Sunday, 30 October 2011

Domestic Bliss

I am in love with this weekend :) It is just my kind of weekend, nice and slow with some awesome projects to sink my teeth into.  Yesterday we had a day out cruising the shops as we had a few things to get.  I went out in search of bark and stones at The Warehouse.  I couldn't find any but I did however come across these little plants all at seriously reduced prices (perhaps had something to do with the state of them, but oh well, bargain shopping is good shopping) - I mean a 6 cell lettuce pack at .17cents, and a coriander plant at .47cents, just crazy!  Ok so maybe they are a bit small and in need of some TLC but that I can give them.  After a little bit of fertiliser, some days in the sun and a good amount of water they'll all be as good as new again. I also found some Alyssum and Daisy plants and found 3 gorgeous little patio roses to add to my collection in the garden, and they were only $2.95 each, and there is nothing wrong with these roses, so they are straight into the garden today :)  

Bargain Plants

I have quite a few seedlings to be planted out today and I need to move my super producing strawberries into the other clam shell so they can have some room to spread out and we can suitably net them.  So far we have only eaten one of the strawberries and had to throw countless rotten/eaten ones away, so I am determined to fix that today!

All the seedlings I have grown (and the few that I have rescued from the shops), most of these are now ready for their permanent homes in the garden.

Then it was onto spotlight.  I had in my mind a friends birthday gift that I want to make (details later after her birthday :) ), also with the boys swimming starting this week, I thought some swimming/tog bags would be handy, and I have been wanting to make some sandwhich wraps for a while. So MrW and Master 4 helped me trawl through spotlight to find suitable fabrics and accessories.  So I have some sewing to do later today :) I also found some circular knitting needles at $4 each, I got them as I don't have any yet and most of the patterns I would like to try call for circular needles.  I gave the start of a hat a go last night, I ended up breaking one of the needles as I was swapping the tubing around to change sizes where the pattern called for, and I cast on to many stitches (thought I was outsmarting the pattern lol), so that got unravelled but at least I have a feel for it now and will follow the pattern properly next time - oh and I will make doubly sure it's not twisted lol.

Fabric fun!
Well time to head off and start getting into all these activities, MrW has just plonked a coffee down in front of me so it's off to the deck to enjoy my coffee and sunshine then into the garden.  What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Camping, Back to Reality - and School :)

As you may have guessed I have been AWOL for a week or so.  We've been a bit busy this past wee while, we took the boys on a camping trip last weekend for 4 nights, which was Labour weekend for us.  So this last week has just been settling back into school routine and getting the household and garden back into order (although I still have lots to do yet). Oh and Master 4 came down with Chicken Pox while we were camping so we've been having a bit of quiet recovery time for him.  I must say he hasn't been hit nearly as hard with them and Master 5 so for that I am very grateful!

The kids all went back to school this week as we've had our two week school holidays.  With the Rugby World cup, the powers that be decided they would alter the school terms for 2011 so that the schools were on holiday during the finals. This was quite hard on the children and teachers as we started off with two 11 week terms, just adding that one extra week really tired everyone out!  Then we had 10 weeks as normal last term but of course with the earlier two being longer, these last lot of holidays have been a bit later than normal. Although that wasn't a bad thing as it meant the holidays fell over October and Labour weekend so it was warm enough to take the boys camping. We're now into Term 4 and this one is only 8 weeks so is going to fly by! 

Anyway with our camping trip we all had so much fun! With having the Chicken Pox in our house we all needed some fresh air and a change of scene by the end of the holidays.  We had planned a camping trip a few months back to go with my friend C and her family, so it was all good timing really. 
MrW and I before children were seasoned campers, getting away whenever work would allow us. We loved getting back to basics in every sense of the word, and taking the time to just be.  However since we have had children, we haven't been away camping for various reasons. Our camping style is to go to basic DOC camps where there is no power, no hot water, sometimes no running water and you can forget a flushing loo!

