Goodbye 2017

Hello there!
Are you all ushering the new year in in style or going to bed early like me??
I was going to do a post rounding up the years highlights… but…with 15,000 images to choose from the task ended up slightly more daunting than I first thought!
Since I have plans for an early start to 2018, I will try that again tomorrow!

Thanks a million for sticking with me this year, following along with the gardening and other adventures and for those who had time to drop me a line. I really appreciate it!

Have a great night, whatever you are up to and all the best for a smashingly awesome 2018!


Hey Pesto!

Well… its just ticked over to the last day of 2017!!
Wow… didn’t that just fly by!!??

Yesterday I crumbled up the oregano I dried and popped them in these jars. I am liking the look!
Was pleased with my first efforts, so went and picked a bunch more oregano and a basket full of basil.

They are now all in my little netted air dryer in the sunroom doing their thing.

Today the wind was howling and it was no fun being outside. Still… the raspberries needed picking. They were being flung about into jam before I could get them inside!
So happy to get a few more tomatoes too.

The capsicum are really getting lovely and big. Now I just want them to change colour – I like the green ones but I am quite partial to the red!

My replacement corn seedlings doing well. The need to catch up to the ones outside so they can be slotted in and hopefully grow at approximately the same rate. (wishful thinking huh?)

More cucumbers – and lots of flowers

The basil that I trimmed back last week to take cuttings kind of exploded out pretty quickly!

I was able to pick another basket but this lot was destined to make more pesto!

I had more time up my sleeve today, so I baked the garlic.
Apart from the baking, the whole process is very quick.
I plan to do a chicken, pesto pasta for tomorrow nights dinner and there is enough there to freeze as well!!

I hope the last day of your year finishes fantastically!


Japan – Chalk & Cheese

Hello! Just a few photos from our recent trip in Japan – the end of day one and day two!

After we had checked out the Golden Pavilion and left the crowds behind, we had a bit of time to fill before the next bus came along.
There was a small shrine right near the bus stop so we strolled in for a look.

It was lovely and peaceful after wading through people at Kinkaku ji! No-one there but us!

I love the water features!

Special tree stump:

Quick tourist snap –

It really was a lovely way to finish up the day

The following day we descended into the madness that is Osaka

It was a holiday long weekend so the trains and streets were full.
First stop was my favourite camera shop in Nipponbashi where we sorted out my Dad getting a fancy new camera!

He was so happy and put it to very good use over his holiday!

Our next trick was to find lunch – which is not usually a problem, but my Mum can’t eat gluten, dairy and a few other things, and finding random safe restaurants wasn’t a walk in the park!
Most places just got scared and said no… until we found one restaurant that had a Brazilian chef who spoke English! He took the time to sit with us and work out exactly what Mum could eat and cooked it up for her!

All our meals were so delicious too!

I like these tables with the sunken leg space below the table!

Back out onto the streets we enjoyed wandering around the crazily busy shopping areas, filled with advertising, noise and people!

This guy is a crack-up! Angry Chef!

Anyone for puffer fish?

Time to jump back on a train & a couple of buses to get home!


Still Cooking, Still Planting

Hi there! Hot today! I worked up a bit of a sweat out there today!
Takes ages to pick the raspberries – can kiss a couple of hours goodbye doing that.
I pulled up the watermelon plants as they were doing nothing. I had two potted capsicums that needed a home as well as some thyme.

Everything got a good watering too. (Including me at times!)

Its nice to have fresh food on hand to put together a sandwich for lunch!
I moved a few more things through the dehydrator…

These cucumber slices were unsalted but I still don’t care for them as a chip, so into powder they go.

Then I really had to start making a dint in the raspberry population that is residing in the fridge, so made up 3lb’s worth into jam

I also finished off making the new batch of strawberry ice cream. While I was scraping out the mixture I was having a chuckle remembering on Christmas Day how I had to throw away Ruby’s spatula. I had bought her a new one when I was in Texas – and it was carefully put away while she continued to wear out the old one.
I swear she has probably had it from the 70’s!!
I asked Margie what she was waiting for?? Margie did the little eye roll and said she didn’t know. I translated that Ruby was being stubborn. Honestly… it was past worn out to the point it was shedding bits!!! So I marched into the lounge room and informed Ruby I was throwing it away and teased her a bit about how terrible it was. She laughed at me but went along with it so now the nice new one has been taken out of its packet and put into use. Margie wisely went and threw the old one in the outside bin so Ruby didn’t go and get it back again!!!

