Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We have discovered what creature made the nest hanging in the peppercorn tree. It is a Bird Dropping Spider (lovely name). Here we caught her with her legs folded up. She's about the size of a 5 cent piece like this. Each of those little balls is an egg sac and contains about 200 eggs.... We counted at least 20 sacs...

Sky watch

We did a bit of sky-gazing yesterday in the cool and quiet of the evening. The sunset lit up the layers of cloud across the entire sky.

Don't you think this one looks like a submarine?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wrestling with tomatoes

I spent the majority of this morning hacking at the wild tomatoes in the veggie patch! Next year I'm only planting 6! After wrestling with tomatoes all morning I learnt what a green thumb looks like - literally, but also discovered that the water I washed my hands in turned bright yellow. I'll have to keep that in mind for if I get into dyeing felt or wool. Hmmmm.

I also spotted some limes growing.

And my birthday rose has finally decided to flower as well. It said on the label they were red, but I think they're hot pink! I dream of having these rambling all over the front fence.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A stroll through the garden

I've been sorting through my photos, trying to find pictures of other things I made before Christmas. This is one of my favourites - a tool apron for a nephew, simple(-ish) but effective!

And a basket-type bag for a friend to give. The material has a lovely velvety feel, and I got to keep the first draft of it, as I forgot to interface it! (Trust me, it's important).

We had a lovely picnic in the park on Sunday (glossing over the few minutes when we thought we'd lost chicken no.2, and the children being rather tired).

I've been taking advantage of Don being on holiday to catch up on a bit of reading. One of my sister's was given 'Same kind of different as me', which I can heartily recommend. And I've finally picked up A Fortunate Life, which is quite interesting to read in parallel to On the Banks of Plum Creek (Laura Ingalls Wilder), which I'm reading to chickie no.1.

Let's take a stroll through the garden:
We have an interesting looking nest/cocoon type hanging in one of the peppercorn trees.
I'm greatly interested to see what will pop out of this one.

The mottled bark on a gum tree. Note the grass around it's base -we are very excited about the growing patches of weed-free grass!

And this one is exciting for me: I potted the avocado, and it is sending up a shoot!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday to you today, Gus!

Sidetracking from Christmas thoughts to the garden for a minute... Let me tell you that when a label says that a plant is prolific, you should trust it. I planted a number of 'Lazy housewife beans' and this is about how many beans they are producing each day (see picture). I put a ruler there, because the largest bean is 22cm long... Beans, anyone?

And Don would only allow me to plant 2 zucchini plants (after the whole pumpkin vines going wild thing..), so I may have about another dozen seedlings wanting a good home.... Zucchini's, anyone?? I'm going to have to start a nursery at this rate... In fact, the patio outside our bedroom door is getting rather crowded with pots at the moment. Don gave me 2 flowering gum trees for Christmas as well, and my parents gave me another frangipani (they're very trusting, after I killed the last one!).

And this is the gift I was bursting to show you - I made a double bed quilt for one of my sisters. Well, I say "I", but mum helped me with the hand stitching (can't thank her enough!), and Robyn gave me endless advice and let me use her quilting machine (lovely lady!).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

In the words of Helen Lemmel,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A warm summer's day

We have had a lovely mild day today. Very good weather for bike riding... Yesterday Don went to the tip and picked up a bike for chicken no.2 for $5! Not bad, eh? Although replacing the front tyre did cost a little more than that... He has barely been seen away from his bike except at mealtimes. When he woke this morning his first words were "I must ride my bike"!

We visited more neighbours today, bearing fudge. It's been great chance to have a chat. And I can't tell you how it happens, but we seem to leave with more than we arrive with! Last week we came home with a bag of nectarines, seeds, and a flower in pot. Today we came home with a cucumber, carrots, and cherry tomatoes! (Not to mention the beer Don seems to be offered everywhere!)

And a family piccie, courtesy of chicken no.1 (obviously she is not featured in it..). Don't ask me why chicken no.2 felt obliged to pull a monkey face.

Friday, December 19, 2008

All is well...

There's a delightful feeling in the air this evening that all is well with the world. It has been a hot day, but not too hot. We had a swim and a picnic at lunch time. All the clean washing has been put away (truly amazing!). The children are in the bath and will shortly hop into clean, fresh, sun-dried towels (don't you love that smell?). Hubby came home with a bunch of red roses *happy sigh*. I've had no backache all day. And we're all feeling full and satisfied. We are very blessed.

