Thursday, September 30, 2010



Today was the first day of sunshine and no wind. I planned to put the little seedlings into larger pots and then into the grow house to toughen them up before going into the veggie beds.

disaster2 Well, this week all plans seem to have gone out of the window. I had to go to work earlier than usual yesterday because at 1.30pm I had to go to a funeral service. This meant that this morning I had to go back and finish the work. Then a very dear friend arrived, distressed, so another couple of hours slipped by.

Finally, I gathered the necessary tools together and carefully carried the seedling trays out to the table. I put about 80 tiny tomato seedlings into the two larger pots, they were very small plants. I labelled them carefully and added a couple of zucchini seedlings and placed them carefully in my newly re-constructed grow house. I also added cauliflower and broccoli seedlings above them.

M’s grand-daughter was coming after school so I went inside to get afternoon tea ready and when she arrived we had a chat and I went up to the chook house to give them the apple peelings.

Which was when I saw that the whole grow house had collapsed on itself and that all the tomato seedlings (which I had carefully labelled this year) were covered under the soil from the pots. I could have cried. M had gone out with his grand-daughter and the dog but when they arrived home they came to see why I was on my knees carefully putting soil back into pots.

Naturally, M had to say it. “I told you it wouldn’t work”. It didn’t help my mood and if little D hadn’t been here I think that some very rude words might have passed my lips.

They had already said that they were going to cook dinner (which is going to be curried sausages – not a favourite of mine) and I dread what it will be like. Since moving in together M has been very content to let me do all the cooking. I think this might be the first meal that he has cooked in about 21 months and he’s never cooked curried sausages before!

I tried to make a couple of suggestions but as they were not appreciated I left the kitchen and came to type my post.

I think we might have to scramble some eggs later………


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oak trees & Fig & Walnut Loaf

oak tree4

The other day Laura from Our Wee Farm blog had a post that showed her wonderful oak tree already green in Northland New Zealand. I commented that our three were still bare here in far south Tassie. Here’s the proof.


Don’t let the blue sky fool you. When I took this photograph at 11am this morning, the temperature outside was 8 degrees C.


I did promise a photo of the Fig & Walnut Loaf that I made last Friday once I had cut it. So here it is after sampling it this morning for morning tea. (During which three different friends turned up one after the other – and the kitchen isn’t that big!)

cut fig & walnut

                                             fig & walnut loaf cut

The general consensus was that it was still a bit dry. It was recommended that perhaps sherry or whiskey poured through the cracks might help. I think that if I leave it wrapped up for another couple of days that it might moisten up sufficiently. If not, well we still have the duty free whiskey on hand!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fig & Walnut Loaf

fig & walnut loaf2 I’ve been in the kitchen baking again today. Another friend with a birthday, a significant number – 50 – but this loaf above isn’t the gift. This one is for M and me, and whoever else pops in for tea and/or coffee. There’s no dairy or sugar in this loaf, just flour, bicarbonate of soda, treacle, all spice, dried apricots, figs, raisins and walnuts. It’s cooling on the bench because once it’s absolutely cool I have to wrap it in glad wrap and foil and then leave it for two days! The smell is divine and very tempting but it is off limits to all!


Naturally I found the recipe on the internet, I’m beginning to wonder what I should do with  my library of recipe books now, as I usually just come straight to the computer these days. What have you done? Or do you still use your recipe books with all your favourites?

What I have made for my friend is a batch of Butterscotch Brownies which I’ve posted about before. The friend who received them last time is still talking about them! Once again, all thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog spot for that one. I also made some tried and true Anzac biscuits to go in the home crocheted shopping bag which I made which will also hold the pretty bowl I brought back from Bali.

This friend doesn’t know that we’re all going to be at the restaurant tomorrow night. Her mother has organised for her sisters to come from New South Wales and a few close friends to surprise her. My friend thinks that she’s going out for dinner with her Mum and husband. I’ve just had a thought, what if she reads my blog? It could ruin the whole surprise. So now, I’m not going to publish this until Sunday – just in case.

So whilst you’re reading this, can you pretend it’s Friday 24th September so that I don’t have to go back and change all of the above?  Thanks, phew that was a close one!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Get Rid of these so-called Toys!


THE mother of a nine-year-old boy badly burnt by cap gun ammunition has called for a ban on the explosive toys.

