Catch up post. Kombucha among other things.

Well it was time to do the taste test! My first batch of kombucha had been bottled for a second fermentation which I had read creates better carbonation, 2 bottles with some ginger added and 1 plain.

KombuchaI had read that kombucha can be pretty explosive on opening, so I decided to do this outside. Good decision!img_9281This is the trail of exploded KB over the side path. Haven’t seen something like that since the kids were home and had partied hard! I probably should have taken heed of the people who recommend refrigerating the bottles before opening. I’ll take that on board for the next batch.kombuchaThis what remained in the bottle after the explosive opening.Ginger kombuchaI can say though, I loved the flavour. The slight ginger overtones were wonderful and it was bubbly and refreshing.

For a wander through the patch.

It feels like an eon since I’ve played in my veggie patch, probably because it is. We are opening again for the food gardens section of Gardivalia this year so I had better pull my finger out and get things in order.

AsparagusThere are signs of life coming from the asparagus bed,Crimson broad beansthe crimson broad beans my brother-in-law gave me look so pretty,Broad beansand the normal ones are in flower too.coriander growingWhen I was sorting out moving stuff from the temporary kitchen to the new kitchen I threw some old coriander seed into this bed and hopefully it will keep growing. I don’t have much luck with coriander so fingers crossed.De la mal maison roseThe souvenir de la mal maison climbing rose I planted last year near the green house is in bud. I can’t wait to see these bloom, one of my favourites.leaf mold compostI spread one of the  leaf mold towers we had breaking down for the last 12 months over this bed, I now need to choose a spot for the next one to be placed. So easy just removing the wire and spreading the lush conditioner over the bed.

BREAD

I’m finally getting a handle on how the new oven operates and made some oat porridge bread. Here is the oats cooking (on a real stove top!) waiting to cool to add to the dough.Oat porridge breadThis one of the 3 loaves I made. I used the recipe from the delightful Maurizio’s site and although once again, it’s not as pretty as his. I’m quite happy with the result. Oat Porridge sourdough breadCrumb shot! Not as fine as Maurizio’s but I didn’t mind.Crumb shot oat porridge sourdough.With spring in the air and me officially finishing work I hope to be able to get a bit more in control and do some finishing off of all our half started jobs.

Sledging the kitchen. Osso bucco and Asian style Chicken Soup

I couldn’t stand it any longer! After spending most of my ‘free from paid work’ Monday out in the garden, I was itching to come in and start getting rid of the stinky old cupboards in the kitchen. I’m doing this in stages, no hurry as we haven’t locked in any start date for the build. I just have to see them gone! So out came the sledge hammer, wrecking bar and normal hammer. The tiled bench top was first to go, very satisfying smashing that!

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Then it was a matter of methodically working through dismantling the rest of the framework. Things were built so well when this was made, the size and quantity of the nails is amazing! I was pleasantly surprised to find that behind this cabinet is some beautiful baltic panelling that is still in great nick. How could anyone cover up this with that awful cabinet?

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The hole in the floor is the access point to the old brick, butter cellar. I’m still working out how to integrate this into a usable asset in the new kitchen.

Butter cellar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was very satisfying! Little by little I’ll keep chipping away!

Weekend food wrap.

On Saturday I participated in a Middle Eastern Vegetarian cooking class at Relish Mama in Cheltenham.  I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon, chef Tony Chiodo was a great source of information, the venue is set up beautifully and it was just nice to be in a real kitchen with things like having water connected, clean floors and a real cooktop. Aaaaaah, heaven. I got a few design tips too, added bonus.

Tony Chiodo- Relish Mama
Waiting for the fun to begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday night I made an Osso Bucco style stew. If mammoths still roamed the earth, I imagine that their shanks would be about the size of these cuts I bought at the Dandenong market. I only used 2 and it would easily have fed 6 people. Served with mash and broad beans cooked in olive oil, garlic and lemon. A bit of sourdough to mop up the juices. Can’t beat it!

Osso Bucco

Chicken and No Corn soup.

