Sunday, 22 February 2015

veges, dog training, tomato sauce

I've been busy lately, and also got a bit sidetracked trough Facebook. I finally set up my own page, got nearly slightly addicted, and am over it now. I think.

The bushfires from January are over, we've had some nice cool weather, except for the last couple of weeks, with three weekends in a row of 40 degrees. I'm over that too. Can we please have some normal temperatures for the rest of the year?

Below some pictures from January and February.

With Nora out for afternoon tea in Stirling

Harvest from the vege garden. Beans did very well early on, then all plants died. Zuccinis weren't a huge success. Lots of flowers and very small fruit, only one or two biggies. Tomatoes were excellent. Up till now as plants are at their end.

On my daily evening walk with Bolke.

Who likes Nora's toys? We've had four training sessions now with Bolke, at dog school, and I do think some things are paying off. Of course it's all up to us training him at home, and before you know it the week is over and you haven't done anything yet, but still. He can now sit, sometimes drop, listens to his name, comes often when called, and I've had him waiting on the spot for a minute. Now we have to deepen the learning and add distraction, etc. His loose lead walking is better too.


More tomatoes and beans. Cucumbers were good too, until all plants died. I'm now waiting for the first rock melon to be ready for eating.

Sunset in the garden

Nora at the beach after a swim, eating cookie and popcorn. 

And today I made homemade tomato sauce from a colander full with homegrown tomatoes (normal tomatoes, lots of roma tomatoes and cherry toms). Well, that really was a great success. I used this recipe, and basically went through the following steps:

This is going to be sauce :-)

  • cut everything in pieces
  • throw it all in one pan
  • All in one pan
  • cook on high heat for 10 minutes
  • press the contents through a colander or other thing to remove skins
  • divide the remaining sauce into three parts: 1/4 to be put on a flat surface in a moderately hot oven to make paste (stir often), 1/4 to put in a bowl which you do nothing with and just add at the end for the fresh tomato taste, then 2/4 back in the pan to simmer for 1 hour and thicken
  • when you've reached the desired consistency of your paste and sauce put it all together, add some of the more fluid fresh sauce and tadaaah there it is.
  • Add flavour by adding basil
  • If you want to you can sautee an onion and some garlic and add these to your sauce (I did). It is now finished. And delicious.
  • Make your own pasta, add the sauce and maybe some grated cheese and there you go.

Again: delicious!

Finished! Just enough for a nice meal for three.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Bushfires and other things

This is quite the sight, isn't it? For the record, this picture has not been taken from our property! One might think it's our view from the garden. No, it's from someone who was close to the action and picked up by ABC news.

The bushfire season has started with a bang. Two days of 42 degrees (plus below average rainfall in spring) and there we are. This particular fire is located about 30 kms East/North-East from us and has been behaving very erratically, spreading in all directions. I'm not sure if it's under control right now, but the conditions have improved a bit, which has helped. The firefighters hope to get some more grip on it today and tomorrow, before more hot and windy conditions return on Wednesday.

We did see the smoke cloud, and on Sunday morning we felt like smoked fish, as the wind had shifted and we were in the smoke, including the washing on the line.

A colleague of mine had to be evacuated and spent the Friday with her dog at her sister's, while her partner joined the fire crews and helped putting out spotfires created by burning objects flying through the wind and landing in random places, working long shifts and being fed by the Salvation Army. There are hundreds of volunteer firefighters involved, and they'll probably be working on this fire for some days / weeks to come.

Other news:

  • Bolke is still the sweetest dog. Nora loves giving him his treats. And all sorts of other things he's not supposed to get his paws on, like Bert and Ernie, mega blocks, all other blocks, toy buckets, clothes from the laundry basket, my slipper, my shoe. Yesterday he went mental in the garden, running around in circles (with my slipper and other objects) for nearly two hours.
  • Our new car has arrived, and it's great. We've taken it for an outing to the beach yesterday and had our second swim of the season. Our first swim was on Thursday last week, at Noarlunga. It was a bit of a challenge to get through, but once in the water it was very nice. We also took Nora for a swim and eventually she loved it. Standing in the (tiny) surf, with us pulling her up when a wave approached. She didn't want to leave. Yesterday we were at Brighton, the water there seemed a lot warmer, easy! Nora loved it again, and afterwards happily destroyed any beginning of a sandcastle I made.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Meet Bolke!

This is Bolke. Our new family member. As you can see, he's right at home. He's 20 months old, and a real Beagle. He is the most gentle and friendly dog I've seen. Very interested in Minnie, the cat, too. After four days Minnie and Bolke often are in the same room together, but Minnie does a lot of hissing when Bolke gets too close. 

Bolke and Nora together. This requires some careful management, with lots of cuddles, praise, and  treats. Bolke finds Nora very interesting, probably because she's the same size. It is great to see Nora imitating our sounds and gestures when she wants Bolke to do something (mostly about giving her some space, that is). Bolke loves Nora's toys. He takes them outside to the lawn, one by one.

Nothing beats a good pasta dish.

Merry Christmas!

Men on the roof, installing our new solar panels. This took one whole morning. They also got a visit from a health and safety officer, to check whether they're complying with the safety procedures. Maybe many men fall of the roof during installation?

Nearly done, 18 panels in total for a 4.5Kwh installation. Vege garden on the right :-)

And done. Quite neat, is it?