So Thursday last week off we all headed, 4 adults and 5 children to a camp about 40 mins from home - and what a great time was had by all!  It was great, getting out and exploring the beach and we went on a bit of a tramp for the kids to take them up to a lookout above the camp.  What a fab view!

We all loved it, 4 nights away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life.  There was plenty to be done and never a dull moment, and being October and the weather just warming up there were only a few in the campground so we got a prime spot!  We even had my friends husband bring an inverter for his car and their spare TV so we were able to watch the final two games of the Rugby World Cup.  The first game we watched under the stars which was just hilarious, and the Final with the All Blacks vs France, we set up in the tent with all the kids in their sleeping bags which they thought was fantastic! At the end, we were in just the right spot to watch the fireworks going off in the city as the All Blacks won the final game!  How cool (although I will note we have never taken a TV camping before lol).

I was ready to come home by the end of the 4th night and back to my flushing loo, but I'm sure it won't be long before we head off again for a weekend away, and maybe this time the tides will be right to get in a spot of fishing!




We took the kids for a walk out to this Island at low tide to do some exploring :)

The view from the Island

The hill we all walked up to the lookout
The view from the lookout

Rugby under the stars




Mmmm gotta have toasted marshmellows! I like mine burnt on the outside and gooey in the middle :)


Watching the RWC Final




The boat MrW built.  He built one the day before with the children and let it set sail, this is version 2 :)

Sending the boat on its way

So now it's back to reality for 8 make that 7 weeks now that it's Friday with school routines and Master 4 should be all crusted over and can go back to kindergarten on Monday.  C's 3 children all came down with the Chicken Pox this week as well and she hasn't been well,  and my friend M had a terrible head cold hit her so Wednesday I spent the morning making dinner for all three families and the night before some baking, so in the afternoon Master 4 and I tripped around and delivered the dinners etc to everyone to save C and M thinking about having to cook. I've also been catching up on the housework, baking and washing - so much washing! and trying to do little bits in the garden but it kind of feels like this week has all been about chasing my tail, so this weekend I think I will sit down and write a few lists to help me feel organised again.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Carrot and Kumara Soup - So Easy!

Soup Soup Soup, I have yet to master the world of soup making, but I have a feeling I am on my way to moderate success. I can make a pretty good Minestrone Soup, but that is about all I have on my list of soup successes...until now that is :)
I was given by my friend C a load of carrots (I am very fortunate in that I get free carrots from her Mum) and as I still had some left in the fridge I wondered what to do with all of the carrots. I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea to try some Carrot Soup.  I tinkered around last week making a Tomato Soup which I have still to perfect, but using some of the base recipe from this and having a quick search on the internet I came up with this combination to try.  BTW for those that aren't sure Kumara is Sweet Potato, although you could substitute this for a normal potato if you have no Kumara.
It is just the YUMMIEST and the EASIEST soup to make and here I was doubting if it would work. 

CARROT AND KUMARA SOUP

Approx 1 kg of Carrots (well enough to cover the bottom of a roasting pan, I didn't weigh mine)
2-3 Kumara (Sweet Potato or substitute with plain Potato's)
Butter
Salt and Pepper
1-2 Onions
4 cloves of Garlic (or as many or little as you like)
1 teaspoon dried Coriander or a good handful of chopped Coriander
1 teaspoon dried Cumin Powder
A few good pinches/shakes Cumin Seeds
1 litre of Chicken Stock
1/2 cup of Milk

Peel and roughly chop the Carrots and Kumara and place into the bottom of a roasting pan (try to keep them in a single layer).  Put knobs of butter randomly throughout the pan and a good sprinkle of salt and black pepper.  Roast in oven at 220degC until they start to brown up. You might want toss them around a bit once the butter is melted so they are all coated.
Once the veges are looking like they are starting to brown, finely chop the onion and garlic.  Melt another good knob of butter in a soup pot (or a really big pot) and gently saute the onion and garlic.  When they are soft add the coriander, cumin powder and cumin seeds.  Give it a good stir around and gently cook for a couple of minutes.  
Add the roasted veges when they are slightly browned.  Mix the onion mix through the roasted veges and cook for a few minutes.
Add the stock and the milk and simmer until the carrots and kumara are soft.
Blend/process in batches until smooth (or leave a bit chunky if you prefer), return to the pan, bring back to a simmer and season with salt and pepper (I found I added more pepper than salt but it's all to personal taste).