We had curry puffs for dinner tonight. I suppose I could have looked up a recipe, but I was in one of those throw-things-in-and-see-how-it-works moods. They were quite yum, so here's me writing down the recipe before I forget it:

Curry Puffs (feeds family of 5: 2 adults and 3 wee ones)
1 onion
2 large potatoes
1 carrot
1/2 small head of broccoli
1/2 zucchini
1/2 cup peas
1 cup veggie stock
sprinkling of paprika and tumeric
2 teaspoons curry powder (you could easily add more)
5 sheets puff pastry

Chop veggies finely & saute in olive oil. Add stock and spices and cook until veggies are soft and stock is reduced. Preheat oven to 200degC. Cut pastry sheets into 4 squares. Brush with egg, then place spoonfuls of veggie mix into the centre of each square. Fold the corners over the mix. Bake in oven 15 min. Use extra pastry to make little peach deserts (use tinned peach with the above method). Very nice served with apple cider!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy scenes in the garden

I can't show you the sewing I've been doing (top secret!), so here are some scenes from my garden this morning.

A busy ladybird on the pumpkin leaves.

New tomatoes in clusters on the vine.

A bee on the beans, coated in pollen from the pumpkin flower.

The beans curling happily around the posts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


You know, it took me ages of reading craft blogs to work out that W.I.P. meant 'work in progress'! Don's parent's gave me the much hoped for Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts book (thanks!) for Christmas (early celebration), so I straight away got stuck into the little elephant project. Here she is, awaiting some final stitches:

Littlest chicken was inspired to help with a bit of baking. I think she was tired of sticking things up her nose, actually, and decided to be more constructive with her time..... yeah, right! (Good thing chicken no.2 gave me all that practice of removing small things from nostrils...). Anyway, we made these little apple pie thingies (there's probably a proper name for them out there somewhere, but we kind of made it up on the spot) - pie apples mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon loosely wrapped in some shortcrust pastry squares. Quite yummy!

I made way too much chocolate fudge for a party on the weekend, so we took little parcels of it around to the neighbours as an excuse for a chat and to say Merry Christmas. One of the ladies almost had hysterics when I told her I had planted 4 pumpkin vines and 22 tomato plants! And just in case you were worried that I hadn't shown you any pumpkins this week....

For those who want the fudge recipe, it's soooo easy:
500g dark cooking choc (broken up)
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
Cook in microwave on high for 3 mins (stir occasionally). Add a crushed bar of two of your favourite choc. Spread on a lined tray, and set in the fridge. Don't eat too much too quickly!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scenes of domestic bliss...

This afternoon as the rain poured down, we were found engaged in the following things:

Nanna and chicken no.1 whipping up some mince pies for our early Christmas celebration.

Grandad snoring on the lounge in front of the cricket (while the youngest two created an extraordinary din in the play tent!). Hmm... better not include a photo of Grandad!

Here are those cheeky little ones.

And I am trying to finish off a promised dress... complete with Chinese buttons... (couldn't resist including my pear pincushion in that shot - I'm so proud of it!)

And I'm pleased to announce that the avocado seed has sprouted! Now lets see if it survives transplanting...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Don's parents are visiting us this week (no relevance to the above photo!!). We like visitors! (Hear that, friends? We like visitors! Hint, hint!) They have been hard at work weeding the veggie patch this morning, bless them. It is great timing, as my back is in a sad state, and the veggies would have been completely strangled by weeds (or pumpkins!!) if it had been left up to me.

I had a lovely morning tea this morning with mother's & children from chicken no.2's music class. They all brought/made morning tea for the children that was safe for my chicken no.1 to eat - I was so thankful for their thoughtfulness! Morning tea's are in general are a complete headache for me, so this made it a very pleasant morning instead! (She is severely allergic to milk & nuts). And I finished the day with a nice sewing evening with a friend. Amazing how much more quickly the sewing goes when you're having a good chat!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The tree is up

The Christmas tree made it's way out of the cupboard this week. The children put the ornaments on, and I am amazed to say that 50% of them are still on the tree! Now who thought up the silly idea of making some of the ornaments look like wrapped presents? They've gone, of course - I'm not sure I've found all the little foam cubes from the inside of them. And only of one of the glowing snowmen has been broken.... And the ones that look like trumpets, well I didn't really expect them to stay on for more than about a minute. At least none of the balls have been bounced... yet.... I wonder what the ultimate tree ornament would be? One that children are happy to look at but doesn't look like a potential toy? Any ideas? I guess everything is a toy to a 2 year old...

