I haven’t really updated here all that much recently. It’s not been a intentional absence as some sort of commentary on my life or of whats going on in the world. Just an accumulation of being busy and not taking many pictures in the past two months.
That’s not to say we have been idle or bored. We got back home to NZ on the last day of June and heralded in 3 weeks of motel living, catching up with friends, playdates, furniture shopping, curtain ordering, and getting back onto an even keel.
The second week home saw massive snowfall and some great fun for the kids (and adults!)
We have moved into our new house and are loving it. Obviously I did have ideas of elaborate and artistic pictures taken of my favourite parts of our new place, but thats not happened yet – it might eventually but perhaps don’t hold your breath for it?
I am baking, cooking and generally starting to feel like I’m reconnecting with my happy space of creating a home for my little family and taking care of them.
The kid is getting back into all activities. She’s very excited to be learning her dances for the end of year ballet and jazz show (Peter Pan!). I was very proud of her having a very respectable outing for a short notice gymnastics ribbon day. Not bad considering she’s missed 6 months of learning the routines etc that all her team mates have had. Settling back into gym is taking a little longer – she adores gymnastics but we are still trying to find the right balance that reflects the training she was so loving in the UK.
And once settled we got kittens. While we still miss our old guys massively these little bundles are just pure perfection. The whiter/creamier ones is our little boy, Spencer. And his mink tabby sister (who is also about 50% bigger than him) is Ellie. They are Ragdoll hybrids and have the greatest temperaments.
Probably the biggest change, and I have no pictures to annotate it with, is that our homeschool journey seems to have rather abruptly ended.
The kid decided, after some discussions with us that she wanted to try school. To see if that would be a better fit and work more harmoniously for her, rather than being at home 1-2-1 with me all day everyday.
So far (week 3) she is comfortable and thriving. Really really happy. While I miss her lots it is hard to feel anything other than joy that she has made a choice that appears to be the right one for her.
Thank heavens for floofy, dozy, crazy and cute kittens to keep me busy!
Autumn is here, cooler nights, bonfires and woodburners going. Fruit and veggies form the garden. Peppers, courgettes, spinach and kale. Carrots and peaches.
Sunny days outdoors, sidewalk chalk and bike riding. The chiminea burning rosemary twigs and scenting the washing.
The kid found a Mantis who was aggressivly studied (poked and prodded) before being released. I doubt he’ll stop by this house again!
I have dug out the winter merino and down jackets. A wooly hat on my crochet hooks. Wood is dry and ready to burn. Kindling being chopped almost daily.
A holiday in 3 week. Much excitement. In between cold meds and rest from the first bug of the season.
A walk ona cool morning yielded some delicious and unexpected delights. Blackberries which we spectacularly missed last year. Well we hit the metaphorical and possibly literaly blackberry jackpot. So many. So few tarty ones.
Because lets be honest here. While natures bounty is all well and good, blackberrying is russion roulette for your taste buds. And it’s brutal if youre not spot on timing wise.
Well, we were spot on. The kid ate loads and loads. As many as I could pick her, and time after time she exclaimed “sweet and juicy mama”.
It was an over all lovely walk, even taking the blackberry awesomenss out of it. Cool morning air with a faint woodsmoke tang, a little mist on the far hills as we set out that burned off as the morning progressed and warmed up. Leaves beginning to turn. Elder berries heavy on the branches. Dry grasses spiling seeds. A greenness that, where we live, spells the ending of a hot, dry and fire laden summer.
Hello Autumn. Welcome. We have missed you.
Christmas clothes, christmas ornaments. A little pattern testing that ive combined into Christmas clothes making. Her own ornaments. The easiest, fastest most fuss free pizza Ive ever made. Seriously. I make pizza pretty often and make the dough myself. Im no novice in that respect. But. This. Was live changing.
Two ingredients. No rise! And yes I will share. 2 cups of self raising flour + 2 cups of natural or greek yoghurt. Mix into a very wet and sticky dough. divide into 4 (or 3 in our case) and plop onto floured baking parchment. Sprinkle with flour and flatten. beware its *sticky*. Add topping. Slide onto a preheated tray. Cook. I did mine at 250 (or the hottest my oven would go – so probably a bit above 250) for about 10 mins or until it looked cooked.
The kid decorated hers herself. Child cooking for a win.
Thank me later 😉
From my backdoor (literally stood on the step) the little building on the right is our sleep out/spareroom/art craft and school room. Veggie beds have onions, garlic and lettuce in them. The small square bed will be sweet peas.
