A Day In The A Blue Mountains.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I welcome you to take your time and browse , visiting my bush garden and discovering the wonders of my city within a national park; Blue Mountains National Park. Via my blog you will travel with me through the successes, trials and tribulations of gardening on a bush block. I share with you my patchwork & quilting, knitting, paper crafts, cooking and life in general.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

First Day of School, Dentists & Spiders

Wow - what a day, our little Miss Five started school today.  We love you so much our gorgeous girl.  May your school life be filled with many positive experiences.
This morning was also my visit to the dentist to begin root canal therapy.  I think I would have handled the visit a bit better if I hadn't had to wait over thirty minutes for my appointment.  This was long enough for my anxiety to build and to see me on the verge of tears.  I am afraid dentists are not my favourite members of the medical profession, even though I understand how necessary they are.  Well I survived but have been very unsteady on my feet all afternoon.
Then I returned home to find that Mr Honey Pie had a run in with what is one of the most venomous spiders in the world...the funnel web. 
The Blue  Mountains is experiencing a plague of funnel webs at present, some of my social pages 'friends' reporting finding them in shoes, in lounge rooms and in swimming pools. One friend had one fall onto her head when she visited the chook pen and went through a series of ninja moves to make any Leader ninja proud.
 Hubby found this one in the garden while he was cleaning away some building material.  Once, about fourteen years ago, we found one in our wardrobe...believe me that was scary! 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Post Australia Day

Lamingtons are a traditional Australian cake.

Squares of sponge cake are dipped in chocolate icing and then coated in dessicated coconut.

I made these in a gluten free version.
It's the first time I've made lamingtons from scratch.  When my three older children were in primary school the mothers used to have fund raising drives by making and selling lamingtons at the school. We bought slabs of cake from the bakery and turned them into lamingtons.  Boy were they a hit.
These ones are a hit too!
I wanted to make them for Australia Day proper (26th January) but the weather has been too much to handle.  At 43 degrees centigrade plus, there was no way I was going to turn on the oven to bake anything!
Today, well, the weather's been a bit kinder.  Temperature wise anyway.  Precipitation wise it's been very cruel indeed.
Springwood broke its record for the highest daily rainfall with a 122.8mm (4.93in) in a twenty four hour period.
But then, this is Australia! 

Friday, 25 January 2013


Can't believe that today I got to pick two of my cucumbers...the first of the season...before the critters got to them.
They are growing on the front porch, in a container.  Seems it's the only way I can get any vegetable to grow in my garden!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Rubber Duck

We took a trip to the city today.

To Darling Harbour to be exact - to visit the Sydney Aquarium.

An underwater world exists below
 Sydney Harbour.
Where dugongs - as large as cows - eat nothing but lettuce...


sharks entertain...

Water men look surprised...

Children are enthralled...

Outdoors again

Storks continue the theme.

It was all a bit of a reprieve from the overwhelming heat we've been having. 
It felt exhilarating to get out of the house, to join holidaymakers in Sydney.
Mostly, I've been housebound because of the heat and low humidity.

And we weren't the only ones to make the most of it!


Monday, 21 January 2013

Rock Art With Miss Five

Today's activity with Miss five called for some improvisation.

I wanted to do some rock art but I couldn't find my stash of garden rocks which I know I have hidden away in a safe place, so safe that I can't remember where it might be.

So, my improvisation lead me to using some dominoes that I had stained with tea a few years ago for using to make a mini domino book.

These were left over.
They are not plastic but a very hard almost stone like material.

The dominoes were laid out on a baking sheet and placed in an oven set at about 150 oC until quite warm.

On the ready were an old towel and a bunch of crayons.

Put the two together...

When the dominoes had run out we had to try the real thing and I found this piece of sandstone in the garden.

There is something enthralling about melting crayons on hot rocks.

Afterwards we awarded the ponies(who had behaved beautifully while we worked) with ribbons and a prize gold cup.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Holiday Play With Miss Five #3

More Marbling! 
This is what Miss Five and I did on Thursday while trying to survive a heat wave sans air conditioning.

