Itchy feet, restless heart.

Hi guys – it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. But life’s like that, isn’t it? It’s like you blink and weeks have passed while you were just getting on with the ‘routine’.

The ‘routine’ has me a bit bummed lately. I mean I dont want to sound ungrateful – Im so blessed that my life is routine enough to be boringly comfortable, and not ravaged by war and uncertainty! And the grass is always greener, isn’t it?

But I’ve been catching up on Kate’s blog and their family’s trip overseas, and feeling a tad envious! Sometimes I want a bit of escapism! …But then I look at our animals and think “Omigosh I coudn’t possibly leave you for all that time, you smooshy fluffy Collie….*smoochsmoochsmooch*”

*sigh*

Still, next weekend, we’re off to McCrae to stay the weekend in a friend’s beach house, so Im looking forward to that! (AND the dogs get to come too!)

What else?

Oh yes – we finally got our spring seedlings in! We took the trailer and bought some market boxes for this year’s garden! The bales were great last year, but eventually they do start to decompose and fall to bits, and you find yourself with a bit of a mess of plants going to seed and sinkholes and twine. We’ve planted Choy Sum, Broccolini, Peas, Strawberries, Beetroots and I got one tiny tiny tomato to pop up – so fingers crossed it takes! Today I’m going to pop out to Mt Evelyn and grab some Zucchini and Leb cucumber seedlings. The cucumbers were prolific last year!

The apple trees are blossoming, the apricot’s looking good, the plum is… not as ‘fruity’ as last year. And the Hill Shadow Feral Bees are hard at work each day, you can hear the hum of them wokring all over the farm. Bless them x

Our 2 new goats got a haircut last week, and now they look like skinny little drowned rats! Poor boys! Their fleece hadn’t been maintained at all, so they were quite matted and dread locked round the chest, and I just didn’t have the heart to try to comb and pull at them. So we rang a mobile shearer and he popped out one day between jobs and now I have 2 cashmere fleeces in bags and two tiny skinny goats. I had high hopes of selling/using the fleece, but have found removing the guard hairs an absolute nightmare. Commercial cashmere gets dehaired by machine, and because this is shorn and not combed, some of it is a matted hairy mess. Still, when Im feeling patient, I clean up enough for me to use, and blend it in with something else.

This is our cashmere, blended with some alpaca I dyed orange and yellow, and plyed with the softest 16 micron merino – turned out ok, huh? Im planning on knitting this into a little beanie for my friend’s baby girl.

Currently on my needles is Ben’s birthday present (I’ve got til Dec 31!). It’s a v-neck jumper in TARDIS blue, with a pattern of Daleks and the TARDIS round the bottom. I spun all the wool myself – it’s half alpaca, half merino, indogo dyed by the Shepherdess herself, Niki – and Im hoping I’ll have enough… :S And Im kinda thinking about more socks… socks with cables… mmmm.

ok, I’ve ground to a halt. Time to go shower and get these girls dressed for the day. And feed the horse and let the goats out and break up the fights and put the washing on and tidy the breakfast things and…

*sigh* Oh well, at least it looks like being a beautiful day. And Im going to meet my friend Tash to check out the Lilydale Psychic Expo and have a coffee.

What are you going to do to make this day fun? Where are you travelling to next? What are you putting in your garden? What’s on your knitting needles? Who’s blog are you loving?

Tell me everything.
xx

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Homespun, hay, and hungry hunters.

It’s getting colder and greyer at Hill Shadow. We still get blue skies, but colours are duller. The air is crisp. Morning frosts are a regular occurance now, and the report this morning said it was 3 degrees celcius.

I’d believe it.

I’ve been knitting lots of warm woolies! I’m about 3/4 through Ben’s woolley socks (he MIGHT get to wear the before the end of winter!). I discovered my friend Bec over at Peg and Jane spins the most amazing wool by hand (amazing skill!) so I’ve HAD to buy some and cast on a little cardi for Tara. Im in love with this wool! And knowing that it came from a small family farm in country Victoria, spun by Bec, and knitted by me, makes it all the more special.

