Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The olive verdict?

It has now been about 2 weeks since I told you about our plans to experiment with olives before deciding to spend money buying trees. Well the verdict is... this weekend we went to the garden shop and bought 2 different types of olive trees. :)

Only one of the three different methods (the sultana olives) worked out, but it was definitely worth the wait. They tasted great unseasoned, and even better when seasoned with oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic and lemon juice. They were amazing! I was surprised that I could make something so nice. They were so nice in fact that I rang up the olive tree owner in South Arm and asked if we could come and pick some more olives. Thankfully she said yes, so we made the trip out there on Saturday and picked us about 2kg of olives. I can't wait till they are ready to eat! YUM.

Like I mentioned, the two green olive batches didn't work out so well. By 14 days the green olives that were in salt water actually tasted quite nice, but this was before I noticed that something unpleasant had grown around the outside edges that weren't submerged. I didn't want to cause a major food poisoning incident, so they ended up in the bin. Don't worry though, I have a super strong immune system :). I think I might actually try that way of brining again. However, I will just make sure I keep the outside edges nice and clean, or use more salt.

The other batch of green olives just in plain water was super mouldy. There were spores everywhere. I'm not sure how to make this method work.

Anyway, I am just glad one batch worked out so well :)

Now, we just need to start planting an olive orchard...

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This year for Daniel's birthday, I bought him a few little gifts. One great gift I found was a cookbook called The SuperJam Cookbook. Not only is the design very funky but the recipes are unique and sound delicious. For instance, Daniel really likes the sound of the kiwi fruit, lime and ginger jam, and I'm keen to try the plum and elderberry jam. Sadly though, I probably wouldn't eat a lot of it. I thoroughly enjoy making jam but I just don't seem to eat it that much. Daniel, on the other hand, loves eating jam which is why I bought him the cookbook. Maybe this will inspire him this coming summer to do some preserving in the the kitchen.

I also bought him a few CDs. The first was The Black Keys 'Brothers'. In particular, I really enjoy the song and the video clip isn't too bad either.

I also bought him a Fleet Foxes CD, all based on the song on how much I enjoyed this song.

And here is a great cover version of it.

While on links to music, I also really like this song by TV On The Radio.

Happy birthday Daniel. Thanks for being such an awesome husband, father and friend :).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One year!

Can you believe it? I have now been writing this blog for a year. I realised this the other day as I was thinking about what I was going to get Daniel for his birthday. Here is one of the very first posts I wrote.

It is amazing how much things can change in a year! Last year I had no children. Now I have a little boy who I dearly love. Last year I was studying full-time, as well as working two jobs. This year I have one full-time job - being a parent. By the light of my computer screen I can see my little bundle of joy is smiling at me now... even though he should be feeding. Last year I slept a lot more. Now I sleep in 3-5 hour blocks. I also went out a lot more, especially in the evening. I went to the movies, I went to friends houses, I went to parties and to music gigs. Now I try to go to bed as soon as baby is fast asleep. I feel like an old lady!

The biggest change though has been my attitude towards having children. When Daniel and I married in 2006 he was ready and keen to have children. I, on the other hand, was not. The prospect of having children terrified me, especially the thought of having to give everything up to look after another person. I'm not saying I didn't want children; I did. I just didn't want babies. I am totally not a babies person. They don't make my clucky, they are 100 percent dependent on you, and they poo and spew a lot (never thought I would write those two words on a blog). I certainly didn't want one of these, but to get to the point of having older children you have to go through the baby stage. And because I was never clucky it was super easy to put off having children. And it wasn't as if I was missing out on interacting or spending time with kids, they were part of nearly every aspect of my life - school, swimming teaching, church, home- so why would I want to have my own?

Eventually, Daniel persuaded me and now how different things are.... Since having Nicholas, I have noticed that my thinking has changed considerably, and I'm saying things I never ever thought I would. For instance, the other day I realised (even with the memory of labour still so fresh) that I was excited about the idea of having more children and meeting these new little people who we will love and know. Now even just thinking this freaked me out at the time, because a year ago this would never have been the case. I also like babies now as well. And not just my own. I suddenly think that all babies are cute, and one might even say that I am a little bit clucky. This is very weird for me.

Here is a picture of Daniel and Nicholas at my parents' place after singing happy birthday to him and my sister (only 2 days difference). Soooo cute :)

It is amazing how much can change in a year!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seam allowance guide

This looked super handy, so I bought one for myself.

What is it? Watch this and find out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

command + option + esc

The title of this post was inspired by a blog post by The Plaid Cupcake. However, because I have a Mac, the command sequence is slightly different when forcing a program to quit. The word 'escape' might be better suited than 'delete' in a force-quit, and more appropriate for this post. Strangely enough, as I went to write about heading to my parents place to get away from the business of daily life, which I had done that day, Patty had written about her family cabin she goes to 'restart'. We must be on the same wavelength, even though we are so far away from each other.

I should introduce you to Patty actually. Patty, from The Plaid Cupcake, is my sewing buddy. She lives in America, and is very creative and talented. You should check out her blog, as well as her etsy store.

Escape - To break loose from confinement; get free.

When things are becoming to much at my place or I just need some time away, I go to my parents' place. My parents live in Kaoota. It is about a 25min drive out of Hobart, on a hill facing north (the all day sun in winter is great), with no close surrounding neighbours, and has a beautiful view of Mt Wellington. It is quiet, out of the way and best of all relaxing.

My Dad spent a lot of time on the property when he was a boy, and when my parents were newly married they bought the property. My Dad loves this place. My Mum does also, but she doesn't have the same affiliation to it as my Dad.

