About Me

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Wife, mum and nan. Living simply is my passion, I enjoy growing food, living healthy and playing with a variety of crafts. I am always up for a bargain and love to op shop for vintage treasures.

Friday, April 3, 2020

randomness

Okay, so this post has been sitting in "draft" for a while. I had completely forgotten about posting it with all that has been happening around the world. Like everyone else, I have been rather distracted lately, but now I have decided to post regularly to keep track of the events and things as they happen throughout this awful time. I will post about our days while we are in isolation and beyond. I hope you all keep stay safe and well.

And now for this post;

A few weeks ago our son and his girlfriend arrived home after three weeks in Japan.
It was a worrying time with the CONVID 19 virus going on around the whole world. Anyway they seem to be clear of any infections. They took precautions such as wearing masks and using sanitiser on their hands.

I felt really special when they handed me this gift they had brought home for me. It is a teacup set with a packet of Cherry Blossom tea. The cups are so pretty, more so than the photos show. One cup is slightly bigger than the other and I presume one may be for a man and the other a woman. 




While watering out back one morning, I found a random mushroom. It was heart shaped.


I've been cooking up a storm in the kitchen. All these baked goodies are vegan. Most are standard recipes that I used to bake, except now I convert them to vegan, and surprisingly the taste is the same.

This vegan chocolate coconut cake is so moist and delicious. This is an easy cheapskates recipe. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, then put into cake tin and bake.

MOIST COCONUT CAKE

2 cups self raising flour
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten *sub for 2 flax eggs
1 450g can coconut cream
225g coconut
(Add 2-3 tbspns cocoa for chocolate version)


Method:
Preheat oven to 180 C. Sift flour into bowl. Mix in caster sugar and eggs. Add coconut cream and coconut. Mix well until all combined. Pour batter into a greased and baking paper lined cake tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool in tin. Once cake is cool, ice with plain or chocolate icing.



Old fashioned rhubarb cake vegan style, using rhubarb from the veggie patch.


So deliciously moist! I am going to make some custard tomorrow and have it for dessert.


 Vegan zucchini bread using zucchini from the garden.


Vegan bread and butter pudding using $1.00 fruit bread from the specials rack. Baked in yummy vanilla custard and topped with marmalade...mmmm!


I also made some of Jenny's vegan banana bread cookies. I added dates to mine instead of raisins and they are delicious!


This baby blanket was a special request from my daughter. She wanted me to crochet a simple blanket in rainbow colours for her friend who is having a baby in June. I think the colours turned out lovely. I did have a bit of trouble finding suitable colours and in the end had to buy a pale blue and apricot in 4 ply baby wool and use it doubled.


 I had a few spare squares that I didn't use, so I made them into a dolly blanket for my grand daughter.


While I had my crochet out, I decided to add trims to a few bits of my clothing. Firstly this plain denim skirt.



And then a couple of my tank tops. I am going to make the trim on the bottom of the brown top a bit longer as this shirt is quite short.




Here is an easy meal I made while home alone.  I simply grabbed some veggies from the fridge and fried them together. I used spring onion, garlic, zucchini, beans, cabbage, carrot, capsicum, baby spinach and some past their use by date tomatoes. I would have used mushrooms, but I was out of them. Add some salt and pepper, basil and oregano and let stew for a little while with the lid on. Meanwhile I cooked some brown rice to add to the mix.


Panic or prepare?

What ever you like to call it,  I am preparing for the coming corona virus. Here I have made dettol wipes out of a bottle of dettol and paper towels. I used a large jar so I can fit a paper towel roll in and when I lift the lid, the wipe will come out of the middle easily. These will be used to wipe down doorknobs etc.


This cheeky dragon was up in a small shrub catching bees as they flew past to the nearby bird bath for water.  A free feast!


Can you see him in the bush?



I think this was the same bearded dragon a few days later. He almost gave me heart failure because I nearly trod on him!


The outback daisies are back and looking pretty.


Jerusalem artichoke flowers that the bees are loving.


