A journal of my favourite pastimes gardening, farming and sewing.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013


We had a visitor for a few days over Christmas; Sparky a fledgling peewee was being attacked by two other peewees and was looking pretty sick so Peter brought him inside for protection and some recovery time.

We put him in a basket lined with paper towel (to try and imitate a nest) and he sat for a while looking very sorry for himself.  However, after a few feeds of bugs courtesy of the bug zapper, he sparked up a bit (hence the name).

Over the next couple of days we fed him with turkey mince and gave him a stick to practice sitting on, rather than on Peter's hand or in the nest.  He had a pretty good appetite and was looking pretty happy.

Sparky in his nest in his 'tree'

Looking quite happy
He seemed to know we would not hurt him, even the dogs just ignored him.  We think he must have been close to flying because every now and then he'd flap his wings but wouldn't get anywhere.

On the Friday we took him down to our local veterinary hospital for a check over and handing over to a wildlife carer.  We did enjoy having him here though.

Friday, 20 December 2013


Just in the St Nick of time.  I'll do some more next year.

Table runner

Kitchen hand towels and napkins
I like a generous sized towel

Table napkins

Thursday, 19 December 2013


Last night my hubby brought home with him the new book from the Qld CWA.  I always like the CWA's books, the dishes and recipes appeal to our family and they often include catering for large numbers which is common for us.  So this book has joined my limited cookbook collection, right along with "Day to Day Cookery" from my high school years.

I believe the book is a fund raiser for the QCWA and contains recipes from the original QCWA Cookery Book printed in 1959.  The current day book is selling for $12.95, Peter got my copy from the APN newspaper office in Warwick.

The table of contents shows the hostess of the day many options for entertaining. 

One of the things I really loved about this book was the inclusion of several advertisements of the day.  

I found it difficult to imagine a stove showroom in Queen Street in the City
My Mum had a Sunbeam Mixmaster

Mail Order no less!
One of the sections is "Hostess at Afternoon Tea" with goodies like Petit Fours, Sponge, Coconut Jelly Cakes, Peach Blossom Cakes and Honey Lamingtons.  Doesn't this picture look lovely?

And of course, there was the Yuletide Hostess

I love this..."Christmas Day should be as much a holiday for the Hostess as for the other members of the household.  However, with our national desire for the hot, heavy dinner, which is incompatible with our hot humid weather, this tends to be impossible.  We bow to custom in planning these menus, but we divert from custom by adding dishes which would enable the Hostess to be as carefree as she would like and yet able to provide fare that would pander to the most discerning palate."  Not in my household!  And the different meals - Breakfast, Christmas Morning Tea, Christmas Mains, Christmas Evening Mains, Christmas Supper, Christmas Sweets - these ladies had it all covered!

Anyway, along with the December Australian Womens Weekly this book will be some holiday reading.

Sunday, 15 December 2013


It is a hot, humid day here - putting us on notice for another stormy afternoon/evening perhaps? Last evening we were outside righting a neighbour's banana tree that was leaning drunkenly towards the ground under the weight of a rapidly maturing bunch of bananas, when we could see storms approaching from the south.  That is unusual in these parts, with storms normally dropping off the Great Dividing Range and trundling through our area onwards to the coast.

It got quite windy and rumbly so we finished our propping up and climbed the hill back to the house.  By the time we reached the house, raindrops were starting to fall, quickly replaced by small hail.  This is the first time we have had hail since we moved here 4 years ago so of course the camera came out.

Hail & rain

Lovely wet stuff

After about 30minutes we had 28mm in the gauge, so happy we were.

A lovely cool night followed, but then this morning dawned warm, humid and sunny.  After feeding the animals I took some pics of what's doing.

These guys are always up for a chat

Charlie trying out blonde hair extensions

The three stooges

Mama & Fred

My Photography Assistant

Because we are moving on from here, we are madly trying to finish off jobs around the house to get all ready for going on the market.  We have decided to take a storage shed at our new town and starting moving things up there to get rid of 'stuff' and clutter in the house and sheds.  Packing bah!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


So, the zucchini are really starting to come in.  The first year we had our vegie garden here was a cracker crop. Then the following two years we had dismal failures with fruit rotting off on the vine.  I didn't feel so bad the last two years because other gardeners I talked to all reported the same poor performance.  This year however, it seems we are back in good form. 

The dark variety is Black Jack of course, and the lighter green variety is Lebanese, which according to the seed packet, is fine to eat up to 2kg in weight.  Our little chubster weighed in at 2.345kg so pretty right.  These will all be put through the food processor grater and frozen in big bags to await "The Coming of the Tomato" in order to make passata.

It is strange with packet seeds, some don't even make it germination-wise to the expiry date, and some, like the lebanese just keep on producing - expiry August 2012.

