Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Community Garden & other bits

Hey there....I often wonder how my readers are going? I share so much here with my blog...but often wonder what others are up to. Today both my husband and myself went along to the recently organised Albion Park Community Garden; to show our support while they build their very first compost pile. What a lovely bunch of people! While it's early days yet, and they don't have any garden beds built yet, they have reclaimed a garden that was already there. I took along a tray of seedlings and plants to add to their garden.

Barrack Heights Community Garden
Meet Up to build a Compost Bin

Me and Hubby

While lots of things are happening around here, I don't always have time to write about them. So here are a few chosen bits and pieces.
Rosella flowering

Pizza Scrolls

Huge Egg & bacon pie...oops....no bacon,  but lots of veg and herbs from the garden.

So, what have you been upto lately? 
Have you been gardening? Maybe you've been baking? I'd love to hear about it. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cordial 101

When the boys were little I used to make our own 50:50 cordial....and it was lovely. Over the years I have been rather slack and only making cordial for 'special occasions', having settled on the bought stuff. Blehhck!! Now I remember why I made my own. Because it's by far, heaps better in comparison! (and much more healthier too, I'm sure).
I also made a batch of Pineapple Sage Cordial from the flowers of the Sage which you can view here.

Aunty Milly's Lemon Cordial OR  50:50 Cordial 
(Aunty Milly is one of my Nan's sisters)

The rind and juice of 6 lemons OR (for 50:50 cordial use 3 lemons & 3 oranges)
4lb (800g) Sugar
1 ounce Tartaric Acid
2 ounces Citric Acid
1 ounce Epsom Salts
1 litre of Boiling Water

Put all ingredients into a basin, Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Strain overnight and bottle. Makes approximately 2 1/2 litres.

Rhonda also makes her own cordials using sugar water. I recently used her method as a guide to make a quick batch of cordial after finding some strained passion-fruit juice in the freezer 

Looking at the photo: I just realised I wrote Pineapple...lol
It was definitely Passion-Fruit
Fruit-Cup Cordial 
1 cup of strained passion-fruit pulp  
Juice and zest of 3 oranges
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 kg sugar
1 litre water

Make the sugar water, by boiling the water and dissolving the sugar. Allow this to cool slightly before adding the other ingredients.
Leave to steep overnight, then strain and bottle the cordial. I recommend storing the straight cordial in the fridge. Dilute to 1:4 or 1:5 cordial to water.

This recipe made just over 2 1/2 litres of cordial.

You bet I will be freezing the leftover pulp for some muffins


I think I might use some papaya pulp from the freezer to make my next cordial
or maybe some mango pulp..........

Do you make your own cordial? What's your favourite flavour?
If you haven't tried making your own,
Will you? Now that you've seen how easy it is?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Aunty Shirl's Tomato Relish

My hubby loves his Aunty Shirl's Tomato Relish! I have lots of different pickles that I make...but this one would have to be his favourite.

The photos show a triple batch!....If you multiply the recipe, the vinegar doesn't quite get the same multiplication....I used 2 Litres for this triple batch.

Aunty Shirl's Tomato Relish

3lb Tomatoes (1.5kg)
1lb Brown Onions (450g)
1lb Sugar
1 tablespoon Mustard Powder
2 tablespoons Plain Flour
750 mls Brown Vinegar (Malt Vinegar is lovely too) set aside about 1/4 cup vinegar to mix dry ingredients
Salt & Pepper (not neccessary, I never add this)
Salt to cure (sprinkle over the top, then stir through)

1. Peel the tomatoes by scoring a cross in the top of them, then dropping them in boiling water for roughly 30 seconds. Peel them in batches....but allow to cool slightly as they will  be very hot to handle.

2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a large plastic or ceramic bowl.

