Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Never Again Pear Chutney!

I made pear chutney today. M had brought a recipe home from a woman that he is building a veranda for. He loves pears and we have two pear trees in the orchard. One of those trees is under threat as in two years there's only been six pears and they have dropped off before I could get them to ripen.
The other pear tree has two types, a green as shown in the picture and a brown pear. They have all got green spots which are brown and hard once peeled. It took me over one hour to peel, cut out the hard bits, core and chop just over 1 kilo of pears today. I was sticky, in a hurry and becoming more and more frustrated. Anyway, I added all the other ingredients and put the pot on to simmer. I rushed it so I hope that it's not too runny.
Meanwhile, in the garden the girls had been late producing eggs so I hadn't let them out for a run until just before 2pm. I had an appointment with a local business at 3pm to see if I wanted to do a few hours "paid" work for them per fortnight. So, at 2.55pm I tried to get the girls back into the chook shed. The two layers went in, I wouldn't say happily - there was a bit of a bribe in the pear leftovers. The youngest, Lulu, wasn't going anywhere near the shed. I made a quick phone call and apologised about being late and kept on trying. No dice. So then I opened the door to try and entice her in with some wheat - and the other two nipped out! So now all three are running off to the loose long grass for the bugs. I left them there and went to my appointment. I was only away for about forty minutes and on my return yes they were still there, strolling around. They hadn't even missed me!
I've just been out again and the same thing happened, Eddie and Thelma follow me but Lulu - no.
Then M came home from Hobart, looking tired, and the pair of us are chasing her around the yard, and it's a big yard. Eddie and Thelma are happily inside, eating and drinking, not a care in the world and Lulu is hiding behind the oak tree. I have come inside in disgust, muttering about feral hens and M is watering outside. I don't know whether she'll wander over to the shed as it gets dark or run away to London! Poor old Terry is stuck inside as I don't want him to think it's okay to get another chook to play with.
The saga continues......

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Have I mentioned M's little project before?
This boat has been in our yard for 12 months and a friends yard for the previous 3 or 4 years!
M loves projects. This is to be our apartment in Hobart (eventually). I'm sure it will be magnificent - if he only had the time to work on it! I'm not sure if the size of the boat comes across but it is BIG. There are 8 berths, well there will be. It's made from King Billy pine but it's not a sailing boat, it' a cruising boat. I just hope we can still afford the diesel when it's finished.
M is very talented with all sorts of things, it's the finishing part of the project that's the problem. But then you hear plumbers' partners complaining about no taps, electricians' partners complaining about no lights so I guess that M is just running true to form.
But I would like to get back on a boat soon.......

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I say Tomatoes

Well, after waiting for sooooo long, the tomatoes are now coming in very fast! I have Roma's, cherry tomatoes, Deuter Fleiss and the yellow ones (can't remember their real name). So today I cooked up 2 kilo's of them into tomato relish. I've never made relish before so I followed the recipe exactly. But it didn't thicken very well, even after I doubled the cornflour at the end! So I'm hoping that once its cool it won't be so runny. Otherwise it will be called tomato sauce!
And did it make a dent in the tomatoes that I have all over the kitchen - nah.
I am collecting two eggs per day now so I made a zucchini impossible pie (for the first time). Yes I'm still collecting zuch's, but I didn't have bacon so I added anchovies instead and how does this pie thing work? I was amazed that it had a base, just like a pie, but I hadn't put it there! Life is full of mysteries sometimes.
It's very windy here today so I'm keeping an eye on all the apple trees and I'll collect apples tomorrow that have fallen.
The roadworks are STILL happening, three weeks now and they reckon it could be after Easter before it's finished. The wind is blowing the dust into every nook and cranny and I'm now writing notes in the dust in the house to remind me to do things - like dust! The vibrations from some of the machinery are unbelievable and the constant beep beep from reversing trucks has lost its magic!
We had a couple of friends over on Saturday night to watch the election on television and still have fingers crossed for the Greens to gain that extra seat. But what a great result vote-wise for them anyway. I'm afraid to say there was a fair bit of carousing chez nous that night. Consequently Sunday was a trifle slow and lazy, but that doesn't happen very often.
On the work front we're still getting the odd call for insulation installation, but only small jobs so I'm very grateful that I have home grown veggies, fruit, eggs, cheese and all the other stuff that I have learned to make in the last six months. Plus, I have a stockpile so we're not going to starve any time soon.
And, I've been asked to do a couple of hours bookkeeping for a friend so I'm bringing in a bit of cash too. That makes me feel good.
I hope you week is great too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Meet Thelma and Louise (Lulu)

