Five on friday – B for ..

Hello there! Time for another five on friday hosted by lovely Amy from Love made my home. My blog presence has been scarse lately. Too many soccer games and kids activities to coordinate leaves little time for blogging these days. I have been doing a fair amount of baking and crochet though so all is not lost.

This week its five Bs!

Bananas! Our neighbours left these homegrown bananas on the back deck this week. The bats were getting to them so he had to pick them early. They will ripen in a few days. I will be able to make plenty of banana bread with these.

homegrown bananas ripening

Balls! Of lovely cotton yarn that arrived in the post today. I just love getting yarn mail and I never get tired of this colour combo. I ran out of my turquoise colour but couldn’t just order one ball of yarn could I.

cotton yarn bendigo woollen mills

Bags! My friend loved my little crochet heart zip bag so much she asked if I could make her one in her favourite colours. She is recovering from heart surgery and rather liked the appropriate design! I am half way through this one but was waiting for my yarn order to finish it. Its supposed to rain this weekend and the kids soccer games are already cancelled due to waterlogged grounds from yesterday’s deluge. I am looking forward to some crochet time curled up on the couch listening to the rain.

turquoise crochet heart bag

Bikes! We saw these amazing stunt bikers at the sunshine coast agricultural show. I was having heart failure at their death defying antics. This guy in the photo is right off his bike and suspended in mid air! Very entertaining in a heart stopping kind of way.

stunt bikes

Bare! The veggie patch needed some attention after being abandoned since late summer. I have made good progress with the weeding and mulching. I have a fair bit to go but at least I can start planning what to grow. Last season we had great success with cucumbers, lettace, sugar snap peas and snowpeas. Courgettes were a complete disaster and red peppers were not so great. I might try carrots this time and broccolli as we get through a fair amount. Any tips on courgette growing anyone?

veggie patch ready to go

Thats it from me. Grab a cuppa and take a look at the other blogs joining in this week. Have a great weekend!

knitting, baking and cultivating

Strictly speaking this post should be titled crochet, baking and cultivating, but it just didn’t sound right. We had a lovely weekend pottering about in the garden and the kitchen. Its amazing what you can get done once the soccer season is finished! Here’s a quick round up.

crochet hearts and frilly bunting

I made this sweet crochet heart bunting using my three favourite colours that work so well together. I love this light turquoise cotton yarn. Once finished, I put my feet up on the deck with a cuppa, feeling quite pleased with myself.

crochet heart bunting

I decided to hang it on the wall in the family room off the kitchen. Hubby just rolled his eyes when he saw it saying ‘oh you put it there did you’.

coloured accessories in lounge room

dusk photo showing view from the kitchen

We spent time outdoors working on the veggie patch and using the compost from the bin. It turned out pretty good, I don’t have a great track record with compost making. Supposedly a simple thing to create, but I usually end up with a stinking slimey mess. This time is was crumbly and rich. We planted cauliflowers, broccoli, snow peas, lettuce, sugar snap peas, zucchini and a giant pumpkin seed, just for fun.

homemade compost

One of the chooks enjoying a peck about in the grass.

free range brown chook

We made lemonade using the last of the citrus.

homemade lemonade

A colourful tray of fresh veggies ready to go in the oven with butterfly lamb for dinner.

fresh roast veggies

I made some vanilla bean ice cream as we had an egg surplus due to hubby being away these past 2 weeks. My son helped make chocolate lava pudding to have with it. Not the prettiest dessert but so yum!

chocolate lava pudding with homemade vanilla bean ice cream
Thats my weekend round up. What did you get up to?
T x

A weekend of simple living

I love weekends where you can just go with the flow, with no firm plans made. This weekend was particularly nice, with kids getting along with each other and spending time outdoors. The girls collected lemons off the trees and wanted to make lemonade from them. It was actually quite delicious, better than the lemon slice I tried to make a few weeks back which was a complete disaster.

homemade lemonade

 

homegrown lemons and papaya

lemons collected off the tree, and some papaya, and a bowl of pumpkin seeds ready for the veggie patch

The local strawberry farm opened their farm shop to the public this weekend and I bought the plumpest sweetest strawberries I have ever tasted. The smell of strawberries in the shop is just so mouth watering. I’d have a hard time working there. The kids devoured them in seconds.

fresh strawberries

The neighbour invited us over for drinks saturday afternoon and the kids played while we chatted and drank wine. After dark the kids went inside and played chess! Very civilised, unlike us grown ups. The husbands had sore heads in the morning! Sunday was spent outside working on the veg patch again. My son has a ‘get rich quick’ scheme planned by growing and selling herbs at the gate. I’ll keep you posted on that little project.

veggie patch

Pumpkin soup was made for lunch with pumpkin bought from the farm shop. Twelve eggs were collected from the chooks, then a fire was started at the bottom of the paddock to burn off some of the lantana we cleared. The kids played in the paddock with the chooks and there was huge excitement when one of the chickens found an enormous spider and ate it. The kids were fascinated!

IMG_5441 IMG_5461 IMG_5443

 

in the paddock

the kids have even worn the dog out

Then of course the kids decided we couldn’t have a fire without marshmallows.

