So our apple tree in the front yard bloomed with softly perfumed blossoms this Spring. I'm quietly optimistic that we'll get some fruit in Autumn. When we bought the house in April there was one lone apple ripening. Each time we visited the house I checked the apple and looked forward to picking it when it was perfectly ripe. One day in May I came home from work to notice the apple was missing! Mr blue-eyes swore he didn't pick it. I was furious and was all set to write a cranky note for the front gate decrying the dirty thieving apple stealer but calmer heads prevailed. some time a little later one day I noticed a $5 note on the doorstep and thought it a bit odd. We figured it must have fallen out of Mr blue-eyes pocket when opening the door or something and thought nothing more of it.Then a couple of weeks on Mr blue-eyes was in the front yard when a middle aged woman stopped and asked him if he got the money? At first he asked what money and then she explained. Her adult daughter was going through a rough patch, some sort of marriage difficulties etc. She saw our ripe apple on the tree and in a moment of weakness she took it. Later she felt great remorse for her theft and left $5 on our doorstep. I'm hoping by next Autumn she is feeling better...
I didn't participate in Melbourne Cup this year (April & I went for a walk) but I have been getting out on the blogs and winning.
So far in the last month i have won the following: A copy of Holiday with Matthew Mead, a "book-azine" celebrating and offering inspiration for the Christmas holiday season from Curbly (this one is somewhere over the ocean on its way...).
This most awesome collection of goodies from Made590 that included Squirrel artwork, melamine fruit tray, hidden eloise framed print, heart cookie cutter, little red & wolf mug, heart containers, cake magnets, soap, heart mixing bowl, mushroom tins, mushu floral handbag, easter bunny bucket & bird and bunny wooden jigsaw set!
And just today arrived this very sweet brown paper package tied up in string from Myrtle & Eunice that includes some lovely critter cards that Mr Blue-eyes is sure to love, some nice material that i can see being made into something for April, a T towel, some red/white twine and some choccies - woot.
So do keep an eye out for when your favourite blogger is having a giveaway and have a go!
I seem to be posting a lot flower pix lately, I just seem to be around some great gardens this spring. These waratahs were on the street around the corner from my dad's in Blackheath. Thankfully there was a break in the weather for our last day there and we were able to get out for a walk.
Mr Blue-eyes is away in Amsterdam at the moment so little miss and I are visiting my dad at Blackheath in the mountains. spring seems to spring with more colour up here. All the streets are lined with flowering cherries and rhododendrons.
So when i finished my contract in May i had a couple of months to waddle around before April arrived. Much time was spent washing small clothes and working out how to fold/roll onesies but i did manage to fit an actual craft project in and finish it.
I couldn't bring myself to buy one of those nappy disposal bagging systems and then have to buy more plastic refills to keep it going so i thought i could delve into my stash to sew a regular plastic bag holder, just like nanna has.
The fabric is something i inherited and i even found some ribbon to match so it all fits nicely with the blue/purple scheme going on. It took a bit of googling to find a pattern (yes i know it is basically a tube but i work better with instructions i can then ignore) and this is a combination of a couple i found. I have a regular pedal bin for nappies that i line with these bags and empty each day. Stay tuned for the revealing of the blanket i knitted and finished!
Part of the fun of living a bit further out is the increase in wildlife that we see around the place. This pair i would hesitate to call totally wild as they're quite bold strutting in from the deck all the way into our kitchen. I did bust one of them recently picking fluff from one of our rugs for their nest. I do enjoy their chortling calls.
After some miserable attempts at growing veges in pots at our previous place i was keen to have a real vege patch.
It has taken a bit of work to turn it from this: Before.
It was filled with privet, lantana, mayflower and other weeds. We tried to transplant a callistemon but failed. We also jack hammered out the rocks and the odd lamp post in the corner plus the palm got a haircut.
I know there is a grevillia in the middle of my vege patch but it is flowering wonderfully at the moment and the wattle birds and noisy mynas love it so. I intend to try and transplant it out when it has finished flowering. I might even try the deep planting technique i saw on Gardening Australia last night. So far i've planted some lettuce and habenero seedlings (for Mr Blue-eyes special harissa blend) and some spinach and pumpkin seeds. In the rows by the fence i'm going to plant out some tomato seedlings that sprung out of my worm farm compost and plant some corn. Plus i've some bwarf snap bean seeds to plant in amongst it all.
We've tried a no-dig style garden using the plan in the Yates Gardening Guide as inspiration. We might not have the required number of layers but i've spiked each planting into a lovely lump of worm farm compost - black gold. The garden bed faces south so isnt the most ideal aspect but it was the best option when it came to space. It is our first planting so who knows how well it will work and how it will go next year.
Whilst clearing some space out the back to build a compost bin we discovered this critter the other day. Mr Blue-eyes was snapping on his Canon and asked me to get the Bluey's attention with my iPhone 4.I'm rather impressed with the new camera on it and the silicon bumper provided protected it from a lizard bite too.