Oh – and here is an update photo of my behind the scenes crochet project that is steadily growing. By the time its done it will be like wearing a blanket!
Well… I am off to find some dessert, watch some telly and continue with the shawl.

Kitchen Stuff

Hello there! Everyone survive the festivities? Hope you are all relaxing and living on leftovers!
I played mostly in the kitchen today… but failed to take any photos.
Made up the rest of the plum pulp into more jars of jam so we are stocked up for a while.
Baked bread, put a few things into the dehydrator (lemon peel, strawberries, a few raspberries and some cucumber.)
Started stage one of more ice cream.
Covered some of the dried strawberries in chocolate!!! Oh my! Like they are going to last the evening!! (Not!)

The apples are looking quite good. This tree seems to have less codling moth than the other one. We are spraying them this year. (Nothing too chemically tho of course!) Hopefully it helps. Must give them another dose tomorrow if its not too windy!

My air dried oregano seemed ready so I stripped the leaves off the stems.

Most were crunchy but I felt another few days in the sunroom spread out on a tray wasn’t going to hurt

I got a parcel today!!! Only my best mate (who lives on a farm) would wrap something up in a feed bag and send it through the mail!! Cracked me up.

Anyway, she sent me a crazy paver!! I am pretty excited… I really want to make some cool pathways so can’t wait to get in and have a go.
Would love to also use some of those million beach stones we have collected to decorate the pavers too!

The hothouse is doing well… I have it more under control this season than in the past. Probably because I have been strict about digging up the self seeded tomatoes instead of letting them rule the roost!

Some of the replacement corn seedlings have popped up

Next round of lettuce seedlings also doing fine

Plums!! Cherry plums to be precise.
A few here and there have been ready, but wow… if we harvest even half of these we will be swimming in them!

Time to buy some new buckets perhaps…

Yesterday I got back into the main garden and mostly finished off the weeding in the bottom area
It did look like this:

Now we have gotten to this point:

I have started clearing out the raised bed as we use up the lettuce. Either the new lettuce can go in or maybe some more beetroot as it seems to be having a hard time getting properly going in the duck yard garden.
Also going to start trying to kill the pathway grass with black plastic laid over some spots for a week or two

(I plan to ask farmer friends for the silage plastic covers when they unwrap a bale – I guess they just throw them away.)

Yesterday I got another kilo and a half of raspberries, and also happily picked some more tomatoes!

Hope your holiday season is just wonderful!



A Peaceful Day

Is it lame blogging on Christmas Day?? Oh well. We have had a lovely quiet sort of day so thought I would swing past here for a minute or two.
Jeff has just gone off to bed, Pip is curled up and I am trying not to eat chocolates!

After a whole bunch of Christmas phone calls with various family members across the country and around the world, we buzzed on down to join Ruby and Margie for Christmas Lunch.

Ruby cooked an amazing turkey!

Margie did the beautiful vegetables (including new potatoes & the peas from the garden)

And Macca kept his ears open for scraps!!

We took a little break between mains and dessert, swapped presents & I made up some fresh custard.
Then there was the turning out of the pudding… would it work?

Absolute perfection!

After the dishes were done everyone seemed ready for Nanna-Naps so we went home to relax for the afternoon. Jeff napped, so did Pip.
I don’t nap. I hate waking up in the morning so I am not keen to have to wake up for a second time in one day!
Jeff and I did go for an excellent walk this evening to walk off some of those desserts! The weather was just perfect and rounded off a pretty lovely day!



Here we are… Christmas Eve!
Jeff got called in to do an afternoon shift and I just pottered about working through a little list.
We plan to head down to Ruby’s for Christmas lunch.
Ruby is in charge of baking the turkey & pudding, Margie is doing the vegetables and I am on pavlova and custard duties.
So I did the pav this afternoon

6 eggwhites! (I love my egg separator!)

I will make the custard fresh from the yolks tomorrow morning

A lot of sugar and mixing later… and I have my pav ready for the oven.

Tomorrow morning I will whip some cream for the middle and top it off with lots of raspberries.

