Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Things that seemed to entertain the children today.

Lyssie found Emme's quilt and played 'mud' on it, which basically involves jumping in the mud- not exactly sure that is what my sister had in mind when she was designing and making it!

Emme couldn't believe her luck when she discovered a swing for Lambie when she pulled hard on the straps at the back of the high chair- he has had the best afternoon!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Homemade Presents

Before I get started I just have to share today's great garden disaster! I Finally had an hour to myself in the garden so headed out to pull out some old spinch and give the bed a good dig ready for some more zucchinis. Anyway, I was digging away and then there was something on my fork that wouldn't shake off- a lovely big frog I had managed to dig up and stab right through the middle- it was a little distressing!!

I remember reading or hearing earlier this year from some great chef (but can't remember who unfortunately) about oregano being the only herb it is better to use dry then fresh. That got me thinking how it would make a nice little present for friends- and something I could actually do myself. So here is my first go. They look so pretty when you first hang them up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Broad Beans

This year I planted two varieties of broad beans. The one on the left is aquadulce and the one on the right is crimson flowered broad beans. The aqualuce was definitely a more prolific grower with a lot more pods that where quite big compared to the crimson flowered, but the crimson flowered far outweighed the aquadulce in flavour and texture and colour. Ian said they were almost edible (he has had a few for dinner lately). I think next year I will only grow the crimson flowered broad beans, although I just looked on the Digger's Club website and they won't be available till July next year.
Our favourite way to eat them
First, peel, boil and then peel beans again.
Fry off some garlic, speck and onion, add the beans with a little chicken stock and simmer till the liquid has gone. Really nice with pork chops.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Bench, Nice Playing and a Finished Shed

I managed to pop into our local antique shop on the weekend while Emme was asleep in the car and Lyssie and I found this fabulous little bench for the veranda for only $45!! Perfect for little girls sit and have afternoon tea or put on their shoes.

The girls were out playing after dinner last night and I came out to find this- it is so nice to see them actually playing and interacting nicely without assistance.

And finally the shed is finished! (It has been for about 10 days, but have been a bit slow to blog it.) In a few weeks we are having the sleepout and office rebuilt so I really need to get onto cleaning them out and moving them into the shed for a while.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little Miss Three

On Monday, our little Lysbeth turned 3.

Of course we had a cake.

We tried to get a photo of 5 little cousins together- bit harder than we thought it would be!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Lyssie has been busy shelling broad beans today. I think she might be busy tomorrow as well- there are till bucket loads out in the garden to pick.

Now we just have to work out what to do with them! Lots of dips and pasta's coming up, I am guessing lots of blanching and freezing too!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The New Garage

The beginnings of the new garage behind the house. Ian, his father and brother laid the cement pad last week.

Lyssie supervised over the fence- she really wanted to be out there with them.

This is where it was up to yesterday afternoon.

Emme in the garden, busting out of her sisters clothes from last summer- she won't be two for another 6 months.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tomato Planting Day

The kids managed to get up well before six this morning so I had plenty of time to head out to the garden and plant the tomatoes before Ian went to work. Slowly over the last month or so I have been preparing where the tomatoes will grow this year. As it is a new spot just outside the fenced vegetable area Ian voiced how he wasn't going to help as they had escaped, but as usual he helped and put up a nice sturdy fence to weave them through (he likes complaining about the size I want things, but really does enjoy being involved and the great produce we get to eat all year long).

Finally I am starting to take into account what has and hasn't worked well in the past when it comes to choosing varieties and not just putting everything in. This is what I have come up with:
-1 cherry yellow
-1 cherry orange
-2 cherry reds
- 2 Tigerella
-2 Black Russian
-1 Green Zebra
-4 Amish Paste
-5 Grosse Lisse

The Grosse Lisse, Tigerella, Black Russian and Green Zebra I have grown before successfully and all have different uses in the summer kitchen, the Amish paste is a new one I have wanted to try as I have read great things about it.

I also have some Roma tomatoes to plant but these will be done on a separate fence inside the vegetable patch. Last year the other tomatoes covered the poor Roma over, so I thought I would give it another chance without the competition.

This year I managed to grow the Grosse Lisse, Tigerella, Amish Paste and Black Russian from seed using Jiffy pots. I planted the seeds on the 20th of August- next year I think I should start them about the first of August as I think they would benefit from potting on and getting a bit bigger, hopefully they will be big enough for this year. In the photo above they are catching some sun to harden up before planting out.

This is my new tomato fence that runs along behind the vegetable garden. It now has a thick layer of pea straw along both sides of it and 18 tomatoes planted along it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Potatoes and Artichokes

My new potato bed that Ian made early in July is thriving!

