Another Gingerbread House bites the dust!

I was going to keep this as part of my “In My Kitchen” post, but we were so happy with the way this demolition went I’m doing a separate post as my farewell to 2016.

As many of my followers know, it has become a tradition to come up with all sorts of weird and whacky ways to demolish the gingerbread houses I have been making as part of Christmas since 1982.

We have had lots of ‘smashing good’ fun over the years but it has been especially nice now we have the ability to record the ‘smashing’  as we can revisit the memories at anytime. I’ve spent a bit of time viewing old ‘smashings’ and it is a great trip down memory lane seeing everyone so young, all together for Christmas and  how things have changed and evolved over the years. I hope you enjoy this years smash, I’ve put it up from 2 different angles. We were particularly impressed with how the house landed almost back on the board. Our older son Cameron has been a key player over the years with leading the smash and he didn’t disappoint this year. We did leave plenty of clear space as a safety net for our little fella!

Gingerbread house 2017

Happy New Year and cheers to a great happy and safe 2017. Thanks for sharing your laughs, tips, stories and lives in 2016.

 

Maree

 

 

#gingerbreadhouse #family #tradition

Gingerbread House Blues

Question: What’s the best way to feel cheated when you look forward to the annual smashing of the gingerbread house?

Answer: Having it self implode without any help from anyone!

For years and years (34 I think) I have made a gingerbread house that gets taken to wherever Christmas is celebrated and at the end of the day great delight is taken among the group coming up with ways to demolish it. For the last few years I videoed the smashing and we were all working on ways for the demolition to happen this year.

This what the gingerbread house usually looks like sitting in pride of place at the Christmas venue.

gb house 2014

I made a decision this year to try a different gingerbread recipe. Not sure if it was this or the fact the house was sitting in a spot that captured the morning sun to cause this happening…..

1421109_10153888428939455_989080835971192103_oThis was taken with my dodgy phone, apologies for the grainy shot. It went from that to this in a very short time. Wish I had thought to use time-lapse photos.

Self destructing!
Self destructing!

We had a gathering of friends over on Christmas Eve and as I was starting to set up, smarty pants son (who likes to push my buttons and knew I was a little upset) asked sarcastically “why don’t you bring the gingerbread house out mum and put it at pride of place at the table?” So I did!

IMG_3483As much as I was disappointed with the unassisted demise of the GB house, I must admit the gingerbread tasted nicer than the original recipe and it was the first time in years the kids actually got stuck into eating it! Here are 2 of them picking at it and the lollies.

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Much to the disgust of  ‘Smarty Pants’ son, I didn’t react at all to his barbs and quite enjoyed the fact it created such a good talking point. I did miss the planning of how to smash it though!

Merry Christmas to all the Around The Mulberry Tree Followers.

It’s been a fun year and big things await us in 2016.

 

 

Back up and running.

I haven’t uploaded any posts since before Christmas due to a whole host of time restrictions.

Firstly there was Christmas.  We had to work hard at enjoying the season this year, but with a bit of determination, skilful planning and plenty of champagne it was a huge success and we spent some lovely time with family and friends.

This year was the 30th anniversary of me making the traditional gingerbread house that is now routinely destroyed in any manner we can invent at the end of Christmas Day. Everyone primed in anticipation and Grandma in the background saying “Oh, it’s such a shame after all the work that’s gone into it”. That only seems to bring more motivation on. Unfortunately this year the bocce ball, come ‘shot put’  hit the target before I was ready to film. Hopefully one day someone else in the family may share their capturing of the moment.

gingerbread house

Some finishing touches before we move in!

Reblockers in

Most notable of the time drainers was that we have finally moved in to our ‘New Old House’.  We worked incredibly hard right over the Christmas break to get the house up to a level suitable for habitation. Water and gas installation finished, rewiring finished, new loo in, lounge painted then repainted after the re-blockers finished (the day before we moved in), earth-moving and rock down in drive so we could get cars in. Then there was the process of packing for moving and making the old house nice for the new owners. Between the local ‘Men’s Shed’, various Op-Shops, Ebay and the tip we got rid of an enormous load of ‘stuff’ but I don’t think you can tell-still seems to be ‘stuff’ everywhere. Once we get a shed/garage and a kitchen I’m sure most of it will find it’s own place.

