Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Fruitful Few Weeks.

The days are quickly rolling by and one activity or job seems to seamlessly flow into the next.
Our 5  zucchini plants  have been flourishing  and we have been giving them away left right and centre.
We have also been thinking up ways to use them ourselves. We have a huge supply of pickled zucchini, and we are regularly cooking them by stuffing with my canned bolognaise or chicken  combined with rice  and cheese.
I had seen on a Face book page somewhere but I can't remember where, a person had been dehydrating the zucchini for later use ,so thought I would give it a try myself.
I grated the zucchini and spread it out on the dehydrator trays.
After dehydrating for about 6-8 hours, we ended up with this,
This will be wonderful to chuck handfuls into soups and casseroles ect and after being re hydrated  at a ratio of 1/2 cup dried  to 2 cups of reconstituted  it can be added to muffins, slices, cakes, quiches and any number of savoury or sweet dishes. This will be a great staple in my pantry this  coming winter.
We had also processed about a dozen roosters and hens and hung in the cool room for a few days.
Usually when we process the birds we cut them  in half  and freeze them to either bake later or use in soups, curries and casseroles. This time as we have a surplus of all of that in the pantry we decided to bone out the birds reserving legs and wings for  slow cooked meals,  and divided the rest into breast fillets, tenderloin strips, thigh cutlets and stir fry bits.
We then  divided up into individual meals , marinated some with our various home made sauces, various rubs and spices and popped it all in the freezer.
As I didn't need the carcasses we offered them to a neighbour to make some soup .
We  had been up to the neighbours  last week  and on our return to home we found this little koala on the side of the road.
We stopped and Brian got out to see if he could move it back into the bush for safety,
Brian noticed that he had some large ticks in his ears and removed about 6 or 8 in all.
After making sure  he was free of these  nasty little afflictions, we  moved him back away from the road hopefully out of harms way.
We have ordered a new rain water tank and Brian has been getting the pad ready for it to be delivered, he has also started on the channel to take the pvc piping from the house to the tank.
We hope to be able to purchase the piping this week.
Our fertilizer spreader that was a bonus implement  when we purchased our tractor  finally arrived  last week, after 7 months of negotiations  although sadly only after we had contacted Fair Traders to force the issue.
This will make the task of fertilizing the paddocks much easier in the future and we also owe a big thank you to the BIL next door  for the use of his over the last couple of years.
Our chilli plants have also been doing well, I made  more  green Jalapeno  Jelly and made up another big batch of  pickled  sliced jalapenos.
The habaneros are also producing a large number of fruit,
and I decided to make several  batches  of  Habanero Gold Pepper Jelly as well.
This jelly is so  beautiful and can be used in so many ways, sweet  but with that warm chilly kick.
We also decided to chop some habaneros and dehydrate them.
These dehydrated quickly and after they were dry we  powdered them up in the grinder.
I also decided to make  some Tomato Habanero Chilli sauce, and I was able to cook it out on the outside stove that Brian connected up on the back verandah( keeping both heat and chilli fumes out of the kitchen)
The sauce has been great, but it really does pack a punch.
Another  thing we made was  the Brie Bites that I have posted the recipe to in a previous post.
These are lovely little mouthfuls of pastry, cheese and chilly jelly.
Brian has been enjoying flying the drone and  has it up a few times recently.
He took this great photo of our place. it really shows how terribly dry it all still is.
Brian has also been getting on with a few other smaller projects, one of them being the replacement of the old basin in the powder room,
We now have a more modern, neater, slimline vanity and cupboard underneath.
Yesterday he hooked the ripper onto the tractor and began  ripping  rows across the paddock beside the house. As this paddock is all but bare of any  growth we are worried that when the rain finally does come there will be nothing to slow the  water down as it surges down the slope. We  are hoping that this small process may just help catch some of the run off and hold it long enough to do  some good.
Our last batch of baby turkeys have grown fast, now almost adult birds themselves,
And yesterday another clever turkey hen hatched out a  batch of 8 little poults.
We moved mum and babies down to the nursery/orchard yard and while there checked up on a hen that was being a surrogate mum for a clutch of guinea fowl babies that she hatched. She seems to be doing a wonderful job as they are thriving.
While in the orchard I checked the quince tree to see how it's crop was progressing,
I can hardly wait, we adore quinces.
I also checked the pomegranates which are doing well also.
We ahven't a large crop of either, but it will be nice to at least get some fruit if we can keep those rotten but beautiful parrots away from them.
This will be a busy week, we have a lot to organize and then next Friday and Saturday will be taken up with our local show,
I have decided to enter the photography  competition this year and these are a few of my entries,
I don't expect to win, but it will be fun seeing my pictures up on the wall with all the other people that love to take photos. We will also enter some garden produce(what little there is) and I will enter some preserves,sauces,jams ect.
I was also invited to set up my preserving display in the pavillon again, something I love doing to show people  all the old and new methods of preserving and hopefully encourage some new people  to give preserving a go.
I will post up after the event to give a report on how it all went.
It has been a full on few weeks, but a rewarding few weeks as we feel we have accomplished quite a bit.
So until we meet up again, hopefully not too long in the future,
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones,
Jane and Brian.

Friday, 2 February 2018

A Total Eclipse Of The Heart.

We   had been invited over to the Brother and Sister in Law's  place next door for dinner the night before last as  another of Brian's brothers and his partner  were visiting. We had a lovely dinner and catch up and started discussing the impending full/blue/blood moon and lunar eclipse that was to happen that evening.
It was fairly overcast early on and we  thought that we probably wouldn't even get a chance to get a great view anyway.
We started trying to take photos with our mobile phones but to no avail. Brian decided to  walk home and grab my  trusty little Panasonic Lumix camera for me to try  with as well.
I have never had much success with night photography and am constantly trying to get full moon photos.
I took a few as the clouds broke a little,
The clouds continued to be a problem and we gave up.
We headed home about 10 pm and as we wandered back across the paddock we noticed that the clouds were clearing and when we  got home Brian suggested that we set up the tripod and give it a go.
The skies were clear, the camera picked up the moon  much better than I expected.
I decided to keep taking pictures to record the eclipse,
It was spectacular to watch, and at around midnight the shadow had completely  passed over the moon.
I  changed the  camera dial back to fully auto and took a few more photos and the colour changed completely,
The moon had turned orange,
I was so lucky to be able to capture the beauty  of that full moon , something I have never managed to be able to do  in many attempts before, I am very happy with the result.
So many people have told me that they were unable to see the moon and eclipse because of the thick cloud cover, so we were  indeed most fortunate here out west to get a clear view.
So until we meet again a little further down the track ,
Take care of you and yours
Jane and Brian.