Serve with a swirl of cream or milk, a sprinkle of coriander and a grind of pepper, and of course some toast soldiers :)


Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Wonderful Weekend Away


MrW and I had a wonderful time away when we headed up to the far north this past weekend. We left Auckland City on Friday at 4.30pm and arrived at the Resort at 9.30pm, so it was a long trip, but it was worth it to be able to wake up there on Saturday morning. It meant we were able to do some exploring and relaxing before the wedding.  We enjoyed a walk along the beach and a coffee by the seaside in the morning, and we also managed to fit in time in the spa with a good book each - pure relaxation! I think best of all though the whole trip gave us time to reconnect which is so very very important.  I thought I'd share a few of our 'holiday' snaps :)



Taipa Bay, the Resort where we stayed at is right by this beach, also the view from the cafe

We went for a nice long walk to the end of this stretch

Rangiputa Beach
It's a tad windy, but this is the dress I got for $60 from the designer second hand shop, it was so comfortable and apparently looked really nice :) I borrowed the wrap from a friend, the jewelry I made the night before, and my shoes are the one's I fixed by gluing on new diamantes.  I also cannot believed I danced the whole night in those heals!
MrW


This is Rangiputa Beach where the ceremony was held, you can see the gathering of people right down the far end.  What a beautiful ceremony it was :)




We enjoyed a wonderful time, we caught up with some of MrW's old work friends who came as well, lots of laughter and joking around, a fair bit of wine and we danced the night away!  Great medicine for the soul :)

On the way home on Sunday we decided to have a quick stop at Mangonui and have a coffee.

MrW at the Baker Man Cafe.
Enjoying the peace and quiet





This is the view we had of the water from the cafe.  We loved the walk along the board walk.


Mangonui
Time to head home.


I must say even though it was a fantastic time away, I was really ready to head home by the end of it.

Home Sweet Home!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Jewellery Craft

So without having any jewellery that matched my outfit for the wedding we went to on the weekend, I found some beads when I was out shopping and raided my craft box. After we arrived at the hotel on Friday, I spent the rest of the night before the wedding making this necklace and bracelet to wear.  I was really happy with how they turned out, it cost me just under $10 to make this set and they matched perfectly with my outfit :)

Friday, 14 October 2011

Off for the Weekend, Getting Crafty and a Gift with Love




 Joining in with Rhonda at Down to Earth with Friday's ON MY MIND post

I'm am SO EXCITED! MrW and I are getting to have some time away this weekend.  We haven't had a weekend away from home on our own since 2009, so it's well due :)
A few months back we were invited to one of MrW's staff which is being held up in the far North.  We've worked on building up our holiday fund so that we could manage to go as it's at a Resort up there and not cheap, and everything was looking good  for our plans a few weeks back. The boys were going to stay at Grandma and Grandad's for the weekend and we'd drop them off on the way, I used my allowance and had found a gorgeous little dress at a Designer second hand clothes shop in town for 1/4 of what it would have cost originally (my bargain and treat for myself for September was this dress at $60), my friend had lent me a wrap that complimented the dress perfectly, and all I needed were to drag my old shoes out to see if I could fix them or inevitably buy some new ones (shoes are just one thing I won't get second hand, but that's just me personally).  Then of course Chicken Pox hit, and it hit hard! 
We were getting ready to cancel our weekend away :( with Master 5 being quite unwell and waking constantly during the night, but come Thursday morning which was DDay for making the call, Master 5 had slept through and although still had a high temp he was chatty and seemed liked he's come to the other side of the bad part.  So we've decided to go up still, Grandma and Grandad will just come here instead so Master 5 doesn't need to drive 3 hours and get all itchy in his booster seat.

