Jul 30, 2010

It's on paper now.

This is just a bit of a ramble really.. one I had on a forum I belong to and I have very lazily just reposted it here...
I have not been able to talk to anyone but my husband about it, in fact due to circumstances I have not met anyone where I live to talk to about anything, anyway...When we posted to Fleet-base West 20 months ago, this was going to be our last posting, my husband was going to retire here after 30 years of service to his country, including four deployments to the Middle East..This was postponed for a year or two - as last January we went from a couple to a family over night when the children's Mum died and me back to a full time mum again after having an empty nest for 10 years..
We have fought, struggled and muddled through and we have got to the point were we are making head way with the children's grief and some serious issues that came with them. Both these kids ( now 11 and 14) have developed wee emotional umbilical cords and firmly attached them to their dad and I and do not cope 100% yet without one of us around.. My Dh got a phone call 4 weeks ago that would change all that...Life has a way of throwing curved balls sometimes and being the wife of a serving Defense Force member I should be more prepared to catch them. The call was that the Navy are sending him back to sea - he would more than likely deployed for 6 months, the kids and I would be moved to Sydney to wait his return..I have lived through long periods of separation from my husband - sometimes up to 12 months at a time... while kids are resilient we knew the kids would/could not cope with this at the moment..After a few meetings, they (the navy) said they would look into it, so for the last 4 weeks we have been sitting on tender hooks, at times I have been literally sick with worry, wondering how I would cope in Sydney (which I think is big and fast and very scary) not knowing a single soul, with two children not ready to be without their Dad yet, while my husband was overseas.
Well, today the official signal came out- we are posting out of Western Australia. My husbands sea billet has been postponed for 12 months, so for the next year we will be back on the East Coast in Victoria - I do love Victoria and we will be back on the Mornington Peninsula.. we will be gone from here by December..
It is going to be hard to do the big move again, especially since I thought, the move here 20 months ago would be the last, there will be one possibly two more after this one..
It could have been far harder and I am thankful for how it has worked out. Now just have to find homes for the aviary and the birds, and all my plants ... but as Rhonda said in her blog today bloom where you are planted and my goodness how I could relate to that this morning..

Jul 29, 2010

Made It - Online

Two posts in one day... this girl is on a roll.. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, for sometime I have been wanting to put a few of the things I create, into an online store. At last, I have finally got one up and running thanks to Made It. Made It , is like Etsy but it is based here in Australia. Now just because it is Aussie owned sure doesn't mean I will not be sending things to other countries if requested too..so ask away heehee.
From My Hearth, will stock things I have make such as, hand knitted cotton dish cloths, face washers, bits and bobs for bubs booties, hats, bibs and blankies - I am also thinking about adding Tomato and Chilli relishes. Now it would have been sorted sooner but things take time to organise and I also gave a heap of stuff to my mother in law, as she fell in love with some of the cloths and the chutney *smiles*
So I am working on restocking and I would rather have a few good quality things than a ton of junk., My soaps will also make there way to my wee store in time.

I have always had an interest in photography, image modification and graphic design, and as a published illustrator I still enjoying pulling out the camera and having a play now and then.. a few of my photos are also for sale. Yes, this is a shameless plug *laughing* but hey if I don't do it who will...
My task over the next few days is to take some piccies of my knitted cloths and add them to the store... please feel free to wonder over and take a look..at my store FROM MY HEARTH

