Autumn Gardening and Hot Cross Buns

Well Autumn is here and I’m loving it! Such a beautiful time of year as the days and nights start to cool down. A lot of seed has been going into the garden and mental planning of when and what Winter vegetables I’m needing to get started, so I don’t leave my run too late. Always a challenge that one, especially with plants such as broccoli, these get attacked in this climate if you plant out too early. But then if you plant too late, there is only a short time of harvesting, tricky! I like to have plenty of coriander and dill growing around them, this seems to work great at keeping all those bad pests at bay, and encouraging beneficial insects to keep that balance, without the use of sprays.


I’m really looking forward to picking peas again!! We’ve had so many beans which has been lovely, however there’s just something very special about freshly picked or freshly shelled peas, delicious!! Eating seasonally really makes you appreciate a varied diet and making the most of your fresh produce as it becomes available. It was never meant to be, for us to have the same food available to us year round.

Cucumber success!! In Autumn, persistence and trying different spots in the garden, we never stop learning and our garden talks to us, it’s just a matter of if we are listening ; )

There’s been lot’s tidying up in here lately, still much more to do, as there always is in a garden, however bit by bit we get there! I’ve been pulling out tired and finished plants, such as old beans plants, which I simply pull, drop and mulch, that way they are putting back into the soil for the next crop. I’ve always had Lucerne growing throughout and this is a simple act of chop and drop, feeding my soil or spoiling the chicken’s. Arrowroot is the same, I seem to always have so much and this is great for the soil and the compost and our feathered friends. Kitchen scraps continue to be dug in and my garden is absolutely full of worms. That’s all it took, filling a bucket in my kitchen with scraps, and once full or ready, dropping it into a hole and covering it over, now I have worm paradise!!

Dahlias arrive every year all on their own.
Cucumbers, tomatoes and beetroot just germinating, all doing well down this end
A special spot to come and sit, this is Molly a very special duck : )
Another special spot to hang out, just about time to let them out into the main yard, we wait until after lunch, then out they go to free-range until evening. The geese and ducks always get excited for the chickens to join them : )
They say one goose egg is the equivalent of three chook eggs, looks about right to me : )

I looked at my bench after bottling Maudreys milk the other day and it had bottles of fresh milk, fresh eggs, lemons, limes and tomatoes from the garden a few capsicums, cucumbers and I thought how wonderful is this, to have bits and pieces of all sorts of things all from our farm, from the work of our hands. What a blessing!! My kitchen often has all sorts of things scattered around it, usually seeds sitting on the windowsill that I have collected, produce on the bench, bread rising, all of it a blessing and all of it a part of our day to day lives in providing for ourselves, saving money and eating healthy, nutritious food, where we know exactly how it’s grown, what’s in it and how fresh it is. No matter how much or how little you are able to do with the space you have or the time you have, it all makes a difference.

I’ve had a vision and an idea for more food growing here. We have a very large area out the back of our chook pen which never gets used by the chickens anymore, they did what chickens do and turned it to dirt. So I’ve kept them out of there to rest it and was thinking I would get grass growing in there and manage it better. Sooo I collected seed from around our paddocks, seeded it after it had rested and now that grass is starting to grow…… That’s right, I don’t want grass anymore!!! So funny!! But then I think grass around my food growing area will be okay and keep the soil healthy. It makes so much sense to me now, our chickens free-range in our main, very large house yard and that is much better. This area which used to be their run is very well fenced, right beside the chook pen, so wonderful permaculture right there. My main vege garden is on the top side and this will be on the down side right beside it. And there’s also the fact that it’s just a lovely spot to get away from everything.

The start of my vision, small beginnings, but all things start somewhere. I can just see my bench chair under this shady tree and me hiding here with my cup of tea xx
More bits and pieces I’ve started growing as I wait : ) I can’t help myself!

