Friday, 19 June 2015

Slow and steady wins the race.....eventually !!!!

we are at a stage here at the moment where nothing seems to be moving, even though it is, things are constantly happening and on the go, but progress just seems so  pathetically slow
We  are trying to maintain what little vegetable garden we have, with the  renovation work and the small farm jobs that need to be done, and our  regular  stints of babysitting the grandkids  that involve  driving many hours , the time just seems to swallow up.
Brian picked his first cauliflower of the season and is  deservedly very proud, he has since picked two more around this size, and they have been delicious.
We also planted a small bed of broad beans, and some  purple top turnips.
small garden, but we are slowly increasing it, hope to be up and running properly by spring.
We have started to have our first frosts of the season, must have chosen correct  varieties and positions for the frost sensitive [lants as so far we haven't lost anything, but early days yet.
We  finally found a company that were prepared to travel here and install  built in wardrobes  for us  at a price we were prepared to pay, some of the quotes were totally ridiculous.
The "box room" which has been my 6 month nightmare,
and this photo was taken when it looked good, was transformed into a small but comfortable guest bedroom with the addition of this wonderful storage space. we are really pleased with the result.
The main bedroom, also had no storage, so we  filled in a deep recessed area with equal amounts of hanging and  shelving for Brian and I (  am sure I will steal some of his later down the track)

As you can see we still have a lot of boxes sitting around, but they will slowly absorb into the house as the renovations  are finished and  cupboards and bookcases ect go back into the rooms they belong in.
 Hubby has been a jack of all trades lately.
He has been a wood cutter and gatherer to keep our kitchen wood fire going,
He has learned  to repair holes in walls of which we had many from the previous owners,
Our builder taught him how to  tape and plaster sheet joints( which was a skill we have never needed until now.

We only have  a second plaster coat on one joint to go  and a small amount of sanding and this whole new area will be ready for me to get busy with the  undercoat/sealer, I can hardly wait.
We finally got our new screen door  fitted, (we waited until the last as it would have been a nuisance whilst bringing building materials in and out. )

The  need for decent grass for the sheep and just general pasture improvement is also a job that needs regular attention,  and Brian got in and worked another small area  and planted it with pasture mix, oats and field peas , and we have a lovely fall of about 25 mm( 1 inch) since he planted it so hopefully it will all come up well.

The previous  area  we planted is now grown beautifully, and the sheep are enjoying the lovely feed.

While we were down in Wollongong last weekend  spending time with  our gorgeous grandchildren, our daughter and granddaughter and I  attended a circus.
I hadn't been to a circus for many years, and was most impressed with the level of skill of the  acrobatic  performances, the trapeze and pole performers, the lighting was brilliant and the  clown( not traditional) and his stooges had us nearly crying in laughter.

The only animal performers were some beautiful ponies and  these larger  horses that were groomed immaculately and really appeared to adore their trainer and were constantly being rewarded with treats and love rather than  punishment and harsh commands, which used to be more common in the old days.

I am so glad that our granddaughters first experience with a circus has been such a positive one, I am sure she will remember this outing for years to come .
A friend of ours was attending an auction  the other day and saw this old railway clock on the listing, and knowing Brians' connection to the rail industry she rang to see if we would like to bid, we did ,and she did, and we  bought this gorgeous old timber framed wind up railway clock.
Once all the flooring and painting is complete  am sure this old girl will take pride of place  on one of the walls(  not sure which wall, as we have WAY too many clocks for this small house.)
We are living a bit rough at the moment, well not rough but messy. We have separated the kitchen from the rest of the house with a big woolen blanket, have put up a temporary shelf for  the TV , moved in a couple of comfy  cane chairs, and this is where we currently spend most of our evenings, toasty warm by the kitchen wood cook stove , while the rest of the house  feels like a refrigerator.

We will probably spend the bulk of the winter in here, as I really cannot see the renovation being complete  within another month or so, but there could be worse things in life eh.
I have just realized that as of this month that this blog has now been running for two full years, I look back and can't believe the changes that have taken place in that time,life rolls on and you just have to roll on with it or get left behind,
Take care everyone,
Catch you down the track,

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A Cracker of a time

We go through a lot of cracker biscuits here, as we always have friends and neighbours popping in   or we head to them for a few drinks and snacks and as  most of the cracker biscuits cost between  1 and 2 dollars it becomes an expensive component  of our grocery shop.
I knew many  people make crackers but I had never  tried to make them myself so I decided to  give it go.
I  did a bit of research  and combined  a few different recipes to come up with what I finally made.
Firstly I  measured out 2 cups of plain all purpose flour and added a pinch of salt.
To this I added 2 tablespoons of mixed herbs, and 1 tablespoon garlic powder and mixed altogether.
I then added 4 tablespoons of margarine and rubbed it in until it resembled breadcrumbs.
Then  using a bread and butter knife I mixed in just enough cold water to bring  it altogether in the bowl.
The  dough was then turned onto my floured table and shaped  into a ball, before rolling out paper thin.
Using a pizza cutter I then  cut all the dough into the cracker shapes.
The next step  in the process is  to prick the dough all over with a fork or something similar to prevent the crackers from rising and helping to create that Crispness that is required.
I then line my baking slides with baking paper and place the small cracker
 squares on it, they can be placed really close together as they don't spread.
Next I sprayed all the cracker squares with  spray olive oil and sprinkled    my selected toppings over them, in this case it was  barbeque  flavoured  sprinkle and poppy seeds, I also did some plain ones with just  cracked pepper and salt and  a few with lemon myrtle powder.
These are then baked at 400 deg F(205 deg C) for approx 10-12 minutes or until cooked, they burn really quickly, so keep watch..
After the baking  has been completed, I cooled the crackers slightly on the tray and then transferred them onto a wire cooling rack.
I have found these crackers  invaluable, I have already made and used three big batches, and everyone  has given them the big thumbs up.
We also recently purchased a  nutri- bullet and I have been using it to make dips to eat with the crackers, lots of hommus made from my canned chick peas and also sweet potato  and cashew dip with salt/pepper, a splash of olive oil and a small  pinch  of my powdered dehydrated Habanero chilli powder. The variety of dips are endless and  I love trying new flavours and textures.
I definately will continue to make these crackers again and again , they have been so delicious and easy to make  and very well received  by pretty well everyone who has had the chance to try them.
I am always on the lookout for easy practical recipes and ideas that I can incorporate into our everyday lives.
With our busy life here at the farm  (and the renos continue)  it has really been great to sit and take a break with friends and family over a friendly  drink or cuppa.
So until we meet again,
Take care everyone,