Monday, March 31, 2014

Making the most #openslather

The weather has turned to shorter, cooler, Autumn days. Luckily we are still copping the odd nice warm day. When I say nice and warm, I mean around thirty degrees, but it's been pretty humid too.

When the sun is out, it has quite a bite to it. 

Our local swimming lake is still full. It is about this time of year they start to drain the water out. It sits empty for the rest of the year until November when the hotter days return.

In the afternoon on a warm day last week I took the girls down for a paddle. A paddle is all they had, the water is cold. They played in the sand, chased seagulls and had a go on the play equipment.The sun kept them warm. 

There was not another soul in sight, except for the gulls, the cockies and the odd magpie. I wondered if I was the only mother nuts enough to have her kids down there for a paddle. I wondered what was wrong with other mums that they didn't take their kids down there, to squeeze the life out of the good days we are having and that they won't last.

Maybe I know only too well, that crappy feeling of having cabin fevered kids taking me for drives up the wall, that on the good days I get them out in the outdoors when I have the opportunity. I know that in a few short months, along with every other mum, I'll be tearing my hair out, wishing the rain would go away and the sun would come out so we can get outside, and not be inside!

In Victoria this week is Nature play week, a government initiative to get kids outdoors.

Most other states have a Nature play website to get kids out in nature and outdoors. Check out this list, 51 things to do before you're 12. These could well apply to any adult too, if you're up for a challenge or looking to relive your childhood!

The weather is supposed to around 30 today and tomorrow. If we're not home in the afternoon, we'll probably be having a play at the lake ;)

Open Slather 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Something old

My place in time #43

This is the sticky note I instagrammed on Monday for #projectcalmdownmum. 

Where did I go? Probably not where most mums would take a two year old for some time out of the house. We went to our local cemetery, the old section.

She had a ball walking around with me, probably walked over one too many graves. On that day in history there would have been several people in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century stating that someone just walked over their grave. It was Summer.

We spent nearly an hour wandering around, it wasn't so bad. I found it very interesting and intriguing, not creepy at all. I could go back again and have another look, I didn't see everything.

If I had of been thinking I would have taken a few bunches of flowers, I am so going to do that next time. The place could do with some brightening up.

Died 26th Dec 1885
aged 9 1/2 months
'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away'

Little Flories tiny grave caught my eye and drew me closer.

Who was Lillie Nash? Intriguing.

We found some ancestors.
Fanny and John had 18 children. One of which, Samuel, fathered a girl, Nancy Wanda.
That girl is my grandmother, she'll be 85 this year.

Some facts, Samuel died when mum was preggers with me.
My sister was born the following year on Samuels birthday.
Summer sits on Richards grave, Fannys brother in law and Johns brother.
Yes I have Dick and Fanny in my family tree!

Looking from the old to the new

Flogging my blog with Grace

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Autumn garden

The chillies are finally starting to turn red

The $10 standard(a rose on a stick, like a topiary) 'Peace' rose, I bought last week out on clearance. Bargain! 

Impatient 'congo cockatoo'

St Pats day was the day to put in Sweet Pea seeds.
I have this old gate so they can climb up. The variety I have put in only grows up to 60cm.
Blaze climbing rose. After 10 years it looks like it is
finally happy. I almost pulled it out!

A pretty geranium

Gorgeous windflowers

This used to be my fruitbowl. Repurposed.

I made a seat for one! It doubles as some sculptural interest.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cheese and Thyme Scones

I always have a jar of dried herbs in the pantry. I stepped out in the garden with my kitchen scissors and picked a bunch to hang up in the window to dry. Rosemary, basil mint and thyme. 

When dried, I pick the leaves of the stalks, chop them up and chuck them in a jar. Sometimes all mixed together or in their own separate jars. 

When my basil started to go to seed recently, I picked it to dry so I had it in the pantry when the plant wasn't in the garden. I usually leave at least one to go to seed, so it comes up again on it's own.

I have some basil mint though, which is great to use instead of fresh basil. Worth investing in some, just put it in a pot.

I usually make these scones with dried marjoram. Marjoram is very similar to oregano, just a different flavour. I've just planted some in the garden, the last lot died! I made them with thyme, and they are just as moorish. Fabulously rustic and perfect with soup or a fresh flavoursome salad. This recipe makes about 18 scones.

