Monday, 29 August 2011


The other night the ABC aired a documentary called "The Cove" highlighting the annual slaughter of Dolphins in the small Japanese town of Taiji.
If you did not get to see this I really recommend you watch it.  Even if you do not want to be subjected to the vision of the dolphins being killed you will be able to watch all but the last 10 minutes, and by this time the message is well and truly imparted.

The documentary is lead by Ric O'Barry the man who trained Flipper, and is well produced and informative. 

Ric O'Barry leads a team of activists and filmmakers infiltrate a heavily-guarded cove in Taiji, Japan. In this remote village they witness and document activities deliberately being hidden from the public: More than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are being slaughtered each year and their meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is being sold as food in Japan, often times labeled as whale meat.

The majority of the world is not aware this is happening. The Taiji cove is blocked off from the public. Cameras are not allowed inside and the media does not cover the story

I will not go into detail as you will be able to see for yourself the unnecessary nature of what goes on and how we need to speak up to end this disgraceful practice.

After watching the documentary head over and sign the petition using the link on my blog and encourage others to do the same.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Liebster Award for blogs I love to read....

I am pretty new to the blogging world both as a reader and a writer and I often wonder is anyone actually listening, do they really want to hear my thoughts as I waffle on into the blogesphere.

Well apparently they do. 

A big thank you to Bruise Mouse from over at living a little greener for this award.  When ever I read her blog I feel part of the action and I am currently enjoying (vicariously) the trials of moving to a new county and cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen with ingredients in a different language.  Plus there is the world tour you get along the way.

This award is given to bloggers with under 200 followers. Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver and link back to them.  Done.

2. Reveal your 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Wendy over at Duchess Declutter always has something interesting on the go and at the moment you can pop over and check out her coffee plantation.

Daffodil is living on her Little piece of green and loves to share with us her great op shop finds, ethical butchering and her adventures in the saddle.  She has bee a bit quite of late so I hope all is well and hope she comes back to play soon.

Nellymary inspires me with her great ideas and gives great instructions on how to do a lot of practical things at Just like my nan made I couldn't see her followers so hopefully I have not broken the rules.

Oh no so many great blogs and only 5 awards to give out.... this is not easy.

Well I have to make mention of the great story telling abilities of Veggiegobbler who recently shared with us the story of her faith in mankind.

And finally Hazel who is currently hearing voices and brought tears of laughter to my eyes with posts such as Vera's Vagina.

3. Copy and paste award to your blog.  Done!

4. Have faith that your followers will pass the love to other bloggers. Halleluia I have faith... oh not that kind of faith.  Well I still have it.

5. And most of all, have Bloggity-blog fun.  Yep got that covered.

This was a fun exercise but with so many great blogs out there it was hard too choose.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bird Seed Bars

I am always looking for tasty and healthy additions to my hubby's lunch box and these are always a winner.

Hubby's work mates are shocked to see him take things like fruit, raw veggies, nuts seeds and dried fruit, home made snacks, salads, big meat and veggie filled sandwich's and left overs all washed down with water, every day of the week. 
They eat pies and chips and sugar filled snack food generally aimed at children all washed down with soft drink and give hubby heaps about his "weird rabbit food" and "bird seed bars" that he "picked up at the pet store".
So Bird Seed Bars is what we call them.

These are great in the lunch box and make a great breakfast on the run.  You can vary the nuts, seeds and fruit to what is cheap seasonal and you have in the pantry.
You will need a 20cm x 30cm shallow tray, lamington or the like ( I use a roasting tin), a large bowl and a medium size sauce pan.

250gm unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed  brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepita's
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup of chopped almond (I usually measure a mounded cup of whole almonds and then blitz them in the food processor)

Preheat you oven to 180 and line your baking tray with baking paper allowing about 2 cm extra on each side so you can lift it out, a spray with cooking spray will help keep the baking paper down. 

Measure all of you fruit, seeds, oats, nuts into a large bowl.  Add the flour and stir til combined.

In your sauce pan melt together the butter, sugar and honey until the sugar has dissolved.  Don't let the mix boil it just needs to be melted together with the sugar dissolved.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix till well combined and there are no traces of flour.  Tip into your lined tin and press down evenly and firmly.  This is best done with the back of a metal spoon and by pressing down really firmly you will ensure the mix stays together when you cut it.

Bake for 30 minutes and let cool in the tin.  Only once it is completely cold lift it out of the tin and cut into bars.  I get 20 bars from each batch but the size is up to you.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Like any good drug you can loose yourself and hours of time without even noticing.  Time slips by and then you remember all the things you should have been doing.  Such is the lure of blogging.
I have been absent from my blog for the past week or so in a self imposed ban.  Normally I am restricted in the time I can spend online because of work, but during my time off I had all this time on my hands and after a few day I had to impose a ban on blog reading.
There are just so many good blogs out there and really could spend a lot of time lost in the thoughts of others.
My time off was to get a whole lot of things crossed off a long list of jobs not to be spent on the internet.  Thankfully I reigned myself in and the jobs still got done and now that I am back at work I can get back to blogging.  It seems funny writing that, less time = more blogging.
I am sure I am not the only one this happens too... or maybe I am.
Does anyone else have this issue?
How you you keep track of time?
Do you limit yourself?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Moorish Meatloaf

Now for many people the thought of meatloaf may not conjure up thoughts of a delicious meal but this recipe is extremely tasty, goes a long way and makes great leftovers including sliced as a sandwich filling.