And we bought a new little runabout car for Ben – FINALLY. We just couldnt do the too-ing and fro-ing in in the freezing pitch black early mornings and all hours of the night anymore! So this is Ben’s little work vehicle. And life has settle down CONSIDERABLY since!

It was great being a ‘one car family’ for all those years, but completely impractical now!

Last weekend we scored a few mouldy bales of hay from one of our agisters! Unsuitable as horse feed, but perfect for another bale garden! I’ve filled with layers of green clippings, cardboard, manure, straw, and compost, but so far I’ve just planted some peas and some bits and pieces from the garden. Not really sure what I’ll put in there yet.

And of course in true Hill Shadow Farm style, we’ve had some #accidentalfarming happening, with a butternut pumpkin popping up on its own in the garden and these… er… things.

There’s 2 of them. Pumpkins? Marrows?

Someone who has been loving all the wet weather is Katie!

MUDPIES!!! Perfect after-ballet activity!

And speaking of hay, we picked up this load for $4 a bale from an ad on Gumtree! BARGAIN! We got 20 bales, but I’m so getting another 20 when I can! What a steal!!! It’s so nice to have the barn full for winter. Its a comforting feeling; abundance.

Some of the old hay we were given went out to the chooks as a nice warm bed in their chookhouse. And Ben up-cycled this old coffee table into new nesting boxes for the girls – aren’t they brilliant!?

Unfortunately: Disaster. A few nights ago, we made a fatal communication error. I thought Ben had shut the chooks in for the night, he thought I had. We hadn’t. I woke in the night to frantic clucking and I knew. I bolted out in my pjs and gumboots and in my torchlight I saw the flashing eyes of 2 cunning foxes in the dark, licking their lips having helped themselves to our henhouse like theives in the night.

I felt so horribly guilty. We lost 5 girls through stupid forgetfulness, and we both felt absolutely horrible. I now have a very loud piercing alarm set to go off each evening to remind us to SHUT THE CHOOKS IN!!!



You know what IS good about winter though? Baking. Specifically, my husband’s baking.


Just LOOK at this apple pie!!! Tonight he’s making lemon meringue. God help my waistline! I shall have to chop wood for hours to work it all off!

The other thing I cant wait for about winter…

3 more weeks!

What do you look forward to about winter?

Keep warm
xxx

Blessing, bunnies, and blissful days together.

Hello every bunny!
Hope you had an Easter as good as ours! Ours was filled with friends and fun. The bunny came and hid chocolate chicks in our backyard, and the girls giggled and ran about looking for them in their pjamas and gumboots.
Ben baked hot cross buns, and we had woodfired pizzas with friends on easter night. The girls got home thoroughly sticky and over excited, but having had a brilliant day! 
We’ve managed to cram alot of activities into Katies first school holidays: Family trips to the pool and Eureka Skydeck. There was a Pop Up Park outside the local library, with facepainting and games, we saw the Shaun the Sheep movie, and we went op-shopping. 
But undoubtedy the best thing about these holidays was Ben’s CT results coming back clear of cancer. 
That was the very best day. 
His hair is starting to grow back, he’s starting to regain some of his old energy and health, and we just feel so so blessed everyday.

 There were quieter days, where we stayed at the farm. Days we collected firewood, baked, removed some dangerous tree branches, pottered in the garden.
One blissful day, the girls and I headed down the back paddock with a blanket and our teddies for a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, while the weather is still warm!


And also I knitted some slippers, attempted my first cabling on a beanie for Tara, and am now attempting my very first pair of socks with some beautiful wool from Morris and Sons.

Back to school Monday. The house is going to feel so quiet!

What are you knitting?

xx

Rejection, regression, refusal, and remoteness.

It’s Friday afternoon of Kate’s first week of school, and I have committed the cardinal sin of putting on a movie to occupy Kate (Hey it’s hot and she’s had a big week! Well that’s my excuse…) and I’m shirking the washing up/cleaning/cooking in favour of this. Ben and Tara are asleep.

I’m feeling exhausted.

It’s been a big week.

