Life in May and Practical Recipes

A dainty Salvia in the vege garden

Well it’s been a while since I have taken the time to write a post, but here I am at long last. I was actually debating whether to keep writing or not. I guess as you can see, I have decided to keep going : ) and it feels lovely to be back. The year has been a mixture of different things so far with extreme weather events, floods that washed parts of our driveway away, where once there was a road a river gushed through! leaving me unable to go anywhere for about 5 weeks. Which to be honest, I actually quite enjoyed ; )

Puddles!

We also decided to take our 11 year old son out of mainstream schooling and homeschool him. This has been such a wonderful experience! What excitement when our registration came through and it was all official! Yes there have been challenges and adjustments, a very big change to my daily routine, but to see him learning and experiencing such a rich curriculum as the one we have found has been worth it all. I love that he can work at something until he gets it, and not just get left behind because of the schedule classrooms have to work to. The literature he is reading is wonderful and the work we can get through especially on good days is amazing. I think some of the most valuable lessons I have learnt, is not to expect each day to look the same, and to not be too hard on myself or on Luke. To be flexible and to accept each day for what it is. I try to look at the way we are traveling on any given day and pick subjects/workload to suit. Life skills are also being learnt, when you live so far from the school, all the traveling and long days just don’t allow for much learning here, normally they have had enough and are just plain tired through the schooling week. So now we have cooking as part of our weekly routine, yesterday we butchered old hens and roosters for the freezer. I have started teaching basic mending and sewing skills which is something he has been enjoying. Bush walks and time to enjoy the nature that is all about us. I do not regret my decision, it’s not for everyone that is for sure, and not every child would want this, however for now we are happy to have gone this way.

A nice place to grow and learn, and step away from the crazy world for a bit

A bee enjoying a flower on my Panama Berry fruit tree, those green berries go a pinkish red and are delicious!! They fruit all year round and taste like a dessert in a berry!

My little friends in the garden love these berries also : ) They even take them while they are still green, cheeky!

A Brazilian Cherry, very good for you and a lovely bush. I wait until they have gone darker than this so as not have a bitter after taste, picked at the right time they are lovely.

Pecans!!

Malabar Spinach, once you have this growing you will always have it, mine comes up every year, very hardy and very good for you. It has 3 times more vitamin C than spinach and over 1.5 times more vitamin A than kale. Lovely cooked lightly and served with a little melted butter.

I always feel this sense of urgency as the weather cools, to have all my veges in and growing. It’s just such a productive time of year and you want to make the most of it. I have had a few set backs, we have a mouse problem again, and they seem to be stealing a lot of my seed that’s getting planted out. Even when I bury them deeper they are digging down, and we have had such a lot of wet weather, so there could be seed rotting in the wet soil as well. At my seed raising gardening table I have seeds germinating such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, various flowers and a continual flow of carrots being planted as well as in the main garden. I will have to focus more on getting things up here and planting them out in the vege patch. Potatoes are in and sprouting, tomatoes are going crazy, I actually went down and pulled some out. Very hard to pull out healthy plants, however the reality is we can’t live on tomatoes. Lettuce is growing and being harvested and for the first time I am having a go at growing parsnip and onions, so hopefully I will master these two lovely vegetables. I’ve had such a thing for my pickled beetroot lately, so I have been putting more beetroot seed in. Hopefully this will ensure I can keep my supply in the cupboard topped up. It’s such a lovely thing to eat what you have grown knowing there are no chemicals on it, not to mention the flavour. I get such a shock lately when I go to the supermarket and see the prices and the things missing of the shelves. The more we can grow and provide for ourselves the better.

Arrowroot that I had chopped into with my shovel reshooting! And I just noticed there are beans shooting around the base of them! That should work well beans growing up arrowroot, might just leave them be : )

Some of the potatoes sprouting, with some of the bad ladybirds on them. It always pays to have a wonder just to look and see. Much easier to take care of pests when you catch them early.

Nasturtiums coming back in full force.

I have carrots growing in these boxes as well as in the garden, so I know I will have a continual supply.

Thinning out carrots leaves a hearty addition to a soup

An Agave flowering at the house, amazing!

A closer look at it’s flowers.
Morning!

A handsome fellow

There’s always one! Everytime I take the lid off, in she goes!

Molly!

I have this duck, Molly. What a character she is! This is her nest apparently, no-one elses and even though there are no eggs, it is hers! I have tried taking her out, even locking her out and she always finds her way back in. Have you ever seen a duck climb? This one can, she can climb the chain mesh wire fence we have down there, she grips onto it with her feet and uses her beak to scale up it, I never would of believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. She can fly like a bird and has often given us a fright as she takes flight and zooms overhead down from one end of the yard to the other, never with a delicate or precision landing mind you. There is so much personality and entertainment to be had in a chook pen. Molly has won, I have given up, her determination has given her full rights and occupancy to this nest.

