Monday, December 30, 2013

School Holidays....

(1st picture) About a week ago, with only a week left of water, I was just about ready to pull out most of the vegetables in my garden. But, thanks to some much needed rain reaching us on Xmas day I'm lucky enough to be still enjoying 'black jack' Zuchinni, fresh from the bush. Tonight we're eating them sliced in half, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, chopped rosemary, thyme,and freshly cracked pepper. Popped in the oven at 200'C for 20 mins and what can I say ----- they're P E R F E C T ! ! !

(2nd picture) In the lead up to Xmas you might remember me organising a little 'Washer Swap'... Here's a little sneak peak at some of the awesome gifts that my gorgeous Swappers sent out to their partners. Over the next week I'll be popping up links to patterns and respective Swappers blogs so be sure to check back for the details...

(3rd picture) I love Summer and am enjoying being able to let me hair down now that it's school holidays - it feels so good to just take it 'slow' for a change. We're spending many hours on the verandah at the farm, simply not doing too much at all really - and it feels so good too!!!

(4th picture) And in case you couldn't see my little cutie in the 3rd picture, this one's a close up... A gorgeous little kitten who just can't seem to leave my side at the moment and you know what? I kinda really like it... ;)

So, MERRY XMAS everyone - enjoy your next couple of days as you welcome in the New Year too... xx


Friday, December 13, 2013

my Connie wants to Swap too?

I have this girl, she's 7... Her name is Connie and she is super clever!
kid swap 1
You know how I've been organising all of these 'washer swaps' of late?? Well, Connie was thinking, and wondering, maybe there might be another little 7(ish) year old out there that might just be interested in doing a little 'swap' with her?!

She is itching to make something for someone, put it in the mail, and send it off as a surprise! She's eager to find out what someone would actually think if they received something handmade from her in the mail and just as eager to get a little special something from someone in return too...

So... Who's up for it??? Do you have a 7(ish) year old out there who would be interested in 'swapping' with my eager 7yr old?? If so let me know and maybe we could work something our for the New Year - it would really make my Connie girls day(year!).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

simply perfect...

Last Thursday night my local town held their annual 'Xmas Mardi-Gras'. It was hot and sticky that day so I bathed the kids, loaded up the car, and headed to town for the evening... It was a fabulous night! A real buzz of excitement filled the main street and it made me remember just how lucky I am to be part of such a vibrant rural community... 

Something that I try to do with my kids every year for Xmas is get a snap with the jolly ol' man. As any one with kids would know, it can be pretty hard to get a good family Xmas photo - poor lighting, bad location, feral kids, freaked-out kids, average looking Santa, the list could go on.... But, this year our photo was simply perfect! The Cobar Library had a great display set up - cosy lounge, beautifully decorated tree, awesome Santa (this one I've actually know since I was a little girl - Mr Brown you are AWESOME!!!), great elf-helpers, air-conditioning, and what a bonus an actual PHOTOGRAPHER!!! 
xmas 2 
xmas 1
Anna Ryan Photography my pictures are beautiful. Thank you for capturing this moment for me!! - screaming child and all... 


Do you have any Xmas Photo memories (or tips)? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Garden Share Collective : : December

I'm joining in with the 'Garden Share Collective' again....

Things have been pretty tough here on the farm this month as we continue to get dryer and dryer. We still haven't had any rain and combined with hot winds I find myself using more and more precious water in my garden than I normally would at this time of year which means my water stores are starting to get low.

Although inside my yard there is green grass and a lush(ish) vegetable garden, out in the paddocks it's dry and dusty - really dusty...

Here's what I've been up to this month in my vegetable garden;


Watching
Corn
Tomatoes
Beans
Grapes
Passion-fruit
Coloured Chard
Carrots
Propagated Grape Vines


Harvesting
Radish
Cucumber
Lettuce
Zucchini
Beetroot
Numerous Fresh Herbs


Planting
Chilli
More Mini-Muncher Cucumbers
More Basil
More Rocket
More Lettuce


To-Do
Stake new tomato bed.
Transplant Carrots


Things To Note
WE HAVE HAD NO RAIN AGAIN THIS MONTH!!!!!


Seed Swapping
Thanks to the gorgeous Emma Crameri swapping some spaghetti squash seeds with me last month - they have been planted in my garden and I am watching them daily, excited to try this new vegetable for the first time with my family...