What perfect timing actually, just in time for us to have a break and re-coup a bit of energy in preparation for Master 4 coming down with the Pox next week.

So yesterday I was running around trying to sort things out for it (and of course doing what I can to not spend much money), I didn't want to buy new shoes, they were just missing some diamantes off the straps - so I went to The Warehouse and found a little packet of them in the scrapbooking isle and got some craft glue and fixed them last night - it cost me $7.00 as opposed to $40 or so to buy some new ones :)

Diamantes that have come off. there are quite a few missing

Repair supplies


Almost like new again :)

While I was there I happened upon these little glass beads that matched the wrap I am using, so I got them to make myself a necklace and matching bracelet to wear (I had totally forgotten about jewelry).  A long time ago I got into making my own jewelry and had some things for it in an old box somewhere, so I dug that box out and found some old black beads that was once a necklace that broke, so they will work perfectly on the necklace and bracelet.  I'll make it tonight or tomorrow at the hotel.

$10 for supplies to make a necklace and bracelet, not bad I thought :)

Amazing what you keep and store away over time, these will come in handy

Lastly yesterday was my Mother-in-law's birthday.  I had been planning for weeks that I would make her an Apron and I just hadn't gotten around to it with everything going on.  I had found some scrap material at the op shop I was going to make a practice one with but that's still hanging over the back of the chair.  We have a lovely little fabric shop in town which specialise in patchworking fabrics, so I went in there and asked for some help :) and came out with these two materials and strap. 

And last night with the help of one of my aprons as a guide I made this for her


Pheww I was so relieved when I finished it and I'm really proud to say it worked :)


Happy Birthday to K my MIL, we all love you and really appreciate everything you do for us.  I hope you like your gift that has been made just for you :)

I hope you enjoy your weekend.  I'll see you when we're back from our mini break :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Raspberry Heart Muffins

Time for another sweet treat....these muffins are just delish! I've had some in my tin that I made on Monday and they have been helping me through these Chicken Pox providing me with a comforting hit of sweetness with my coffee at morning tea time....and might I confess they may have been eaten at afternoon tea as well several times this week...oh well I'll start back walking and work them off when school goes back :)

The recipe is another of Sophie Gray's from her book Destitute Gourmet - Delicious.

RASPBERRY HEART MUFFINS

This mix makes 12 normal sized muffins (as opposed to mini muffins)
2 cups Plain Flour
3/4 cup White Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
75grams Butter
1 cup Milk
1 Egg, lightly beaten
Raspberry Jam (or you could use any other type of jam)

DRIZZLE TOPPING
1/4 cup of Lemon Juice (I find another whole lemon provides enough for this)
1/4 cup of White Sugar

Grease muffin tin and heat oven to 190degC.   
In a bowl combine sifted flour, baking powder and sugar.  Grate in the lemon zest.
In another bowl (or pot), melt the butter.  When melted add the milk, lemon juice (1tbsp) and the egg. Give it a good whisk up.
Make a well in the centre of your flour mix and pour in the butter and milk mix.  Gently mix through until combined and spoon into muffin tins.
Once all the muffin tins are filled with the batter take the raspberry jam and a teaspoon.  Using half teaspoons of raspberry jam, dollop the jam into the middle of each muffin batter.  The recipe states to just dollop it in and leave it, but I tend to swirl a little of the muffin batter over the top of it (when I didn't swirl the batter to cover the jam I found during baking the jam just spread over the top of the muffin and you got nothing in the middle, but covering it with the batter lightly you get a perfect little dollop of jam encased in the cooked muffin).
Pop in the oven and bake until a skewer comes out clean and they are golden brown - about 17mins.

