Monday, 19 December 2011

Why has it gone all falccid?

I hope someone out there can help because it has me scratching my head.

My Rhubarb is dropping dead and I cannot figure it out.  One day it is all looking healthy and lush putting out new growth and the next day the entire bush has flopped.

 And when I say healthy this is what I mean.
I originally had 3 plants in this raised bed.  And after loosing my rhubarb to rot last year I made sure the bed was raised and had plenty of good soil compost and sand dug through for drainage.

You can see from the below photo that one plant looks fine and the other ...
Well what can I say, it's flaccid!
So I have already had one plant droop and die and it used to sit at this end of the bed, now what ever has happened has moved further along. 
What should I do?  Water more?  Water less?  Dig out the healthy one and move it?

Ideas please everyone.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Must Keep Cold - The Gift

Well what was it that I was so excited by?

Well see for yourself, a cheese making kit!!!!

I was like a kid on Christmas morning I was so excited.  I could not have been given a more perfect gift.
With all the bits an pieces required so that when I get back from NZ I will get to play with my new cheese making kit.

So Liz from Eight Acres you were pretty close, with your guess of cheese.

 I also received this beautiful hand painted bowl, a scarf and calender from my in laws so all in all I think I am very spoilt.
Well for now I am off to study up on cheese making and after Christmas I will let you all know how it goes.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

An Early Christmas

This year Hubby and I are off to NZ to spend Christmas with my family.  Due to work commitments I have not spent Christmas with my family for 8 or 9 years, a long time between drinks so to speak, so you can imagine how excited I am. 
This will also be the first time in a year or so that my mum, dad brothers and I are all together as someone has always been away working or living overseas.
So since we are away for Christmas we had an early Christmas with Hubby's parents, brother and soon to be sister in law (SIL).    We went out for lunch at a restaurant and took along our gifts to exchange.  And let me tell you both hubby and I were very perplexed about what it was that my BIL and SIL were giving me.  Hubby was told to bring an eskie and some chiller bricks and was told not to ask questions just do it.

So my three wrapped pressies arrived at the table in an insulated picnic pack and I was very curious to see what it was that would need to be kept cold.  All sorts of things were running through my head, food that needed to be kept cold, some kind of plant that needed to keep out of the heat of the car an animal like goldfish or a hermit crab...  Yep by now my mind had wandered off the road and into the obscure because clearly you do not gift wrap pets.

Now the challenge, and even if you do not know me personally you are just as likely to guess correctly as some one who does... Can you guess what my gift was?

I will post the answer with photo tomorrow

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Crafty Christmas Cards

Being crafty is something I find really helps me to unwind.  So I try and take some time out each week to do something crafty whether it is paper craft and scrap booking, sewing or learning to crochet.

For the last month or so I have been making Christmas cards and here is a few that I have made.  The first and last ones stand up on their own and fold flat to be posted.  The rest are just your standard folded style (some of which blogger will not rotate, so apologies if you get a crook in your neck)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Not Enough Hours in the Day

Lately there has just not been enough hours in the day to get everything done, so something had to give.  That something was blogging.

I would love to say that I was busy with the joys of everything Christmas but sadly that is is not the case.  There has been some Christmas cheer which I will post about later this week, but mainly the busyness has been focused much closer to home.
To keep the story short, and not go into a complete rant, a developer is lodging an application to put a Sand and Gravel Quarry just up the road from our house, and the houses of many other people in our small rural community.  
Needless to say the community are not happy and we have started an action group S.C.R.A.M (Sandy Creek Residents Against Mining) had public meetings where I have been the facilitator, created a website and a facebook page, put up signs, had bumper stickers made and are now in the process of writing to the media, local government, state and federal government and the government and associated departments involved such as Main Roads, SEQ Water and DERM (Department of Environment and Resource Management).

