I like to write about simple healthy living. This blog has evolved over a few years and includes some time living in the country and enjoying raising chickens, walking dogs and growing our own veggies. We are back in the city for a while to build the bank account so that we can retire back in the country in the not too distant future. Till then it's two days at a time.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Restoration Complete

Well we finally completed the restoration of my grandmothers dressing table.  The delay wasn't in the amount of work it took it was just that other things have taken priority over the last couple of months.

I posted the original photos in this blog on the 2nd of October.
http://two-days-at-a-time.blogspot.com/2011/10/restoration.html

Here is one of the photos I posted but to see them all click on the link above.







And this is the finished product.   It turned out exactly the way I had pictured it in my mind.  I knew we wouldn't get rid of all of the green as the silky oak absorbed the colour into it's grain.  I like that the green lives on in a more subtle way..................

I'm very pleased with the end result.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Baba Ganoush

It's time to do something with the last of the eggplants.  As well as making some Rum Balls today I plan on making Baba Ganoush.  Not very Christmasy I know but I'll still enjoy it.

I found this recipe on the Gourmet Worrier blog http://www.gourmetworrier.com/2009/08/one-of-those-happy-kitchen-accidents.htmland thought it sounded a little different so I'm going to give it a go.  Will post a pic of the finished product.

We picked around 16 eggplants off 4 plants.  We planted another just a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not sure if it's too late in the season but I guess we'll find out.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Harvesting Corn

We planted our corn mid September and this is a photograph I posted 8 weeks after planting.  This would be my 3rd attempt at growing corn but up until now I hadn't grown any that were worth eating
I took this photo just before we harvested.  It's only 5 weeks after the photo above and 13 weeks from planting.  Amazing how tall it got.
The reasons my corn hasn't been successful in the past I think was due to picking it too early or too late.  This time I did a lot of research into the right time.  The silks need to be brown right to the end.  There were a few of the smaller cobs that weren't at this stage so we just picked the larger ones.
 We got 9 great cobs from 6 plants.
You can see here that some of the cobs didn't have kernels right to the tip.  I'm still trying to find out why but it could be a nutrient problem.  Apart from putting lots of mulch and chook manure on when we planted, we didn't fertilise after that.

This level of success will certainly have me planting more next season.  This time probably twice as many and I'll look at feeding them a bit more.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A Night of Rain

We've had a bit of rain during the week but last night we had a lot of rain.  Our water tanks have gone from nearly empty to overflowing.  You can see our dam has overflowed and our camp fire and wood pile are now surrounded by water.

The brown grass from a week ago is now a luscious green and I'm sure if we have a dry week, next weekend will be all about mowing :-)   This weekend however, is all about study :-(


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Levels of Success

Today's harvests demonstrates a couple of different levels of success. 

Not so successful carrot growing.............................





Pretty good success with the basil, tomatoes, eggplant, beetroot and even a potato that we didn't plant !


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cherry Tomato and Sweet Chilli Jam

We have bucket loads of Cherry tomatoes that grow out of the chicken coop hay and manure that I put on the garden.  This weekend I tried my hand at making Jam for the first time.  I found this recipe to use up some of my Cherry tomatoes. It was so good I made a second batch.  http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/cherry-tomato-and-sweet-chilli-jam



 Before Cooking
Ready for bottling

The finished product.  It's very tasty on crackers with cheese !

Friday, 11 November 2011

On My Mind....................

It looks like being a hot weekend here so it will be lots of swimming in the dam for the puppies.

Lilly looks like she is about to eat Layla but it's just puppy play.

This post is part of a Friday photo feature called "On My Mind" over at the Down to Earth Blog. 
http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/

Puppy Play

Lilly loves the water

 

Friday, 4 November 2011

On My Mind.................

One of the great things about spring is the beautiful sunrises.  This was the one I left on Monday morning to come back to the city.

Looking forward to being home again tonight.

This post is part of a Friday photo feature called "On My Mind" over at the Down to Earth Blog. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Vegetable Gardens - 8 weeks later

Building new gardens 8 weeks ago


Just amazed at how quickly things grow. Can't wait for the corn.

The carrots and beetroot should be ready in around 4 weeks time


We are already eating lettuce and silverbeet



Looking forward to leeks and eggplants and already enjoying the sage

Until now I haven't ever been successful growing coriander.  Obviously I did something right this time!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Water Lillies

This is the 2nd year the lillies have flowered in the dam and this is the most I've seen at any one time.


Garry bought the seeds for these online a couple of years ago while living in an apartment.  He grew 3 plants in buckets on his very small balcony.  I could never really understand why and used to complain about the buckets of slimy green water.



We brought them up here to our block and put them in the dam long before we started building the house.  Two of them didn't survive but this one seems to be doing well, although it spreads quite slowly.   The flowers are worth waiting for they are such a beautiful colour.   It will be interesting to see how far one plant can spread.  We're not actually sure of the name of the flower but I think it's a kind of lotus flower.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Avocado Tree

We've been really keen to get some fruit trees planted but for whatever reason this has taken longer than planned.

Yesterday Garry planted the first tree in our orchard -  a Wurtz Avocado.

I did a lot of research into which Avocado variety would be the easiest to grow in our area and this is the recommended one.  We have rock hard soil that nothing much grows in so Garry broke up the soil and added a lot of compost but planted the tree high in a mound to provide good drainage.

