Weekend Reading, Gardening and Baking

11 September 2021
This week went by so fast and I didn't get everything done that I wanted to do. But there is always time next week. Hanno had another bleed into his eye and had to have a minor operation at his eye specialist's rooms. I drove him over and got him safely back. I had my hair cut yesterday and the rest of the time I've been doing my normal chores and gardening. I'm pleased to tell you that the garden should be finished tomorrow. I just have to put down some weed mat, which I've cut out, plant a new rose - Elina and lay mulch on one garden. Kerry dug a hole for the rose last week so tomorrow I'll half fill it with our compost and water the area well. The rose is soaking in Seasol at the moment and will be planted this afternoon when it's shady. Roses can live for 100 years so it's a privilege for me to introduce it to a new home. I hope it has a long life and continues to watch over this land when I'm gone.

It looks like a bandicoot has been digging around the roots of my climbing rose.  I'll cover it with weed mat today and hopefully the bandicoot will look for food in other parts of the garden.

A trug full of rainbow chard for lunch yesterday. I used it to make a pie.  Photo below.

These are baboon flowers - a flower from South Africa that baboons eat. They're planted next to the mini pickling cucumbers. 

Here is the more practical side of the garden, I've just moved a mauve trumpet creeper there but I have to move it to a larger pot today. It's also an area where I put plants I want to keep but have no room for - now an agave and a clump of iris. Also a bird bath, bee hotel, comfrey clump and compost heap.

I'm looking forward to having the garden finished and the start of the pruning, watering and maintenance stage. It's a wonderful place to sit and think and will be worth every minute I've put into it. I've got a pair of binoculars now so I have a better view of what the birds are doing even in trees far away.

This is the pie I made with the chard. It's filo pastry with chard, onions, garlic, eggs and cream.

And for morning teas - a vanilla cake with lemon icing.

These biscuits will go to Jamie and family. They're dark chocolate with pulverised Brazil nuts.

One final piece of good news, I'm featured in the next edition of Taproot Magazine, Sustain. Savitha Rao wrote an article about four of us simple living bloggers. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks Savitha.

Thank you for being here today. I love having contact with my readers and it always inspires me to write more. Have a wonderful weekend, take care of yourself and take it easy.

🍋 ðŸ ðŸ‹ ðŸ ðŸ‹  

Weekend Reading


Weekend Reading, Housework and Cleaning

4 September 2021

We had a busy week, not because we had a lot to do but the things we did took their own sweet time. It's not easy getting old and the amount of time I take now to do "normal" things frustrates me. I did click and collect for my groceries which helped a lot and the week turned out to be a bit of cleaning, a trip to Ikea and gardening. I was really grateful to my son Kerry who came over and dug a hole for a rose to be planted and did some weeding. Not the most exciting thing for him to do on his days off but I appreciated it a lot. Thanks Kerry!  Yesterday, grandma Donna and I had another Zoom chat. That 90 minutes went so fast! We've got a lot in common and I enjoy discussing all aspects of homes and homemaking with her.

I had a couple of things to return to Ikea and while we were there I picked up some dishcloths, tea towels and silicone bowl covers. We were in and out in record time and drove home well before I expected to.

I added the new cloths and tea towels to my stash after they'd been cleaned and dried. Later on in the week I soaked the old cloths because some had small stains on them.  Most came out well but two cloths and two tea towels had to be boiled on the stove with Disan added. I left them in the saucepan until they'd cooled down a bit and was very pleased as every stain was gone.

This is the rose I planted as a bare rooted stick in July.  I'll train it up the trellis now so it will be a feature of the garden you can easily see from the house.

Today and next week I'm tidying the garden, planting a couple of new plants, putting down weed mat with sugar cane mulch on top, planting up a few pots pots, deadheading and pruning. When I'm happy with the garden, I'll fertilise it all and tie a few things back. I'm looking forward to it all. 

I hope you have a lovely weekend too and do things that make you happy. Thank you for being here today and for your visits to my IG page. 😊

🍓 🦋 🍉



Weekend Reading and Gardening

28 August 2021
I'm trying to ignore the Covid situation because it's not getting better. I hope you and your family are staying safe, wearing masks and staying at home as much as you can.  For all those in lockdown, and that's millions of people in Australia, I'm thinking of you and hoping things improve soon.

