Tuesday, 27 August 2013


I am tired.  Really tired.
Too much going on in both my work and personal life, joined at the hip to my computer. Hence my absence from here.
Hubby has been telling me for a few months that I am doing too much.  Mean while I have been living in denial, believing that I can just keep pumping out 75 hour weeks, without it taking a toll.
Guess who was right?
So I am detaching myself from my computer and going screen free for the rest of the month.  Hubby and I are going away for a few days to see some friends who live on the coast.  We are taking Jessie and going to spend some time just chilling out at the beach.

I'll be back next month with some new energy.  See you then.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Butchering Roosters - Any Tips?

Over the weekend we butchered 3 of the 8 roosters we have been rearing for meat.

I have to say that it was not as smooth sailing as it has been in the past and I am glad there were only 3 to do.  I am not sure why I felt weird about it but I did, my chicken butchering mojo was off.
The last lot of chickens we butchered were a specific meat breed and had been sexed so they were all females.  As I discovered today female chickens are much easier to deal with when it comes to plucking and gutting.
The large tail feathers and well developed wing feathers were a bugger to deal with and additional dunking in the hot water did not seem to help at all.
Then when it came to gutting them I discovered that their body shape, with a much smaller opening between the end of their breast bone and tail, made it a lot trickier.  It was really tricky trying to get the insides out easily.
In the end these 3 ended up skinned and split into portions as it was easier but I would love to know if anyone has any tips or tricks for butchering roosters.  Or have you encountered the same isues?

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Forced To Walk The Plank

If you pop in at our place today and need to use the toilet or bathroom you will have to do a bit of a pirate impression and walk the plank.

We are still on the renovation rollercoaster at our place with Hubby undertaking another project at our place.
Our house used to be one where the toilet was outside on the back of the house but when the interior of the house was opened up into a open plan design the bathroom was moved out the back too and the whole area was built in.
This building in also meant that our septic tank ended up enclosed in this back area, you can see the top of the septic box in the picture below (the square raised area on the right hand side with the smaller square lid set into it).
I know this sounds terrible and I am sure you are thinking what happens when it needs cleaning but it has been no issue at all and when we did have it cleaned there was no mess at all.
But the floor was not finished off nicely or shown any love at all and there are all these different levels and layers of concrete in the area between the bathroom and toilet and the laundry area.
If you look in the picture below there a blob of concrete in the doorway and a slightly higher strip down the right hand side running back towards the bathroom where it joins the top of our septic tank.  Then you step up on the left into the toilet or to the right to the bathroom.

The below photo is standing with my back to the bathroom door.  As you can see we do not really have a laundry just an area tucked behind what used to be the stove recess and is now my pantry.

This photo was taken from the laundry end and yes for some reason a previous owner put a toilet sign on the door.  The bathroom door is the one with the funky angle top.
We use this area for one of our gum boots, work wear, pet food and chest freezers but because of the different floor levels we have not been able to put both chest freezers out here.

 So Hubby set about rectifying the issues with the different floor levels.

So while we are waiting for our fantastic new floor to set we are left walking the plank for a day or two. Arrrrr shiver me timbers.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Spicy Thai Eggplant Salad

We have lots of coriander in the garden at the moment probably due to the fact I just scattered handfuls of seeds in every garden we have.  I do this to attract lots of good bugs to the garden and to ensure we a bountiful supply.
This is a great recipe for anyone who wants to use up a few eggplants, enjoy a salad mid winter or eat less meat.  The recipe can be made meat free but substituting mushrooms for the mince or with the minimum amount listed below.

