26 May, 2011

3 new additions to our family!

I'm so excited!!!

We have chooks! 3 of them. And they are just lovely. The very lovely Colleen and Grant gave us these chooks. They are 18mths old and are currently off the lay (or so Colleen and Grant thought). We decided to give them a go - if they don't lay, we've lost nothing. But after 2 days we got an egg!!! Very exciting!!

22 May, 2011

Weekend wrap up

I love the third weekend of the month, the weekend when the Roma Farmers & Artisans Market is on. Sometimes Marko and I go together, sometimes I go with Becc. This weekend I went with Becc and I left poor sick Marko on the couch at home. Before hitting the markets we went to Mitre 10 and ordered the sleepers for Becc's new garden, then we headed on down to the Big Rig where the markets take place.

This was the fourth market (I think), and this time there were heaps more stalls. The last couple of times it has been raining and so many stalls haven't bothered to set up. I think also they are gradually building the variety and number of stalls.

So this week there were two nursery stalls, Snake gully bananas (with a wide range of fruit and vege), the local Lavander farm, Desert Limes, Colleen's patchwork fabric, the community garden stall, a coffee stall, a couple selling garden mulch, and I'm sure there were a couple of others.

I bought a heap of fresh fruit and vege (below), some material for an apron (watch this space for the post on making the apron), some of Cecily's honey, a bag of mulch, a lemon grass plant and a punnet of leek seedlings.

After we had finished at the markets, we picked up my new chooks then Becc and Charlie came to my place and we set up my new chooks in their new home and also put together my new corrogated raised garden beds.
My ladies!

I also repotted my weeping mulberry,

and my native violet.

This morning (Sunday) I put all my fruit and vege into my trusty Tupperware Fridge Mates and re-organised the fridge. The chooks happily received the rotten zucchini's I'd forgotten were in the bottom draw and the rockmelon that had gone off on the bench....what a waste..but at least they didn't go in the bin, instead I'll get them back in eggs....I hope.

Also on my To Do list today was mounding up the soil around my potatoes (more info to follow), planting out the remaining sweet pea seedlings, splitting and repotting the lemon grass, repotting the rosemary and checking out what garden maintenance needed to be done. I got all of these jobs done, plus I made a big batch of curried pumpkin and lentil soup, made mini quiches with Becc and tonight baked banana and raspberry bread.

Phew what a crazy weekend!! But oh how satisfied I am with all that I accomplished.

18 May, 2011

Full time work vs. a well kept home

I have always yearned to be a stay at home mum. To look after my children and husband. To keep a tidy welcoming home that smells of home cooked meals and snacks. It's something that I always thought I wouldn't be able do while also working full time. I mean so far we don't have children and I put so much of my life into my job as a teacher. My heart, soul and a lot time, almost all of my time, go into being the best teacher I can be. In the past when I have felt like I wasn't keeping up at home, I just thought oh well, I'll do it better when I'm not working...but I'm beginning to think it is all in the planning.

My inspiration has come in a few forms, slowly over time and culminating this week. During our garage sale on the weekend, Lisa, Becc and I were discussing the virtues of a pot luck type food swap between a small group of us to help ease the pressure of working and running a household. We decided that it would be great to each cook up a big batch of something, divide it up to freeze and swap with each other. I think also the process of clearing out ready for the garage sale has given me a bit of motivation to gradually spruce up the house and find ways of keeping it clean, tidy and us well fed with minimal fuss.

Looking back it probably all really started with my Great Garden Makeover, and I'm now getting started one small project at a time, inside the house. This week I tackled the kitchen benches. I brought out a small shelf and re-organised everything on the kitchen bench. Since doing that on Monday night, I have not let it stay dirty or untidy for long because I'm just so pleased with how it is looking. I also packaged up and froze the spaghetti rather than relying on it for the rest of the week and lunches. I now have all those containers in the freezer ready for days when I don't feel like cooking.