IMG_5456 marshmallows on the fire

 

ride on mower fun

Hitching a free ride back after a good day in the paddock

Dinner was organic butterfly lamb bought from the farmers market, with roast potatoes and veggies, followed by a movie and bed, feeling tired and content.

I hope you all had a good weekend. Thanks for all your comments on my previous post. I will post more info on those cushions in my next post as so many of you liked them. I will also be sharing my spare room makeover 🙂

We have eggs!

Finally, we have our first eggs from our chooks. They have certainly taken their time. Eight weeks from when we got them, at ‘point of lay’.  I was worried I was doing something wrong and started trying to find answers on blogs for why our girls were not laying eggs. Most responses were to be patient, and check all the obvious things like food, water and shelter, which were all good.

Bruce the hen

‘Bruce’ the hen in the nesting box. I have explained how all our chooks are girls, but The kids insist on Bruce, so Bruce it is.

 

 

I am very proud of our first egg, pictured here. Sorry about the blurry pic, it looked alright when I uploaded it!

free range egg

I had it for breakfast, just look at that lovely orange yolk. We are getting two a day now, so things are definitely looking up.

egg for breakfast

Our chooks enjoy roaming around the paddock during the daytime, and run up to me whenever I go down to their coop, as I usually have some kitchen scraps for them.

free range chickens

My little one has got quite brave and picks them up now, as they have also got used to us and become very friendly. I was talking to a friend of mine over coffee the other day and she was saying how her daughter is desperate for a pet and what they should consider getting. I suggested chickens. Not only are they useful for keeping the weeds down and eating insects, but you get the eggs too, and they are an outdoor pet, so no mess in the house. She thought it was a great idea and went off happily to her backyard to work out where to put the coop.

IMG_5310 chickens

I am looking forward to getting a regular egg supply now. Soon we will be inundated, as we have 14 chooks! I will have to start looking for some good egg recipes.
T x

A new arrival

Things have been busy around here. We have a new addition to our household. A chocolate labrador puppy, named Kess. We had a rough first night with her, but since then she has been very good, apart from the nipping and chewing everything in sight.

chocolate labrador puppy

We took her to the beach for the first time last weekend, but she wasn’t sure what to make of the water.

puppy at the beach

My daughter loves her and is very good with her and patient. I think they will become best friends.

dog walking

Here she is, exhausted from her beach trip, pushing up a few zeds. Does that look comfy to you?

puppy sleeping

Last weekend it was Mothers Day here in Australia. I had breakfast in bed brought in by my son sporting a silly face. The eggs were fresh from the neighbours chooks, so yum.

breakfast in bed, mothers day

One of my Mothers day gifts was this gorgeous cake stand. Of course I had to bake a cake to put on it.

cake stand

I baked a gluten free sticky date pudding, more like a cake in looks, but served warm with hot butterscotch sauce and cream is definitely a winner. You can find the recipe here.

gluten free sticky date pudding

We are lucky to have inherited a mandarin tree with our new house. Lovely sweet mandarins from a tree so laden with fruit its bending over.

mandarins, home grown

And finally, I have decided to start a granny stripe blanket to reduce my yarn stash. Its gone quite cool here as we head into winter. Well, cool in the morning and evening, but lovely in the daytime. I don’t suspect for one minute that it will be done in time for this winter. I reckon, going on my current crochet speed, it will take me a year. I thought about starting a granny square blanket instead, but the thought of stitching all those squares together put me off. I will keep you posted on my progress. Its the biggest project I have ever tackled so wish me luck!

yarn balls

Have a lovely weekend.
T x

A birthday and a beautiful day out

Its been a busy start to the term, so busy I haven’t had time to sit down and write at all. Seriously, I do not know where the time has gone and how on earth I managed to work as well as run a family when I was back in Sydney. I have blogged less since the move when I supposedly have more time! During the holidays my little one turned 6 so we had a day out at Maleny botanical gardens. A great place up in the beautiful hinterland with fantastic views and gorgeous gardens, and a huge tropical bird aviary. We happened upon it by accident when we were down at Mooloolaba beach and we bumped into a man with a giant parrot. As you do. He was promoting the place and handing out leaflets.

view to glasshouse mountains

View to glasshouse mountains from the gardens

 

We got there early as the kids were itching to go. They were not disappointed, and went straight to the little petting zoo to stroke the animals.

petting a mini pony

I had a read of the reviews on trip advisor where visitors warned that the birds do land on you during the aviary tour and to keep sunglasses and jewellery hidden away else the birds would swipe them. Trip advisor is great for handy tips like this.

boy with parrot on shoulder

We all had several different birds land on us. They were a bit shy at first but as soon as the tour guides called to them, they all came flying down. Their colours were amazing.

tropical bird aviary

The tour lasted about 30 minutes or so, which was long enough, as towards the end we’d had enough of birds landing on our heads and trying to eat our hair.

macaw parrot on head

The weather was perfect and the gardens stunning.

