Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tomato Paste and a New Tractor

Well the exciting news is that finally the new tractor mower has arrived at the community garden.
 John loves it and has mowed the whole garden to a park like state and now looks lovely.

  I started going again last Thursday, after 3 months off,just to clean out the bush house. At least half of the plants had died and with a helper we emptied all the dead pots and started putting them together in groups like herbs, flowers, plants for sale, succulents.

I also have an idea of having a major plant sale weekend in March, when John and I are doing a lecture on beginner gardening. To this end I have been putting in hundreds of seeds to get it going, I was going to bring it up at the next meeting.

  Today though I went back  in order to keep going on the bush house when the same man who was one of the reasons I quit as co-ordinator, came in and accused me of picking an unknown plant, growing up the fence. I didn't as when I looked at it last week with one of the ladies looking after that garden, thought it was maybe a watermelon vine.Unknown to me John had actually picked it, and spoke up eventually. Anyway after being accused of being a lier about 10 times, finger pointed at me and not even acknowledging me saying I didn't pick it, and being nasty at the same time final words were "you are not the co-ordinator anymore you know."

What!!!!!! Does this make me somehow not able to pick anything as a normal community member like himself. It is very upsetting, I was shaking and crying,  so I finished up what I started and  apologised to  my helper, and went home as they were serving morning tea at the time, and I coudn't cope with it. So that was my morning so far, and I am so not able to handle bullying very well.

Last week though I did finally use up all the tomatoes that were in the fridge. I have made a spicy relish, jars of buschetta, so this time I thought I would try Tomato Paste something I have never done.

This lot plus more were used.

I have a very large crock pot so the first day I put everything into it as I didn't want to stand over the gas making sure they didn't burn, so it stewed all day long safely while I started sorting the craft room. Next day I tipped it all into my largest pot, added garlic as well and blitzed it with the blender then continued boiling it down at a very slow rolling boil.

An hour after slowly bubbling.

Three  hours more it took altogether, I stopped at it quite thick but still with some liquid. There is no need for me to bring it to a thick paste like you buy, but it is perfect for pizza bases.

This then I put into sterilized bottles, 6 in all and then water bathed them for 45 mins. My Balls Book said to put in some lemon juice first, 1 tablspn to a pint bottle so for these little ones I did about 1 1/2 tspns.
Just big enough to cover with water saves me dragging out the large preserver.

 So now all tucked up in my cupboard.

This seasons tomatoes.

 I have started really cleaning up some of the gardens for the new season start in March but more about that next week. 

Till next time.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Fitting out the Craftroom.

I was trying to work my craftroom yet again this month into a usable functional area, for mainly scrap booking, but when you are making do with old 30 year, cupboards and drawers, left over from the kids, and an old table from goodness knows where, plus a long bench that was trying to compensate the rest, finally I called a holt.

This unit I kept, the cubes are 45cm, John made it, but holds way too much.

It has been frustrating for too many years, and I went to faithful Ikea after searching Pinterest for ideas.

The Kallax system being the most popular, which is a series of 35cm cubes, turned out reasonably priced as well. I then measured and planned what I wanted with Johns help, and  we ordered them on line to be picked up at Logan on the Gold Coast 4 hrs. away.
Rather than do this in a day, I then spent the rest of the evening checking out accommodation with AirB&B as it is far more reasonably priced and  enjoyable staying with people than expensive hotels.

This all happened last Monday and Tuesday the room was cleared out as best I could.Our eldest son took all the furniture for his workshop, to put all is tools in, which currently sit on the floor. As they say win win all around.

We traveled up Wednesday, only to come across an accident, which made  the trip slow. So much traffic on both sides, between the roadworks and hold up of  the accident. Luckily we left early and saved an hour with the Qld time of no daylight saving.

Looking towards the entrance

Taken from the door.
I would have liked to paint it again but most of it was covered anyway. Buying it also meant not waiting on John to build something. So that was started Friday.

The biggest unit is 5 cubes x 5 cubes.

