A Day In The Life – Day 7 NaBloPoMo 2016

This post came from an idea one of my friends gave me this afternoon. So here’s a day in my life……..

Today was Monday, and a day off from my usual work at Oak Tasmania. But there were all the usual jobs and dinner to prepare early because I also had a 1500 word essay to upload to my tutor for my current creative writing unit, Writing For Children and Young Adults

First, feed the animals. There was squawking and jostling to get the best position, but the chickens all got their share of seed mix and there was an early egg from dear Hipster, the oldest girl in the flock. Then some quick weeding to gather greens for the rabbits and a big chicory leaf for each of them (because rabbits!) and the obligatory cute Bernard Black Bunny pic of the day……

I'm Cute - But I Will Not Share My Chicory!

I’m Cute – But I Will Not Share My Chicory!

Once everyone was fed, water checked, pats and cuddles given, I watered the greenhouse and picked veggies for tonight’s dinner, a slow cooked beef and veg curry. This involved picking celery, purple cabbage leaves, silverbeet and snow peas and (as always) more weeding around the plants and cutting back flower heads – all of which went straight to the ravenous chickens.

Finally, I managed to get back in the house and make some breakfast for me! This morning I felt like something savory on my toast. So, before I went to feed the animals I went searching through the freezer. I had the last of my current loaf of sourdough toasted with a very decadent and different kind of topping. I was quite thrilled to find a tub of basil pesto (sans pine nuts) from the autumn harvest tucked away. By the time I got back to the kitchen it was defrosted enough to spread thinly on my toast. It was intense, both garlic and basil flavours came shining through and utterly delicious!

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Time then to knock a loaf of sourdough together and put dinner in the slow cooker. I replaced some of the bread flour with rye this time, which makes a nutty, slightly denser loaf. Wee Beastie the sourdough plant is really powering at the moment, so this is what it looked like after a few hours of proving under a damp tea towel in the kitchen.

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I cannot begin to describe how lovely and yeasty these loaves smell at this stage – and without any added yeast! I’ll leave it to prove overnight and bake it first thing tomorrow morning so I’ll have fresh bread for breakfast ❤

Next on my list was getting dinner prepped and in the slow cooker. About 500g diced stewing steak and a couple of diced onions got seared in ghee and tossed into the pot with a jar of home-made tomato based chilli sauce from a couple of seasons ago and a tub of cooked chick peas. Lots of spices, herbs, red wine, plus celery, carrot, broad beans and mushrooms (thanks to the garden again!). All thrown in the slow cooker, switched on and forgotten about until later in the afternoon.

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Then it was down to the nitty gritty – wrangling all my notes into a cohesive discussion about what I consider to be “an area of childhood that hasn’t been satisfactorily written about”. It’s a potentially huge subject and I only had 1500 words to work with. Chained to my laptop for the next few hours, I referenced, edited and pulled it all together – with Brahms in my headphones and the first cricket test against South Africa on the television. It was a bit mad for a few hours, I remember getting up and making a cup of tea at one point but apparently didn’t drink it, and some kind soul put food in front of me at lunchtime. But I managed to get it all done, correctly formatted and uploaded to my tutor who lives in a different time zone.

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After a cuppa with a friend who called round, it was time for the afternoon feeding of the hungry hordes, more egg collecting – and bunny cuddles ❤

I also picked some snow peas that I’d missed that were way too far gone for the table but rather than waste them, I shelled them and set them to dry on my seed shelf. They’ll form the basis of the next crop and/or traded with other fellow gardeners.

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Finally, I prepared the veggies to finish off the curry, silverbeet, purple cabbage and snow peas while some nice person cooked rice.

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And now, dinner has been devoured (delicious!) and there’s plenty of leftovers to refill the freezer. I’m currently crashed on the couch with my laptop watching my favourite current affairs show, The Feed on SBS and once I publish this I might get back to reading my new book, Jennifer Livett’s Wild IslandOr maybe think some more about that song I’m starting to write. Or perhaps do a little work on my final assignment for this unit, a creative piece of writing and exegesis.