When I was about 5 my parents decided they wanted to leave Tasmania for a short time. As the two years they initially decided to go for turned into 13, I know that my Dad continually thought and dreamed about being back at Kaoota. It wasn't that he was unhappy where he was, it was just that so much of his life was was tied up to that property and he found it difficult to be away from it. It's a part of him. I doubt he will ever leave it again.

He reminds a little bit of the father from the movie The Castle actually, who stands at his door, admiring his surroundings, and says "ahhh the serenity".

Anyway, Kaoota is a great place to disappear to and forget about the rest of the world... partly for the peacefulness, but also because my parents live there, as does my sister and her family. I love finding the time to drive up there, sit in the house, staring out the window, knowing that I am in the best place ever.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A buggy birthday party!

I enjoy gardening and being outside, but I am not a big fan of bugs, especially worms. I know that they are great for a garden and it's not that I am scared of them or anything, I just don't like how squishy and squirmy they are.

My sister had a birthday party for her 2-year-old today, and can you guess the theme...bugs! I was reminded of my aversion to worms when I dug into (he he) her homemade dirt cup - a cup of mousse (soil) with muffin crumbs (dirt) and worms on top, and worms at the bottom, which were all squishy, slimy and soft. Even though it was just a dessert it kind of freaked me out.

Anyway, here are some photos from the party.

Buzzing bee Nicholas and Lady Bug Clare

Spider Ryan and his birthday cake

The fantastic cake that Emily made. She is so talented.

And three cute bugs: two little bees and a big spider :)

Friday, July 8, 2011


As mentioned in another post, Daniel and I are interested in planting olive trees. Before spending money on buying a tree though and then finding out that we are rubbish at brining olives, we decided we would experiment with a few batches of olives first. So in our kitchen at the moment are three different batches of olives curing on the stove top in ice-cream containers.

I got the olives at a few different places. I bought one lot from Meridith's, a local food market. The next lot, both green and black olives, I sourced through Hobart Freecycle. Hobart Freecycle is great! It is a network which "is open to all TASMANIANS who want to "recycle" that special something rather than throw it away. Whatever it is -- a chair, a fax machine, a piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself! Nonprofit groups are encouraged to join the network too. One constraint: everything posted MUST BE FREE." So a few weeks ago, I posted a message asking if anyone had an olive tree I could pick some fresh olives off. I got one response, and so Daniel, Nicholas and I took a day trip to South Arm to do some picking. It was so generous of this person to allow us into her yard to pick her olives. She even said we could come back for more this year or next if we wanted. I think we will see how the olives turn out first :)

As mentioned, I have three batches of olives on the go, brining in different ways. The first batch involves green olives being soaked in fresh cold water for up to 10 days. It will then be placed in a brine solution for 3 to 4 weeks.

The second also involves green olives, but these olives are being soaked in salt water, which is also changed daily, for about 12 days. They will then also be placed in a brine solution until ready to eat. I found this recipe on a site called Pickling your Olives and am using the 'Olives Australia's Favourite Method' recipe.

The third is a container of black olives. These are the easiest, being covered in rock salt and being turned daily. I am using a recipe I found on ABC's Gardening Australia site.

One thing I have discovered in my short time of pickling olives, is that pickling olives requires you to be motivated. Despite my lack of motivation towards these olives at times, I am interested to see how they turn out and what they taste like.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Such concentration!

I really want our children to love reading. There is nothing more rewarding than finishing a good book that you have thoroughly enjoyed. We are starting them early :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mess or work in progress?

Our yard, to an untrained eye, is an untamed and unkept mess. The lawn is often unmowed and the weeds are taking over. To us however, it is a work in progress and looks unkept because it is far from finished. In terms of the time it takes to establish a working garden (especially with so many other things to do in life), we haven't really been in this garden for long. Even so, during our time at this house we have planted 12 fruit trees as well as various berries, currents and passionfruit plants. We have also built numerous garden beds, have a few little chickens and a wooden picnic table which is lovely to sit and eat lunch at on warm sunny days. I don't think we are doing so badly, but there is still so much to do before spring!

A few of these things include:
-Plant all the fruit trees (some at parent's place)
-Build a raspberry patch
-Install two water drip systems: one for the trees and the other for the garden beds, as I don't have time to stand in the garden watering everything everyday.
-Build a small greenhouse
-Get the garden beds ready
-Be organised when it comes to planting vegetable seeds
-Get a new letterbox

This weekend Daniel spent the weekend in the garden getting rid of unwanted bushes and trees, making room for more fruit trees, as well as clearing the drive way area. He worked so hard, he didn't really have time to relax before he had to go back to work on Monday. I was really keen help Daniel in the garden, but sadly because of one very hungry little Hugo feeding every 2-2 1/2 hours and not sleeping much, this was not possible. The best thing about cleaning up the backyard is that we were able to get rid of all the greenwaste straight away because we borrowed my Dad's 'super truck'. Imagine trying to fit all that greenwaste you see in the picture in our Mazda 121!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Geninne's Art Blog

I have been reading Geninne's Art Blog on a regular basis for a while now. So long in fact that I don't even remember how I found the blog originally. It is one of my favourite blogs and lives in a bookmarked folder called 'blags', categorised under 'favourites'.

Geninne loves birds, which is something you will quickly notice as you start scrolling through her blog. She is a fantastic artist -drawing, painting, carving, you name it- and I love watching how she creates. I find it especially fascinating because I am terrible at drawing (I am not exaggerating here), and so I love watching her creations come to life. In fact, I have two of her creations hanging on my lounge room walls - thanks Etsy and Geninne :).

Also, every month she creates a new desktop calendar that you can download for free. I always look forward to the start of the month :)