Yummmmy Rye Sour Dough

Well, I got over that fit of the crazies I had a few days ago, thank the Goddess! So I managed to get on with a couple of things I have had on the back burner... I was going to say the main one, but both were important to me, the first but not necessarily the easiest was an experiment I have been doing with my sour dough. It comes from a memory I have of beautiful rich, fragrant dark rye loaves I used to buy a few years back, down on the Mornington Peninsula. These were sold at the craft markets down there, then one day the woman who sold it, stopped - poof gone.. I was gutted because back then, I didn't know one end of a sour dough loaf from the other.. So I got to thinking maybe I could make my own. I never liked using just rye flour in my bread.. but I bit the bullet and had a go. Well ,there were some shocking disasters, possibly *laughing* actually probably stemming from my impatience. Sour dough is slow to rise most of the time, you add all rye flour to the equation and it takes sooooooooooooooooooooooo much long.
Well... with my last loaf I spent most if the day watching this small round ball, sit there, and sit there and sit there.. I willed it to rise but no, it just sat there like, well a ball of dough really.
I took it to a bit of spare bench space, chucked a cloth over it and gave up on it and set off to work on something else. You know, I forgot about that pathetic wee ball and come dinner time when I lifted the cloth to tell it so, there it was, fat round and roly poly - staring at me in all its shiny goodness. I so didn't want to knock it back to it's pre swollen state, but if I wanted bread that was exactly what I had to do.. Funny how there is something quiet stress relieving in popping a ball of dough with a fist and let me tell you, there had been a fair bit of stress in this exercise. I seriously wasn't holding to much hope of it rising in time for me to cook it before I went to bed, and there was no way I was going to sit up and wait for this straggler.
Literally plonked onto a floured tray, this weird brown shaped thing was then unceremoniously shoved into the cold oven, left neglected and to just to get it out of the way really. Can you imagine my surprise when I woke to find a real, plump looking bread dough waiting for me.. If that bread could have talked I am sure it would have said.. " no faith that's ya problem"
I cooked that babe up right then and there, it was aced! Oh rich and wonderful sour dough, will you ever forgive me? I have absolutely no idea if I can do it a second time, but I am going to have a shot at it.. I would like to post you the recipe but apart from the sour dough starter, the rest was trial and error.. I used stone ground rye and while rye breads naturally have a darkish colour, I put in a bit of Trumalt which is roasted barley.. I think that is where that rich malty type flavour comes from in the bread I used to buy, . It sure passed the taste test, slightly chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. It was well worth the effort and the two day wait - my lunch with some beautiful Edam cheese - Bliss!

Jul 27, 2010

Practice Run

What a whacky couple of days here, restless springs to mind, as does antsy - I am so unorganised and my get up and go, go up and left - without me! I have written yesterday off, I am sure there was some constructive moments in there like ordering some new ingredients for my next batch of soap and making a few molds but it was a day where I was definetly not comfortable in my own skin! I don't like that feeling,  no no no..
Today, I had hoped would fair a little better, but I still don't think I could organise a food fight in a canteen line. There are things I am trying to get sorted to open my Madeit store (it is like Australian Etsy type store) I get started in to it,  then  my poor wee mind wonders off when I glance down at the packet of antibiotics I am taking for a sinus infection. Thinking on the label instructions "Take one tablet twice daily after the first mouthful of food" well what's with that? Whats going to happen if I wait for the second mouthful of food? Will I internally combust or will the Doctor take away my birthday and turn me into a little green frog? Not that I have anything against little green frogs. Maybe it is a new secret slimming craze, STOP after the first bite of your meal and choke down something the size of a horse tranquiliser - now that will screw your happiness for sure. Are you still hungry now? ha ha thought not.
Then - remembering the basket full of washing that is still sitting in the laundry waiting to be hung out, getting up to do it, I find myself not in the laundry but staring into a bowl of sour dough batter trying to decide what happens next. Still trying to work that one out.
So whats with all this weirdness in my top four inches? Is it because Mama Moon is in the 16th degree of Aquarius, my astrological sign?
Now, I do recall someone told me recently my wheels would fall off when I hit 50. Well, yanno I am going to be 50 years old  in 201 days - maybe this absent mindedness is a practice run?
If anyone knows who do I talk to about not needing a practice run, I would be mighty grateful.

Random Little Things
This is Dim Sim aka Sacred Temple Kitty or just plain "CAT!" Now she is a funny wee furry beastie, very happy with her own company and her own council, but of late she has taken to climbing into my Dh's lap, wrapping her paws around his wrist and then demanding that "he let her, show him love" by licking his hand- Retribution is swift if he try move away from her Royal Kittyness- Bi-zarre!

