Managing amid the mayhem

I find it hard to wrap my head around the state of affairs in the world at the moment but there isn’t much I can do apart from separating ourselves as much as possible from potential ‘CV catch’ zones and trying to ignore all the hate speech and negativity being spewed out from so many different arenas to so many different undeserving recipients.  I find I am struggling day to day between being depressed and unmotivated to feeling completely helpless and wondering why we bother at all. Then the next day I’ll be up repairing things and finishing off unfinished parts of the exteno, trying new recipes and bread formulas. I’m not quite sure if I’m joking when I say we can’t leave the kids to try and sell this unfinished project once we succumb to CV!

We did of course have to cancel our Europe trip but that’s ok, I cooked meals that are popular dishes at the places we would have ventured to. Possibly my favourite was this Moroccan almond honey and vanilla layer cake with amlou filling that I made for Mr ATMT’s birthday. Amlou made using walnut oil rather than very expensive organ oil is now a regular addition to dishes here.

Moroccan almond honey cake with amlou.
Sourdough croissants

I’ve been baking (therefore eating) far more than I ever normally do, I’m trying to get my sourdough croissants to a level I’m happy with,  just about there!

Crumb shot of the interior.

Sourdough croissant crumb shot

Sourdough sweet Danish cinnamon buns (Kannelbullar),

Making croissants involves making laminated pastry. To make it a more practical approach I’ve been using the method to make puff pastry, at least pies and things can go into the freezer and be eaten over an extended time rather than being scoffed over a day or two like I would with croissants!  I’m working through The Tivoli Road Bakery Book and find it one of the best I’ve invested in. I don’t buy many books any more when so many resources are available online. These are chicken curry pies from that book.

Sourdough cinnamon doughnuts. Ridiculously delicious, ridiculously large!

I also had a go at making/curing our own bacon. This too will become a standard activity around here. I won’t buy this rub again even though it was terrific. Using this the first time just gave me the confidence to check out the process and now I see how easy it is I’m sure I can whip up a great rub mixture in no time.

Out in the garden.

I almost needed to check the GPS to find my way out into the garden I hadn’t been out there for so long! I had planned on adding some more fruit trees a few years ago and never got around to it so now seemed like the time. A plumcot planted around near the pear tree and a donut (Angel) peach planted where I had to remove a fig that had become too invasive in the veggie patch. This is the plumcot planted before pruning the initial shape to encourage a fan espalier. Pruned and initial training of branches ties on. These will be adjusted regularly to bend them slowly and gently. Stone fruit wood is brittle and not as easy to manipulate as many other trees. I suspect the bottom branch will also come off but I’ll see what happens at bud swell time.

Pear 2013

The pear tree I planted July 2013 is well and truly established now. It was time for a complete makeover as I didn’t get to prune it last year. Just look at the size of the trunk now!

Notice the bamboo and timber stakes that were originally used for training are still there. Never did get around to a more formal framing structure.

Pear prior to pruning and a tidy up 2020

A rather severe pruning  and some straightening of branches. Looks much happier!

And the best reason to stay positive.

This little beautie is another fan of my sourdough. Makes me smile, those eyes………… Now 9 months old, seems impossible.

This smilie little munchkin in between her brothers was born the week we first went into lock down and it was the hardest time of all. Not being able to easily give support to our daughter and help out with the boys was very difficult.  She first smiled within her first week and that’s all she does! Smiles, smiles, smiles. She was about 7 weeks old in this!

Stay safe, stay at home and cherish those closest.

That, at the end of the day is all that matters.

15 Replies to “Managing amid the mayhem”

  1. I’m in awe of your ability to keep creating through all that is going on around you.
    And your products – I’m salivating!!
    Thanks for the distraction from all the bread stuff happening.