Tonight I felt like I needed an asian style soup to warm me through. I didn’t really feel like having noodles or dumplings in it, so I just went with using some of the asian style stock I made a few weeks ago using chicken feet as the base. To this I added some finely diced carrot and celery, chilli, grated ginger, black pepper, fish sauce, a bit of water to extend the volume and 3 chicken thigh fillets. The chicken fillets poached while the stock simmered away and when cooked I shredded them, stirred in some finely shredded, freshly picked kale and 2 eggs to thread through the broth. Just what I needed, not a big fan of corn in soup anyway!

Asian Chicken Soup

 

 

Happy Birthday Warragul Farmers Market!

The weekend started magically with me having my monthly visit to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on some of the sensational organic and locally produced providence that is showcased there.

Wgl Farmers Market

The market celebrated their 1st birthday this weekend and it has just grown from strength to strength since its inception. I always think a good market not only offers great produce, but it creates an emotional link within the community. People develop relationships with traders and other community members, they come together to chat, relax, share stories and take home some wonderful things. A feel good experience! This market offers all of this, set in a beautiful location, music by local artists, activities for the kids and some of the best produce Gippsland has to offer!

Warragul Farmers MarketI really look forward to my visit to this market to see what will jump out and ask me to take it home. Some of my favourite and highly recommended traders are, Thorpdale Organics, Gippsland Mushrooms, Mirboo Pastured Poultry, the Apple lady (I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know from where but I always buy her apples!), and after tasting Jindivick Hydroponics tomatoes they are up there too.  Although I didn’t buy  as much as I normally tend to, I came home with some lovely tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, apples and a warm heart. Some of these went into a carbonara style pasta using our home grown broccoli, snow peas, broad beans and herbs, added some of Thorpdale Organics eggs into the sauce and voila, a fresh, mostly organic and made with love dinner. Thanks Warragul Farmers Market!

Carbonara

Flour woes

I reverted to using the ordinary old ‘organic bread flour’ in my sourdough this week and it just cemented how good the flour I brought back from Callington Flour Mill in Tasmania is. Dough hydration was 75% but this flour just doesn’t have to ‘guts’ to cope with that much water so it’s a very wet dough.  I used a portion of the dough into a ciabatta style loaf and will just keep my fingers crossed for what I expect to be a very flat loaf with the rest. Looks OK, smells great but it’s too early to cut to check if I’ve got those lovely big ciabatta holes in the crumb. Time will tell. It is amazing how much variation there can be with flour and protein levels, water absorption and general structure. Back to the Callington Mill flour next week!

Ciabatta sourdoughWe spent most Sunday at the Traralgon Poultry Auction. That was a new experience indeed, not sure if I’d relive it, but it’s something new I can say I’ve done! My son and his fiancé wanted a couple of chooks to include in their backyard so off we went thinking an hour would probably knock it over. WRONG! Finally, a long 4 hours later, they did manage to secure 2 lovely little chooks, not sure of variety but I think there is some Rhode Island Red mixed with maybe some Australorp in there. They have obviously settled into their new home well as I got a message from D&A with a photo of 2 eggs. Pretty impressed and happy they are! I get a real sense of calm knowing that all 3 of our children, grow things, cook things and love fresh unadulterated produce.16112014Got the fence around the veggie patch fully painted/stained, I’m really pleased the way the stain has made the fence blend in with the old hard wood. Bit hard to see here cause of the shadow, but the patch and chicken coop are now really looking integrated.IMG_6372

IMG_6375 Nice weekend indeed. Hope you enjoyed yours too!

In My Kitchen. Golly how did it get to be November?

What a busy time it is at the moment! We have just celebrated the engagement of our son and his beautiful partner. Joyous time indeed and a lot of creating food for the celebration.  So in my kitchen is:

10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_n Some of the leftovers of the magnificent cake my daughter made for the event. Ready to pack to put in the freezer for later use. It was beautiful and looked amazing as well as tasting sensational. She is VERY talented!IMG_6254I made some vegetable pakora, they looked much better on the serving platter, see my previous post!IMG_6185