I made a quick lunch of curried chicken soup during the week. It's delicious and easy.

Later this morning I'll cut this rainbow chard to have for lunch with Osso Bucco.

We had a really cold night last night at 4C but from today onwards, our days and nights will be warmer. That's good news for gardeners and all those who can go out and enjoy the early spring sunshine. We have a very short spring here before the weather turns hot, then hot and humid, so like a lot of you, I'll be in the garden again this weekend trying to do as much as possible before the heat makes it much more difficult to garden AND enjoy it. 

I planted up a couple of elder cuttings in a tall pot to create moveable shade during summer.

Climbing Rose, Pierre De Ronsard, was planted as a bare rooted rose about six weeks ago. It's growing well and even though small, it's already flowering well. Monty Don suggests having five or seven leaders for climbing roses and to grow them flat on a trellis or wall in a fan shape.  So that's what I'm doing.

My backyard garden is the place I go to think deeply and to renew feelings of peace, contentment and happiness. It's a place of great significance for me. And that's why I garden - not only to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs but also to cultivate wellbeing.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and do things you love with the people who make you smile. It really does make a difference if you can continually make those connections with what makes you happy. Take care out there.  ❤️




Weekend Reading and Gardening

20 August 2021
Hello!  How are you? 🙂

The weather started warming up this week so we enjoyed the warmth on the front verandah most mornings with tea and lemon slices.  We had a roof cleaner here during the week. It was an all day job for him as he pressured hosed the roof to remove mould that had started growing. I'm looking forward to the weekend, with another Zoom chat with Donna on Sunday, gardening and sewing the rest of the time. 

In the styrofoam box we have a selection of coloured chard.  The pelargonium cutting from the hairdresser is in the basket.

As promised, here are some gardening photos so you can see the progress in the back garden. It's wild and not the way it will end up but we're still weeding, pruning, moving, planting, sowing seeds and mulching. I'm hoping to have the majority of stage one finished by next weekend, then I'll go into maintenance mode. I still have trays of Cosmos Sensation Picotee, Cosmos Daydream, Candytuft and Cleome to plant out as well as a couple of roses I propagated over winter. I want the garden to be packed with plants so the weeds can't get a look in.

From my seated position yesterday. The plant in the pot is Osteospermum White Lightning and the very meagre harvest is the last of this year's oranges and a small handful of Tommy Toe tomatoes.

This is the second digiplexis I bought with orange flower spikes. I'm not really a friend of the colour but I think it will look okay if I plant it next to the Amistad salvia which is purple. The first digiplexis is a larger plant with a berry coloured flower. It's getting ready to flower now.

Another Osteospermum with lilac and white wallflowers behind them.  This garden has to be weeded on the weekend. 

Here is the digiplexis again with two pots of potatoes, baboon flowers, cleome and other assorted plants in the background.

Sadly, Lulubelle, the blue Australorp in my blog banner, died during the week, she was seven years old. All our girls are old now and won't be replaced when they die. Not all of them are laying but they still give enough eggs for our needs and we can occasionally give eggs to Sunny and Kerry. It will be a sad day when we no longer have chooks in the backyard.

I hope you're staying safe and have been vaccinated. We're 18 months into the Covid crisis now and things haven't improved, they're getting worse. I doubt any of us like what's happening with the isolation, lockdowns, stress and uncertainty but we have to live according to the guidelines that will continue to change.  At the moment, the virus is concentrated in the south/east of Australia - NSW, Victoria and ACT.  I'm sure most of the people in those areas are doing their best but the virus has such a hold and a small group of people continue to break the rules so I think it will be a while before the lockdowns finish.  If you're in NSW, Victoria or ACT, I'm sure I speak for many others by thanking you for what you're doing in staying at home and keeping us all safe. I know it's not easy.  

I hope you enjoy the reading links below. I think there are some very interesting articles this week. I send my warmest wishes to you and your family.

🍓 🍐 🍉 🍋



Weekend Reading

13 August 2021
It's been a busy week here the highlight of which was a face-to-face talk this morning with Grandma Donna on Zoom. It makes such a difference when you can see the person you're talking to online. We have a lot in common and with only a year's difference in age, our experiences are very similar. Of course, we've know each other online for a few years but the talk we had today showed us both that we should take the time for regular chats in the future. We'll meet up again soon because we've only just scratched the surface with this first meeting and we've both got a lot of questions.