When they come out of the oven immediately mix together the measure of lemon juice and sugar for the drizzle topping.  Take the muffins (yes they will be hot) and place them on a surface you don't mind getting sticky (I just use a chopping mat).  When the muffins are out of the tin, using a teaspoon, spoon the topping mix over each muffin.  This will soak in and oh some yummy! When the topping stops dripping you can pop them on a rack to keep cooling.  If you wish to when the muffins are cool, dust with icing sugar.  I find that it doesn't really need it though.



Enjoy :)




Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Breadmaker Recipes - White and Wholegrain

I've found a few minutes (or rather 'borrowed' a few minutes from folding my mountain of washing) and thought I would post my bread recipes for you as I mentioned in my last post.  These two recipes are the two we use in our home, they have been tried and tested and tweaked and altered by me until I was happy with how the breads were turning out.  I now feel the recipes are 'bloggable' :)  If you have any suggestions or comments on the recipes feel free to let me know :)

The White bread recipe has been passed onto me by a friend who uses it out of the Alison Holst Bread Book.  I have tweaked it slightly but it remains pretty similar to the original one I was given.

The Wholegrain Recipe is one I have tested (over many loaves) and adapted and tweaked from about 3 or 4 different recipes so I have no 1 particular recipe it came from. I guess it's kind of a 'MrsW' special recipe :)

WHITE BREAD - 750gm loaf

1 1/4 cups of Warm Water
2 tablespoons Milk Powder
2 tablespoons Oil (I use Olive but any will work)
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt (I use normal table salt)
2 teaspoons White Sugar
EITHER - 3 cups Highgrade Flour   OR  2 1/2 cups Highgrade Flour and 1/2 cup of Gluten Flour
EITHER - 1 1/2 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast Granules   OR   3 teaspoons of Surebake Yeast (active yeast combined with bread improvers) 

Put all the ingredients into your breadmaker pan in the order as required by your breadmaker machine.  This recipe is written in the order my Tefal machine calls for - so wet to dry ingredients. 

Set it to a White Bread Setting and 750gram loaf

NB - I prefer the Highgrade and Gluten Flour mix as the bread comes out a bit softer and it seems to last a little longer before going stale, however it works just fine with straight Highgrade flour.  I also use Active Dry Yeast granules as I have found the Surebake mix in my machine tends to make the bread rise up and explode a little then sink alot once cooled.  The Active Dry Yeast tends to be a little more stable in the loaf.


WHOLEGRAIN BREAD - 1000gram loaf

1 1/4 cups Warm Water
1 1/2 tablespoons Runny Honey (or solid honey melted slightly)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil (or any other)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Seeds
4 tablespoons Linseeds
1/2 cup of Kibbled Wheat (Pre-soak this for a few mins before using)
1 cup Wholemeal Flour
1/2 cup Gluten Flour
1 1/2 cups Highgrade Flour
EITHER - 1 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast Granules   OR   3 teaspoons Surebake Yeast

Put all the ingredients into your breadmaker pan in the order as required by your breadmaker machine.  This recipe is written in the order my Tefal machine calls for - so wet to dry ingredients. 

Set it to the Wholemeal Bread Setting and 1000gram loaf

NB - I haven't tried it without the Gluten Flour but if you have none I'm sure it would work with a combination of Wholemeal and Highgrade Flours.  As for my Wholegrain loaf made by hand, it's so much softer and the kids eat it when it contains some Gluten Flour to soften it. 

