Here you will Find Topics such as Organic Gardening, Biodynamics, Whole Earth Gardening, Artisan Sourdough Bread making, Cooking from Scratch, Candle making, Soap Making, Beekeeping, Simple Living, Stockpiling, Energy Saving, Living Frugally and lovingly sharing with like minded people.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


SHIRLEY :):):)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Home Made Art & Beautiful Light Fitting

On the weekend I managed to pick up a couple more frames to put some photos in to add to our collection of Home Made Art.  All these photos are from flowers in our own garden.  The large pink flower has native bees that were visiting it at that moment in time.
 Here is a beautiful light fitting that I picked up at 25% off, we have hung it over our dining table, to nice to resist!
Have a wonderful week.

Shirley :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inside a Beehive

Thought I would let you see inside our bee hive, we had to go into them yesterday for a routine check to inspect the health of the hive.
A photo of the hive opened ready for removal of the frames for inspection.
Here is a photo of a frame from the brood box, all the brown cells you can see are the capped brood (bees ready for hatching).  The bees do not store their honey in this area.  The box that the bees store their honey in is called a super, these are separated from the brood box by a queen excluder which allows the worker bees to pass through but not the queen or the drones (male bees).

Cheers Shirley :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SE Qld Summer Storms

Here in South East Qld we are starting to get our usual Spring/Summer storms.  The last two Saturdays we have been woken by loud thunder and heavy rain at around dawn.

This is what started to roll in this afternoon.  We just got heavy rain but I did here that some suburbs got small hail.
Here it is a little closer, we could feel the rain in the air so it was time to get inside.  We had three storms this afternoon in succession.
 No more storms are predicted for tomorrow or the next few days, time to clean up and prepare for the next onslaught!

Have a great weekend.

Cheers Shirley :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday's Baking

Yesterday I made two delicious slices one an old favourite Raspberry Jam Coconut Slice and a very rich Chocolate Brownie.
Makes 20 pieces.
2 cups plain flour
1 cup castor sugar
125 g butter, chilled, cubed
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup raspberry jam
2 cups desiccated coconut
Preheat over to 180C, grease and line a 3 cm deep, 24cm x 30cm lamington pan
Process flour, 1/2 cup sugar and butter to resemble breadcrumbs, add 1 egg and vanilla, process to form a dough.
Press dough into base of prepared pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until light golden.  Spread jam over warm base.
Whisk remaining eggs and remaining 1/2 cup sugar together, stir in coconut, spread over jam. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.  Cool completely in pan.  Cut into pieces, serve.
150 g unsalted butter melted 
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup plain flour
3 eggs
touch of vanilla extract
Melt the butter, add to the sugar and cocoa, mix until combined, add vanilla extract
Beat in eggs, add flour
I also added some chopped walnuts (optional)
Bake in a lined tin at 150 C for about 30 minutes.
Have a lovely day
Cheers Shirley :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spring Viewing

                  Here are a few shots from around the garden.
Notice the Spider

Purple Cauliflower
Grapevine Shooting  
Flame Tree Flowers

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of what is going on in our garden.

Have a great day Shirley :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mandarin Lime

I headed down to our local garden nursery today, just love wandering around to see what is new.  I found this

Of course I couldn't resist something as unusual as this, I simply had to have it to add to my dwarf fruit trees that I keep in large pots on my deck.
The label says it bears fragrant white flowers in spring followed by attractive fruit with many culinary uses.

The fruit peels off to reveal 6-10 easily separated bright orange segments with a few greenish seeds.  The fruit is deep red-orange and looks like mandarins, but tastes like limes.

It is said to be hardier that other limes and can be grown in a pot to maintain a manageable size.

The Lime is very juicy and can be used in marmalades, drinks and many recipes where a strong citrus presence is required.
I am looking forward to seeing this little tree produce, it looks very healthy so hopefully towards the end of summer I will be able to sample its fruit.

Cheers Shirley :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

"The Cove" Shown on ABC

Here in Australia the Documentary "The Cove" was on the ABC last night showing the slaughter of thousands of Dolphins that takes place in Japan every year.  This is due to commence again on the 1st September.

This showed horrific scenes of cruelty and deception by the Japanese authorities who want to hide this from the world.

There is a letter that can be signed to try and put a stop to this, please take action and sign it, the ambition is to try and get 2 million signatures. 

The documentary ended with the words "If we can't stop this happening there is no hope for the bigger issues of the world"

Thanks for reading, please add your signature.

Cheers Shirley :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sourdough Revived

I have been making sourdough bread now for a few years on an off, I keep the starter in the fridge when I am not going to be baking bread for a while but try to keep it alive by taking it out and feeding it with flour and water occasionally, this also allows me to share my starter with friends.

I got it out on the weekend and added flour and water, this is what it looked like straight after adding them.
Quite lifeless, I fed it once more in a twenty four hour period and this is what it looked like then.
Full of life and lots of bubbles.

At this stage I took some of the starter out to keep for next time I want to make a loaf, the remainder I added organic Flour, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Honey and Chia Seeds stirred then kneaded it until it was smooth and ready for placing in the tin.
I like to roll the bread in Polenta or Sunflower Seeds before I leave it to prove.  I now do the kneading of the bread at night and leave it covered on the bench over night, ready to bake the following morning.

