May 26, 2011

Cool days in Victoria

I am totally enjoying being wrapped up by winter for the first time in a few years. Autumn has whisked away the leaves on the deciduous trees around the yard, they now stand naked in the wind, there roots curling deep down in the cold damp earth.. resting, waiting. While they rest, I feel a little like I have been re-born, everyday the cortisone in my hip is working at giving me a little more freedom, it is almost insurmountable to me how much relief it has given me.. When I have had the surgery, I know things will be so much better, I will be out digging up the yard for a vege patch "laughing" or maybe the depots golf course.
With the weather cold and blustery outdoors, I am feeling so content in my home with my new found strength. Cleaning like I haven't been able to for months, decluttering and I have even made 5 batches of soap this week, something I couldn't do for the last few months as I couldn't stand up long enough. Luckily I had plenty stored .. can't run a cottage business with no stock :-)
The hub of my home has been rocking with activity..
I hauled 'dough baby' out the fridge, gave him a feed and made sourdough bread.

 2 loaves of dark rye sourdough bread, and blocks of newly cut soap.. Dragons Blood, Nag Champa,  Lavender, and Earth Mama all mint and herbs... 

My new soap - Mama Earth
Blessed is my hearth. 

May 24, 2011

Clever recycle idea

I would love to take credit for this, but I can't.  Kudos to the person who came up with this idea. My husband sent me this, as it was an email forward.
This is to reuse drink bottles and plastic bags. . It makes a waterproof and airtight seal. No more twist ties or rubber bands.

Cut the top of a plastic drink bottle, water or soda bottle, like the photo shows.
Thread a plastic bag through the neck of the bottle, and fold over the top, secure the top to seal. 
How nifty is that.. when I find the owner of this idea, I will post a link.

May 22, 2011

Quick and Painless Treats

It has been a week almost since I had a fluoroscope and pain relief into my hip joint, it is about 70% better, so I feel I am coping much better. I know it is a temporary measure, however if it gets no better than this for now, I will be happy enough as my quality of my life has improved due to it.. I knew it was working when I could vacuum the whole house, do a basket of ironing and still bend to pick up some fallen pegs under the washing line.. I could not have done one of those things a week ago without needing to rest for an hour or so afterwards.. After several months of this, I feel like I have some control back and it;s blissful.
Today I wanted to bake.. Bran muffins with sultanas but for the life of me I could not find the jar of wheat bran flakes I had, one of liefs little mysteries as it is not in any of my cupboards - back to the drawing board, well recipe book actually. I found a recipe that may have been used back in the days of rationing during the war. No eggs and a scant tablespoon of butter... Sultana Loaf

Into a bowl put 1 cup of either sultanas, raisins, mixed fruit or a combination, add 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon golden syrup, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Pour in 1 cup of boiling water, stirring gently until the butter has all melted.

Add to this 2 cups of plain flour and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.  Moving quickly as the mixture is warm and the raising agents will start to act..stir until just combined. Do Not over mix!

 Put into a lined tin, and bake in an oven pre heated to 180c for about 40 minutes or until it is cooked.

Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before, turning onto a cooling rack.

This was so easy to whip up, I am going to remember this one for those days we need something nice in a hurry.

May 17, 2011

DTE Cloth Swap

Over at the Down to Earth Forum we have had a dish cloth swap going on..  I got a wonderful package from Marnie over at her site  Noonee Wilga  ( an Aborginal name that she explains the meaning off - beautiful) she sells a pretty amazing range of eco items for woman, babies and toddlers, (menstrual pads, breast and nursing pads, moontime cups and lots for bubs too) stop by and pay her a visit, as it is hard to find good eco products like this.. there is also a substantial link page to DIY sewing.. please pay a visit... but I digress, Marnie sent me her first ever dish cloth and I am proud to be it's owner, almost to pretty to be used.. along with the cloth came two very nifty reusable makeup removing pads.. here are a couple of photos, unfortunately one is blurred, took it with my phone as the camera batteries were flat..

Aren't the colours lovely, this has inspired me to learn to crochet.. Thank you Marnie for a lovely swap.

May 16, 2011

No warm fuzzies today

What a weird old weekend it has been, a huge power cut that seen me tossing just about every dairy product I had in the fridge out.. Mister 15 left for his Year 10 camp..they left the school at 4.45am flying to Sydney then onto the Gold Coast.. what ever happened to camping? I have woken up with hay fever in autumn and a case of the heebie jebbies over the continuing saga of hip and spine..
I have in the last few weeks been diagnosed with spondylitis in my spine, sacroilitis and a laberal tear of the hip.. while everyone thought the pain in my lower back was related to the hip, a very observant radiologist picked up a problem with my 'other bits' while looking at my hip. The specialist is confident that my symptoms and the radiographers random findings match, so I am having more tests to see if I have the marker for the disease Ankylosing  Spondolititis. I am having more xrays to make sure my spine has not started to fuse.  I hate waiting around for answers,one answer I do have though is I am looking at surgery for my hip either a total replacement or hip resurfacing and today I am having a fluoroscopic investigation of the joint and some cortisone into it, so I can at least function or get some relief.  Not sure how I went from a sore hip to all of this...  I am not having warm fuzzies about any of it.  In fact I would rather be having my teeth extracted with barbecue tools.. and thats all I have to say about that.

