“Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Monday, 6 February 2012

Summer at the Homestead



Hi everyone,
I've spent several weeks witing and adding to this post, and finally decided, I really just need to publish it lols, before its Autumn !
The weather is sill warm here in New Zealand and we have about 3-4 weeks of summer left. I don't enjoy gardening in the heat as much as I enjoy the cooler seasons of Autumn and Spring, so I'm looking forward to Autumn.
Out and About:
This morning I was at the Library and I saw a new cookbook just in by one of my favourite cooks 'Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall'..

I got home, made myself some fresh coffee and sat on the verandah to have a flick through..and I love the book. Its all vegetarian, which I didn't initially realise, not that that matters.  Its all food similar to what I already cook too. So having said all this..it reminded me of a little revelation I had the other week. I noticed that even though I grow so much of our own food (vegetables) my grocery bill still hasn't decreased by that much!!...(not that I'm only growing vergtables to save money, its also because I prefer organic and like to know where my food comes from). I realised I'm not really basing meals purely around whats ready in the garden, but basing meals around meat, and adding the vegetables as side players and salad. If I want to make a saving I ned to do the reverse, make the vegtables the MAIN FEATURE..and not the side.
 I used to be vegetarian for just over three years, but started working fulltime in a childcare centre a few years back and would come home exhausted and starving. All I felt like was a sausage or bacon, and so I sucumbed and have never made it back to those vege days..but I do think finally the winds of change are - a - blowing. :)

 Here's a link to one of Hugh's fabulous vege dishes that I like the look of  from the book - 'Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin' http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/aug/26/vegetable-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall

I'm sure sweet Pumpkin or Squash could just as easily be substituted :), if you have more of that in the store cupbard. To date I have 9 Pumpkins growing..woo hoo, the best summer ever!. I planted 3 in an old tyre and the others just in the ground and then let them run wild..which they seem to have loved !



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 We had some strong winds a few weeks back, so I was been busy staking up Dahlias, which have grown very tall this year, thanks to the good soaks of rain we've had. Here's pics of two of my favourites in the garden:

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The Summer Garden


It may look like a small potagers garden, but bewtween the four raised beds and the middle garden, there's a huge variety planted: Leeks, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Carrots, Eggplant, Spring Onions, Cabbages, Celery, Lettuce, Corn, Tomates, Zucchini, Peas, Beans and Buttercup pumpkins dotted around here and there in other areas of the property.


 Our Corn, which is just now being harvested..so delicious, with salt and butter...mmm
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'A Self-seeded Skyscraper Sunflower'


A little Dahlia getting ready to open fully :)
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The most exciting thing to happen lately was harvesting the blackcurrants. I planted two bushes last year and read that they only fruit on old wood, so I didn't prune them. We were amply rewarded and the yield was 2 1/2 kilos !!!! (about 5 lb).


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My precious grandaughter helping.

I turned  all the fruit into Jam (11 Jars) & its divine. Even just the aroma of the jam boiling away was fabulous. I used to pick blackcurrants to earn pocket money as a young girl, so it all brought back pleasant memories to me.


~~~ Adding sugar to the preserving pan ~~~


~~~bubble, bubble...~~~



~~ Ta da, the finished product. ~~


This is my little cupboard I purchased from an antique shop.Its to store my preserves and jars etc. Today I made some gingham curtains (from a small tablecloth, cut in half) to keep the light of the jars. I thought it tuned out well, so decided to share the pictures.


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The original tablecloth only cost $2.00


The little storehouse is now full :)



We have Tomato Relish, Chow Chow Pickle, Zucchini Relish. Plum Sauce, Bread and Butter Pickles, Blackcurrant, Strawberry and Plum Jams, Bottled Pears and Plums, Chili Jelly, Marmalade and Bottled Beetroot..Yeh all finsihed for the summer :)

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I also wanted to share a recipe I've been making lately, its actually from a recipe book of Rosie Daley's and its called Unfried Chicken, a much healthier version of an old favourite. Its delicious cold too and perfect for a picnic. I've tweaked her recipe somewhat, so I'll give you my version :)


'Linda's Unfried Chicken'

12 pieces of chicken ( chicken drumsticks, wings etc)
1 egg
1 cup natural unsweetened plain yoghurt
1 cup dry breadcumbs
3/4 cup of plain flour
1/4 cup of seasoned chicken coating mix (anybrand) I use coat and cook

Spice Mix:
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
Dash Cayenne
1/2 teaspoon each of dried Basil, Sage & Oregano
1/4 t chilli powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Cajun spice

Method:

1.  Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and soak the chicken in cold water for 20 minutes.
2.  Heat the oven to 180 C (fanbake).  Mix the spice mix into the flour, coat n cook, and
     breadcrumbs.
3.  Oil a large roasting dish.
4.  Mix the egg and yoghurt together. Pat the chicken dry and roll one piece at a time in the 
     yoghurt/egg mix, then in the coating mix until quite thickly coated. Work quickly as the mixture
     will soak up the yoghurt and soften.
5.  Place each piece on the oiled tray. Spray the chicken with spray oil and place in the hot oven.
6.  Cook without turning for 30 minutes, then turn carefully just once using a spatula. Cook for  30
     minutes more.The chicken should be browned and thoroughly cooked through at this stage.