Ben has ups and downs, so we really cant plan anything. Most of the time, he’s lying down or asleep. So im shouldering much of the driving/organising/parenting/farming/cleaning at the moment. Also I’m getting up in the night to the girls, and getting up with them at 6 or 6:30 each morning. It’s full-on. And it’s actually a bit lonely. When Ben is not asleep I try to take the girls out to get them out of the way and give him some quiet to work or rest, but it means when I come home, he goes to bed and I start dinner or bath the girls or feed the horse or watch tv on my own.

Kate has handled her first week of school really well and has made a few friends, but it has seen the return of her Encopresis (which I thought she was getting past!) – which if you’ve never been through it, is just HELL and RUNS YOUR LIFE. We’ve been battling it for a bout a year and a half now, pretty much non-stop, though over christmas it looked like she was over-coming it: Taking her self to the toilet without prompting and staying clean most days. Then she started school, and BANG. (As if I need that!) I dont really know if it’s cureable, but I pray every day that it will be!!! It’s just horrible: Disgusting, humiliating, frustrating.

When I’m not dealing with poo inside, I’m dealing with my animal poo outside, and that is the perfect segue to the garden. (See what I did there?)

Look at the corn-babies!

I didn’t have much time for the garden this week and last (Ben’s full week of chemo), but it has not suffered for it! In fact, the basil and tomatoes have taken over!

And it looks like the capsicums and cucumbers are going to be a success!

No success with the wheatgrass however! Sickly, little shoots or nothing at all! WTF?! I cant win! Oh well, not that it matters – I seem to have jammed part of my new juicer anyway, rendering it useless, until I can work out how to un-jam it.

(It’s really been a spectacularly bad week.)

The blackberries are going MAD, which is both good and bad: Bad for the fact that it is a nasty weed, but the fruit has been abundant and has made some great jam and muffins!

Also I grew come tiny stunted carrots (NEVER had success with carrots!) Which the kids liked pulling up and nibbling on anyway.

One other thing that I’ve found REALLY frustrating this week has come from trawling the internet for animal shelters, looking for a dog to adopt. I really wanted to adopt another dog after Henry. I miss having a dog, and Cookie is very much ‘Ben’s girl’. So, of course I have been looking at shelters and websites for almost 2 weeks, and let me tell you: The whole process has turned me RIGHT OFF adopting a shelter pet. Which is sad, because I know the idea is to encourage people to adopt rather than buy from backyards or pet shops. But the process is repetitive, intrusive, frustrating, and very expensive!

I have filled in countless forms justifying myself as an intelligent human being. I have given histories of previous animals, estimates of income, details of may daily routine including how much time I am likely to spend away from home, aquiesced to ‘home inspections’, and most of the time have received nothing but a computer-generated automatic response.

As soon as I say the words ‘we have a run, but no fence yet’ (My husband has cancer ok?!) and ‘small children’, I am often instantly dismissed.

And the animals I am deemed not fit to care for are often older dogs – 9 or 10 years old – of questionable breeding, but are still priced at $400 – $1000. (No: Im not kidding). WHERE IS THE INCENTIVE TO ADOPT? Some agencys even had the gall to tell me that “if” I was “shortlisted” they would match “ME” to a dog! Yep – I wouldn’t even get to choose!!!

I feel disillusioned, scrutinised, dismissed and frustrated. And sadly, I’m not sure I will continue down the avenue of looking at animal shelters. They seem to have waiting lists and an over-supply of people looking and not that many needy dogs (which is not the impression you get from the media and all these ‘adoption drives’ etc!). My illusions of going to the RSPCA and walking up and down the line of cages and finding the perfect mate who would jump into my arms and who would become my constant companion for ever seems really far away. Which is sad. Just look at the life we offer:

Yup. Clearly cold, neglected and miserable. (And just look at the TRAUMA life with our young children is bringing her!)

So I’m not sure what will happen from here. I know we have an amazing, loving, experienced home to offer a dog. But unfortunately, we just dont appear that way on an automated pdf form.

The search continues.

Any ideas? Have you ever adopted a shelter dog before? (Did you find the process completely intrusive/impersonal/offputting?!) 

We’re not THAT weird are we?!

Dont answer that.

Big love all, have a beautiful weekend. (It’s a bad week, not a bad life. This too shall pass.)
xx


Basil, baldness, bargains, and being ‘busy’.