Cauliflower pakora

I cooked up some VERY spicy tiny sausages and meatballs. These were a great hit.IMG_6179In my kitchen are a few beautiful roses, this one is  a week old in the photo and still holding up well.IMG_6186 These beautiful ‘Jude the Obsure’ blooms are from a bush our daughter gave us after her wedding. Very precious to me.IMG_6206 In my kitchen are 2 heads of broccoli freshly cut waiting to go into our tummies.IMG_6230Sadly, I have to say goodbye to the last of last seasons garlic. This bag was chockers and has lasted really well. Only a couple of weeks till new crop is ready I think.IMG_6233 In my kitchen is a leek, broad bean and mushroom risotto made from freshly picked veg. It was beautiful!IMG_6237 Some of the broad beans, nearly finished for the season so enjoying them while we can.IMG_6248In my kitchen is a smoked trout. We are so lucky having such an excellent butcher who makes his own small goods and they are sensational. Thanks Wayne from Trafalgar Butcher Shop. Such an easy appetiser, trout, some bread or crackers to serve it on and your done!IMG_6257 Another local producer who grow the most amazing organic vegetables with love. Wendy and Tony go out of their way to make sure their produce is first rate and their service is exceptional. Wendy delivered these beautiful lettuce and daikon and some other goodies to me at work. Love shopping that way! It is nice knowing that the food I served for the after party BBQ has been grown with so much love and care. Check out Thorpdale Organics, it’s worth it.IMG_6260

Didn’t get to take a photo of the view from the kitchen window but it’s looking pretty good!

Thanks Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for giving us this opportunity to see and share kitchens from around the world.

Long weekend that was-for some! Family celebrations are fun!

Amazing to think that a whole country can come to a halt based around a race horse, but yes, here in Australia we can. I have traditionally been a great Melbourne Cup Day celebrator, but this year there has been so much happening that I didn’t even give it a thought! No sweep tickets, no TAB bets and not even watching the race. Hang my head in shame! The Melbourne Cup is always run on the first Tuesday in November and it is a public holiday for the people who live in the state of Victoria. It has turned into a time when many take the Monday off creating an extra long weekend. Not so for me.

Our son and his fiancé celebrated their engagement with a rather large party on Saturday night and you could not have asked for more disastrous weather conditions. After a beautiful Friday of 28, no wind and balmy conditions the cool front confronted with avengance. Temp slid down to about 13-15, rain was horizontal and the wind was just horrendous. All the planned outside arrangements were put on hold and thankfully our gracious hosts opened their home so the celebrations could continue inside. No mean feat for about 130 people! I had been cooking at every available opportunity for the party and it all went down well, especially the spicy (very) small sausages and the Indian pakora I made. IMG_6179 Just love this Indian pakora recipe of Annabel Langbein. I’ve made it a few times and always served them freshly deep fried but this time I made them ahead of time and reheated before serving. Wasn’t sure how that would go but it was fine. Batter wasn’t as crispy as when fresh but flavour was still good. IMG_6181Served with a minty yoghurt sauce.Cauliflower pakoraThe beautiful couple, though I think Dave may have had a beer or two by now!

IMG_6195Our daughter has a great sense of design style and does some beautiful cake decorating, she contributed this lovely 3 tier chocolate fudge cake decorated with little daisy flowers. Looked lovely and I must admit we are munching on it as I write this post!10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_nIt was a great party and a great reminder that it is so special having these happy times and celebrations with those we love.

 

 

Espaliers, skirting boards and spring pasta.

We have at long last commenced the fence around the veggie patch. We are going for a rustic paling look across the front and on the gate but along the back it is just posts with ‘reo’ attached so I can use the steel as framing for espaliers, beans and other things as needed. I got to plant the fig which has been in a pot since we bought it at the Castlemaine market the Easter before last. This may be quite a hot spot so hopefully the fig should do well. Not sure about the root system, but what the hell! I’d already started training it to a ‘U’ Goblet shape and hope I get some side shoots soon so I can train it to spread across as well as up.IMG_5168I’ve also planted 2 apples along this fence. With another 2 planted along the front patch fence which I will train as step over apples, (photos when that fence is completed). This means they are varieties which have been grafted onto unusually dwarf rootstock so you can keep them small and manageable.IMG_5169I’ll train the granny Smith as a double cordon style shape like this photo below. Mine certainly won’t cover as much space as this but I want to demonstrate what you can achieve in small spaces with fruit trees.espaliers-2013-13-620x416

Now to the walls on the inside!

