Saturday, September 13, 2014

Here & Now

Loving...all the beautiful flowers around at the moment and all the honey bees they are attracting. And the beautiful, peaceful sunrises of Spring.
Eating...strawberries, sometimes plain and sometimes with cream
Drinking...a delicious new tea blend from a local tea stall called Stockholm. Among it's delicious ingredients are apricot, rose and orange.
Wearing...this sweet necklace from Strangely Yours. It was a gift from my sister, she had the name Chantille Clicks engraved on it, the name I use for my photography online. The top comes off and is capable of storing a memory card, and the "focal ring" spins on it too. I absolutely love it! 
Wanting...Spud to grow up a little faster...the puppy 'teenage' stage is not something I missed.
Thinking...about how we can continue to grow salad greens through the heat of summer when it comes.
Dreaming...of summer picnics and swims 


Finally I have not written 'dreaming of sheep!' or something like it. Because they are coming. Sooner than we'll be ready for them, I do believe. Of course we'll have food, shelter and fencing for them. I've read books and I'll have Spud to help me manage and handle them.
When it comes down to it, I don't think anyone is ever truly ready for anything, but we're as ready as we need to be.

Spring is such a beautiful time of year! I've been trying to squeeze in some practice with the Macro lens whilst there are so many bees and flowers around at the moment. I haven't much practice with it, but I am pretty happy with the bee photos above. I will say one thing about macro photography - I didn't realise there was even a breeze outside until I was looking through the viewfinder trying to focus on a tiny, speedy bee!

I hope you're weekend is lovely,

Sarah x

PS This is my 300th post!! I can't believe I've managed to keep this little blog going for over 2 years and have written that many posts. Thank-you all so much for following along, leaving your beautiful comments and welcome also to my newest followers! :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chocolate Viola Cupcakes

Welcome to this month's edition of Tea Party Tuesday. Do take the time to share some tea party pleasures of your own! The Tea Party Tuesdays button has an easy to grab html code that you simple copy and paste into your own post. Linking up has never been easier! 
 If you'd like to get social with your entry, remember to use the hashtag #TeaPartyTuesday

Last Tea Party Tuesday I wrote about my interest in Edible Flowers. Since then I haven't done much to explore them further as time and growing space is limited. Beans and lettuce take preference over flowers.
The other day when I was feeding the chickens however, I noticed that my three little Viola plants were covered in blooms. I knew I just had to bake something so that I could use the Violas to decorate.
Whilst I was waiting for the flour to grind I decided on some simple chocolate cupcakes.

I bake with a lot of organic and natural ingredients. White sugar and it's processed relations are banned in our house, so it can be tricky finding ways to make our sweets look pretty. Using fresh flowers are the perfect solution and add a touch of novelty too!

I'm now planning on expanding my Viola plants into a bed, and perhaps I will add some other varieties too.

Here are a few tips for using fresh flowers to decorate your baked goods:

  • Pick your flowers once you're ready to serve, otherwise they might wilt if you decorate ahead of time.
  • Don't wash your flowers if using something as delicate as a Viola, as you could damage the leaves. Simple carefully look them over for any spots of dirt or tiny bugs.
  • Only use flowers that you have organically grown yourself. Don't use the flowers off plants you purchased at a nursery as they could have been sprayed or fertilised with artificial chemicals.
  • Flowers are beautiful and you want them to be the centrepiece of your deocrating! Use simple methods of decorating to allow your flowers to shine. For my cupcakes I simply whipped some pure cream, dolloped it onto the cupcakes and then placed two or three Violas in the centre of the cream.
  • Different flowers have different flavours. I found Violas perfect for sweet cooking with their vanilla-like flavour. Something a bit spicy like a Nasturtium is more suited to savoury food. 
If you have any tips for working with fresh flowers in either sweet or savoury cooking, I'd love it if you'd share them in the comments below!


Now it's your turn!  If you have any Tea Party goodness happening at your blog today, please join the link up below! We'd all love to hop over to your blog and check it out!

Sarah x

Remember! Tea Party Tuesday is held once a month on the second Tuesday!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

This Farm of Ours

 Yesterday afternoon when we were feeding the cows I looked at the beauty surrounding us and felt so glad and thankful that this little patch of land is ours.
It's a lot of work for a small block. There have been many messes left by the previous owner to clean up and many things to establish. This time of year is always so good and full and busy. But I love it.
The weather is beginning to mellow out. The heat of summer is yet to come and the cold winds of winter are leaving us. The sun is warm and the night is cold, still cold enough for a fire which I like.

We've had another calf born since the last time I wrote. Black Brandy (second picture) as born on Tuesday. She's oh-so-sweet. And little Black Magic (other pictures) is just a ball of mischief! With this these glorious clear skies, warm days and baby animals it certainly feels like Spring!

We've started renovating, strengthening and modifying this old brick stable for the sheep's night and rain shelter, to keep them safe from wild dogs. There was a pile of bricks and some walls still standing on it's other side, the remnants of the other half of the stable apparently. I didn't get a photo before we cleared it away, but I couldn't believe what a difference removing the rubble made to the appearance of the paddock! I plan on capturing the stable's transformation stage by stage and then putting together a post for Roulette, but I'll be sure to post a picture of it finished here too.

Recently we put in 26 natives in one of our paddocks; the beginning of a shelter belt for the cattle. A few weeks later I put in some arrowroot and a heap of comfrey roots among the little tube-stock sized trees. I was so excited when I discovered that some of it was starting to shoot!
I also have 31 pots with comfrey root in them in our potting area, all destined for the paddock when they shoot. Sheep, cattle and chickens love the stuff and it's so nutritious for them! I initially felt kind of mean for digging up our largest comfrey and chopping it's massive root ball into 2cm long lengths, but it's the best way to multiply this plant!

This afternoon we picked a big basket of produce from the garden. Tomatoes, peas, eggplants, shallots, zuccihini, 2 strawberries, radishes, capsicums, broccoli and lettuce filled it up quickly. My carrots tops are beginning to peak above the earth too. After a long day's work it was a good feeling.


How was your weekend?
I hope wherever you are it was good.
I hope you feel as content and happy as I do this evening.

Sarah xx

PS I have been reading all of your blog posts, I just haven't had the time to comment. I do apologise and hope to catch up with you all soon.