Apple Crumble – From Ruby’s Recipe Book

Well… today I got my revolting weather. Cold, with howling wind and rain. It was also dark and gloomy.  Perfect day to schedule in slothing and swanning about.

So – just going to quickly share Ruby’s Apple Crumble recipe, which I haven’t tried yet!

Confession. I have never made an apple crumble!! Ever!!

I have a few apples left so I really must try this one ASAP!!

The awesome tatty repurposed diary – Ruby’s recipe book!

I confess I tease Ruby a bit about her handwriting and how, based on that she should have been a doctor!  She indignantly told me she used to get awards for handwriting when she was in school! 🙂


Shirley and I have translated below 😀 (You’re welcome!)


Cook up your apples – there was no quantity given but it will depend on your dish size/depth of how much you need

Spread into baking dish


1 cup Self Raising Flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons of butter rubbed into flour

Blend the sugar in and sprinkle over the top of the apple

Bake for about 20-30 minutes in moderate oven (180C or 350F) or until golden brown on top.

It sounds so easy I can’t believe I have never done this. Especially owning two crazy over producing apple trees!!

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So lucky to have established fruit trees!

Have a great day!



One Photo

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Day 4 of the photo challenge – “Old Fashioned”

Take a moment to view the above photo. 🙂

That seriously took me all day to create and get right!

Tomorrows challenge subject is “Old Fashioned”

I question my sanity because, to be perfectly honest – living in a house that is over 100 years old which is full of interesting heirlooms and fantastic old books, all of which I could have spent a few minutes on with the camera, and “Voila” !!

But no – I have to do a total furniture re-arrange, which involved a lot of my muscles to drag the big blackwood dining table out of the way and its not-so-light-and-dainty chairs. Manhandling that big awkward main chair in from the back room, meaning I had to move a whole heap of other furniture out of the way to fit it through!!

Of course the tea set I wanted was in the cabinet that was blocked by the newly moved dining table. So that got moved again!

Then I thought I couldn’t possibly have a fake afternoon tea setting, so I baked muffins.

The house was a wreck!

Shambles!!! Not to mention balancing the camera/tripod on three chairs and having to climb up there myself each shot!!!

When I had this idea, I really didn’t realise how long it would take me to get right. I started with a clean slate and added elements, and moved things around.


Tried different angles


I really wanted to use the old Carltonware tea set my Nanna gave me – this was an early effort

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Tablecloth too bright and mantle too bare

Naturally the stickybeak Siamese had to come in and check proceedings!

The new arrangement caused temporary collapse.

I added in my great grandfathers books, actually found some flowers in the garden and tweaked the tea set arrangement.

By this time it was late and the lack of light was a bit of an issue. I realised that the light behind the stained glass had gone, so I had to go out and set up a lamp for the final shot!

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Almost there

My delightful husband woke up – rested after his nightshift, wandered through the rubble and didn’t blink an eye!! (Does he think this is normal behaviour??) The muffins were still warm and he was pretty happy to sit down to a cuppa and a couple of fresh muffins (so I gained points there)

Midnight now and most things are back where they came from.

I did leave the mantle pretty much with its new style as I really love the look.

And of course… whats a day in Flowerdale without a gorgeous rainbow to clear away the winter blues??

Cheers all!

Just about to put muffins in the oven when I spied this out the kitchen window!!

Ruby Tuesday: Kewpie Dolls, Inoculations & A Few Garden Snaps

Ruby waving her wooden spoons about – since we were talking about baking!

I dropped into Ruby’s early this afternoon to chat about this and that. Her friend Shirley was there and Margie also came in for a cuppa.

The topics skipped over this and that – I shared my news of the photo challenge and how I had bought a creepy ‘anatomically correct’ doll.

Ruby started to smile and then told us a story that my doll reminded her of.

She was five years old and her mother had given both Ruby and her sister, Sylvie, a Kewpie Doll! Very exciting. Dolls and such toys were few and far between. They were little nude dolls and Ruby told us at that age she was just becoming aware of all the body bits she had, eyes, nose ears… and a couple of other holes.

By this time we are all choking into our coffees imagining what was coming next – apparently Kewpie was lacking some vital details, so she got a pin and went to work!!

Her mother was “Not Amused” when she made the discovery!! Ruby was chuckling so hard reminiscing at this point. She said “I thought I’d forgotten all the naughty things I did as a girl!!”

I suppose its no surprise that she made a career in nursing!!