It’s a snippets post! Ispired by one of Kate’s.

harvesting

Basil! Omigosh the basil! Im gonna have to start giving more pesto away! And we harvested all of our corn. It was really successful, so I dried an ear as an experiment, and planted a few dry corn kernals in our foam seed boxes, and blow me down: They germinated! So looks we’re gonna get another round of that yummy corn! YIPPEE! Self-sufficiency!

‘Hoppy’ – so photogenic!

reading

The House of Elliot by Jean Marsh. Did you ever see the TV series set in the 20s/30s? It was delicious. The book is just as delicious!

loving

My new slow juicer! I got it on Gumtree for $20 – BARGAIN! Totally worth driving across Melbourne and getting lost for! It’s the kind that makes pasta, and sorbet too. The sorbet is AWESOME.

Mango Sorbet. Ingredients: …mangoes.

It gets a bit less juice per amount of fruit than my old hurom juicer, but it does wheatgrass, sugarcane, frozen fruit, AND it’s so much easier to clean! BIG BONUS!

knitting

I’m about to start a beanie for Ben’s poor unprotected scalp!

His hair finally started to fall out from the chemo, and it was kinda ‘sting-y’, so he took the plunge and shaved it all off. And knock me down: IT ACTUALLY SUITS HIM!!! He looks about 10 years younger!

What a revalation!!!

planting

Wheatgrass for juice, but I’ve had some very mixed results. I put it on a windowsill. In the dark. In the light. In the full sun. In dirt. On paper towels. In peat. Lots of water. Just a mist. Covered with wet newspaper. Uncovered. But despite all my experimenting, I never manage to get the thick lush carpet of grass you see online. I just get a really sickly, wispy few tendrils in a whole tray, which equate to less than a shot of juice. But still I keep trying… It’s meant to be so easy to grow!?

buying

FRUIT! Tonnes of it! I’ve been trying to inject as much raw fresh food into our diet as we can to keep as all as healthy as possible while Ben’s body deals with chemo. And there’s SO MUCH beautiful summer fruit around! The mangoes! The watermelon! And OH the lychees!!!

sticking

– washing in the machine, dishes in the sink, pellets in the chook feeder, toys in the cupboard, the kids’ clean clothes in their wardrobes… It never ends; the ‘business’. I wish I was better at being still. I remember being present when I was young. Relishing moments, living in the now, fully enjoying and appreciating an experience. Somewhere along the line, I lost that. Im always 3-steps ahead: Planning, listing, predicting, anticipating, worrying… I dont REALLY enjoy things like I did as a child, because I’m always somewhere else. Or watching the clock. Or counting my bank balance. Or anticipating disaster.I wonder how I can reclaim that child-like sense of now: Where afternoons lasted forever, and days were full of suprises?

watching

The new series of Broadchurch. I was addicted to series one. I’m already addicted to season two. We always have to watch ‘just one more episode’, no matter how late it is!

relishing

Moments of ‘unplugged’ childhood play. Games with marbles, craft with wool and paint, picnics with toys, making up dance performances, conversations with fairies, games with princess and crowns and magic powers.

listening

To the sounds of Hill Shadow Farm: Horses whinneying, kookaburras laughing, Lennon crowing, Tara talking herself to sleep in her cot, the fridge turning on and off briefly….




We’re in for a big week this week. 4 FULL days of chemo, and poor old Ben is gonna get hammered. I’ve booked the girls into kindy for 2 days each, to minimise the noise/work for us at home so Ben can rest, but also to make sure they’re occupied and distracted while Daddy’s not well.

My mother and father in law will be here for a week, and I think it’ll be ‘survival mode’ for all. But in the meantime: Australia Day public holiday tomorrow to be enjoyed, and our 6th Wedding anniversary (Love you forever, Bear xxx).

One day at a time… one day at a time…

What are you harvesting, reading, loving, knitting, planting, buying, sticking, watching, relishing and listening to?

See you on the other side of the week!
xx

Plums, poultry, preserving and pom poms.

Hill Shadow Inventory:
Rooster – 1
Chickens – 14
Horse – 1
Dog – 1
Fox – ?
Humans – 4
Daily eggs – 3 or 4
Sleeps til christmas – 24

Unfortunatley the closest we’ve gotten Tara to Santa is waving to this reindeer at the mall.