With the harvesting of pumpkins and rosellas, I have been busy in the kitchen making rosella jam. And what better combination than pumpkin scones with rosella jam. I have a rosella jam recipe in one of my earlier blog posts, if you have a look under recipes you should be able to find it, it’s a lovely recipe and turns out everytime. Recently while we were in town shopping I purchased a punnet of strawberries. They looked and smelt beautiful, however when I tasted them, they were not beautiful but sour. It seems very hard in this part of the country to purchase strawberries that are full of flavour. Anyway I decided to turn them into jam, and it has turned out to be delicious! I had only about 400grams of strawberries, so I added about the same of sugar and the juice of half a lemon, about 10-15 mins later I had 2 jars of beautiful jam. It made me realise two things, we can turn something ordinary into something extraordinary with the right perspective and cooking in small batches is quick and fun!

As for my pumpkin scone recipe this is the one I used:

  • 2 Tbsp or 60 g butter
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Line a flat baking tray with baking paper or use flour. Heat your oven to 220°C or 200°C if it is fan fo Cream butter and sugar, add pumpkin. Add well beaten egg and milk, mix then add the sifted flour, mix until it comes together and knead lightly on a floured board. Roll out to 2-3 cm thick and cut into rounds, place one a baking tray

The simple things like scones are always enjoyed, easy and they don’t cost you a lot to make. I often find myself thinking back to old recipes and practical ways of doing things lately. Sometimes I think some of the ways we have moved forward or the direction society has gone can be over complicated and excessive. It really doesn’t take a lot to eat well, have good flavour and enjoy whats on your table.

This is one of my favourite recipes now, Egg, Bacon and Sausage Pie. Sorry about the slight blurriness of the pie in the photo, I should of had my glasses on. This is on a plate with home grown pickled beetroot and the salad is all home grown except for the onion and cheese. I tried for so long to master the egg and bacon pie, but was never satisfied with the final result, then one day I came up with this recipe and it is loved by all.

Jo’s Egg, Bacon and Sausage Pie

I use thick pork sausages from the butcher, about 6 or 7. You can adjust the ingredients to suit how many mouths you have to feed, however remember leftovers are great and this is just as good cold. 1-2 brown or purple onions ( I have a love of purple onions lately, cooked or raw), about 4 or 5 bacon rashers. Slice the onion, I like nice size slices not diced. Chop up your bacon and fry with your sausages in a frying pan until cooked and browned. If you like you can add your onion towards the end so as not to overcook it. When its cooked, take your sausages and chop them up into chunks. Butter and flour your pie dish then line with a sheet of puff pastry. Put your bacon, onion and sausage in, then in a seperate jug or bowl, crack 5-7 eggs, whisk, I like to whisk mine if you want to leave some whole in your pie, add them separately. Whisk egg and season with salt and pepper, not too much salt, your bacon and sausages will add saltiness, and I also add a good dollop probably about a 1/4 cup homemade tomato sauce. But store tomato sauce or even some relish would work great too. Mix through, then poor over your sausage mix. Add another sheet of puff pastry for the top of your pie, seal edges and bake in a moderate oven for about 40 mins or until the egg is cooked through and pie is brown.

This is such a tasty and simple recipe and you could play around with it. I am happy, much happier with this than all of my other attempts at egg and bacon pie. I think the addition of the nice pork sausages really makes a difference. The bacon can be any bacon, whatever you can get your hands on or afford. Spending a little more on nice sausages is definately worth it in my mind though.

Well I feel like the jobs are many but the hours are few. When I start to feel this way I remind myself that when we start to put all this pressure on ourselves it robs the days, the moments of their joy. It’s good to have goals and things that we want and need to get done, but we also have to remember that our time here is about the right priorities too. To stay connected, to care for one another and for ourselves. To be aware and awake to not only our own lives but the lives of others and use the gifts/talents each of us has been given. Sometimes it’s something so simple as a listening ear or a message, a call. Never underestimate the impact of what might seem like small or insignificant things. All those things make up a beautiful masterpiece called life. And we all have an important role to play just by being you and by caring, that’s such an important gift that each of us can give. Each journey is unique and different, but each of us has a valuable part to play.

Blessings from my home to yours

5 thoughts on “Life in May and Practical Recipes

  1. Good to hear from you again Joanna!
    Thanks for your words and photos.
    I appreciated your thoughts at the end about priorities.
    Liz

  2. Hello Joanna, have only read your posts a couple of times so far! I just love the fact that you share your country lifestyle with us, and can catch a glimpse of living in the hot climate and on a farm. You are incredible with what you achieve, considering you live on a huge property with extensive gardens. Great work with Homeschooling, it sounds very rewarding and fulfilling and a great option other than mainline education and schooling. Kind regards Robyn

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