About Me

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Fifty six year old empty-nester. Wife to one, mum to four and nan to three precious grandies. 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.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

feeling optimistic

A new big rain water tank was delivered yesterday. 

Now bring on the rain!






We finally switched the house over to rain water as we have plenty in storage.

Knowing we are in drought, I will monitor the usage very carefully. Our water storage will increase to 30,000 gallons once the new tank is full.  One decent drop of rain will top everything up because of a huge amount of roof area. Fingers are tightly crossed now J

The reason we had not switched over sooner was because we discovered a leak in the solar hot water system which has now been replaced. There are still a few issues with pressure, but hopefully hubby can work it out.

Oh how good it feels to bathe in rain water, tap water does not compare at all!

Have a great day,

xTania

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

I'm back...

Hello dear friends,

I am so glad that summer is over! What a disaster it turned out to be.

We broke records with extreme temperatures, we even managed to be the hottest place on earth on one particular day. We had temperatures mostly in the 40's for most of January, with some days over 45C for days on end. To top it off we have had NO rain. It is so dry.  The animals are dying, the insects are scarce, the birds are scarce, everything is scarce.  The natural salt bush is dying. Now this plant will take some punishment weather wise, but it is dying. There is dirt and dust everywhere! By the forecast, it was meant to rain this past weekend, but as usual it passed us by. We did have a few sprinklings, but that was it. This drought is a really bad one!

On the 24th of January, we reached nearly fifty degrees (122F) and it was a terrible day indeed!


It was so hot I had to put water on the ground for the birds. They literally were down out of the trees and burying themselves in the dirt trying to keep cool. I ended up putting the sprinkler on the back lawn just to keep them cool, they just laid in the water...

Later that day these two were out the back munching on the lawn.



Followed by this girl a while later. She has a joey in her pouch and was so hot...


Watch what she does in this video, twas so cute :) 


And this is what happened to my poor tomato plants. They were doing so well and then just collapsed in the 50C (122F) heat. They had water and shade, but it wasn't enough. 

I felt really defeated this day, and was not sure I could keep going with my veggie gardening. I lost the mojo to blog also...but eventually I picked myself up, dusted myself off and now am ready to face what could be a long, cold, dry winter.

I ended up leaving the tomato plants in the barrels and picked the tomatoes as they ripened to make tomato relish. I also made tomato soup that is in the freezer to enjoy over winter.






Anyway, it has been so good to see the heat go. The arrival of cooler conditions is helping the garden recover. The eggplants are doing excellently, they seem to love the hot weather. The capsicum bushes are laden with fruit and the basil has boomed! I am picking beetroot, tomatoes, capsicums, silver beet, eggplants.

I have one pumpkin. Not sure what type yet as it is self sown.


















I dried a heap of basil. My kitchen smelled divine.


Here are the leaves placed in the drying rack. This lot is now all done, and I have another batch drying at the moment.



Thought I might include photos of the lizards I have seen over summer. 

The first one is a goanna and I have no idea what the second one is.  This is the first time I have seen one like this! He had a huge grub in his mouth and was not letting it go. He was the funniest little lizard to watch. 

The bottom picture is of a baby sleepy (shingleback) lizard.  He is only a few weeks old and is hanging around the pot plants outside.  I guess there may be some bugs he is eating plus I have water placed in different places for lizards. He looked to be so hungry when I first found him, so we brought him inside to check to see if he was okay. He seemed to be in poor condition, so I have been putting strawberries out for him to eat everyday. I see him most days just wandering around out the back and occasionally sunning himself in the sunlight. That tail is supposed to be plump to help them get through winter. I have seen so many of these lizards are they are not faring so well. Their tails are quite flat.  So sad...






I will leave you with this picture from above of our little patch. We all put some money in and bought hubby a drone for his birthday, so I will share some more photos in future posts. The footage from a drone is amazing! That triangle shape is our block.




Just a quick post tonight to let you know that I am still here.

xTania

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

sugarless date and coffee log ~ simple and extremely delicious!

Hello friends,

This recipe was given to me by my mum.  Now because this cake is so nice,  I felt you all would love to know about it. Our family favourite is sure to become a favourite of yours too J


Oh, and there is no sugar! That is good thing right?