On the entrance wall, the door just touches it.
While John was putting that all together I did all the drawers and doors. Some came with the system as it saved $50 and some we bought separately.

I must say it is very efficient putting Ikea products together, and can never understand why people find it hard.

As I have what is called a Scrap Rack full of little bits and pieces colour coordinated, it needed a table top to sit on.

The 4 x 2 cube  is the perfect height.

Two table tops also, 120 x 60cm and 100 x 60cm.  fit in the corner with metals legs that were $5 each.
The black drawer units are cloth and cardboard and much larger than those you get at KMart or Target etc. and at $5 ea. also, so I chose black, as white would get dirty, and red was defining the colour too much, I  wanted to add pink somewhere.

Black Cloth Drawers.

The big unit  looks great and I took some time with the configuration of all the drawers and doors.

Entrance wall
Opposite wall
We changed all the little racks on the walls and added a set of metal drawers to hold my cutters and tools. These drawers below, are also going to be put into the one John made as well, giving me 4 drawer height.

 These little drawers are being added and still to be put together. They will fit under the table.

Now I have to work out where it all goes, so much room, tripled the space and gave me a floor. Will take a while to get it filled right, and I might be able to fit in other crafts I have like jewellery making, and clear up some other areas.
Very, very pleased with it. The cost overall about $1000, worth every penny.
So what do you think?   Till next time.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hello 2019

Well what a year 2018 was, some I know will be glad to see it go. Having a blog though, allows me to look back on all the achievements we have accomplished in a year, and I must say I am quite pleased. There are times when I think nothing is done but yes I was busy.

For one thing the complete transformation of the front garden. It has gone really well, and the combination of cow manure and mushroom compost is the best thing. The tomatoes have done very well this summer.

Will keep end plants for a little while.

This end needs to go

 I am going to pull them up and plant maybe 4 or so more to see us out till winter, along with the 2nd group that are nearly ready for picking.

New Tomatoes, I Always cover them against Fruit Fly.

 The first lot of carrots were fantastic, the 2nd nearly ready to pull but do you think I can get a third going. I  know it is the heat they like the soil to be about 20C but with the hot winds and hot days, not consistent, and by the time 30C comes forget about starting anything at all in open ground. I have also been struggling with  climbing beans which is surprising.

Zucchinni and cucumbers have done well and again planted a 2nd lot of yellow zucchinni and about to set seed for more cucumbers. Surprisingly I picked a hearting lettuce like Great Lakes recently, just a one off thing which I thought woudn't do well, but even in the heat hearted so might try that again.

New Yellow Zucchinni

Cucumbers and Dill

Best of all the Hollyhocks are blooming.

First time in growing and seeds from my best friends 90 plus year old mother who still works her garden. They are huge but so beautiful.

Hopefully 2019 will also see me getting some projects finished. Finish knitting a cardigan, paint the verandah and bathroom painfully still ongoing, set seed for winter crops, changing the craft area with some Ikea cube shelving, hopefully next week, who doesn't like going to Ikea!!!!!!

Camping at Alice Springs, but also some more mini camping especially if we can take Einstein.
Oh and starting a painting as a surprise present for someone, and making some cards to sell. I am also looking at getting the pavers lifted in the backyard and replacing with concrete. Hoping that will eliminate the weeding between pavers. Lawrence the gardener has to fix the steps anyway and is working on a plan.

Picked today the last of the Potatoes.

 The community garden of course is still on my mind and still deciding what role I will play. I haven't noticed the free time as such as been busy with visitors, but once a routine is established for this year will maybe fit in some time for the bushhouse and starting seedlings etc. rather than digging and weeding, I need to do that here as things have gotten out of control to a degree.

Astrology wise 2019 is a year of new beginnings, creative expression, and the start of a 7 year cycle, of forward movement. Well I will certainly do my best, especially also that our mortgage finishes in 2 weeks.  I look forward to this new year. What are your plans?

Happy New Year everyone, and my your dreams come true.

