Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Mid February 2016 and summers over already!

I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)

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I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
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Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
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Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!

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We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
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Greengage Jam

2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5kg sugar

As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.

Happy jamming!

Uncategorized

The Journey to Tasmania

It’s certainly been a crazy few weeks. We’ve had so many highs and lows but we’ve made it and landed in Tasmania.
In the end we had to change plans a little and have headed further south to Cygnet than to Deloraine in the North where originally planned. There are a few reasons for this the main being it was incredibly hard finding a rental in the North particularly when you can’t get down weekly to do inspections. The agents in the south were really helpful allowing us pre approval so when something suitable came up for rent we were ready for it. Cygnet area is also where we ultimately want to buy our block of land so it made sense to get here a few years early to establish ourselves and make friends.
In the end we had 2 weeks to get organized we had been packing for months but really underestimated what we still had left to do. The container arrived last Tuesday and was picked up Friday. We couldn’t have done it without Danes dad helping us pack and we had to say goodbye to some much loved pieces of furniture due to poor planning but thankfully these were rescued by my family so I know where they are if I ever need them1. In hindsight I would have sold some of the things we packed to keep some of the others or maybe even sold the lot and started again but we still would have needed a container for our boxes of treasured possessions anyway.

We had booked the spirit of Tasmania far in advance and I really suggest doing this for anyone moving across. You can change the date anytime you need but if you have a trailor and animals like we did it’s good to secure it. They are wonderfully helpful on the phone and it’s good to call after you book to clarify everything is correct.

On moving day we got up at 4am and packed the trailor with 9 chooks, our mattress and cooking materials. I had let the cats out to toilet and they must have sensed something was up because they refused to come in for breakfast. I had a few heart racing minutes trying to coax them in and lock them in the carrier just in time to go.

We had talked to our vet and decided to sedate the animals for the journey. This really helped and they did sleep the entire time. Actually the kids and animals were all fantastic the whole journey! We survived with peppa pig on repeat on a laptop and loads of snacks we wouldn’t ordinarily eat. Dane drove the whole leg from Oberon to Port Melbourne with a stop in YASS and another outside Albury. There were three hairy hiccups on the drive the first hitting a roo not far from our old house luckily our old jeep and the roo were ok but it was very scary. We continued on towards Goulburn and thought it would be fairly straightforward to the Hume highway but we must have taken a wrong turn getting lost and going back and fourth under the highway. Google maps helped but also made things more confusing taking us in circles. Eventually we got on the highway and it was smooth sailing until Melbourne where our other huge hiccup was. We had a hour to get to the ferry port but had hit peak traffic and missed our turnoff on the freeway. Lost and confused we had a few very high stress moments thinking we would miss the ferry. We got off the free way and checked the map eventually finding our way there. We were greeted by two good friends to send us off and then went on to quarantine for checking. Once through we were keen to get on the boat and settle the animals and kids but the ferry loading wait was awful after such a huge journey as we had to wait for 4 hours to get on! The kids were restless from being stuck in the car all day so we let them sit on our laps and Banjo fell asleep. By the time we got on the ferry it was 9pm we settled the dog and cats in the kennels and decided to leave the chooks in the trailer as it would have been less stressful than surrounding them with dogs.
The Ferry itself was nice we had a cabin with comfortable beds and a shower. Went up for a quick dinner and took the kids for a play before passing out.
Getting off the ferry was much easier we were on the road by 8:30 driving straight to Cygnet and arriving at our new home by 1pm. It was a crazy intense journey but all part of the adventure of getting here and we are definitely never leaving!

News, Travel

Travelling Tasmania!

frecybeach

We have just returned from a wonderful 14 day adventure in Tasmania. This was our first holiday since having kids so we were very excited and a little terrified! Our purpose for the holiday was not only to explore but to see if it was somewhere we would like to live.

We left our animals in the care of our lovely house sitters who we found on mindahome.com.au they were absolutely wonderful and should we ever go away again I will certainly be using this website again.

Day 1

We flew into Launceston airport in the evening and picked up our hire car to drive the short distance to my Aunties house in Evandale. Yvonne runs a Airbnb stay and I must say she really goes above and beyond for her guests and I highly recommend staying there if you are going to Launceston you can book through this link https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/3669280?s=k522

Evandale is a charming town it really reminds me of a English village and they have a really wonderful Market on Sunday where you can find just about anything.

Day2

This morning we woke up we took a peaceful stroll around the village and felt very at home. This was the first place we thought we could live in Tasmania and having family close by certainly was a plus. The pub here had chickens and turkeys freeranging so this may have helped sway us a little!!