May your tree point you towards heaven, may the star remind you of the one that lead to Jesus all those years ago, may the lights remind you of Christ - the light of the world, and may the candy cane remind you of his sacrifice for you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Love is...

... coming home to find that my two littlest chickens have made the bed for me as a surprise... (aren't they sweet?!)

... having a folder full of 'I love you' notes and pictures from my oldest little chicken...

I finished off another little bag today. The little chickens were well occupied by making little fishies with deflated balloons: they tied the end of the balloon then drew on eyes. Simple but effective! And playing with them in tubs of water on a hot day was just the thing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A flood of bags

I have some more photos of the flood, taken by a colleague of Don's.

And while the waters drained away, I went into a bag making frenzy! I didn't take photos of them all, but here's a sample:

I love these two co-ordinating ones - they're so yummy! (You're allowed to say that when you've made them yourself, right?). I love how the pattern matches across the strip. I plan to make lots of these ones!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flood waters at 6m today

I forgot to take my camera into town today, but here's part of a screen capture from the abc news:

I hadn't realised 11 people had been rescued from the waters! That would have been scary. The worst we've been affected is that I had to take a few detours to get to a friends house this afternoon to do some quilting... Oh, and a big rut or two in the driveway.

And still more rain...

Yesterday's deluge gave us 83ml of rain! We had one of those amazing thunderstorms last night where there was almost constant lightning, and we could see a few rivers of water running through our yard. We have lost some of our driveway again, but nothing more. And we're trying to use water in the house because the tank isn't coping very well with the overflow! I'm thankful to be out of town, as it has been split in two by the flood waters (some parts of town had 160ml of rain), and there are reports of damage to houses in town. The fabric shops are on this side of town, though, so I'm set.... (just kidding!) A friend told me that they're looking after some sheep in their backyard after the field across from them flooded! And still the rain comes....

Last night we stepped out of the house and could hear two things: the chorus of frogs enjoying the rain, and the roar of flood waters going down the street.

And now for brunch: I sautéed some mixed berries with banana and honey and spread it on home-made bread toast... Mmmmm...

Extra prayers today for the people in India experiencing strife, and those in the world experiencing floods that wash away their entire livelihood.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rain, rain & more rain

We've had a good 30ml of rain today. Littlest chicken celebrating by throwing up all over the place. Poor little thing. It's rotten when they're sick. The other two celebrated by stomping around in the puddles in their gumboots. Tomorrow I might sum up courage to ask where they left their sopping wet socks....

Later in the afternoon we were able to watch a ripper of a storm passing us by. Definitely one of the benefits of living on an open plain. It was fascinating to watch the front 'anvil' cloud come across, and the swirling clouds around the eye of the storm.

You'll be pleased to know that I resisted the urge to photograph my pumpkins and tomatoes again today, despite my amazement at how much they've grown over the last week! I couldn't resist commenting on them, however....

P.S. to Reuben: hope you're recovering well from your operation. Was lovely to see you and your mum. xo

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's in the bag!

Well I managed to capture about half the bags on film, from all the recent homeschool sewing extravaganzas!

Most of the boys made camouflage bags:

Hmmm.. I'm not sure I'll comment on this one. ;)

The older girls made more complicated bags:

And everyone had fun.

And one lady was so inspired by the bags, that she has made at least 8 more for Christmas.... (I'm not entirely sure if she has, in fact, eaten or slept over the last week....). I love the one with her children's hand print's best - good idea for grandparents, eh?

A lizard wanted to be in on the fun:

I did think of showing you more pictures of the pumpkins, and the beans winding their way up the posts in the garden.... but I considered the fact that maybe you don't need to see their progress every week.... And I could show you a photo of the bag I made this afternoon, but I'm still reeling over the fact that I forgot to interface it!! You know when it's time to take a break...