Or maybe go to bed early.

And this was a day off……

Sunshine, Rhubarb & Good Ideas – Day 13 NaBloPoMo 2015

So, Friday again – where did the week go? I had to take the day off work today, my back is not behaving itself and I’m going pretty slow at the moment.

Still, I managed to feed the hungry beasts this morning, check that everything survived the rain and enjoy a little bit of sunshine. In the midst of my “go slow”, I had some gentle exercise, pulled a few weeds and picked some rhubarb. I have six plants of “Victoria” – the green variety – that get fed heavily a couple of times a year and give back a load of wonderful, tart stalks from the end of winter until the end of autumn.

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I tend to roast bite-size pieces coated in brown sugar instead of stewing these days but I’ve got so much I’m thinking of making sparkling wine and syrup with some, as well as the usual crumble and Rhubarb Fool. (Any unusual suggestions or recipes would be appreciated!)

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is actually a vegetable rather than a fruit but it’s generally used for sweet dishes and drinks. Just make sure to remove the leaves before preparing and never let your chickens have any part of the plant – the oxalic acid make it lethal for poultry or rabbits.

And speaking of rabbits, I checked the babies this morning too. All are thriving, getting chubbier and growing fur 🙂

One week old 13th Nov

I found fresh mushrooms last night from the compost bags so had a filling breakfast of mushrooms on sourdough toast. I’m heading to my local plant nursery for some more mushroom compost next week!

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Do you have any favourite recipes or bright ideas for using rhubarb? Please leave a comment below. 

The Busy-ness of Spring – Upcoming Shows

Chestnut Tree Spring Oct 2015

Hello friends,

I love spring. The cycle of the seasons visibly turns and every day brings new things in the garden, the chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with, and here in Hobart we’re coming out of the hibernation of winter and starting to go out again.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Wee Beastie Sourdough

Wee Beastie Sourdough

 

And I’ve been busy! In the kitchen I’ve been making Vanilla Ice Cream and Baked Coffee Cheesecake with the excess eggs, brewing and bottling cider, making Rhubarb Fool from the mass of spring rhubarb and my weekly “Wee Beastie” Sourdough. It’s been absolutely wonderful to eat so well, with so much produce coming directly out of the garden.

The garden is always a work in progress but I’ve started planting out climbing beans this week, there’s basil in the Seeds and Basil Seedlings Oct 2015greenhouse and too many vegetable seedlings coming on to mention.

And there’s music happening too! I’m in the middle of a unit in Creative Writing for my second major through Griffith University. For my final assessment I’m planning to write a portfolio of new pieces that will become new songs. Depending how it goes, perhaps the core of another album.

Meanwhile, there’s gigs coming up too.

This Sunday at The Brunswick Hotel in Hobart, I’m playing a short set out in The Yard (the beer garden) with a bunch of other local musicians, including the incredibly talented Cassie O’Keefe and my friend Matt Dean. Very pleased also that this is a family friendly show, so feel free to bring your young music-lovers 🙂

Thursday 19th November, I’m sharing a night with Cassie at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, one of my favourite places to go and hang out with friends. No idea what’s going to happen that one – we might even work out some songs to play together!

Friday 20th November, I’ll be doing the early spot at The Globe Hotel in Davey Street. If you haven’t caught this weekly event yet, I really recommend it. It’s organised by Kevin Gleeson who basically loves all kinds of music and is good friends with so many of us. It’s a great excuse to hang out and have a good time with mates.

And there’s more on the horizon! If you want to keep up to date with my shenanigans, hook up with me on Facebook here.

Yep, it’s spring and it’s busy – just how I like it.