The whole idea that our quiet country lifestyle could soon be shattered by the sound of quarrying 6 days a week from 6am till 6pm, and up to 1 truck and trailer every 3 mins for the next 30 years is to be frank devastating.
There are many reasons that the development should not go ahead including the area being Class A farmland, there are issues with salinity and soil acidity and the site is bordered by a creek and treated water will be pumped into the creek which runs in to the dams holding the Brisbane water supply.
While we understand the need for resources there are areas put aside, with buffer zones to lessen the impact on the surrounding area, under the planning scheme and this is not one of them, so we say go there and leave our community in peace.

On top of this I am involved in a couple of other community groups that also require my attention, there is full time work, full time wife, housework, Christmas parties and preparing to head to NZ for Christmas with my family.
Then there is the garden which is both thriving and failing on my neglect but more about that tomorrow.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Garden Whip Around

That my friends is a banana flower and those little things you can see poking out
are the bananas.  So far we have 3 hands of bananas.
 This is a first for us and even though I don't eat bananas I am
still very excited.

The Mango tree that we planted last year is putting on some new growth.
I was strong and picked off all the flowers. 

The gone wild cheery tomato's are giving us about this many every day.
They are so sweet and delicious.

The zucchini are starting to produce fruit.

These two dead things are my potato's.  Not sure what happened but
all 4 that I planted ended up like this.  But I dug under them just in case and ...

Just a few potato's from the dead plants. 
Still there were enough for a number of meals.

Finally I made these Sourdough Bolo Levedo for Sunday breakfast and they were delish!
Linda over at The Witches Kitchen posted about these the other day.
I didn't have blueberries but I did have peaches and it was a great breakfast.
If you want to try them head over to Linda's

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Cordial That Broke The Camels Back

The camel in this story is my poor Hubby, and perhaps after telling you all the things he eats for lunch in my last post I was inviting this to happen.  But any way this is the story.

H = Hubby   M = Me

It is a Thursday evening at the end of another long week and Hubby still has to work again tomorrow and Saturday as he is an employee Mon - Fri but still runs his own business as well.

H - Honey can you get some cordial when you do the shopping.
M - What do you want cordial for?
H - I'm sick of drinking just water it would be nice to have something with a bit of flavour when I get home since I drink plain water all day at work.  (Hubby drinks about 3-4 litres of water a day because of his physical job)
M- Ok but don't put it on the list cause we have some lemons so I will make you some.
H - No!  Just buy it. I am sick of home made everything.  Everyday it is the same healthy food in my lunch grown at home and to be honest it is becoming boring as bat sh*t.
M - Ok... but it will be cheaper if I make it and will not have artificial colours and preservatives in it, and it will be better than what I can buy.
H - Yes I am sure it will be better and cheaper but it will still be home made.
M - So what is wrong with home made all of a sudden.  Thirty years ago there was no such thing as manufactured everything, if you wanted it you made it.
H - Its just boring.  Every day the same things, fruit and veg, fruit and veg or left overs I just want some thing different is that ok?
M - Ok.  Well what would you like me to make you for your lunches so they are not so boring?  I could make some stuffed capsicums, savoury muffins, vege pasties, mini pizzas...  You tell me what you want and I will make it for you.
H - No!  I don't want you to make anything.  It's not the point.
M - But if you are bored then tell me what would be better and I will make it.
H - Don't worry about it.
M - Well you said you were bored and I want you to be happy with your lunch so I will make you something different you just tell me what you want.  Do you want me to buy you some shapes (the crackers) with the shopping?
H - No you'll get the wrong flavour
M - Well what about something else?
H - It's not the point.
M - But you said you were bored?
H - I just want to be able to have what ever I feel like on the spur of the moment.  If I feel like a hamburger I want to have a hamburger, if I want to buy a packet of chips I don't want to have to think "oh I can't have that because I don't have any money"
M - What do you mean you don't have any money?
H - The ATM at the servo wouldn't give me a balance so I don't know if that developer has paid me and I have put the rest of my money into the mortgage offset account.
M - Ok well I have some money in my wallet if you want to buy your lunch tomorrow.
H - I can't.  We are working in the middle of nowhere so I can't get to the shops and the boss has put his foot down about us wasting time stopping on the way so everyone can buy their lunch.
M - Have you checked on line to see if you have been paid?
H - I'll do that now.