3. Peel and roughly chop the onions and add to the tomatoes. Mix thoroughly.

4. Sprinkle the mix with salt...and stir through. Cover and allow to cure overnight.

5. Once cured, drain the tomato and onion (do not rinse), then put in large pot and cover with vinegar.

6. Add the sugar, and gently boil for 1 hour.
Stirring almost constantly.

7. Mix dry ingredients to the left over vinegar then add to the pot.

8. Stir constantly now for 1 hour. Check for a good setting.

9. Sterilise your clean jars by placing them in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

10. Bottle while hot. Ensure that the rim and seal of each jar is very clean using a very hot wet dishcloth. Place lids on immediately.

11. Allow to cool before labelling. Use Title and date.

We love our Aunty Shirl's Tomato Relish! 

You will too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things are happening here!

Wow! What a week we've had here so far.

Hubby has finally found work again....He was originally successful for a similar position at the same mine he was laid off from working at in Mackay...and would be starting soon....but the very next day he received a phone call from Ulan Coal Mining to ask if he was still interested in the Mining Trainee-ship (the one he turned down 3 months ago because he already had a plane ticket to go to Mackay for work). The gentleman said that the Trainee-ship was still available for him...If he wanted it! ...

Of course he was over the moon and accepted it immediately, and to top off the good news.....our neighbour across the road has already arranged accommodation with her best friend. (At least until he finds a house with other work mates)......It just doesn't get any better than this. Thanks Maureen! Thanks Ulan Coal man!

To think it all began like this.........Saturday started with attending the gardening course.....Sunday meeting up with Rose who has her own blog called Greening the Rose, AND is another Down to Earth forum Moderator like me. Rose had a special friend all the way from Cornwall for the weekend.....I have known Pippa for a while now through the same forum, but never imagined I would be lucky to meet her in person.

Pippa, Rose and me
Monday was a total wash for me struggling with pain....but with rest after my new medication was doubled...I was able to cope better. I hate changing medications and trying to find the correct dose....it really upsets all the things I need to be doing.

Tuesday (today) has been a bit of a breakthrough with meds, as I baked Rhonda's Whole Orange Cake into muffin sizes for the community garden...but done a double batch so I had some for home too.

 I also peeled and chopped a triple batch of tomatoes and onions for Aunty Shirl's Tomato Relish (another post to come).......
The beginnings of Aunty Shirl's Tomato Relish

.......and that was all before going to our local Community Garden and planting out a bed of Banana Capsicum.....some Apple Cucumber plants and some Strawberry runners....and once home I finished making some fruit cordial......which I will strain tomorrow.......
Fruit cordial
Then preparing tea without going for a lye down beforehand.....
Oh, and after tea....I blanched the beans I got from the garden.

Yes! Today was definitely a good day.......Lets hope the rest of the week is the same or even better!

Monday, February 20, 2012

And the winner is......

I'm sitting in the doctor's surgery and it hits me that I never announced the winner to that glorious book I decided to give away......so here I am....waiting and typing on my phone......bare with me folks...lol

And the winner is.........
Sherrie from Simple Living!

Congratulations Sherrie!

As to the other wonderful people who I have promised garlic seed to....
I cut the tops off on Friday all set to package....and found the tiny stem on each one was still sappy...so they have been drying all weekend and I will probably package them all up when I need a rest from gardening or housework at the end of the day....

Things are a bit crazy here at the moment...it's also our 13th Wedding Anniversary today...the builder is here starting work on the front veranda.....I need my pain medication adjusted better and am back to having monthly infusions in the hospital....oh and hubby has been offered a job finally and starts in a few weeks...just a 4 1/2 hour drive away this time and not 2000km..... Which is fantastic!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drying washing on rainy days

If your new to my blog, check out the give-away I am doing for my blog's first birthday...Time is running out (Friday) to be in the draw to win that fabulous book.

Until I found the blogging world, and began reading about the lives of other people all around the world....I never realised just how many people use a dryer for drying their clothes. Clothes dryers are very expensive to run....I thought it was normal to hang your washing on the line to let the sun dry it. I understand now that some people really do need a dryer.....

