Saturday, 24 November 2012


I am in shock, wonderful shock, have just been over at Down to Earth and have noticed that Rhonda added me to her Weekend Reading post.  Such an honour.  I've had more page reviews today than ever.  And a comment that's come from someone I don't know.  WOW, Thank you. 

Today I spent time getting to a couple of procrastinated jobs, going through a cupboard and drawers in my kitchen dresser.  A little bit of sorting, rearranging and I've been able to get some homeless kitchen items new homes.  There's a few items going out, can't remember the last time we used the popcorn maker, I actually made popcorn last night in the microwave.

Emptied a badly utilised drawer, it held 3 baking dishes, which now fit into the reorganised cupboard.  The crowded contents of my gift wrap/card drawer are now in the bigger drawer, while the rolls of gift wrap have been moved to the drawer above. 

I found all the little gifts that have been accumulated for use in Christmas Crackers, each year I mean to make them but don't get around to it.  I've decided not to make crackers, going to make little cloth gift bags instead.  The challenge is to use what I've got. 

This year I volunteered to have Christmas Lunch here, my parents will be on a cruise til the 23rd and I didn't want them coming back and going into panic mode to get ready for the tribe. 

It was getting too warm to do much so we all settled down to watch Spyderwick Chronicles, I've not seen it before, I quite enjoyed it.  We sipped Sodastream Cola, sent my husband out in search of a gas refil for our machine, he came home with a new machine.  No one carries the old sized gas bottles anymore.  Could have bought them online but with postage it brings the price up.  Have since discovered that the new bigger gas bottle seems to fit in the old machine.  Going to pass it on to one of my nieces. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Still in jamies, just finished the book, really such an inspiration, I must read more of Jackie's books.

Yesterday I got out into the yard, started digging a narrow bed to surround the raised beds, in an effort to stop the grass from growing up the sides because the lawn mower can't get to it.  Only got the front done, not a lot I did spend ages trying to dig a whole brick out of the ground, the reason I hate digging here.

When the builders built our house they just left bricks where they fell in the mud, it rained so much that year, the yard was just thick mud.  I can't blame the builders for this brick though, it's an older one perhaps from the chook shed my father built here in the 60's or from the sheds our neigbours had, I don't remember Dad painting his, this had paint on it.

Took a trip to Bunnings, amongst the gardening section I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in years.  We used to work together until surgery she had to remove a clot behind her eye went bad, she ended up with brain swelling and  resulting brain damage.  Visited her in the hospital, spoke a few times on the phone but lost contact.  She looks well, still has problems, left side weakness, lost periphial vision and what vision she has is blurry.   She had her back to me, slightly side on when I noticed her, stood for a moment wondering if it really was her before quietly calling her name.  There's one thing she's not lost, her ability to talk and talk and talk, her son was getting so bored that he kept wandering off and eventually made himself comfy on some display furniture.   It was good to hear her news, and she gave me tips on gardening.  We swapped phone numbers before heading our seperate ways.

I started on my Christmas list while there too, saw a pretty bench seat, as well as a garden tool or two I'd like.  I suggested to my husband that perhaps this year we each buy our own presents, that way we get exactly what we want.  He calls me a bad gift buyer, well when he sees something he wants he pretty much instantly buys it.  Is what you get when you leave nothing for the other to buy.  He's not the best gift giver for me either,  rarely getting what I've hinted for.  Last year I asked for an outdoor setting, I  mostly got dvds and candle sets. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Reading, peach cake and tea.

Is it wrong to eat cake for breakfast?  Breakfast for the last 2 days has been just that, a piece of Upside down Peach Cake, I figure it's no worse than eating muffins.

My morning has been spent in the old, not very comfortable recliner by the front window, reading A Year in the Valley by Jackie French.  It's so good I can barely bring myself to put it down.  This morning I got comfy (somewhat that is), book in hand, peach cake on the table on one side and tea.... tea?  Oh yeah tea sitting on the kitchen table.  The recliner isn't the easiest thing for me to climb out of, it just happens to be in the best morning reading spot.  Then I dripped it across the carpet in my eagerness to get back.

The wonderful and lovely Jackie French.
I sat and read for about an hour and a half, longer than I was going to but the book is so good.  Now my mid section is achey, the chair does that, husband won't get rid of it, he loves it.  Ugly old, ratty thing it is, he brought it home from work one day when it was being thrown out.  Nothing was wrong with it, just they don't keep furniture that the residents leave behind after they move on.  Move on sounds so much better than die, he worked in an aged care facility then.  If the family doesn't take the pieces they get thrown out, we even got a mattress this way, wasn't  even used, had been in storage for 5 years because they couldn't use it on the hospital style beds.  Best quality mattress I've ever seen.  He now works at a local RSL that has it's own resort, perhaps we will get better quality furniture when they update.  According to him they update all the time, even updating things that have just been updated. 

