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

Monday, 20 April 2015

It's a real Monday

Overnight and today we have been getting some lovely soft rain.  Yesterday we had a yard day.  Peter started construction of the long-awaited greenhouse.

I found some muscles I didn't know I had by digging up some ground for new vegie garden beds.  We have black soil here and as Darling Downers know, this stuff is hard to get going.  It holds moisture and nutrients very well, but its a bugger to dig up.  Anyway, the bed is there, with some decomposed cow manure, gypsum, chook litter which was put through the mulcher all added in.  The bed will most likely be for brassicas so a bit of extra leaf won't hurt.

So, I'm glad today is like it is, because I don't think I could go out there again and dig some more - still have at least one more bed to do this run.

The weather is like this...

Looking west there is mizzle - mist and drizzle

You can't see beyond the 2nd contour in our paddock.

Looking north towards the dam - the beginnings of the greenhouse and the vegie garden beyond

The dogs have not moved more than a couple of feet today and the chooks are not enjoying much free ranging.  This one definitely didn't want to be in the rain.  A bit of comfort on the carpet if you don't mind.

I'm supposed to be doing a sewing job for some friends but I seem to be procrastinating about it.  My procrastination has taken the form of this...

There's also a slice cooling, waiting to be iced along with the cake.

Grudgingly signing off to go sew.

Sunday, 12 April 2015


No, not stuttering, FFF stands for Felton Food Festival which is where we went today.  The Festival is in its 4th year and was established to showcase the district's agriculture and farmers.  Some say it was born out of the community fight against coal seam gas mining which threatened the district some years ago.  Driving to and from the Festival site, I could see why the locals were so against the CSG industry coming into their community - the scenery is glorious - its big sky country in my mind.

So about an hour's drive and we rolled into the Festival along with so many others, including the fabulous Mandy from The Old Dairy who I knew from Simple Living Toowoomba.  Mandy was there with her Mum and they were ready for a great day.

We came home with some great goodies, having tasted, sipped and sampled as many products as our tummies would allow.

Here is our loot:

There is something for everyone.  Peter loves mutton, and although we have sheep, we can't let our flock foundation ewe Esme go to the butcher.  She deserves to live out her life in comfort we reckon.

So, we picked up some mutton backstrap, shanks and ribs from Tillari Trotters at Karara (west of Warwick) and Tamworth.  They do free range pork and sheep products.  We had turkey already defrosted for dinner, otherwise the mutton would have been on the menu.  

For me there was Bald Rock Jerky Chilli flavour.  I love jerky and always get some Jim's Jerky when we go to Farmfest each year.  Bald Rock is great too and the bag is emptying quickly.  Note the "Guilt Free Snack' label on the pack! 

We got some free samples of organic fertiliser pellets for the veggie garden and coarse layer mix for chooks.  I get great feed from a local farmer who mills his own but I thought the chooks might like a change.

The last purchase we made was for our brother-in-law Bob, who likes a glass of red when he visits us.  We thought Uncle Bob's Estate at Nanango who produce a wild ferment preservative free Merlot might be a good one for him.  We also bought a bottle of cooking red, since we're coming into winter, I'm sure it will go to good use.

We also bought some garlic plants from Joan at Budgee Garlic and Herbs which I will have to hurry up and get in the ground.  I had seen the story on Gardening Australia about garlic so it was a happy coincidence that Joan was at Felton today.  Joan and I are both members of a Facebook gardening produce and swap group based at Clifton.  This group has been a great introduction to so many people and businesses in the district.   Another group member, Matthew has a great nursery at Garden Grove Nursery at Pittsworth.  He will most likely be the supplier of our fruit trees when funds allow, as he has a great range - many of which were at his stall at Felton today.

I really enjoyed Felton Food Festival and will likely go again next year.  Lastly, here is this afternoon's sunset from our verandah.

Glorious colours, love this time of year.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


I hope everyone had a lovely Easter; we did.  It was a family-filled four days for us.  The weather was a bit wet on Friday, but cleared on Saturday and was lovely most of the time after that.

On Saturday night we had two great lamb shoulder roasts done in the bbq for dinner complete with roast veges. 

The men had put together a great outdoor fire which we sat around until late in the evening talking.

Throwing a piece of wood onto the fire always caused some interesting photo opportunities.  We've decided we want to make a more permanent fire pit at one edge of the area we plan to pave.

Not too many chocolate rabbits were harmed but we made some old favourites for desserts - jam roly poly and boy scout rice custard.  Each was a special request and it was a pleasure to provide.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Basil Harvesting

Reading around the interweb, I saw that several sites recommended harvesting basil before the cold weather sets in as the plant doesn't handle this well.  So I chopped around on my basil plant and collected lots of lovely green leaves.
 I used some of the basil to make up a tomato passata to freeze and use later.

 I wanted to run the Bamix through it before cooking but that resulted with tomato mix everywhere, so I'll do it again when it has cooked down.

The remainder was processed in a bullet-thingy and packed ready for freezing.


 Because I washed and dried the basil in the salad spinner, I hope to be able to break bits off the 'slab' when I need it.  I would have used ice cubes but our ice cube trays are in box K14 in the shed behind boxes K10-12 - not going to happen today.

Finished product
I'm happy I've done this now; it was one of those jobs I had been putting off due to time, but in reality it took probably 25 minutes all up. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Pineapple Jam

The other day on Facebook - (oh yes quite the Facebook-er I am ha ha)  - anyway the other day I saw a recipe for Pineapple & Rhubarb jam.  I was telling Peter about it and he said he remembered loving eating State brand pineapple jam when he was young.  I asked the FB gods for a recipe and up it came.

I think mine turned out a bit too dark but it does taste lovely - even for me who is not a big jam eater.  

Source: Meg's Kitchen facebook page

The recipe reads:

Pineapple Jam

1 pineapple peeled & finely diced
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a bowl and leave overnight.

Next day - tip into boiler - Bring slowly to the boil - reduce a little.  Test on a frozen plate to see if it wrinkles - if not check again in ten minutes etc.  When ready bottle...

I doubled the quantities to get three jars and a little leftover.  I also put the Bamix through it towards the end but next time I will do that at the start because I want to end up with a lighter coloured jam.  Peter reckons it will be nice in a jam roly poly - well that's happening this weekend so we'll soon find out.

Have a lovely Easter and be safe on the roads.