Take an empty chocolate tray and add poster paints and marbles of various sizes

Place inked up marbles onto art paper placed into large baking tray with high sides

And roll!

Creating random patterns.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Breaking Records

Highest temperature ever 
recorded in Springwood: 44.7 oC.

Warmest night time temperature 
ever recorded in Springwood:  31.2 oC

I survived Sydney's heatwave, without air conditioning, and by closing the house up, drawing every curtain, blind, shutter and awning and staying indoors.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Some Days....

...take on a mind of their own...

Everything is contemplated,

thought through,


Neatly done,



laid out,



measured out,



Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Making Do

Some days, most things are an effort.
Some days, the shops are too far away.
Some days, it's easier to make do.
And making do can produce the most amazingly flavoursome meals.

In the refrigerator crisper I found two beetroot and half a head of broccoli.
From the pantry I took 225g puy lentils, olive oil, cumin powder and pine nuts.
From the garden I took a handful of baby rocket, a few sprigs chocolate mint, eau de cologne mint, mint, lemon thyme, thyme, basil, lemon balm, marjoram,lemon scented tea tree, a few peas, blue berries, oregano flowers, and nasturtium leaves.
The lentils were cooked as per instructions on the pack and rinsed well, then fried quickly in hot olive oil with about one tablespoon ground cumin and salt and pepper to taste.
The broccoli (broken into flowerettes) was lightly steamed.
The beetroot was grated and cooked Russian style with butter and lemon juice and salt and pepper.
All were simply layered, puy lentils first, Russian Style beetroot next, steamed broccoli next and garden greens etcetera sprinkled on top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Drizzle with more olive oil.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges and enjoy the flavour bursts.

Here's a recipe for the beetroot.  I did  not use the flour to thicken, just cooked until the water had all evaporated.

I would normally have added an onion in there somewhere except the one onion I found in the pantry was ready to explode!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Preparing for a Detox

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

I have never done a juice fast before but I'm seriously thinking of doing one this year.
In preparation I'm replacing one meal each day with a juice - mostly of vegetable.
Even though it's only been three days, I've had some 'interesting' side effects; from nausea to a huge burst of energy.

Have you tried a juice fast before?
How did you find it?
What effects did you experience?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Holiday Play With Miss Five #2

How to make a burst of joy (or how to marble paper)

Monday was another day spent with my Grand Daughter while her Mum was at work.  We were expecting visitors after lunch so that left us with a few hours to occupy ourselves so we got together a few craft items and here is what we achieved.

Take a can of shaving foam (a cheaper generic brand is fine, we used a can that was no longer wanted) and fill the base of a container with the foam. We used an old baking tray but don't use metal if you want to reuse...the foam will turn it rusty.  In fact don't use a container that you will reused for food because the fragrance from the shaving foam will penetrate your container.
Drip drops of stamp pad re-inkers (we used Adirondack pigment ink re-inkers colours: Bottle, Cranberry, Rust, Butterscotch and Denim) on top of foam and with a wooden skewer make swirls.  Do not over mix.

Lay appropriately sized cartridge or copy paper over top of foam until well coated (you will see colour bleed through to back of the paper).

Remove and allow to set for about thirty seconds. Using a plastic spatula scrap away excess foam and return the excess to tray.
Allow to dry completely.

After about fifteen to twenty minutes Miss Five was convinced that she had created enough "Bursts of Joy" (her terminology) and what she really wanted to do now was stir the 'splodge' until it turns 'brown'. (A most favourite activity for Miss Five as long as she has had the ability to 'paint'.)

To dispose of foam, scrap onto sheets of newspaper wrap and place in bin.
If your little Miss or Master can be convinced to skip the 'mix to a brown' stage the foam will keep for some hours and I'm sure has the ability to create numerous sheets of beautifully marbled paper.
Our marbled sheets will be kept for paper craft activities next time Miss Five spends the day with me.

Comments Welcome

I welcome your comments; they are little personal notes to me. I enjoy reading what each of you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.