5 January 2024

A new year with new opportunities and challenges

I really enjoyed Christmas day. I had my family here and we feasted on a cold lunch of leg ham, prawns oysters, pork belly, roast potatoes, potato and green salads, and for dessert - pavlova, lemon cheesecake and chocolate tarts. I made a cashew roast for Shane which he had with salads. He said the roast was delicious and he took the rest home with him to eat over the following days. Again, we had an alcohol-free celebration. There was cold beer in the fridge (leftover from last year, LOL) but no one was interested. They chose from the wide variety of small bottles and mini cans of Bundaberg ginger beer and other fruit drinks, Coke and lemonade. Many of us drank cold water as well.

I started writing down my schedule for various foods to make sure I cooked everything I needed and had it all ready to go when everyone arrived. I started with one large list of everything and then divided that into smaller lists over three days.

I wanted a Christmas tree this year but I could not face a plastic Christmas tree and couldn't handle a fresh tree, so I bought this little Cypress pine, added gifts, lights and baubles and I was happy. It was small and simple and delivered the feeling I was hoping for when I turned on the lights. I want all my grandchildren to experience an Australian Christmas that isn't drowned out with plastic and expensive gifts. I want them all to grow up knowing they are important and loved and part of a family that encourages them to do their best and have fun.

Since Christmas I've been making a lot of homemade soup with mainly vegetables and bone broth. I love soup and it didn't bother me it was the middle of summer because I had the airconditioning on most days. I'm making mushroom soup today and will have that for lunch followed by fresh strawberries and Maleny cream.

Gracie loved all the Christmas visitors but she really hates hot weather so most days were spent inside with frequent trips outdoors for toileting. Rain started falling on Christmas night and carried on for days. We got 127mm (5 inches) on the first day with 69mm (2.7 inches) of that falling in 30 minutes. Gracie was uncomfortable with the weather. She doesn't like getting her paws wet so I had to push her onto the lawn to wee and when she finished she ran to the door to go back inside.  I'm not sure what the overall rain total was but over the last two days my rain gauge overflowed at 150mm/6 inches both days.  I was sorry to see many people flooded out on the Gold Coast but we've been in drought here and the water did the environment the world of good.  Have you had rain at your place?

Gracie loves playing with her toys. She brings this red ball to me, I threw it up the hallway (it collided with the Christmas tree a couple of times 🫤) and she brought it back each time so I could throw it again and again and again.

If you look closely below, you can see the pig's ear is missing but overall, I'll delighted with how she's been with these toys.  She's such a strong dog she usually destroys her toys in a few days but these are surviving nicely. She treats the pig like it's her baby. She carries it around by the tail or ear and licks it like she would a puppy.

This is the front yard on the first sunny day after the rains.  It made such a difference - the once crunchy grass was green again and flowers were blooming.

This is one of the flower beds on Christmas morning. It doesn't look like this now. 🥺

Out the back, the rain helped the nut grass grow enough to almost take over the flower gardens. Once you have nut grass, it's one of those weeds you never get rid of. Everything you do for the plants - watering, fertilising and pruning - all help the nut grass take over more.  I've thought about it for a few days and I've decided to get rid of the flower beds. I'll be 76 years old in a couple of months time and I don't want to waste time weeding.  I'll keep all the roses in large pots and get the gardeners to mow over the rest. It was a reluctant decision but it's the right one for me. I'll still set up a shaded seating area with a new table, chairs and my umbrella so I'll continue to spend time outside in the fresh air watching the wildlife. I have 11 roses so I'll still have plants to tend and flowers for the house. It's just another step in my journey through old age - my strategy is to keep as much as I can of what makes me happy and not regret losing the rest.

I cleaned up my writing/sewing/painting room a few days ago and decluttered my cupboards and drawers as well.  It feels so good to have a room with only the things I need in it.  The things that used to be there are now out roaming around the world finding new people to look after them.  I'll take another photo of the clean and tidy room for the next post because since I tidied everything, I've dumped a basket full of fabric on the sewing desk. 🙄

The first task in the newly clean work room was to cut up old towels for new rags and I found scrap materials that I've made into napkins.

But now I'm on Covid watch because I spent a couple of hours with someone who woke up with Covid the following day. I was going to have my Covid booster today. I'm not really sure what to expect because I never had Covid but the pharmacist gave me clear guidelines to follow if I don't get it and if I do. Now I just have to wait; lucky I still have RAT tests in the cupboard. I'm so pleased I did my shopping on Wednesday so I don't have to go out and can look after myself properly without the risk of infecting others.  A new Covid vaccine was released on 12 December which covers the variants that arrived in 2023. You can get that from your local pharmacy. In February I'm also getting boosters for Shingles and Pneumococcal Disease.  If you're living in Australia and you're over the age of 70, you can get a free vaccination for both diseases from you GP.

Nectarines and peaches are on special this week at Woolworths. I bought a kilo/nine nectarines for $3.50. If, like me, yours aren't ripe when you buy them, leave them on a dish on the kitchen bench for a few days and they'll be ready to eat. You can also stew peaches or nectarines with a little sugar or honey and have them with ice cream or custard. I bought a large punnet of smallish strawberries for $2, two green bananas, red onions, a bag of almost-local sweet potatoes, five tomatoes and a really delicious and crunchy iceberg lettuce for $2. I didn't have to buy cucumbers because I still have two I bought the week before Christmas surviving perfectly in my Zwilling vacuum dishes. Lamb forequarter chops are $12.50 a kilo this week. I'll use them on the weekend to make a lamb and vegetable casserole with herb dumplings. That will make three or four meals for me. I use to eat a wide range of modern foods but a couple of years ago I went back to cooking only the food I grew up eating.  It's mostly old-fashioned Australian cooking with lots of casseroles, soups, lasagne, pasta meals, salads, chicken, fish, corned beef and cabbage, various curries and the like 😀 and I buy according to what's in season.

Interesting reading:

When the political reporter wrote a love letter to a Queensland country show, she accidentally set off a war within the Country Women’s Association

I really liked this article on washing clothes and household linens.

Thank you for visiting me today and welcome to the many new readers who have joined through Instagram.  💜❤️💜


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