H - Oh far out!  I got paid on Monday, why didn't it show up?  That stupid ATM  never shows you a balance.  All this time I did have money.
M - Ok, so do you want me to make something tonight for you to take tomorrow.
H - No don't worry I'll find something.
M - Look I'll get the banana cake out of the freezer and make you some devilled eggs and there are muesli bars in the pantry.
H - Thanks honey and could you make some cordial on the weekend, yours will be heaps better than the shops stuff.
M - Sure no worries.

So it turns out that homemade is better, and money worries can mask themselves and morph into other things.  This was a great lesson in communication for us, it took a while but we got there in the end.
We also had a discussion about how the way we live, growing our own food, making what we can where possible (like the cordial) is not the norm for most people, although I'd like to think we were getting back there.  We also talked about the pressures to conform and how it can be hard at times not to feel like you are missing out.  But in the end we came to the conclusion that we wouldn't change the way we live.  In fact we will keep working towards being able to do more for ourselves and become more self reliant. 
We do however need to make sure we don't feel guilty about not always meeting the standards we set for ourselves.

Does this happen at your house too?
Are you hard on yourself about living up to your own expectations?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The $21 Challange - Breakfasts and Lunches

Well by the time I got to the end of my post the other day I figured I had waffled on long enough.  I hadn't really thought about the fact that breakfast and lunch did not even get a mention even though they were included in the challenge and the $19.45 I spent that week.

A comment by the lovely Ali over at Mud Pie reminded me that I really should finish the story.

So to recap my shopping for the week was:
Rump steak
Spring Onions

Total spent $19.45

And the Dinners were:
Sat - Pea & Ham soup (this was actually so bad it got replaced with toast)
Sunday - Home made Pizza
Monday - Thai beef salad with vermicelli
Tuesday - Zucchini slice
Wednesday - Penne Putanesca
Thursday - Chicken Stir Fry
Friday - Bacon and Eggs

So to fill in the gaps this is what we did for breakfasts and lunches on the weekend.
Sat - Poached eggs (from the chickens) on Home made sourdough
      - Left over stir fry from the night before
Sun - Porridge with sultanas
       - Toasted Sandwiches
During the week we generally have left overs for lunches and each of us has our own breakfast.  I find it far easier to cook dinner for 4 and have the option of another dinner or lunch the next day.  It also saves on fiddling with recipes to downsize them for two.

I work from home so I tend to have cereal and yogurt for breakfast most mornings.  I had cereal in the cupboard and I have an esiyo yogurt maker that I use to make youghurt using powdered milk, again this was in the cupboard.  During the day I have almonds and fruit or cheese and crackers as snacks and sometimes dried fruit but I find this quite sweet.  Lunches this week were Tuna Salad, leftover beef salad, zucchini slice for 2 days and Penne Putanesca.

Hubby gets up early and has a long day of very physical work so don't be too shocked when you read how much he eats and still manages to stay a trim 78kg. 
At 4am he has 4 slices sourdough toast for breakfast then takes the larger portion of leftovers the same as what I have.  He then adds some raw veggies (at the moment a couple of carrots, some beans, some cherry tomato's and a cucumber, it depends what is in the garden or in season) a tin of baked beans, some baking (muffins or biscuits or Bird Seed Bars) a boiled egg or two, a couple of apples and a container of dried fruit and nuts.
And every afternoon the lunchbox is empty!

This week I did a normal shop for us which is normally about $70 - $110 p/w depending on if there is anything on a bulk special and if I buy any meat.  I don't think we spend a lot on food (even though  the way Hubby eats we are shopping for three) and I don't think we are scrimping either.
In the $21 challange it talks about the average household of four people spending $320 per week on food (maybe even more) and this figure seems really high to me.  I know we have chickens and a vegetable garden and don't eat a lot of processed food but even still....

How does everyone else feel about this $320 p/w?