Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Its Late but it's Here

OK so I'm a day late this week, but have had a busy week.  Not sure what made this week busier than normal it just was.  It was our 16th wedding anniversary on Friday and both my and Ian's parents took the 5 kids for the weekend so we could have some alone time.  It was lovely, its not something we get very often so it was nice just to be a couple for a little while.

On Saturday we manage to finish putting up the Chicken area.  there are 2 separate night time areas and one large outdoor area.  The ducks and Chickens seem to be getting along, or at least have an understanding to leave each other alone.  After our Chicken tragedy the other week the 1 remaining full size chicken has really stepped up and is laying 8 eggs in 7 days.  Also our bantam chickens have joined the party and all 3 of the girls are laying an egg a day, they might be small but 3 small eggs and 1 large egg is enough to scrape by in the house so that we don't have to buy eggs, so that's good.

At the beginning of last week quite a few of the blogs I read and many recipe cites I browse all seemed to be talking about Granola.  So I took it as a lovely nudge  to make some.  I had been complaining to my mum about how expensive cereal is and we go through so much of it for some reason.  We also have a small weetbix problem, nobody will eat the broken crumby bits at the end of the box (which is about 3-4 serve usually), so this solves that problem as well.  I would like to share the recipe with you,  It is a combination of lots of the different recipes I looked at after tweaking for personal taste.  It works out to be about $1.50 for a 3lt plastic cereal container full. That is a lot cheaper than the $5-7 I currently pay for the same amount of cornflakes or cherrios, plus I know what has gone into it and can tweak it to my hearts content.  Dave has already requested a Bar Version be made for his lunch box, so that may be coming in the near future too.  OK here is the recipe:

Dell's Granola
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
    1/2-2/3 cup honey (fruit puree or golden syrup can   be used too)
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1  teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)

    3 cups old fashioned oats  Or left over crushed weetbix
    4 cups quick oats
    1 cup coconut
    1 Cup of dried Fruit (tightly packed) ) or to taste - optional
    In a small saucepan mix together brown sugar, oil, and honey.
    Bring to a boil.
    Remove from heat and add vanilla and cinnamon.
    In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, and sugar/oil mixture.
    Stir until oats are well coated and everything is combined.
    Spread onto 2 trays with sides or pans
    Bake at 160 degrees for 10 minutes, giving a stir about the 5 min mark
    Remove from oven and leave to cool
    Mix in dried fruit.
    store in an air tight container.


This recipe is also really  yummy with some yogurt and fresh fruit for a snack - Yummy.  I make it about every second day and it only takes about 15 Min's, give it a try you might be surprised.

On the Knitting front, I need some motivation.  I just really cant get motivated to do any,  I am hoping a visit to Dee's this weekend might spur me on cause I really need to get going I have so many works in progress that my knitting basket can officially not fit any more and don't walk to close to it  it may topple over.    I did get offered a stack of alpaca fleeces from my neighbour this week who just had her flock shawn so I am hopping that will kick start the spinning again too.

Well that's about it for this week

Catchya later


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hindsight -Grrrrr

 This week started off badly with a fox taking all but 1 rooster and 1 hen of our large chickens and 4 of our little chickens.  This is the second time in 19 months I have lost my flock, which this time was getting up to a rather nice size (about 20 in total) and were supplying both the kitchen and incubator nicely with eggs I am no longer going to free range our chickens.  We do enclose them at night but during the day we were letting them have free run of the property.  Not any more.   Its a lovely idea but I am pretty sure that a chicken kept in a cage with plenty of room will be much happier than a free ranged dead one!

So this weekend we began to move the cages around.  We have a split in to cage off the side of the house that we spent a long time pulling apart and moving around the the other side of the house off the veggie patch/orchard. Once we put the cages back together we are planing to fence of a large area with hurricane fencing (really high stuff with a small mesh).  So there will actually be 3 indoor/night cages attach to a huge run.  The bright side of this is that I have been trying to get this chicken plan done since we moved here and it will have much easier access to the workshop where the incubator and brooder is.  Also the ducks will be moving to so they will stop messing all over my front porch - So I suppose I should say Yay!

The week continued with Dave's asthma going into melt down.  His asthma was pretty bad before we moved up here (multiple puffers numerous times a day and always sick with some chest infection)  but since we moved up out of the burbs into that fantastic country air, he has been really healthy.  I could count on 1 hand the times he has needed his puffer in the last 19  months.  Well   he ended up having 4 days off school, a trip to the hospital and a trip to the Doc's.  so now he is back on 2 puffers for at least 2 weeks, and then the Doc will reassess.

