Fairy Tales & Love

Following on from my previous post, I had been asked to help our son, Christopher, to keep them here until a specified time on the Sunday. This was easy, so I sent a quick message to he and Olivia, as follows:

Ok guys, I hope that you don’t need to leave early on Sunday…  We have a farmer’s market here in Maffra on Sunday morning…  But I desperately want to take you to the Port of Sale – yes, there is a port in Sale.  There is so much to see and do, but I REALLY want to take you to the gallery. There is a piece there that is absolutely amazing, and there may even be something that the boys may be interested in.  Then maybe an early afternoon sausage sizzle at home before you leave

It worked, but we didn’t make it to the farmer’s market, instead, after a leisurely breakfast we traveled to nearby Sale and went to the Gippsland Art Gallery (we are so very lucky to have a gallery of this caliber on our doorstep).

The piece that I wanted the family to see was by local artist Klara Jones, entitled “Allerleirauh” and based on a story Allerleirauh, by the Brothers Grimm (1819), and Klara has cited the following: Continue reading

Bringing the colt back to the stables…

My husband Gary has been working on a little project with fellow volunteers, led by local artist, Gavin Roberts. Gavin discovered that the local counsel had flagged a historical building for destruction as it was seen to be derelict. Dating back to the 1870’s, the building in question was once the local police stables and cells.

Gavin had in mind to resurrect the decaying building and turn it into a working space for local artists, so with the support of the local Shakespeare Committee, Gavin sought and received funding to begin the work.

And so the work began… With a lot of hard work, the team of volunteers had the building standing upright (rather than on an undesirable angle), new floors in place, walls lined, new window frames and windows, frames by Gary with the glass etched by local artist Peter Cummings. A mezzanine level was constructed providing space for research and meetings, and it is up there that you will find a wonderful stained glass window created by another of the volunteers and artists, Bill Payne. Of course there are also bathroom facilities, with a touch of quirkiness in the design added by Gavin. Finally with a gallery space set up to display finished works for sale, it was time for Opening Night!

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Friends, flowers and figs

How wonderful are friends and how lucky am I!

Every week I spend time volunteering at a local community house called Segue, in Stratford, and it is here that I have made some wonderful friends. We love to share our experiences, plants and produce from each other’s gardens and stories and the occasional cuppa.

One friend, Shirley, often brings a bunch of beautiful flowers from her garden, and these flowers have convinced us we need to plant a protea or two in our garden.    She also has access to a neighbours’ fruit trees, and has kept me well supplied with figs. In return I give her fig vinegar, along with various jams, chutnies or relish that I may be making at the time. I also make sure that there are preserves set aside for our little produce stall at Segue where we raise money for our “Garden for the Community”.

I have written about making and using fig vinegar in earlier posts and recipes, but there was an issue that I had with it. After making the vinegar, the solids were thrown into the compost! This tormented me, it seemed such a waste! To me, figs are such a precious commodity – so what to do? It took me a while, but then I thought… well, really, the figs have just been steeping in blend of balsamic and cider vinegar, and relish has vinegar in it. Figs go beautifully with purple onion, and with the addition of few other ingredients, I soon had a use for the bi-product of my fig vinegar – Fig & Purple Onion Relish. Continue reading

My Morning Commute…

I love my morning commute – I cannot believe how lucky that I am to be driving the country roads, as I head out early in the morning to collect the produce required for our weekly cook.  The only problem is that nature often stops me in my tracks, quite literally!  I tend to drive the back roads, and have now taken to carrying my camera with me to try and capture natures beauty.

The morning light, the morning fog, the morning frost, the morning rainbow…  My Morning Commute #12

Today I almost stopped to take a photo of a puddle, but decided to keep going.  Wish I had stopped to take a photo of the puddle.

I often find myself smiling as I drive, thinking of the lifestyle change we have made.  Who would have thought that this ex-(city) secretary, is now cooking food for a local cafe, providing catering for meetings and even supplying a local farm gate with product.

This is where I live, and this is my morning commute, no traffic lights, almost no traffic, though occasionally stopping to allow the cows to cross the road, and of course, often stopping to take in nature’s beauty..

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Until next time…

Caricature

Gifts from a Neglected Garden

The last twelve months have been nothing short of chaotic, resulting in so many things being neglected, one of which is our garden. The vegie patch was overrun with weeds and I felt that I wasn’t getting the produce that I should from it, given that I didn’t have time to care for the soil, plant out all the seeds and seedlings that I had planned to, etc.

I had planted some sweet potato slips in late spring/early summer and they took over, neglecting to climb the wire that I had set up in preference to rambling all over the footpaths and garden beds. I eventually got so frustrated with the mess that, about a month ago, I decided it was time to pull them out, telling myself that I would never to grow them again. I had planted one little row, about one meter, or a tad over 3 feet long. What a surprise when I started digging down. My neglected garden had provided us with a lovely basket full (almost 4 kilograms / 8 lbs) of beautiful tubers destined for our kitchen.

The tomatoes did not do as well as they should, but it appears that it was not the season for tomatoes for most that I spoke to (it was a very harsh summer), however we had enough for everyday use and for making the annual batch of tomato sauce, a much sought after family favourite. The pumpkin vines that I had growing up archways provided a few fruit and the beans were plentiful resulting in a well stocked freezer.

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