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There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. 
~ Celia Thaxter ~


'God's work done in God's way, will never lack God's supply'
J. Hudson Taylor 1832 - 1905

*...In the Laundry Room...*



While I was surfing around facebook last week, I saw someone had posted a link to a Mother Earth News site, advertising a recipe for homemade Laundry Powder. It peaked my interest, so I followed it up and was excited how simple the recipe looked. Since then, I sourced the ingredients at a bulk foods store called Binn Inn in New Zealand and made a half batch of it.  I really didn't know what to expect, and must admit I was a little wary. I've purchased various brands of ECO Laundry powder/liquid over the years with varying results, but I must say I am very impressed with this new homemade one. For starters my bath towles come off the line very soft, even on a hot day, where normally if I havn't used fabric softener they would be a little stiff, before being folded. So anyways I am posting the link for the recipe (even though I'm writing it here on the blog), as they have other recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent etc too.
 
The Article:               
According to our grandmothers’ wisdom (and verified on thenewhomemaker.com), Monday is Wash Day. After Sunday’s day of rest, homemakers traditionally took on one of the week’s most difficult tasks: the laundry. Whether you’re disciplined enough to schedule your laundry days or you just do a load or two when you’ve run out of socks and underwear, the following recipe for simple washing powderwill make the task more fun. This laundry detergent is simple to make, saves you money and smells heavenly.
Simple Washing Powder
16 cups baking soda
12 cups borax
8 cups grated castile or glycerin soap flakes* (I used Lux Flakes)
3 tablespoons lavender, lemon or grapefruit essential oil


Combine baking soda, borax and soap flakes. Add essential oil and mix with a wire whisk. Use 1⁄8 cup per load.
Yield: This recipe makes enough powder to last a family of four one year.

NOte: It makes a very large quantity, so I just made half initially, to try it out. I use 2 tablespoons per load.  suppose quantity may vary depending on the size of your machine. I noted down the date I started using it, to see how economical it is too :)

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~ The Sewing Corner ~

As sunmmer comes to a close I start to turn to all those sewing projects awaiting my attention. I purchased some fabric a while back and finally got around to making some pants for my little grand-daugter..I surfed the net to find a pattern and get ideas, then I made my own from paper. The pants turned out quite well...here's a pic:

Demin with a frill at the bottom

....and then I got on and finally made a little curtain for the bathroom, that I'd been talking about for a long time.Its made out of a lovely floaty soft fabric called Mull..pure cotten, and a slightly thicker version of muslin.



..and close up of the little trim I put at the botton, pale blue, like the bathroom :)


..and last but not least. My daughter Katie and I love visiting second hand stores looking for bargains, and this summer I found two fabulous pairs of shoes..the pink ones havn't been worn and the red ones are so cool (made in Italy)..total cost for both pairs = $4.00 :)


side view of the pink ones, such a lovely soft shade and so dainty :)



So thats all from me for a while....there's still a lot to do in the garden, and I need to get to work on other projects, such as the Folk Art wall hanging..God Bless you all.
~ To live a life of virtue, you have to become consistent, even when it isn't convenient, comfortable, or easy. ~ (Epicetus)






9 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,
    It's lovely to see a post from you and I'm so glad I found your blog. Exactly one year ago we were on holiday in NZ enjoying our time with family on the Coromandel. The weather was perfect. It just seems like yesterday we were there. It has been non stop rain here and sometimes I feel like I am back in the Waikato which is where we lived when we were first married. All my zucchini turned to mush but I harvested lots of cherry tomatoes and made a batch of tomato chutney. I do like the idea of making the vegetables the main attraction in a dish. I make a carrot pesto lasagne, it's delicious without meat but you can add in a few layers of traditional mince or even chicken but the grated carrot and zucchini are the bulk of the ingredients and not the meat. Your preserve cupboard is lovely. I am hoping for a shelf to go above my stove in my kitchen to hold jars of ingredients, cookbooks and preserves. We have the brackets - ornate cast iron ones. I think that will be a winter project for my husband.
    This blog post has inspired me to do one in a similar fashion along the same lines as yours - what I have been cooking, making, learning reading etc. Just need to get my camera out and take some pictures as I go!
    Oh and is it really baking soda in that laundry detergent? Most recipes I have seen call for washing soda. I use a eucylptus based powder phosphate free powder I buy in bulk at the trade automotive store where my husband buys his car parts!

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    Replies
    1. HI Ann,
      yes it is baking soda. I too have used various ECO brands, but I just had to give this recipe a go. I have marked a date when I began using it, to see how economical it actually is.Its fun reading what each other is cooking, making, growing etc...I also had a dissapointing year with courgettes, the worst ever. I think we just had too much rain..last year, there were too many lols..we can't win :). Thanks for stopping by...I look forward to seeing your new post
      God Bless you

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  2. Thank you, my sister!!! I check in here periodically!!! Love to share your recipes with my daughters & niece!!! God bless you, sweet Linda!!! Love your music, too!!! Wish we were close enough for (((hugs)))!!! :-)

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  3. So wonderful to see your little Gran... big enough to help you!!! The jam looks awesome!!! Wish I would do these things... pray for me, Linda!!! To get things at Farmer's Market & prepare for the year!!!... Helped my Granmommie when I was about 8 on up... Memories!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your encouraging words Tessa :) I'll send you a cyber ((HUG))) and it makes me happy that you enjoy my little post !!

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  4. nice post thanks for sharing looking for to visit more blessings

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    1. Thankyou for visiting my blog, I just clicked on yours and its very pretty. We have many things in common. God Bless you :)

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  5. The little cabinet with the red check curtains and the store of home preserved foods just gladdens my heart, somehow. :)

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    1. Thankyou so much for your sweet comment :)

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