I made peach jam on Wednesday, along with the afore mentioned peach upside down cake.  I've only made jam a couple of times before and each time I am in amazement at how long it takes.  As it is the jam looks a little to liquidy in the jars but if the flavour of the still warm jam left in the pot is anything to go by it will be delicious.  Might make some scones later.

 The jam recipe is Jackie's she included it in her book.  The book is basically a journal kept over a year and with added recipes. 
The upside down cake was a bit of a cheat, had intentions to make it from scratch but needed butter so went to buy some, saw a pack of butter cake mix and thought why not.  My excuse was that I was exhausted from all that jam stirring and still had to clean the sticky mess that was my kitchen.  Cake fell apart as I was plating it, looked ugly but mmm mmm, tastes wonderful.

The cake was just a few peeled and chopped peaches, laid down on a bed of brown sugar (1/2 cup) with cake batter poured over the top.  Baked in 180 C oven for 40 - 50 minutes.  Goes well with cream and I suspect custard.  Put the peaches and sugar in right before you pour the batter in, if you decide to make that part ahead of time and put it in the fridge while you go to the grocery shop, it will draw the juices from the peaches and will be very liquid.  No harm done but you really want that happen while the cake is cooking. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Woke this morning to a glorius day, thought about what I needed to do, what I wanted to do and what had to be done.  Usually it's a bit overwhelming but not today, I feel good today.

First thing, after my shower and the obligatory getting dressed (don't want to scare the neigbours do we?)I put on a load of washing.  For once there was only one load worth in the laundry, there are clothes in the bathrooms and beds for stripping but ever since we got the new machine and tidied the laundry in readiness, that's how it stayed.  Taking those doors off the cupboards to fit the baskets in really worked well.  Even when the baskets aren't there, the shelves hold the dirty laundry well.  It's not just me either, everyone has taken to the machine and are all using it and not letting the clothes pile up.

Last weekend was spent out near Araluen on a garden tour of Jackie French's place, such wonders to be seen, lots learnt and delicious food eaten.  I bought one of her books, A Year In the Valley.  And peaches from a local orchard, we bought 10 kilos for $20 of 'seconds', peaches with tiny marks or imperfections that the supermarkets refuse to take.  $2 a kilo, wow, am used to $5.99 a kilo.  There's now 5 kilos ripening in my kitchen, my friend and I went halvies.

Entering the kitchen this morning it was filled with the aroma of peaches, I tested one for breakfast, not quite fully ripe.  The juice from the ripe bits, dripped down onto my chest as I bit, into the sweet, sticky flesh, delicious, can't wait til they are fully ripe.  Must get some jars for jam.

While I ate, I read Jackie's book which is basically her diary from a few years back, interpersed with recipes.  As soon as I tasted her Lime Cordial on Saturday and bought the book I hoped that the recipe would be in there, just now I picked up the book and it fell open right at that recipe.   Speaking of which Jackie told us to all take a lemon and lime from the garden to use the seeds for our own trees.

Was sitting out in the sun, reading, listening to the sound of the birds, the magpies, native doves and others unseen and nameless.  I love the sound of magpies, don't usually hear them here, I always thought of them as country birds, bushland, I loved visiting the country just to hear them.  The sound of our newest neigbour digging his vegie patch next door, it's almost been a year since he moved in, boy time is going quickly.  Jackie's book has inspired me to write, had thought about paper and pen, but the heat of the sun was getting a bit much on my skin, so I came in and now sit squinting at the computer screen as I write these words.  It doesn't matter if no one reads them, or if they don't make a best seller, it feels good to get my words out. 

For now I am off to put the washing out and strip my bed. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Got into my sewing room yesterday and whipped up a stuffed Christmas tree out of some demin from my son's jeans.   It looks more like a Tipi than a tree.

As usual the room felt overcrowded and badly set up.  I was sewing in my own shadow, even with the light on so decided that the sewing desk needed to move near the window, which meant that every piece of furniture in the room needed moving.  My sewing table, chest of drawers, cutting table, 2 other tables and 3 cupboards.  Didn't want to empty anything but after struggling to push the drawers across the room I went to Big W and bought this.

I was surprised that it actually worked, was even able to move the chest of drawers below, with everything haphazardly piled on top.  Single handedly.  Impressed.

This morning there was a market day at the church, I had decided not to get a table, it's not really worth the effort.  Last time I didn't even make the stall cost.  But I did buy raffle tickets, a couple of years ago my daughter won a crochet rug but this time I won first prize.  The quilt below, which just happens to be nade and donated by my mother.  She always makes one for the raffles, about 3 a year.  This year is the first time a family member won one, actually she got 2nd prize but didn't need a crocheted rug so they gave her 3rd prize.  Her ticket was also drawn for 5th prize, she demanded a redraw because she didn't need anything else.