Kye B suffered excruciating pain when his trouser pocket full of caps exploded last week.
After buying a new set of ring caps from a supermarket, he shoved them into a pocket holding other caps and they burst into flames.
His mother Lynn, who was interstate at the time, received a distressing phone call.
"He rang me up and said 'can you buy me another pair of army pants?'," the Tasmanian resident said.
"I asked why and he said his others had exploded and caught on fire.
"I couldn't believe that caps would do that."
Kye, a Grade 4 Primary student, has been off school for a week.
In hospital to have his dressings changed yesterday, he recalled his frightening experience.
"It hurt after the explosion . . . and then it just went numb," he said.
His doctor, Tasmanian Burns Unit director Craig Quarmby, who supports the call for a ban, said Kye was extremely lucky he received immediate first aid.
A woman nearby came to his aid, pouring water on the wound.
"Any toy that has an explosive potential, whether it be cap guns or tiny firecrackers, when there is a mass of them they can do a lot of damage," Dr Quarmby said.
"People can lose fingers or have burns that are deep enough to require skin grafting, which not uncommonly results in contractures of the fingers meaning further surgery down the line.
"Ideally they shouldn't be sold due to the harm they can inflict."
He said it was unknown what caused the explosion, but said it could have been caused by friction, body heat or static electricity.
Kye's burns were unlikely to leave significant scarring.
The Festival IGA supermarket owner said all packets of caps sold in the store warned against putting caps in pockets and were labelled unsuitable for children under eight.
Tasmanian Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading director Chris Batt said his office had investigated the issue in the past.
"We are certainly interested in subsequent cases," Mr Batt said.
"We have a product safety committee and if there are concerns that products are dangerous to the public then there is the capacity to temporarily or permanently ban products."
Retailer Chickenfeed was fined $500 for contravening the Hazardous Goods Act after a similar cap gun-related injury in 2002.
A nine-year-old boy bought caps at a Claremont store which exploded in his pocket, causing burns to his left leg, left hand and fingers.
His injuries meant he could not wear pants for two weeks.
The Hobart Magistrates Court found a warning on the cap packet that caps should not be put in pockets had been partly obscured.
A study into cap gun burns in children published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2007 identified five cases of cap gun burns in five years at a New South Wales children's hospital.
The research, conducted at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, found recently produced caps may be more susceptible to spontaneous combustion.
The recommended first aid for burns is to apply cool running water for 15 minutes.

The reason that I have put this on my blog is because I am the woman mentioned in the article that went to Kye’s assistance. It was frightening enough for me to see this young boy with the pockets on his trousers exploding so I can’t imagine how he must have felt! Luckily I have my Senior Level First Aid certificate and knew what to do and I raced him down to the public toilets and told him to drop his pants! Now, not a lot of young boys would do that – particularly when he doesn’t know the person telling him to do it – but boy his pants were dropped quicker than lightening. I was holding his hand under the running water and trying to check his thighs for burns when the local pharmacy assistant walked in. I asked her to go and get the pharmacist as he would be able to assess how bad the burns were.

Anyway, Kye’s grandmother was called and she came to collect him and then take him on to the hospital, an hours drive away in Hobart.

So please, please tell all parents that cap guns or toys are dangerous. Burns hurt – a lot . I don’t want to see another child hurt in this way.

Despite this incident and my frequent requests, the caps are still on sale at our local supermarket……….


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trees in Pots

lime tree In the big terra cotta pot on the right is my delightful Kaffir Lime tree. Actually, it’s M’s but since moving in together eighteen months ago I have been caring for it. I think it is a lot happier now and keeps my friends and me in lots of lovely leaves for curries etc. and the tiny little limes, which don’t have a lot of juice, I throw in with my lemons to make marmalade. A lot of people seem surprised to learn that these little limes can be grown at all in far South Tasmania but so far so good. It won’t get any taller I don’t think but there is always an abundance of leaves and tiny limes so I think that’s fine.

