I'd just have to pull them out again to put the plunger back in...Anyway... I picked the best one to keep and I have used it.
The woodfire was going, the kettle was hot, it was easy enough to make.  I just happened to have *real* coffee in the fridge and the fact that it had a best before date of 2005 didn't seem to take away too much of it's flavour.  I heated some milk and frothed it up...A lovely coffee with just a bit more effort than the instant.  So I will try and get in the habit of doing this.  A bonus was that I could leave it sitting on the stove so an hour later when I wanted another one it was still hot.  So no effort needed there. 
Now that that cupboard has been cleaned out the plunger is easy to get to and so will be just as easy to put away again when I have finished with it and that will make it more likely to be used.
A couple of  weeks ago I was looking for an insulated travel mug that I had in this cupboard.  I *knew* it was in there...somewhere.  I moved some stuff, pulled some things out and moved a few more things.  I must have been wrong, I couldn't find it.   Fast forward to the mouse poo and the cupboard needing to be cleaned out...and there it is.  See, I did know it was in there!  And now I can just reach in and get it when I want it and Hubby can put his back in his car ready for when I need it again.

Sink Cupboard.
This is finished but it took most of Wednesday.  Why so long?  Because I cannot seem to just get in and finish anything.  I go off and do other things, I read a bit. I go outside and talk to the chooks, I check emails, I pull some weeds up and once I pulled everything out and found oil or something had been spilled all over the top shelf and everything on that shelf was sitting in it so that was a real mess I needed a break.  That's my story anyway and i'm sticking to it.
I had a cardboard box in there that I kept some flysprays in and that had fallen to bits so I wasted time in the shed looking for another one.  But some of the shed is clearer!  Once again though not a lot was ditched.  What is in there goes in there.  "Cept for the pig worming medicine which is now out in the shed and  
I found a bag of sprouting Garlic and some sprouting Potatoes so they have been put outside to be planted.
But I added some pots that were in one of the other cupboards but this is where I keep pots and pans.  Hmmm... the pots that I added...I don't think I've ever actually used them... But I will... over the winter when the fire is going.
The whole cupboard is clean now and tidier so looks better, not that I am going to stand there and gaze lovingly into it or anything...But if I were to it would be a nice clean cupboard that I was seeing.

It is now Saturday and the daughters came out yesterday to help.  One is understanding of my wanting to cry, the other thinks I'm silly.  But they were going through Grass Roots and Earth Garden magazines!!!!  Of course I'm gonna be sad...even if the only ones going were doubleups.

Eating and Drinking.
How many plates, cups, glasses do 2 people need?  Probably not as many as I have kept.
I did get rid of all the ones that didn't match.  Kept the 10 that do...and the set of 4 that I really really like.  Talked about starting to use them...I use the plastic cups when I have a drink and I use the same one for the whole day but I will keep all the glasses...because I want to.  Some cups and saucers went, I did use a couple of the cups sometimes but have something else that can be used just as well.

We went through the TV cupboard.  That was a bit of a mess but is looking a lot better now.  Half the newspapers went.  I use newspaper for lighting the fire.  Some videos went.  They will go out to Myalup Beach and be kept in the caravan as the TV reception out there isn't much chop.  We put some jigsaws in this cupboard so that gets them out of the way. They were sitting out in the open...on a bucket of Mollasses that needs to be put out in the shed and will be, one day.

The book shelves were tidied up and I did relent and let a lot of garden magazines be put in the box.  That was hard but it has allowed me to clear some others, better ones, from the bedroom where they don't go.

So a big thankyou to L and T.  It is easier with someone else around questioning my wanting to keep something.  Some glasses that I loved have gone but I never used them as I was too worried about breaking them.  And I don't use glasses..L has taken them and she may use them as a vase and have them on display.  They are lovely glasses but way too fragile for me.

I don't have any *space* in the cupboards even though there is lots gone but everything has room to be spread out a bit so it's all easier to get to. 

I think there are going to be a few benefits to this decluttering and organising lark.

Some of the stuff that has GONE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Decluttering. Week 1.

First of June.  Start of DECLUTTER MONTH!  So where to start…Everywhere has stuff that I don’t use but is that a good enough reason for me to get rid of it?  No!! I don’t think it is.  I think that I want some things here just because they make me smile.  And I want to keep some things just because, well, because I want them. 
So I will pick an area and work from there.  Todays area will be the kitchen.  

There are five *areas* in my kitchen area, one that has already been done.  Today I will pick a cupboard, pull everything out from the top, wipe it over and get it clean then put back ONLY what needs to be in there.  Then do the same with the bottom.  Only when it is clean and organised will I move onto the next one but these aren't big cupboards and I really should get this area done today especially if I turn the computer off ...  But I have started another book, it's sitting on the bench in full view...and there's all the other outside stuff that I also have to get to...it's breakfast time and I want another coffee...

There is the cupboards under the sink...lots in there could go.    

There is the one where I keep the dishes, glasses, plastic containers.  Stuff falls out of this when I open the door so that shows that there is too much in there.  Or that there is the right amount but it needs to be better organised.  

There is the cupboard that has other stuff.  

The food cupboard and the cupboard that joins that.  These are where the mouse had been so have already been cleaned and decluttered a bit.  No *before* photo for these, just the after shots.
Five drawers on the end of this.  There was evidence that the mouse had been in a couple of those too.  I have done 2 of these, the cutlery drawer and the drawer that I keep plastic bags in.  I don't buy plastic bags but do keep what I get and reuse. 
After being sorted.  Still too full.

I had seen on UTube where people were folding their plastic bags up, making them small so I tried doing that too.   But I did it in front of Hubby and he made some comments about "losers", "not having anything better to do", "wasting time"  "throwing things away"...so I just scrunched them back up and shoved them back into the overfull drawer and tried to ram it shut.  He laughed, I huffed.  And whinged about having too many bags but not going to throw them out.  Next bag I got I scrunched in down in my hand and tied the handles around it to keep it scrunched.  Took seconds, maybe.  So when he!! was away I pulled all the others out and did the same to them.  Cut a milk bottle open and shoved them all in there.  Now the drawer shuts and he can't laugh at me anymore.

The kitchen area WILL be completed by Friday afternoon and then I will start on the table and TV area.