Friday, 31 July 2009

Egyptian Honey Wine

... or Tej. I have never even tasted it before, so I don't know what to expect.

Take 3 litres of water and 750ml of honey. Stir till honey is dissolved. Cover with cloth and stir at least twice a day. 3-4 days later it will start bubbling.
(I had to divide the liquid into two No 65 Fowlers jars as I don't have a 4 litre wide-mouthed jar.)

Then pour into a clean glass jar or demi-john, put airlock on and let bubble for 2-4 weeks. Easy.
And now we wait!

Another recipe from Wild Fermentation. Gosh, I love that book!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Gnome Rescue

Thanks to Kel, we are now up-to-date where the gnome world is concerned.
Here is a news article about 1500 (!!!) gnomes that needed a new home. The mind boggles.

Did you know that there is an Australian Gnome Convention? Now you do.

Hey, and don't forget, next Australia Day all these gnomes will be reunited at the sixth Australian Gnome Convention.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Summer... far, far away. Just a faint memory, at the moment.

It's cold, miserable, foggy, showery and generally quite wintery out there. No complaints, though. The ground is still happy to slurp up the rain.

Figs! That's summer. Sweet, juicy, full of sunshine. Even if they have been put in jars with syrup. You still have summer in this bowl. With a very generous dollop of thick, home-made yoghurt.
We might tackle a bowl of home-preserved cherries next. Or apricots. Or pears. Summer in jars! :)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The bees... the flowering rosemary.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Breakfast... The Geriatric Animal Farm.Porridge with oats and sprouted lupins. And a teaspoon of powdered minerals, etc. to ward off pneumonia. In an ice-cream container for each sheep. You know what these oldies are like, if they don't get their own container. They just start jostling and pushing. *rolls eyes*

How crazy is that?! The youngest is now 8 1/2 years old. The oldest 12. Try reading up on sheep diseases! None of the books cover geriatric sheep.

The above breakfast was, however, a once off. Just to boost their immune system, etc.

At least I hope so. I really do. Try telling them that there is a container each and not to worry, there is enough for everyone, there really is, and do stay with your own container...

Saturday, 18 July 2009


...the toy sheep, and his reading material.

I do wonder sometimes.

Friday, 17 July 2009

The first jonquils!

What a cheerful sight! But isn't it a bit early for them to be flowering?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The dam...

... is filling up.The heavy rainfall in the last few days has really saturated the ground. Despite the wild and woolly weather, there was not a complaint to be heard. Everybody is just so grateful for all this rain.

We only have one tank left that is not overflowing. It is more than 2/3 full and we are happy. :)

Monday, 13 July 2009

Smooth lips

I have been experimenting with my own home-made lip balm.The first batch was Lavender/Chamomile lip balm. Can double as hand balm, too.

6 TB almond oil
1 TB beeswax
dried chamomile & lavender flowers (or fresh)

Heat almond oil in little pot, add flowers, let steep on low heat until the oil smells of the flowers.
Strain oil, squeeze flowers. Put oil back into pot and add beeswax. When beeswax is melted pour mixture quickly into little wide-mouthed jars or similar. It will set within a few seconds.

The second and current batch:3 TB olive oil
4 TB almond oil
dried/fresh chamomile & lavender flowers
1 TB beeswax
1 TB coconut oil
1 TB honey*

Heat olive and almond oil in little pot, add flowers, let steep on low heat until the oil is lovely fragrant. Strain oil, squeeze flowers. Put back into pot and add rest of ingredients. When everything is melted, pour into little jars.
*The honey may have been a mistake. Either there was too much of it, or it just does not work with honey. It didn't melt into the rest of the liquid. So that's why you can see the honey at the bottom of the little jars. It does taste nice, though. The mixture has a touch of honey. But as soon as you get close to the bottom of the jar, it gets a bit too sticky.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Inspired by the book 'Wild Fermentation', and by the abundance and freshness of Chinese Cabbage at the moment, I decided to try my hand at making Kimchi.

It was a lot of fun! It is easy, fun, interesting, satisfying and super-easy (but I think I mentioned that already) to make Kimchi. I can't get over how EASY it was. There are a lot of recipes in the book that I am keen to try.

Anyway, let's get started. Uh, before I do, please excuse poor quality of pictures. New camera, new glasses. Bad combination. I'm working on it.
Cut up Chinese Cabbage, throw in bowl, together with any vegetables that you'd like to have in your Kimchi. I added carrots, leeks (home-grown), radish (a big one from the garden), celery (home-grown from Neighbour Gnomes).

Add brine and let soak for several hours or overnight, until vegetables are soft-ish, but still have a bit of crunch.Drain. Keep brine. Make spice mixture. Grate ginger, finely chop chilli, onions and garlic. As much of each ingredient as you like.Add spices to drained veggies. Mix thoroughly.
Squeeze into jars. Tightly pack jars until juices come up. Or add a bit of the brine you kept from the bowl of soaking vegetables. Make sure the brine covers the vegetables. Get some clean jars (filled with some water) that fit into the jars. Push into the jar with the vegetables. Cover with towel to keep out dust, flies, hungry people.
Let ferment for a week or longer, then put in fridge and enjoy. :)

As you can see, I made two different batches. The more colourful batch has lots of different veggies and tons of the freshly chopped/ground spices. The 'paler' batch, only contains chinese cabbage, carrots and a less spicy mixture.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Well, not yet.
But I've had a little chat with my cabbages and they know what I expect of them. So far they are doing pretty well.

Monday, 6 July 2009

New Potato Bed

... in the making.

Remember our free-ranging chooks constantly breaking into our veggie garden?
Well, we decided to use this to our advantage. We set up an enclosure with stakes, pots and bird netting where we'd like to set up a new potato bed.
Now every time the chooks break into the garden, we put them into the enclosure. They have enough water to keep them happy and they can scratch to their hearts' content. The more they scratch, the better. They will dig into the soil, get rid of the grass, weed seeds, bugs, etc. and fertilise the area at the same time. Before it gets dark, we open the enclosure and the gate to the paddock so that they can go back to the chook shed for the night. Tomorrow, we shall play the same game again. Until the whole area is nicely dug over.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The winners ...

... of the mad give-away are:

(In random order)

Wally the Wayward Gnome
wins the Kiva certificate.

Kelly the Cranky Gnome
wins The Silverspoon

Pip's Favourite Gnome
wins a selection of Heirloom Seeds

Noodles the Noodle Gnome
wins Marcella's Kitchen

Congratulations to all participants! You made it very difficult for us to decide who'll win a prize. These were fantastic entries. Thank you for sending in your gnomes.

Please send me an email at so that we can send your prize to you. Hope your prizes bring you joy!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The jury... still deliberating as to who the winners of the mad give-away should be.

Thank you for all your entries. We shall try to decide on the winners soon. In the meantime, could those participants that have not stated which prize they'd like to win, please write an email or a comment as to which prize(s) you would prefer? Thank you and good luck! :)