Monday, February 17, 2014

Coping with abundance!

Autumn is not far away.  The harvest is just starting to kick into gear, and the 6 zucchini plants have just started to really hit their straps!

There are currently 36 Zucchini and Banana Lunchbox Muffins in the oven, and zucchini appears to have been making an appearance in some form in most meals.  The kids have decided that they really like Zucchini Slice, either hot or cold; yesterday I made 100 calorie soup in the Thermomix (carrots, zucchini - of course - onion, garlic. herbs, capsicum and a tin of tomatoes and some chicken stock, all whizzed up); ratatouille; and barbecued zucchini.  Zucchini may also creep into curries (Butter chicken - with zucchini and spinach), bolognese, pasta sauces and anything else I can think of.

A few years ago, I made a collection of zucchini recipes, just to deal with the bounty.  Zucchini and corn relish , of course, but apart from the muffins, and the apple and zucchini muffins, two other favourites are the zucchini and blueberry loaf, and zucchini and lemon biscuits.

I actually really like zucchini, but I confess to needing some inspiration to get the rest of the troops eating it!

Of course, now the plums are about to come on.  That means plum cakes, plum tarts and all things plummy.  Unfortunately we are still working our way through last years plum sauce, so that one won't be happening this year.  And then it will be tomatoes.  I am eagerly awaiting the tomato bounty because I ran out of the frozen roasted tomato sauce which is my base for pizza, pasta and just about everything else.

In other domesticity, my 34 year old Janome died.  This was a sad day, because I was given the sewing machine by my father when I went to university, in lieu of a clothing allowance.  I made and designed lots of clothes, theatrical costumes, and basic wardrobe items as well as gifts.  Granted, it hadn't been used much in the last 12 months, but it made me sad.  I still have the machine, but the foot control is well and truly cactus.

The Accountant actually made my protest when, after much internet searching and being unable to find a replacement foot control, I announced that I would be buying a new machine.  So, I now have a Husky in the house.  So far it has sewn up one Lily dress, two sundresses for the Princess, a range of hems, and is about to sew up another Lily and a pinafore.  Yay!

Enough for now.  I'd be interested in more zucchini and plum recipes, and finding out new ways of dealing with the bounty.  Plum jam may be in my future, and I think I may need extra hours in the day for the domestic side of life!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Deja Vu all over again!

Here I am - good intentions at the ready.  We'll see how it goes.  Last year, as soon as I resolved to blog again, I ended up working and life just took over my - well, my life, really!

Last year seems to have been a blur of work, children, family and always running as fast as I could just to stay still.

The Christmas break has given me a chance to catch a breath.  So, last year I was a chauffeur and cheerleader for the family.  Watched innumerable junior games of hockey while freezing my bum off on an outdoor concrete grandstand, including a couple in torrential rain and one evening in a sea fog which eerily swallowed the small hockey players and most of the game.  I find myself selfishly hoping that the kids don't want to play hockey this year (or, at least, that they get a roof on the grandstand).

Destructoboy played soccer, Princess sang, in choirs and as a soloist - and started singing lessons and then the singing teacher moved.  Dammit dammit.  Destructoboy started guitar lessons, Princess took a break from piano - well, she refused to practice, so it was more like a recognition of the situation.  Both kids want to do Tae Kwan Do this year.  I have a yellow belt from a long ago time when I was young and had a crush on a black belt.....  Maybe I'll go along, too.

I knitted.  15 adult garments, some socks, some shawls and a baby jacket.  Somewhat more yarn came in than was knitted, so I need to ensure that this balance is redressed.  I finished 20,000m worth of knitting last year.  Just.  With slightly over an hour left.  I even finally managed to take some pictures for my Ravelry project pages!  They look a little less unpopulated now!

So, 2014 needs to be at least tepid sheep.  We'll see how that goes.

What else has happened?  I have seen a little bit of KnightlyKnitter and her family.  I have attacked some of the accumulated crap which has collected in the house and am engaged in filling wheelie bins with rubbish and recycling.  I decided on a minimalist approach to the veggie garden, and have been picking rainbow chard, rhubarb and zucchinis, laughing at the ridiculous number of volunteer pumpkins which sprouted from the compost I spread, and been gently encouraging to the tomatoes and watermelons.

