Sunday, 19 March 2017

Of Tomatoes and Harleys

It's been busy this month!  Steve has finished his lovely little coffee table.  Isn't it beautiful, She-oak has the most beautiful grain.  He even made a couple of coasters too.
And here is Chief Appraiser, Madam Lucy, giving the table her undivided attention ha ha.
 We have gazillions of tomatoes ripening so I've been chop chop chopping them for various recipes.  I've also done a few jars of dried tomatoes in olive oil, time consuming but worth it as they are delicious.
 Gallons of tomato ketchup cooking
 And loads of chopped rhubarb about to become jam.  That is a recent discovery - rhubarb jam, it is rather delicious and tangy.
It never looks quite enough after all the hours of preparations and cooking, but here is 3 litres of tomato ketchup and 5 litres of rhubarb jam.  Not to mention the big containers of bolognese sauce that I made the week before that are now safely tucked away in the freezer.  The next big batch of tomatoes I will simply chop and freeze as is, very useful for cooking later in the year.  It's all very satisfying using produce in different ways, and knowing it can be used over the year when the growing season is over.
 We've both had birthdays recently so have treated ourselves to a couple of meals out. 
 Here we are at the Emu Point Cafe, a lovely venue that never disappoints with their food.
 Emu Point is a beautiful place, so picturesque.  Here's Steve looking at the channel from Oyster Harbour into King George Sound.  I used to fish here when I was a kid on holidays, wonderful memories.
 We've had visitors too!  Firstly Steve's cousin Terry came down to stay with us.  Here he is with his beautiful Harley Davidson motor cycle, specifically a "Fat Boy Harley", I never knew there were different types!  He and the South West chapter of the HOGS (Harley Owners Group) came down to have a ride to the Porongurups with the Albany HOGS.  It was great to see you Terry :-)
 And we've just said goodbye to our dear friends Angie and Andy who came to stay with their lovely friends Marty and Judy who are here from England.  It's always so nice seeing people enjoying our kangaroos and little birds.
 We had a gad about town, including a visit to the stunning Wind Farm, one of my favourite places in Albany, the scenery is beautiful and the paths are really well maintained.  You can stand right under one of the turbines and marvel at its power and listen to the deep and powerful "whomph" as it rotates.  Not to mention the fact that it supplies Albany with 85% of its power, yay for green energy!
 Above we have Angie and Andy, and below are Marty and Judy coming up the path.  It was lovely to see you all :-)
 Other visitors were of the unexpected kind.  For a few days we had these two rams wandering around, in and out of our place.  I think they live on top of the hill and take advantage of old, broken down fences to have a bit of an explore. 
 And of course we have our residents who we love dearly.  Here is Patience curled up on the grass outside the front door, enjoying the last rays of sun.  It's like having a pet dog :-)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Of Timber And Wool

As I mentioned last blog post, I was about to start stripping corn kernels off the cobs and getting it into the freezer, to give us plenty of yummy corn for cooking when the growing season finishes soon.  To date I've frozen about six kilos of kernels!!
Now the glut of tomatoes is descending upon us.  It is always a surprise to me how much later tomatoes ripen in Albany compared to Perth.  If we were lucky in Perth, Steve would manage to get the first of the ripening tomatoes for Christmas, but here it's well into February.  No matter, as long as we have some, nothing nicer than home grown tomatoes.  I'm revving up to cook a huge batch of Ragu Bolognese for the freezer this week, then it will be onto making tomato sauce.  We made 2 bottles of sauce last year for a test run, it was really nice, so I'll make a lot more this year.
The little birds still abound in the back garden, with their glorious melodies tinkling in through the flyscreen door.  It's interesting, if you listen to your garden you get to know what's going on.  The other day the little birds suddenly went ballistic, shrieking loudly and dancing around very agitated.  When I looked out the door who did I see but Voldemort the black skink doing his rounds.  He has taken to living under the settee that's outside next to the front door, and likes to circumvent the house a few times a day to see what's around to eat. 
This is the original Voldemort, he's bigger than Voldemort The Younger who seems to spend most of his time in the shed.  He looks quite stripey at the moment although he is a black skink, interesting.  He's about half a metre long and if he wiggles when under the settee and makes a noise, can scare the crap out of you!  We are rather fond of both Voldemorts actually.
I've been busy crocheting this and that.  I posted these off to my granddaughters, they are tiara headbands.
And I finally managed to create a decent beanie!  I've had a few failures over the years.  I like the look of knitted, ribbed beanies, but, apart from socks, I don't knit, so I've been on the hunt for a crocheted beanie that looked ribbed.  I was pleased to find this pattern, Steve likes it, it fits, so I am satisfied.  :-)
I changed the pattern a wee bit though, this beanie is made sideways, then you seam it to make the tube.  The pattern did a circle of crochet to fill the hole in the top that I didn't like the look of, so I closed it by doing a row of crochet in every second stitch, then picking up a loop of all of those stitches, then pulling them all through another loop, pulling it tight to draw it closed.  I much prefer this, and when being worn, the gather is barely noticeable.  I suppose too that if you added a pompom it would be invisible.  Anyway, I made a beanie, it looks like a beanie, it fits like a beanie, so yay me!
This was a beanie effort I made about ten years ago.  As you can see I had major issues with sizing ha ha ha, so that fail beanie has been used as nice little bowl every since.  You live and learn hey. :-)
Steve's coffee table is progressing.  He has started putting the legs together in a frame to sit under the table top.  This is the shape it will be, he has yet to finish the surfacing of the legs and connecting them to the top, but you get the idea.  Isn't is beautiful! 
Here's the comparison of size between the table he making versus the coffee table he currently has next to his chair.  He wanted a smaller table and his new one will fit the bill nicely.