We’re in!

Goodbye to the old home.

After 23 years in one house I am quite surprised that I really don’t feel anything much about saying goodbye to it. The garden, with its sense of tranquility and birds I will miss, but basically everything is re-do-able so I’m not that fussed. The things I’ll most miss are:

King Parrot bye

The many birds we have that regularly demand a morsal of seed. This beautiful King Parrot came to say goodbye,

compost

I’ll miss having a thriving compost system that just keeps happening. Having to start a fresh system takes a little bit of time.

Growth chart

The old ‘measure the kids as they grow’ markers. Not only an indicator of growth but brings back memories of lots of things the kids did in this home while growing up.

Time to go, pack the kids in the car and off we go!

Packed up the kids and left

Greenhouse up-finally .

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After much ‘faffing’ around and trying to squeeze this job in between all the others we finally have a completed Sproutwell Greenhouse. Hasn’t really been too high on the priority list because of the warm weather but with the possibility that temperatures  could drop at night soon I want the extra protection. Just need to finish the floor and set up benches inside and I’ll be sweet!

In the Vegie Patch

It has been incredibly dry here in Gippsland and we have quickly been taken back to where we were when in drought. After such a wet year last year we were lulled into a false sense of security and have had to revert to hand watering everything. I must say the wicking beds seem to be holding their own. A quick surface water every now and then (more because its nice on a warm evening to do than because its necessary).

My garlic harvest this season has been sensational and it along with ‘Spiced Prunes in Port‘ preserves, made great additions to the Christmas gift packs. Unfortunately I can’t find the photos of the garlic I took so will take a couple later and add them.

I have been battling a bit with my San Marzano tomatoes this year. For the first time in a very long time they have been a victim of Blossom End Rot, a condition that is due to lack of calcium in the soil. Having had to purchase soil for the beds I haven’t had much control over that. Next year once there has been a chance to work in plenty of compost and grow a green manure crop it should start to improve. It really hit home that all the effort I made with the soil at our old place was in fact worth it. I am still getting a pretty good crop and will have more than enough for sauce and passata. Now to work out where to process the harvest…………..

San Marzano

My quest to develop an opinion on whether or not to prune laterals from tomatoes has had mixed results.

Pruned of laterals Not Pruned
Larger fruit More fruit
Takes more time to manage Smaller fruit
Easy to support Heavier to support

Think I am steering towards the pruned method purely because of the larger fruit size. Will repeat again next year because I am not sure how much having a calcium soil deficiency had a hand in results.

The grosse lisse planted straight into the ground are doing really well, just have to remember to pick as soon as there is the tiniest blush of pink or else the blackbirds beat me to it. Today I placed some exclusion bags over some larger fruit to see if I can get longer on the vine time.

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My Rosella sabdarifida is doing quite nicely, will go into the greenhouse soon as it needs warm temperatures to flower. With a good bit of luck I will be able to turn it into those beautiful syrupy flowers and use it in champagne.

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Cucumbers have been great, picking daily and now need to think about making some lovely Bread & Butter Cumber Pickle. Growing up the trellis has been a great success.

Other continual pickings have been beans, silver beet, snow peas, lettuce and herbs. Not sure what happened to my capsicums but they appear to be tomatoes. Suspect I may have been a bit confused when I labelled my saved seed packet!

Chooks.

Couple of steps closer to getting our chooks. I purchased a ‘Dine a Chook‘ feeder and waterer for my husbands Christmas present and I have commissioned the local Men’s Shed to make my very specially designed chook house (keep an eye out, it’s going to be great!)

All said and done, we are a lot more comfortable than we thought we may be. Struggling a bit with highway noise but everyone assures me you get used to it! Lying in my hammock this afternoon eating ripe mulberries was a treat indeed!

I may not have the birds yet, but it is quite beautiful on a hot humid afternoon lying in the hammock looking up through the mulberry tree. Even better when I get to pick a few, very nice indeed.

Mulberries

Let the new memories begin!