Thursday, 28 July 2011

Preparing for Spring

Here in QLD we have a very short winter and as this is only the second full winter we have been on the farm I am still trying to work out the seasons and weather cycles.  So far it seems like we get a 6 month Summer, and 2 months each of Autumn, Winter and Spring but it will take a few more years to really work it out.
Last year I was late in getting my seeds going and before I knew it spring had been and gone and summer was upon us.  Two things have happened in the garden this week to make me think Spring is very much here and I need to get a move on with my seed planting. 

How do I know...

The first Asparagus spear has emerged, and

the Mulberry is producing fruit.

So I have planted out  a few seeds already and I have more to go in.  Better get a move on I think.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

In The Garden

I have been out in the garden this week taking stock of what I have going on and trying to put together a plan of attack for my spring time blitz.
In just over a weeks time I have 2 weeks off work to do a stack of jobs around the farm. 
Yes I have just had a holiday but these 2 weeks are in addition to my normal annual leave and will not be a holiday.  My work place allows us to purchase additional leave and have some of your pay deducted pre tax over the rest of the year to cover it.  I use mine for getting a lot of out door jobs done before we head into the hot months of the year. 
Where we live it is too hot to do strenuous out door work during the summer months, unless you plan on doing it between 4 and 6am, so I like to take a couple of weeks in August.
So what do I already have have going on in the garden?

Rhubarb seedlings to replace the ones that drowned
at the start of the year

Snow peas going crazy
We are picking them everyday and they are sweet and juicy
Some of them make it inside but not many....

Some Broccolini and a couple of Sage seedlings
As well as these we have Garlic, Silverbeet, Beetroot, Herbs and Golden Shallots.  So now I just need to plan out what jobs I want to get done in my 2 weeks.
What are you planning on doing this spring?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Carrot Cake

Last week I found a few sad looking carrots in the bottom of the fridge and being someone who does not like things to be wasted I decided that a carrot cake was in order.

This is really a very easy cake to make and is dairy free as long as you do not add a cream cheese icing like I did.

Carrot Cake Recipe

Mix 3/4 cup of vegetable oil, 2 cups of Brown Sugar and 2tsp of Cinnamon together.  Add to this 4 beaten eggs and 1 tsp Vanilla Essence.
In a second bowl mix 2 cups of Wholemeal Flour, 1tsp salt, 1tsp Baking Soda, 2 cups of grated Carrot and 1 cup of Sultanas or Walnuts or half of each.  Add the Oil/Egg mix and mix well.
Bake at 160 degrees for 1- 1.5 hours depending on your oven.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Animals in the Garden

I like to have interesting things in my garden and I have a particular liking for animals, of the man made variety.

The latest addition to the garden is "piggy" who flew back from NZ with us.
Piggy joins "Kiwi" and "Lamby" yes I know very original names.

"Piggy" the latest addition to the garden animals



So other than plants what do you have in your garden?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Chilly New Zealand Days

We have now been back from NZ for a week and just though I would share some photos of a new bridge in New Plymouth NZ where I come from.

New Plymouth is a coastal city with a population that loves the outdoors, probably due to the vast numer of outdoor activities avaliable including skiing, fishing, surfing, white water rafting, bush walking and cycling just to name a few.
One of the great things about New Plymouth is the Coastal Walkway. It is a foreshore walkway that grows a few more km each year and follows the coastline for about 7km at the moment.
There has just been a new bridge established allowing the walkway to continue and it really is something.
Designed to represent the waves that crash on the shore it is positioned to capture the stunning views of Mt Taranaki when viewed from the northern end.

These photos are from some postcards I purchased as on the
day we visited we could not even see the mountain due to cloud.

Hubby and I rugged up against the cold
It really is stunning and even though it was overcast we were very impressed and next time we are back we are going to borrow/hire some bikes and ride the entire walk way stopping along the way to see the sights and have a coffee or 2.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Gangsters and Moles Celebrate

The main reason Hubby and I travelled to NZ in winter (being from QLD we normally only go in summer)was for my Dad's 60th.
Dad's main hobby is a collector/restorer of vintage engines, tractor and cars and over the years has amassed quite a collection.
So what would be more fitting that and 1920's- 30's Gangsters and Moles Fancy Dress Party kicked of with a car rally/treasure hunt.
The treasure hunt was put together by my Mum and cousin Stacey, who was not able to participate as she has an 8 week old baby, and started at my parents house after a afternoon tea, and after following all the clues lead to the local Vintage Car Club for dinner and drinks. 
We were divided into teams and off we set to follow our clues around the district.

Our Team "The Model A's"
From left: Dad's friend Joe, Dad, Cousin Bryce and myself with Hubby behind the camera

On the road again to find the answer to the next clue

Dad at one of the clue answers locations

We ran into some other "Gangsters and Moles" at this clue site

Our entire team stopping off for a pint before heading of to do a "hold up" for the next set of clues

More Party goers

Getting ready for a "hold up"

Mum being "Held Up" for the next set of clues.

