Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kangaroo close-up

What a beautiful sight outside our kitchen window! We've often seen roo-poo pellets near the back verandah, but this was an incredible discovery for us the other morning. It was close to 9am and she was eating away at the grass, like no-one lived in the man-made dwelling right behind her.

Isn't she beautiful. We're so priviledged to have such special visitors up close, and personal!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dreams awaken

My husband is currently in the second week at his new job. I didn't want to post the good news however, until we received his first pay in the bank. So the bushland project continues...

I titled this post "Dreams awaken", not only because we get to stay and realise our dream further - but also because we did something special yesterday. Something we've wanted to do for a very long time!

We visited a nursery to buy edible food plants. All the effort which went into building our retaining walls finally came to it's ultimate conclusion, when our first fruit tress and herbs went into the ground.

After all the stress of the past few weeks, it was such an incredible experience visiting the nursery and selecting the trees which would be feeding our family for years to come. These weren't just a business transaction - they were an investment in our future. We didn't feel the least bit guilty coming home with 6 kinds of citrus trees.

Eureka Lemon

Leng Navel Orange

Tahitian Lime

Emperor Mandarin

Washington Navel Orange

This was my favourite find, a Marumi Kumquat! I've always wanted to try a Kumquat and as it happened, the nursery had one in a display pot, in fruit! The lady welcomed me to try one. The flavour was incredible. Just as your face screws up from the bitterness, a delayed sweetness suddenly hits your pallet. I can imagine a marmalade or two from this wonderous bush!

The hardest part will be preventing our newest trees from fruiting for the first two seasons. But I hear that's the best practice for establishing citrus trees - putting their energy into root development, not fruit.

Here I am planting the first tree. The Kumquat! We ran out of daylight, so only got 3 citrus trees in yesterday. But we also got some herbs and native plants too - the latter we intend putting on our nature strip for privacy and wind breaks.

This was our other plant selection. It looks fairly ordinary at the moment, but in a few years time they will flower incredibly. I finally got myself some common mint, Italian parsely, corriander and rosemary for cooking too!

What also made yesterday special, was it being my birthday. I don't like big gifts or parties so I wasn't expecting much. I thought about "maybe" picking up somthing from the nursery, so when we ended up doing the rounds, coming home and actually planting some of this stuff in - well, it felt better than even the best compost mound you could ever make!

I can't believe what a difference planting a tree makes!

Happy planting in your gardens!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A big shock

I just got off the phone from my husband...he's been let go from work with full entitlements paid out today.

It's a big shock and our only source of income. I don't know what to say...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Reflections, July 2008

Time to review what our plans are for the bushland project. But first, a minor rant.

With so much talk about Peak Oil and our economy doing the rounds at the moment, it's almost enough to make you want to down tools and give up. We have a mortgage like many others, and if anything should happen so we cannot make those payments - we'll have to sell. It can feel daunting at times and almost disheartening. But something occured to me recently, and that is nothing in life is perfect. Peak oil or not, we still have a job to do here - a labour of love, so to speak.

The native wildlife still eat, breed and sleep on our back doorstep. We have to keep the land for them, as much as we want to keep it for ourselves. I saw a kangaroo family the other morning, eating fresh grass just as the rain paused for a few minutes. There was one male, two slightly smaller females and a youngster even smaller than them. They spread out and grazed - each taking a turn to look up and scan for threats. I see a young Maggie and it's mum come eat near our chicken tractor on a regular basis too.

Somehow the world doesn't seem so bad when I look at the life already taking place around me.

So I am inspired to spread sustainability more than just our own backyard. When we get the orchard planted, my first prunings will be eagerly propogated and I intend to vist as many neighbours as I can with FREE plants. How many people would grow more of their own food if they were given them for nothing? I intend to find out. Because it's not just enough to have my own orchard, if my neighbours have to buy their own fruit.

So by the end of 2008 we want to seriously get the orchard up and running. If it was just a matter of putting in plants, I would've done that already. Like all things on a sloping site however, we first have to move some soil. Nothing like a labour of love to motivate you though.

If you're reading this, be inspired to include your neighbours and community too, as you create a better way of living for yourself.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bitter sweet recipe

Kirsty from "Gobblers Run" (hi Kirsty) asked for the recipe for her partner, so here it is. My advice is to not let them brown when cooking (I turned the tray at least 3 times) and once made, don't eat for 24 hours. Okay, you can try ONE but you'll find they taste better after a day. *Trust me!*


180 g butter - softened
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup custard powder
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup walnuts - finely chopped or crushed
4 weet-bix - crushed
150 g milk chocolate - melted

  • Preheat oven 160 degrees C, then grease and line two baking trays.
  • With electric beater, cream together the butter, icing sugar and custard powder. Using a wooden spoon, mix through the flour, walnuts and crushed weet-bix.
  • Divide the dough into small balls (I used a sorbet scoop dipped in a glass of warm water after every 3rd biscuit - see bellow for approximate ball size) and place onto lightly oiled trays. Press down with a fork.

  • Bake one tray at a time on middle shelf for 10-15 minutes. Do not allow biscuits to brown, as they'll taste bitter.
  • Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack.
  • When cool, spread a generous amount of melted choclolate onto the base of one biscuit and press together.
  • Leave 10 minutes for filling to set, then sprinkle with icing sugar through a seive. Eat 24 hours afterwards.

Enjoy if you can...not for the faint-hearted! Let me know if your partner likes them Kirsty.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bitter sweet!

Made some "Bitter Sweet Kisses", and they really needed a day to lose their bitter bight. The trick is not to let them get any colour in the oven, or they really do taste bitter!

Thought I'd try the recipe out but won't be baking them again. I was going to post the recipe, but didn't want to disappoint anyone by the flavour. An acquired taste.