What’s in the garden?
In the mornings, we harvest the vegetables that we need for lunch. Pictured above is a typical morning harvest that will be made into bean salad and green salad. Bean salad-beans, capsicum, shallot, tomato and celery. Green salad”lettuce, rocket (I don’t pick the rocket until lunch-time because it tends to wilt), tomato, avocado (already in the food safe) and pecans.
In the afternoon, we decide what we’re having for dinner and we get the ingredients we need fresh from the garden.
What’s on the menu?
We’re consuming the last of the meat in the big freezer to make room for the next lot: the ram. He used to be a lovely lamb but now every time you turn your back on him he butts you. It doesn’t really hurt, but it gives you a fright and I don’t think the jolting from a surprise attack is very good for my neck. Plus, he’s twelve months old so it’s time.
I spent 4 days in Brisbane this week. Even though our home grown meals are awesome, it was really nice to eat something different. I made carbonara at my brother’s house, using a recipe that my friend, Naomi, gave me. Naomi was hilarious! She took me shopping for the ingredients (just the usual – cream, onion, bacon, milk and parmesan), explained the recipe and then before she left, she gave detailed (albiet very simple) instructions. I said, indignantly, “I know how to make carbonara.” But, holy shit, we all agreed it was the best carbonara we’ve ever eaten. The trick, people, is that you fry the onion, garlic and bacon, then you add the cream and an equal amount of milk. You simmer it until it turns caramel, then add the parmesan and voila it’s very rich and cheesy. It simmered for about an hour and needed to be stirred the whole time. Labour intensive but very tasty.
Etienne made the bacon, pictured above, last year. We froze it in small bundles that we defrost now and again. We like to use small amounts of bacon to flavour our meals.
Activities of the week
Right at this moment, I’m sitting on veranda enjoying a hot cup of chai. Beside me is my flowering zygote (pictured above). Something that I’m really enjoying about this year is the appreciation of small things, like the gentle winter sun on my back and a hot chai sweetened with golden honey from our own bees. There is so much going on around us for our senses to take in, and it’s nice to have the time to appreciate it.
I travelled to Brisbane on Thursday, to support my sister who had an operation on her neck (which was successful BTW). My mum, sister and myself, stayed with my brother and his partner in Brisbane. It was good for us all to see each other even though we weren’t really there to socialise.
I took homemade birthday presents for my sister and my niece and nephew, pictured below. My sister loves dogs so I sewed big, plump cushions with the dog fabric pictured above. She loves them. I used a free online photo editing website to make the photo montage of my nephew. The words at the bottom say ‘If this is reality, I’m not interested.’ (He’s sixteen!) The prayer flags I sewed for my lovely niece. They are cut out of Bee’s favourite old dress that was torn and couldn’t be repaired. The dress was originally made out of old saris so there was a fair bit of recycling going on with that fabric.
On the way up to Brisbane, I picked up a hitch-hiker, a man a few years older than me (he told me his name when he got in the ute but I instantly forgot it – damn old age!) who was going to Tugun. He has been around this area with no car for a number of years so he shared some funny stories about getting lifts and I told him my top three favourite stories about hitch-hikers.
This one is my favourite hitch-hiker story: I promised the girls that I would never pick up a hitch-hiker when they were in the car with me. But one time, we were coming back from Brisbane and there was a man on the side the road in the middle of nowhere (past Murwillumbah). The sky had clouded over and it was starting to spit. I slowed down. Bee, who was about eight years old, said “no, mum.” I said “we can’t let him walk in the rain.” He jumped in. I said “hey, how are ya?” He turned and fixed me with a steeling stare, saying “I just got out of hospital. They tell me I’m angry.” I looked in the review mirror at Bee, who had her eyebrows raised and her head cocked to one side with a disapproving ‘I told you so, and now what the hell are you going to do?’ look on her face. We drove a couple of hundred metres down the road while he talked non stop about his difficult life and how everyone he knew had betrayed him. I saw a road of to the left and said “actually, we’re going this way.” He said “OK, I’ll jump out here ’cause I’m goin’ ta Nimbin.” As soon as he jumped out, we zoomed off toward Nimbin. Poor dude. It was very tense at the time, but now it’s just a funny story!
Another one of my favourite stories: Years after the above mentioned hitch-hiker disaster , we picked up another hitch-hiker whilst driving up to Brisbane (again – it was raining so we couldn’t drive past). Bee hopped in the back with her sister and he hopped in the front with me. I said “Where are you going?” He said “Brisbane.” I said “Cool, we’re staying in Brisbane tonight.” I was hoping for some interesting conversation but instead, I was faced with a sad soul who spent the entire trip going “Look out, missus, there’s a car coming up behind you. Watch out. Oh, it’s alright. Missus, Missus, there’s a truck on your left. She coming up fast. Look out Missus. Nope, she slowed down now. You just keep goin’. Look out, Missus there’s a car coming up…..” All the way to Brisbane. I’d been driving for twenty years by this time, so I was both annoyed and majorly offended. No matter how many times I protested that I was a good driver, he never stopped. When we dropped him off in Roma St (Brisbane) he asked me “Where are you going tomorrow?” I said “Maryborough” He said “I’ll come with ya. I know some fellas in Maryborough.” We exchanged phone numbers. The next morning, Bee said “don’t ring him Mum, yesterday was terrible.” But I’m too soft. I rang his number. I didn’t let the phone ring for too long and I hung up, saying to myself “well, I tried.” That was truly the last time I picked up a hitch-hiker with the girls in the car. I can now safely drive past, even in the pouring rain! Of course, if I’m by myself, that’s a different story. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I’ve had some dodgy people in my car, but I’ve met lots and lots of great people too.