Friday, April 29, 2011

Winter's just around the corner

I think this photo really signals that winter is just around the corner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter bunny found ethical eggs this Easter..

This year Easter bunny found a Fair Trade Easter egg for everyone (even Mum and Dad). 

Easter was kept simple this year - one Fair Trade egg per kid and then onto decorating some real hard boiled eggs.

First to draw on the eggs with crayons....

Then to dip them in the food colouring, hot water and vinegar mixture...

 Then to let them dry... before polishing them with a little olive oil...

Now they are all ready for the smashing.

We had fun making and smashing hand our decorated Easter eggs like we did last year - again it was great to sit down as a family decorating eggs to get ready for the great smashing contest.

We might have to find some good hard boiled egg recipes though before next Easter. This year we had eggs in a salad and then egg and lettuce sandwiches - I think we need to be a little more creative with the leftover hard boiled eggs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Grammas, pies and much more

We spent some of our days in the holidays working on our food forest patch in the front yard.  Cleaning up, weeding and pulling out the old pumkin vines - and we found all these.

Our Gramma pumpkin harvest.  These Grammas have a thin wall and will not store well so we have to begin using them before they go off.  The biggest gramma in the forground split when we picked it - so we have to eat it now.

So a first for the season was a Gramma pie - made with a mix of recipes to match a favourite the description of Dad Grandmas pie.  The verdict being that it was maybe even better than Grandma's.

Our Gramma Pie recipe for those that have started their pumpkin or Gramma harvest and would like to give it a try.

We used about one quarter of our large Gramma (because it is not too sweet or strong in flavour) pumpkin for this recipe - but a slightly green butternut pumpkin would also work well. 

Cook about 1 kilo or gramma in a little water for half an hour - once cooked. Drain and gently squeeze / squish to remove excess fluid.  Mash with a fork and add 1 1/2 cups sugar, juice and grated rind of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup of sultanas, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of each nutmeg and cinnamon.  Mix and allow to cool.

To make the pastry, rub 150 grams of butter into 1 cup of each plain and self raising flour with a pinch of salt.  In a cup mix one egg with 2 tablespoons of sugar - add to flour / butter mix.  Mix well - add a little milk if necessary - roughly kneed the mix together and divide the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 portions.  Roll out the 2/3 portion of pastry to line the base of a greased pie dish - add the Gramma filling, and then roll out the last 1/3 of the pastry for the lid of the pie. Sprinkle top of pie with a little more sugar. Cut a breathing hole in the top of the pie. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour.

Serve with ice-cream and / or cream. Enjoy - we did.

With only 1/4 quarter of the pumpkin used it was roast pumkin for the Sunday roast and now a large pot of pumkin soup is brewing.  And still half the pumpkin left.

What are your favourite pumpkin recipes? 

We still have a pile of Grammas to eat and more pumpkins to be harvested from the back yard - so I would love to hear what you do with your pumpkin harvest.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some holiday downtime

It is amazing how much the kids can unwind with a couple days away .... a much needed break after a busy first term.
Creative time

Campfire stories and games


Some great caves to expplore and let the imagination run wild

Exploring the light and shadows
Time spent absorbed in minature landscapes

Monday, April 11, 2011

Changing my monthly habits

Today I received a parcel in the post to help me reduce my "monthly" impacts... I have been delaying taking the plunge to a more environmentally way of dealing with my "monthly" – but no more excuses now.

I am looking forward to reducing my "monthly" expenditure and waste.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Our Landcare District is now online

Many of you know that I am the Landcare Coordinator for the Central Tablelands District of New South Wales - that's around the Orange and Bathurst area. 

Well, we have just gone online - myself and 3 others from the group completed a website design course through our local Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) and after only four evening classes here it is.... please take a look.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Enhancing our native section of the garden

It was the Friends of the Orange Botanic Gardens Plant Sale day on Sunday.  We went down and got some native plants for our front garden - a few different Correa species, a BlackWood (Acacia melanoxylon), some local Hibbertias (Guinea flowers), a Tea tree and a Swainsona pea.

We planted them on the same day - along with all sorts of left over native plants I have had in the hothouse over the last year.  I am hoping that these plants will have a month or so to establish before the Orange winter sets in.

This all helps to make our "wildlife garden" or zone 5 on our Permaculture design for our suburban block.

It is going to be so nice to have our own "bush" in the front yard - soon we will have frogs and birds right outside our windows.  Our littlest is also keen to go "bushwalking" in the front yard.