Jul 24, 2010

Awards and Reflections

I opened my email today, to find that Tracey over at Home [In] Stead had left me a note saying that she had given an award to Butterflies and Breezes.
I was pleasantly surprised, because often I wonder if what I write here is interesting to others. My blog has changed a little over the last 2 years. It was originally know as Hedge and Hearth, and when I moved to Western Australia I felt it needed a wee face lift, hence the new name.
The other day just for giggles I went back to some of my first posts, they made me smile, laugh and made me just go wow haven't things changed, how did we get through.., going back to the post Blessed Be The Butt where my Dh stumbles..well maybe you can read and giggle for yourself.. or E Bay Orphan where I furnished our house for a pinch..or how I came to have my kids from another mother in the post Babes, Birds, Bunnies and a Hermit Crab. Yes we have changed and grown and I am blessed that so many of you come to share the things in my life that make it all worth while no matter what.
Well I have digressed... part of receiving this award are a few conditions, if you find yourself the recipient of this reward, I do hope you will share in the spirit and pass it along.
- Thank the blogger that gave the award to you..
Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, experience using ten (10) words .
Pass the award on to 10 other blogs you feel have real substance.
So here goes Traci, I feel a quiet touched that you felt my wee blog worthy of and interesting enough to share this reward with me... thank you.
My motivation - Sharing life experiences and skills with love honesty and integrity. I follow a lot of blogs and to narrow it down was hard - So in no order of preference are 10 blogs who are always part of my blogging day..
GrannysGraden a neat place to visit.. Granny and Pa reside over in Queensland here in Australia, living and showing love to their family.
Then there is Sue over at Living The Good Life, Sue and her family live in New Zealand and are truly living the good life...
There is a special lady who takes some amazing photos in a place I miss with all my heart.. Kristi from Giggles Down Under.
Now Christine over at Slow Living Essentials has been an inspiration to me in all things yeasty, I love paying a visit and seeing what she has been up too..
I haven't been following Lisa's blog over at Sewing The Seeds of Change very long, but then her blog is new, but I like sneaking over and checking out her posts and wait for the quilts to be posted : )
Maureen and Shanti are Twig and Toadstool two home schooling mama's they are creative and fun with an awesome blog...
I came across a blog the other day, and spent a morning reading and laughing.. it was great, what an amazingly classy and humorous lady.. Leeanna is her name and you can find her at Can We Have A New Witch Please Ours Melt.
Erin at Dutch Girls Diary is a hard working Mama who sews, cooks, knits, makes soap, dyes yarn and generally shines in the art of home making.
Enchanted Moments is a blog by a talented lady who loves things from by gone days.
Now I found this wee blog a while back, and my husband being Scottish was quiet impressed when I served him a dish from his home land, it was found here at Unbought Delicacies check out her Kitchen in the Vale.
All the blogs I follow touch my life in some way or other when I read them - thank you for sharing yourselves with us here in blogger land. I think you all deserve an Award.

Jul 22, 2010

Aprons, Pinnies and Nana's love

My husband sent me one of those email forwards we all get from time to time, we don't to much bother with them but this one he said, he thought I might like. It was about aprons. I remember my Nana's apron just about every photo I have left of her, she is wearing one.. I own one apron, it came with a cook book I received from my daughter for Christmas... when ever I wear it, the forth coming comments usually revolve around me "channeling Maggie" I would love another one, maybe one day I will make one. I would love to be remembered by my grand kids and great grand kids for Nana hugs and my pinny.I don't think many of our kids know what an apron is these days.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few.
It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
REMEMBER:Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.Wouldn't they would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don't think I ever caught anything from that apron but love. Copy right of this article is unknown

Jul 21, 2010

Teaspoons and Apprehension

I'm not usually given to moments of alarm or apprehension especially within the comfort and safety of my home.. especially for no reason, such a thing happened this morning it, snuck up on me and had me leave the bathroom where I was ready for my shower, and go and lock both front and back doors. I have spent a lot of time living on my own, in different cities and communities in different countries, and it has been a long time since I have got spooked like this. The feeling stayed with me for quiet a while, putting on one of my Dh sweaters helped, like a hubby hug.. I do not know if this feeling is the result of the altercation over the back fence on Saturday while I was making soap or just an accumulation of things happening here.

