Monday, January 28, 2008

little machine

well, that little bread maker is getting quite a work out.

We are on to our third loaf (in there cooking now) This one will be gifted to Ma and Pa Duck Herder. Along with quite a few spaghetti squashes.

Last night, my family came over and I made pizza - the little machine makes pizza dough too!

The organic wholemeal spelt flour I am using is working just fine. I have been adding sunflower seeds and linseeds to the loaves and they are moist, fairly dense, but with excellent texture and flavour. mmmm hmmmmm.

In other news, it is hot hot hot here today - and windy. We went and watched the mountain biking (men and women's elite short course) up the road at Stromlo. Exciting, hot dusty stuff. Didn't make me miss racing though. Funny how only the spectators are smiling in those short races!

The new track is GREAT.

If I was good, I would have made another batch of face cream and sewn some broccoli, beetroot, onion and leek seeds. Instead, I have been mooching around watching Northern Exposure DVDs. Very naughty. But very relaxing. I think I cooked myself out there in the sun.

Apart from that, not much to report, except that Mongo has learnt to march inside the moment a door is left open, steal the cat food and poop on the wooden floor. Lucky he is tiny - if he was a poddy lamb he would be the one that ends up a violent rouge for sure.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

loose ends

This is a little belated - it seems like a lot of stuff has happened already this year - what with the almost farm, and the whole death of a rooster debacle.

Other significant events include a four day meditation and yoga retreat at the coast last week. What a lovely way to start the year.

And new year resolutions........?

To let go. To surrender.

Yup. 2008 - the year of letting go.





bring it on.

spaghetti squash #2

How is this for an elegantly frugal lunch:

Spaghetti Squash Soup
  • Saute some fresh homegrown garlic in some locally produced chemical free olive oil in a refillable bottle.
  • Add some mustard seeds, cumin and after a little bit, a fresh chopped tomato.
  • Then, add 1 small/medium freshly picked spaghetti squash - peeled and chopped into big chunks, some water (not too much) and a few red lentils.
  • Bring to boil then simmer till squash is cooked. Mash until squash turns into spaghetti.
  • While soup is cooking, roast some pepitas and sunflower seeds. When starting to brown, sprinkle in some tamari and stir with wooden spoon to coat. Leave to cool.
  • Add some fresh chopped coriander and fresh lemon juice to soup. Serve and sprinkle with seeds.
If you are lucky, you might even have some freshly baked spelt bread to go with it, or perhaps you will save this to have warm with homemade marmalade for desert, or perhaps you will have both!

Delicious.

look what I got!

Hee hee. I can hear it kneading now - "punching down" actually.






Recently and in my nicest voice I asked the universe if she would please be so kind and generous as to organise a bread maker for me. A bit of research suggested that a Breville ULTIMATE Baker's Oven might be the go.


Now my personal view is that the universe lovingly supports all things elegantly frugal, and the fact that my parents in law just happened to have the EXACT same model, purchased 10 years ago, and not used for about 5, still in the box, complete with instruction booklet, and because it is so old, MINUS the annoying "BEEPING" that seems to turn some folks against the new version just goes to show I could be right!

Yay - I love my life! A new toy - without spending. Reusing - the first principle of reducing consumption and waste.

Our first loaf is in there now. I have used organic wholemeal spelt flour and added some flax seeds. So far so good, the spelt seems to have risen OK. Hee hee.

hee hee

BLOG UPDATE! The bread is just perfect. We have eaten the whole loaf. Hooray.

Lovely organic spelt bread EVERYDAY. yippee

Thursday, January 24, 2008

food makes everything better



In other news, we had our first Spaghetti Squash tonight - it was delicious!. I baked a whole squash for an hour (after sticking it with a fork a few times, and once it was cooked, scraped it out with a fork into bowls, and topped it with a lovely garlicy tomato sauce - and sprinkled with toasted sesame, pepita and sunflower seeds finished with a dash of soy at the end of the toasting process. DELICIOUS! Here is some information about spaghetti squash - I highly recommend them!

hfs


Poor Maurice. Today I did something very grown up and scary - I killed Maurice.
He has been very sick for over 2 weeks, and we have been giving him vitamin C injections every day for the last 8 days, the odd VAM injection, and washing his eyes out with salt water three times a day for 16 days.
He just wasn't getting better, and this afternoon when I got home, he was sort of nodding off a bit, and I decided that enough is enough, the poor little thing. Poor emaciated, gummy eyed, messy and untidy Maurice - Shadow of his former flamboyant Fabio self.
This was the first time I have actually killed a chook with my own bare hands. I don't think I like it very much and certainly won't be in a hurry to do it again........
I give myself 2 out of 10 for technique, and 9 out of 10 for courage!

and I had a big sob. (understandable methinks!)