I have spent some time this weekend working on the hallway. I managed to finish hanging the wallpaper and started work on restoring the 8″ cedar or Australian pine (not sure which or what the difference in fact is ). It would be so tempting to just paint these or even go and get new, fresh, perfectly recreated mouldings made from craft wood or pine but these babies have been here since the house was built and I like the scars they show and the story they tell. I wonder how many of the scuff marks are from people who were quite nervous (justified I’m led to believe) about going into the doctors for a procedure or checkup. This is the starting point, the boards have been sealed or varnished over the years with a quite dark finish. They are terribly scuffed and we’ve had to glue quite a few together in places.

IMG_6094I started by going over the boards with metho to break down the finish (luckily we found a couple of 10 gallon /20 litre) drums of metho in the stables when we moved in. Doctors obviously bought their metho in bulk! IMG_6095This along with a scourer to help dissolve the finish, washed and a final sanding using steel wool and they are looking much happier. Love that grain!IMG_6096The first coat of Tung Oil, and I’m really pleased with how they are coming up. They still show many dents, scuffs, splits. holes and dings. I’m quite OK with that! They don’t actually look quite that red which is good. Another sand with steel wool, another coat and they should be good to put back in place. I’m keeping the unveiling of the hall until it’s just about finished.IMG_6097

Spring pasta.

We are starting to get much better harvests now that the soil has warmed and the sun has been out a bit more. (I nearly stupidly said “now that we have more sun because of daylight saving”, but that would have been silly). Dinner last night was an easy pasta dish. I walked around and picked a young garlic plant that was growing in the way of something else. Young garlic delivers a subtle flavour to a dish without overpowering it. I also picked some young asparagus, thai basil, oregano, parsley and chervil.IMG_5183 Now don’t get excited but I also picked, yes, broad beans. A whole tablespoon full. We love broad beans and have been anxiously waiting on a harvest as they are very late this year. IMG_5185A couple of leeks, some broccoli I’d frozen before we went away, along with these herbs, some cherry tomatoes and mushrooms and it was lovely light dinner. IMG_5189

 

 

Its a big one!

I mentioned that I didn’t want to waste a second of time while I was on the school term break. I reckon I can quite honestly say that I have exceeded my expectations of what I wanted to achieve. The poor old arthritic hands are now pretty useless but a couple of weeks being gentle and I should be back on track. One night I came in, lit the fire and literally couldn’t get up! Let the fire go out and was in bed at 7.30. All worth it though.

Here are a few of my accomplished jobs…….

Fly through restaurant is CLOSED!

The high priority job was to run smaller mesh wire over the chook house to prevent the sparrows eating all the chook feed. Littlebuggers were going through 3 times more feed than the chooks. Me being me, I didn’t want to just throw new wire over, I wanted it fitted neatly. This meant taking off (loosening) one end of all the weatherboards, removing and dis-assembling the door, then re-assembling it. I thought I would need to remove the barge boards too but I manage to work around that when I couldn’t undo the bugle screws. The raw zinc flashing had been annoying me since the chook house went in so I removed that and spray painted it matt black. I’m really happy with the end job and it now blends so well into the landscape. looks like it’s been there for years! I have since finished spraying the door black too.

IMG_4713New wicking beds!

I built 2 new wicking beds in my sacred space. The greenhouse. I had been looking at raised garden beds at hardware stores, online and I had considered building some but that would just knock my hands around too much. I happened to call into the greenhouse display centre at Officer just to see what they had and bingo! Came home with 2 flat pack, gal kits. Reasonably priced, no bells and whistles, just what I needed. I didn’t consider it would be too difficult to turn them into wicking beds, just took a bit more time and effort. I assembled the beds, ran tape over the metal edges and screws to avoid any piercing of the plastic liner of the bed. put a sand base in and levelled, lay the plastic liner, fitted the fill hose and inlet, cut an overflow hole and siliconed a drain tube into place, filled scoria over water reservoir, put geo-textile over the scoria to prevent the soil going into to water reservoir then filled with soil. I am quite amazed at how much more growing space this will give me. I also think the thermal performance of the greenhouse will be better.

wicking beds

IMG_4756This gives me 2 lovely big beds with room on the remaining side for seed raising etc. I’ll try a couple of grow bags with tomatoes down the centre to get maximum use of height.

