Buying a clothes dryer

Before I start today I want to thank Teri for sharing information in my last post about using a Kitchen Aide mixer to knead bread dough.  She said: I love baking bread. I'm having problems eating loaves with lots of seeds, so I may have to try your recipe. If anyone is using a Kitchen Aid to knead the dough, I found it's helpful to let it run for 9 minutes. I learned about that in a cookbook and my bread is better since I started doing that.  I'm sure that will help some bakers make better bread using their Kitchen Aide mixers.  It doesn't take much time to share something like that and yet it might be just the thing that helps someone who might be thinking of giving up on homemade bread. Small things do make a difference. Thanks Teri.

~.~.~ ❣️ ~.~.~

An idea for the craft bee - jug covers.

How to make milk sandwich loaf

Before I start today, I want to thank you all for such beautiful comments on my 12 year anniversary post.  I was surprised and touched that so many would take the time to tell me what they thought of my writing, my blog and me.  Thank you. Now, let's get on with the next 12 years. 
~~~ ❤️ ~~~

Hanno's had trouble with a sore mouth for a while so I've been working on a new softer loaf so he can continue to eat bread.  When you make bread you generally add flavour with salt, sugar or liquid, or you allow it to ferment and develop natural flavour. The main change in this bread recipe is the addition of milk and I've changed the amount of salt and sugar to what I think is a good balance. The milk, salt and sugar add taste to the loaf so you can leave out, or reduce, the salt and sugar but it will change the taste of the bread.

This is today's loaf.

Twelve years old today

Twelve years ago today, I sat here at a table in my sewing room and started my blog, Down to Earth. I had no idea what I was doing. During the previous few years I had written the beginning of a book documenting our new way of living and after the book was rejected by publishers, in a rare lightbulb moment, I decided I HAD to share what we were doing and the only way I could do that was to start a blog. My first post was about Brandywine tomatoes. I knew nothing about blogging and didn't know how to start but I did want to write honestly about our ordinary days here at home that, in the context of the times, were surprisingly enriching and satisfying. Brandywine tomatoes were what I was thinking about that day, so that is what I started with. Writing about what I was doing and thinking set a pattern that I repeated for many years.  In those first few years, honestly, I had so much to tell you, I could hardly contain it. I started off posting everyday and did that for years before having the weekends off.

I was 59 when I started, it seems like such a long time ago.

A perfect day in the backyard

It was a close to a perfect day in the garden yesterday. Temp 26C, low humidity, the brightest of blue skies and so many migrating birds resting on their way to somewhere else, as well as our local birds and many newbies who visit us every winter.  The gang is back in town. It was a good day.

Here is our mini Cavendish. It will grow to about 2 metres tall.

Two new workshops

I'm having a Blogging for Beginners Workshop on Saturday, 25 May and a Writers' Workshop (getting published) on Sunday, 26 May.  Both workshops will be at my home on the Sunshine Coast and run from 10am to 3pm.  Bookings will close 15 May. 

Autumn vegetables and homemaking

After a couple of weeks of rain, we now have sunshine and the gentle heat of late autumn. The strawberries are growing well, raspberries and Youngberries are developing their canes for fruiting later in the year and we have tomatoes, lettuce, French beans, silverbeet, spinach and Welsh onions almost bursting out of their boxes. The cayenne chilli bush in the old sandpit is so full and heavy, it keeps snapping off side branches and I've been giving away chillies to who ever will take them.

Strawberries in hanging baskets this year.  It's part of our way of easier gardening.
Afternoon sun on the back verandah and box garden.  French beans below.

Making your home

At some point in the morning, without fail, I make our bed. It's an indispensable part of my home making and the comfort it provides us when we go to bed at night consistently reinforces its importance.  Some folk have to drink coffee in the morning, I have to make our bed. It makes sense to me and it motivates me to care for the rest of my home too.  Lately I've been thinking a lot about the work we all do in our homes and I know that for me, housework slowed me down, lead me to a better life and changed me in the process.  

Easter - sit back and relax

It's been a busy week. Shane, Alex and Eve slept here last night. Jamie is here now, Shane is at work and soon they'll go over to Kerry and Sunny's to have a sleepover with Jamie. He even cleaned his room for the big event!  It's surprising how much you forget about normal life at various points in time.  It's only when we have the grandkids here that I remember looking after my own sons and the feeding, drinks, colouring in, playing, arguments, broken sleep, walking on small pieces of Lego 🙄 and the pure joy of looking after little people. And just how relentless it is.

Starting work on the rabbit while I watched Gardeners World.

In the couple of days before the gang arrived, I worked on the ballerina rabbit birthday present for Eve who turns four on Sunday. I struggled for a while with the shoes and then realised the answer was to hand-stitch them and then cut the felt slightly outside the stitch lines.  Eureka!  By the time Eve arrived, I'd sewn and re-sewn the shoes, and for days had thought about what to make for her top.  I finally settled on a knitted shawl, tied at the back the way I've seen some ballerinas wear their shawls.  She liked it but I think she preferred playing with the Peppa Pig car and passengers. Oh well, she might be next week's favourite.

How are you going with your apron?

Today I've been working on another felt rabbit, this time for my granddaughter Eve's fourth birthday next Sunday.  Eve told me last week she wants to be a ballerina. 🙂  This rabbit is a ballerina and at the moment I'm sewing prototypes of ballet shoes.  It's hard going because each shoe is only 20cm.  😳  I'm hoping to finish her tomorrow but I still have some knitting to do after the shoes.

Another birthday! UPDATED

I wrote the first part of this post in 2013 to celebrate my 65th birthday and thought I'd add to it today, on my 71st.