These two loaves are our staple in our house, so I hope they may work for you to :)  Right must get back to my washing pile and get dinner started :)

Switching to the Breadmaker

I am so appreciative of this choice right now with Master 5 having Chicken Pox and sleep has been a bit of a luxury the last few nights. We're all a bit jagged around the edges, so I thought it was timely to share this little snippet of our choices with you.
Last month when life got super busy around here and we were all a bit unwell, making bread by hand was one of the things we were doing that went by the wayside.  There just wasn't enough energy or time to give to the breadmaking by hand task. We did not buy any bread from the shop, not even once which personally I think is a great achievement for us and am proud of that small achievement as it would have been so easy to go and do. 
We made the choice a while back to make our own bread so we were cutting costs of buying bread and also cutting out the preservatives etc in bought bread. Who can deny the yummy goodness of freshly made bread? What a treat!  What I did do however was set about perfecting recipes for our breadmaker. I mean we have a breadmaker on the shelf collecting dust, it's a perfectly good household machine so why were we not putting it to use? Power to run it may be one thing, but when you weigh up the time the oven is on to heat up and bake the bread, and then the physical time you put into making and rising it, I justify it works the same overall as popping the breadmaker on for a cycle, when I can then get on with the other busy tasks that our household demands. I think it had to do more with mindset.  I read other blogs of people on similar journeys and they all seem to make their bread by hand, even some with busy families. But just because its done in the maker does not mean it's not the same homemade goodness that by hand gives, you use the same ingredients and nothing more, it's just making it using a different tool.
I reflect back sometimes on what Rhonda at Down to Earth puts across very well. My interpretation of this is it doesn't matter how others live their own slowed down, simple and mostly frugal lifestyles, you live yours the way it works for you.  By this I mean just because someone makes every single cleaner for their household themselves does not mean you have to, or if you don't make all your cleaners and buy a few at the shop this does not mean you fail in achieving a simple frugal life (or however you sum up your chosen lifestyle at home).  You live your life according to your means, time, values and energy allowances.  
I have been thinking about this lately as I am slowly working through all the things I have been trying and finding what suits our family/household and what doesn't.  Some of these things I will share a bit more later on as we clarify what we are doing, how we are doing it and why.  One of these being floorcleaner - I cannot for the life of me find a homemade recipe that works on our wooden cork tiles.  Everything I have tried so far just does not work on the floor, from Water and White Vinegar, Baking Soda, Essential Oils and Water, a bit of Olive Oil plus a few other things - it's just left a streaky yucky mess and at one point with one of the mixes it looks like a small portion of the polish has come off - not good.  So DH and I made the decision that we would find a suitable alternative in a natural range at the store that works to clean our floor nicely. For us it's not cheating, it's not negating our lifestyle choice, we still are being 'green' with what we use its just being practical about sorting the floor issue out for me - so I can be at peace with the floor!
Anyway how did I get from Bread to Floors? So there we go, in our house we are choosing to make our bread using our breadmaker, we're not failing at what we are setting about to achieve, we are still eating homemade goodness, I just have an awesome time saving bread maker doing it for me :) I do still make my pizza dough, flat bread, 'fancy' bread and English Muffins by hand, just not our daily loaf of bread.  
Reading back, I hope this makes sense to you, I just wanted to let you know that it's ok to not do everything by the 'book' so to speak. By reading all the blogs I do and I know others read also, it's so easy to sit back and think, oh gosh I'm not doing that - does that mean I need to change another thing about what I am doing? Just remember it's all about your own personal view and what works for you.

Hmmm yes, the Wholegrain took a bit to get it right so it stopped exploding out the top of the maker - but it's all sorted now :)

I love my breadmaker and I'm proud of it!

P.S - Recipes to come :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sweet Minty Treat

As I collected some fresh parsley for my tomato soup on the stove, I saw the big leaves of my mint plant beckoning to me.  You see I have a fond memory from my childhood of picking fresh mint leaves, washing them, and whilst still wet I would coat them in white sugar and devour. Oh the Sweet Minty-ness!
So with Master 5 in bed trying to get some rest after being up all night suffering from the Chicken Pox, I thought I would spoil Master 4 (who is suffering from lack of attention - or so he feels) with a little sweet minty treat, and oh boy did it go down well! :)
Great big smiles and lots of mmmm yumm Mum :)  Yep they sure are mmmmm yummm!! I hope my boys develop this as a fond memory of their childhood :)