Figured I should go and pick said raspberries…

Half my patch is rocking along… the other half deadish. Think I might have to dig the bad ones up.

It took over an hour to pick today… got nearly 2kgs (4lb)

As always I have chook-lurkers when I pick raspberries. I wish you could hear them when I poke raspberries through to them (the dodgy ones) Its like a higher pitched ‘chook chook’ noise which is so funny. I think its their happy voice when they get something especially tasty.
I did have two naughty girls sneak into the netted area. Of course Screecher was one of them. She went out not fazed at all by me catching her (or unrepentant) but oh my! The other one, one of the ring necked girls?? What a fuss!! There was screeching and flapping and a general carrying on that got her tangled in the netting. Finally got her under control and out. And heavy!!! She is one solid bird!!

First bean makes an appearance!

The corn is patchy. I still have high hopes tho…

The outside tomatoes are growing in size quite quickly

Random celery popped up in the hothouse! Must relocate this one.

Capsicums are getting nice and big too

Then to top the day off I made the first half of the plum jam up from frozen pulp. I have been running low lately. Even though I love raspberry jam, I now confess my favourite to be the plum!
I need to make more room in the freezers so its time to get onto the cooking.

Hope you enjoyed your day with the last preparations for tomorrows get togethers or whatever you are up to!

Merry Christmas

Dehydrating (food, not me)

Hello! I have to have a little brag – my first tomato of the season. Sure its a bit small, but Jeff and I shared it in a salad tonight and it was beautiful!! I am quite fond of the Black Russian tomatoes… lots of flavour! I spotted a couple of others that have started to colour up so pretty excited about that!

I did a fair bit of catching up with people around town to say hi and Merry Christmas and all of that. So nothing amazing has changed in the garden.

I did put together a tray of strawberries and one of cucumber to put into the dehydrator. Together. I figure the flavours are unlikely to mix… will soon see!!
I sprinkled a bit of sea salt onto the cucumber chips… hmmmm. I might have overdone that. I tried one thats half ready and I bet my face was pretty funny! I’m ok though. I washed it down with a slice of chocolate cake (the one I decided to bake at 11pm last night) (as one does)

I hope once these are crispy dry the saltiness won’t be quite as eye-widening.
Anyway, I have a good number of cucumbers coming along that I can experiment with if this tray goes south. (Can always powder it for other things right??)

Hope everyone is in for a relaxing weekend before Christmas

PS – current resident possum who seems big enough to throw a saddle on!

Flowers & Herbs

Hello! End of another week and I had quite the lazy day.

I bought a little netting thing in Japan that is used to dehydrate food. I thought I would fill it up with some of the excess oregano I have in the herb garden. I don’t actually usually run out of the fresh stuff, but if it works it would make a nice present for someone.

I do have plans to use my dehydrator a lot more this season. Just waiting on the food to start really coming on.

I had brought a few sweet little vases back from Japan so I thought I might fill them today.

This cute little fellow I found in a second hand shop for about 50 cents! Couldn’t resist

These little pudding jars were so cute too… the pudding was also delish!

Sweet peas smell so beautiful

A friend gave me these two gorgeous little vases that she had made herself. So unique

And possibly my favourite… one of my sisters gave me some birthday money in Japanese yen to get myself something.
I found this fabulous little sake/tea pot in Arita. I figured it would look nice as a vase

Striking Basil

Well, apparently propagating basil is dead easy and I am pretty much forehead-slapping myself for not catching on to this sooner.
The basil in the hothouse is really going beautifully, so thought I might do some googling to see what I do and give it a go.

Apparently you snip it off below a leaf node. Then cut the lower leaves off

Then you put them in water and wait a couple of weeks – changing the water every few days so it doesn’t get manky – and after that time you should see new roots growing! Seems pretty easy! Hope they work!

I am fairly excited to watch this happen.

I picked a lot of the leaves today and made garlic/basil pesto, then cooked up some pasta and chicken and mixed it all up – not bad at all! (and was too lazy to take photos of dinner)

I was able to freeze three packs of the pesto for future dinners. I am hoping to do more batches of it to freeze while the basil is doing so well.

I also made a small batch of raspberry jam. Again… I didn’t do photos!! With luck it will set ok.

Hope your day was great

Another kilo of raspberries picked today.