  


Date and coffee log

Ingredients
2 cups of chopped pitted dates
1 cup of strong black coffee (I used 2 teaspoon of coffee)
1 heaped cup of SR flour
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Place dates in medium bowl and cover with hot coffee. Cover and let stand for three hours. Add SR flour and walnuts to the date mixture.  Stir until combined. Spoon into log tin and bake 30 minutes at 170C (150C fan forced) or until cooked. Leave in tin to cool.  Slice and serve with butter. YUM!

If you make this cake I would love to know what you think of it?

See you soon,

xTania

Friday, January 11, 2019

recipe for vegan stuffed zucchini boats and parmesan cheese

As promised, here is the recipe for the zucchini boats I posted about recently. This is a vegan recipe so if you want a different version just google zucchini boats, there are oodles of recipes for them. The original recipe can be found here.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini or one large
  • ½ to 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (I may have added a lot more because I have homegrown dried oregano)
  • 1 pinch of crushed chilly flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped vegan feta cheese 
  • 1 slice of grain bread made into crumbs 
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the pulp and seeds, leaving some of the flesh behind in the shell. 
  • Dice the scooped out zucchini into small pieces and place in a bowl with the onion, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, basil, oregano, crushed chilly flakes, breadcrumbs, olive oil and 1/2 cup of  vegan feta. Stir to combine.
  • Divide the mixture evenly into the two zucchini halves and sprinkle the top with vegan Parmesan cheese.
  • Place into a baking dish or on a tray. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft.
  • Bake uncovered for 5 minutes more or until it slightly browns.

I served the zucchini with sweet potato chips and salad. Serves 2-4 people.



And if you are interested, Vegan parmesan is made like so;


  • 1 cup unsalted cashews (150 g)
  • 4 tbsp brewer’s or nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
Grind all together in a Nutribullet or similar blender and use as you would parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!
xTania


Saturday, January 5, 2019

mum and dads garden

Hello friends,

Since my parents have moved closer, we get to visit regularly with them. I feel so privileged to still have them in my life. 

So this afternoon we went over there.  When I say over, I mean they live over the other side of the hills from us. These hills are the beautiful Flinder's Ranges. It is about a thirty minute drive from here.

While we are there, they like to show us how their garden is progressing.  My mum and dad have green fingers for sure.

Dad mixes all types of manures together with the soil and this is the resulting veggies!

Tomatoes galore! Mum will be making relish this coming week J









Here is a new strawberry patch. A couple of years ago I gave mum all the strawberry plants from my garden, as I was renewing the bed. At the time they hadn't really set up their gardening area so she just plonked them in the soil, and from those first plants they now have another patch. The first year the millipedes ate most of the strawberries, but this year they have beaten the pests and have had heaps of feeds of yummy strawberries. The plants are starting to send out runners now and soon I will be bringing some back home to grow.


This is the old patch now.  It all started with just a few strawberry plants! The strawberries have slowed down at the moment but will be back soon, there is still the odd few growing.



Silver beet patch.


Huge zucchini plants growing in the ground. We have been eating so many zucchinis! My own, and mum and dads.




On the other side is another area that is like a jungle. There are rock melons (cantaloupes).


Tiny tomatoes.



Cucumber vines winding their way through the tomato plants. Look at all those flowers!


The jungle!


 Can you spot the long cucumber? It is a burpless one.


Another one.


There are also apple cucumbers.



More zucchini bushes.


Dad trying to find some apple cucumbers for us to take home.


Out the front of their log cabin there used to be lawn. They hate lawn! So they smothered it with a huge piece of  tarp and left it there for ages. Once spring arrived, the tarp was removed and dad dug up the soil and added manures. Now there are pumpkins where lawn used to be.



They have been set back a little with the hot weather we are having.


Climbing up the railing of the decking are seven year beans. Mum has always grown these no matter where they live.


Looking down across the paddock to where there are some fruit trees planted. Dad had to cover them completely to keep birds out!


Some pickings today.


Dad has offered up his land to the neighbour to run his sheep. Because of the drought they are short on feed.  Dad had stubble leftover from reaping his poor crop, so to lesson the fire danger risk, he has sheep to mow it down.



Such a great sight to look out the kitchen window and see sheep!


What we brought home.


What I made with some of them. My favourite salad,


to have with these zucchini boats.


Yummo!


Next time I am up there I will take some photos of their goats and chooks.

My dad is 83 and mum 79. They have ten acres to keep them busy and they are loving it! My dad has never retired and has no intentions of doing so, this life has given them both purpose J

See you all soon,
xTania