May 14, 2011

Lights out

The weather has been a little stormy over the last few days and  last night at 6.40pm while putting together pizza for dinner.. the power went out amidst a huge gust of wind and squall of rain.. we thought it would come back quickly, but on the trip to the train station 5 minutes away to get my daughter Derek was stopped by the bases fire dept, as there were power lines fallen onto the road. He came home and got a torch and walked through the golf course to get her and while I lit all the candles we had.. it was quiet cosy.. knowing the power would be out for a little longer than first assumed, my thoughts turned back to dinner and the pizza half made and no oven..I could wait it out and hope the family didn't fade away from lack of food, or I could improvise, adapt and overcome. I chose the latter.
While I had no electric oven,  I did have a gas hob and a large fry pan. So with candles all about the stove, I put the pan on the hob and let it heat up fairly hot, then slide the first pizza into the pan.. I could hardly see and had no idea what was happening on the bottom of the dough, all I could do was rotate the pan and hope for the best.. When I found the other torch I had a peek under the pizza base it was perfect, but the top was a bit lacking.. some might call it sacrilegious, I call it doing what ya gotta do.. I flipped that sucker over and fried the top. How do you tell if the top of your now fired pizza is cooked? You don't you flick it out when it smells about right- and feed it to hungry teens..I got raving reviews from the kids, but knowing teenagers will eat anything thats not bolted down even if it isn't easily identified,.I wasn't convinced..this time they were right and my doubts were unfounded because it was pretty damn good pizza and the base was perfect. Not bad for pizza in the dark..
As for the power, it came back on 18 hours later, after the lines were replaced and the frazzled sub station was repaired.. I am glad I didn't wait...

May 11, 2011

Stayin' Warm

The weather has turned wild and chilly here.. I know I was looking forward to winter, however it would have been nice to have had a minute to acclimatise.. the apparent temp today is hovering 1.8c (34f)  brrrrrrr!
Being so cold I thought to make some soup, as D was able to get home for lunch.. and we had found a bargin on  Butternut the other day 88c a kilo sooooo cheap so I bought a couple.
Once peeled and chopped I had about 2.5 kg of butternut.. 
To this I added 4 medium potatoes, 2 onions and a litre of chicken stock, a couple of garlic cloves (optional) plenty of ground black pepper and some grated nutmeg.

Pop the lid on and cook.. about an hour little more or less.. cook it till it's cooked :-)

This is what "cooked" looks like..  you could give this a stir and eat it as is, but we prefer ours smoother
so out comes the stick blender

Bit to steamy to photograph well... this red thing that is going on here with pots and blenders, is purely coincidental, I am not a fan of red anything... weird huh.

I blend it till it is very smooth with no 'bits' in it.. now this was a huge batch,. as I wanted to freeze some, this is the stage I will put it into containers to freeze..  For our lunch I took out about 1.5 cups and added some milk, how much is dependent on the consistency you like. I added about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup.
Pop it back onto the stove to reheat.. then serve. Today we had them with some of the best scrolls.. the recipe is a firm favorite in our family,.. and I got it from Christine over at  Slow Living Essentials 

May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

A Blessed and Happy Mothers Day to you all...
It has been a quiet and pleasant day here today so far, Mothers Day started off with coffee and cards, which were lovely  Both cards made em spring a wee leak with their well chosen words and sentiment. My husband cooked us all a good old fashioned if not calorie laden breakfasts, scrumptious.
I have had time to potter in the kitchen making a boiled fruit cake still in the oven, and I also made solid lotion bars for an order..
Now.. sitting here with a mug of hot lemon and green tea, while the late autumn wind and rain whistle through the trees outside.. but I can still hear Jean Auels new book The Land of The Painted Caves calling me.. a gift that was a long time  in the coming.  Thank you Derek for my copy..

May 1, 2011

Blessed Samhain / Beltane

Tonight in the South we celebrate Samhain.. end of summer, The wheel has turned and we enter and welcome the dark time of year, the nights are longer and colder, the Crone, Grandmother, Queen of Winter roams the land.. bare trees rest, roots deep within the earth, waiting for suns return in spring. Samhain night,  the night when the veil between the worlds are thin.. a night when we honour our ancestors, those who have gone before, tonight they hear us call. Tonight I welcome and embrace The Crone, within whose company I find comfort,  in the cool, reflective darkness you bring, may I learn as I reflect on the past year and the year to come.
"As evening gathers Her darkness tonight, samhain's mystery is revealed... Bless the ancestors...bless those to come... The veils between the worlds will thin... Let them in. Let them in..." Lucy Cavendish

And for my friends in the North, who are enjoying the fertile energies of Beltane, may your Bel fires burn brightly and may you be blessed with prosperity and love.