Thursday, 9 May 2013

Cupfuls of Joy

The wind is howling outside as I sit here in the wee small hours looking somewhat like a bag lady in my nightie, trackies and cardie, but the house is surprisingly warm considering the chillness of the gale outside.  Anyway, I can't sleep so why not blog eh :-)

The rains have started with fair regularity now and our water tank is almost full already.  We were very frugal over summer with water usage as we didn't know how much we'd use and got a bit scared being self reliant on water for the first time, but we now know that we can be a lot more liberal hence the fact that the tank was still 3/4 full at the end of summer!
I seem to have been very busy over autumn and have ticked many small things off my to-do list.  Firstly was gift making.  Embroidered hankies for my mother-in-law's birthday.
And a lavender bag for her for Mothers Day.  I shall not divulge the Mothers Day present for my mother because I know she would be peeking at this wee blog, you will have to wait mum! :-)
Years ago I crocheted this round cushion top with some of my favourite wool (Koigu hand painted merino to be precise) then stuffed it away and forgot about it.  Well, ta-dum, I finally finished making into a cushion.  I made a round cushion out of fabric then hand sewed the crocheted top to it and finished off with a nice big button to pull in the centre.  And I even stuffed it with fleece wool too, just to keep to the theme you know. It's very comfy to lean against.
Next job was a quilt repair.  I have two favourite homemade quilts for our bed and they have been used to death, washed regularly and consequently are falling to pieces.  This one was patchable so I did just that, plus zigzag stitched over many small tears.  It looks just fine and hopefully with stay together for a few more years.
I continue on crocheting my Babette Blanket.  It's comprised of different sized squares each containing rounds of different colours.  I used a combination of multicoloured Koigu and plain and am single crocheting them all together in the same denim blue colour in the hope of marrying together the multitude of colours into something civilised.  I like the single crochet joins, it gives a little ridge which I rather like from a textural point of view, but on the back it is all smooth and comfortable against oneself.
And then we move into the kitchen.  Autumn is a time of year for preserving it seems.  Steve's rhubarb plants have gone mental, nothing like a bag of horse poo to make one's rhubarb go mental.  I harvested a huge heap of it.
Chopping and simmering later, I had a lovely big batch of stewed rhubarb to freeze in cupfuls, plus a big container in the fridge for breakfast for the next week.
And of course I had to make a number of rhubarb crumbles to tuck away in the freezer too.  We had one the other night, very tasty although I learned a lesson.  I left too much liquid in the stewed rhubarb and it bubbled up so much through the crumble that the crumble wasn't very crunchy.  It tasted yummy but a bit soft on top for my liking.  Noted for the next batch!
Our neighbour kindly gave us another huge bag of apples just picked from her trees, so it was busy busy busy drying apple slices and stewing apple to freeze in cupfuls.  I'm starting to get all these different coloured  frozen cup lumps in the freezer, very satisfying.
Another batch of apple butter in the making too, I now have a good stash of that made.  I love it on natural yogurt, the sourness of the yogurt and the sweetness of the spiced apple go together beautifully.  It is dead easy to make.  I feel like a domestic goddess at the moment!  :-)
My new thing is making my own natural yogurt, it is delicious!  All you have to do is heat 1litre of milk to 180F then cool it back down to 110F, at which point you stir in a heaped tablespoon of natural yogurt for the starter.  Then it's a case of keeping it as warm as possible for a number of hours to allow the yogurt bacteria to multiply and do its magic.  I use 2 wideneck thermos flasks.  It takes anything from 3 to 8 hours, the longer you leave it the more sour and acidic it becomes.  I find about 5 hours suits me, and I then go a step further and turn mine into greek style yogurt which is thick.  That involves sitting the yogurt in a cloth lined colander to strain off some of the whey, which gives me lovely thick yogurt and a cupful of whey which we use in our bread making.  Our breakfasts have been fabulously homemade and delicious lately I can tell you!
Steve has been doing great things too, he and his mate caught a great haul of fish the other day, including  9 big bonito, a tuna-like fish.  Bonito is absolutely brilliant smoked and Steve has a small smoker so that is what we had for dinner last night.  Yum!!!
Today I dragged myself out of the kitchen.  I knew we had good rain forecast for the next few days and I wanted to plant some more screening plants.  After a sharp learning curve down here I know I can't just bung em in, there are rabbits and roos that love to eat my little plants, hence Fort Knox in the photo below.  I have put up makeshift fences with left over bits and pieces of wire which keeps out the roos, and the new plants have their green plastic protection from rabbits and also the wind to give them a fighting chance.  Twenty tiny natives went in today, mostly banksia this time plus hakea, grevillea and kunzia.  It poured with rain an hour after I'd finished which I took as a positive sign that they will grow well.
We had a pleasant morning visiting the twice-yearly local farmers market.  It makes me happy buying local produce if it is something we are not growing ourselves.  Low food miles and all that.  We came home with a new type of potato, and I've forgotten the name already!  Steve loves to grow different sorts of potatoes so he has a new one to add.  I pounced on a bag of homegrown Fuyu persimmons which I love, and for $2 a bag I was rapt, as you can pay that for a single fruit in the shops!  We also recognized and said hello to a number of people which gave me a warm glow, we are really starting to feel like locals here now.
And the grand finale to busy autumn days is a warm, relaxing fire.  And wine...

1 comment:

  1. Looks like Steves fire making skills have improved since my visit Dy! :)
    Good to hear you've made more apple butter - that was beautiful and I can still taste it.

    The idea of homemade yoghurt sounds lovely, we might have to give that a try here.

    The cushion looks nice and comfy.