  2. Your baking always looks superb, Maree the Amlou Birthday Cake looks especially so. I followed the links to see the recipe and then learn about Argan oil and came across the picture of the layered-goat-tree! It did make me do a double-take 😀 i had been admiring your espaliered pear – it looks like a work of art. I enjoy reading about your house and garden as much as your baking. But I know how you feel when you write about your stop-go enthusiasm for life. The world is changing so rapidly and in the online world people seem to feel free to be negative and dismissive of others views in a way I feel sure they wouldn’t do face to face. Unless we explore different view points we won’t arrive at a balanced point of view. Your sweet smilie granddaughter made me laugh – how lovely to share life with them. Our garden too has got out of hand largely because osteo arthritis has moved into my hands and hips but i have a renewed enthusiasm after a good gardener gave me some encouragement and direction. A little encouragement and kind words go a long way, don’t they – oh, and my husband turning our compost heap made me feel so ridiculously happy😀


    1. Thanks Jan, I understand about the arthritis. I hurt for days after a good session outside now. I am over negative people who think they have a right to denigrate others. Difference of opinion is fine and healthy but not attacking. Thanks for reminding me about turning the compost! Might be onto that when the rain stops! 😍


  3. A beautiful post Maree, touching on all those see-sawing issues that drive us today, driving us insane, making us depressed and unmotivated, pushing us to do better. And in the end, coming to the realisation that our loved ones make it all worthwhile.
    Social media is flooded with negativity and divisiveness at present. What ever happened to that unified fighting front we saw at the beginning of the pandemic? Snide comments from others over the border make me wonder whether Federation might be short lived. And the insane division over mask wearing, or young versus old, or Dan lovers and haters, on and on it goes. And then we have Sammy J, and a happy smile returns.
    Your fruit trees are looking good, reminding me that I need to prune, a job i really enjoy. And time to do some fig cuttings. These things save us. Bread, baking new cakes, being productive. I know you will stay strong. Thanks for this enlightened post.


    1. Cheers, yes sometimes I just feel like slapping some people so I’ve adopted a ‘tune off’ approach. Much better for my mental health. I moved a fig tree into the lane and took several cuttings from it in case the transplant doesn’t work. I too enjoy pruning and feel after so many years I am just getting a handle on it. 😂


  4. I should definitely not read your posts at lunchtimes. Here I am, eating supermarket biscuits and cheese, looking at your beautiful creations and salivating onto my biscuits. Like you, I’m finding it hard to continue to motivate myself from day to day during the lockdown and from Thursday mask wearing in Melbourne will be compulsory. Food shopping has gone from weekly to fortnightly. The garden is cold and soggy and only the weeds look healthy, but I need the exercise, so I force myself out there. The prune job on the pear tree looks magnificient. I now have wallabies coming onto the property and they have wrecked all my fruit trees, dragging down and breaking branches to get at the leaves in summer. On to Plan B, if I had one! Good to see you’re still doing your usual growing and baking.


    1. Nice to hear from you Bev. Definitely a cold and soggy winter this year and not only climatically! Not growing anywhere near as much, lost a bit of enthusiasm but still chipping away. Hang in there, they keep telling us it will get better!


  5. You’ve been busy! I so wish I could get as motivated about cooking in the kitchen as I do about working in the garden and yard. Love growing food, love preserving it in different ways but for some reason I struggle to want to spend time cooking and baking. I think it is because I live with a bunch of fussy eaters who put a dampener on most things I try. Oh well. Seeing your pictures of delicious looking food makes me want to keep trying. 🙂


    1. I never baked anything apart from bread when the kids were growing up. Just main meals and birthday cakes! I don’t get out into the garden as much these days, everything hurts when I start on the tools. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am certainly feeling the same way, thanks for expressing what’s going on in your corner of the world. I’m so glad you are now able to see your new granddaughter. And, you baking if fabulous. I think I would be sporting more than my current Covid-10 if I had those amazing pastries around. Stay safe and well and good luck with finishing the remodel.


  7. It’s so nice to see a post from you and some pics I haven’t seen via our other shared social media platforms. I’ve been trying to write a post for weeks… I’m Covid-coping well enough when left to my own devices but when others who it bothers less than me, attempt to push their behaviours… my anxiety rockets. It’s best I stay home and they stay away. I flit between ephemeral stuff where I can’t remember where the time went and a list of projects/odd jobs many of which got put on hold while permaculture study took over my life. I’m so pleased to have an online community where I can escape for virtual visits, and who continue to inspire me to cook, bake, grow, create, connect & share inspo… to live well. This, I believe, is why I’m doing ok at iso for the moment… it’s not so different to my day-to-day life pre-covid, and we’re holding onto our hopes for future plans outside that scope, now quite in the realms of the unknown.


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