We have been cruising along for the last two years working on the things that you can’t really see making much of a difference, water pipes, rewiring, new gas line, levelling. The first visible (apart from some paint work) major change we have done to the structure of the house commenced this weekend. Although a lot of bedrooms, they’re all small and didn’t really have any that lent themselves to being what we accept these days as a master BR. We decided to knock out a wall between two and create one large room. This room also had sections in the flooring where some patching had been done by cutting straight lines and fitting in normal pinus radiata,quite tacky really! A visit to Hughes Renovations Paradise led us to sourcing some Baltic pine flooring that matched our original floorboards. Our builder also had to install a massive beam in the roof as we wanted the ceiling to be smooth across the whole room and not looking like 2 rooms turned into one. A few replacement timbers damaged years ago by borer and we were up and running.
Another day, another difference!
While all the action was going on inside I donned my rain coat and headed out to construct a bed for my spuds (potatoes). Collected a few bits of timber from the scrap heap, screwed them together and started to add some of the compost from the open heap that doesn’t appear to be doing much. The plan is to put the dry matter on the bottom of the bed and add the good stuff from the bottom of the heap to where the tubers will be planted. The litter was full of goodies and the girls went berserk. I’ll probably let the girls have a good old scratch in this for a week or two before planting it out.
Mr Hans (Happy Birthday Mr Hans!), started doing the brick edging around the dedicated garden beds. I’m very excited about the development of the garden and this lovely damp but not too cold weather is great to get plants in and settled before it gets too wintery.
I hadn’t really thought about how successful last years garlic harvest was until today. I had a big bowl of heads still plaited together on standby as gifts but needed to refill the kitchen supply. I cut all the plaited stalks off and weighed the garlic, 1.7kg! Now that’s impressive when you consider I spent $40.00 on planting stock, have given away probably close to 20 lots of 3 heads plaited together as or part of gifts, have used an equivalent sized bag since December in the kitchen as well as making garlic spray for bugs. All still really firm and not showing any signs of beyond shelf life. I am really happy with using the fruit exclusion bags for storing, air circulates, holes are small enough that scrappy bits don’t fall through and they hand easily. I also have bay leaves I picked from the old house stored in these.
In the kitchen.
With silver beet still a plenty and some ricotta cheese that needed a purpose I whipped up some muffins to take to work this week. Look and smell pretty good. First time I have used the toy oven for baking although I had to buy some muffin tins small enough to fit in, I am very happy with this little machine. Much better too than heating a huge oven for small items.
Soul food shanks-
this weather is so suited to using the slow cooker. I had a couple of lamb (although by their size I think they may well be dinosaur shanks) so set them up this morning with a base of red wine, carrot, onion, stock and onion, bouquet garni, covered by foil to keep moist and simmered along all day. Mash, peas, some leftover cauli in white sauce, a reduction of the simmer sauce with shiitake mushrooms added and it was like being back in the 60’s with a Sunday lunch. Way too big but we did salvage enough to turn it into two meals.
Time to do some more slow cooker stock. With all the pho and slow cooker dishes we have been using loads of it.