Sunday, February 16, 2020

Living Lightly Seed Saving Talk

Well I am back and for those who missed me last week I was very sick with flu and spent most of my time doing nothing but sleeping and coughing. I do remember that it rained solid as well. Finally this week though I am back on my feet. Had my infusion as ordered, even though I had to put it off a week, started back at embroidery class, and choir also, so feel the beginning of normal routine is happening.
Today I did my final talk, on Seed Saving, so part of last week was getting notes together.
This was held at Woolgoolga Community Garden and due to the rain all week, not many turned up although it was a lovely day, and this suited me just fine.

Members Beds

Woolgoolga's new pavilion from a distance.

It is a large area in an Industrial estate, with an equally large pavilion.

The compost bins were very impressive, the soil looked great.

I tried out a new gadget which makes your voice louder. A battery operated thing and it worked fine. It belongs to our community garden and will help those throw their voice in our pavilion.

Members beginning the set up.

I made it a hands on workshop after explaining the history of how our current seeds came to be.

Sorting out all the stuff

John helped out by handing out seeds for them to pull apart and put in envelopes.

Busy sorting lettuce seeds.

All in all I think it was a successful day. I was exhausted when I got home, and slept on the couch. It has been a hot sticky day as well,with no rain, for the first time in days. I need also to spend some time now, getting my health back to normal, as I realised I have very little energy.

They look interested.

Explaining how this pumpkin had been cross pollinated.

As usual there was a bearded dragon running about.

And my favorite dog breed.

I have had all sorts of seeds floating about the house, so now it is time for me to sort everything out and probably toss a few out of date and start fresh for this year.

Till Next Time.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Brisbane Trip

We drove up to Brisbane this week to see my Rheumatologist, who has moved there from Coffs Harbour. A bit of a pain but not much alternative and it is only for every 6 months. Good excuse to call in at Ikea for some great kitchen knives they have, and a Yarn store for some chocolate brown wool which is quite hard to find.

Although my blood tests are settling down Dr. wants me to start back up on my infusions, sadly also he has recommended that we don't go to Vietnam in November, due to being  Immunosuppressant. Hows that for a big word! Means my immune system is compromised and basically for  Vietnam you have to have at least 3 vaccinations which may not take for me, so that means I have to have more blood tests to see what percentage, then maybe another lot to boost what you just had, 6 months later. 
It is recommended that most people only drink bottled water or alcohol. No salads as they are washed in tap water which has a few nasties like typhoid. Cooked meals only. etc you get the drift. Mosquito viruses are also a problem.  So I have cancelled the trip. Very disappointed.

Chook roaming area.

While in Brisbane we stayed with our niece. Her vege garden is looking great. Still a bit of work to do, but the fruit trees my sister and I  helped choose are coming along nicely. Nice to see chooks again, who just love roaming around the area they are allowed in as well every afternoon.

The 3 big raised beds are all covered now, which is great. Her seedling area is still producing.

We were given a branch from a yellow frangipani, which I will plant in a pot to start with. Plus some lovely eggs, and mangoes off the tree next door for my sister.

Just a quick trip, but great to get away.  

Till Next Time.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Potato Digging and Surviving Summer.

As far as I was concerned another hot week here, so air conditioning was in order. I did end up at the dentist 3 times though, did a bit of shopping, visit to mum's as usual, more sewing dolls of course and watching a bit of the Australian Tennis  Competition. Not a terribly exciting week.
My helper Einstein.

Finally dug up the rest of the potatoes, along with Einstein's help. He never leaves me alone, if I go to the kitchen he follows, back to the couch, into the garden, sweep the floor, he follows. A couple of times I have tripped on him, which worries me. Anyway early one morning, dug up all the potatoes left or emptied the pots. Below were from the front. I was a bit disappointed with the results, but they were from ones that started in a drawer, combined with the unusual weather as well.

The rest were from the back about 6 large pots.

These had lots of tiny ones, but so far have had two meals from them and 2 more at least to go. Big ones still left. They were originally from seed potatoes, but went to flower very quickly, again I blame the weird weather and smoke haze, we had for weeks.

Originally I was going to bottle them, and decided to do a survey on one of the Home preserving forums I belong to. Some liked them "canned" as you have to pressure cook them, others bought ready made tinned ones from supermarkets, and others hated the taste, and freezing as mashed or lightly fried as chips was better. Home made out did commercial tinned ones. In the end didn't do either as so hot, couldn't bear the thought of standing peeling, or blanching what ever method I chose etc. I can't explain why, as I am not doing a great deal physically but feel worn out all the time. Ha Ha can I blame the weather again?