Moving towards the back – front veggie beds on the left are cabbages, kale and spinach. There is a lemon tree and a plum tree. blueberry bushes in the foreground and the blossom tree is a peachcot tree. A;leo peas against the garage on the far left out of shot. The 5 big beds at the back are our main producing veggie beds and currently have brassicas in, broccoli, kohl rabi and kale, some strawberry plants and germinating seeds for carrots and butter beans. Capsicums and zucchini will go in as soon as I’m totally convinced we won’t get a errant frost.
This week has been a ‘good night’ to the garden week. I have dug over most of the beds – the capsicums are still in the ground (got about 4 left to harvest) and the parsnip bed. But the rest are guy and ready to receive generous quantities of manure and blood and bone.
There are also a few tree rounds (same again that’s not pictured) to be split ready for next winter too. Not a lot as its form the stump felled rather than a whole tree, but it should yield a couple of cubic metres once split up.
Zucchini, parsnips and bol choi seedlings – a little heat singed from the 35 degree days we had just after I planted them
Tomatos and the beds around the old tree stump – it needs wood chipping
Garlic!! Yay – we have lots and lots, I think I got a little carried away planting them in the winter.
Carrots, peppers, onions
Peas and bean bed – with eggplant at the back buried under the slight over zealous bean plants.
Pumpkin plant that self seeded
Corn and one of the multitude of self seeded borage that have popped up all over the place after last years borage plants
Corn and sunflowers – the sunflowers are from the lovely Lisa over at Little Coffee Beans.
It’s not looking particularly attractive out there at the moment. A combination of weeds, sun burnt leaves and over zealous growth. But it is pretty productive. I’m trying really hard to get organised for the next round of planting. The autumn beds to go in. Kale, broccoli, kohl rabi, second round of peas. But also trying to jut enjoy going out and picking or pulling up what we need. Thats a pretty good feeling
It’s actually a shameful representation of the gardens productivity. We are also eating home grown carrots, parsnips, bokchoi zucchini, blueberries and beets. But this was the picture that made me smile.
I am so proud and delighted she is sharing in the things that I remember from being a child, eating fresh shelled peas like candy. She’s more focused than me though – she shelled the whole lot without getting bored or stopping or eating to many. Not a feat I could have achieved at her age! Ha or now – fresh peas are one of my many weaknesses!
We are slowly settling into 2015. Dragging ourselves out of holiday/festive mode and into the new year and modified routines and good intentions. One step, one day at a time. Someone said to be about running ‘just put one foot in front of the next’. So thats what I’m gong to do. Just. Keep. Moving.
A stollen at Christmas was a tradition for my mum. She made one every christmas. So this year, for the first time I decided to uphold that tradition and make one for our home over christmas. Actually I got slightly over excited and made 4. In 2 days.
I use a basic recipe I found on the web and adapted it to make it taste like mums.
To make the yeast sponge
1/4 cup of warm water
3/4 cup of warm milk
tsp of honey (or maple syrup if that’s all you have in the pantry)
About a tbsp of yeast (I use a basic dried yeast)
Combine the water and yeast, then add the milk, honey and flour. Combine and leave to bubble and rise for about 30 mins (can be longer)
A cup of raisons/candid fruit mix – this is personal, I prefer slightly less raison/fruit in mine, you can add up to a cup of each if you prefer a fruit filled Stollen. I soak mine in a little orange juice but you can use rum or brandy if you want.
1/2 cup of chopped almonds – toasted (optional) It tastes more like mums without, but I like it with!
tsp of mixed christmas spices
1/3 cup of honey
tsp of salt
tsp of spices
1 large egg
1/2 cup of melted butter
I mix all the wet ingredients together, and add to the yeast sponge. Then combine in 2-3 cups of flour, adding about 1/4 of a cup at a time, mixing well until the dough binds together – turn out onto a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth. Then grease bowl and pop in, cover and leave to rise for between 45 mins or whenever you remember to go back and shape it.
Spices to sprinkle on
Marzipan – I think mine was a 300g block that did 2 smaller loaves.
To shape turn out onto a greased surface and flatten out into a sort of oval, or 2 oval if your making 2 small loaves. Sprinkle with spices and granulated sugar (you can omit the sugar if your popping marzipan in the middle) I rolled out my marzipan so its the same length as the dough, put it along once side and roll up the dough around the marzipan sausage. I then slightly flatten the long sausage of dough (with its marzipan centre) and fold it back on itself.
Leave to rise for, well, until is double in size or until you once again forget it, and then remember it.
Bake at 190 degrees for about 25 mins
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