Some of the family at the Dinner venue
The day (and night) was a lot of fun and thanks to Mum was a huge success and the feedback from everyone is that they had a great time.
My family loves a good dress up party and it was great the all the guests got into the theme, although I am not sure what the locals thought what with fake "Tommy" guns being brandished out the car windows and I can't remember the last time I saw so much fur being worn in one place.

If anyone is looking for a great way to start a party, and get people who don't know each other to mix, I would highly recommend the treasure hunt as it was a real talking point at the party later and a great ice breaker.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Day in the Snow with my Nan

My Family all ski or snow board with the exception of my Dad and Pop, and since we all spend a bit of time on the slopes my Nan has a timeshare house that we all use on the edge of Lake Taupo.
So my Mum, Dad, Pop, Nan, Hubby and I all headed off for a week together.
While in NZ we wanted to have a day skiing but the forecast was not good.
No1 No Snow
No2 Wet windy weather on the way.
But Nan and I decided to at least take hubby to see the snow and take all of our gear in case we could get in some skiing.  Meanwhile the others spend the day trout fishing.

We were in luck.  The day dawned clear and calm and the snow forecast advised that due to snow making there was the beginners ski field open. 
Perfect for us as Hubby wanted to lean to snowboard, my Nan who is still skiing at 81 is happy to just take it easy and for me it was just about having a nice day out with the people I care about.

Mt Ruapehu pops into view

A brilliant day to be on the mountain

Hubby having his lesson

Practise makes perfect...

And off he goes...

Boarding like a Pro...
 So while Hubby was having his lesson Nan and I hit the slopes.  Every year for the past few years Nan has been telling us that this will be her last year and yet here we are again.  For the past 11 years she has been skiing for free because once you turn 70 they do not charge you.  Too right I say.  If you are over 70 and still have the stamina to ski then it should be free.
Now I should really mention here that my Nan is a pretty fit lady with lots of go, true she has arthritis and 2 dodgy knees but that does not stop her.  She plays bowls a few times a week, golf (without using a golf buggy) a few times a week, swims and boogie boards in the summer and does a lot of walking and treking/tramping (she recently completed a 18 day walk around the bottom of NZ's South Island).  She has always been active and does not look like slowing down anytime soon.

Nan in all her gear ready to get going

Heading up for another run
It was a great day out and even though there was not a lot of snow we all had a great day out without injury and after the day on the slopes we headed back with a stop off at the hot pools to soak the cold and aches from our muscles.
And what should we find for dinner that night but a freshly caught Rainbow Trout.  Mmmmm.  Sorry no pictures it didn't last long enough.
The weather packed it in and was cold and wet for the rest of the week so I am really glad we got one perfect day together.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Very Wintery Indeed

In joining with Hazel about the joys of winter I thought I would share one very Wintery morning we had in NZ while on holiday during the last few weeks.

My family all ski.  My Nan, who is 81 and still skiing (more about that tomorrow), taught us (her children and grandchildren) all to ski from about the age of 4. 
My Hubby is Brisbane born and bred and had never even seen the snow so while in NZ we took him up Mt Ruapehu for a day skiing/snowboarding.
On the way to the mountain we encountered a whopper frost so we stopped to take some photos.

Yes that is just frost not snow.  These entire trees were like giant ice sculptures.

Frozen Hubby - the outdoor thermostat said it was -5 degrees brrrrr

Frozen Country Side. Mt Tongariro (not ski able) the background.

In the back ground even the tall trees have Frost on the top.
Check out the frozen wire on the fence.

Mt Ngauruhoe - Not a ski able Mountain
So I am very thankful for the cool Winter days that allow me to ski, more on the skiing tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Return from The Land of the Long White Cloud - NZ

Well Hello There.
I have been absent from blog land for the past few weeks as Hubby and I scooted off to New Zealand for some R & R with my family.
Over the next few days I will share with you some of what we got up to and having been doing in the few days we have been home.
For now however I am taking a bit of time to read back through your blogs and see what all of you have been up to and so far I must say that you all seem to have been very busy little bees.
I have seen Mosaics (VG), other Holidays (GBJ) and the wonderful Tour we are all getting with Mrs Bok as well as Sewing (FB)Cooking (JP&IC) and all things Green and Growing (BM) just to mention a few.
I got up early this morning to catch up on what everyone had been up to and to start getting a couple of posts ready for the week and this is the frosty morning that greeted me. 
Now this is nothing compared to the one we got while in NZ (pics to come later this week) but for 100km north of Brisbane this is fairly decent.

Frosty Paddocks

Newly Planted Quince Tree - Hopefully it's Tough
Frosty Quince
Lemon Popsicle
Well better go still more blogs to catch up on.