Sunday, October 29, 2017


This afternoon I met up with Richie for a coffee and chat.  The basil in my veggie patch has also been going berserk, so I harvested quite a bit and decided to make some basil pesto for my own dinners and lunches, and to also give some to Richie.

Using the mortar and pestle to crush pine nuts with the basil leaves.

Then mixing in crushed garlic, grated parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil.

Richie was very pleased with the fragrant, fresh pesto and I also gave him some basil leaves to put on his home made pizzas.

We had a lovely time together at a wonderful local coffee shop I have just discovered in Kilsyth.  It's called Essenza and came very highly recommended.

Richie said the coffee was really great.  I don't drink coffee, but I had a peppermint tea and we shared a savoury muffin.  It was presented so beautifully - it looked like a pot plant - and tasted delicious with basil pesto, slightly warmed cherry tomatoes and parsley on top and butter and tomato relish on the side.

Veggie Patch Update

It has only been four weeks, but my veggies have been growing amazingly!

I have been harvesting lettuce leaves for my lunch and dinner every morning for the past three weeks.  So beautifully fresh, crisp and delicious!

The tomatoes have literally gone bananas!!  They are almost a metre tall, with flower buds all over them.

So, this morning I trimmed all the lower leaves and re-staked each plant.

The zucchinis have not only all survived, but are now crowding each other out.

So it was time to re-home some of them to the other side of the peach tree.  It was such a warm and dry day today (about 25 degrees), so they immediately flopped and showed me how unhappy they were with the move.

But I gave them a treat, along with all the other veggies - a delicious dose of veggie feeder!  Then I gave them a lovely long drink of water.

I had noticed that there were also some unexpected pumpkins coming up through the lettuces and tomatoes.  There must have been some pumpkin seeds amongst the compost I had dug into the patch.  So, I re-homed them with the zucchinis.

Then I threaded a soaker hose through the patch, to make it easier to water all these thirsty plants as the weather gradually warms up towards Summer.

It seems my long-held black thumb has turned green at last!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Crop Swap

With my garden beginning to burst with so much wonderful produce, I am now in the fabulous position of having more of some things than I need.  So, this morning I took some of my excess fruit and veggies along to the local Permaculture Crop Swap.

I took seven lettuces, about twenty mandarins, a dozen lemons and I also bagged up some kaffir lime leaves (fantastic in curries!).

The idea with the crop swap is that you take your stuff and lay it out on the benches with everyone else's.

Then you stand around admiring everyone else's produce and talking about their gardens and yours.

There's morning tea.

Then everyone takes some of the other people's produce that they don't already have at home.  I took some spinach, rhubarb, broad beans and some seedlings of cucumber, rosemary and sage for the garden.

Even though there isn't any direct swapping involved, everyone just took a little of what they needed.  There was no "bun fight" and everyone was very respectful.

After that, there was a demonstration on how to make your own beeswax wraps.

I have seen these in some craft and wholefoods shops, but had never really understood what they were used for and how great they are!  Also, they are very expensive in those shops - $50 for a set of five!

And yet this lady showed us how easy it was to make them and they can be used to wrap any food items from watermelons, to cucumbers, apples, celery, capsicum, salad bowls, left overs, etc.

Even make your own popcorn bags to take to the movies!  They are completely reusable.

I was very impressed with these wraps and once you have a set, you can basically throw away the cling wrap (which will save some birds' lives, because they tend to eat the stuff)!

I think my family know what they are all going to be getting for Christmas this year!

Saturday, October 21, 2017


I can't believe how truly magnificent my Wisteria is!  

After so many years of wishing I had a flowering one, I now have one of the best I've ever seen!

Sadly, this magnificent display only lasted about three weeks and now it is all leaves and runners looking to climb underneath my carport roof.  Time to get out the secateurs!

Nevertheless, I have had the joy of sitting underneath it and just marveling at its wonder for most of the month and it has given me great happiness.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Perth & Broome Holiday :: Day 1

Pier 21 Apartments & Pool

Richie dropped us to the airport at 9:00 am and we hopped on the flight to Perth just after 11 o'clock.  

View from the Pool to the Marina on the Swan River

We landed in Perth at about 2:00 pm, picked up a hire car and headed down to Fremantle, where we were staying in some nice apartments called Pier 21, looking over a marina on the Swan River.

Pier 21 Apartment Living Room

We checked in, unpacked and then put our feet up and relaxed with a cuppa for a few minutes, checking out the view from the balcony.

Pier 21 Balcony & View of Marina

The weather was lovely - sunny & warm.  So, we decided to take a drive along the marina and see what we could find.

The Left Bank

Just over the bridge we came across a likely looking pub - The Left Bank - sitting bathed in the afternoon sun and full of people enjoying themselves.