After standing at the doorway looking longingly at the outside world for a couple of days now, Lulu finally took that first brave step.
I have to admit that it might well have been me, raking the straw and doing a general tidy up that made it happen. There was a lot of squawking and wing flapping and then off she went.
Naturally the other two, who were already outside, had to come and see what all the fuss was about and I thought that they might just chase her back inside again. But no, they just wanted to have a sticky beak.
They all love this little lemon tree here, next to the plum and apple trees. The baby tree right at the front of the photo is a small Bay tree that I planted last year. It has more than doubled its size and M always remarks on it. They are meant to be slow growing but I can't complain with this one. The chooks spend hours scratching around under the lemon tree and then just resting, letting the breeze ruffle their feathers. The cat, Fiddle, is probably under there too. I think he's keeping an eye out for mice and rats. He did get a rat last week and left it as a present for us to find! The disposal of dead rats, I informed M, is definitely a "boy" job. With that he picked it up by its tail and buried it - somewhere. I didn't stay around to look.
We have the local skate park behind our yard, to one side, and today was the "Big Southern Skate Off". It has to be in capital letters as it has been very loud all day. The local council had a lot to do with it so there's never any trouble and one lucky skater will go home with the first prize of $500. I was almost tempted to get the grand kids skateboard out myself.
There's been an assortment of music, luckily not too much "doof doof" and only a sprinkling of four letter words, but I do wonder about the eggs that might be presented tomorrow. Eddie had created another shell-less egg today and after some discussion with M, I decided to follow his advice and boil it very slowly. Well, it looks like a hard boiled egg now so he can try it first!
Our street is still unsealed and the dust being created by passing traffic is horrendous. I was walking back from the shop and saw an approaching ute being driven quite fast by a young bloke which was throwing up clouds of dust behind it. I actually had to stop and turn my back to the road with my hands over my face for about thirty seconds. I think the blokes at the local garage saw what happened as about thirty minutes later, a water truck came along and sprayed the whole area about four times to try and settle it. Oh well, better late than never.
I'm feeling rather guilty today, M is outside working in the sun, laying pavers. He never seems to stop. I've just flitted about washing dishes, collecting veggies and apples that have fallen, fed the chooks etc. Definitely nothing too strenuous. I just don't like working outside in the sun, it's very fierce here in Tassie and it's easy to burn. We're all hoping for some rain soon.
Well it's time for the daily wheat snack for the girls so I'll go and shoo Eddie off my milk crate and try and encourage her to share the wheat with the others. She doesn't mind them eating it off the ground but they're no allowed to come and eat from my hand - yet!
Enjoy the weekend.... I am.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Still Shy

So it's Louise (Lulu) the youngest girl in the front, Eddie, the white leghorn (the matriarch) and Thelma having a little lie down. The pecking order is well in place now and the new girls haven't been allowed out of the palace yet. I have encouraged them (Terry locked in the lounge in the house!) but Eddie is denying them the pleasure. I thought I would let them try and work it out for themselves but.....
The other thing that might be putting them off is that the council is digging up the road, big time. You name the piece of heavy machinery and I've had it outside the front door from 7am every morning this week! The first day I thought that all my pictures would fall down and that the wine glasses would be shaken to tiny pieces. But so far so good and we are getting a bit blase about the whole thing. Except Terry, he howls every time the house vibrates!
I'm getting two eggs a day, the brown ones are considerably smaller than the white ones but that could just be because of Thelma being a fair bit younger. I'm sure that they'll taste just as good.
I have been so glad that I have fruit and vegetables in the garden. I haven't had to go to the supermarket for four weeks now. Naturally I buy milk locally but I have been able to feed us both with homegrown fresh produce. The eggs have certainly been a bonus and we had a half a happy cow in the freezer from our friendly farmer. (Not sure that the cow would be happy now but I do know that she had a very good life and death).
So with fruit, veggies, cheese, yoghurt, jam, bread, biscuits and a happy cow, all is well in the far south. So far........