My list of pre-Christmas jobs is not going very well I have to admit.  The last two weeks I have been struggling to do more than one or two a day - it must be end of year-itis or something because I have felt very tired again.  With the 1 year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis approaching, I was starting to feel very uneasy.  But a visit with the surgeon yesterday and hearing blood results made me feel a lot better.

I still have a bit of Christmas sewing to do, I have almost finished my table/dresser runner; and I still need to do at the very least 6 x napkins.  I'd love to do some applique for a table cloth but I think that will be pushing it.

Here is the runner, its got a couple of wibbles in it from being folded up.  I'm not very good at piece placement, I'll have another go with non-Christmas fabric and make better selections I think.  

I like it - there will be star shaped red buttons stitched onto the centre intersections to finish it off.

Anyway, I better get, I've got a heap of jobs to try and get done today.  Have a great day.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Today I attended a great workshop on making cheese, yoghurt, kefir, butter and ghee.  The workshop was hosted by Elisabeth Fekonia from Permaculture Produce, based on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast.

I was put onto this by Margy at Simple Living Toowoomba and I was keen to learn a new skill for future food making. 

The full day course covered making a brie, a cheddar, quark, cultured butter, yoghurt, kefir and ghee.  We ate a great lunch consisting of a salad topped with homemade feta, sourdough bread, brie cheese, butter kase, cheddar cheese, kimchi, sauerkraut, and a honey mead. It was quite interesting to feel quite light and unbloated after all that food, but it felt great.

I wish I had photos but I forgot to take my camera with me so I am including some stock photos.




This was a day well spent, even if we don't eat all types of fermented foods - there are plenty for me to experiment with.

Friday, 8 November 2013


Its that time of year again when the sheep are being shorn in readiness for summer - a bit out of whack this year though.  Our shearer John is from the Brisbane Valley region and makes the 90 minute journey down to us at Boonah once a year.  He is one of those gentle talking, calm people who are so good with stock.

He is very knowledgeable about sheep and I have learned a lot from talking with him while he works.  After they are shorn, I drench them and then they are back into the paddock to give each other the once over like they are strangers.

This is an old photo, I don't know anyone who has any green left in their paddocks/yards.  Our cactus is telling us its going to rain so I hope it is right.

It certainly was the wrong day for an outside job, when I came back in at 3pm, it was 37 degrees outside.  So I'm waiting until it cools off a little before I go back out to feed the animals and put the shorn wool away.  If anyone wants some black fleece, let me know.  We don't seem to be able to sell it to the wool mill.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


Is it just me or is it end of year-itis?  Peter has started his new job 1 hour away in Warwick this week, and we feel shot every day.  Perhaps it is because we are getting up about 1-2 hours earlier in the morning, but my energy levels are pretty low.  Maybe like daylight saving in the south, the first and last couple of weeks are tough.

I've also started a little exercise regime - XBX from the Canadian Air Force - remember 5BX?  I've been doing neck exercises since having thyroid cancer surgery earlier in the year and the neck stiffness/tightness was a problem.  I found that the stretching exercises have eased things considerably and I'm now applying it to my other body bits.

The builder is almost finished downstairs now so we'll be able to start fitting out and then putting stuff back into place.  I want to start decrapping (a more realistic term than decluttering I have to say) so that when the time comes to move, it won't be as bad?? haha.

Last weekend we went to Caloundra for the night and stayed with BIL and SIL at http://www.windwardpassage.com.au/  They are there for a week, the lucky things.  This is what it looked like:

We had fish and chips on the balcony, walked to Golden Beach and back, went to the Caloundra markets and generally had a lovely time.  Our travelling time was great too, only 2½ hours using the Clem 7 and Airportlink tunnels.  

The animals were all being spoiled at home, so we had a nice break, probably the last one for a long while now.  

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

BOONAH OPEN GARDEN DAY (Warning picture heavy)

I lucked a seat on a bus doing the circuit of the Boonah Open Garden Day run by the Garden Club of Boonah.  The other guests were ladies from the retirement village where my husband worked until recently.  He was asked to volunteer as bus driver for the day.

It was a typical hot, humid Queensland day as we visited five private gardens, not normally open to the public.  A great opportunity to see how others do things.

My travelling companions:

We saw countless gorgeous and interesting displays.  Given the current dry conditions, it was obvious that the gardeners involved loved and put a lot of effort into their gardens.

I was told this was Bishops Lace

Gorgeous lemon frangipani

Day lillies

At every stop we were 'enabled' by the many stall holders and of course we all succumbed.  There was a vast array of all things gardening for sale.

Crown of Thorns plant

The 'No Idea' plant

The 'I always forget what its called' plant

Bed of petunias

More petunias

We saw countless roses
This was the inaugural Boonah Open Garden day and judging by the bus loads of people, I would say it will happen again.  There were other garden clubs from The Gap, Underwood, Albany Creek, and many others. So a merry time was had by all and I congratulate the Garden Club of Boonah for their incredibly hard work and organisation.  Well done!  Now I'd better go plant my plants.