Monday, April 30, 2012

Muffins, Zuchinni, Seeds, Love, Wisteria

Spicy Zuchinni and Apple Muffins
(makes 24)
3 cups of self raising flour
pinch salt
3 tspns of mixed spices that you like - nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves etc
11/2 cups raw sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup grated apple
2 cups grated zuchinni
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts (also fine without when baking for lunch boxes)

Heat oven to 180 c
Grease muffin tins
Mix all dry ingredients in bowl
Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl
Make well and incorporate ingredients together
Bake until golden brown
 approx 20mins

Romance is not huge in our house.  Occasionally I like to surprise Mr Bowerbird with one out of the box. Or in this case out of the zuchinni. I was up late, grating and freezing zuchinni,  making zuchinni muffins, and saving zuchinni seeds. Suddenly I was inspired to leave a seedy message.

And this is his reply.
 I was quite taken with the creative use of oats.

The declarations of love didn't photograph so well early in the morning so I've given them a little glamour courtesy of the new photo effects in Picasas 3. I've been resisting this sort of photo filtering on my blog and have been keeping it real (I also don't have an iPhone, so don't have ready access to the likes of Instagram). However, sometimes life is a little boring, or the hues in a photograph just don't do the occasion justice. Actually the more I played with the photo editor, the more I thought that photos looked better in the 70s. I wonder if, in the future, we'll look back at all the heavily altered pictures of this decade and roll our eyes, so 2012. Are you a filterer?

It has been great gardening weather.

We've been pruning back our rampant wisteria.  I  mistakenly said to my partner to go hard, as the darn thing needs constant control.  Without any discussion, he decided to cut the thick vines at waist height, killing masses of the plant in all directions. Not quite what I had in mind. Then he left this dead material for me to stare at in dismay for weeks. I said I hated looking at it, as it's right at the front door. Oh well, he said, we don't get many visitors. No zuchinni seeds tonight! 

After a huge day of pruning and hauling wisteria to the burn pile we discovered our verandah was seriously rotten underneath, so perhaps the hard prune was fortuitous and may save us being struck from a falling beam.
While the clippers were out I got a little snip happy and gave some other plants a prune. The little Bowerbird decided the balls looked like a critter and gave them a face.

This mock orange is another unweildy member of the plant kingdomm constantly sending out shoots all over the path and into the meter box.  A hard prune for it too. Some plants should come with warnings!

There has been lots of weeding.

And some stopping to smell the flowers.  The first pink Boronia of Autumn, I adore the smell of Boronias, especially the finicky Brown Boronia. I love how paper daisies close their flowers when there is no sunshine, it's as if they're saying brrrrr.

The corn without cobs also faced the wrath of the secateurs, I think we will pick the last of it this week. 
Some new visitors to our garden that I am quite chuffed about. Choughs. They're searching for bugs to eat amongst the fruit tree mulch. I have seen them frequently in our area, but never in the backyard.  These are wonderfully communal birds that hang out in groups of 7-10, they all pitch in and help to raise the young together. I planted some snow peas beside the Apricot today.

They are actually unimaginatively named White-winged Choughs, because they have white visible on their wings when in flight. A great site to find more about birds is Birds in Backyards, here is their link about Choughs -

The epic sawdust paths mission is nearing completion. Mr Bowerbird has also been fixing some of the beds with reclaimed red gum sleepers. Our neighbours cat thought we had built a giant kitty litter for it, and left us an unwelcome surprise.
The garlic is racing upwards, I keep finding last years forgotten garlic in new places, these are all transplanted garlic. The potatoes from the last crop keep trying to re-emerge amongst the garlic, I can pick the purple congo potatoes before digging them up, as their leaves have purple veins.

 Would you cut these beautiful old twisted vines?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Autumn, Leaves, Ribbons, Petals, Pizza and Junior Landcare

A nasty bug is attacking our maple tree, marring the beautiful Autumn leaves.  It is the first time this has happened, I think I might give the tree some mulch and food, and see if a bit of love will help it build its defences. Anyone know what it might/mite be?

The little Bowerbird and I have been playing with ribbon and leaves, threading an Autumn garland to hang inside. 

Suddenly there was an urgent gathering of rose petals, she was very proud of her ingenious idea to thread them onto a stick to make a rose petal tree.  Such studious concentration.

We made caterpillars out of Iris berries.

 Then spun sycamore seeds, watching them flutter like helicopters without pilots in the sky.

Today we had a wonderful Junior Landcare session making wood fired pizzas with produce we had grown in our school garden. After some bitterly cold days the sun came out and the children picnicked on hot pizzas amongst the Autumn leaves.  The Grade sixes teamed up with their prep buddies and we cooked up 70 small pizzas (note for future reference - 3kg of cheese, 2kg of shredded ham and 3 bottles of tomato passata is about the right amount for this many pizzas).  We added from our school garden - tomatoes, zuchinni, spring onions, chives, basil, thyme, and oregano.  We also fried up some thin slices of potato and Jerusalem Artichoke to snack on whilst the pizzas were cooking.

There was some left over cheese and meat and chopped vegetables which was going to go to the school chickens but instead came home and fed our family a delicious dinner - I made 4 pizzas - there's even some for lunch tomorrow. I'm always the one taking home the leftovers - I hate seeing things wasted.  


Linking up with

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grateful for Peacock Feathers

Two sleepover parties, a family get together, and roller skating all in one weekend.  How much is too much when you're ten? It started with an early melt down about what to where.

 On Tuesday she tells me that the Friday party is a dress up party, and she needs a bird costume. On Wednesday we are furiously Googling bird costumes.  Not one image on the whole global Internet search was any good, not one. "I don't want to look stupid mum!" Me -"but you're dressing up as a bird sweet heart, it's not going to look cool".  I remembered the little girl next door had a fabulous chicken costume that would fit the bill, she looks at me aghast - "I'm not going as a chicken mum".  There seems to be more of those mum, you're an idiot, looks these days.

We found a feathery mask and some wings from an old Archaeopteryx costume. Nope no good.  "I'm just not going", loud yelling AND STOMPING AND sCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. Me - deep breathing - well actually a little yelling too.

Leave the costume problem until Friday morning vegie group (we made a hot house - follow the link to check it out).  I ask our lovely host, who has a resident peacock,  if she has any peacock feathers she could spare. Yes, lots.  Peacocks moult every year happily leaving their beautiful feathers everywhere. A borrowed boa from our gorgeous neighbour and we're well on the way. Then I remember I own a peacock dress, two safety pins for  adjustment and the fancy dress problem is solved.

 She even looks cool! 

The tail is secured by the belt but was really only worn for the arrival, she plucked her uncomfortable tail and  generously shared feathers with her friends - like the Rainbow Fish with it's pretty scales. Peacock feathers really are the most amazing things, such divine hues. I don't believe they could possibly bring bad luck or an evil eye.

Grateful for the generosity of friends. Grateful for peacock feathers.  Grateful for things coming together at the 11th hour.

And, surprise, surprise, two sleepovers is much too much for a 10 year old, particularly when they don't get any sleep at the first party. Sunday night and Monday morning tears of extreme fatigue and impending illness. On the whole she held it together pretty well, bursting with joy over her first go at roller-blading and party good times. Grateful that the Big Bowerbird's weekends are not normally quite so filled.

Joining in with Maxabella loves