But this is what we do when it rains day after day.......

We have a few mobile clothes lines which I hang our washing on under the back veranda; between my back door and mums front door....This is actually a mixture of ours and mum's washing. 

We also hang washing in the garage with permanent ropes tied in the rafters. The rope is tall enough to even hang sheets and towels.
If it gets too cold to dry the washing outside on the veranda....we then bring the clothes lines inside and in winter they go in the rooms that are being heated by our gas heater. 

Clothes dryers are sooooo expensive, and while I am trying to cut down on our power usage, there's no way I'm planning to use my dryer.....Oh, and I would also have to empty all the glass jars out of it first....lol

Do you use a dryer all the time to dry your clothes? 
Is there somewhere you can hang your clothes without using the dryer? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Klumpin' Tomatoes

If your new to my blog, check out the give-away I am doing for my blog's first birthday...Time is running out (Friday) to be in the draw to win that fabulous book.

I get a kick out of growing the unusual....sometimes the things you can't buy in the shops; I'll give them a go. 
So when I seen these on ebay last year, I couldn't resist...I got 10 seeds for $1.00 which also included postage...so how could I go wrong...lol. They all germinated, I shared out 5....I killed 1....I unwillingly shared one with the snails and enjoyed the others (which are all finished now and have all been pulled)..... 
In their place now I have a bundle of Black Russian tomato plants soon to be flowering if the sun ever comes out.
Klumpin Tomatoes - Chosen for Seed Saving
Klumpin Tomato
Klumpin Tomato

Choosing tomatoes for Seed Saving 
Now.....I have just 1 plant remaining in my garden, which is doing rather well, considering all the rain we are having at the moment. .........Lots of the garden is either rotting away from being over watered, or the seed I plant is rotting in the soil, because of too much rain and not enough heat.

Do you like to grow unusual varieties of veg? 
If so, do you have some spare seed that you would like to do a seed swap with me?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to Just Like My Nan Made

Has it been 12 months already? Wow, what a wonderful year it has been. I've been blessed to get to know many incredible people along the way and look forward to meeting some in person this year. I have met some of you, but hope to meet more this year. It's like catching up with old friends. I love all the comments and feedback I receive. Although I don't always have time to answer them individually, it gives me great joy to read them back to my family too.

Seeing I need to make a visit to the post office for the garlic give-away...I thought I might as well add another give-away to celebrate my blog's first birthday!

All you need to do to be in the running for this give-away is to be a follower. If your not one already, sign up and tell me which post you have enjoyed the best, and why! I enjoy feedback, but would also like to know what others would like to see more of. If you have a good idea for a post...let me know and I will see what I can do.

I love my book so much, that when I seen one in an op-shop I had to share it with you......


Monday, February 6, 2012

And the winner is........

I hope you didn't think I had forgotten about the Garlic Giveaway!.... It's just been crazy busy around here and I have seriously fallen behind with some of my duties including my blog.

Thank-you to all the wonderful people who entered, it seems that garlic is a very popular food...but I knew that anyway...lol....I loved the creative comments.

In the original post, I said the following:......................

The give-away for 10 lucky readers....

*The best comment will receive a clove of the garlic to use however you wish....(maybe pop it in the ground, or use it in cooking)...

The lucky winner of the clove of garlic is...

 *Tracey and Tribe - Congratulations Tracey!!

*I will also choose 9 more comments to send some seed to....This give-away is only offered to Australian residents though..and I will need to check what states I can send it to....So, sorry to those who aren't eligible...I'd still like to hear from you too.....

The lucky winners of the garlic seeds are......

               *Inner Pickle
               *Darren (Green Change)

I checked on the seed today, and it's still drying, although should be good to send shortly......
It's still on the heads, so I might separate it to speed up drying some for sending.
By the time I receive everyone's addresses, it should be fine to send on!

Could all the winners send me an email, 
npe09777 (at) bigpond.net.au 
with their full name and address please
so I can send on your prize!

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