The Rhododendron showing some flowers super early!

We chatted a bit about inoculations (immunisation/vaccinations) as back in Ruby’s early days it was common to be nursing people with polio, TB & diphtheria. Vaccines for diphtheria became available in the early 30’s – Ruby started nursing in 1938.

Diphtheria for most of us is only something we read about in history books. To me it is the name of an illness that we don’t worry about anymore.  Ruby see’s it very differently. First there’s the cough, then the sore throat, then the choking. She said it was an extremely cruel disease and the relief was great when they were able to inoculate the children.

A while back she told me to go look for my ancestors in the old graveyard and see the 4 children buried in the family plot. The old graves are in poor condition but I did find a very sombre piece in the local paper dated October 1870 –

The residents of the little township of
Wynyard and it surroundings were very
much startled lately, by the report that a
dangerous and insidious epidemic called
diptheria had found its way to this place
Two boy aged respectively two years and
nine months and eight years, children of
Mr William Peart. were the first suffers
and only lived a week from the time they
were taken ill. Shortly after the death
of the boys, two girls belonging to the
same family died within a week of the
death of their brothers, leaving their
parents childless. They were all buried
in the churchyard at Wynyard. The age
of the eldest girl was 13, the age of the
youngest 6 years.
This was my family! I will get to the council some day and locate their plot.
Ruby went to nurse in Waratah (Small country town which was quite isolated) in 1947/48 and was horrified to find none of the local children had been immunised. Of course she sorted them out pretty quick smart.
The deaths in Australia began dropping off quite rapidly. 4,000 deaths reported in Australia between 1926 – 1935 dropped dramatically to 44 between 1956 and 1965.  A great relief to families and the doctors and nurses that had to try to save those affected.
Look at those little winter tomatoes in Ruby’s hothouse!! She is enjoying this experiment!!
Self seeded potatoes EVERYWHERE!! Who knows what we might dig up. We haven’t had heavy frosts to kill them yet
Still getting a decent feed of her broccoli!

There were whole wards set aside for TB and Polio in Ruby’s early nursing days.

The kids with polio pretty much lived at the hospital… often from areas far away so were without family during their stay. The nurses, staff and other patients became surrogate families.

Polio often attacked the arms and legs but Ruby said getting it in the chest wasn’t unheard of – and sadly very poor prognosis.

Bathing time was extremely busy – bandaging and rebandaging. Lots of kids, usually under the age of 14 years to attend to.

Ruby told us of a gentleman named Mr Record used to organise a team of between 4 and 6 volunteers daily to help at this time of day. They were young people aged between about 16 and 20 and were invaluable to the nurses. Ruby said she never knew how they would have coped without them. The young patients loved the interaction with the young helpers and apparently a good time was had by all – well as good as you can have with polio!

Ruby doesn’t remember anything else about Mr Record, but now, here in this little blog, just a few more people have heard what a kind man with his team of volunteers did to make a real difference in peoples lives.

Thank-fully  cases of polio are rare to the point of non existent here in Australia.

I love Ruby’s weather vane!!
Small bits of colour in winter
This tree is always a delight!

As we stepped out the back to say goodbye to Ruby we were greeted by this magnificent double rainbow over her yard!

What a treat! The colours were so strong that even Ruby could see and enjoy it!


I hope you have enjoyed a ramble down memory lane with Ruby!

I will add her Apple Crumble recipe tomorrow



The Best Laid Plans…

I totally had planned to swan about inside today, watch movies in front of a cosy fire, pretend my muscles ached a lot more than they actually did due to the wood stacking, listen to the pouring rain that was forecast.


No rain. Woke to blue sunny skies and felt too guilty about my swanning plan.

Why not do some laundry?

See? Warm day, blue skies, puffy clouds.


Sensibly the towels went in first.

Then I got cocky and put on another load. I really should know better by now. Four years in Tasmania has taught me nothing!!

I did some ‘down the street’ tasks like buying a creepy doll from the op-shop (thrift shop) and some sugar cubes. (Explanations later)

Got home and put out the second load of clothes and went and grabbed my pruning shears to tackle the salvia

Time for its yearly haircut

I almost got the first cut in and the heavens opened and the rain came down!!!

I said a lot of creative swear words as I threw down the snippy things and ran for the laundry!!! Those towels were nearly dry!!!

Was totally out of the swanning mood, so I did mundane tasks – like kitchen cleaning, clothes folding, chook feeding etc.

