Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Because I am so lazy, on the public holiday on Monday I made more apple pies (a big one and a dozen mini ones) and mini quiches. I did this so I don't have to make sandwiches in the morning for lunch for our number one and only son.

It has worked out really well, I still have to get up in the morning (we all have our crosses to bear) but no lunch to make, just get one mini apple pie and two mini quiches out of the freezer and put them into containers and into the lunch box. I love it, I'm thinking he may have to live on apple pie and quiche for the rest of his school career :)

My partner in crime and life has taken this week off work (long service leave) to just hang out and mow and stuff. So while he is home I am getting him to help me build some more gardens while businesses are open, and he is home to go to the open businesses.

So far, we have gone and bought some more Bessa blocks, we bought seconds which were a light terracotta colour and rough on one side, which we faced outwards as a feature :) We just need two half blocks to fill in the gap of one garden bed, we didn't measure it and then decided that we would fill it. We made sure we measured the rest.

Today we went back to the tip and bought more mulch, we have bought it before and put it around the fruit trees and natives. It is quite good and quite cheap (big plus) but apparently we aren't filling the trailer enough (according to the tip guy) so next time we will fill it more. At least we don't have to take it far (the transfer station is just across the road) or I would have visions of mulch flying out the trailer down the highway as we travel at a hundred kilometers an hour.

On Friday we will go and get a trailer load of garden soil from not too far away, and then I will be able to finish off those beds and start planning for the next row. At least I have some gardens to play in, one in not enough, I look at it about six times a day to see if they are growing, a lot a pressure for one small garden plot.

Today we had to take our dog to the vet as she was weeing blood. I thought she had a urinary tract infection (which she does) but to prove that we had to get a urine sample. Now how do you do that? We had never had to get a urine sample from a dog before and thank goodness she is a girl dog, don't know how we would have managed with a boy dog.

So before we went to the vet we found a tray, one of the styrofoam trays that I always keep to reuse for something and my partner in crime is always trying to throw away, and then we took the dog for a walk. Off across the paddock we went to try and catch a wee. As it turns out, it wasn't as difficult as we thought it would be, my partner in crime and life held the lead while I walked behind with the tray waiting for her to squat. It all happened so fast I nearly missed it, but we caught it and put it in a zip lock bag, apparently they haven't had one in a zip lock bag before :)

So now she is on antibiotics, morning and night, to clear it up, and then another urine test to check it is gone once the tablets are finished. So that means we have to catch dog wee again, oh well, we gotta do what we gotta do :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

We had a really good night last night. Yesterday afternoon we built a fire so we could burn some old bills and stuff, and we just stayed on out there.

We watched the sunset by the fire and it was so peaceful. Our number one and only son got an apple and put it on a stick at roasted it in the fire, the stick did burn and the apple fell in to the fire but that was OK, it was going to be black anyway. He loves the sweet taste of cooked apple.

We also pulled out a fair amount of sensitive weed while sitting there, there was stacks of it and my partner in crime and life kept sitting on it. Eventually we all ended up with a seat off the ground :)

Our number one and only son also went and washed some potatoes and wrapped them in foil to throw in the fire. They did burn a bit through the foil, but it didn't matter they were YUMMY :) We grated some cheese, cut open the potatoes and mushed in the cheese with baked beans. It was the best meal.

My partner in crime and life went and got his guitar and entertained us around the fire. Despite having arthritis in his hands, he managed along for a while. I love to hear him play, he used to play a lot but not so much now, I hope he does more of it in spite of his hands.

So we had a wonderful time sitting around the fire just talking and enjoying ourselves, we certainly plan on do this more, especially as it starts to get a bit colder :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

School went back this week and I am now trying to get into a proper routine and doing my thing, whatever that is.

I don't think I will get used to my clothes line but it does the job of drying the clothes which is the main thing, and it does a pretty good job. After having a bit of a whinge to my mum and mourning my old line, she has decided that if she moves she will take her old clothes line with her :)

I made more apple pies using my new pastry sheet and it worked really well, you don't need to use any flour to stop the pastry sticking and it is really easy to clean. I made one large pie, a dozen mini pies for lunches and I didn't kill the jam tartlets this time :) The mini pies are huge hit as they freeze well and then can just be popped into lunch boxes, so I will have to make more next week as they are going like hot cakes.

My seedlings are going along very well with the Lebanese cucumbers coming up first, then the bush beans and last the Ceylon spinach. The rocket isn't going too well and I have never have it fail before so I don't know what has happened there.

One of the lovely ladies at Tai Chi has given me some bean seeds, she called them long beans and I think they are snake beans, but regardless, they are very long and I appreciate any seeds I am given. All will be going into the garden and these beans are easy to grow.