Well it’s that special time of year Easter. We have stayed away from the shops and all the consumerism and look forward to focusing on what it means to our family. To rest, catch up on things and spend time together. We are so grateful for what this time means and all that Jesus has done for each and everyone of us. Life, true life and forgiveness, so much to be thankful for. The world keeps telling us we need to have so much that is empty to be happy, to be fulfilled and it’s all a lie. It’s all temporary and fleeting. I had a moment, a special moment as I was kneading my bread dough today. I was at my bench kneading away and I could hear my son and husband working together with something to do with the tractor, I could hear their voices not far off and a cool breeze blew in as I looked out at the green grass and cattle resting under the shade of a tree. It was just one of those moments that was so special and made me feel so grateful. In a world that tells us so many lies about where happiness is, I want to go about my days with gratitude, the right priorities and focusing on what is good and what is right. I’m aware of what is going on out there, but I also know who holds me and guides me through my days. I often stumble but my goal is to try and live and love well.

My treat for us this year is homemade Hot Cross Buns, so I’ve been trying a couple of recipes and found this one through the Kiwi Country Girl on Facebook, it’s very nice and better than the shop ones, a nice bit of spice and lovely texture, perfect with a cup of tea!

Can you see Frank in the background in his chair keeping an eye on all the kitchen activity while he rests ; )

I’ve made a double batch, so if you make this yours will look a bit less. Firstly you need to heat 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, just until it’s warm, whisk it well so sugar is dissolved, pour into a large bowl then sprinkle 1 Tbsp of yeast on top and stir in (make sure it’s not too hot before you add the yeast otherwise the yeast will not work) Leave this and put into another bowl 2 1/2 cups of bread flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp mixed spice, 1 tsp nutmeg. I personally only added a good 1/2 tbsp cinnamon and 1 tsp of allspice as I didn’t have mixed spice and this was very nice and 3/4 cup of raisins or currents or a mix, and if you like mixed peel 1/4 cup otherwise leave it out. Whisk together. Heat 75 grams of butter then add 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract, mix. So now you have three bowls, time to tip them into your yeast mix and bring it together.

Now to knead it for 10 mins, it is a wet mix so have flour handy and keep working it in as you knead.

Then cover with a teatowel and rest until doubled in size. While it’s resting make your mix for the crosses and your glaze. Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk and 1 tsp sugar for the crosses. I put mine in a freezer bag and put a small hole in it with my cake tester, very fancy!

For your glaze mix 1/4 cup boiling water and 3 tbsp sugar.

Once it’s finished rising punch down and cut into 10 pieces, shape into balls and place on a lined baking tray almost touching,(remember my mix is doubled that’s why there’s more).

Leave to rise again and once ready pipe your crosses on then pop into an oven heated at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 mins or golden.

Now it’s time to put your glaze on then place on a cooling rack. Very, very delicious!! And smell so beautiful, they need to be frozen if not eaten within a few days. Or ofcourse if you have a microwave a quick zap will freshen them up and who can turn down a toasted hot cross bun! There is something very comforting about Autumn and hot cross buns, such a lovely combination.

Zinnias so intricate and beautiful!

Love can be found in the most unlikeliest of places. We have this hen, her name is Rosa Bella, she was attacked very badly by a male guinea fowl we had, he is no longer part of our flock. When we found her we thought at first the kindest thing would be to end her suffering. I watched her and tended to her before I made my final decision. I could see something in her, she just wanted to live, so still a little unsure if I was doing the right thing we kept tending to her wounds. After a while we decided to let her out of her cage to peck around and she disappeared!! For a week or two, simply vanished and I thought, goodness after all that somethings got her and she’s gone, poor thing. Then all of a sudden one afternoon I hear my very excited son yelling ” Mum, come and have a look, quick!” There she was, just reappeared, she always was full of personality and something very special about her. Well after all she’s been through she has a bit of anxiety. As a result of her injuries she is blind in one eye and she likes to be away from other hens and roosters. So we eventually decided to put her in our chook tractor, then we thought why not put our baby chicks in there with her to keep them safe (they can get picked of in the yard from chicken hawks). So now we have this system where babies are put in the chook tractor with Rosa Bella after they’ve hatched, she cares for them as her own and we move them around our fruit trees to fertilize them all. But it’s truly amazing watching the way she cares for each new baby brought to her, unconditional love.

Take care from my home to yours xx

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