The rain of course cleared up and I decided to tromp down into the neighbours paddock to get some photos for my photo challenge that has just started.

Today’s subject was “Orange”

It almost glows!

I am so pleased there are a few of the readers here participating in the challenge – either watching or actually posting images which is lovely!

Tomorrow is ‘Homescape’ My made up word to describe the landscape around your home.

I braved crawling (literally) under electric fences to get where I wanted to go – its really nerve wracking – since the last time I went near one of those I got severely zapped on the backside which was both painful and undignified! AND left a bruise in an unmentionable place! LOL

Anyway – this is what I came up with:

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Using my fisheye lens for fun
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Gorgeous gum trees
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I love broken down sheds!

None of the above I actually used!!

In the end I settled on one of the foggy morning shots I took a week or so back

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Amazing how much the weather can change a landscape!

The creepy doll I am hoping to get a photo for ‘Fear’ and maybe the sugar cubes for ‘square/s’

Its a work in progress!

Hope your day was splendid, wherever you are!


PS just a couple more shed images from today

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Today Jeff and I got to and got all that wood stacked and undercover.

There are bits of me now that are not playing nice with the other bits!

I have tried to add a timelapse of the job we did today above. It does say “Error loading this Resource” Hmmmm.

I will have to try it on my facebook page if it isn’t going to play the game here!!

Me – after a job well done! (unless I go out tomorrow and find the stack fallen down in a shamble that is)

So – in case the timelapse didn’t work – this is where we started –


This is somewhere in the middle-


And this is pretty much done!


That should keep us going for another little while.


Jeff took some time to split some of the smaller pieces up into kindling


After a break (in which I sat on the edge of my herb garden and amused both myself- and I am sure Jeff- by blowing bubbles) I went into the hothouse.

I decided that the cucumber had finally bitten the dust



I was going to clean up in here a little more but Margie and Ruby dropped in for a cuppa and by that time we were more than ready to come in and load up on caffeine!!

One month of winter gone and still a few tomatoes! Yay!
Cleared the hanging tomatoes and cucumber

Happy with the progress of the indoor broccoli

Even the potato plant-that-I-didn’t-plant is going well

I think only a couple of the cucumbers will be ok… we ate all the tomatoes at dinner tonight (cooked them up in a mix of onion and garlic!!)

Even a few chillies!

Time for me to crawl into bed!!

So much for Sunday being a day of rest!! 😀


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Told you Tasmanian weather can’t make up its mind!

Chook Poo

OK – just kidding. I am not going to write a whole post about chook poo! 🙂


The poor chickens. Their coop was a bit horrible. We had trouble finding hay recently- of all things in the country to have difficulty finding mind you!! Bad weather, bad timing etc. Finally picked up a couple of bags of chopped hay off my favourite vendor down at the local markets. Lucky I went early as he said there is no more for a long while!!

A few wheelbarrow loads off to the compost! We put this lot in the established compost – more room.

We threw some lime about – helps with mites and lice (And apparently odours) then made the whole coop lovely and fluffy with new hay.

Of course – five minutes later of unsupervised chickens had them kicking it out the door already!!

They will have some fun creating new nests

Once the weather changes back to not horrible I am going to whitewash the whole coop!!! I will feel like I am living in an Enid Blyton book!!

The weather was pretty nice for most of the day – that is, we had gorgeous sunshine until the washing went out and we started in the garden! 😀

Some of the canes were a bit wonky…

So, we got to and dug a couple of small rows for the raspberries – extending the existing ones.

The chickens were most helpful (not)


Every time I dug a hole, someone got in it, in a frantic worm-search and another would kick all my dirt all over the place!!


Despite all the feathery ‘help’ we got the canes in. Hoping they are happy about their small move and produce some fruit this upcoming season.


There was still enough daylight left to get back into the duck-yard and try to finish up the weeding we started last week


The chickens weren’t our only company – I looked up to suddenly see this lot staring at me!!

So funny to be in your little weeding world and look up into the faces of a couple of calves!!

Right on dusk, Cousin Jeff pulled up at the gate with a load of firewood!!!

We had seen his wife at the local school market that we went to this morning and asked if she could ask Jeff if he has some more dry wood – the last lot is still a bit heavy, so we need to mix it in with drier wood and we were running short of the older stuff.

I didn’t say it was THAT much of an emergency!! 😀


Lucky us – Spiderman delivers our wood!! (Not that you can really see Jeff’s son’s costume, but trust me… its cool!)

So – I know what I will be doing with the non-rainy days this week!!