…well, it’s a start.

And our garden produced this amazing beetroot which was ready before all the rest – isn’t it beautiful?!

It’s getting warmer and warmer! The girls are in dresses, sandals and shorts.

UGH! STOP PRESS!
Chickens – 13

Can you believe that?! Just as I was typing that last bit, Mrs Fox took another one, right from our front door step!!! There’s feathers everywhere!

The scene of the crime.

At first I did a quick head count and I was horrified that she took Katie’s favourite chook, Shiny. But luckily, Shiny has a favourite hiding spot on her own round back under the fig tree, and a quick check found her to be there as usual, oblivious to what had just happened round front.

Shiny: lives to dig figs another day!

Phew! I have no idea how I would’ve broken that to Katie this afternoon!

Lennon is recovering beautifully from his ordeal and has actually begun to crow again in the last few days. Unfortunately I think it may take him a while to regain his former glory. His crow sounded a mix between an old fashioned car horn (“A-HOO-GA!”) and a set of deflating bagpipes.

Kate and I made sure we made encouraging comments. (“Gee Lennon, that sounds… er… well that’s really… um… yeah good try, Mate!”)

Christmas activities are ramping up: Concerts, parties, and Katie’s kinder graduation (Where did THAT time go?!) are all in the next few weeks.

One of the events I did check in at was the open day of our local Steiner School. Although I dont wholly agree with the Steiner/Waldorf approach to education, there is so much I love about it: The avoidance of commercialism, the focus on nature, the peacefulness, the importance of creativity.

Feeling totally inspired when I got home, Katie and I made a 2-storey fairy house in the yard, and Kate spent ages furnishing it with feathers, leaves and flowers.

In the afternoon, while Tara had her sleep, Kate and I listened to Tchaikovksy’s Swan Lake Suite (My favourite!) and made pom-poms.

Look! We have apples!!!

THREE APPLES!!!

Yeah ok: not real great for a whole tree. But the poor tree is on its side, totally eclipsed and deprived of water and sun by the 2 massive cypress’ next to it. So it’s a wonder it’s managed to survive at all, let alone bear fruit.

I was hoping to have some apricots or figs to make jam from for christmas presents this year, but alas – no dice. Still green and under-ripe. BUT! I just happened to taste a bit of the ‘ornamental’ plum in the front yard, and knock-me-down – it’s edible!!! They’re just little plums! And it seems the birds have been fooled too – they haven’t noticed them! So I’ve picked a bunch and spent this morning having my first attempt at jam-making!

Little kitchen helper fairy.

It’s a sticky red mess in my kitchen, but i’ll let you know how it goes! Here’s the recipe I used.

And lastly I made this raw vegan caramel slice this week.

Oh. My. Word.

Do your self a favour – download the Raw Desserts App from Ascension Kitchen and make a batch.

You’re welcome.

Have you finished your christmas shopping?
Are you making any handmade gifts this year?
Do you Waldorf? Steiner? Montessori? Homeschool? Unschool? None? All?

Go count your chickens.
xx

Brownies, baking, and balloon-legs.

Poor old Will has a fat leg! Im not sure how, but he’s cut it somewhere in his paddock, and its puffed up like a balloon! I’ve hosed it out & sprayed the wound with tea tree, and added some garlic and tumeric to his feed for anti-inflamatory effects, and we’ll see how he goes. Other than that, he’ll be resting.

Which you know he hates.

OHH THE HUMANITY!!!

Today Katie and I cooked up a batch of brownies while Tara had her morning nap. These were using coconut flour, and let me just state from the outset that I haven’t had alot of success with coconut flour recipes. And by that I mean, no success. everything Ive cooked has turned out rubbery, tasteless, or dry.

But at last! SUCCESS!!! These brownies are BEAUTIFUL! AND refined sugar and grain-free, which is a bonus! Even the kids wanted seconds!

So of course I will share the recipe! I got it from Pinterest, but I gather the original is from www.naturalnews.com .

PALEO BROWNIES (No refined sugar, dairy, grain)

1/2 c coconut flour
1/2 c cacao powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

Combine these dry ingredients in one bowl.

