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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Rose Hip Salve


Also at that same recent talk I gave, I demonstrated making a salve from rose hips.
You can find previous posts about salve making
  here
and 


This salve is ideal for the face but can of course be used anywhere.
I roughly chopped a big handful of fresh rose hips and then covered with cold pressed almond oil and gently infused over a very low heat till the oil had taken on the colour and smelled of the hips. I used my thermomix but some people use a slow cooker on low for a few hours making sure the oil doesn't get too warm as we are trying to preserve as much of the Vit C properties of the hips. The other method is to place the hips covered in oil in a jar and leave to infuse in the warmth of the sun over the month.
Strain the oil through a cloth lined sieve and extract as much as possible squeezing the pulp. 
Measure the resulting golden oil and add 10% in weight of bees wax. This is best grated and added to the oil to gently heat to dissolve. 
Once it is dissolved, you can also add a couple of drops of Vit E oil and pour into sterile jars and label.
It's best to use a container that is not clear and keep the salve in a cool place away from light. Always use a stick or clean finger and use within a few months.
If you prefer a scent, you can add a drop of essential oil but I like to keep the salve as simple as possible and enjoy the benefits of the almond oil and rose hip oil.

You can use any rose hips but I find wild rose hips in abundance around our road ways.



We also shared some rose hip cordial on the night and the recipe is found 



Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Stinging Nettle Pesto


Recently I gave a talk at the local garden club about food and medicinal plants foraged within the Midlands area. We have plains but also hedgerows and abundant waterways providing a wealth of material and a diverse variety across the four seasons.


Nettles are common in our area and quite a super food power packed with nutrition and health benefits and a much better choice for a "cleanse" than some of the more extreme methods. They are rich in Vit. A, C and K and magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, iron, potassium and more. They aid circulation, lower blood sugar and regulate blood pressure. Ergo, if you are on medications for diabetes and blood pressure disorders you may find adjustments and consultations necessary. Anyway, this little story is not intended as medicinal advice but as a useful seasonal food resource. It's free, abundant and good for you in as an inclusion in your diet. They do have a sting but this can be disarmed by a quick blanch in boiling water.


You can find my method and recipes for 
and

And without further ado, my recipe for nettle pesto....


Nettle Pesto

A couple of double handfuls of nettle leaves, young and tender.
1-2 cloves of garlic
50g Parmesan cheese
75-100g raw chashew nuts
olive oil to make required texture

Wash and then blanch for not more than a minute in boiling water and refresh the nettles in cold water and drain well. Pat dry to absorb more water.
Place in a food processor with other ingredients and blend until you have the desired texture. You can pulse till you get a chunky crumbly style or blend well for a creamier sauce like mix.
Use this pesto as you would a basil pesto; over hot pasta, gnocchi, fish etc or delicious as a dip for crackers and crudites. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Whey With Cheese


Wet sheep days has meant Craig is forced indoors and he has been making lots of cheese, mainly Parmesan and with the resulting whey, lots of ricotta.


Besides drizzling it with honey for breakfast, I take advantage of the ricotta abundance by making Tomato Ricotta Gnocchi. The recipe is on page 45 or HERE


This giant frypan is perfect for a big fry up with some slices of chorizo and when it's all golden and crispy....


Toss in some stinging nettle pesto and a drizzle of cream for extra richness.
Yum!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Birthday Picnic - Clarendon House


On a crisp winter day under an endless cerulean sky, we picnicked before the grand portico of Clarendon House on the gravel drive taking advantage of the sheltering bulk and reflective warm stones of the northerly aspect.


We set up my 100 year old folding card table and spread linen with pastries, meringues and other morsels and enjoyed the sun and still quiet.
The house is closed in winter but you are still welcome to squeeze between the laid hedge and walk the long gravel drive and English elm avenue to visit the grounds.


Clarendon was built in 1838 by James Cox.
Julien calls it "his castle" or sometimes "the palace"
He is very familiar with the house and regularly visits and imagines games of knights and dragons.