Shiitakes have a dedicated home.

I created a spot behind the greenhouse especially for the shiitakes. Up until now they have just been in the old bath under a tree down the back. This spot should be great, all that’s needed now is some shade cloth and when the weather warms up I’ll set up an auto spraying system to keep them damp and humidity high. I also took advantage of this space to create a spot for all the garden stakes to be stored. I rolled these concrete blocks from the far end of the block to this spot. Can see why the wheel was invented!

Shiitakes new home

Mulch, mulch and more mulch!

I think in total I moved about 4 metres of mulch. Tidies things up nicely!

IMG_4742 IMG_4719Broad beans supported. I added a new layer of supporting wire to stop them falling in the wind. I’m amazed I have any still standing after me clambering over them and sticking ladders in the bed while I worked on the chook shed! See some flowers are appearing, can’t wait for these little babies to hit my kitchen!IMG_4724Started a concept layout for the front yard. Looking good!IMG_4755View from the back looking towards house. I’m thinking as I write this that it doesn’t seem like much that’s been done, but rest assured there is heaps! Lots I haven’t posted and lots of the jobs I did took a long time, especially when it was so wet.IMG_4741 First of the jonquils out-so cheery!IMG_4720

In the almost a kitchen.

These wet cold and miserable days are ideal for enjoying comfort food. My small slow cooker died last week and I am grieving badly. Will have to replace it next week. I had to resort to using a casserole which needed monitoring, stirring and heat control management on the camp cooker. Too much hard work! This is the madras curry and naan bread I made last night.IMG_4750 I made a lemon syrup cake, recipe courtesy of Town Mouse County MouseIMG_4743 We had the last of the flatbread I stock up on when I go to the Dandenong market. I cut the loaves into 3, pack 2 slices into bags and freeze. Great to have on hand, these ones were baked with a pizza style topping of passata, mushroom, capsicum, ricotta cheese, freshly chopped herbs of rosemary and oregano, sliced olives and salami. Great easy lunch.IMG_4746

Lemon cordial-Mmmmm.

I made cordial for the first time and it is beautiful. We drink a fair amount of cordial and because I am trying to make  “plastic-free” choices I thought I’d give making some a crack. Really happy with the result and its a great way to use some of the excess lemons we have at the moment. Served mixed in chilled soda water (using the Soda Stream) it is a winner! This is the recipe I used, I didn’t add epsom salts and did add 2 extra lemons as ours aren’t that lemony!

Lemon Cordial

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Vegetable Soup

I’m drafting this post as Mr ATMT brings me in a bowl of hot vegetable soup with some of last nights left over naan bread to eat by the fire. So heartening to think that a fair whack of the ingredients came from our garden. Pumpkin, celery, tomato passata, parsley, bay leaf, and my home made stock. Sometimes I just love winter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ins and Outs of the weekend.

The in’s- In the kitchen.

This weekend’s kitchen round up includes, jerusalem artichoke Trial #3, new test for cooking sour dough, delicious breakfast in the (what may be one of the last opportunities) beautiful morning sun.

Jerusalem artichoke Trial number 3.

My nieces partner who just happens to be a damed fine chef, graciously shared a couple of recipes for JA’s. I was hesitant to share them but I saw the recipe for this on the website of Jones the Grocer as well, so figure it mustn’t be too secret! Link for recipe-

Jerasulem Artichoke Soup Recipe

This recipe has L’Orto di beppi marinated garlic in olive oil as a major ingredient. Jones the Grocer are the most likely to stock this, but the closest  store, Chadstone, is about 2 hours away from me and no way anyone down here is likely to have any marinated garlic in any shape or form so I improvised and roasted a full head of my garlic and mixed it with some olive oil and white wine vinegar. I love roasted garlic, it adds a really deep, mellow dimension yet still gives a good garlic taste.  No idea of the comparison to the listed ingredient but it tasted good to me! Other improvisations I made to the recipe are: I used my stock which is mostly vegetable based and darker, so the soup will be darker.  I made some ‘chips’ from a bit of JA as a topping garnish, I also toasted some beautiful, freshly picked walnuts my friend gave me (thanks Richard) and sprinkled these, some thyme and freshly ground pepper on top for serving. Toasted some of yesterdays sour dough, rubbed with oil and garlic and yummo! We have a winner! Still a bit flowery for me but really nice. Thanks Bec & A!