I currently have some basil seeds to share - saved from 2013.
I am looking for some heirloom cucumber seeds to plant in my garden this month.

Email me at jellywares@bigpond.com if you'd like some basil seeds - or if you have some cucumber seeds that you'd like to share with me.

pictured below : : new tomato tee-pees
garden share 4 
pictured below : : black zucchini almost ready
garden share 1 
pictured below : : green zucchini bush 
garden share 2 
pictured below : : corn setting fruit
garden share 3 
pictured below : : a couple of this months cucumber harvest - 2kg's picked so far
garden 4 
pictured below : : some of the many beets we've harvested this month..
beets
Check out more gardening inspiration here...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

just perfect...

We have been lucky enough to celebrate the 1st b'day of our gorgeous boy, Tobie, this week...
What can I say?? This little guy has simply stolen all of our hearts and we couldn't imagine a life without him in it, not for one single minute! To celebrate we had a bit of a party out here on the farm - just the girls and I and DH, but you know what, that was more than enough and we had a super time! ~ there was cake and sparkles and all kinds of outside fun to be had by us all!!
tobie 1 
After already having 2 babies grow up in my home I've learnt that they don't really want for much in the way of material processions. So, we ditched the store bought gifts this year and celebrated Tobie's special day in a different kind of way - 2 new rabbits and a few handmade treasures were all we(he) really needed...
rabbit 1 
By the squeals of excitement, from all 3 of my kids, when our cute little bunnies were unwrapped I can already tell that they are going to be a huge hit!
rabbit 2 
Connie even made Tobie a little crochet blanket to keep his new littlest critters cosy...
rabbit 3 
And you know what? She just kinda taught herself how to crochet this week and this is her first creation - pretty awesome, even if I am a little bias because she's my girl and all... rabbit 4 
She just said to me about a week ago that the thinks she has watched me do it for long enough and that she thinks she can kinda do it by herself....
rabbit 5 
So, I watched, and helped a little where needed, and she slowly fumbled her way through her first granny square and you know what?? It's just perfect!! Don't you think?
rabbit 6 
In our garden this week we are happily harvesting beetroot,
beets 
lots of beetroot, and loving that our depleted pickled beetroot stores will now be replenished...
beets 2
How have things been at your home this week??

Saturday, November 23, 2013

In Our Garden....

This week in our garden we've been harvesting loads of new things which has given our kitchen table a much needed burst of 'flavour'!!
garden 1 
We have 5 Green Lebanese Zuchinni bushes and they are steadily producing approx 3 fruit a day - we're enjoying these thinly sliced, fried with garlic and butter, then stirred though some good hand-made pasta, or roughly chopped and added to a stir-fry. But my kids favourite is simply grated and added with a few other goodies to eggs to make a delicious fritata. The next recipe on my list (when my stocks get up of-coarse) are some 'bread and butter' pickles!

My mini muncher cucumbers are ripening as well and the girls are finding at least 1 plump and ready for the picking each and every day!
garden 2 
'Mini-Muncher' is my favourite variety of cucumber and I've been growing it for 4 years now. It's a prolific fruit-er and very rarely gets disease or attacked by pests. The fruit is picked when they are approx the size of your hand, are burp-less and seedless (well the seeds are too tiny to notice anyway). The flesh is a gorgeous yellow-y green colour and they are super sweet and juicy!! In my opinion, a really gorgeous fruit (vegetable) to add to your vegetable garden!!
garden 4 
Both my girls have their own designated areas, marked out by rocks, in our family vege patch. They can plant WHATEVER they like in these little plots and a lot of trial and error goes on in here. They are both currently harvesting radish from their patches. Connie is watching an enormous 'gigantic Russian sunflower' tower up towards the sky, desperate for it to finally form a flower at the top! They also have tomatoes, pumpkin, beetroot, peas, more radish, a mixture of flowers, beans and a few other things too... 
garden 5 garden 3
So... What have you been harvesting this week in your garden?

Is the vegetable garden a family affair at your place? Do you get the kids in on the action too?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Xmas Themed Swap!! (sign-up's)

I'm joining in with Christina's made-by-hand 'meme' again this week and have loved putting the finishing touches on this new washer for a Swap that I've been part of...
2nd swap 
I've also been whipping up a few of these super cute Xmas-y stars (kits can be found here). 
kit 5 
So, with all of the Xmas craft ideas buzzing around in my head of late it got me thinking - I'd love to do a little 'Xmas Themed Swap', what do you think?? If you'd like to join in, here are the details....