1/2 c honey (Raw if you have it. Pretty sure you could use maple syrup too)
1/3 c coconut oil
5 free range eggs
2 T water

Combine these wet ingredients in another bowl.

Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring well. pour mix into a well-greased 8×8 brownie pan and smooth top. The original recipe says ‘bake at 350 deg F for 30 minutes’ which I think is about 170 deg C, BUT my oven is hot and fan-forced, so i only baked for 27min at 150 deg C. You know your oven: Just keep an eye on them. If the top is ‘dry’ and it is ‘springy’ in the middle, I reckon you’re done.
Let cool before slicing.

Om nom nom.

Got any other proven yummy coconut flour recipes you can share?
Now excuse me, Katie and I have some important bowl-licking to do…
xx
  
 

Snippets, sunscreen, seeds, soil and sunshine.

Im gonna use a prompt from Kate over at Foxslane (I blog I adore – check it out!) and do a snippets post today. Maybe you can do one too? I’d love to check out yours…

enjoying
GLORIOUS spring Melbourne days. Today is a clear, sunny 26 degrees celcius.

playing
Nothing at the moment. The sound of the rainforest birds here, with the occasional neigh, “Mum!”, or cock-a-doodle-doo is all the sound track I need 🙂

smelling
My coffee here at my desk. Hazelnut! Yum!

wearing
Summer clothes and sunscreen! Already! Plus if I’m in the garden, my trusty Akubra, always. If you don’t know what an Akubra is, here you go. If you’re an Aussie and you don’t know what an Akubra is: SHAME ON YOU 😉

reading
Jackie French’s ‘Backyard Self-sufficiency’. The beans and peas are in in our new bale garden. Now FINGERSCROSSED they grow! (pleasepleaseplease) Gardening seems simple – plant a seed, good soil, water, sun. But my track record isnt great. I wish I knew why I have such bad luck with vegetables! Hopefully my luck will start to change! And soon!

crocheting
Ive been meaning to start a coffee-plunger cosy for my Stepdad… but… *sigh* Tonight! I swear!

flicking to
Not sure what this means (?) but im always flicking over to watch Dance Moms on You Channel. It’s my guilty pleasure *blush*

enjoying
Days outside in the sun NOT unpacking the few last boxes I should be getting around to… It’s just too nice out! I’m sure there’ll be more grey days like the one pictured below I can get around to those boxes.

not loving
Washing up. Does it ever end?!?!

knowing
I’ve got a horsey-girl on my hands. It’s only a matter of time before she asks me for a pony, I just know it. I’ve always said the girls can choose their own interests, and I will happily drive them to karate/soccer/art/dance/chess-WHATEVER. I am quite happy for neither of them to be horse-mad like Mummy. But I can see Katie’s interest in the horses already, and she’s always keen to hop on Will anytime I’m off for a ride. Daddy: just giving you an early head’s up… 😉

 

wondering
What the HECK Henry is barking at in the blackberry thicket!!! He keeps going up there and he just stares into the brambles and barks, and barks and barks!

dreaming
Of getting my sewing machine set up and my sewing table set up and making some new summer dresses for the girls! (And maybe me!) But that means getting in amongst THOSE AFORE-MENTIONED BOXES…so…

hoping
To adopt some ex-battery hens at the end of September, and give them a new life in free-range chook heaven! With this handsome devil-

Lennon

knitting
Last thing I did was a beanie for Ben. Actually, i did 2, because the first one turned out ridiculously small. It looked like a Jewish Kippah. We both nearly wet ourselves laughing and I gave that one to a friend’s little boy, and made another!

laughing at
Black Books. We’ve just watched the whole series again!

casting on
Hmm, what’s next? Im thinking of starting a school cardigan for Katie’s first year of school next year. The uniform is Red, Green and White, some I’m thinking a red one…

grateful for
This new childhood I can now provide my kids with! They are always outside now: Climbing, creating, exploring. The TV is hardly ever on during the day now. I love that they’ve got the run of this whole farm ‘playground’, and they absolutely love it!

adoring
Tara’s first pigtails!!!