I have been either walking or riding my bike most days.  My knees appear to have decided that they don't like jogging, so I have slowed down to a brisk walk, instead.  Very little travel happened in 2013, once we returned from the UK.  Bendigo, of course with the Hustler Street Posse - even though we no longer stay at Hustler's Road; a weekend with the Princess in Melbourne to see King Kong for her birthday, and a trip to Queensland because we insisted on tagging along when the Accountant went up there on business.

Life rolls on, kids get bigger and busier and school is just around the corner again.  The first month of the year is almost finished, and I have another pile of accumulated detritus from several lives to sort.  Au revoir, until next time!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yoohoo!  Anyone out there?

I know, I know.  Expecting people to hang about for 2 years waiting for deathless prose is really a bit of an ask, but I am going to try to Blog more regularly.  Truth is, I have actually missed blogging, and if I can try to do a weekly post, I think it would be good discipline!

So in the missing 2 years or so, I have got older - and hit a birthday which has a '0' on the end.  The children are older - Princess is more like a drama queen, with Diva-ish sensibilities, but Destructoboy has just got larger, better at school and the zone of destruction has become wider.  The Accountant has moved offices, had another close call, but is well now.

I have discovered that working full time really eats into your life, that I thoroughly enjoy teaching at high school - mostly, and that you can actually squish more into the day if you sit on it and shove things into the corners.  The house is not any tidier, the garden is still neglected and I am currently spending the non-working hours (or rather, the non paid working hours) as a pretty much full time chauffeur and organiser.

Knitting has certainly happened - particularly around choir rehearsals (Princess), rehearsals for local production of The Sound of Music (Princess again - she is playing Marta, and of course, I am bursting with pride), hockey (both children) and soccer (Destructoboy).  In addition, I attempt to creat haute cuisine, launder piles of clothes and occasionally venture into vacuuming and bathroom cleaning.

In Tasmania, we are heading into Autumn.  After a very long hot summer, everyone is still picking tomatoes and chillis, but the nights are colder and I am starting to wear light 4 ply jumpers - but all day.  My sandals are being packed away, and, although I haven't yet worn my boots, I am looking at them!

Over the Christmas holidays, we attempted a white Christmas, which unfortunately, simply become a wet Christmas in England.  It was lots of fun, and we caught up with old friends.  The bit which was not fun was breaking my wrist whilst ice-skating at an outdoor rink on Boxing Day.  Twenty years ago, I was very ordinary at ice-skating, and my attempt to re-discover my former mediocrity meant I had the chance to examine Britain's NHS from the inside.  I'm better now, but it is an experience I'd prefer not to repeat!

So, now we have caught up, what have you been doing?  Triumphs and tragedies, fun and tears.  Tell me what's been going on.  I'm all ears!

Monday, January 31, 2011

I don't just break resolutions....

...I jump on them with both feet!

I posted on the 19th, said I was going to post once a week, and then immediately left it almost 2 weeks until I posted again! Hopeless.

I am blaming the holidays (and the fact that I barely know what day of the week it is), for the fact that I suddenly realised it was 1 February, and the beginning of school was just around the corner. So, in 2 sleeps the children are back to school and very shortly we are all off to NZ for a short time.

So, you ask, what have they been doing?

Well, there has been knitting and the nearly eternal Hay cardigan is finally finished. It is currently blocking and awaiting buttons. There have been 2 versions of the Hurricane Hat - one where I thought I knew much better than the designer (and it didn't look even vaguely like a hurricane) and one with the remaining posmerino which actually abided by the designers instructions and looks great - but meant that I had to frog the not-quite-a-hurricane in order to finish it off. The hat will go with the posmerino Boneyard shawl and will be worn in a cold place.

That's right - a very cold place. I am off to Antarctica for a day trip! On the 30th annuversary of the Mt Erebus Aircrash, Air New Zealand sent 12 relatives of the victims to Antarctica to the crash site to place a memorial marker. The passengers were drawn by ballot - and I had no idea at the time that this was happening. Because it was so successful, Air New Zealand decided to put on a larger second flight. This time I actually knew about the ballot and entered my name - and I have a seat. The plan is to fly from NZ, land at Scott Base, place another memorial, and after a short time on the ground, to fly back to NZ.

What this has meant from a practical point of view, is that we are all going to NZ (because there are several alternative flight dates, depending on the Antarctic weather) and I need to pack thermals, a scarf and hat and warm socks.