The meatloaf is soft, yet does not crumble and is covered in a sticky sweet glaze.

Moorish Meatloaf

500 gm Beef Mince           500 gm Sausage Meat (I just squeeze out some cheap sausages)
1 Cup of Bread Crumbs    1 finely diced Brown Onion
1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder     2 Tbs Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
1 Egg                                Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Milk                    1/4 Cup of Water

1/2 Red Onion and Bay Leaves to Garnish

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.
Oil a large roasting pan and set aside.
In a large bowl  mix all of the first set of ingredients.  This is best done with your hands and once thoroughly mixed shape into a log approx 10 x 25 cm and place in your oiled roasting pan.
Top with the red onion and bay leaves.
Bake for 30 minutes and during this time make your glaze.


1 Cup Stock (Beef or Vegetable)   1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
2 Tbs white Vinegar                      2 Tbs Honey or Golden Syrup or Maple Syrup
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce          1/2 tsp Mustard Powder

Heat all glaze ingredients together in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes then turn off the heat.

When the first 30 minutes of cooking the meatloaf is finished remove from the oven and ladle over about 1/3 of the glaze. Return to the oven and cook for another 30 - 40 minutes.  During this time remove the meatloaf twice more and ladle over the other 2/3 of the glaze.
Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Trying New Things - Sour Dough

So this month Bruisemouse over at Living a Little Greener set herself, and any one wanting to join in the challenge, the task of learning something new.
I am learning to crochet and will have to take some photos of the granny squares I have completed.  However for a while now I have been wanting to try making sourdough and I decided that since i would be having time away from work I would get started on making a sourdough starter to be ready for my time off.
I found a lot of info at  and I have been making the 7 day starter and tracking the progress.

I found the process to be simple and easy to follow but I had never seen a starter before and the pictures I was comparing to did not really help.
So these are the photos from my first round of Sourdough trials (I won't bore you with the instructions as they can all be found at the above website) but feel free to comment about the photos and the state of my starter.  I should also mention that I grew my starter on the kitchen bench and because the fire was going the room temperature was over 20 degrees.

Day 1
Flour and pineapple juice paste

Day 2
Doubling the mix
Day 3
Is it growing yet?

Are those bubbles I see?
Yes those are definitely bubbles
Day 4
Wow it is working, things are happening
Day 5
Things are really working now

Day 6
Starter gone crazy
Is this how it should look?

The left over starter to built up again after using some to make some bread

Well I guess it did work after all
The first rise

Splitting the mix for it's second rising

Shaped into loaves

Baked and looking tasty

Well I am not sure they rose as much as they were supposed to once in loaf shapes but they were very tasty and I will have another go next week.
I would love your feedback about how I went and any tips you have.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Day 2 in the Garden

Day 2 of my time off dawned clear and warm.  So it was back to the shade house for more potting, re potting and propagating.
I am really lucky to have such a great spot for potting and planting where it is a bit cooler and out of the direct sunlight.  The shade cloth is 50% UV/light blocking so I still wear a hat and sunscreen but it is much better than being out in the heat.
Shade house with potting bench on the right
Shade house from the other end.
Potting table in back left corner.
I re potted the Galangal and a few of the natives that I have grown from seed and the rest of them went into some seaweed solution to soak in preparation for planting out.

Number 1 helper and Galangal in the background.
Natives soaking.

All the seeds planted, cuttings potted up and plants re potted.
Once all of the potting had been done it was time to move out into the sun. 
Bed number 2 was cleared and is ready for turning over, composting and summer planting.

Bed 1 in full swing, bed 2 waiting to be turned over.
Then the hibiscus needed a hair cut and once that was done it was time to pack up for the day.  Time to call it a day.
Hibiscus after the haircut.
It was nearly as tall as the tree next to it.
Time for a good nights sleep, more jobs on the list tomorrow.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Day 1 in the Garden

So the first day of my work break has come and gone and it was a productive one.

It was off to town to pick up supplies.  Some Searles 5 in 1 compost, some vermiculite and a few other bits and pieces.  I use the vermiculite mixed with potting mix when planting out seeds and I see on the packet it is made from organic materials, but I really do not know that much about it and if it is actually a good thing to buy/use and what are the environmental impacts.  If anyone knows I would love to know.  Other wise I will be putting it on my list of things to find out.

