How to make chilli jam

I'm still dealing with the over-supply of chillies so a couple of days ago I pulled out the bush, stripped the chillies off and started thinking about how to use them.  I decided on a few jars of chilli jam and dried chilli flakes. It will give us the opportunity to enjoy this season's chillies for another few months and both are very easy to make.

Three jars of very tasty hot chilli jam with yesterday's bread.

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What's in the backyard?

Over the years we've lived here, I've grown to love the homing pigeons that live a few doors down. You can set your clock by them in the afternoon because they're let out at 4pm to fly for an hour before they voluntarily return to their home. I see them flying in group formation, in ever-widening circles, over our house and on the edge of the forest behind us. The leaders swoop in and out and seem to take turns at leading the group as they fly about.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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. 

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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.

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