The weather lately is beautiful, it is so good to get outside and enjoy.  Because it takes a while to fill all the wicking barrels with water, I take a book out to sit and read while I wait. It is nice to just be, and listen to the birdsong going on around me. The book I am reading is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, I am finding it fascinating.


See you soon,

xTania

Thursday, March 5, 2020

whats happening out back?

Hello everyone,

It has been a while. 

I don't know where February went and March is marching on. Blink and it will be Christmas time again!

Out back there has been some activity.

I planted out two Sturt's Desert Peas plants. I have tried to grow these before, but in the heat of summer, they died. So this time I am trying them while it is cooler. They should grow in our sand.



The rain has brought lots of amaranth (and weeds) up in the soil. They are scattered everywhere, I am not bothering to pull them out as I don't mind them growing around the place.


We have mandarins again this year after not having any last year. This was because the tree had a good prune. This is good news as I missed being able to squeeze them for juice over winter.


As usual the grapefruit tree is fruiting really well. I sometimes wish this was an orange tree!



After the rain, the kangaroos went back out bush and the stripped green leaves on this guava tree (a stump brought home from our sons place) and grapevines are regrowing. We are hoping to put a fence around our fruit tree area this year. 



Around the other side of the veggie patch I have planted eight Moringa trees. I am not sure how they will grow in this area, but fingers crossed that they do well. Moringa is also known as the drumstick tree, ben oil tree, horseradish tree or miracle tree because of its medicinal benefits. See here.



Phil has cleared this area to put a rain water tank there. This will water the veggie patch and trees we are planting on the ridge.


Scented gums for the bees.



We are not sure what this little tree is because it was given to us without a name. We will have to wait and see.


Looking back toward the veggie patch.


This pile of cow and sheep manure came from stock holding yards (feedlots) down the road near Crystal Brook. Phil organised for us to pick up a trailer load and bring home. It is well trampled and aged, so ready to use.


My seven year beans have really taken off, and they have escaped!


And so has the dragon fruit. Phil is worried about the plants damaging the shade cloth on the roof, so I am keeping a close eye on them and will make sure they don't break anything.


Inside...


Summer is now over and the garden is slowing down. I will be tidying things up out here soon, ready for next season.




A closer look...

Baby figs.


This was a stump brought home from our sons place.  We plonked it in a pot of dirt and kept it watered, and eventually after quite a few months, some leaves appeared, so now we will have another fig tree for fig jam!


I am picking oodles of zucchinis.


Tomato plants have popped up everywhere after the big rain. I am keeping them watered.


These tomatoes are called green zebras. They were on special for $1 at the local hardware store so I took a risk and bought them. Hopefully I get a taste before the cold weather arrives. They are flowering so that's a good sign.


The seven year beans on the inside.  They are just starting to flower so I will soon have beans. I was hoping these would provide much needed shade in the veggie patch, and it is doing a great job at that, but I need to figure out how to string it across the top section. I have been thinking of using bird netting.



My honey dew melon plant is dying. After the rain, it was really humid and the cucumber and melon plants developed rust as well as scale spread by ants. The pumpkin in the background is starting to die off also.


The basil has done great as usual. I left it to flower for our bees, but soon I will be stripping the leaves to dry them.




These cucumbers haven't been in long, and are not doing that well. Hopefully they take off soon.


Black cherry tomatoes.


Capsicums.


The eggplants are having a second crop.


I am still picking kale.  They have done really well this year and I pick some daily for my green juice.



Wrinkled butternut pumpkin.  This is the first time growing this variety. I do not think it is a good idea to grow pumpkins in wicking beds, they do not seem to do any good.


There is purslane growing everywhere. Here is a link of what to do with purslane.


This tomato variety is Roma and they are just starting to ripen.


Ox hearts tomotoes.


What I picked today.


And what I picked a couple of days ago.


Rhubarb that I picked a week ago.



And a not very glamorous picture of me with the Fordhook silver beet. It was so hard to try and get a picture of the huge leaves.


Well friends, that's all the news for now. I am going to try and get my blogging back on track, I have been very inconsistent these past few years.

Hope you are all keeping well.

See you soon,
xTania