I was scared I would regret it afterwards, but I actually feel a little bit relieved. It was very sad seeing Maurice looking so unwell. I just hope no one else in the flock comes down with what ever it was that Maurice had. Extra garlic and sulphur for some time to come methinks.

To cheer us up and to remind everyone that Maurice has left a wonderful legacy of over 20 little fluffies from his one and only breeding season, here are some photos of his last batch, taken today.




Look at all those baby Maurices! (unfortunately, not a feathered middle toe amongst them!)


I will see how they go, and hopefully keep a few.



And here is another picture with "Mongo" in the back left (named after Mr Duck Herder's extremely tall friend Mr Mongesten) the bold little fella we kept from the last batch - of still indeterminate sex - runt of the litter so to speak - tiny - completely useless for breeding, but so bold and friendly s/he runs up and leaps onto your lap, arm or legs demanding food.

Oh, I forgot to mention that one of Maurice's last acts of greatness was to win his category (the only fluffy roo!) in the Backyard Poulty Online Poultry Show! I think it will be a while before I can look at any of his lovely pictures.......




Poor old Maurice.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

hospital visits


Maurice is improving. I am not sure what is wrong with him - one of his eyes is still quite goozy. The other one is much improved and he seems to be happier though.



I found an online diagnostic tool for chook diseases at backyardpoultry.com but I couldn't find anything conclusive. Methinks it is some kind of respiratory disease - but I have no idea what. He could just have a good old fashioned case of flu or conjunctivitis. Who knows.


Keeping him separated from the others in this heat has been tricky. He has sort of been in quarantine - sort of because the others just find out where he is and camp beside him - keeping him company. I am taking this a testament of his status as a loving benevolent dictator.


While no doubt a disaster for infection control procedures, it is very cute and I am sure that Maurice is all the happier for the company.






The black hose is from the washing machine.

In other news, the crocheting is coming along slowly. Here is a practice run of double stitch. I am also practicing half treble.




My big problem is working out which stitch to start with in a new row. My biggest "doh" moment is working out that to help keep the sides neat, I need to do the extra chain stitches at the END of each row and THEN turn around. This has helped heaps.


It seems that half treble and treble stitches are used because they are quicker, but looser or "holier", and that double stick provides a slower but more dense piece? IF there are any experts out there who know about these things, I would welcome your comments. The book I am using to learn just give instructions, it doesnt talk about WHY you might use a particular stitch over another.......grrrr.


And about that farm? I feel very sad and flat. I know these feelings will shift in their own time, but I feel hopelessly sure we will never find as lovely a farm and I am wishing things were different.




sigh.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

a pox on your rooster!

What's up with poor old Maurice?

Looks like he has either:

a) a bad cold

b) fowl pox (GAWD!)

c) something else


His magnificent Fabio mane is yucked out with puss. His eyes are all gross and full of puss. He smells sick, and has lost weight. (I will spare you the photos.....)

So, I have separated him and am bathing his face and eyes with colloidal silver and water, and feeding him water with injectable vitamin C and colloidal silver with a 3 ml syringe. I think that the injectable Vitamin C is a FABULOUS thing to keep in the fridge - along with some 3 ml syringes. They come in very handy if you have a dehydrated or unwell chookie or duck or if you need to bath a wound or something.

This afternoon he was still dehydrated and listless, so I bathed his face and gave him fluids again.

I also picked up some of his favourite food (cracked corn for some reason - he just loves it).

This cheered him up a little, and he even ate a bit. He also managed a sad little crow this evening.

His eyes are still gummy, and he is still a little snuffly, but the crow and the snack are good signs methinks.

Poor old Maurice - I feel guilty that I didn't notice he was unwell before now. I had noticed that he was staying in bed late each morning, but thought this was because he couldn't cope with 2 wives, 1 adolescent child and 10 babies vying for space downstairs each morning until I let them out.....
Get well soon Maurice!

Monday, January 7, 2008

the one that got away.....


sorry folks. no farm this time.


What a crazy couple of weeks it has been. The owners were keen for a quick settlement and our bid was matched by some folks that were OK to settle right away. We tossed and turned and flipped and flopped about going crazy high and wearing the interest, but in the end, we folded.



So I am not sure if it was the perfect farm at the wrong time, or if we will find a better farm when we are finally ready to move in 18 months or so.....or if I have made a terrible mistake.



It has been a crash course in head versus heart versus intuition. In the end, I let the intuition win - throughout our negotiations there was something holding me back. I was worried that perhaps it was fear - but I think that even though my HEAD was saying "this farm is perfect - just BUY it", my intuition was saying (very quietly) "something's wrong".



Will I ever find out if my intuition was right? probably not.



Part of me is sad. Part of me thinks we made a terrible mistake, and part of me thinks that for some reason, even though it seems perfect, either this isn't the farm, or it isn't the time. BUt thank you very much for your thoughts and well wishes.



strange stuff.









normal broadcasting will resume shortly........