Then of course the tree needs to be protected from our two puppies (Lilly and Layla).  I expect the wire cage will need to stay for a year or so.   The tree will grow to about 4 metres high and 6 metres wide and will start bearing fruit in the 2nd or 3rd year.

We're looking for a lemon and a lime now to add to our orchard of one !



Saturday, 22 October 2011

Creativity - On My Mind.......

This post is part of a Friday photo feature called "On My Mind" over at the Down to Earth Blog. 
http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/   (I'm just a little late this week)


It's been a busy and intense week and I'm feeling the need to exercise some creativity and get the right side of the brain going.


I'll do some work on this mat today.  I've made a few of these before and they are handy to put on the kitchen bench to put hot pans on as they come of the stove top.  They are made with natural jute (bought at the hardware store) and this is combined with some variegated natural cotton.  It's just single crochet stitch simple and fast to make.

Friday, 14 October 2011

On My Mind...................

This post is part of a Friday photo feature called "On My Mind" over at the Down to Earth Blog. 
http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/


A few months back I received some day old chicks for my birthday.  This week one of them produced their first egg.  I wasn't there to see it so Garry took these very cute photos for me.  The little egg  measured35mm end to end.


Have a great Friday !

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Morning Storm

 These are some pictures I took of a storm we had last Saturday morning.  In South East Qld morning storms aren't common so it was a very eerie feeling when this one came over.  There was some hail that fell but it was only small and thankfully didn't cause any damage to our growing vegie patch.

The storm moved really fast and was all over and done within an hour.  


After the storm the Kangaroos came out to graze on the wet grass.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

What Really Came First - The Chickens or the House?


I called my first blog post – The First Step and it was about building our house.  The truth is the first step was building the chicken coop.  I was so eager to have chickens that we built our chicken coop and bought our first layers before our house was built.  We spent many hours researching chickens and chicken coops on the internet and it’s fair to say we started this exercise from scratch with very little knowledge.
Garry designed and built two boxes for the chickens to roost in.  We then got started on building the chicken run.  For me it was important that they had plenty of space to free range.   We got our first layers a couple of days before Easter and our first egg on Easter Sunday.    We spent many hours just hanging around in the chicken coop watching and learning about what chickens do and after a few weeks we would let them out of the coop each day to roam free around the property but if we were outside they preferred to be with us.


They were very happy chickens but unfortunately we weren’t aware of just how smart foxes could be.  One night we lost 2 chickens to a fox who managed to scale the chicken run fence.   This was heartbreaking  for us and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
We did some more research and ended up buying two mesh cages that we have joined together.  We attached the nesting boxes to the sides and can still retrieve the eggs without having to enter the cage.  The chooks put themselves to bed at night and we go up later and close the cage door.    The cage is completely enclosed so they are now safe not just from foxes but snakes as well.

At the moment we have 9 very happy healthy chickens who supply us with amazing eggs each day

Friday, 7 October 2011

On My Mind.........................

This post is part of a Friday photo feature called "On My Mind" over at the Down to Earth Blog. 

On my mind today is driving out of the city tonight back to the farm to see the girls.

I love Fridays........................

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Restoration

This silky oak dressing table belonged to my Grandmother and was then passed onto my parents sometime in the 1970’s.   At this time there were some very interesting colours in furniture stains around and my father chose Antique Green for this grand old piece.

I have just had it shipped up to my house and unfortunately on the way the main mirror was broken so we will be getting that replaced within the next few weeks.We have been busy sanding off most of the green.  I don’t believe we could ever get it all off and I actually don’t want to.  I love the colour that it is becoming and plan to only finish the table with a clear protective coat.
We’ve been onto this project for couple of weeks now and probably have a couple more to go.

The dresser was unassembled to ship so I wasn’t able to take a before photo however I’ll look back through some old photos to see I can find and post it together with the finished photo soon.  

Friday, 30 September 2011

On My Mind........

This post is part of a Friday photo feature called "On My Mind" over at the Down to Earth Blog. 
http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/

This photo reminds me of why I love morning walks with the puppies.  Everything is fresh and new.

Happy Friday

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunflowers and Others

I love Sunflowers. I love the colour and I love how tall they grow.  King Parrots also love sunflowers.  We were walking in the area not long after we moved in and found a garden full of sunflowers and a King Parrot feeding on the seeds.  It's was such a beautiful bird to look at, I decided I must grow sunflowers to attract the parrots. 

I bought a packet of seeds and sowed them in a few different places around the garden.  Unfortunately I only managed to grow ONE sunflower.  It's obviously not as easy as it looks and I also discovered that ducks love sunflowers.  They especially like the sunflower seedlings, 10cm seems to be about the perfect height for a duck.   

My one sunflower was pretty spectacular though and I was happy that I had managed to grow it.  Maggie liked to sit under the Sunflower and I think that's probably why we never saw any King Parrots.  When the petals had fallen off the sunflower we gave the head to the chickens who thought it was a real delicacy.

We use the hay from the chicken coop on the garden and it's always a surprise to see what springs up out of this mulch.  We have many many cherry tomato plants and we haven't planted a single one.  This flower also grew from the mulch and at first I thought it was going to be a sunflower.   I don't know what it is.  It could well be considered a weed but I think it looks lovely in the vegetable garden. 


I'm waiting for someone to invent google for pictures.  I often have pictures of plants and birds and I don't know how to find out what they are.  Try typing in yellow flower with petals into google and see what you get................

If you know what this flower is please leave a comment I'd love to know or if there is a google for pictures please let me know.

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