So, we decided to join them!

The Left Bank Courtyard

Wayne ordered a fisherman's platter and a Peroni for tea and I had a cheese board and a nice cold sav blanc.

Wayne on the balcony of The Left Bank

We wiled away the next few hours on the balcony, watching the boats sail passed and the sun set.  A very nice start to the holiday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Family Picnic

It was Richie's 23rd birthday during the week, so I asked him if he would like to celebrate it by having a family picnic.  He thought that would be good, so we sent out the word to everyone and we all came together at Jells Park today.

Lizzy, Richie, Nick, Mum, Jack & Phil

There was Wayne & I, our three kids Victoria (Torie), Richard (Richie) and Elizabeth (Lizzy), Torie's boyfriend Nick, my Mum Dawn (who had travelled all the way up from Phillip Island by bus on Friday for the occasion), Wayne's sister Debbie and her husband Phil, and Wayne's brother Mark, his son Jack and Mark's new girlfriend Suzie.

Phil, Debbie, Jack & Mum

Mark & Jack

Everyone brought something, so the load was shared nicely between us all.  We had cheese and biscuits to begin with, while we waited for everyone to arrive.

Mark, Torie & Mum

Lizzy, Richie & Nick

Then Wayne and Phil fired up one of the electric barbeques that are at the park and cooked up a whole load of different meats - steak, lamb chops, sausages, chicken wings and salmon fillets, while the rest of us laid the table with four types of salad, bread rolls, mustards and sauces.

Richie, Nick, Lizzy, Torie & Phil

Wayne, Jack, Debbie, Mark, Suzie & Mum

The weather was just perfect!  Sunny and warm and about 18 degrees Celsius, which was a relief because it had been overcast and raining all week.

Suzie, Mark & Phil in the foreground

The only family member who couldn't join us was Wayne's Dad, Geoff, which was sad and we missed having him there.  But hopefully we will be able to do something similar in Stratford next time and he will be able to be with us.

Torie with Daisy

We brought the dogs too - our two spoodles, Jarrah & Daisy and Debbie brought her schnauzer Schminke.  Mark said his dog was too smelly to put in the car today!

Richie & Lizzy throwing the frisby

After lunch, the kids had a bit of fun throwing a frisby while we cleared away the mess into big garbage bags to take home.

The birthday cake

Then we put the kettle on a little portable gas stove that we had brought and made coffees and teas and brought out Richie's birthday cake as we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  Everyone gave him their presents.

Earlier in the day, when they were able to have some quiet time together, Mum gave Richie her present which was very special ... it was Dad's wedding ring.  Dad passed away a year ago last weekend, so to give Richie his ring was a very moving thing for both Mum and Richie.  He was rendered quite speechless by such a special gift from Mum and gently tried it on each of his fingers until he found the one that it fit perfectly.  Then he wore it all day, but said he would put it away safely afterwards and only wear it on special occasions, as he wanted to take great care of it.

Richie wearing Dad's wedding ring
It was a lovely family day and everyone said they enjoyed themselves.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Port Douglas :: Day 8 (last day)

We had a little sleep-in today, but had to have everything packed and the house cleared by 10am.  We didn't have to be at the airport until 5 o'clock so we had a whole day to spend just looking around at the shops in Port Douglas before making our way back to Cairns.

With fairly significant encouragement from Lizzy, Mum decided to follow-through on something she has been wanting to do for quite a while now.  She got a tattoo.  Yes, my 78 year old Anglican Minister mother went to a tattoo salon and asked them to put a permanent mark on her skin!!!  Of course, Lizzy and I went with her to make sure it was done hygienically and that all was above board.

She chose her favourite picture - a Ulysses butterfly - and before long the man was working away on her shoulder ...

... she said it didn't hurt at all, just felt like someone was scratching at her ...

... and within half an hour it was done!
I don't think I could ever do that, but I'm so proud of Mum for being so brave and for getting exactly what she wanted.  She is absolutely delighted with the outcome and we are so happy for her.
After that excitement, we drove half way back to Cairns, stopping in at Palm Cove for a picnic lunch on the beach (getting through some of the food we cleared out from the house).

Picnic at Palm Cove ... beautiful!!

Mum grabbing her last chance
to enjoy the warm sand!

A wind surfer enjoyed the warm breeze.

Then we headed off to Cairns, arriving at about 3 o'clock.  So, we went to the big Cairns Central shopping centre for some retail therapy until it was time to head to the airport.
Dropped the car back to the rental place and checked in by 5:30pm.  On the plane at 6:30 and landed in Melbourne at 10 o'clock.  Picked up my car from the long term parking and were home by 11:30 that night.
Well, what a wonderful holiday!!  So many fun things and so many great memories!