Going to have to get this stacked ASAP before it gets totally rained on

Night had pretty much fallen by the time Jeff had unloaded the wood. I did take the time to go back to my ‘garden’ to admire it. Or stand there and imagine what will be next season!!!


Hope everyone has had a lovely start to their weekends!


The fact that Tasmanian weather can never make up its mind, means we get a lot of rainbows!

Fridays Footprints: Japan – Gion Matsuri

Enjoying some food in the Kyoto streets with Mari and Moe

Well, its practically zero degrees right now where I am. Time to think back on warmer times – so lets try summer in Japan!

A few years back when Jeff and I took our niece, Emma to Japan, we were there at the right time to enjoy some of festivities of Japans most famous festival, the Gion Matsuri.

Who doesn’t like to dress up and go out? Especially in another country where you get to try out some traditional clothes and browse all night on local food!

Waiting for the bus to take us into Kyoto – our good friends Koichi and Mow helped us dress and get prepared

Oh it was hot and muggy! Everyone had fans! Totally essential

Koichi letting the breeze go up his sleeves!
Streets closed to traffic for ‘Yoiyama”

The Gion Festival has been a yearly event almost without interruption for nearly 1200 years!!

Periods of hardship were countered by the emperor at the time by demanding prayers be sent to the God of the Yasaka Shrine. This was in 869.

66 decorated halberds (an axe head on a spear) were made and displayed at the Shinsen-en Garden along with portable shrines.

In 970 it became a yearly event.

The floats – especially the Hoko – are huge and impressive.  They are stored in the merchants districts when not in use and cared for by the people in each local area.

The main event on the 17th July. Floats are pulled down the streets of Kyoto

The three nights leading up to the main parade on the 17th July are well worth going to. The streets are blocked off to traffic. Food stalls set up, people everywhere in traditional dress and the floats are lit up so people can get a good close look.


Girls enjoying the traditional food and looking gorgeous in their Yukatas (Cotton kimono’s)

If you are lucky you might get a glimpse of a Maiko!

Beautiful Maiko – very famous in the Gion area
Moe and Emma checking out the yatai (Stall)

There was a huge crush of people, but if you are patient, they do keep moving along and you just ‘go with the flow’

Floats even tucked away in the narrow streets!



Even toffee apples if you so desire!

The festival runs the entire month of July with something happening on each day. As I mentioned above, the main parade is the 17th when untold thousands of people line the streets of Kyoto to watch the floats pulled down the three kilometer route.

Its quite the event to see them do the 90 degree turn around the corners. These behemoths have no steering. There are a bunch of guys with fans standing at the front of the float that co-ordinate the people pulling. Slats of bamboo are laid on the ground under the wheels and buckets of water sloshed over the area. With a series of timed pulls, the great floats are slowly maneuvered around the turns.




It must be exciting to be up on the floats as part of this event
They are holding bells which they ring as they chant


The girls enjoying themselves

It boggles my mind to think this festival has been going for so long. We went into an information/museum area and looked at the records on display, and honestly… you could count on two hands the number of times the festival been missed since 970.

Even when fires destroyed floats, people rebuilt them in time so the festival could go on.

I hope you have enjoyed a little glimpse of this wonderful event. If you are in Japan in July you shouldn’t miss it! Don’t forget your fan and a lot of water! You’ll need it!


Beautiful tapestries and lanterns in the evening sky


Not coming out until the weather is better.

This photo of Pip sums up everyone’s general opinion about the weather today.

Cold, dark & gloomy with never-ending rain!

I went back to bed for a sleep in as soon as I saw how miserable it was outside. Pip came in and snuggled under the covers. Then got out from under the covers. Then got back in again. Then out again. Then in. Then… you get the idea.

Once he had me thoroughly awake I got up, and that pest of a cat went back to bed and we didn’t see him again until the afternoon!! I think I got evicted so he could have the whole bed!!!

I spent a bit of time this afternoon happily disemboweling a few vegetables I had been saving for seed

Pre dried cucumber seeds that had stuck to the paper towel. I am pretty sure that won’t hurt the germination

The fire was ticking along all day and it was very pleasant getting this task done


I thought there would be a lot more seed in this one.

Pulp and half formed seeds

The bottom end of the zucchini yielded a lot more seeds


Sticky squishy job – but satisfying popping them out of the pulp


I found one that looks like its about to germinate… tempted to pop it in the ground and see what happens (maybe in the hothouse…)


I think I have more than enough to grow a few new plants next season. Maybe even sell a few seedlings!