Here is the potato variety in each row and when it was planted (from left to right)
-Kipfler 27/7
-Red Norland 27/7
-Delaware 27/7
-King Edward 5/8
-Sapphire 5/8
-Up-To-Date 19/8
-Royal Blue19/8
-Delaware 19/8

They have all been hilled up and mulched with pea straw with dripper hose reticulation.

Back in March I split my one big artichoke into 7 and was a bit worried about what I had done. To my surprise they have all taken and look fantastic- now all I need to do is work out when to pick them and how to prepare them! Luckily I have a friend who said she would help me out.
I think next year some of them might have to be moved as they are really cramped in, I have plans for a new vegie area in the garden so they might go in there.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mulberry Muffins

1 cup natural yoghurt
100ml canola oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put the above in a bowl and whisk to combine.

2 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder, sifted
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen mulberries

Mix together so the berries are lightly coated.
Add the wet mix and carefully fold together. Spoon into muffin tins and top each with a good sprinkling of raw sugar. Bake in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes.

This recipe makes about 12 and is perfect for the mulberries I picked last year. Might need to try it with some white chocolate next time!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Local Show

It has been a busy few days getting organised for our local show. Lyssie and I had our entries to prepare and I also had activities to organise for kids to do on the day (some simple craft really).

It was Lyssie's first year entering in the show and I think she really enjoyed it. She entered two sections, chocolate crackles and a vase of mixed flowers. She was very excited to win first prize in the chocolate crackles section. Here they are below.

I entered 12 sections on the day but it wasn't that hard as it was mainly things that I already have and require limited preparation like jams and silverbeet.

This is what I entered

Apricot Jam- First Prize
Jam, any other variety- Equal First Prize (I entered strawberry)
Chutney- First Prize (Tomato and Chilli)
Potatoes, 6 any variety- Second Prize (they were Royal Blue)
Pumpkin, 1 only, any variety- First Prize (the variety was triamble and it was 10.1kg)
Silverbeet, 1 bunch
Collection of Vegetables, at least 3 varieties in a basket- Equal Second Prize (there was only three and they all looked pretty similar and fabulous)
Collection of herbs, at least 3 varieties in a basket- First Prize
Loaf, any variety unsliced, suitable to butter- first Prize (I made a banana and date loaf again as it won last year, will have to blog recipe as it is really quick and easy)
Biscuits 2 varieties, 3 of each kind- Second Prize (passionfruit melting moments and chocolate fleck cookies)
Rose, 1 specimen
Perennial, 1 cut

Some of our entries ready to go

My basket of mixed vegetables with silverbeet, kale, curly pink kale, asparagus, beetroot, potato, purple romamesco broccoli, leek and broad beans

My basket of herbs with rosemary, garlic chives, thyme, lavender, mint, coriander, sage, Vietnamese mint, oregano and parsley

Passionfruit melting moments and chocolate fleck cookies

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lost Kids

The canola on the new block is looking pretty mint at the moment which is really satisfying after lots of hard work to prepare the paddocks- shame about the grain prices!! We tried to take some good pics with the kids yesterday which became a little difficult as the little one kept trying to make a run for it. Wouldn't take much to lose them in there.

Can you find two kids in this photo?
Can conclude from this exercise that neither of the kids have hay fever issues at this stage!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Father's Day Picnic

We had a lovely Father's Day picnic with some friends on Sunday at our favourite spot on the new block. The big kids loved playing hide-and-seek in the bush and the the edge of the canola. Emme loved the freedom of the bush and spent the afternoon rolling around in the grass and looking at trees (and eating rocky road).

Playing duck-duck-goose

Having marshmellows in sticks

Emme enjoying her rocky road

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pizza Scrolls

The basic idea for these came from the latest Donna Hay Kid's Magazine. They were really quite simple and very yummy. Also a good one for the kids the help with. I didn't have any buttermilk so simply used a cup of milk with a big spoon of natural yogurt in it.


2 cups plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder sifted
1 tsp salt flakes
1 cup buttermilk or milk with natural yoghurt

Place dry ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Pour in the milk and mix with a butter knife until combined. Turn out onto a floured bench and gently knead until smooth. Roll out until about a 30cm square, fill with your favourite filling and roll up tightly. Cut into about 10 even pieces and place in a lined baking dish. Bake at 190* for about 45 minutes or until cooked in the middle.

I filled mine really simply with tomato paste, bacon and a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I really liked the simple dough, it was very soft and really easy to work with, but next time I think I will use a basic pizza dough and use tomato, salami, olives and some roasted peppers with cheese!!

