Monday, January 31, 2011

January's garden

My garden continues to bring me great pleasure as I venture out to see what can be freshly picked and added to our meals. At the moment the chillies are plentiful! I have made chili corn bread, thrown chillies into our meals to spice them up, and made a jar of really hot chili and garlic hot that I decided to freeze in in ice trays so that I can drop a cube into our Mexican meals when we need that extra bite as I thought we would never get through a jar of such hot sauce. A dear friend got a little jar of it as a gift too as she loves hot chili.

Basil is abundant too and I am enjoying the flavour it adds to a simple sandwich or a delicious meal. Of course I have made Basil Pesto and when friends joined us for lunch the other day, the entire jar was polished off in one sitting! I will be making more.

We are picking the odd strawberry, plump and juicy. The gooseberries are done for now. Tomatoes are springing up all over the place and either get eaten right away or popped into the freezer whole to make sauce at a later stage.Beans are also getting blanched and popped into the freezer for later use.

My friends have had a good chuckle at me. I have been setting my alarm at 6 a.m. in order to go out and pollinate my butternuts! The bees or other critters arrive early in the morning and cart off the pollen while neglecting to do their job of pollinating the female flowers!
I have lost at least a dozen or more butternuts that have not been pollinated and rotted on the vine, hence the need for me to pollinate them. The female flowers bulge at the base, heavy with fruit, while the male flowers have no fruit but are laden with much needed pollen. I simply take the pollen from the male flower and dab in onto the female flowers stigma. All I have wanted all season , is for at least one butternut to survive.

It looks like I have two survivors for now!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to blogging

Yes, I have not posted in a while. A little too much has been going on for me and so I needed some time out for a while.
I have said "so long" to my sister as she and her family headed back to their farm home; a dear friend and her family have left to live in the UK ; school has started up for the year; my eldest had his impacted wisdom teeth removed and my dear hubby has not been employed yet. And in between there have been daily chores, keeping house and garden and living life... A lot going on!
Anyway I thought it made sense to go back to where I left off.

We had a wonderful last day together with my sister and her family 3 weeks ago. The kids and I joined them at the beach early that morning and the cousins had great fun swimming in the sea together, exploring rock pools and playing in the sand. The visit was completed by a trip to the Ice Cafe to try out new flavours of some of the best ice cream around!

That evening we all gathered at one of their favourite spots for a sundowner picnic on the opposite side of the peninsula.

Though the water was icy, we all ventured down and froze our toes in the icy Atlantic waters.

It was a special time of enjoying each others company, saying things we needed to say, and soaking up the last of the days sunshine while enjoying the magnificence of the sun setting over the sea. There was an ache in my heart as we finally ventured back home over the mountain, as it would be a while before we would meet again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let us not buy lettuce

I have decided that I don't want to buy lettuce anymore. I find it doesn't last and is either too much or too little. Very often, even with ready washed lettuce, there are slugs in the bag too.

I have dedicated a little area of my veg garden to lettuce seedlings and am hoping that these will be enough to see us through the summer. For the price of two bags of lettuce in the supermarket, I got two trays of assorted lettuce seedlings. Now we can pick what we need and we know it is fresh and we can be sure that we don't end up with slugs in our salad.

I found this little tool set, perfect for the garden , at a local home store. It is so convenient to know where the tools are when I need them instead of hunting round the garden for the spade that could have been put anywhere by anybody!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Handmade gifts

For obvious reasons, I could not post on some of the gifts K and I made for Christmas this year. (oops it is now last year!) Now that it has come and gone and the gifts have been given, here's a peek at some of what we made.

At one of her craft classes she learned how to make a mini accordion scrap book. She decided to make it for her only girl cousin as a gift. She scrap booked their lives from babies until her recent 13th birthday. It was so beautifully made and filled with little notes and memories.

K had bought herself a necklace at a Christmas market we had been to together. We both tackled making necklaces as gifts. She made one for a special friends recent 16th birthday and I made the one below for my niece for Christmas.

We also made beaded serviette rings as gifts and I made some sets of wine glass charms too. We had such fun being creative and turning out gifts that were made with love.

Fun at Grandpa

We spent an evening at my Dad's home recently and got to meet their new pets, two young male alpacas.

Z was the only one brave enough to feed the alpacas. We all feared being spat on, or being kicked by them. They are such beautiful creatures!

Oh boy, I am so envious of my dad's corn! I should have had another veg bed prepared and planted long ago.

We prepared pizzas with various toppings and everyone had a turn to make a pizza of their choice for all to enjoy.

The pizza oven makes some of the best pizzas ever!

Z loves animals and made the most of enjoying the dogs, taking turns to scratch or pat each one as they milled about him.

Hubby enjoyed photographing them.

The rest of the evening was spent chatting and relaxing. It was a great evening!


On a windy CT day, fun is to be had Blowkarting!

J and bunch of friends had a great time speeding up and down the beach.

Some holiday fun with friends

A game of Norwegian Twister (not sure why it is called that!)

The kids and their cousins decided to have pool party and invited a load of friends over. There were 17 kids all in all and they had the greatest time chilling out with loud music, lots of laughs, swimming, games and a braai.

I love it that they are happy to invite their friends over to our place and enjoy hanging out at home!

We enjoyed a braai at our dear friends who are soon to be setting off for the UK. The girls had a great time catching up.

New Years Wishes

Well 2010 has ended and 2011 is here. 2010 came with its own highs and lows, joy and tears.
For us a family it was year where we saw out little guy get so very ill; had new beginnings with J's school; hubby worked such hard and long hours only to be retrenched just before Christmas; I was given the amazing opportunity to be the SA distributor for Hands on Homeschooling; saw our beautiful daughter blossom into a sweet teen; had the good news of my brother's wife's pregnancy; heard the news of my sister and her family relocating to the farm; had sad news of my grandpas passing but then the precious time of seeing all the family together at his memorial; saw our boy competing at provincial level in karate and so many things in between. To sum it up, it was not the easiest of years but we do look forward to 2011 and trust that Gods mercies are new every day.
My wish for all our dear family and friends is..... When in doubt,may we all turn to the Wonderful Counsellor who knows all. May the Mighty God give us all strength & hope as we enter 2011. May the Everlasting Father's constant love & provision support us as we face life's challenges. When fears take over, may we come to the Prince of Peace & allow him to give us His peace that passes all understanding.Wishing you all an awesome year!

End of an era

The stunning view from their CT home's patio.

My darling sister and her family have been here for the last 10 or so days. It has been wonderful having my niece and nephew in our home as their mom and dad have been working so hard on getting their house ready for their new tenant. We have some occasions to enjoy their company too.
It is a bittersweet time for me as I know that they are here to pack up their belongings and move to their new farm home for good. The decision was made some months ago and I continue to grapple with the emotions and my own sense of loss that have come with the decision. However, I wish them well on their venture and know that they will be abundantly blessed as they take this next step in life's journey.

We recently spent an evening having dinner together at their old home and the teen cousins had great fun together. Cant remember where the boys were that night, perhaps at Aunty T.

Memories are made of times like these...