The green pot on the left holds my cumquat which was given to me about six years ago as a house warming present. That’s the previous house that I lived in. I was very excited earlier this year when I saw blossom for the first time – along with the olive tree (not visible in this picture). But then a few days later all the blossom had disappeared off both trees and I have to say I did say some very rude things about the local bird population! But wait, there’s one sole cumquat surviving, very slowly growing and turning colour. So I’ll let you know.

trees in pots 

In the above photo, the large brown pot has the olive tree and the one behind, which can’t be seen very well, is a lemon tree. It’s a different lemon to the little tree in the garden I think. I can never remember which lemon is which. veggie garden And in the veggie garden we have garlic, lots of it, lettuce, Savoy cabbage, silver beet, rainbow chard, spinach, broad beans x 2 lots, celery and assorted herbs. The cabbages seem to be very long and are not “hearting” so the chooks have had a bit of a feast of those that have gone to seed already. They’re not complaining. I seem to have been lucky with regards to all the frosts that we have had this past winter but then when I had prior warning I would cover all the smaller plants with my tonic water bottle houses.

On Monday this week I planted some seeds to prepare for summer. They’re currently in the kitchen which is the warmest spot in the house on a continuous basis. This morning I checked them and wow, snow peas, sugar snaps and broccoli are already showing their little green shoots. I also put in three different types of tomatoes; Deuter Fleiss, Napoli Paste and Siberian Red; 4 zucchini seeds (I know, I know, I’ll regret that!); eggplant (I’m pushing for a poly tunnel); cauliflower; beetroot and little green squash.

I have yams and potato seed ready to plant, when I’m completely sure that we won’t have anymore frosts too. That could be next month who knows. I went online this morning and ordered more tomato seeds from my favourite company here in Tassie, The Lost Seed, so I’ll be doing more plantings next week. Finally this feels a bit more like Spring!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wind Damage – Noooooo!

hothouse Yes, this was last year’s little hothouse.


Not looking too good is it?


Very sad in fact.

When I pulled it apart I could see the broken plastic connections and a few holes in the cover. So, what to do, could it be repaired? Well, the only way to find out was to sort all the pieces out and have a look in the shed for tape or glue etc. I did find some very, very sticky tape which seemed quite strong, if not pretty, so I sat down at the table and pieced it all together again. M thought I had lost it totally, but I kept saying that if it works I’ve saved us $70!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                       taped hothouse right2

Ta Da!

The only problem is that after I had taped and re-erected the frame I discovered that the zip on one side of the cover is broken. But all is not lost, I’m still thinking about that one. Another bonus is that it did give me the chance to pull out all the weeds around the site and the chooks had a lovely time scratching around.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sunshine in jars

lemon ginger marmalade They’re probably not as yellow as sunshine should be but that’s because I used raw sugar instead of white sugar. I added ginger to the lemon marmalade and cooked it on the stove instead of in the microwave too. M has a “thingy” about micro-waved food. It was probably the easiest marmalade I have ever made, and the quickest.

I plan to give one of the little jars to a friend for her birthday, amongst her other little gifts, so I had to sample some today. I think it was pretty yummy so the jar will go in the bag of goodies after all. And with more lemons on the tree, I’ll be making more.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Use for Chicken Wire


British artist Ivan Lovatt creates amazing sculptures with chicken wire




And I had trouble putting a double layer on the chook shed – straight!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Winter – Back with a Vengeance

nectarine This little nectarine tree was given to us about eighteen months ago. M’s father grew it from a stone from his tree. This is the first time that we have had blossom on it. There’s only about five blossom but even that is exciting as some people have said that there’s not a lot of luck with fruit from a tree grown from a stone. It’s still very small and as you can see there’s a fair bit of weeding required around its base.

But will it survive this icy Antarctic blast for the next three days? I have been reminded this morning that this happens every year. The days start getting longer, the sun starts to shine and we think about preparing veggie beds for summer.

Then BAM, the weather changes and it’s back to Winter again. I already have blossom on my tiny Santa Rosa plum, three flowers on the wee apricot I planted last year and the pear tree buds are just starting to open. The peach that was planted last year has quite a lot of pink buds – will they all survive these icy gale force winds, rain and hail?


The girls in the chook shed are still giving me three eggs a day, despite the weather and they still all want to come out! NOW! They didn’t get out yesterday because I thought they might blow away and I had to go out to work all day. It’s even colder and blowier (!) today but no, they want out. Maybe later, if it eases.

apricot On another note, the big box of sunshine (see previous post) has been almost used up. A box went to my book group, visiting friends have all left with pockets full and three jars of lemon and ginger marmalade are sitting in my pantry. More on that in the next post……..