IMG_5147Maleny botanical gardens IMG_5148

I love guinea fowls and they had a flock of them wandering about the place. I wouldn’t mind keeping some myself. Apparently they are good for keeping away snakes as they chase away the bigger ones and eat the baby ones. They also eat fly lavae to help control the fly issue in summer. You can let them roam free and they roost in trees at night and forage for their own food. They also sound a very loud alarm when predators are near. An animal that does not need cleaning out or feeding and is useful sounds pretty good to me.

IMG_5153 Guinea fowls

I love the old cart wheels they had laying around the place. This photo was taken outside the loos would you believe.

old cart wheel against stone wall

The following weekend was little one’s birthday party which we had at home and yes, I did finish the piñata in time! It took forever for the kids to smash it though, I should have done fewer layers on it, but I was worried it would smash on the first hit.

soccer ball piñata

They played pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey, and did a scavenger hunt around the property. We had cake and then finished with a play in the tree house. The weather was perfect which meant the party could be held outside, so no mess to clean up.

6 birthday cake

Last week I had a mini tidy up of the front door area, which was very neglected, with my plant pots full of dead weeds after the hot summer. I went to bunnings for a few bits and picked up two geraniums. Apparently a good choice for someone like me who can’t seem to keep plants alive. My hubby tells me water helps with that. He also says when our new puppy arrives the plants will have to go else they will be chewed up!

geraniums and lemons

I picked some lemons off a tree I found in the paddock on a detour back to the house from the chicken coop. I’m not sure what to do with them now. One was used with some garlic to flavour a roast chicken. I should try and make lemonade, or some lemon curd with them.

Well thats it for now, I’ll save my dishcloth finale for my next post, you’re probably sick to death of them by now! I Hope your week is going well.
T x

Five on Friday – country life update

Hello there, joining in with Amy from Love Made My Home for five on friday, this time I thought I’d give 5 snippets from my week.

Fresh produce
I came home yesterday to a this box of fresh fruit on my doorstep. My neighbour had stopped by while we were out and left us some surplus produce from his place. There were bananas, passion fruit and limes all from his trees. The passionfruit have filled my kitchen with the most beautiful scent, they smell delicious.

fruit box from neighbour

Our very own chooks
On tuesday we went out and finally got our chooks! So exciting. It was a bit of a debacle as we had to catch them, and we wanted 14! Thank goodness I took my hubby with me. I was hopeless and only managed to catch one, while he got the rest. He has a broken nail and scratches up his arms as a result. I ended up falling over and landing on my backside in the chook poo. I’m sure the chook lady had a good laugh at us city-folk turned wanna-be farmers trying to catch these hens. They are a couple of weeks off laying yet, but when they do we certainly won’t go short for a while.

chooks in the coop

The kids are loving the chooks and after school they run down to the coop to see what they’re up to. We have to keep them in for a week or so before we can let them out to free range. They seem to be happy though scratching and pecking about, and making little hollows to wallow about in.

brown and black chooks

Growing
We have quite a bit of our own produce growing at our place. I had a little walk around to inspect what was happening and was surprised to see the sweetcorn doing well, despite zero attention from me. It has been so hot here, the hottest march for 60 years they say, and very little rain since the cyclone last month.

sweetcorn growing

The lime tree is bursting with fruit and the limes are full of juice, I have been using them in salad dressings and adding fresh coriander to my salads and the flavour is wonderful.

lime tree

We also have a papaya tree and the papayas are huge! Unfortunately none of us like them, but my neighbour does so it will be our turn to leave him a gift at the door soon.

papaya fruit on tree

We have a tiny mandarin tree that is also bursting with fruit, just look at these! I love mandarins and can’t wait for these beauties to be ready. Won’t be long now.

mandarin tree

Crochet
I finally finished off the babushka doll. It didn’t take long in the end, I just had to get motivated and find a quick half an hour to get the sewing-up done, then added the flowers, hair and face.

crochet babushka doll

I decided to add a white bow for her scarf, but I am now thinking I should add a white trim around the base of the scarf too, to tie it all in. What do you think?

crochet babushka side view

I purchased the pattern online here. I made the larger version to the one pictured on the pattern link.

Time out
I felt really washed out yesterday and ended up enjoying some time out with a cuppa, some chocolate and my magazine stash. I love leafing through magazines and can’t bare to throw any of them out, no matter how old they are. I really like Home Beautiful and I bring these out again and again and just flick through, re-reading some of the stories, and getting inspiration for my own home.

magazines tea and chocolate

Most of the products and homes displayed in these mags are way out of my budget. Many of the home owners featured are displaying their second home, or ‘weekender’ which is renovated to perfection with high-end finishes and endless marble bench tops. I sit there imagining what their lives are like, walking through their amazing house and stepping onto their deck overlooking the sparkling water somewhere on Sydney’s northern beaches. Jealous? Me? Actually no, we have made our own paradise here overlooking the peaceful countryside, with our chooks and our fruit trees and the frequent wildlife visitors.

our piece of paradise, acreage land

6am early monday morning shot over the side paddock, still a bit misty and very dewy

Happy days 🙂
Thanks to Amy for organising this blog link up. If you would like to join in next time please click the image below which will take you to Amy’s blog where you can find out more.
Have a lovely weekend 🙂 T x