Placed in the tin in the evening and the following morning ready to go into the oven.
Baked, Cooled, Sliced.

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of tasting home baked sourdough bread, slightly warm.

Enjoy your day, we are getting some long overdue rain here today, I can hear the plants singing :)

Cheers Shirley :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Honey Harvest

The weather was right, we knew the supers in our bee hive were full to the brim so we had a window of opportunity to harvest the honey from our bee hive.

We have had the hive for about ten months and already those hard working bees have given us 30 kg of honey.

So suited up we were prepared to do the necessary work to place the clearer board between the brood box, where the queen lays her eggs and the supers, where the bees store their honey.

We hired a honey extractor from our local beekeeping supply shop and we were set for the job of extracting the honey from the frames.
The frames are placed in the extractor two at a time and spun at high speed to force the honey from the comb.  It hits the side of the extractor and then runs down to the base.  There is a gate to allow us to strain the honey into containers, just pure honey, nothing added.
The last of the honey being poured from the extractor, strained into the jars.

Here is our harvest from two supers, around 30 kgs of pure honey.  Yum, lovely on toast.  I also add our pure honey to my soaps for a luxurious bar of soap.
And some of the honey soap I have made in the past, smells divine, a natural bar, the warm colour coming from the added honey.
Have a great afternoon,

Cheers Shirley :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Busy Day

Today was exceptionally busy, we haven't had rain for ages and our large concrete water tank was almost empty so we decided to take advantage of it and drain the remainder of the water and give it a good clean.

So we were up nice and early got the spare pump out, pumped the water out and then my husband got inside hosed and brushed all the sides of the the huge tank.  It was surprising the amount of sludge that was in the base of it, we have leaf catchers on our down spouts and I make a habit of giving them a clean if rain is forecast.

So the tank is clean, some water has been put in the base of it to stop it popping out as can happen if tanks are left empty.  The weather forecast tonight said that we may get a storm in the morning so fingers crossed and our beautiful clean tank gets lots of water in it.

In the afternoon I cut up some soap that I made yesterday, Calendula with Goats Milk and Sweet Almond Oil added.  I just love the way it has turned out.
It's colour has come from the Calendula petals added to it at trace.

I hope your day was a good one.

Cheers Shirley :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A quick walk around the Garden

This afternoon on my way to the vegie patch I took my camera to photograph what is going on in the garden at the moment.

As I have said before it is very dry here at the moment and many of the plants are struggling, our water tanks are getting low, so every drop we use is very precious and is mainly being used in the vegie garden.
The pigeon peas are still in flower, this is a very useful permaculture plant as it improves soil fertility and fixes atmospheric nitrogen.  In India this is a popular plant as the seeds are used to make Dhal.
The Mulberry trees are bursting into bud, the fruits are beginning to form, we have both the Red and White varieties.  I love adding these to muffins, pies and to the blender in drinks.
Orchids are getting ready to give their beautiful spring display, we have these in pots in the vegie patch, they attract hundreds of bees as their flowers open.
Here the Kale that I planted a couple of weeks ago is growing nicely, a shower of rain would make all the difference, no matter how much water applied through a hose or watering can is no substitute to nitrogen enriched rain.

Our first cauliflower ready for picking, for some reason this one is way ahead of the others that were planted at the same time.

Have a great weekend.

Cheers Shirley :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pots of Herbs

After lunch I got stuck into my pots of herbs on the deck.  With the dry weather they weren't looking their best, also the frost and cold weather has knocked them around.

So I took them one by one, trimmed off any dead bits and overhanging growth, fertilized them, mulched the top of the pots with some organic lucern and gave them a good soak.
I had some egg plants growing in a large pot also, the frost has killed off the top of the plants so I have cut them back as I have read that a second season can be got from them.  Fingers crossed they come back but there was lots of new shoots up the stems.
Another job to be ticked off the list.  In a few weeks we should have lots of fresh growth to pick to add to our meals.

Have a great day.

Cheers Shirley :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

More Soap

This week I have again become a little addicted to making soap, this latest one I love the way it looks.  It is goats milk, oatmeal, French Green clay and organic cacao, no perfumes, just a natural bar.
I would love to be able to use it now, a little self control is going to be needed for a few weeks.

Have a great day.

Cheers Shirley :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shots from the Garden

It is quite warm here today, we haven't had rain for some time, the vegie patch is looking very dry and many things are drooping.  We need rain and very soon.

I have taken a few shots from around the garden today to share.
I love violas, we had a few in a pot many years ago, now they just seem to have self seeded all over the placed adding a touch of colour.
Here the potatoes are growing really well and getting flowers on, we have had some quite bad frosts but these haven't been effected this year so I am expecting a good crop of potatoes soon.
A bumper crop of citrus this year, these are Meyer Lemons, absolutely full of juice.
Ruby Red Silverbeet stalks, they add lovely colour to the vegie patch.
 The bees are working away, they are bringing in lots of pollen at the moment and the supers are filled with honey ready for extracting.
Lastly presents from the chooks, they are starting to lay quite well again after many weeks with very few eggs being produced.

Hope you have had a wonderful day.

Cheers Shirley :)