Cheese and Thyme Scones
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 cup wholemeal SR Flour
pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons(60gr) margarine
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tsp dried thyme
2/3 cup finely grated cheese
120 mls milk
3 tablespoons(60gr) cottage cheese*
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

*If you don't have cottage cheese, use sour cream or yogurt. Otherwise just add another 1/4 cup milk.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.

Place flours, salt and margarine in a bowl. Rub margarine into flour until it is all incorporated and resembles bread crumbs.

Add the mustard, thyme and cheese.

Mix in milk and cottage cheese to form a soft dough.

Roll out dough to about 2cm thickness, on a floured surface. Cut out scones with a 5cm cutter.

Place scones on a greased tray(I used olive oil spray). Brush with milk and place sunflower seeds on tops.

Bake for 12 minutes. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A busy intersection

My place in time #44

I am still plodding along taking photos for the My place in time project.

This roundabout is one of the busiest intersections in town. Just about every visitor that comes through town would come across it, whether on their way to or from Adelaide, or a trip to the beach. You'll find it at the end of our main street.

It's the essential pivot point when attempting to do a double mainie(you know, when you do a drive by of the main shopping hub of town, just to be seen and see who's about). It seems the mainie isn't so popular when you get of a certain age, but I fanged around this roundabout many a time in my youth.

Years later I found myself the mother of a learner driver. Every short trip to the shops included a couple of mainies. As you approach, the drivers window goes down and the volume on the stereo gets turned up. 

That learner driver is 21 now, and he was driving my car a few weeks ago, bugger me dead if he didn't do it again. I could tell by the smirk on his face, he was stirring the pot and knew how much it gave me the shits five years ago. I turned the stereo down and he laughed, I smiled big.

The roundabout is flanked by parklands and the Wattle Range Council chambers. There used to be an old tall palm tree smack bang in the middle of it way back when, but a revamp saw it moved(dunno why or where it went) and was replaced by carpet roses by the Millicent Community Builders, a volunteer group that go about doing beautifying projects around the town.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where I belong

My place in time #76

On a recent short drive to the small town where I grew up, I had to stop and take photos of this country.

While driving through this landscape, I felt pride, I felt at home, I belonged.

It's sprawling fields, where sheep and cattle graze. Where tall dry grass, lines the roadside. Old windmills dot the horizon. I have travelled these roads many a time. 

The air out the window is refreshing, the red gums like welcoming friends, familiar, they free me from my worries.

This is where I belong, I am a child of this landscape, comforted in its embrace.

The Ash Wednesday fires were 27 years ago, but blackened trees still stand as a reminder.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Muntrie Cheesecake

A couple weeks ago we went picking muntries at Canunda. They are really good eating just as they are, on a platter with cheese or cooked in muffins, or sauces for meats.

Crabapples are ready now on the trees, and I was reminded of a cheesecake a friend of Mums made this time last year with them. I wanted to make the same cheesecake with muntries.

Muntrie Berry Cheesecake

2 cups crushed marie biscuits
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute(I used Stevia powder)
100 grams melted butter or margarine

Mix all together and press into the bottom of a springform tin. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.

900 grams cream cheese, softened
400 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Nestles 99% fat free)
4 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 and a half cups chopped muntrie berries
1 teaspoon lemon rind (if I could've found it locally, I would have used a teaspoon of lemon myrtle)

Preheat oven to 150C.
Beat cream cheese in a large bowl, until fluffy. Gradually add the condensed milk and beat until smooth.
Add eggs and lemon juice. Mix well.
Stir in muntries and lemon rind.
Pour over the crumb base and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until middle is set. Cool and place in the fridge to chill.

I candied some muntrie berries for the top. It's the first time I have tried to candy anything, it could have been a bit darker. Usually you'll see nuts done this way for cake and dessert toppings. 

Mine look a bit dodgy(practice makes perfect), but they were delicious little morsels that tasted just like mini toffee apples!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Port Fairy folkie 2014

Ginger and Tonic, 4 girls sing acapella with a difference

Good one Dad, perfect toy...NOT! It mysteriously went missing when we got back to the caravan. Sssshh, it's still in the cupboard under the fridge.

No there's not dirt on your screen, just Izzys head.

We had a right royal crack up at Summer on this one. She's a little goer and loved every minute, even holding up the line on her way up.

Street performers

One of the many buskers

More markets than you could poke a stick at, no, really, there was shiploads!
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