Wherever you are, be well friends ❤

Elusive Spring

As you’ve probably gathered, the weather in southern Tasmania has been pretty awful, with unseasonal rain and colder weather. As we come to the end of November, it’s starting to feel like spring – about three months later than expected!
This morning I couldn’t sleep, so was up and out in the yard before 7am. It was damp and cool, but lovely. Undoubtedly my favourite time of the day and the chickens and rabbits were happy to see me – and get an early breakfast!
All the wet weather has played havoc with some of the plants. The few tomatoes I have outside are struggling, as are the corn and zucchini plants. Berries are the hardest hit, but my Chilcotin raspberries are in a raised bed and covered with bird netting so I think there’ll be a few sweet treats by Christmas. The boysenberry (a new addition) has set a few fruit so now the big issue will be keeping the birds off.
After the disastrous heat of last summer, I lost all but one of my strawberries. So in winter, I potted up the last little survivor and put it in the greenhouse for safe keeping, waiting for runners so I could propagate more plants.
Imagine my delight when I went in to water this morning and found not runners but a clump of perfect fruit – and some ripe enough for breakfast. Let’s hope that spring is finally here 😀
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Back to the Future Garden

Amidst all the bunny porn I’ve been posting lately (a friend’s description – not mine!) there’s been other things happening.
Up until yesterday’s rain, the weather was lovely and warm. The Basil is starting to take off in the greenhouse and I’ve been trying to pot up a few more each day to increase the crop.
On the balcony garden, which is primarily a winter salad garden, I’ve started sorting out the planter boxes and I’m thinking baby carrots along with the usual mustard greens and Coriander for the summer and autumn.
Also I gathered a large amount of Kale pods to dry. This much maligned vegetable is one of my favourites, as well as being one of the hardiest plants for my climate. Finely shredded, it’s the mainstay of my winter salads and stir fries, and the flavour is definitely improved by a good frost. My favourite variety is the Italian Black Lacinato but I grow Russian Red in the backyard too for the tender new leaves and Broccoli-like heads – the chickens get plenty of it too!
Collecting seed can be tricky as Brassicas cross pollinate easily but it’s worth the extra effort for the satisfaction of growing your own. It’s an investment in the garden of the future.
Wherever you are, have a great day in your garden 😀
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When Barabas Met Boudica – A Rabbit Romance

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Today, the last hutch was finished and finally set up under the chestnut tree. This meant that our pretty Boudica (British Giant cross) was introduced to the handsome Barabas (Californian cross) for a morning of frivolity and yes, bunny fornication!
They’ve been giving one another longing looks across the yard for a few weeks now, and with spring in full force, it was high time to let them have some fun – and make some more rabbits!
It was a torrid affair – but unlike a lot of bucks I’ve observed in the past, Barabas was a most gentle, albeit persistent, suitor! Boudica responded in kind and although she played hard to get for a while, she was grooming him and playing her rabbit games within minutes. In fact, she was very cross when we took her out of the bachelor pad and into her new nesting pen.
It’ll be a few days before we can find out if she’s pregnant, but with a gestation period of approximately 30 days, we should have babies by mid December.
Rabbit sex is hilarious, but I think all sex is pretty funny – or it should be. I think human beings as a rule take it all too seriously.
Maybe if we all wore furry coats, we would laugh more……

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Hidden Treasures on a Sunny Day

After a wonderful couple of days recording and mixing at Belfry Studio, I really felt a need to get out in the garden and get my hands dirty today.  I wanted to get some space before listening to the CD again.
Hobart turned on a fabulous spring day for me and I had a great time. Lots of playing with the rabbits, who had their hutches cleaned out and then planting sunflower seedlings and climbing beans, mulch courtesy of the rabbits. It was a perfect day for cutting Tarragon for drying too.
All the time I kept thinking about the recording, even sang a few bars to the chooks, who didn’t mind at all – they had silverbeet and kale leaves to peck at.
As I was finishing up for the day, I noticed some garlic at the front of a bed. Now, I have garlic everywhere in my garden, I love it and can never grow enough but it tends to get overlooked as it dies down. I realised these were cloves I forgot to pull last summer. So tonight’s stir fry had fresh garlic – and I have about a dozen or more heads to cure and plait for keeping.
After dinner, I sat back and put the CD on – yes, there’s minor tweaks that I need to make but wow – I’m very pleased and proud.

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