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Life on two acres of arid dirt.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

life at home

Well what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been. The whole world is in turmoil from the COVID 19 virus, and how devastating it is proving to be.

I will be posting regularly about our life and what we are doing during this time in our history.

Our situation is better than a lot of others. Phil is still working at the moment, but I have stopped my cleaning work.

As the restrictions started to set in there was a lot of panic buying, and the supermarkets shelves here are still pretty empty.

I have mostly stayed at home, only venturing out on the rare occasion, usually to pick up newspapers for my parents once a week. I put on my mask and go to the newsagent, get the papers and if need be, I pop into the grocery store nearby. Usually for fresh fruit and veggies, but even that is probably going to stop soon.

I have enough stores to last about three months. Could be more.

I have gone back to basics and started baking bread once a week using Wendy's recipe.


I pick up specials when available.

 

Doing some reading for keeping costs low.


Our chooks are not laying well at the moment, which is normal for this time of year. This mama turned up with another batch of little chickens. She does this really well! A lovely surprise to greet me when I went out to feed up and collect eggs.


I was gifted some bags of walnuts. I have kept one bag and given the rest away to family and friends.


Stewed some apples I picked up on special.


Used the cores and peelings for apple scrap vinegar.


A week later, it is fermenting nicely.


A gift of peaches from my daughter.


My mum had an eye appointment last week, and she brought me down some tomatoes and capsicums. It was such a lovely day so I set up afternoon tea outside. Keeping the social distance of course. I have the hand washing station set up at the front door to remind us to wash hands before entering.



Outside in the patch the amaranth has gone wild!


I am being more reliant on the veggie garden for food.
These are seven year beans. I planted a few seeds to provide shade for the patch with the added bonus of harvesting beans. As it turns out, the bees also love the flowers.






I have planted radish seeds.


Broccoletti.


Carrots seeds starting to appear.


I planted a climbing spinach and it has really taken off, winding its way up the weld-mesh.


 Green tiger tomatoes.


Volunteer tomato plants from when it rained. I am keeping them watered.


Another volunteer tomato plant.


Harvested some of the beetroot.


Pickled them and placed in storage.


White figs. These make delicious jam.



They taste good too!


This is the salt bush I planted in spring last year. It is doing well and hopefully by the time the heat gets here next summer it will be tall and bushy enough to shade the corrugated iron.


I am working on this project at the moment.


Using spare raised beds I already had here, I am going to set up an area to grow more food. This is where our swimming pool used to be. We were going to do it up into an outdoor area, but for now I will be growing food here instead. It is located near to the kitchen, so in a good spot.


I baked a chocolate depression cake and it is delicious. No egg, milk or butter, so good for the budget, but not the waistline! This cake is soft and moist. Recipe is here. Back in the day I guess this cake was served without icing, I just used my normal chocolate icing.




Use it up vegetable stew in the crockpot.


There was enough to make twelve meals for the two of us. We had two servings for tea.


Then I made eight pies.


And two meals for Phil to take to work.


I also baked two sourdough loaves. Delicious with the stew.



Old fashioned apple roly poly for sweets.


With homemade vanilla custard...yum!


On the sewing machine I am attempting to make face masks using Phil's old work shirts. They are made of good quality fabric and the mask can have a filter. After watching a video that Grandma Donna posted as to what is best to use for a filter, I came up with the idea to use weed matting because it is not woven and is waterproof, so any droplets wont get through and most importantly it is breathable. I am using garden wire for the nose shaping, and elastic that goes around the back of the head for more comfort.


Mother Nature is still providing beauty for the soul.


An amazing dust storm hit here a couple of days ago.  While other areas got rain, all we got was dirt, and lots of it!





The sun still rises and sets each day, so we are taking each day as it comes.


With winter fast approaching Australia needs to get on top of this virus as soon as possible, and if everyone stays home like we have been asked to do, we may have a chance of "flattening the curve".

Please take care and stay well everyone.

xTania

22 comments:

  1. It's been a LONG time since I smelled bread in the oven! - Beautiful sunset.

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    1. Thank you Gorges. Hope you are keeping well xx

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  2. A lovely post Tania - you still seem to be getting lots from your garden. All our newsagents are closed so you are lucky to still be able to buy newspapers. I have been baking here too but I have to be careful not to eat it all!!! You will be wishing for a good downpour after the dust storm to wash all the dust away. xx

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    1. We are not in complete lock-down yet Julie. We are asked to stay home and only go out if we have to. I go and get the papers for my parents because our elderly have been told to stay home away from harm. A lot of places are shut down but the newsagent is still open for now. If things escalate then I think they would shut their doors. Our little country newspapers are going broke with this crisis and probably wont exist afterwards.

