25 June 2021

Weekend Reading and Housework

Now that I'm not working for a living I live at my own pace. Most days are made up of housework that is done so we feel comfortable and at ease in our home; gardening to grow some food and flowers which contributes to our physical and mental health; cooking nutritious food to keep us full and healthy; various mending, repairing and maintenance jobs; looking after each other and Gracie; and, importantly, spending time thinking about the value of each each day and how it helps build the life we live.  

There are always things to be folded and put away.

Gathering my soap ingredients.  That dark jug is olive oil. I have no idea why it's so dark in the photo.

Soap making - it's an olive oil and coconut oil soap with no fragrance or colour.

Of course, there are days when odds and ends need to be done too. For instance, yesterday I made soap, over the weekend I'll reorganise our linen cupboard and make a couple of tablecloths and next week I'll prune and fertilise the plants on the front verandah. It's a mixed bag but I get it done by being flexible and juggling the 24 hours I have each day. 

When the chooks give you too many eggs, you make egg custard.

Another thing that helps use those 24 hours wisely is to cook food that doesn't take a lot of time, or a lot of food that can be served day after day simply by reheating it.  I'm doing that this week. I made a big pot of beef, barley and vegetable soup on Tuesday and it's fed us every day since. We finish the pot today. Yes, we eat the same thing every day but that doesn't worry either of us if it's delicious (and it is 😁). The good part of it is I don't have to stop at 11 am to prepare our main meal at lunchtime. I put the soup on a low heat mid-morning and just serve it up when we're ready to eat. It's a saving of about 45 minutes and a great way to help me get through those busy days, and much less cleaning up too.

I think winter is a great time to work through those busy days and get cupboards cleaned, sorted and decluttered and to look around your home to see if anything needs changing. If changing a few things around makes your work easier, why not invest some time in doing it.  How are you organising your days this winter?

Thank you for being here today. I hope everything is right in your world. Stay safe. 🥰

Weekend Reading

18 June 2021

Weekend Reading and out in the garden

I've had a good break away from the computer and enjoyed the two weeks Tricia was here. Spending time with close relatives or friends is always a valuable thing to do. Tricia brought plants from her garden so we planted out Euphorbia, Lupin and Penstemon cuttings and lots of seeds.  I've taken cuttings from some of my roses and they're growing good shoots now and although I planted a few vegetables, including turnips, a night visitors enjoyed half the seedlings the first night they were in the garden.  Funnily enough, the other half are still happily growing.

Above: the pecan tree is yellowing and dropping leaves, it will be green again in September/October. To the left of it is a native fig tree. All birds love this and fly in daily to feast on the tiny fruits.

Here is the elder tree chopped back to the bone. You can't do this kind of pruning to most plants but this elder is as tough as old boots. It's currently growing about 2 - 3 inches a day and will be back in action in a couple of months, and much healthier for the pruning.
Below: one of the yellow passionfruit cut back after a year of prolific growth and many buckets of fruit. It's about a metre high now and will cover the trellis again, shading our bedroom wall, by summer.

The orange tree returned to its full glory this year after being devastated by night moths last year. We have three orange trees - two Washington navels and late season orange called Lane's Late; two Eureka lemon trees; one elderberry, which was cut right back and is now putting on strong growth; one pecan; a loquat and two yellow passionfruit vines, also cut back and regrowing well.

Above: fragrant stock, a favourite of mine and below, Cleome - four Queens Mix.

I'm having such a lovely time at the moment. All cleaning and home maintenance work is up to date, the weather is superb, I have a garden that needs my help every day, I have a couple of books waiting to be read and plenty of sewing to do. I don't need more than that to make me feel satisfied and happy.

This is the only rush hour we have here - the chooks racing each other to get out of the coop in the morning. Now, in winter, they want to be the first to find any native figs that have dropped overnight.

I promised the recipe for the plum cake so here it is. I bought Sophie Hansen's book In Good Company recently and have baked her Visitors Cake several times since. It's similar to the old pound cake and can be made plain and simple as a morning tea cake or enriched with dried fruit, apples, apricots, nuts, coffee or chocolate to make it an ideal visitors cake. This time I added plums. And for all the chook owners out there, it's a good recipe when you want to use up four eggs, or use up 12 by baking three cakes and freezing two.  It would freeze very well.

  • 1 cup (250 g) butter, softened 
  • 250 g (9 oz) caster sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⅔  cups (250 g) self-raising flour 
  • 6 fresh plums cut in half or ¾ of a can of plums
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form tin. 

Add butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and cream it with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour. Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for about 35 minutes. 

The cake is ready when it smells cooked and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for about five minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

Bidens growing near my tiny solar fountain. We still have a lot of nut grass. Has anyone had success in removing it? I'd love to know your secret.

I hope you're safe and secure and enjoying life. Thank you for being here today, say hello in the comments so I know you're still around, or you're a new visitor. 

💚 💜 💚


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