I am hoping to build some more gardens next week as my partner in crime and life has taken the week off and we will be able get stuck in. I have some plants that really need to be put in a garden like the sweet potato and the kang kong, and I need to get seeds or I will never have a garden :(

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I finally have a clothesline, it is very exciting. We bought a Hills hoist so my clothes can spin around in the middle of the paddock, but must say they are quite flimsy compared to the old ones.

It is quite light, being made of aluminium with plastic bits and moves around a bit. The old ones (which are my favourites) are quite strong and sturdy and I am sure nothing can rip them out of the ground, now wishing we had of thought to find a way to rip our old one out at the other house and put the new one in there :) Hindsight is twenty twenty.

Of course what happens when you put up a new clothesline? It rains :o So I haven't been able to use it until today, so hopefully it won't rain when I am out this morning and the washing will dry on a proper clothesline, sort of :)

The other day we made a sour dough bread starter. Having done a bit of research and reading about what others have said we decided to give this a go.

It is very simple and so far seems to be working. We have to feed it every day, tipping out half and then feeding it more, so we will see how it goes, we are looking forward to making sour dough bread next weekend :)

Yesterday in the mail I received a pastry mat from my mum. Obviously some of my kitchen habits go against the grain for some of the older generation :) so now I can save my bench a bit when rolling out pastries and dough, I will try it our this week by making mini apple pies. Thanks mum :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Poppy's Apple Pie

We have a day at home today and I want to do some work outside. It won't be anything exciting just some mowing, pulling out some sensitive weed that sort of stuff. Maybe I might get all enthused and move those rocks that are annoying me and put them around the tanks, I usually have to be really fed up with something to do a big job like that alone and I don't' think I am there yet :)

The other day we made "Poppy's Apple Pie", it used to be called "Eric's Apple Pie" for years but has now been officially renamed :) It is the easiest recipe ever and the yummiest and even I have never ruined it (though I can't say the same for the jam tartlet thingys we made), and you would never go back to a store bought pie again.



1 3/4 cups SR Flour
1 3/4 cups Plain flour
200grams butter/marg
pinch salt
2 teaspoons sugar
200 ml (approx) water leave moist

Stewed Fruit

4 cooking apples (or pears, peaches, apricots, plums or nectarines
2 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves

Peel fruit and cut into quarters and remove cores. Put 1-2 cm if water into a sauce, add sugar and cloves and bring to the boil. When boiling add fruit and cook gently with the lid on until tender. Allow to cool, remove cloves.

Rub marg/butter into flour, add salt and sugar. Mix in water but do not over beat, use fork. Knead lightly on floured board and roll to required thickness. Put pastry into pie dish and add the stewed fruit, place cover pastry on top and join using milk (we cut strips and use a criss cross pattern as that is what Poppy told me years ago). Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cook 180 degrees for 40min.

Of course when it came out of the oven we had apple pie and ice cream for lunch, and then after dinner that night we again had apple pie and ice cream. Then last night, as we had run out of ice cream, I made custard and we had apple pie and custard YUM.

Yesterday my partner in crime and life came home with two chook eggs and four duck eggs which had been given to him by a mate from work. He has all these free ranging chooks and ducks at his place and my partner in crime and life can't wait to have the same (though we are waiting a bit before we do this).

To finish off this post I have to say we are very proud of our number one and only son, he now officially has his Junior Open Water Dive Licence. He did all his theory and stuff last Sunday and yesterday he went diving on the reef and completed the open water part of the course. He has been diving since he was 8 years, so about four and half years, with a dive school that teaches kids and now we can go out together without an instructor.

He had the best day, and even though he had to do all his skills at about 12 metres down, he barely thought about that part as he is so familiar with it. All he could talk about when he got home was about the really big turtle he saw and they swam along with, the stingrays they saw, sea cucumbers and star fish, mauri wrass fish with a shark bite, clown fish, bat fish, trevally.

He is now talking about what is the next thing in diving he can do, and can't wait till he is 18years so he can do his masters, it opens up a whole new world and gives him more options. It is just a wonderful thing for him to do, and I am really glad we have been able to give him this experience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One thing about living in a shed is the lack of cupboards, actually no cupboards. Luckily there is a kitchen so there are obviously cupboards there but no wardrobes, linen cupboards, laundry cupboards, all the cupboards that you would normally take for granted.