Jerusalem artichoke soup.

Playing with sour dough.

I have been fortunate to find a blog by an amazing woman who posts the most delightful, informative and practical ideas regarding everything she does with preserving, making bread and baking. Every post of hers I read, makes me feel like I want to jump up and give it a shot. Well Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, I have jumped up and given this a crack! With only having my ‘toy oven’ to use for bread baking I found the top was sometimes getting a bit dark due to the frequent kicking in and out of the top element. Celia mentioned she used a Falcon Enamel Cooker for cooking her high hydration (wet) doughs. My niece had also mentioned a couple of weeks ago she used an enamel pot for cooking her ‘faux sour dough’, synchronicity at large here, better get one! I divided the dough in half,Sour dough Proved the dough and one went into the silicon bread tin and the other into the new enamel pot.

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I wasn’t that confident that the pot would actually fit in the oven, perhaps I should have tested that first! Breathe easy, it fits! Interesting, the pot loaf is actually darker and flatter than the tinned loaf. Haven’t cut the tinned loaf yet but the pot one is fantastic!

Sour dough

Breakfast in the sun.

What better way to start the day than a yummy breaky consisting of everything bar the bacon & mushrooms coming from our kitchen and garden. The mushies did at least come from Gippsland Mushrooms. I discovered them at the last Warragul Farmers Market. Mushrooms were cooked in a little butter, added some garlic, white wine vinegar, p&s and a little stock. I also threw some kale in with them to take on the flavour. Couple of poached googies, toasted sour dough toast and a cuppa. All is good on the world! Should have wiped the dust off the table though.

Breakfast

The Outs.

Plantings:

I flew into the Yarragon market on my way to Melbourne yesterday hoping that John from ‘Herbalicious‘ was there, even though it was a bit before opening time. I was in luck, grabbed some borage I want to plant for attracting bees and use as decorative garnishes. Those blue borage flowers are beautiful, no wonder the bees want to stick their heads in them! I was very impressed with the quality and great range  of John’s stock, so hoped I would be back in time to have a better look. I was, also picked up some ruby mustard, miners lettuce (winter purslane) and chervil. Think I might just be getting quite a few plants here.

HerbaliciousAlso planted some spinach, leek seedlings, carrot and kale seed and stuck a few garlic cloves into some gaps in the garlic bed. This photo shows the dibber I use for helping plant so many things. It belonged to Mr ATMT’s grandfather and is beautiful in the hand. Every so often I give it a light sand and soak in oil and it jumps back to looking like new. I love using it and it is really nice thinking of Grandpa Cray, he has been dead for many years now and the blue lake beans I plant are direct descendants of seed I saved from his at least 20 years ago. Love that!

DibberThe broad beans are going ok but broad beans tend to flop and need support. I have placed some stakes at the corners of the bed and slipped some 100ml spacing wire over the stakes. The broad beans can grow through the wire and I can just move it up or add another level if needed as they grow. Especially good to prevent wind damage which broadies are prone to.

Broad Beans support Broad bean support

The cuttings I took from some sweet potato and the ginger root I’m trying to sprout are beginning to look more like they will work. The tiny little speck of green in the bottom right is the ginger.Sweet potato and gingerSomeone pointed out to me that you can take panorama shots on your phone. Well I’ll be danged, gave it a go and here’s my panoramic view around the patch. Might have to play a bit more with this function!Panorama

 

 

 

 

Decision making-fors and againsts!