Spicy Thai Eggplant Salad

2 Eggplants
1 Cup Coriander Leaves
1/2 cup Red Onion
1/2 Raw Skinless Unsalted Peanuts
1 Large Red Chilli
2 Cloves of Garlic Crushed
200 gm Pork Mince (substitute with another type of mince if required and it will still taste great)
3 Tbs Palm Sugar (substitute with raw sugar)
2 Tbs Fish Sauce
4 Tbs Thick Tamarind Paste
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 Cup Basil Leaves

Cut the eggplant into 2 cm slices and sprinkle with a little salt.  Set aside for 30 mins then pat dry.  Coat with vegetable oil (optional) and bake in the oven for approx 30 mins, turning half way through cooking, until cooked through.  Cool till just warm then dice.
While the egg plant is cooking slice the red onion and red chilli finely place in a large bowl with the lime juice. Mix together and set aside.
Heat a wok and when hot add a small amount of vegetable oil and fry the peanuts.  They will cook quickly so once browned scoop out of the wok and add to the bowl with the onion.  Return the wok to the stove and add the crushed garlic.  Fry for 5 seconds before adding the mince.  Once the mince is cooked through add the sugar and fry for a minute before adding the fish sauce and tamarind.  Finally add the basil leaves and stir till wilted and remove from the heat.  Add the mince mix, the diced egg plant and the coriander leaves to the bowl with the onions and toss gently.

This has been a favourite at our place lately.  What have you been eating?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Much More Welcoming

If you were coming to visit us you would either enter our home via the front verandah straight into the lounge or via our side entrance door and into a foyer like area that leads into the large kitchen dining area.
We always use the side door but until this week it has been an area of the house that was really ugly.
It is part of a besser brick extension that was added to our timber home at some stage in the last 15 years and it was never clad on the inside so you were stuck looking at the ugly bricks that had a coat of paint slapped on top.
This is what it looked like before.

So Hubby set about lining the walls, framing the window and creating a facing board to hang curtains on.  This turned out to be no easy task with walls that were not flat or square.

But he persevered and got it all done.  Then it was on to the painting.  We decided on a colour that is a pale version of the colour of mushroom gills a bit pinky browny beige.

Once the painting was done it was time to sort out the curtains which were a silvery grey brown colour.

And here it is all finished... well nearly.  The curtains are too long so I will have to take them up this week and then we are all done.  Hooray another job completed from "The List"

Eventually we will replace the carpet but for now we are sticking with the old stuff.  

The whole space feels much more welcoming and we are really happy with the outcome.  Good Job Hubby.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Safe To Look Up

Life sure has been busy lately (hence my absence) but we have tackled a couple of big jobs from "The List" and life is slowly getting back to normal.
One of the jobs we had been meaning to do but putting off since we moved in 4 years ago was painting the ceiling in the kitchen/dinning room.  At one stage this now large room was 4 small rooms and a corridor but one of the previous owners opened it all up and now it is about 48 square metres.  However they left all the original panelling in place and just capped where the walls had been.  It was soooo gross with about 20+ years of grime built up, holes where lights had been removed and relocated, layers of paint showing through (aqua ceiling anyone) as well as mud wasp nests dotted about the room.

Ewwwww yuck note the mud wasp nest on the beam
 Basically we always hoped that visitors and guests would never look up.

Not sure when there was last a light in this spot.
 But it was time to tackle the monster room so Hubby set about cleaning off the grime.  This job took an entire day and by the end he was exhausted and was complaining of aching shoulders.  That is really saying something about the grime since he climbs trees for a living.

The cutting in took another whole day because of all the panels which resulted in more sore shoulders.  But we could see straight away the difference it was going to make.

The end result is fantastic and makes such a difference.
It was a lot of hard work with lots of puttying and fix ups and we still have to replace the light fittings but I am glad to be able to cross this one off "The List".

What's been going on at your place?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Documentary Follow Up

Build Australia's First Baseload* Renewable Energy Plant at Port Augusta
Photo from here

Following on from Dick Smith's documentary I wonder did you see it and what did you think?

I thought that Dick raised some good points but one of the things that should have been emphasised a lot more is not where our power comes from but how much we waste and how excessive our usage is.

I had no idea about the Concentrated Solar Thermal Power proposed for South Australia and to me it seems like a fantastic idea. If you want to know more about it or you agree that it is a good idea there is information and a petition that you can sign here.

Lets hope our government get real about the issue.