When we bought this place there was a wooden framed wardrobe left in the bedroom, this has now become our linen cupboard and still lives in our bedroom as there really is nowhere else for it to be. The front rolls up when you want to get into it and rolls down to hide the mess :)

Yesterday I decided that it was really time to tidy it up as we couldn't really find anything, everything had just been thrown in there as we found it and not organised. I didn't take a before photo, which is just as well as it was beyond embarrassing.

For the first time ever I matched up the sheets and put them in the corresponding pillowcase, some of these are old but can still be used and they are now easy just to grab out. Our number one and only son has about four sets of sheets in his draw, not including the ones currently on his bed, they are still sets even if they are mismatched :p

Eventually we will be putting some extra cupboards on the walls in the laundry/bathroom which means some of the stack of towels can move into there. Which will be good as we have a very tall pile of towels, which is not a bad thing, you can always use towels, but they don't have to all be in one pile.

Now all I have to do is find a home for all the spare pillows that we somehow have accumulated. And I wish I could say that I had thought (all by myself) to put sheets inside the pillowcase to keep it all together and easy to get out, but I read that tip on the Simple Savings website. Mind you, I can't figger out why I DIDN'T think of it, though I am sure that many others have been doing this for years and never told me ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Busy couple of days, my partner in crime and life was sick on Sunday and I had to run up and down the mountain with our number one and only son. He had to go and start his dive course, so I didn't mind.

Our number one and only son didn't really want to do it but wants his junior open water certificate, so has to put in the effort. Being nearly 13 years, he thinks he shouldn't have to work, but we are trying to beat that idea out of him ;) As it turns out, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be because he knows it all already seeing he has been diving since he was eight with the same instructor. He now has to go out to the reef to do the open water part of the course and also pass a multiple choice test. Once it is all done we will then all be able to dive together as licenced divers, however that may some time in the future as the coffers are empty right now :) but that is OK, thing is we can if we could :)

As it has been school holidays and we have had multitudes of kids here (or so it seems), our number one and only son has been getting to know them all fairly well. The kid from next door brought him motor bike down yesterday and let our number one and only son ride it. It was a first for him and he was just thrilled, I think the kid from next door is looking forward to having a riding partner when we eventually get a motor bike here, he is certainly fanning the fires at our place to hurry it along.

However, there are some conditions for getting a bike (isn't there always?). Our number one and only son has to do well at school, and the bike we get won't be brand new, and it not to cost much, and he doesn't run into my garden :p

The big thing that the kids have been doing is going to the swimming hole at the creek and swimming and using the flying fox. Even the girls go down, but I don't think they use the flying fox, and if they do there is a lot of screaming involved, we can hear them from here so we know :)

The kids have told us that the swimming hole doesn't dry up in the dry season (not that anyone would be swimming in it as it would be too cold), but it will be interesting to see.

I have discovered that by connecting three hoses together, they will reach the garden from the tap near the shower, so I am pretty happy. So yesterday I got to water the garden with a hose for the first time :) it was very exciting. So now there is no real rush to get a tap put in near the garden as we can easily water as it is.

So now I am just waiting for my seeds to become seedlings, wish they would hurry up, such a slow thing gardening. However they pumpkin seedlings are going very well, I am expecting loads of pumpkins. The next garden I am going to build will be for the sweet potato which are currently in a large pot but need to be in a garden.

I best get on with the housework, having spent so much time in town I haven't had time to do much cleaning and so really need to, especially living in a place where the inside is out and the outside is in :) So off to set my timer (15 minutes per area) just so I don't get too carried away with he cleaning, ha, like that would ever happen :))

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Our place has become like Pit St, we seem to have kids coming through all the time, who said that the country was quiet? Though at the moment we are going into town every day and I am tired. At this rate I might just drop out of society (the preferred option) or maybe just get more organised and start saying "no", that will probably happen when the school holidays are finished.

With all the comings and goings here it is very difficult to have an outdoor shower, but today I dashed out and had one when it seemed all the traffic had ceased for the day.

We have improved our outdoor shower and it seems to be good improvements. We put down weed matting (which was made from recycled plastic bottles), added some extra pavers including in the part where we stand. My partner in crime and life didn't like standing on all the pebbles despite the fact that it would have been massaging his feet. So we put pavers in the middle and the pebbles around them, we also put extra pavers in the front to stand on when you get out.

I have also finally made my first little vege garden, I was getting a bit frustrated that it was taking so long and at least now I have some dirt to play in. It was hard to decide what to plant so I decided that I would put in rocket, Lebanese cucumber, Ceylon spinach and bush beans.