Till Next Time.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmas Time 2018

Well it has certainly been a busy busy time this Christmas, with all 5 children home, plus partners and their children, 16 in total, we have been very busy going to one outing after the other. Our youngest daughter and husband flew in from California, and haven't been home for 3 years.

Both my sister's 2 girls and my children all visited our mum at the nursing home, followed by morning tea/brunch at our favorite restaurant near her, perched on the river. It was quite a bit overwhelming to have so many visitors, and we only stayed 30 mins.

Christmas Eve had us touring the local house lights, showing how some people go to a great deal of trouble. Lots of cars everywhere, doing the same thing as well. Does anyone else do that?



 Christmas day was spent having croissants with bacon,egg and tomatoes, to set us up for the day. We opened presents in the morning, from under our loaded tree, after all the very excited grandchildren arrived.
Presents stacked on top of each other.
 We took it nice and slow and had a couple of breaks as well, so we weren't finished till 1pm. So much laughter and ooooh's and aaaah's, and bags of paper afterwards. The quiet after the gang went home was amazing, and all 6 of us left spent some quiet time.

No lunch as we had eaten bits and pieces while opening the presents, I had to get the  nutella cheesecake and pavlova ready, which I had made the bases earlier, to take with us.

About 3pm we joined  the others and had a pleasant lunch under the pecan tree. It wasn't too hot and a nice breeze. Cold roasts of  lamb,beef, pork and turkey. Hot veg of pumpkin, new potatoes from my garden, and carrots picked earlier. Various homemade sauces. Lots of wine and laughter. As much as I would love to show all the family playing ball, eating etc. rule with children is not too.


We stayed till the evening, enjoying a board game.
Boxing day was another quiet one, cleaning up for me though and preparing for our 3rd. sons 39th birthday on the 27th. down at the river again.

Busy doing sausages and satay chicken. 

The kids supervised by all the adults went swimming while dinner was being prepared.

Our 2 daughters and John, showing off cameras.
Had to show mine lol.
The youngest daughter and husband are now flying back home to the USA as I type. Hoping 2019 we will Skype regularly as it is very hard not seeing them or participating in their everyday lives.

We are now on our own, mountain of washing done. No2 son  and family, is still here camping on the eldest's acre and we will get together for New Years Day, as well as see my sister for her 61st. birthday, on that day. The year has  certainly gone fast.

Time to make a New Years Achievement list, think of a Word For The Year to focus on, and relax.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and wishing everyone a Happy New Year for 2019.

Till Next Time.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Pasta Grannies

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Pasta Grannies, where  various Grannies from all over Europe show how they make pasta of all sorts of shapes and sizes.

It is very addictive with many, many shows. Here is the link.
Pasta Grannies

Our youngest daughter and husband have arrived for Christmas from USA this year and as another Pasta Granny convert, they decided to make a ricotta and spinach ravioli.

Rolling the pasta, several times to make thinner and thinner.

Once the dough is made using a 4 000 flour and rested then it is a case of rolling it out several times after lowering  the width of the  rollers each time, and the pasta gets longer and longer. I have had all the gear but it has been a long time since I made pasta, never ravioli though always fettuccine or similar.

Tried this first  inherited from my Italian Mother in Law.

The first tray they tried was useless as it stuck every where so then they went bigger, with a roller. The plastic roller cutter wasn't that sharp but it worked out ok. A metal one would have been better.

Cutting the shapes.

They sealed very easily with a bit of water around the edges and then a Carbonara Sauce was made up. The ravioli was cooked in boiling water and added to the sauce.


With a bit of parsley added on top one of the nicest meals I have had in a long time. This has given me inspiration to try it again.

Another Grannie, my Mum at her Xmas Party. 2018

It has been a very busy week with one thing and another, getting presents wrapped, shopping for groceries amongst the enormous crowds, Mums Xmas Party at the Nursing Home,  and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone A Very Merry Christmas, and thank you all for following my blog, and especially thanks to those who  comment, it is very much appreciated.

Till Next Time.