Come inside...
I'll show you a couple of the rooms


That's an original Glover.
The artwork is reason enough to visit the house.


I wish we had shutters on our front windows.


There are dozens of rooms and the views from upstairs over the plains are beautiful.


Looking south....


from the blue bedroom. One of my favourites.



And the downstairs rooms are equally fascinating with their large windows semi subterranean and large sandstone flagstones and storage areas. There are numerous outbuildings and along with the precious colonial artwork, a superb collection of gowns on display dating from 1830's to 1960's.


Maintenance of these old homes is always an ongoing issue and the roof has been recently replaced with slate from England at a huge but necessary cost.
The rear stairs are experiencing some subsidence and are being monitored to best evaluate the remediation. Weather and earth movement all play their part in the shift and flex.


A dynamic team is trying many ways to keep Clarendon alive and seeking various income streams from the property with functions and events. A fleet of volunteers work the gardens and the house. I highly recommend a visit and if you've "been before" come back again, there is so much to see.
For more information see HERE
and their facebook page. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Wee Sheep Vest


When I'm not outside,
I'm in inside,
and mostly knitting.


The pattern is called 
I loved this lovely hand dyed DK yarn though it turned my hands black.
It's a beautiful variegated green/steel/grey but apparently....


Master Four felt desperate for something like a rainbow.
The heart wants what the heart wants...


It's a good easy pattern and as you can see versatile with clear instructions and six different size options so I'll definitely get the value from the pattern.
I buy all my patterns through Ravelry now (and there are thousands available for free also) as I can purchase single patterns that I really want rather than a book full of ones I don't and it means they are always in my virtual library and available anywhere I'm knitting on the go.

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Boy In Autumn Waiting


It's been all about the leaves and colours these past couple of weeks and seeing autumn anew through a child's eyes.


The excitement of new gumboots for muddy puddles on misty cool days and hand knitted yard jumpers in pure merino yarns. Beanies with pom poms on top to keep little ears warm.


Winding some new skeins into balls and choosing patterns.


Collecting leaves and taping them to paper and tracing around some.
Shapes, colours, berries, textures....


Talking about trees and their roots. Leaves and their veins. The pathway of nutrients in sap and the shutting down for winter. 
He calls winter, "The Snowy Time", the time not too far away now when his sister will arrive.
She is eagerly awaited as we revel in our autumn waiting for Aubrey.



Monday, April 30, 2018

Building A Wall - Building A Community


A dozen strangers came together over the weekend to learn an old skill and created a thing of beauty, something to last through decades, long after we are all gone. We hosted a dry stone walling workshop taught by a master stonemason from Derbyshire UK.


They learnt about the nature of the stone and that there is a lot more to building a stone wall than just balancing rock upon rock. Each piece was searched and chosen from the pile and hammered and shaped to lock in with the others.


 There is a lot of physics involved in creating a stable wall, pinned by it's own weight and tightly tied with key stones running lengthwise and as importantly, transversely.


They learnt about creating features in a wall to weather storms and erosion and livestock interactions. Neil will find it very hard to rub against at this angle! 


There is much to learn about the stonemasons craft but in just two days a group of people who had never done this before created 8m of very handsome and more importantly, safe and sound walling. I am so very proud of them and can't stop looking at it.


Our participants were all so positive and willing and from diverse backgrounds. We had teachers, builders, landscapers, passionate gardeners and old property owners. Their stories were fascinating and their journeys purposeful. Our lives touched briefly but the skills they learnt this weekend will ripple wider throughout the community like pebbles in pond water. As we watched the magnificent pink and orange sunset we couldn't help but pinch ourselves and think how fortunate we are to have these wonderful opportunities. It's hard work, and we have to "make things happen" but the payoff is rich and rewarding to make so many new friends.

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Huge thanks to Ian and Val Carline of 
Wally's Walling 
0487 750 051 e: iddybiddymini@yahoo.com.au.
We will be holding more workshops in May, please email your interest to the above for more details.
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