I did get some more seedlings done for the garden - 8 types of tomatoes, 2 types of melons and 4 types of cucumbers.  I also have been preparing more pots to plant more herbs in.  Every time I go out to the garden I get hungry just thinking about the yummy food that we will be eating in just a few months.

We have been very naughty this week and have been wolfing down 3-4 kg of cherries every 2 days.  I just love this time of year the summer fruits are just starting to creep in and remind us of all that light, healthy food.

A few months ago I gave a lovely mum at school some of my laundry powder and dishcloths to try after chatting in the car park about it one day. I thought if she liked them she would just make them herself but she just wanted to buy some.  I worked it out at about $6 Kg (just for the ingredients).  which when compared to store bought powder is not the cheapest but certainly no where near the dearest and you use about 1/4 -1/2 of what you would use per wash in the store bought stuff.  She has now ordered another Kg and 2 of my dishcloths for Chrissie pressies for the Nana's.  Its nice to see some of the old, chemical free stuff coming back into favour and I am glad to keep making it for her as long as she wants it.

Well even though there were no "major" catastrophes, I still felt a bit "yuck" this week and just when I needed it the following verse came up on my daily devotional reading - It still amazes me that just when you need it Gods word seems to be right there.

17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Habakkuk 3:17-18

Well that's it for this week, I cant wait to tell you all how good this coming week will be.

Cathchya later

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not Already!!!

So I am driving home from school today and all the cherry farm signs are out and the cherry stand is open.  It can't be, the cherry stands signals the count down to Christmas has started!  So after the shock I couldn't but resist stopping and buying some cherry's which I am now scoffing as I write. Yummmmmm.

during the building
All Finished
OK so the boys room was finally finished on the weekend and they are all moved in and have managed to make messes of their rooms already.  For the last 19 months they have been in a big concrete floor room divided by shelves.  Now they have a room of their own and a small TV/lounge area.  So now everyone has their own rooms.  As much as I am an advocate of kids sharing rooms, I must admit that live is easier with them all having their own space.  When the kids specialist first said we should separate them I was a bit "hmmmm easier said than done" when you have 5 kids.  The girls still like to have "sleep overs" with each other nearly every few days and we allow that so am hoping the boys do the same.
The front of the house now

PJ unloading soil from the Ute
Put the kids to work weeding
We have also been doing more work on the Veggie Patch.  Another tonne of soil has gone in and all but one of beds are ready and raring to go.   We also filled many of the herb pots with soil and My lovely Hubby put his muscles to work digging up some big round metal circles from the garden off the pergola (we are eventually getting rid of that) and moving them around to the herb garden for strawberries, so they are already to go, I just have to find a day to go and buy the plants.

Little tomatillos
I planted in the herb garden today some chilli's, Chives, Spring onions, Capsicums and some Purple Tomatillos which are used mainly in Mexican cooking which I cant wait to give a go, they already have little fruit on them from the seedlings I planted.
I also planted out the tea section of the herb garden.  Mint, Trio of Mint, Peppermint and Chamomile.  I also have 1 sad little Camelia Sineisis (that's where your tea leaves come from) still waiting to go in but they aren't back in the stores till around mothers day so will get some more then.  I love home grown tea.

Our second batch of Chickens have started hatching, we had 8 hatch but 1 died,  there were 30 put into the incubator but there has been no movement for a few days so am thinking that might be it, which makes for a low success rate this time.  So the first batch is now outside in a small cage I wiped up before they are big enough to go in a real cage.  This cage is good cause with the small hutch area they huddle up and stay warm if they need to but when its hot I can cool them down with a wet towel.  Its just a bit easier to control the temperature in this than a big cage and they are still only 5 weeks old so they still need a little bit of babying.

This week I also came across this blog post for home made yogurt with the easiyo yogurt maker, so have pulled it out of the cupboard (or rather took it back from the mum lol) and have been having a go.  We go through stacks of yogurt and it isn't cheap so this is great.  I have been going with the following:

500ml powdered milk (made up), mix in 2-3 tbs yoghurt for a starter, 1/2 cup powdered milk powder, 1-2 tsp vanilla essence, 1-2 tablespoons sugar dissolved in the smallest amount of water.  Shake to mix, top up to the top with made up powdered milk.

This is costing me about $1 a litre as opposed to the $4-5 ltrs in the store.  I made up some apricot by just pureeing some tinned apricot, but Ian and I are the only ones who like apricot yoghurt.  Cant wait till the summer fruits all come in so I can play with them in the yoghurt too

Well I thought it was going to rain but it changed its mind so I better go water all my new plants.

Catchya later