Monday, June 29, 2009

The machines are on site!

Our house was built in the 1970s. When we bought it there were lots of things about the house that needed maintenance, and we have been doing these as our funds permitted.

We remodelled the kitchen 12 years ago when we arrived, we demolished the old dark flat roofed patio out the back and put up a larger one with a gable roof. Two years ago we had the whole roof repaired and sealed -the concrete tiles were very much worse for wear.

This year we needed to get into the driveway project. The concrete had been cracked by large trees nearby, the bitumen cross over to the street was potholed and crumbling on the side. Our neighbour is doing theirs, and it is the right time to make these two areas come together.

The long term plan is for a double carport near the front of the block and then to convert the under the roof carport into a home office. That may or may not ever happen! Anyway, we have a bobcat on site and our driveway has been ripped up and widened ready for the bricklayer to come along. Of course everything is now very sandy and wet with the winter rain!

We are also taking the opportunity to put in underground power as it is available next door.

Just in case you think that we are neglecting our garden with all this upheaval out the front -here is a pic of the next garden bed for veggies. I am planning to set it up as a wicking bed to save water during the summer. To read all about the idea of a wicking bed and how to do it, see Scarecrow's blog.

I am always trying to make sure that as little as possible leaves our site to landfill, so I persuaded DH that we could use some of the good garden soil being displaced by the driveway in this new bed. Some of this soil has had 12 years of my carefull feeding and mulching! This one is only half the height of my green bed, so should not be such an effort to fill.

I have also been happy to see the mushrooms come up recently. These will be portobello mushrooms and we are looking forward to lots of them! When the box is exhausted, we can put the compost into the garden beds.

Lots of storms this week -over 30 mls of rain in the gauge (1 inch) so that is greening up everything around here. The trees in the park behind are really soaking it in.

I am of course enjoying indoor pusuits such as my sewing and cooking, during these storms. I have also started attending yoga classes to get a bit of exercise whilst the weather is a bit too wild for walking in the morning.

Thanks again to those who left comments on my last post. Please feel free to introduce yourself -I love reading blogs, so be sure that if you have one, I will visit!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun..and other adventures

I may have been a bit preoccupied.

With my new sewing machine. It is a Bernina 430 "white pearl" and has a computerised function which does really fantastic things like remembering if I want the needle to stay down when I pause in the sewing, or if I want it to go up. It has a huge array of stitches and the best quilting foot around with a 1/4 inch guide with I love to bits because it means my patchwork is now much more accurate.

And of course I may have been preoccupied as a result with my quilting. My sewing class is a fantastic fun thing and the top picture is the basic quilt top I have made so far. Next week we will put on the binding and then start quilting.

The next picture is of another project. I have used some old blocks that I had at home and was not satisfied with, to make a table topper as a practice quilt. I wanted to use the skills that I have been learning in class, at home and this is a great way of getting the practice in with my new sewing machine.

There has also been some sewing of a special gift for my ALS Swap buddy. But that is a secret!

And there has been going out for lunches with friends. Went to Fremantle this week for lunch and a look around.

There has been a bit of cooking -banana and chocolate bread. (This was supposed to have walnuts rather than chocolate, but I didn't have any, and chocolate is nicer anyway!

It hasn't been all craft though. I have just about finished the "Complete works of Jane Austen" and Richard Rohr's "Simplicity" and a book on Franciscan Sspirituality called "Care for Creation".

I may be having a great time!!!

If you read my blog, I would love to have you leave a comment -it would be nice to get to know you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just add water

Woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. We have had a very dry start to winter, so any rain is very welcome. Up to 10 am today we had 10 mls in the gauge which is in my raised veggie patch, which is very good news indeed.

The garden looks beautiful in the rain.

We have finally removed the summer shadecloth covers from the veggie garden and the house windows. It really has been too hot to do so until now.

The cauliflowers and broccoli are going well and I have replanted my rainbow chard. The lettuces are looking splendid, especially the mizuna.

I also have portabello mushrooms on the go. Just add water and in ten days the baby mushrooms will appear!

Today I will be adding water to the clothes in the washing machine. Not a great day for washing normally, but last year we put in a clothes line under the eaves, and they will be sheltered there.

I am going to my lovely quilting class in the hills tomorrow, so I had better get my washing on the go today.

Other than that, I am adding water to yeast and flour.
My daughter is very interested in us having a go at our own cheesy vegemite scrolls. Here is a picture of the wholemeal bread I made yesterday. Strange, seems like there is not a lot left!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breadmaking fun

My Sister in law has kindly donated the breadmaker which lived in her shed, for me to play with. It is an older model Sunbeam.

I have made bread by hand a few times, and I really enjoyed the meditative part of the kneading, but it was not happening regularly. I had read on the ALS website about people having breadmakers and wondered if I had one, would it get used?

People on the Simple Savings forums have suggested that making your own bread costs about $0.80 cents per loaf, compared with over $3.00 for most loaves of bread. The grainy, heavy ones we like often cost over $4.50.

So I have been experimenting.

Have made two plain white loaves all the way through in the breadmaker, one on a time-delay, just to get the feel of it.

Next task is to practice just taking it to the dough setting, and then finishing the loaf or rolls off in my own oven. The aim of this is to enable me to use the gas oven rather than the electricity of the breadmaker, and to shape the dough into whatever shape I want. My friend Doc has some great recipes for breadmaker bread which uses this technique.

The good thing about this of course is that it is giving us all experience with making bread from scratch, the slow food way. Yes, I am using the machine too, but it is still quite empowering.

It also means that we control what we put into the bread -no preservatives or additives at all.
Hmm -minestrone soup tonight for tea -what about some bread to go with it?

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Wombat is home!

I used to have four plates decorating my dining room wall. They were pictures of Australian scenes -summer, autumn, winter and spring. Each was gorgeous in its own way -slightly 'retro' and funky.

Sadly, the winter scene with its glorious wombat was broken recently.

I put another plate on the hook, and was glad I still had three. Then I had a sudden memory of seeing some of these plates on a market stall once at Wanneroo.

Off I went, browsing the store. And can you guess what I found?

The wombat winter plate!!! How fantastic is that?

Collecting is such a satisfying thing -sometimes!

I am a pretty avid collector of plates, as you might guess by the pictures on this blog!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I've been busy!

I have been enjoying a time in the kitchen, baking up a storm.

With all my Myer lemons needing to be used up, it was an ideal time to do some lemony things.

What about Lemon Curd? Three jars won't last long around here! It is so nice on toast and of course wonderful with my lemon and poppyseed muffins.

I like to have some muffins in the freezer for those special moments when we are having friends over for a cup of coffee. They heat up in moments in the microwave and these lemon and poppy seed ones with lemon curd are a special treat.

Of course I need some recreation too, so I went to the market and found some special things for my house.

I have had a display of rooster plates from Australian Fine China hanging in my dining room for some time, so imagine how I felt when this lovely little hen was hiding in the market stall on the weekend. I think she just suits her new home!