The Ceylon spinach will eventually take over that garden but by then the others will be gone. It is only a small garden but I wanted to put in as much as I could in that small area, so I divided it into four. I hope they all grow :)

We have done a bit of mowing today, the ground is drying out now the rain has stopped. Though, this means that for the moment I will have to bucket water to the plants. Eventually we will have a tap put in at the bore shed near the garden, but that is not yet :( but we should be still getting some rain for a bit :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We have had a full day in town today, Tai Chi class this morning, Chiro appointment (yes I don't always practice what I preach but I am working on it) and our number one and only son had his dive medical done so he can get his Junior open water certificate (he had better pass).

So we didn't get home until late this afternoon, and so am catching up on emails and such, having a glass of wine, and had to take these photos of the rain (it was supposed to go away for a bit).

Even if you can't actually see the rain directly outside you can see the mist over the bush in the distance out the door. Just love that view :)

I can look at this all day, except if it stops raining :p

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We all know that we must keep our cars in good order but when you move out of town you are really aware that if you break down or run out of petrol it will be in the middle of nowhere. And while we aren't quite in the middle of nowhere, it is still out enough :) AND, I have now learnt that diesel vehicles don't have spark plugs, who knew? I didn't :)

We have done some work on the truck, servicing and getting all four tyres replaced, and now it is time for the car. This morning we have been to get the two back tyres replaced and Monday it will be serviced. We really notice it going up and down the mountain, skidding in the wet due to bald tyres is a bad thing, already seen enough cars off the edge and we really really don't want to go down that road (literally).

Despite our tanks now being full and we will still be getting rain for a bit, we are still quite frugal with our water. Guess it is another thing about living out of town and having to rely on ourselves a bit more, no town water, and while we never wasted water, we never had to think about running out either.

In saying that though, one of the things we have always wanted was to be more self sufficient, growing our own food, sew our own stuff, entertain ourselves. So, all these changes to our lives are actually quite small as we have lived this lifestyle to a degree for a long time, and the change from town isn't very much, nor was the decision a big one for us as we have been working towards it for years.

Someone asked me if we regret the move (what are they thinking?), due to the rain and all that, all the stuff in their house is going mouldy as they live in the rainforest. The only thing I regret is having to go into town so much, I enjoy my classes but wish I didn't have to go for anything else except maybe garden supplies :p

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Our little tanks out the front are constantly overflowing even though I am taking water out for the washing machine and stuff like that. So, that means that the large tanks are filling, they don’t have very far to go.

Yesterday we used up most of the insulation on the kitchen wall. It holds in there rather well and was quite easy to put up. The fridge’s and freezers should start to work a bit more efficiently now, which is good as I cleaned out the big fridge the other day and found carrots freezing in the bottom, I am sure that is not good :(

So the plan now is to buy some more insulation and finish off the rest of the shed, we are hoping it will keep us slightly warmer in the winter. Eventually, way down the track, we will put real walls up, but it is more cosmetic than anything else.

Today it is still raining, so we went into town where it is also raining and has poured down every Saturday we have been in for the last couple of months (or nearly every Saturday).

When there is a break in the rain (I am optimistic there will be one) I am going to re-pot my bay leaf tree/plant. It has been living in a pot for I don’t know how many years, completely neglected but surviving, so I am going to transplant it into bigger, prettier pot and put it up in the garden. I was thinking about put it in the ground until I read that they can grow to 38 feet, so I really need to bonsai it :)

It really doesn’t look like it is going to stop so I might just put on my raincoat and my new (unfortunately coloured) pink socks. Had no choice, my socks are getting mixed up with the men’s socks and I have none. As it turns out, the shops didn’t have purple or red socks my size in the brand I wanted, only black (which are the ones that have been relocated into other drawers) or stripy pink. At least they will be covered up in black gum boots :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Must write about the lovely spice rack that our number one and only son made in tech at school. I don't know yet what mark he received for it but I would give him top marks, but I guess that is because as a mother I have on rose coloured glasses, I think most things he does are pretty good.

So, I have now refilled all my spice jars and put them into my new spice rack. It is a good one as the shelves are deep and I can put some of my bigger jars in, my other one can't do that.

Being school holidays, our number one and only son has to keep himself amused so this morning he made an air cannon. It consists of a bucket with a hole cut in the bottom and plastic over the top, you then hit the plastic and a shot of air comes out, it is pretty freaky, but it works.

He has been down to the flying fox at the creek with the kid from next door, they have also been playing golf. Our golf holes are tomato stakes in the ground and there is a water hazard, I think they both lost their balls in the water hazard and we probably won't find them until the dry season when the water is dried up. They are currently out in the paddock with my big purple exercise ball kicking it around, and I am hoping they don't kill it :), especially since my partner in crime and life has decided to participate, killing the ball is a possibility :p