Weekend Wrap

Had a great weekend! We live close to some beautiful natural landscapes and we don’t often enough take the time to celebrate their beauty by visiting them. This weekend, (thanks to the efforts of a friend who orchestrated the day) we visited a couple of lovely little waterfalls in the forest close to Morwell. Was great for us all to have a long overdue catch up, get some exercise and fresh air while taking in the lovely sights of the bush. Only a couple of leeches got to their target too!IMG_9335

Morwell River Falls

Rockface

ground cover

Funghi

Back at home!

Got a few jobs that had been niggling me out-of-the-way too. One was the poor old Fowler’s room looked like it was straight out of a scene from the TV show hoarders!

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Since we moved it has been a dumping ground and nothing has been put away properly, open the door, drop and run! I hate being so disorganised so it was nice to get everything into its own position. All cheese-making, home brewing, bottling and Christmas decos now in dedicated spot. I can see the floor again, yay!

Shiitakes on toast!

Yummy breaky today (last night leftovers), GMH cooked mushrooms with white wine, garlic, lemon zest, S&P and sour cream. Topped with chopped parsley served on toast and it was lovely. Shiitakes have proven to be a very rewarding thing to grow.

Shiitakes on toast

Girls get an extension

With the wet week we’ve gratefully had, I was concerned about the girls only having a small area in the coop so tacked on a bit of a playground for them. I hope the new chook house isn’t too far away………….

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Seed Saving.

I had let some black cherry tomatoes stay on the plant so I could save the seed for growing next season. We really enjoyed the flavour of these little beauties so wanted to ensure it can be repeated. Squish tomatoes in water and let sit until liquid starts to ferment a bit, wash really well (use a strainer), then place seed onto some paper towel and let dry out. Make sure they are really dry to avoid them rotting while stored. Wrap in tinfoil, label and plant into punnets in about September (I’ll do in July because I have the Greenhouse).

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Sitting in front of the fire now, all toasty and satisfied that I have achieved something this weekend. Hope you feel the same.

Goal achieved!

The blog I posted Friday set me a target to do a few jobs and I am pleased to have achieved that target. Ticks to all the following:

Have my cello lesson – √

Make Quince paste – √

Tidy up – √

Plant something – √

Cleared some leaves – √ (didn’t mow them, will get a few more together and do all at once).

Enjoy our Indian Tea – √ Sure did, made a thermos full which we sipped throughout the day.

Now as for quince paste  cooked in a slow cooker.

How good is this? I wasn’t too optimistic but am thrilled with the result. No fuss or bother and a much cleaner method of production. I might even make another couple of batches while I’m so keen.

Quince minced

After stewing the fruit overnight I put the whole lot through the tomato passata machine.

Quince Paste ready

Into the pot with equal parts of sugar and just let go for hours, gave a stir every now and again. Took the lid off the pot for last couple of hours. Colour is beautiful taste is excellent.

Quince in tray

Into muffin tray to set. When cooled and dried out a bit the individual pieces should be just a nice size to go on a platter!

Girls go free.

We let the girls out for a run and they had a ball! Explored lots of nooks and crannies and devoured loads of bugs of all sorts. Dust baths were had and they were very curious whenever we were working on something. I’ve also added a photo of the massive egg Hilda lay on Friday.

Hilda dust bath

Egg massive

Mother’s Day Tea.

Had a fun-filled evening with the kids home for the first roast dinner cooked in the combustion stove. I set the lounge room up formally (haven’t done that for eons!), decorated the table with a little bit from each of our mums and grandmothers. My mums brocade white table-cloth, MIL’s antique glass lamp, G/Ma H, lovely little green glass bowl and G/M C’s antique sliced bread jar which we used for nuts. Roast was beautiful and my daughter bought along an apple and blackberry crumble which I am enjoying again as I do this post. While the oven was fired up I took advantage of the heat and put on a big pot of stock to simmer away. Smells great! Not much room between stove top and chimney though! Makes it a bit tricky when lifting the lid.

Stock pot
Everhot combustion stove with stock pot simmering.
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Stock simmering away beautifully

Other updates.

Planting (mostly done by husband) consisted of broccoli seedlings, lime tree, established camellia asakura X 12, Eucalyptus Silver Princess X 3, ginkgo biloba that I purchased from the Monbulk Scout plant sale. Amazing how a bit of dimension to a yard makes it feel so much better!

Camellia asakura
Established Camellia asakura planted to begin framework of hedge which will be seen outside bedroom window.

Last of the ‘very unattractive’ 60’s wardrobe removed, getting very excited about how this master bedroom is going to develop.

Wardrobe last bit

This last bit was pulled out minutes later. That’s about the last (apart from kitchen) bit of house that really holds that old stinky smell gone.

Hydronic radiator lounge

One of our new hydronic heating panels-love it!

Bottles

Couple of old bottles plumber found under the house. The beer bottles has MBCV logo on glass which after googling is apparently from around the 1930’s. Many more under there apparently. Wonder if patients needed a bit of ‘Dutch Courage’ before they entered the clinic!

Strawbs mildew

Mmmm, bit concerned that there is powdery mildew appearing o the strawberries. Organic control is apparently done using some or all of the following, diluted pure full cream milk, bicarbonate of soda, potassium bicarbonate and a canola oil-based product Synertrol. I think this has developed because the greenhouse was closed up on the few rather warm days this week. Must get those auto window openers going!

Have had a lovely afternoon working on design for bathroom reno, watching the very funny movie ‘Death at a Funeral’, eating leftovers from Mother’s Day dinner and occasionally doing something constructive. Hope others have had a lovely weekend too!

