Memories of Family, Friends and Food

It has been a little while, but I am still here!

We have finished up for the year and have been concentrating on preparations for the Festive Season.

We have not had a Christmas tree for a couple of years now, so I was determined to have one this year. When I pulled the garlic from the garden and hung it to dry, I decided that it would be central to our decorations, it looked just like a cream coloured Christmas tree! Garlic Tree 3-r

I then chose to purchase a living tree, potted it into a nice green (heavy!) pot, and set it, together with my garlic tree, in our front entrance. They stayed as they were for a week or so.

Trees in place - rThen the day after we closed down for the break, I climbed up the ladder to pull down the decorations, unpacked them, carefully selected the ones that had sentimental value, that had been given to us by family and friends, some that I had made in years gone by, and others that we had collected on our travels. Everything else was packed back up, I went back up the ladder and put them all away.

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This year we will be catching up with various members of our family, but not all, so the next job on hand was to send packages of Christmas Cheer from our home to those that we could not be with. A rush job saw puddings, cakes, preserves and biscuits produced, packaged and despatched. Continue reading

Julie your quilt. A gift from Family

Recently we took a little break and travelled home to be with my gorgeous sisters and to visit our beautiful mum. I say home, because that is still what we call it, it is the home that we all grew up in, and love so very much.

After a five plus hour road trip, we arrived at home to find Sonnie and Jan working hard in the garden, they had arrived earlier in the day and had done some amazing work tidying things up.

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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