There are some huge changes afoot in our lives presently, I am not even able to blog about them at the moment either. It is difficult at times to go about our daily routine and business when it feels like we are standing still, waiting for change and when that change is totally at the hands of others.. so we wait, we wonder, we talk, we get stressed , at times we get angry and bicker, we get frustrated, we worry and we unite and do what we do everyday.. hopefully we should hear some sort of outcome in a week or so.
Sooooo to help alleviate the hebbie gebbies I had this morning, I decided to have a crack at making rye bread in the bread maker something I hadn't done before... well what did I learn today? I learnt ..
Do not try to scrap stuff of the bottom of the bread maker bowl while it is going around or you risk the chance of concussion by teaspoon as it flies out of the bowl! Helen over on my facebook page asked "why did I do it?".. easy really, ha ha
"Becauseeeeeee I wanted to see how bad something was sticking on the bottom of the pan, because I had never made rye bread in the bread maker before, and I fluffed the recipe and added way to much h2o and I was trying to fuuuuux it and then the spoon got swished by the dough, and it fell in and there was a huge noise and then the bread maker spat it out, and thats da story really" how embarrassing would it have been in the ER.. concussion by teaspoon.. on the upside the bread turned out pretty good.
After being spooned and beaten

And after cooking.. all yummy and brown

Jul 18, 2010

Soapy Situations

This morning I woke up enthusiastic to jump out of bed and race of to the garage.. not even stopping for slippers I made my way to the mound of towels sitting on the clothes dryer, with toes feeling the wrath of the winter cold concrete I carefully removed the pile of towels, to be rewarded with the sight of my first ever home made cold processed soap! I was so quietly proud of myself. I decided this unveiling was worth a photo. I took off the baking paper that had been laid on top and then impatience got the better of me, I had to unravel one out of its container..
On the left is a beehive mold, on the right oatmeal in a silicon mold and the small on from the front was a bit of mix left over.

I have always been interested in making my own soap, but had never had the confidence and thinking it had to be complicated, I think if it hadn't been for discovering the wonderful blog written by Rhonda over at Down To Earth, I doubt I would have ever tried. She has a very comfortable way of writing and teaching and I do owe her a warm thank you for so openly sharing her skills and wisdom with us. I am blessed to have found her blog and the kindness in her words.

I was totally enthralled by by the whole process, carefully measuring the oils and fats making sure everything was perfect. Putting my pot of oil out on to the potting table where the main mixing was to happen - I added the lye to the oils, stirring for a little and then in with the stick blender to get it to reach trace , I was sooo nervous about this part of the process.. wondering if my stick blender would blow up mid mix, would I have time to add the oatmeal to the left over mix after pouring half out to have a nice plain, simple soap.
I had been mixing a minute when there was a huge crash and a scream, breaking glass... a mans voice yelling expletives then mixed in with " I am going to kill you, I am going to kill you b****" A woman crying, their dog barking and I looked into my soap - people are more important than things - soap forgotten, I made the 000 call, within minutes the police where at the scene. My heart was still beating that hard, I thought it would pop through my chest,my shaking hands grasped the spoon and stirred my pot of soap, tears falling into the mix as I recalled my life 25 years ago, the police taking my abusive, violent partner to jail for beating me silly before trying to strangle me. My neighbour had called the police way back then and he went to jail for a number of years charged with - assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. I don't talk about nor think about that part of my life very much anymore, yet I was so shocked at how the memories flooded back, funnily I found comfort in the pot of soapy goo in front of me..
It was ready, it felt like it had almost made itself when I had to leave it.. I poured half into the buzzy bee mold I had bought.

And below all sliced up.. nothing in this but pure soap

The rest I added some fragrance to Milk, Honey and Oatmeal, I then added some oatmeal to the pot and stirred before pouring into a silicon mold my son got me from the reject shop for $5.00. Master R said this looked and smelt like something to eat...

My favorite soap shape was one I hastily tipped into a milk carton I had in case I had some spare.. it is pictured below.

So that is my first attempt at soap making, I am very happy with the results, it was amazingly easy and to be honest I think the interlude in the middle, while very heart wrenching sad and one I find hard to forgive, is actually going to draw me closer to soap making, and the comfort I found there.

Passing It On

Well my Dh's leave is over but what a busy 3 days I have had since he has been back on board. It's not been any one thing I have been doing just a hodge podge of everything.. It is also the kids last few days of their school holidays, they are back to school next week... oh now please don't think badly of me that I am excited for the new school term to begin... the kids are great but I do enjoy getting my routine back to normal, it tends to fly out the window with the kids home, with sleep overs and days out and about...