Gosh - I wonder where the scarf, hat and socks should come from? I know - I'll knit some!

So the kids go back to school for two days, and then vanish for a fortnight for some real world experience of vulcanology, zoology, studies of flora and fauna and some vicarious Antarctic experiences. I'll try to blog before we leave - but I must go - I have a hat to finish and block......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome to 2011! (and a resolution!)

Well, it has been just a while since my last post and we are starting a new year. The resolution is to try and blog once a week, so we'll see how tht goes!

I have been knitting - although I didn't quite get 1 garments done in 2010, (the Lia still needs sleeves and I'm plugging away on the Hay Cardigan), I did manage 11. I also knited 3 pairs of socks, 6 shawls, some mitts and hats and presents and such. I went to Bendi and partied with some wonderful peeps, who also held my hand when I ended up in the emergency department at the local hospital with a fever brought on by a throat infection.

We went to Queensland with husby in September (actually, he had to go on busines, but we were so over the winter that we insisted on tagging along too). I finished the first year of my Masters course with quite satisfactory marks, thank you.

We had Christmas, the Knightly Knitter and her family came to visit and see int he New Year. it rained a lot. We had a flood in November. We had another flood last week. This onew as much worse - although not nearly as bad as The Mainland, where it is dire (donations for people who have lost everything can be sent here - up to 2.5 million people can't sleep in their own homes).

Friends were flooded, and I helped with the clean up which was beyond yucky. Mopping the same patch of floor 6 to 8 times will eventually get it clean and stop it smelling - just saying. The local boutique brewery got flooded (and their house next door - no beer lost, but the kegs had to be rounded up and there was more cleaning there - and lots of throwing things away.

Here is our paddock - underwater

here is out road - underwater

here is a platypus swimming in the paddock next door - which was underwater, too.

The best thing about the flood was the platypus. And the limbo day. The roads near us were all blocked, so the kids got tpo ride their bikes on the road for the very first (and probably last) time. Generally this is an unsafe thing to do, because we have no shoulder or pavement out here, and lots of hoons and trucks. The day after the floods was glorious - in contrast to the torrential rain for days before.

Shortly, we head off to New Zealand, and I will be going to the Antarctic for a day trip. I'll fill you in on all tht later - but I have a posmerino hat to finish, to go with the scarf I made to keep me warm down there!

Happy New Year - and all the best for 2011!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh dear.....

Well, here I am, a little late and with almost too much news for a single post.
News of my demise has been greatly exaggerated - I have just been suffering from computer fatigue, due to assignments, required tutorial postings and general fighting and scrapping with administrators and bureaucrats. And then there were exams. Sigh.

I have however, been knitting ('I knit so I don't kill people' has become a mantra).
There has been knitting. Here is A Little Something (Sundara Silky Merino Aran - from a Ravelry de-stash):

A second Tempest (longer - in Somoko)

A Transverse Cardigan, in Classic Elite Renaissance (also from a Ravelry de-stash)

A Tea Leaves cardigan in Sanguine Gryphon Traveller. This may be my favourite cardigan yet. The pattern is lovely and the wool is gorgeous.

There is a bit of a selfish knitting theme going on here, partly because most of my cardigans and jumpers are too large on me this year (happy dance!) but also because it is comforting to be making oneself something pretty when wading through a pile of assignments. I have also been trying to shop heavily from my non-stash (as it is well known that I have NO STASH).

Partly this is motivated by the rather large quantity of - ahem - insulation which appears to live in our spare room (amongst other places), and partly because, while organising it, I discovered how much beautiful - ahem - insulation - I appear to possess. So I am using it, rather than merely patting it and admiring it.

I seem to have actually knitted more than I have acquired over the last few months. This is A Good Thing, especially with the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Show on the horizon, and the near certainty that I may acquire at least something knittable while I am there.

But it hasn't all been slaving over a hot computer and forcing the family to eat what ever I can throw together in 20 minutes.

No, no.

Just after Easter we escaped to Coles Bay for a wedding. The Accountant's God-daughter married her beau, in a most beautiful ceremony held practically on top of a mountain, overlooking Moulting Lagoon, the Swan River and across toward Swansea. Beautiful day, stunning bride and amazing location. Because of this, we had a lovely weekend away and the weather was perfect, as was the wedding. (I love a good wedding.)

My lovely Step-mother came with us, and looked after these two monsters while we attended the wedding, and the reception later.