On another note the boys got to have the heavenly experience of eating our first strawberry today. It was red, ripe, big and juicy (I may have just snaffled a tiny little nibble, you know we have to quality control these things for our children!).  It bought the first smile to light up Master 5's poor little spotty face :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

In the Garden

I have spent the last 4 days in the garden.  I closed the door on the house and left DH just to potter around and tidy up (well yesterday was Bathurst so not much got done, although I did get a yummy Eggs Bene for lunch) while I got stuck into the garden and got a few things done that have been on my list to do.  I still have a bit to go but I'm feeling much happier now :)


This is the garden bed by our bedroom deck.  I forgot to take a before photo, but basically I ripped all the old big succulents out, tidied it up, put in some cuttings from my favourite Cape daisies, and a few other plants, then laid down some Coffee Chaff to help fend off the weeds. Coffee chaff is the husks from the outside of coffee beans that are discarded in the roasting process - love having DH in the Coffee Industry!
I was given a load of strawberry runners by my neighbour.  I already have a container full of strawberries on the deck so when I was making the worm farm the other day, I dragged this old paddling pool/sandpit out and drilled some holes in the bottom, filled it with compost and soil and planted the runners.  This is them today, looking pretty healthy in their new home and some nice little flowers coming up :) should be easy enough to cover with netting when they are fruiting as well.

Yummy! Our first strawberry of the season, nearly ripe enough to pick. (This is one from my other strawberry container).
A big mess!
These grass plants have been bugging me since we moved in.  They are so untidy!
So the only thing for it was to rip them out.  Ahh feel better now :) I planted in their place a Lupin and a Geranium (which is meant to be the biggest geranium and is a bi-annual so should flower next year).
I also tidied up this front part of the bed and moved one of my Cape Daisy's to here. It has gone all leggy trying to find more sun in the place where it was. I will let the flowers die off and prune it back to encourage it to bush up again.  Now everytime I leave or enter the house I can admire it's beautiful flowers :)  All I need now to complete the bed is some more Coffee Chaff which I'll hopefully get tonight or tomorrow.  p.s Love the shadows on this one :)
I've had this old trough in my line of sight for some time.  When we moved in it lived by the gate with some really yucky Dizzy Lizzie's in it, so I stripped them out, dug out the soil, moved it to the deck, put the soil back in it with some compost and I now have a herb trough :) I have moved my Oregano and Thyme into it, that I had in a smaller container, planted some basil seeds and given a new home to the curly leaf parsley plant my friend C gave me.  I had some root cuttings of the Oregano and Thyme from the move so gave them to my neighbour and friend's C and M for their gardens.  Such a nice feeling to be able to give out some treasures from my garden :)

All the happenings on my deck :) My new herb trough, Rosemary bush, Mint, Carrot buckets, Italian Parsley, Strawberry container and all my seedlings.  

We decided to do a spot of Tree Climbing :)

Yes that's me up in the tree with the boys...what Monkey's we were :)
Some Tomato plants my neighbour gave me, I've popped them in as my first lot until my seedlings are ready to be planted out to follow these.
I've saved some framing from the vege patch and moved it here to become my pumpkin bed.
Moved some brassica's to make some space, loving the garden taking shape.
I thought this ground would be to hard for growing veges on it's own without being raised up with new soil and compost, but I took to it with a garden fork and to my surprise I was able to,  with a bit of elbow grease, turn it over.   So I'll add a few bags of compost and we'll be set to use it as is :) I plan on using it for Spuds and the Raspberry canes and Blackberry I have.
And today I put in the Raspberries and Blackberry plants.
Looking good, even if I do say so myself :)
Our whole vege patch.  I can just imagine in a few months time it being rich with growth, fruiting beautifully and nourishing our family.  The fence and trellis will be covered with climbing Cucumbers, Beans and Peas, and the bed rich with colour :)

The rain has arrived tonight, just in time to give everything a really good watering. I hope you've enjoyed the tour around my place with me :)
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