High hopes weekend.

It’s Friday night and I’m doing a  post of anticipated weekend activities in the hope I may  actually achieve a few. I have many jobs planned for the weekend as well as having everyone here on Saturday for Mothers Day. Looking forward to firing up the wood fired oven and cooking the first roast in it. I got to the oven last weekend with a wire brush attachment on the drill and got rid of most of the surface rust. Cleaned out all the little nooks and crannies of soot and gave it a good coat of stove polish. Looks great and fires up really well. Looking forward to that roast!

Oven 1

Quince jelly and paste.

One of the joys of blogging is that you get inspiration, ideas and reminders relating to all sorts of things from cooking to just about anything you can mention. I had a reminder the other night when reading a post on Slow Living Essentials that it is quince season, I hadn’t thought about it at all as I do not have a productive tree like the lovely one I had at the old place. I love my quince jelly, especially on hot cross buns or as a glaze on chops or chicken and my supplies have run out so that set in place a job for this weekend. Along with the jelly, you just can’t avoid putting aside some quince paste while these intriguing fruit are available. Inspiration from the Slow Living Essential blog that you can make the paste in a slow cooker really piqued my interest. That too is on the list for the weekend! Quince cleaned and chopped in the slow cooker – can’t wait to see how this goes.

Quince defuzzingQuince in pot.

Will keep you posted on results

Go Hilda!

Egg first

We have been getting an egg every second day from Hilda. First two were 90g but tonight she’d produced a whopper 100g one. The girls are settling in very nicely, I am spoiling them a bit with a nice warm Weet Bix mash in the morning and I have bought tins of sardines to feed every now and again to keep the protein levels up. Tomorrow we will let them out for a run and see how it goes.

Warmth at last!

After many broken promises we finally had our hydronic heating system installed during the week. I must say it seems to appear that it will be even better than anticipated. Feel a bit cheated now that it’s been quite warm this week! In order for the radiators to be installed we had to ‘patch’ some sections of the bedroom floor that are severely damaged by borer. A more detailed post on heating to follow.

Borer boards damage

Our builder will begin replacing floor boards, take out a wall to open up the two bedrooms into one large room very soon. We have purchased recycled Baltic pine boards in the hope they will blend with the existing floorboards that are staying. We have to remove the very unattractive 1960’s wardrobe before he starts just in case we find more damaged boards under it. We took the plaster off the wall being removed a couple of weeks ago to get a feel of what the room will be like.

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Right side shot is taken from a video clip so clarity a bit dodge. Still, get the feel of how big this room will be.

Other planned weekend jobs.

  • Have a very overdue cello lesson! I have been very slack with lessons this year, there has just been too much else happening (my excuse) so need to get back into gear.
  • Clean up some of the thick layer of oak leaves that have fallen so far and put into compost after chomping with the mower.
  • General tidy up. It is very easy to quickly become out of control when renovating so need to rein it in.
  • Make another batch of our delightful ginger tea we discovered while in India.
  • Plant something.

Best intentions, lets see how we go.

 

 

 

 

Yay day!

After a considerably yucky week of feeling a bit over work, tradesmen, lack of progress and a bit of a bug, today was a nice respite from it all. I finally managed to get the bags of bulbs I took from our old garden planted. Not exactly sure which are which but I know there are daffodils, jonquils, bluebells, freesia and some others I’m not sure of. That’s going to make it a nice surprise when they appear!

Bulbs to plant

The garlic is coming up nicely but the bed is attracting a lot of blackbirds and some serious scratching is going on so I netted the bed in the hope this will deter them until the plants are well established.

Garlic upBirdnet over garlic

When I removed the temporary garlic bed there were some eggplant bushes that I transplanted into pots in the greenhouse. I had no idea whether or not they would transplant successfully but they are flowering and some young fruit has formed so fingers crossed I may have an extended crop. The flowers of eggplant are really pretty!

Eggplant flower

Eggplant

While in the greenhouse it was good to see the young lettuce plants and the strawberries are going so well too.

Lettuce

I cannot remember the last time I have had such a sensational parsley crop. Planted in the asparagus bed it just hasn’t stopped. I should take some to the local swap stall or donate some to the pub and cafes!

Parsley with asparagus

2 new family members!

I have been holding off getting chooks until the new coop is here but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I bought two point of lay Isa Browns and they are going to have temporary digs in the mobile coop I built a few years ago. When we have the permanent housing here I will expand the flock. They seem to be settling in really well and it is lovely hearing that burrk, burrk sound again. I was especially pleased to see them gobble up a great handful of slaters that I got from the compost! We have named them Rene and Hilda. When I was very young we used to regularly visit close, elderly friends of mums in Mortlake, Western Victoria. The Jones sisters, Olive (Ollie), Rene, Hilda, Mabel and their brother (his name will come to me). These visits are greatly treasured and I believe are what led me to loving old houses, open fires, growing food and woodfire stove cooking. I might have to do a separate post on this! Meet Rene & Hilda. This was immediately after setting them into the coop so some better photos are sure to follow.

Chooks

Some new pillows, all bedding freshly washed and dried hanging in the sun, mmmm, looking forward to bed tonight.

Nice simple dinner of roasted veg-our first meal with this seasons pumpkin. Roasted with olive oil, thyme added some cherry tomatoes for last half hour and served with crumbled fetta cheese and chopped herbs. Very hearty indeed.

Roast veg

Tomorrow I’m hoping to wash all the windows so they are nice and clean for when the new holland blinds arrive! May keep an extra degree or two in each room on these chilly nights.