Monday, 27 January 2014

Boing Boing Boing

One of the continual jobs around here is dealing with wood, be it cleaning up fallen trees and branches, or chopping up seasoned logs into firewood.  The distant hum of Steve with his chainsaw are commonplace.  This massive tree trunk is behind our house, remnant of a huge tree that was cut down to make room for our house.  It has represented a somewhat daunting task being so big, plus it is resting atop some smaller logs and facing downhill, so the potential for it to roll off down the hill, wiping out our cars enroute, when cutting started was always in Steve's mind.
After much pacing around in deep thought, a plan of action was devised, involving huge ropes to hold it in place and big stumps and star pickets in place as a barrier on the downhill side in case of rolling.  After a few deep breaths let the chainsawing begin!
Finally, with us holding our breath, the trunk separated, gently dropping slightly and not rolling at all.  Phew!
Steve is gradually cutting it all down to manageable sizes, to be carted away to a woodpile further away from the house.  He was a bit dismayed to find not one but three other old tree trunks under the big one, so he has done lots and lots of chainsawing!  Good work dear, that's enough firewood for years!!
We had the pleasure of a visit from Steve's good mate Tony, who was thrilled to escape Perth's heat for a few days.  Here we are at Boston Brewery.
The purpose of our visit was for the boys to once again enjoy the beer tasting paddle, which apparently tasted just a good as last year, although there some mutterings about why those glasses are only THAT full and not brimming over the edge!
The boys did a bit of fishing (one King George whiting for Tony, zip for Steve), then the afternoon was booked for the Boules forest tournament.  Much juvenile hilarity ensued, men small boys picking up the balls to give back to their friend, then dropping them again, you know what I mean.  :-)
We were sitting outside one evening, about to have dinner, when a little furry friend wandered through our legs and then did a lap of the outside of the house, checking for tidbits.  I feed the magpies rolled oats, and they had left a few, so our friend, who is a Quenda or Southern Brown Bandicoot (looks like a large rat with a long pointy nose), had a little snack.  They are surprisingly brave, or blind as bats, not sure which.
It's that time of year when roo mums get fed up with dragging massive pouches around and start persuading their joeys to have exit times from the pouch, to learn about the big wide world.  They pop out for short periods of time, all very nervous.
Then joey is off for a quick, uncoordinated, zigzaggy boing boing boinging around the grass.
Then, much like a cat in 5pm psychomaniac mode, joey suddenly freaks out and decides it's all too much.
 Back under mum's protection and time for a nap.
We are so enjoying the abundance of summer vegetables.  The kitchen window sill is the perfect place to finish off tomato ripening.  As much as we would prefer to ripen the tomatoes on the plants, the bright red colour makes them irresistible to various birds and creatures, so rather than encourage the hordes to raid and pillage the vegie patch, instead we pick the tomatoes at turn of colour.  They are still wonderfully sweet being ripened on the window sill, which makes me wonder why tomatoes in the shops are often so tasteless.... I thought being picked under-ripe would do that.
OMG the sweetcorn is sensational.  We eat it raw straight off the plant, we eat it barbequed, we eat it boiled, and I've been stripping the corn from the cobs, blanching it for a minute and then freezing it in bags for later on.
We also have an abundance of beans at present, so I have also been blanching and freezing those for later on too.  Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to preserve our harvests, be it by freezing, drying, pickling, making chutney or big stews for the freezer. 
 I was at a loss to know what to do with the many many cucumbers we have at the moment.  I knew I could do gherkins with tiny cucumbers, but ours grow so fast that they are huge.  After some research I came upon a recipe for "Freezer Cucumber Pickle".  Easy as pie to make and uses big cucumbers.  I am still amazed it can be frozen (has to be used within a week and kept in the fridge upon defrosting).  I am expecting it to turn to mush, we'll see what happens.  For now we are using some that I didn't freeze and it is very nice, quite mild.
The task I've been putting off was to deal with the shallot harvest.  We grew quite a few and the first thing to do after pulling them from the ground is to let them air outside but under shelter for a couple of weeks, to dry off.  That accomplished the next stage is to trim the roots and the tops, separate the shallots (they grow in bunches of around 6-8) and clean off the excess outer skin.  As they are small it is a somewhat tedious task.
But the end result is 5 kilos of lovely, mild shallots, plus some put away to plant next season.  In the past we have pickled shallots and I will do that again.  I also found a recipe for a slow roasted shallots in balsamic vinegar that are then packed into jars and topped up with balsamic - that sounds rather delicious so will give that a try in the next few days.  They also store well so I'll keep some in the pantry for general cooking too.
Well, it's blowing a gale at the moment, and dare I say, the clouds coming over "look"  like they might bring some rain, but I wont say it too loud in case I scare them off.  Please rain, I want my grass to be green again!  :-)

1 comment:

  1. I am really looking forward to our visit............. : - )