After the stress of the assignments, and my practicuum (which was wonderful and exciting and took place in a 'challenging' school, with a very experienced teacher, and a fun and very lively class), we took a holiday. In fact, I actually truanted from my course for the final week. I made sure all assignments and tutorial work was done, packed the lightest text book for exam study and we headed off for two weeks in Fiji. I studied and knitted in a hammock, snorkelled every day, taught the Princes to snorkel, saw sharks and rays and lots of lovely fish and coral, kayaked and found 2 lost Fijian Crested Iguanas while knitting in my hammock.

The finding of the escaped iguanas then gave me an excuse for spending as much time in the hammock as possible. When people asked what I was doing, I could reply that I was looking for iguanas, with a perfectly straight face. I basically finished some Vesper socks (still have to put in afterthought heels), started some Duckies socks, and almost finished a Citron shawlette (hate that word).
The Citron would actually have been finished - had the Knitpicks cable not broken - grrrrrrrr!

So that's it really. You are up to date. Now I am on holiday (as much as a mother ever is!), the kids are back at school. The Princess still has her 4 Fijian beaded braids in and is resisting all attempts to remove them. Destructoboy is missing his splashes in the pool and unlimited access to pineapple and paw paw. The Accountant is missing the warmth and relaxation, and I am missing my hammock.It is the shortest day today, and utterly freezing. We had a hard frost this morning. Fiji seems very far away.

Excuse me, I need to go and knit something.......

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bad, Bad, Naughty Blogger!

I can't believe we are suddenly in March and I blinked and missed February entirely (at least blog-wise). My abject apologies. I think it is that time thief again. I truly can't believe it is March, and therefore, Autumn.

There has been a frenzy of what the Princess calls 'hibernation cooking'. It has only been chilly once, but when school starts, you know the countdown is on.

I have so far turned 20kg of tomatoes (not mine, unfortunately, this year) into roasted tomato sauce, which now resides n the freezer. I have turned the early plums into plum sauce. I have the second last plums (the D'Agen plums) in the dehydrator, becoming prunes. And I have acquired a slow cooker. A really big 6 litre slow cooker. Yesterday I turned 2.5kg of beef shin into an enormous amount of Osso Bucco, half of which has joined the roasted tomato sauce in the freezer.

I joined the Ravelympics in an effort to get some WIPs sorted. I finished a Stash,

a self designed Cowl

and the Ishbel

and I managed to finish the Rocking Sock Club socks from the November package, a lovely CookieA sock called 'Raven Swirl'.

I'm currently not too far off finishing a Damson for my lovely Step Mother. Unfortunately, her birthday is tomorrow, and I don't think I am going to get there.

Yarnadan was not a success. Despite some de-stashing and frantic knitting I managed to finish or dispose of around 1 kg or yarn. A bit more than that came in, but I am not admitting how much. There were some sock club parcels, a few moments of madness on the internet, and about 8 socks and 8 jumpers worth may have come through the door. Drat.

I am feeling quite good that there have been no yarn purchases this month. Some yarn has come in, due to sock club memberships, but I have not actually gone searching and slapped down boodle for balls (or skeins), so that's a win.

One of the main reasons for the blogging silence has been that my kids returned to school, and they are both at school five days a week this year. This has meant I had time on my hands. "Aha", I can hear you saying. "If she has all this time on her hands, why hasn't she been updating us with her no doubt riveting life and all the exciting things she is doing?"

Now, a normal, sane, adult type person would say, "Hmm. Time on my hands? Great, I'll clean the house. Or knit more, or catch up on reading or do some gardening." That is what a sane person would say.

I thought, " Great. Time on my hands? Why don't I go back to university and get another degree. I know, I'll do a Master of Teaching and I'll specialise in primary school.''

Not only am I doing this, I decided that it would be a really, really good idea to do it online.

And to do it full time.

So I am currently a student, a full-time student, part time mother and casual cleaner and house person (very, very casual!). I may be the owner of the messiest house in Northern Tasmania.

So, instead of posting exciting things on the computer, on an irregular basiis, I've been...

Well, I've been posting slightly less exciting things on the computer on a regular basis. So far, I've been a student for two weeks and I'm not behind yet. That's got to be good, right?

The really interesting thing will be how I manage to juggle the full time practical in-class requirement, when I am sent forth to practice my skills on unsuspecting children.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.