Jellywares Xmas Swap Guidelines

For this Swap you will be making 1 cotton washer and and 1 Xmas Ornament!!!

Your Washcloth: 
Each participant is required to crochet or knit 1 washcloth. 
Cloths are to measures between 6x6 and 9x9 inches square or 6 to 9 inches in diameter. 
Label each cloth with maker and care instructions - f
eel free to include yarn and pattern info.
Affix your label to your washer with a safety pin or tie it on.

YARNS:
- 100% Cotton or cotton blend yarn – 100% cotton yarn is awesome and is used often for dish/washcloths. Blends are great too but they need to be at least 50% cotton.
- Linen and hemp yarn – These yarns are yummy and last FOREVER. Feel free to use these yarns too.
- No boucle yarns – This stuff is awesome but not for dishcloths. It’s spun a little to loosely to take the abuse that dish/washcloths tend to take. Save this yummy stuff for hats and baby blankets!
- Worsted or DK weight yarns make very scrubalicious washcloths. They clean well and they rinse and dry well too.
- Colours – Gooooooo nuts! Solids! Variegated! Striped! Neutrals! Brights! Muted! It’s all good!!!
- Patterns – Have fun here and why not try something that you've never done before!

Your Ornament:
- this can be made from any material/medium that you choose.
- there are no restrictions with the size or dimension of your ornament, it is totally up to you!

The Actual Swapping:
- Sign-Up's close on the 1st of December.
- You have until the 15th of December to get everything all wrapped up and posted out to your partner..
- You MUST message me once your washer has been sent so that your partner can be notified.
- You also MUST message me once you have received a Washer. 
- After you have made your Washer please take a picture and share it with me via email. 
- After you receive a Washer you MUST take a picture and share it with me via email as well.

The goal of this swap is to produce and receive little pieces of fibre art. Use beautiful yarns, colour combinations, and patterns.
Don’t feel pressured to use teensy little crochet cotton. Thicker cottons like Cascade Sierra, Debbie Bliss DK Cotton, and Malabrigo Organic Cotton make great washcloths. Have fun!

Postage + Envelope: 
To keep the cost down with this Swap you will only be sending 1 washer and 1 small ornament and you will be able to fit it into a large envelope for Postage that should not exceed $3!
You are more than welcome to add a little card for your partner but that is totally up to you and not compulsory

Lastly, to join in with this Xmas Swap simply comment on this blog post and email your address to jellywares@bigpond.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

traditions?

I can't stop thinking about Xmas lately and am super excited to be introducing the 'Elf on the Shelf' tradition into our home this year.... The excitement will begin on the 1st of December and I'll be sure to fill you all in on our adventures with our little elf as they happen! 

Do you have any particular Xmas traditions that you like to do as a family? Tree up on the 1st of December? Advent Count Down? Decorating your home - inside or/and out? I'd love it if you shared them with me... :)

In the mean time I've been hooking up a treat, making little ornaments to adorn our 'stick' Xmas tree that takes pride of place in the middle of our dinning table over the Xmas period. 
crochet ornaments 2 
This little pattern was super easy and each ornament took no longer than 15mins each. 
crochet ornaments 1 
I'm using some gorgeous new 4ply cotton and a 3mm hook for these ornaments and if you'd like the pattern the details are complimentary with each cotton yarn purchase... 
4ply cotton 
So, if you'd like some of this gorgeous cotton yarn to make some Xmas-y themed ornaments of your very own you can simply send me an email to jellywares@bigpond.com or pop onto my Facebook page here! note : : stocks are limited!

I couldn't help but share this picture with you all?!! 
connie 1
My eldest girl, Connie, helping out in the sheep yards this week with her favourite cat 'Foxy'.... I sure do love this girl to bits!

So..... Have you made a start on your Xmas crafting??


** red cotton now SOLD OUT!**

Monday, November 18, 2013

preserved pears...