Yesterday and today after school I got straight into the kitchen and cooked up lovely meals. I think really that all that's changed is my mindset. Yes, I have so much to catch up on to get the house in order, and a lot of thinking to do around planning ahead with food and shopping so that I am less wasteful, however I really feel like I'm making a good start. I am excited to harvest and preserve my own produce, small as the harvest may be, and I was thinking only today that I need to be setting more seeds to plant in a few weeks so that I have a continuous supply of lettuce and beets.

My cucumbers and zucchini are still alive despite our frosts this week. Being in the green house is really giving them a fighting chance. I'll be super excited if I can actually harvest anything from them.

16 May, 2011

The Great Garden Makeover - Part 4!

 Q. What does a girl do with her hard earned cash after a very successful Garage Sale?

A. This girl spends her hard earned cash at the local nursery!!!

After a late afternoon sale Saturday and an early morning sale Sunday morning, we found ourselves packing up what remained...mostly tupperware...so sad. We loaded all the 'I'm-not-taking-that-home-again' stuff into the boot of my car and Becc and I trooped off to Vinnies. After unloading at the donation bins, we headed for Plantaroma, our local nursery. There we drooled over many plants and couldn't decide on what we wanted.

Becc has been spending tons of her free time transforming her backyard from a bare piece of land, into a productive garden which in time will provide her family with delicious fresh produce. She has chooks and two garden beds already. You can read about Becc's exploits here.She is also pretty amazing in the kitchen and is inspiring me to live a greaner healthier life.

We spent over an hour at the nursery, having coffee and discussing the merits of different varieties of fruit trees - traditional vs dwarf. In the end I purchased a dwarf Lots O' Lemons, a weeping mulberry, a very healthy looking passionfruit and a large bag of premium potting mix. Becc purchased a Plum tree. Really, we could have gone crazy, but Becc has plans for most of the cash she made - new garden beds I think - and I have a car rego due...not exciting but necessary. 

We then stopped by Crazies (Crazy Clarks) and I bought 4 plastic tubs (pictured below), two hanging pots and a photo frame. 
I was only going to get pink, but decided I needed yellow for the lemon tree, and then also decided to get a purple one ( I know it looks blue in this photo - but it seriously IS purple). I would have rathered lime green but they didn't have any.

I found Marko's drill and drilled some drainage holes!!!

See!!! Purple!!!

I was originally going to put all the trees into the new pots, but decided that my new strawberries (from my trip to Charleville last weekend) desperately needed repotting, so they went into the two pink tubs.

Traditional strawberries

'Pinkie' strawberries

See, the pinkies have hot pink flowers rather than white!!! Eventually I'll mix them up for contrast, but for now they are in separate tubs.

My new gorgeous Lots O' Lemons!!! Doesn't it look healthy!!

And there are the new additions in their new home on the edge of the pavers!

The passionfruit in it's new pot/tub - the purple one that is pretending to be blue. I'm going to put up a wire trellis over that shocking plastic sheeting on the left of the picture and grow it up that rather than on the lattice. That corner gets scorched in summer and the pots can't be in the corner behind the plastic sheeting because it gets too hot. I'm hoping the passionfruit will keep it a little cooler once it covers that wall.

And here's some exciting discoveries!!! My potatoes have started to poke their heads through the layer of mulch!!! Once they are all up, I'll stack dirt around them and mulch again! So excited about the fresh produce I'm growing.  

I also decided to put this old old kitchen table that I don't use, out on the cement slab to use as a gardening table. I know it will get hammered out in the weather, but I'd rather repurpose this table than buy something new to go out there. Very exciting indeed!! All inspired by the lovely Becc!!!

And to cap of a glorious day and fabulous weekend, look at the sunset I got to enjoy! Several minutes later it was incredibly cold out, but I'm glad I got the photo!!!