Jan (brrrrr

I’m not sure if you can see the hailstones in the photo – but they’re there!


Monday, September 6, 2010

A Box of Sunshine

lemons4 It wasn’t raining today, in fact it was a lovely sunny day. So I decided that it was time to relieve my tiny lemon tree of its fruit. A lot of the fruit had the powdery black dust on them so I had to wash them, all of them. Then I put them outside to air dry in the sun.


Of course the chooks now had wind of the fact that I was outside so a riot began in the chook shed until I let them out. They like the little lemon tree and probably thought that I was being mean to it.


This is the little tree on the right and it is a prolific producer. They are only small usually but quite sweet in a lemony sort of way. We have picked lemons as we have needed them all year but today I did a real harvest as more smaller lemons are still coming.

After all, there’s only so much gin and tonic two people can drink……….


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rain again for September

We’ve had about 50mms of rain in the last 48 hours. It’s a “wellies” required for a trip up to the chook shed only to see them looking miserable and bored. There’s a couple of leaks so it’s a bit damp underfoot but not too bad really. We haven’t had the damaging winds that other states have had, yet, nor an earthquake or floods, so I’m feeling pretty lucky if a bit housebound.

But then, I de-cluttered my bedroom yesterday and I’m so pleased with result. There’s more room in the wardrobe and cupboards and I was able to rid my room of the extra wardrobe that I thought I needed. All my “thin” clothes are packed away in my big red suitcase – I WILL FIT INTO THEM AGAIN! I am going to make a concerted effort to lose some weight this year as I really like most of those clothes. I have plans for all the family photo’s currently taking up far too much room on my cupboard. I’m going to take them out of the frames and make one large collage to hang on the wall. But I do like some of the frames too, sigh.

I’ve also got to hang a mirror as the only mirror in here went out with the wardrobe!

The next job is to de-clutter this computer………


Friday, September 3, 2010

Holy Snake Batman….

PICT0228 Nevyn recently had a post labelled “Snake Porn” and it was about her catching a couple of pythons in her garden being “very loving” towards each other! I don’t like snakes, I’ve had nightmares about them since I was a small child. If I see one up close it makes me shudder and almost feel sick. I have never touched one but did allow my then seven year old son have one draped around his shoulders on a school trip to somewhere. I did not want to pass on this phobia of mine to my offspring.

So when we were out with our Balinese host family on the second to last day at Puria Tanah Lot temple and this enormous snake was there for the photographing/handling, I stood well back. This is not me either in the photo or taking the photo – I’m somewhere behind a trillion people at the back of the crowd that you can’t see! And that wasn’t far enough away.

So when we wandered down to the beach and saw the sign to visit the cave with the “Sacred Snake” inside, I thought that I might also give it a miss. I could hear women squealing and laughing but resisted the offer to go and look. I envisaged another long, long, fat python.  As it turns out it was a very small black and white striped snake. What amused me to watch was the fellow at the front of the cave counting all his money that the onlookers had “donated” towards a peep at the holy snake. It kind of took the gloss off somehow.

I also resisted paying to go into the cave with the “Holy Spring Water” too. It was actually starting to sound like an episode from Batman.

I think every tourist on Bali was at Puira Tanah Lot that day'; it’s known for its beautiful sunsets over the temple.


That was as good as it was going to be as there was so much cloud, so there were quite a few dedicated camera enthusiasts packing up their tripods and disappearing in the dark!


We had decided to visit this temple as it is very significant to the Hindu family that was looking after us and they had not been there for over twenty years. And little baby Komon who is twelve months old had never seen the sea before. There are lots of fish ponds around the villa and he loves to watch the fish but when he saw the sea – wow! It was an absolute delight to see this precious bundle of joy just look and keep looking….. I thought I had a photo of him on the beach but no.

We later all piled into cousin Butu’s car and after one quick stop for some fried bananas arrived back at the villa as the rain started – torrential rain. We still sat outside under the Bale at the side of the pool as naturally it was still hot. Watching the rain dance on the water in the pool, with a cool Bin tang beer in hand, saying goodbye to all the frogs and lizards that had entertained us for two weeks was the best way to spend our last night in Bali