      Living in the country has its advantages. There are about 13,000 people in this district and one suspected case of Convid 19, and this has not been 100% confirmed. We take all the precautions to stay safe. Keeping our distance,hand washing etc. As of today the stores are restricting the amount of people in them at one time. Time to stay away and eat out of our stockpile.

      I'm definitely keeping busy so my mind doesn't dwell on the negative.

      We are wishing for rain as it is dry here once again. The veggie garden would love a big downpour.

      xTania

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  3. Lovely post Tania. You are being very productive.

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    1. Keeping productive helps me keep control of things here at home. Outside the gate things are out of my control.

      I have anxiety issues so need to keep busy.

      xTania

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  4. Tania, I also have been putting my empty raised gardens to work not that the weather has cooled down. I don't think you will be short of veggies any time soon as usually you have such a productive garden. So pleased your hubby us still employed. Big virtual hugs.

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    1. Hello Nanna Chel.

      I thought long and hard as to whether to use the garden beds and plant more food. I observed the sun/shade aspect of this area and I think we can make it work. I wont be using wicking beds this time, but trying the lasagne method instead. The beds will be set up with drippers so that the plants can be watered slowly and timers can be added should we ever go away for any length of time. The area where I have put the beds does not get used for anything else so its time to make good use of the spare space.

      Big hugs to you too xxx

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  5. Love that you have another big veggie growing area during these times. Love the afternoon tea set up at your parents with the hand washing station...it's true that you have to remind yourself times are different. Your bread looked great too I haven't tried Wendy's recipe. Have a good week. Kathy, Brisbane

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    1. Kathy, I have notes everywhere reminding me to wash my hands! I had to go and get skin safe soap as my hands broke out with dermatitis, now they are a lot better.

      Wendy"s bread is pretty easy to make, and it is really nice.

      xTania

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  6. Might give that chocolate cake a go. Spectacular shot of the sunset. Hope you get some rain soon

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    1. You will love that cake Angela. Mum told me she has been making it for years, it was one of her mothers recipes.

      I am enjoy lovely cool sunshiny days at the moment, but rain would be nice.

      xTania

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  7. Your garden is just incredible. I am amazed at all that you grow. And eight pies...wow! Thanks for the inspiration, Tania.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Stephenie.

      I didn't think there was that much stew until I put it into a container. The pies are delicious served with tomato sauce/ketchup.

      xTania

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  8. I love your blog Tania - thank you. Glad you are safe and well. Best wishes, Wendy (NZ)

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    1. Thank you Wendy! It is lovely to have you here.

      xTania

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  9. Tania while so many people are stuck inside going stir crazy, it seems we country folk are busier than ever. Thanks for a lovely post. XX

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    1. Thankful more than ever for living in the country Sally.

      Yes I don't know why I am busier, but I think it is because if I am doing something, I not thinking about what is happening in the outside world.

      I wont get bored, there is too much to do, my jobs list is endless lol!

      xTania

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  10. I love my every visit here with you! What an amazing woman you are! Apple scrap vinegar!! You use everything!!

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    1. Aww thank you Linda. You are pretty amazing yourself <3

      xTania

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  11. Your preparations are really inspirational. I especially love that you were gifted walnuts like sacks of potatoes! Anyone can grow spuds - but walnuts? Take my excess of walnuts, which only took decades for the tree to supply in abundance, lol. The person who owns that tree, was wise to nurture it and very generous to share it with others. Those figs look delicious too! I love dried figs, but imagine I'd love fresh figs even more.

    That depression cake is actually my Grandmothers' recipe (not that she owns it). Only she called it contrary cake. Contrary, because unlike most cake recipes in her day, it didn't use eggs or milk. I first tasted contrary cake at my grandmothers house, and I've made it too. It's a cross between brownie and cake, but not really either. A yummy taste which can only be described as, "contrary"!

    Your salt-bush is coming along really well. Certainly has grown, and doing an awesome job in it's location. Looking forward to seeing your new veg patch develop. It should do well in winter, since all that paving will attract radiant heat. May not have an issue with frost? Anyway, well done, and great to catch up with your goings-on again.

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  12. Hi Chris.

    Those bags of walnuts came from a place where my son in law used to work. They are seconds, but I cant see anything wrong with them.

    When I told my mum the cake recipe, she said that's the chocolate cake she makes all the time. It was a recipe from her mother. I never knew, I have been eating her chocolate cake forever lol! She ices her cake with lemon icing.

    The salt-bush has direct sun in the afternoons so it struggled a bit through summer. Now it is established I hope it takes off and shades that area next summer.

    We don't get many frosts here, so I think the veggies should be okay. I will stick with winter vegetables that are tolerant of the cold. It is in an area where it wont be too hard to put up protection over the top. I am not sure what we are going to do re the pavers. If I decide to continue to use the beds throughout summer I will possibly have to remove them because of the heat factor.

    xTania



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