 

smiling at
Kate’s antics on her trampoline, andhearing her talking to herself as she plays some involved imaginary game.
“…hey sister, we need to go to our house! No you cant until the fires have gone. We have to stay in Queensland…”

Your turn! What are you enjoying, playing, smelling, listening, wearing, reading crocheting, flicking to, enjoying, not loving, knowing, wondering, dreaming, hoping, knitting, laughing at, casting on, grateful for, adoring, smiling at?

Have a beautiful week. But, blog it later – get out an enjoy this gorgeous weather while it lasts!
xx






Parasites, productivity and ponies!

Ugh. After the death of 2 of our lovely chooks, we found the beginnings of a lice infestation! Seriously?! Come ON! So hopefully a dusting with Pestine (on the girls and round their home), a thorough worming (chooks, dog, horse, and us!) and a little prayer, that will be the end of this particular run of unfortunate luck! Grr.

Hubby did get productive last weekend: Mowing the back lawn, collecting some bales and putting them around our garden beds, and putting up Katie’s swing! She’s a bit chuffed about that 🙂

So now she spends most of her time either on the swing, on the trampoline, on my hay bales, or in one of her many farm castles/hidey-holes…

The weather’s a bit wet today, so the girls and I went and joined our local library (ESSENTIAL) and now Tara’s having her afternoon nap, so I’ve ducked round and taken a few pics to introduce you to some of our equine residents…

Shy showpony ‘Electra’
Bigger on the inside ‘Tufty’
(Who could resist a face like this?!)

Fresian horse that looks like he belongs to the Black Knight ‘Randolf’

Sweet girl ‘Lily’

And of course the man in my life ‘Will’ (and the other man in my life, ‘Henry’)

I hope you’re having a lovely week. GO JOIN YOUR LIBRARY!!!
x

Disappointments, drownings, damage, and darned good recipes!

Oh dear…

Well, I have prooved my point about not being able to grow a thing and having no green thumbs to speak of…. Of our 5 little herb seedlings we planted last weekend: Not one survived.

Partially – in our defense! – this was because 2 days after we planted the little babies, we had a freak hailstorm (hail the size of marbles!) and there was a bit of damage to their delicate little fronds.

The rest has been eaten by… Something.

Damn.

So far, our food growing/homesteading/’feed our whole family from the garden’ dream is looking pretty grim. 0/5. Not only was I feeling particularly glum about this failure, but then found that one of our poor hens had fallen into a horse water trough while we’d been out, and drowned. And another is looking like she’s not long for this world (although I suspect that’s more to do with her age, than bad luck).

It’s hard not to feel disheartened. How do we combat a pest in our veggie patch when we’re not even sure what it is?! Rabbits? Slugs? Birds? Will this be our fate?: Working hard and spending a fortune to feed the wildlife?!

Something that is still feeding us, however is the citrus – THANK GOODNESS FOR THE CITRUS! It has served to keep my faith that we can grow food here! Oh sure, the cockatoos take a share of the oranges, but we can afford to share! There’s plenty to go round!

Katie’s latest favourite activity is to pick a bucket of oranges off the tree, juice them all like crazy, and make orange icypoles! It’s wonderful knowing she’s learning about where food comes from, but also making a preservative/refined sugar free snack, and she can do it all by herself!
And I found a wonderful EASY MICROWAVE LEMON CURD recipe which I have been making use of to use up all those lemons!
Now Im including this without permission from the author – but only because I dont know how to contact her to ask her! But it’s just too good not to include, and full credit goes to Nancy Johnson of Speers Court – Nancy, I hope you dont mind! x
Easy Microwave Lemon Curd 
(Makes about 600mls-ish.)
180ml lemon juice
zest of all the juiced lemons (I only actually used zest of 2 lemons)
4 egg yolks
3 eggs extra
3/4 cup caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
Place all ingredients into a microwave proof bowl and microwave on medium for 6-8 min stopping to whisk every minute. (You know it’s done when it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon)
I strained the zest out of mine before I chilled it, but you certainly dont have to!

SO SO SO YUMMY!

How do you keep pests out of your garden?
What do your kids/grandkids love to cook?

Just heading out to put some wire over that water trough: Chooks cant swim well. Apparently.
RIP little chookie x