Next seasons zucchinis

Next on the list was another cucumber.


Now that was a lovely sticky mess!


Currently sitting by the fire drying out

I enjoy the slow pace of winter days… just dabbling in a few little projects there and there.

Spring, summer and autumn are pretty full on, so I am happy to amble through  days that are cold and dismal. The sun will come back and we’ll take the opportunity to get out and do a few more outside tasks – always such a great thing if you’ve been cooped up inside for too long.

Speaking of cooped up – I took some scraps to the girls at 4.30pm today and they had all already put themselves to bed! Clearly they were in the same mind as Pip and had enough of the grotty weather!

This was from the other night. Tonight they were a bunch of bedraggled soggy manky creatures!!

Stay warm & dry!!




Just Saying Hello

First rug I have ever done

Yay – I have finally finished my “Nanna-Knee-Rug”!

Apart from a number of loose threads to sew in, I can now just enjoy snuggling under it. Right now, for instance, its across my knee keeping Pip warm!! Opportunistic Cats! 🙂

Dodgiest selfie ever.

Today was full of domestic mundane-ness, slow cooked dinners and weather that changed every 20 minutes!

So totally nothing exciting from me today, but a hello and hope you are all having a marvelous mid-week day!


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Over the back as the sun streamed down for a short time
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I love our peaceful back view!

Bubbles, Garlic & Graveyards

Well, I caught a cold the other day and I am shaking off the tail end of it.

That meant no visiting Ruby, who I am sure appreciates me not sharing my bugs around.

Happily this particular cold seemed to come and go really speedily (probably all the weeding scared it off)

Soooo… today I was working on some photos getting ready for my upcoming photo challenge on facebook… (I wrote a post here about it if you are interested)

One of the subjects is ‘Bubbles’ so I tried making a super strength bubble mixture and went outside to play!

Getting the knack

It was actually tricky to get a free floating bubble – not least then get the camera aimed and focused before there was a pop.

Fabulous bubble – dubious background

It’s pretty hard to steer bubbles. It was a total game of chance

Wind came by and helped out

Soapy rainbow colours

bubble 2

A few floated away

bubble 1

And more than a few popped before I could even snap the photo

Timing or what??

It was a good start to getting ‘that perfect image’ but I am going to have to enlist Jeff as Bubble-Assistant so I can be free to take the photos while he creates the bubbles! (I am sure he is dying to play with bubbles on his days off)

(Will add the mixture I used today at bottom of post)

I had Pip outside with me, as the sun was mostly shining. He went Mad-Cat half way through the bubble project and shot up a tree!

Something happened in that cat brain and off he went!
Up the apple tree


He isn’t generally a tree climber, so impressed he made it that far without falling out!
My handsome boy (not that I am biased)

He got down really easily – that is I unclipped his lead and he used my shoulders as a landing pad.

On my way to visit the chooks this afternoon I went into the vegie patch to see what the garlic was doing. I was so pleased – the purple variety, which is an early garlic, has all shot up really well!!



Even the regular garlic is making a move with tiny shoots showing


While I was there, I thought I might as well raid the broccoli patch for dinner


One of the other subjects in the challenge is “From the Graveyard”

I visited the local cemetery by the river to see what was there that was aesthetically pleasing.


This graveyard is not used anymore – well, no new additions anyway. There are a few ancestors of mine in here too.

Family graves

A lot of the graves are rundown, neglected and quite frankly look as if the residents are trying to escape!

Frances has been laid to rest in here… I wonder why they thought they needed a 5 foot iron fence surround with spikes on top?? Who WAS this person???

I really like old graveyards. I like reading the dates, names and little notes that people have on their headstones.

The effort that has gone into someones final resting place really is impressive compared to the fairly boring more modern cemeteries.

Elaborate fences around plots

I am not sure if its ok to be amused while walking through a graveyard, or if you are supposed to keep an air of solemn – ness the whole time.

The finger pointing down… Yes, I know they are ‘down there’ !!
More spikes, although a little less sharp than Frances’s spikes

I am actually waiting for a foggy night or morning to get my ‘final’ shot as of course a graveyard looks so much more impressive looming though the mist!


Have a lovely day everyone!



Todays Bubble Mixture

6 cups water

1/2 cup cornflour

1/2 cup dishwashing detergent

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon glycerin

Mix water into corn flour first then add all other ingredients. Let sit for an hour.