WOW!!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would get a response such as the one that I did from my last post... Thank you all so very much! Your gorgeous and kind words have given me a much needed burst of life and a renewed love for my poor ol' blog... I do enjoy writing my posts and now that I know people are actually out there reading it and willing to comment I feel so much better... I am slowly, but surely, getting around to replying to each and every comment - I've loved reading them so once again - thank you very, very much!!! 

You know that big box of Orchard Fresh Pears that I was gifted back here??? Well, last week I turned them into the most amazing preserved goodness    E V E R ! ! !
pears 1 
After the gorgeous Jane from Shady Baker emailed me a simple yet delicious recipe for poached pears I got to thinking..... This would be amazing if I could bottle it!!??
pears 2 
So.... I cored, pealed, and chopped/sliced about 5kg's of pears, made a light sugar syrup, added some of my favourite spice (cinnamon quills), put it all together in a big pot, boiled it, bottled it, then popped it in a water bath for approx 1/2 an hour...
pears 3 
Then, after a day in the fridge they emerged as the most perfectly, sweet, crunchy, succulent pear segments. I think I can safely say they are the best I have ever tasted!
pears 4 
We've been eating them straight from the fridge on their own, with fresh egg custard as a dessert, drizzled over creamy vanilla ice-cream - just because, and on my favourite breaky cakes too!
pears 5 
But, you know who loves them most of all??? My littlest guy, Tobie! And for me that's a win-win, right!!!
pears 6
So..... Have you preserved anything this week??

note : : if you'd like my preserved pear recipe simply send an email to jellywares@bigpond.com and I'd be more than happy to share it with you... :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

are you reading my posts?

Hi there, I know that I blog as a way to brighten my day and sometimes forget that there actually might be more then say, a handful of people out there reading my posts as I very rarely get more than half a dozen comments. 

Even though I'm blogging as a way of personal release there's nothing better than receiving feedback. I've been thinking that maybe I should ditch this little ol' blog and put my time into some other form of 'release'.

So, what makes you take the time to leave a comment on someone's blog posts? How do you find/follow me? 
sheep
(Photo from yesterday in the sheep yards. What can I say? I love this little guy to bits!)

If you wouldn't mind, could you just leave a quick comment below letting me know what you think? Just a one answer response would be perfect!

THANKS :)


Monday, November 11, 2013

a recipe : : breaky cakes

We are  B I G  breakfast eaters in my home with 5 out of 7 mornings usually consisting of a cooked one - poached eggs, omelette's, bacon and fried eggs, scrambled eggs and home-made baked beans... You get the picture... 

But, every now and then the girls and I like something a little on the sweet side and that's where these super quick and easy 'Breaky Cakes' work a treat... 
cakes 1 
This morning we enjoyed (from left to right) pear, muesli, and banana in our breaky cakes... The pear and muesli I simply spoon on top but the mushy banana I like to mash up and mix through.
cakes 2 
For the pear cakes I simply peal and chop 1 pear and place a good couple of tablespoons of the fruit on top of my base mixture before baking.
cakes 3 
For the muesli cakes I practically do the same, spoon a good couple of tablespoons on top before baking - you could even have both fruit and muesli on the 1 cake, I like to keep them separate as I have one girl who loves pear and 1 girl who just loves muesli....
cakes 4 
Yum-o, look at that gorgeous muesli!! Fresh from the oven these are the perfect breaky treat! 
This muesli was a gift from the gorgeous Jane - my bag is almost empty Jane and let me tell you, it has been the most amazing Muesli I've tasted, sweet and chewy and crunchy and simply delicious all at the same time - thank you so very much... xx
cakes 5
If you'd like to try some of these Breaky Cake's at your place, here's the recipe.....


BREAKY CAKES

ingredients : : 125g melted butter. 1 1/2 cups of plain flour. 3/4 cups of sugar (any will do; white, brown, raw, etc). 2 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup. 2 Tablespoons of milk. 2 eggs. Fresh fruit, dried fruit or muesli.

method : : combine melted butter, sugar, milk, honey (or maple syrup), eggs, and flour in a bowl and mix to combine well (if you are making banana cakes stir through 2 mashed bananas now!).

Spoon mixture evenly into a greased 18 hole muffin tin. Pick out a flavour you'd like, pear, apple, sultana, cranberry, apricot, peach, nectarine, muesli, etc. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of your 'flavour' on top and bake at 180'C for approx 15mins - all ovens are different but your cakes should be a lovely golden colour when cooked.   