Mr ATMT and I have different views, opinions and attitudes  when it comes to making decisions.  The outcome of whether or not to proceed is based on very different sets of processes undertaken in the mind. It is usually me who is hesitant to quickly jump in, I need time to process and visualise stages that will be undertaken to get to the final point. Having said that, the final point is NEVER as I visualise it. I just cannot, as much as I try imagine how something will look once its been completed. We have been deliberating the pros and cons of having the floor boards done now rather than wait until the rest of the reno is done.

My againsts doing the floors now:

  • Fearful that we will slop, drop, splash paint etc on the finished surface. We don’t have a very good track record of being neat and clean decorators!
  • I have imagined the floors being done after everything else has been done, like putting the crown on the king or the veil on the bride. Ties everything together and make it all shine. Bit like when you sweep the path or wash the windows.
  • Worried we will not get a sense of accomplishment, that this big job will just disappear into the murkiness of all the other jobs we have to face.

Mr ATMT’s fors:

  • Wants to feel like something has been finished (understandable) and that it will be a quick fix hit that we are moving forward.
  • Will help decide what to do with dealing with the cedar trim in relation to paint or renovate the natural timber.
  • Just wants too see it happen!

I think we both have legitimate opinions, I like the fact that we will actually be able to finish the bedroom completely once the floors are done. Bottom line is, what have we got to lose? We are going to use a Whittle Wax product due its more natural components and its much lower environmental impact. Some friends had this treatment applied to their floors a couple of years ago and we have been watching to see how they stood up to it  (the floors!). Quite impressed really! The biggest problem is that we said yes to the floor man on Saturday and he starts on Tuesday and yes, we have to have everything out of the house for him by Tuesday. We also discovered another couple of rotten boards when moving furniture so they needed attention. How do we get into these situations?

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This the front bedroom where we found a board that needed replacement so we robbed Peter to pay Paul and used boards from the kitchen. The whole kitchen floor will be replaced so it is recycling before it even been cast out!

IMG_3173This is where we ‘raided’ some floor boards from. The brickwork is the original cheese cellar that you can access from the cupboard above it. I’m trying to work out how to incorporate using this into the new kitchen design, possibly as a ‘cool cupboard’. We are just going to cover this hole with particle flooring for the short term.

Some before shots.

This is the main passage, baltic pine boards but some with old stain and glue from where  black and white vinyl tiles had been laid in the doctors waiting room and front entry.

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This is the main bedroom we have created by knocking out a wall. The floor boards in here are a blend of original and reclaimed ones we purchased.

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I decided it would be good thing to stay away from Mr ATMT and our son as they moved the furniture out into the garage. I did a fair amount of the small stuff like all the crystal cabinet and things from the sideboard. Fortunately we should be able to stay in the house, the room we are using, the bathroom, a spare bedroom where most stuff is stored and the kitchen are not targeted areas. We have an outside loo available,  cooking isn’t a problem as we’ve been managing that for over a year anyway. May mean a step ladder into the bathroom for a shower from outside if necessary. I’m sure we will work it out!

Outside

Busy, busy, busy! Summer clearing out, autumn planting, winter planning and some very welcome rain to boot. The old pumpkin vines and tomato plants have been pulled and tossed into an area that we will be planting as a new garden bed. Doesn’t look too pretty at this stage but when the area is top filled with soil they will break down and be a source of nutrient to the plants.

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Not too many pumpkins harvested this year. Tried a new variety (can’t remember what) but I think I’ll go back to good old butternut which are  a good cropping and excellent keeping variety. I still have 2 from last season.IMG_3187 In go the broad beans and brussel sprouts!IMG_3181

The last of the tomatoes, loads of beans and chillies. Blanched and froze most of the beans for use in curries and casseroles throughout the winter.IMG_3159

Divided up the lemon grass and now have four really good size clumps. 2 in a bath tub and 2 in pots. You can see here the new shoots coming out from where I have previously harvested stalks.IMG_3177

Cleaned out the greenhouse and set up some trellis for snow peas to climb on. Any ideas what else I can put in here?IMG_3183Seed sown this weekend is brown onion, broccoli and lettuce. Spring onion, brussel sprout, silver beet and seedlings all in. Lots of jobs done but as always so many more to do.

Weekend with the lot!