Gracie had her birthday on Tuesday, she was five years old.

Earlier in the week Hanno and I finished making a new bromeliad garden just off the front verandah. It looks good and will improve even more when the plants fill out a bit. We used the bromeliads we already had here and which have been multiplying for a few years in pots. Hanno used old recycled logs to create the garden borders and the only cost was the purchase of some pine bark chips we'll use as mulch.  All up, the garden cost us $24.

I finished the Kurringai Council, Willoughby Council and North Sydney Council workshops on Wednesday with a talk about budgeting and debt reduction. It's heartening knowing some Councils are getting this type of information out to their residents.  

I still haven't taken photos of the back garden, I promise I'll have them for you next week.

Our food in the past week included lamb chops, guacamole, vegetable frittata, savoury mince (a la 1952), salmon fillets and potato salad. I made a blood orange butter cake too that stayed fresh for days which we had for dessert and morning teas Next week will be all gardening for me with no appointments or commitments, and as I'll be as free as a bird, I'll take a few food (and garden) photos for you.

The Delta variant of Covid is claiming more lives here in Australia, mainly in NSW.  We're out of lockdown in Queensland now but NSW and Melbourne are still restricted. If you're currently in isolation or lockdown, thank you for doing what we all need you to do. It's only by following the government guidelines and doing what we know is right that we'll survive this lethal virus. Take care and stay safe every time you go out.  Thanks for visiting me here today.  xx

🐌  ðŸ„  ðŸ“


Weekend Reading and Preserving

7 August 2021
I haven't spent much time online reading this week so todays post is going to be quite short. Hanno and I have been busy creating a bromeliad garden off the front verandah. We finished the planting yesterday afternoon but I haven't taken any photos yet. I'll remember to include the photos next week. I've also spent a lot of time in the back cottage garden. Out there, the roses are starting to bloom, the digiplexis is has sent up its first flower spike, my first poppies are blooming and slowly but surely, plants are growing and becoming more colourful. Again, I'll have photos next week.

I always grow mint in a pot in the bush house. Coming up to spring is the best time to do this kind of drying because the herbs are full of oils and will regrow fast. If this isn't happening where you live now, just give it a couple of weeks.  The harvested mint gave us just under a cup of dried mint. This is what we have left.

I picked all the mint I had growing to dry for tea, and surprise! you can see I've taken photos. Hanno drinks herbal tea every night and this is what he's drinking now. Drying herbs is a very easy process and going into spring when many herbs start growing again, is the best time to pick them for drying. Just pick your selected herbs, wash them to remove any dust or bugs, and dry them on a tea towel. When all the water is gone, spread them on a tray in your oven and dry with a low heat.  They're stored in a sealed glass jar, just make sure they're totally dehydrated because if the leaves still have a small amount of moisture in them, after a while, they'll could go mouldy in the jar.

We're still in lockdown here but it might be lifted on Sunday afternoon. Sydney is still locked down and regional towns are caught up in it now too. With almost 300 new cases a day there for the past few days, the lockdown will carry on in New South Wales for a while yet.  And in Melbourne their sixth lockdown!  They have been in lockdown more than any of us. I feel really sad for the high school children getting ready for their end of year exams. Their schooling has been interrupted all year and with so much importance placed on year 12 exams, the schools and parents are doing what they can to get them through. I send my best wishes to all year 11 and 12 students and the hope that next year will be much better for you.

This is all I could manage this week, it's been very busy and I'm tired now, too tired to finish this off properly.  My apologies. I'm just about to go out to clean and organise the front verandah and get rid of all the leaves from recent winds and the spilt soil from yesterday's planting.  I'll have photos for you next week. When the verandah is clean, I'm going to relax for the rest of the weekend and plan what's ahead next week.

Thank you for your visits here and on my IG page. I hope you're healthy and staying safe. The world is very unpredictable right now and the safest place for all of us is in our homes with out families. I send love and hugs to you wherever you are.  xx


Weekend Reading

30 July 2021

I'm happy to tell you that Hanno and I are fully vaccinated. We had the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been given to millions of people all over the world and up to this point, the over 60s in Australia. It was developed by the Oxford University in England. We had mild fatigue after the first jab and no side effects with the second.  I was really impressed when our vaccinations where registered on our MyGov pages BEFORE we got home! I've now have a My Gov digital identity so I can prove I'm fully vaccinated. It's becoming increasingly clear that this is how we'll be able to return to travel, apply for jobs and attend large functions in the future. 