Did have a nice pic of the kids having their pizza scrolls for lunch, but it doesn't look like Blogger wants to play the game today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seed Potatoes

I received the seed potatoes earlier this week that I ordered from Tasmania a little while ago. Being in Western Australia it is often difficult to get tubers or bulbs from interstate for the vegie patch. I am yet to find somewhere that stocks more than one or two varieties of seed potato in WA so was very excited when I found Tasmanian Gourmet Potatoes with a huge variety list that can send to WA. I settled on 5 varieties after much deliberation.
  • Kipfler
  • Red Norland
  • Sapphire
  • Up-to-date
  • King Edward
After I ordered them I just happen to stumble across some Royal Blue and Delaware seed as well so I grabbed them too. So far Lyssie and I have planted the Kipfler, Red Norland and half of the Delaware as they had already started to grow. The others have been put in egg cartons on top of an old meatsafe to chit- have never worried about this before, but as it is so early in the season here I thought I would give it a shot.

This is the new garden bed for all our potatoes this year that Ian made us a month or so ago out of some more old sleepers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Garden Bed

Here is our new garden bed, the first thing you see as you come up to our house. It is not new entirely, we have just put the sleepers around it to build it up and define it. We pulled out lots of big shrubs and were just left really with roses and agapanthus and a lovely crabapple tree. (Forgot to take a before picture!!) I want this garden to be a low maintenance garden that really just needs a good chop and some compost each year with minimal changing of plants.When I have had a chance this week I have been transplanting bits and pieces from around the garden that will hopefully do a bit better than they have been. I have moved lots of irises that have been overgrown by shrubs- I can't wait to see what colours they are, will probably have to wait for next year to find out.Ian hard at work

We are very lucky that living on a farm useful resources are easy to come by. The sleepers use to be part of old pig yards that are no longer used, the steel rod was picked up at a clearing sale and we have oodles of compost made here on the farm from the pig shelters. I acn't imagine the cost of such a project in an urban area. Just little things like saws to cut the wood and steel weren't even a thought.

A good opportunity for Lyssie to ride her bike out on the 'road'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marinated Olives

500 grams meaty green olives (with pips)
a cup extra virgin olive oil
a few cloves sliced garlic
fresh sprigs of rosemary
splash of balsamic vinegar

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and warm through gently. Sit for a few hours at room temperature and warm again before serving.

Simple but delicious, I think the balsamic vinegar gives them a little kick and makes then stand out from other marinated olives.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seed Raising Experiment

Potting on some corriander and rocket- I think if they were planted now now the slugs would have a field day

I always grow plants that have big seeds such as pumpkin, peas, corn etc direct in the ground as well as some plants that have smaller seeds such as carrots, beetroot and radish. Plants that require to be planted out as seedlings usually end up being bought as seedlings. Over the past 5 years or so I have started many small seeded varieties including various brassicas and tomatoes in seedling punnets with only limited success- until now! I have been using jiffy pots that come as little pellets and swell when put in water- they are amazing.

Tuscan kale, curly kale and silverbeet potted on- this was taken a couple of weeks ago, they are ready for the garden now

Earlier in the year I did a little experiment as I was unsure if the extra cost of jiffy pots were really worth it. I started some kale and silverbeet in both jiffy pots and seedling punnets with a good seed raising mix. The jiffy pots germinated in half the time, developed their true leaves rapidly and were planted out into the garden weeks before the others were ready. They may be a little more expensive, but the results have spoken for themselves. I can't wait to try them out on some fun varieties of tomatoes and eggplants later in the year.

Part of my little experiment- jiffy pots definately work better for me!

Friday, June 26, 2009


My fist attempt at home made pasta- very pleased with it! Just have to work on having somewhere to dry it out of the children's way. I turned some plain sheets into cannelloni which the kids loved as well. Nice to find a simple dish that everyone will eat!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Bush Picnic

Sometimes you forget how much fun the simple things really are. When seeding finally came to an end we took the kids out to a patch of bush on our new block and had a little picnic (just piklets and coffee). They had a good wander in the bush and then helped pick some rocks that were pulled up when the paddock was seeded.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden Pictures- Finally!

Finally got outside with the camera while Emme had a nap this morning. We have had some lovely rains over the last week or two, so things are really looking nice now in the vegie patch and also around the farm. Here are a few snaps to show how the new seasons crops are coming along.

Aqualudulce broad beans at the back with garlic and a few leeks in front.
Sugar snap peas along a chicken wire frame with Asian greens, lettuces and rocket in front. Have been enjoying lots of salads and stir-fried dishes.

The artichokes I split up a couple of months ago all taken and are looking great. I have a new bed planned for outside the patch for next year- think they will need some extra space. Glad I live on a farm, don't think I would like to have my space limited!

English spinach, corriander and cabbages with Tuscan kale behind. I can see an eggplant on the left- must get round to removing them to put in the onions.

This is the outside fence that had the tomatoes were on, they have been replaced with a podding pea that grows to about 80cm high. It is called Lincoln and I got it from Vilmorin. It says the pods grow to 11 cm!! It is covered in some bird wire to keep them from stealing my seeds, some have already been replanted.

There is still oodles to do the keep the produce coming in, but I am happy with how much we are producing ourselves. Best I go and get something done while the kids are quiet.