Serve hot from the oven with a pot of fresh tea!!


Are you big breakfast eaters in your home? What's your favourite thing to eat for breaky? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

made-by-hand : : snow flakes

I'm joining in with Christina's made-by-hand 'meme' again this week...

With less than a couple of months til Xmas, this week I made a start on some crochet ornaments...
stars 2
With only 3 rounds in each they were a super quick project, taking less than 10mins each!
stars 3 
So, I've been thinking.... This year I might just have to add one of these super cute little ornaments to my Xmas cards when I send them out to share the love...
stars 1 
Have you started thinking about your Xmas card's for 2013 yet? Do you even send out cards? 
What about Xmas crafts.... Have you made a start on any of them yet???

Here's the details for my 'snow flakes' - just in case you're interested...
stars 4
Have a gorgeous weekend... :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Routine....

Last night, while my home was all quiet, I got to my usual evening cleaning routine - clear off the bench, wash up the dishes, pick up whatever the kids have left laying around, tidy the sitting room, put on some washing (hang some out too), sweep the floors, etc.......

Although most days my cleaning is some what rushed, every now and then I get in a little rhythm, put some nice music on, and really clean things up... I must confess, I'm really not that good at the whole 'cleaning' thing - oh how I wish I was though!!! I'm more inclined to be out in the garden or helping in the sheep yards, much more my style... But, I do love me a clean home - don't you???  
fruit 
above : : my kitchen table at the end of the night

..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

We've had visitors here on the farm over the past 4 days. Just down the road from where they live in Victoria is a gorgeous little Orchard and we're lucky enough to be gifted boxes of fresh fruit each time they visit... The 5 kg's of apples are almost gone but I still have a box full of pears.
pears 
Got any good ideas for Pear recipes or preserves???  

.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

I love my mornings, after breaky the kids and I head outside to the vegetable patch. We water and weed and fertilize and plant and generally just hang out until it's time for school to start (about 9am)... This morning we were super excited to finally see some fruit on our Zuchinni and Cucumber plants....
zuc cuc
Won't be long now and we'll be adding 'harvesting' to our morning routine too...

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

So........

Do you have a morning or evening routine? 
Do you like to wake up to a tidy home or do you work better in the mornings? 
Do you like spending your time inside or out and about??? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Garden Share Collective : : November

I'm joining in with 'The Garden Share Collective' this month - for the first time, ever....

Although it feels as though I have a lot going on in my vegetable patch(es) at the moment when I write it all down in lists of 'planting' and 'harvesting' it doesn't seem to be that much going on at all, really...

I guess I'm actually watching quite a few things this month and come next month I'm hoping the magic will really happen and I'll be harvesting my beautiful bounty...

Watching
Cucumber
Radish
Corn
Lettuce
Beetroot
Tomatoes
Beans
Grapes
Passion-fruit
Coloured Chard
Carrots
Zuchinni
Propagated Grape Vines
nov garden 1 
nov garden 3
Harvesting
Lettuce
The last of our Peas in the Pod and Snow Peas
Beetroot
Rocket
Sage for drying (and cooking fresh)
Numerous Fresh Herbs
nov garden 2
Planting
Climbing Beans
Radish
Lettuce
More Basil
Parsley
More Tomatoes
More Zuchinni
Capsicum
Chilli
Olive Trees
Propagated Grape Vines
garden 3
To-Do
Make more Mulch
Collect Sheep/Cow/Horse poop from the yards and paddocks
Apply Sea-Weed Fertilizer every 10 days
Transplant Tomato seedlings
Transplant Beetroot seedlings
Make Tee-Pee's for my Tomato plants


Things to Note
- my Radish and Zuchinni seedlings did not respond to replanting very well this past month and I lost half of them. I've planted more directly into garden beds and they are doing great.
- baking soda and washing liquid diluted in water makes an awesome pest/bug spray for Cucumber and Zuchinni plants!
- Rattle Snake Beans only took 4 days to germinate.
- we have had NO RAIN this month!!!

Seed Swapping
I currently have oodles of 'Peas in the Pod' seeds to share - saved from 2012 and 2013.
I am looking for some squash seeds to plant in my garden this month
Email me at jellywares@bigpond.com if you'd like some pea seeds - or if you have some squash seeds that you'd like to share with me.

Be sure to check out more fantastic gardens here....