After our stroll we got a coffee in the local Bakery cafe this is a magnificent historic building and the food is excellent but a little bit pricey.

After our coffee we bid goodbye to Yvonne and Lou and made the drive to Freycinet where we were booked for 1 night. We stopped in Campbelltown to get picnic supplies and explore the opshop. The opshop was a hipster paradise with so many 80s sweat tops in fun fabrics but I held back from buying anything.

We continued on to our accommodation in Freycinyet another airbnb which was close to the national park but not very flashy think cheap motels. We didn’t really plan this park of the trip well thinking we could fit in a few walks in the afternoon but after heading into the park we realized we would be better to just head to a beach and come back another time. To really enjoy this area you need at least 3 days stay and as we only had one night and tired bubs it wasn’t worth heading in. Still the beach was lovely (and cold!)

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Day 3 -8

On to Hobart where we had booked 5 nights in another Airbnb apartment https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/3052437?s=fDwL. This accommodation was wonderful our host really looked after us baking cakes , hiring movies for the kids and we were a stones throw away from the city and great restaurants.

On the way to Hobart we stopped at Richmond which was a lovely little town with lots of convict built buildings. There is a maze here for the kids $10 entry per adult and child over 4 and also a small zoo (which we didn’t go to)

Our first day in Hobart we went to the famous Salamanca markets. We had already been told locals call it Salawanker and I can see why it didn’t have much handmade or local produce and because rent is so high so are prices so I was quite underwhelmed. After this we went to MONA which was fabulous but not really suited to a 3 year old some of the artworks were a bit intense and we couldn’t really spend as much time as we would have liked in there plus with a price tag of $25 entry pp to only spend 1 hour is a shame. Miss N much preffered the guinea fowl and chickens running around the grounds and we wished we had brought a picnic to enjoy.

Sunday we went to the Cygnet market in the Huon Valley where I purchased the most delicious Plum sweet chilli sauce and here I fell in love with Tasmania. We already thought we might want to live in the area through research and visiting confirmed this. Everyone was so lovely the area is magnificent and there were so many young families on similar paths to ourselves.

Monday we had a rest day for the kids who were both sick so we enjoyed a day in with our beautiful local produce and movies.

Tuesday we walked into the city and went to the Museum which was great for the kids afterwards we hot fish and chips on the wharf then walked around the streets exploring Hobart city.

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We were sad to leave Hobart and our host Yvette who had made us feel so at home but I have no doubt we will have plenty more time in life to get to know this city.

Day 8-9

We were headed to Strahan but changed at the last minute to go to Deloraine where we had heard was another nice town that might be suitable for us to live. It was lovely and everyone was so friendly I wish we had more time there to enjoy it.

Days 9-12

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Off to our Cabin in the woods at Cradle mountain but first a stop at Tasmazia a created village full of mazes and the biggest hedge maze I’ve ever seen we really did get lost in it and N had a ball.

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 This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We stayed at the cradle mountain wilderness village in a 2 bed cabin with kitchen so we were able to cook all our meals. We had stocked up in Deloraine as there is not much at cradle mountain and what is here is super expensive. Our cabin had a resident wallaby and we got up close to a wombat.

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Our first day here we did LOTS of walk 2 short ones and then the 2 hour Dove lake circuit. I’m glad we did it all in one day though as the next day was raining so D went out on his own to do the summit walk.

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Days 12-14

Back to Evandale and to explore Launceston.

Yvonne and Lou treated us to a delicious meal at the city park where there is a great toddler playground and resident Monkeys. The park has a long history of hosting animals for viewing but now just has the family of monkeys who are free to view. I had mixed feelings seeing them as I always do viewing captive animals.

The following day we did some walks around cataract gorge and said hello to the peacocks then went to look in the city center. It had a bit of a low vibe going on and reminded me a bit of Glasgow there seemed to be a lot of incredibly wealthy people and a lot of very disadvantaged people. We discovered a lovely second hand bookshop and purchased our only souvenirs from the trip ( we had eaten all the others already!).

Back home and I don’t know why people keep saying Tasmania is so cold it’s MUCH colder in Oberon. It had been snowing and we were worried the roads would be closed but we made it just in time for the biggest snow dump in 40 years!!

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I do feel lucky to live in a place this happens but the animals were less than impressed.

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The quails even had a little igloo.

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Miss N is so happy to be home she missed the animals dearly often milking her imaginary cow while we were away.

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Now we are settling back into life and routines and tackling the ever growing list of jobs.