The last few weeks have been ones of crushing lows and soaring highs. I'll start with the soaring high of welcoming Miss April Rose last Tuesday 27 July at 2am. Labour started Monday morning, a bit of deep breathing some hollering and 20hrs later she arrived (6 days late even). Everything about her is perfect and utterly adorable. I'm still in recovery mode although in the scheme of it i've come out of it somewhat unmarred for a natural delivery. However despite reading about what my post labour body might be like it did not prepare me for the reality of how labour would affect my body and what living with that is like. It is getting better, slowly and I'm looking forward to taking April out into the world and sharing it with her. Mr Blue-eyes is totally besotted and loves taking her for morning walks (i love him doing it so i can get an hour or so real sleep).
The crushing low we experienced was the loss of our Bruno. It happened a couple of weeks ago but i was unable to write about it because it was so upsetting. I still can't really go into details even yet but can say that it was a car out the front of our house. We were both there at the time and Mr Blue-eyes lost his best mate in his arms. We miss him so badly and had really wanted him to meet April...
Thank god we have a coffee machine and grinder at home so we can have a decent coffee every morning. mr blue-eyes sometimes has a 2nd cup during the day but I'm sticking to my ¹in the morning with ¹sugar cube in a Bodum double walled glass so I can see that crema. I think I let it pour a bit longer than is strictly correct for a proper espresso/short black but it works for me.
So it began with a trip to Ironwood to see what they had as their stock always changes and they have a phenomenal amount of stock at any point. Thankfully i wasn't there to dodge the forklifts and discuss the finer points of dressed and undressed recycled Jarrah decking.
Back in ManLand, Mr Blue-eyes cut the the planks to size and planed them back to raw timber.
Each plank was routed to slot into the framing pieces and you can see the table top in one piece clamped to the work bench.
A frame was made from left over bench timbers that the top was attached to and then the angled legs were bolted to that. The legs came from a misc plank that was found out the back of the shed that when planed back came up a nicely.
And here is the final table just after it has been oiled with a mix of turps and linseed oil. Over the next few days it soaked right in and darkened up. It will get another coat in a few weeks and then a coat about every year afterwards.
We discovered this plump fellow when clearing out some damp old carpet that was down the side of the house. This Striped Marsh Frog has done well to get from Vineyard Creek which is about 300m from our house and across 2 streets. We put it back into some nice shrubbery and they were gone the next day, i'm hoping our resident magpie family didn't help themselves to a froggy meal...
In my new role of domestic house-person i thought the least i could do was tie an apron on and get baking (in between naps and watching Mad Men). Motivated by fresh rhubarb from our trips to Flemington markets and a never ending stash of mini italian style baking cups it was time for muffins (i scored mine when working at a food magazine but i believe Essential Ingredient has something similar). I dont really have many cookbooks with baking recipes and tend to turn to the interwebs, finding this Rhubarb Muffin recipe from cuisine.com.au the best fit for what i had. I don't know how you'd get 15 muffins out of this, i got a dozen and they were a nice size. I guess 15 would be rather tiny. The cinnamon sugar worked a treat and i think i will do something similar on all muffin like things i bake in the future. I also tossed the chopped rhubarb in a bit of caster sugar before mixing it in as it was kind of sticking together. Apologies for the pic not being of the usual food-blog standard, my photographer was at work and i revert to lo-tech iPhone snaps when he isn't about to wield the Canon 4D.
Every month or so Mr Blue-eyes gets the urge to bust out the yeast and whip up a batch of pizzas for dinner.
A nice puffy dough from the right flour with yeast for the right amount of time to rise.
Aint it cute, all the toppings prepped in little bowls just like on the telly. The bowl on the far right is one of our home made sausages cooked and unskinned.
All topped ready for the oven.
And now ready for slicing, although tempting to tuck straight in one has to wait for the molten tomato bits to cool slightly so you don't burn the roof of the mouth and leave that flappy bit of skin.
One of the projects on the list for the new house will be the construction of a proper woodfired pizza oven, but there are just a few things ahead of it on the list. Like putting doors back on the bedrooms after the floors were sanded.
I got knocked up and hilarity ensued, including fainting at stations and throwing up in station masters offices. Feeling generally better and much bigger now though increasingly worn out. We get to meet lil Miss towards the end of July. It is one hell of a physical rollercoaster for the mind and body.
We went to melb to visit mr blue-eyes sis and family. Hung out at Hosier Lane, still couldn't manage to get into Movida though. Managed to time trip with torrential rain. Did Queen Vic Markets until morning sickness overwhelmed me.
I've spent the last 6mths contracting to a big telco doing internal comms. Good hours, good money and very relaxed culture (compared to smaller agencies.
Amongst other books i have read Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (i say a cross between Love in the time of Cholera and Harp in the South). I've also thrown myself into Neil Gaiman and am working my way through his work. I'm going to need to join the library at the rate i'm reading between the cost and the space i can't keep up.
We had a real holiday where snorkelling was as tough as it got at Matamanoa Island in Fiji.
We bought a house in Dundas, we made an offer that we didn't expect to be accepted and before we knew it we were on the rollercoaster ride that is finance, mortgages, building inspections and home ownership. Bruno loves hanging out in the sun rolling on the grass. Mr Blue-eyes loves his double car brick garage. There are a plenty of misc projects to keep us busy in the years to come.