There was a wild wind storm this past week which knocked the net around over the last of the tomato bushes. I picked the final lot of them yesterday so now will clean all of this up.
Netting ripped and blown about, squash gone berserk.

 In the meantime the capsicums, silver beet ,eggplant and Bok Choy are surviving well.

Silverbeet and Eggplant
Bok Choy ready for picking.

The tomato I pruned a couple of weeks ago has re grown well  with tomatoes growing, which I will need to cover against fruit fly. In Coles this week tomatoes were $4.50 kg. so worth saving.
The carrot and beetroot seedling  experiment didn't do well. The water dried up a couple of times, and as it is a week today have decided to throw out, in the garden just in case, and start again. This time I will try sprouting on paper in a bag, and hopefully when sprouted still get the seeds into some cornflour gel.

Tomato regrowing.

The trades person to tidy up our backyard came as promised but in the end decided it was all too much work, especially with limited access to a machine.He did suggest a name for a plumber in order to put an inflatable tank in the pool and then cover it to grass over, and to just get a concreter in, to cover pavings and all, which means raising up the brick edging another layer to maintain the height we have all ready.

He happened to be an inspector  for house sales and pointed out a lot of retaining wall problems with land settling. I don't think John agreed, but this is advice he would give a client to lower house costs.
I got the impression though he didn't want to fix any of it anyway, as just too hard. More of a business that has great access, and basic areas where he could push dirt around. We do need to get it to a saleable condition though, whether we sell or not. I don't think constantly spraying weeds every 2 weeks with a vinegar mix is the way to go, and roundup is just pure poison.

Till Next Time.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Taking it Easy

Good and bad news this week, sadly I can not go to the Embroidery Expo in Brisbane as that weekend I have a talk on seed saving, at Woolgoolga Community Garden. This is a paid workshop and as this is funding my doll adventure, need to do this. There is always the Stitches and Craft or similar we could visit, later in the year.

Good news is I finished bottling the tomatoes with blitzing them as well as adding onion and garlic, then adding a variety of herbs like rosemary, paprika, thyme, and a couple of stock cubes. Ended up with 6 bottles of thickish mixture. I still kept a third back for eating, so did well I think.

Other than that, because it has been so hot, been concentrating on my dolls and embroidered cloth which I hope to finish in a week or so as  I assume class will start beginning Feb. after Australia Day. I also have been sample knitting little jackets, in cotton 4 ply, and now need to steam block them.

Knitted in cotton for different size dolls

I have been trying a new face for a much more sculptured doll that I didn't like the face to. This one to me has appeal, I shall see once I get some hair on her. I am rather liking the embroidery for the eyes, although it takes more time, rather than beads. It is very relaxing.

My next doll is in felt, and smaller, which will be unusual for me, as I haven't worked with  felt before, and it arrived this week.

I have ordered some different material as well a Kona Cotton, for yet another type. Chasing all this stuff down does take time, so hopefully it will pay in the end, otherwise when I am gone the Children's Hospital will get a great donation in dolls lol. Love making them.

 Yesterday and last night we had a great deal of rain, so I hope you also got it in your area. Would be lovely to see the drought break but I don't think that was it. At least the tanks partially filled up again.

Beetroot on Left Carrots on Right.

I am experimenting with some seeds, by putting in water till sprouted then mixing up a gluggy  cornflour paste, and combining the seeds with the cold mix. This is then put in a zip lock and cutting a hole in the corner then squeezing it along a row in soil. As the seeds are already sprouted should just start growing. We shall see, and will keep you informed.

Tomorrow we are expecting a landscape guy to give us a quote on fixing the back yard up. That should be interesting!!!$$$

Till next time.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Tomatoes, Tomatoes,Tomatoes

Only a short blog this week as it has been such a hot week that I have stayed in our  air conditioned lounge room for most of the time. Good news is I am feeling much better and finally given up the prednisone tablets, which was a real worry for me. Slowly I am getting some energy back as well, although being careful not to go mad and do too much.  The methotrexate is finally starting to work thank goodness.

My Little Nest Area

I have been working on the dolls, mostly, but also the tomatoes have been picked, and one bed cleaned. Soon it will be time to think about cabbages again, in fact I could plant them now, well seeds anyway, but with water restrictions might hold out till February.

Left two tomatoes that started to sprout again and cut the rest back. Basil is very healthy.

These  two areas  also need cleaning up.


So this week I had better sort out the tomatoes, trouble is I have enough puree, bruschetta, relish, and frozen and I don't need sauce.

Still in the fridge

Picked yesterday

Bought home by John  from the community garden today.

At this stage I am thinking of blitzing 2/3rds of them, adding citric acid, and boiling the mixture down a bit, to thicken. Then bottling it in my small jars seeds and all. This I can then use for anything that requires a tin of tomatoes so to speak.

