Saturday, 25 February 2012

Photos of the House - Series One

I've been meaning to do this for ages. Now that the weather is over 40 degrees outside two days running I've suddenly found more time to sit in front of a computer inside a cool house and take these. Series one, we're currently building a bookshelf in the main room and it's the 'disaster hit' zone.

This is one of the few pieces of furniture that made it down from Queensland. It's the Queen of black holes. Where everything that doesn't belong in the kitchen or in the shed ends up. Beside it is my old tip shop find of a Triumph typewriter. Caleb was fascinated by the old technology that informed the new.

The laundry, the smallest room in the house because neither of us intend spending much time in it. No door yet.

The truth window. An old fly wheel that's been staked into a bale and rendered up to. It has one layer of mud sprayed onto the bales, you can still see the blue twine running through the bale. I often look at it and wonder if I'll see a dreaded mouse. So far, no action on the mouse front.

The bathroom, which has finishing touches to add. You can see the handmade tiles are now on the wall, not the floor. They ended up too thick, which meant too great a step up into the bathroom. We're happy with the compromise. I'd love to have a hip bath in the corner for the days you really want to soak. Yet to find a good hip bath. One you can move out to the verandah on a hot night and soak under the stars.

What we generally see the moment we wake up. Pigs outside the window waiting for breakfast.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


You didn't know we had one of these rare and elusive beasts did you.

This is Peg and Tilly, they often sit out together like this. At a guess I'd say it's an instinct to be able to monitor what's going on in both directions for predators. I'd say it's this kind of behaviour that inspired Dr Suess.


That time of year again. I love the line up of fruit, it goes something like this. Rhubarb (not really a fruit), blackcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches. Can't remember where the gooseberries come into that line up. This year the goats broke in and ate them before they came to fruition. Lemons we get pretty much year round. Still waiting on apples and pears.

It's been a similar line up of jams, dried fruit, frozen and preserves. The nectarines were for some reason absolutely sublime. The last one was eaten only yesterday.

My mother used to buy fruit and preserve it when I was younger. Two hundred or so Agee jars a year. The kitchen would be even hotter on the hottest days of the year and the wasps used to hang around attracted by all the fruit.

In my mother's tradition I don't add anything but a teaspoon of sugar to the top of the jar. This increases acidity and reduce the likelihood of the dreaded botulism.

The only problem with opening a jar of any kind of fruit in our house is Caleb's ability to inhale them. Though never quite as good as fresh summer fruit straight off the tree, preserving is a great way to keep a little summer sunshine in a bottle for a cold winter's day.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Stuff the Zuchini Flowers!

People have said worse when offered zuchini before. It certainly gets an emotive response after another glut of them. After a while even the pigs give me a look as if to say, 'Come on, how many more of these do you expect us to eat?'

My attempt to grow different colour zuchini, black, green, yellow and striped for variety doesn't seem to have worked.

Each year I make a few batches of stuffed zuchini flowers. A centimetre thick finger of fetta, with minced chilli or a slice of chilli or garlic is inserted into each flower. The flower is sealed with a small amount of blended fetta and then dipped in a thin batter and deep fried. It has to be very hot and very quick or the cheese melts into the oil. Served immediately.

I used to only take the male flowers in an early morning pick. Now I'm less fussy, if it means a zuchini or two less, so be it!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Trev, is she pregnant or just grossly fat?
We've been pondering the gestational state of our two fat pigs ever since Christmas Day. The date we had thought them to be due to drop. But nothing happened, and nothing continued to happen until three days ago when Browny who had been increasingly grumpy and failed to come down for breakfast.
Pigs dig a hollow nest in the ground and supposedly line it with material. We'd even provided a bale or so of hay for that purpose. But Browny was too fat to cart it up and down the hill and instead chewed off a few low bushes, and appears to have given up and had them in the dirt hollow. There are five of them. One pale brown, the rest pink and black spotted or splashed.

I've never really trusted Browny, apart from being a collosal size she's a collosal bitch. Poor Pinky bears the brunt whenever Browny comes in contact with the electric fence. She's chased Pinky around the paddock and punishs her for her own stupidity. I made the mistake of checking on the dam level without taking food with me and she chased me down the hill putting her nose under my knees and pushing. I figured if I stumbled and hit the ground there was a good chance I'd become lunch. Trev might love the pigs, but I've grown a little more circumspect about their longterm status on the block.
Especially since Pinky decided to bulldoze through a fence recently and take a cavalcade of goats sheep and chooks with her, Between them they did a pretty good job of decimating the raspberries, ring barking the sugar maples, skeletonising the blackcurrants, chomping tomato bushes to the ground, massacring the sunflowers, rooting up the potatoes, and munging down on the strawberry plants. Probably all in the space of half an undetected hour. We're both becoming a little more circumspect about animals longterm status on the block. I keep mentioning the possibility of becoming vegetarian, but Trev will never come at that.
So now we're on a countdown with Pinky to see what issue she will issue. I'm going to take a chance for a close up encounter with her progeny - hopefully soon.