This weekend was jam-packed with a variety of things. Had a great cello lesson (practice does pay off), got home to find my husband had made great progress with painting the lounge-room, I opted to work outside because it was such a lovely day and he was also listening to the cricket (I am probably the worlds most avid hater of sport in any form!).

Went for Dulux curd full strength for the bottom section to add a little more tone to the room. Happy about that!

In the afternoon I started putting together my new Sproutwell Polycarbonate Greenhouse, after a few technical hitches (mainly due to my approach) I was underway. This construction will take shape over a few weeks as I have to fit it in between other more pressing jobs.

Now to get these to turn into one of these !
Should be a cinch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to assemble the sliding door and window components, as well as the base so we can check whether we have to make some adjustments to where it is going to be located (and we do!). Next step is to get foundations set up properly and then it will be plain sailing till the final completion.

I often like to have a wander around our backyard (at the house we are selling) on a Sunday morning looking at all the bits and pieces in the garden and remember how far we have come with developing this back yard. I hope to be able to do this soon at the ‘new old house’.

Plenty of mulberries developing this year, such a beautiful fruit, tree and colour!

Time to do some bird protection!

Blueberries are becoming nice and fat and I can’t wait for them to ripen.

I have two varieties of blueberry, this is a much fatter fruit than the other. Shame I’ve lost the tags!
The smell of this transports me straight to tropics! Citrussy, Frangipani-ish, gardenia-ish and just beautiful-shame it doesn’t flower all year round!

 

Picked the last of the broad beans and a couple of beetroot. Not sure when I’ll get to process the beans!

I then moved onto the ‘new old house’, took a trailer load of scrap metal to the tip but also came home with an old frame from a sun shelter or such. The poles from these frames make good garden stakes and I just can’t see something go to waste!

I haven’t tried using beer snail bait traps for many years as when I used to put them out our dearly departed ‘Cossie’ the dog would quickly gobble up the beer. Poor old Cossie is no longer with us, so I’ll give the traps another shot. The snails and slugs in the potato bed are the worst I’ve ever encountered, I may have to think about borrowing a duck for a few weeks.

Probably should have used beer from a not so great batch of home brew rather than bought stuff!

Inspiration! Sat under the Mulberry Tree and had a beer!

Approx 30 years ago I moved from Melbourne to the West Gippsland, Latrobe Valley region and I have still not come to terms with the lack of fresh produce available. The wonderful movement that is gaining momentum across many regions with  farmers markets, fresh is best and limited food miles has been painfully slow in reaching here. The produce stocked in our local supermarket is disgraceful and it says a lot that people don’t demand better! As for stocking anything organic or that is produced by locals, forget it.  I only venture in there when absolutely desperate and tonight I wanted to add some zing to the hot potato salad I had planned and thought some nice chorizo would be ideal-should have known better!

Home made my giddy aunt! Who keeps that chemical stuff in their pantry?
Beetroot, broad beans, garlic, garlic stem, spuds, herbs, lettuce, silver beet. Bring it on!

Anyway, we ended up having a really nice dinner of a hot (warm) potato salad type thing. Part of the harvest  I picked today and needed to use was-some nice young spuds, silver beet, garlic stem, red onion, broad beans and some mint. I also had the amazing ‘homemade’ chorizo I purchased.

Method- Put chorizo on griddle/BBQ to cook, par boil spuds till a bit underdone, while cooking, chop up some red onion, green capsicum, mint, slice garlic stem, and finely slice some silver beet or spinach. If the broad beans need double peeling blanche and do this too (I don’t worry apart from really big ones). Put the onion, garlic stem, mint, capsicum into serving bowl ( I also had some ricotta spare so I threw that in too) and when spuds are at the ‘not quite cooked but very close stage’ turn off the heat and bung the beans and silver beet into the hot water with them so they just barely cook. Slice the chorizo,  drain the spuds, beans and silver beet and add to the serving bowl, top the salad with the chorizo and some more chopped mint if inclined, grind some salt & pepper and drizzle some good olive oil over (I used Splitter’s Creek Olive Oil). Serve with some sour cream on the side.

Very nice indeed!

I had planned to do a post on my 5 favourite garden tools but forgot to take any photos. Will keep that one for another day.