Then it was off to the mushroom farm to make enquiries about compost and buying mushrooms in bulk.
And I wasn't disappointed.  I met with the owner and she gave me a tour and told me what I was able to purchase.
Basically there was no minimum quantity so if I only wanted a kilo of mushrooms (as if) that was fine and I had the choice of the following:

A1 Buttons $7 kg
A2 Buttons $6 kg (these were basically not pure white on their caps)
Cups $5 kg
Swiss Browns $8 kg
Mushroom compost $1 per bag and still producing stacks of mushrooms

My A2 Mushrooms
 So I got a 4kg box of A2 mushrooms and now I just have to divide them up and work out how many to keep out and how many to freeze.  I am not sure if anyone else freezes mushrooms but I find they freeze well.

After lunch I go on to some of the outdoor jobs on my list, mainly planting seeds for the summer veg I want to have this year. So out to my potting table in the shade house it is.

My potting table  and my basket of seeds, paper pots and extra paper and my number 1 helper

Paper pots from over at sow give grow
All done - well for now
So I have planted out: Sage, Thyme, Rocket, Purple Artichokes, Zuchini (tri colour), 3 types of Tomato's (Amish Paste, Russian Mix and Galapagos), Heirloom Capsicums (7 colour mix) and Heirloom Eggplant's.
Some of these I tried last year but I was too late in starting and the humidity killed them off so this year I hope to have things up and running before the humidity kicks in.

Well out to the garden I go again to see what more I can get done.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Buying in Bulk

I think most people these days are well aware of the benefits to the hip pocket of buying in bulk.
If you are lucky there will be a store selling bulk goods not to far from home.
However if you are like me and the nearest bulk store is a 100 km round trip then you need to be smart about your bulk purchasing otherwise any savings gained could easily be lost in the cost of travel.  In addition there are other things that should be considered before buying any item in bulk.

Things to consider:

Is this an item you use a lot of it?
Will you use it all before the expiry date?
Can you store it?
Does the cost of travel to buy the item outweigh any savings gained?

There are also a number of things you can do to ensure that any savings gained from buying in bulk are not lost.

Can you divide the bulk purchase between more than one person?  This allows you to take advantage of the savings while still purchasing items with a limited shelf life.
Can you use the trip to complete a number of jobs so that you are not just making the trip for the few bulk items you might be buying?
Can you car poole and share the cost of the trip?

It is important to do your research.  Is the price actually cheaper than what you normally pay?  Is it cheaper than when the item is on sale locally?  Ask at your local store if they would offer the item to you at a cheaper price if you purchased a bulk amount?

And finally find out from your local stores what items they sell in bulk or are able to sell you in bulk.  Sometimes stores may not carry bulk amounts of every item they are able to get in bulk as there is not a large demand for it.  But by asking the question you may find they are able to order you what you want when they place their next order.
It is also wise to find out what products all of your local stores sell as I recently discovered. 

In researching what bulk items could be purchased locally I discovered that I could purchase Bi Carb Soda and Epsom Salts in bulk from more than one of the hardware stores.  Both items are things we use around the house and garden and have a substantial shelf life. 
I was able to get both at the cost of $1.00 kg if purchased in 25kg bags.  Now that sounds like a lot, but I have been working towards getting rid of as many chemical cleaners as possible from the house and using the good old Bi Carb and Vinegar combo instead, and we go through a lot of bicarb so this works out as a substantial savings for us.

Bulk Bi Carb

What do you/are you able to buy in bulk?
Is there somewhere that you found offering things in bulk that you never would have thought of?
What tips do you have for buying in bulk?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Flower Power

After looking at the mess that is my front garden I felt the need to remind myself of the beauty that is just waiting to be on show again not hidden among the weeds.

Yep the weeding will be worth it.

Monday, 1 August 2011

To Wrack and Ruin

I am ashamed to say that the entrance to our home is not as appealing as it once was.  The two garden beds at the entrance to our home have gone to wrack and ruin.  They are overgrown with plants that need to be moved, weeds that grow like they are having seaweed solution pumped directly into their veins, and the general disorder that comes with a lack of care from the owners.  Yup that would be me.

These gardens are supposed to be for roses as there were some nice ones hidden amongst the weeds when we brought the house and they were lovingly brought back to life and flourished for a time.  However of late the weeds and other plants have begun to dominate the landscape and you literally cannot see the roses for the weeds.
Hiding among all of this are 4 different roses
 and currently you would have trouble finding them all

And hiding in here are another 3
These you might be able to make out but look at the weeds Ahrrrr.
Then there is my sad, sad standard fig that you might have noticed in the first photo.
It has suffered at the hands of jack frost and lost all of its leaves (have you ever seen such a sorry looking fig?)and the mondo grass at the base has also taken a beating.

What a sorry sight
So rather than just try and nurse it back to health it was given a root trim and re potted with fresh soil and compost into a larger pot.
From here things should be ok.  There were already new leaves forming and with a few doses of seaweed solution it should be looking it's best in the not too distant future.

Re potted and ready to thrive

As for the rest of the garden that will have to wait till next weekend which marks the start of my 2 weeks away from work but doing work around the house and farm.
Until then I will be on the lookout for other areas that gone to wrack and ruin and wondering if this happens to everyone.