15 May, 2011

3 friends + all their unwanted items + a cold Saturday morning = 1 Massive Garage Sale

With our icey hands wrapped around burning hot cups of coffee, Becc and I sat in my driveway awaiting our first customers. Our hands were so cold that it hurt to hold the hot coffee cups for too long and we had to keep putting them down while we waited. It was 5am and  7.5 degrees outside and still we waited. When 6am hit, the temperature dropped to 5.8 degrees and stayed around 6 degrees until 7am, when our first customers arrived.

Why, I hear you ask, were we out at 5 am?? Well you can thank my helpful teacher aide for that. We advertised a 7am start and amazingly all our customers respected our starting time, but my teacher aide warned me that regardless of what time we advertised, people would turn up at 5am. So we sat there in the freezing cold and ended up getting a blanket for our knees. 

Here are the pictures we took at about 6am.

I was trying to sell all my tupperware from my days as a demonstrator and we also had appliances, dinner sets,

Thank goodness for my hot pink uggies!!

Glassware and my Yum Yum words from my kitchen in Warwick (sick of hanging on to them and I can't stick them up here).

Becc dancing with one of her mops, which sold out!!

Lisa's amazing range of photo frames!

In this very blurry photo you can see all the linen on the pink sheet, books on the tables at the back, Lisa's amazing doll's house from her classroom, big photos, small tv, dvd player, video and dvd player, other electronics, box of craft supplies.....the list goes on...

Clothes and shoes,

Old lounge chairs, plus there was a dog house, fish tank light, big fish tank ships, air compressor, and much, much more.

Once people started arriving, we had a steady flow of customers. One lady spent a massive $200!! We were seriously shocked. Anyway, Becc and I sat there chatting, working out change and laughing all day. Lisa joined us for two blocks of time when it fitted into her new incredibly strict routine with bubba and supplied our morning tea / lunch. Lisa's bub and Becc's bub had a lovely time playing with a box of tupperware games gifts and were just soo cute (The kids were cute, not the games gifts). Thank goodness Becc is so super organised and totally got how I wanted to keep track of the money. We tallied the purchases according to who was selling it as we went. I sorted the items and told Becc how much money was for each person, she then tallied the total and gave them their change while I put their purchase in a bag.

This morning I added up all the money and divided up our profit - we each made more money than we thought we would. I was a little disappointed that I didn't sell more Tupperware, but people wanted me to negotiate on price and I'm not willing to. I have to get back the money I put into it. So I sold a little, but not as much as I hoped.

And here is what is left over!

My glassware,

my tupperware,

Becc's mugs, glasses and my kitchenware still new in their boxes,

linen, puppets, pillows,

frames, flowers, hot curlers,

shoes, clothes, magazines and


Pretty awesome isn't it. We are really pleased!

01 May, 2011

An early rise....

This morning I woke, needing to visit the house department as my DH would say, at 4am and then could not get back to sleep. So feeling inspired (and knowing we had no bread in the house) I set about making some. I got this recipe from the wonderful Becc, who found it in a book or on a website, I don't know which.


Wholemeal & Seed Bread (Annabel Longein)

4 teaspoons of honey
7 teaspoons of yeast
2 3/4 cups of wholemeal flour
2 3/4 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups of seeds + extra to sprinkle

Mix 4 teaspoons of honey into 2 cups of very hot (not boiling) water and stir in 2 cups of cold water. Make sure the temperature is just warm. Add 7 teaspoons of yeast and allow to stand for 5 mins. It's ready when foam starts to form. Add all the flour, salt and seeds. Mix until combined. Put into 2 loaf tins and slash the top. Sprinkle with extra seeds. Bake at 80 C for 20 mins then 210 C for 30 mins. Cool on a wire rack. 

Mmmm smells great!!

They were a little difficult to get out, as they had spilled out over the edges...next time I'll use 3 tins I think!!


Scraping the spilled bits out of the oven...didn't think to put a tray underneath in case...oh well.

Now for the Banana and Raspberry bread...I'll post it tomorrow!