We're both very grateful to be inoculated and I feel more relaxed about going out now, although mostly we're just going out to pick up groceries, to the vet and doctor. They're opening up AstraZeneca to a wider age group now so if you are able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine I encourage you to get it. The cost of getting Covid, especially the Delta strain, is massive now, and much higher that any risk associated with AstraZeneca. If you're hesitating, talk to your doctor, do more research and see if you can find a way forward. 

We had Gracie back to the vet during the week and she still has an infected ear. She's had two courses of antibiotics and now she's back on the drops. She goes back for another checkup on Tuesday. She's showing no signs of distress or pain and is her usual happy self, except when we put the drops in her ear. So we're giving her the drops just before her main meal, and that seems to be working well.

I'm about to repot this lovely pelargonium in a hanging basket. I took a cutting from outside my hairdresser's building, it's grow this big and the flower, about to open, it's a deep, deep purple-red.

I'm full steam ahead with the garden now and it's coming along nicely. I've planted a pink climbing rose on the lattice covering the chicken coop and I can hardly wait to see it spreading out and blooming. Yesterday I bought some rainbow chard and new parsley seedlings and planted the chard up today in a polystyrene box. I also found perpetual lettuce so I bought one, which was really two seedlings, for $3. I'll grow them in the bush house over spring and summer next to the mint and micro herbs.

Tomorrow I'll plant the parsley in the old sand pit, plant a white daisy called White Lightening and an Armeria called Dreamland. I have some seeds to sow and I want to also plant the rose Elina, a yellow rose I bought for Sunny, that I took a cutting from. My last job in the garden will be to tend the citrus. I want to spray them with white oil for the scale I noticed recently, fertilise with citrus food and prune the large orange tree. We have a large harvest of lemons waiting to be picked and that will give us lemons for cooking and baking as well as a good stash of lemon juice to freeze to make lemon cordial in summer.  There's always something to do ... thank goodness.

I baked a lemon cake today and we had rissoles/frikadellen/large meat balls with mushroom and onion gravy, fried potatoes/bratkartoffeln and Brussel sprouts for lunch. Delicious! It's a really old fashioned meal and it takes me back to my parents cooking every time I eat it. I love eating the food I grew up on.

How are you going? Times are tough all over the world and I often think about the names that appear here. I hope you're staying healthy and safe and remaining optimistic for the future. Have a lovely weekend.  xx

🪴 🍄 🪴


Weekend Reading

23 July 2021

Hi! How are you?

More quiet days here and we're staying at home as much as possible. We both got our final vaccination this week so that was good but we're still obliged to wear a mask when we go out. The southern states are in lockdown due to the Covid Delta variant in the Greater Sydney area and a few regional areas of NSW. Victoria and South Australia, with fewer cases, are in lockdown as well.  I send my love and best wishes to everyone affected. Hang in there, we're thinking of you. 

The two big green pots are the potatoes I planted about a month late. They're doing well but still have a few weeks to grow.

I made a delicious beef, barley and root vegetable soup today and we have enough to feed us for the next four days at least. I love good soups when it's cold and it's one of those meals that improves in flavour every day.

I did a Zoom workshop last Tuesday evening with the Kuringai and North Sydney Councils. I talked about Simple Living and I think it went over well because there were a lot of really interesting questions afterwards. I'll do another workshop for those Councils in August on Paying off Debt.

Gracie didn't have the surgery we were expecting. The vet said her ear was much better but not completely cleared up, so she's on another course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. She'll have another checkup next week and I hope I can tell you next week that's she's fine and dandy again.

Thanks for your visit today. I hope you and your family are healthy and safe. Take care and be kind to each other. xx

These are the wild bears at Katmai National Park in Alaska. The bears come to these water falls to gorge on salmon during summer and autumn. They then take their nourished bodies up Dumpling Mountain to hibernate over winter.  You can watch them live, 24/7 on explore. org. They're amazing to watch.

Weekend Reading