Have to laugh at the potatoes, John has been bringing this amount home weekly so I haven't dug all of mine up, I have a feeling some have sprouted again. Never before have I had so many potatoes.

Other than visiting mum every week, I haven't left the house for anything else, since Christmas, so today we went and saw Jumanji at the local theatre as they had a special of $9 on the tickets. Really enjoyed it. There was a hint in the credits with a trailer that there will be a No.4 as well, which is something to look forward to.

My sister found out there is an Embroidery Expo in Brisbane next month so we have lined ourselves up to go. If anyone is interested this is the web site.

So that's it, for now.  Till Next Time

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Slow Week

It has been a bit of a struggle this week to find the energy to do anything. I cannot decide if it is my health or just the weather or a bit of both. It is still taking a couple of hours first thing to move around and my kness are still painful. Will be interesting to see what my blood results will produce in 2 weeks. What a worry all these fires have been as well. My Brother in Law  and wife are still hovering in Bega and thinks his house is ok in Quaama  NSW as the fire came up to the walls,  but definitely knows he has lost a 2nd car, caravan, trailer and all the land on his large block. Hopefully this coming week they will be allowed back in. Luckily there has been a cool change, that has calmed things down a bit, but NSW and Vic are still in a lot of strife.

This lack of energy and going to our TV room where there is air conditioning has given me a good chance to work on the dolls for the shop. I finished one and really pleased with it.

It has taken a while with embroidering the face and getting to know this pattern with not much time over Christmas/New Year, but finally getting to spend every day doing a little bit.

Over the past 4 months I have been trying out a lot of different body patterns, the heads are the hardest to make a doll cute and saleable, but slowly getting to what I like. I am adding ears and a bit of sculpturing to this particular pattern.

I like using the embroidered eye system so will try doing this on different shaped heads on different bodies I have experimented with, and see how that goes.

One of several experimental bodies.

 The smoke is again over the garden today and we are now only watering on odd number days. We are picking approximately 12 tomatoes every 2nd. day to the point I think I  had better do something with them but can't think what. We have enough puree,relish and bottled ones now from last year. Also the chilli plant which is only small has been producing well. They are really hot too, and I think John will make some sweet chilli sauce with them, hopefully a tomato one lol. Anything hot or super vinegar pickles is his domain as I don't eat it. 

I really don't enjoy this time of year the heat and humidity gets to me, especially now while I get control of RA. When I get enough energy, the tomato plants can come out. Once the temperature gets to over 30 they don't produce any as too hot. I could still put in some young ones just to grow but will wait till February for that, which is also the time to think about cabbages, more carrots, lettuce, bok choy. The potatoes aren't all dug up yet as they stay fresher in the ground till we need them.

I also have a long list of projects to do from decluttering, clothes,books,objects to big renovation projects, but it is all too hard at the moment. 

Mum had another fall this week, and I think both my sister and I are just waiting for her to go. We visit every week, but she is getting weaker and weaker and needs help just to stand up to hold her walker, then she is off constantly going round and round the halls. Her eyes though show nothing.

Prayers go out to all those who need it in these fires.

Till Next time.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Year Ends 2019

Two more days as I write this and 2019 will end. From what I read about the rare lineup of planets, for 2020 the astrology world is very excited about what good things next year will bring. The end of many situations and new beginnings seems to be the theme. When I look back on my 2019 I will certainly glad to see the end of it.

Another Christmas has come and gone and I hope everyone had an enjoyable time. We spent breakfast and present opening with the  local grandchildren. So much squealing and chatter to be enjoyed.

This then was followed by our lunch at home, with my sister and partner, and our eldest daughter and youngest son. Six salads, cold roast lamb, ham,  plum pudding and cherry pie.

Boxing Day is a family tradition to go see a movie and this year it was the last Star Wars one, at our very packed local theatre.

The next day we celebrated our youngest son's birthday, who turned 40 this year. As usual we go down to the river, and always there is a game of darts. We were joined by this time with the Sydney grandchildren, and so nice to have all the family around me, that is except for our youngest daughter in America who celebrated with her husband, Christmas in their new house. So new they haven't had time to get furniture properly yet, but managed to buy a table so 4 of their friends could help celebrate.

Family at large in the river.
We hired a shed for the occasion
Our make shift dart board area, worked really well.
It was a lovely day not too hot, and a slight breeze. The two other Sydney children left the next day for home, while I got the house back into order. I also have put my new Mini Happy Planner together for next year, and trying to get my hardanger cloth finished before the year is up, so then I can concentrate on making cloth dolls for my shop.

I hope you all had had a wonderful time and looking forward to 2020. Happy New Year everyone.

Till Next Time.