A few days ago I thought I needed to find some time to make bread, so I pulled the sour dough starter out of the fridge and got it going with a flour feed. One of the down sides to sour dough making for me, is the spare starter you end up with when you take half out to add more flour ( sour dough starter link here) Then I had a wee thought, why not pass some of it on. Over the years people have shared bits and pieces with me as well as their knowledge on various home making ideas, I though maybe it would be a way of saying thank you to all those people past and present who had freely given. So I posted on a forum I had some to give away and then I went more local and posted on my local Freeycle site- well blow me down I was swamped by people who had always wanted to make bread, or people who had already made bread, the thing all these people had in common was their desire to learn and the fact they thought making a starter was scary. Well so did I when I first started a year or so ago, I was terrified I was going to poison someone but I persevered and I found it to be so easy and it is part of my life now.

After sorting through the emails and sending links to sour dough sites, I had a list of people who now had decided to try making it on there own and another list who wanted some help. There were more replies than I had left over starter so Thursday night I went into the kitchen and divided up my starter into jars, feed them and covered them all with muslin.
I am really lucky that my starter is very active so on Friday morning I woke to several jars of beautifully bubbly brew lined up in my bench. Now I am by no means a teachie type person, but I manages as the queue of people moved through my kitchen during the course of yesterday, they had a basic understanding of the process, a photocopy of the instructions and there own jar of starter and an invitation to email me if they got stuck. I really wish them lots of success.

It was kind of nice to have a few emails waiting for me this morning from people who were as excited as I was that first time - when the fermentation starts to happen in their own kitchens. One couple said they couldn't wait to pass it on as well.. and what a blessing that was to read.
I even found some time to make a few loaves of sour dough bread, and made sour dough pancakes for the kids for lunch... they were such a hit there was a kitchen encore for breakfast...Here are a few photos, because if your like me, I love to see photos of whats going on....
Sour Dough Pancakes
A bowl of batter.. 2 cups of sour dough starter, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 4 tablespoons of cooking oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt beaten well, then add 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon of warm water. fold in and sit for a minute or two to bubble. Cook on hot pan.

Bubbles forming on the top is a sure sign these ones are almost ready to turn, and cook on the other side.
They are smelling kind of nice right now.

Looking good here, the kids are chaffing at the bit in the behind camera scene. These pancakes are more the size of a pikelet, because I didn't want to cook them one at a time. For those of you who don't know what a pikelet is. it is like a small pancake but a little thicker.

14 year old quality control, lots of butter and some home made strawberry jam... yummo

Jul 11, 2010

6 Days Leave

I haven't gone AWOL - My husband has 6 days leave so we have been hanging out and spending time with the kids who are on school holidays at the moment... 3 episodes of  The 'Librarian' later and I am almost over the Indiana Jones for little kids wannabe... however the kids are loving it and I am happy just to be spending some quiet time sitting, snuggling and knitting.

Jul 6, 2010

Chicken Soup and Doona's

Why is it that, in the first week of the school holidays in our house Miss C near always comes down with all things coughy, sneezy and sinister and then in her delightful 11 year old wisdom decides to infect the only other female in the house - me!
Hey, I am all for bonding and stuff - but what ever happened to making cookies or going to a movie, really gimme a break here!

Sooo while Miss 11 is bouncing back and making noises of "who's up for Marmaduke at the movies?"
I feel the need to turn to the comfort of hot chicken soup and my doona.(Aussie version of Duvet) all I can say is bless the person who came up with a laptop and chicken soup as a cure for "the dreaded lurgy"

Jul 4, 2010

Somedays ....

There are those days in our lives, when you see hearts get broken and your only wish is to help ease the pain of those going through it yet your unable to do anything about it.
Those are the day when you hope you can just "love them through it"

Jul 2, 2010

Our little miracle man

To my wee grand baby- 2 years ago today, I had just boarded a last minute flight to fly thousands of kilometers to be with your Daddy because your Mummy was sick and you little man , well it was touch and go with you.


You were so sick, it was 7 days after you were born before we could even touch you.. you still smile your way through the hospital visits and tests and to spite the battle you are a brave and beautiful boy and look at you now..

Happy Birthday Corben with lots of love Nana xx

FPIES baby (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome)