≡ Menu

Obsessed with Labels

strayedtable-2981

Not me, Isla. Most of her toys have big long labels on them. I am not really sure if it is on purpose or so you read them. Are they meant to get cut off? Where is the instructions for the label?

Honestly these days I find Isla with her hands grasping for thin bits of wispy fabric attached to her toys. Inevitable they end up in her mouth and make the best thing for sucking on. I have to think , are they made to be this long on purpose so bubs can suck on them. They are really fascinating, they are white with some black writing on them and usually about a 10th of the size of the toy.

We have a few toys that have no labels they are mostly to aid with teething. All the fury stuff have epic tags. Ok I have just picked up the latest toy to the collection. Label is fixed with compliance to law. I know that toys are very heavily looked over if they are coming into the country. Heaven forbid someone getting sued if the toy was deemed unsafe. When I was first looking for a play mat for Isla a few months back I found it was super cheap from an online store from the USA. Well, well, little did I know you can’t import toys into Australia. Even though they are sold in the shops here. I could of saved $100!

Where does the $100 go? Does it pay for someone to approve the toys I choose to buy for my child? Am I not the person responsible for her safety?

strayedtable-2984

I am very picky when choosing play items for Isla. Do they aid in her development are they made of fibers or plastics that are suitable for constant chewing. I choose. When it comes to play time, I am usually not too far away. So if something was to happen like the label was going to get stuck in her throat, I am on standby. I don’t hover like a maniac watching paint dry. Isla has enough space to explore on her own, while I can keep my eye on her. She is an inquisitive thing. I am sure when she gets to moving I will then be watching like a hawk. I have a war-zone of goodies that can come off shelves.

Whats your thoughts about the labels on toys? Do you think we should be able to buy them online from abroad?

Cooking for our Community Fundraiser

IMG_2089

Each month our little community has a fundraiser hosted by different folk in the valley to raise money for insurance. It costs over $3,000 a year for public liability on the property. We have on old school building on the premises which is a library each saturday. There is also a tennis court, volleyball net and now a pizza oven. Last year we got a grant to build a pizza oven from Heritage Bank which our chairperson Kate organised. Since then pizza is now a staple each month. [click to continue…]

Homegrown & Homemade Lunch

Tomato Bruschetta

After the boys had finished processing the chickens, I fed them up bruschetta. While we were eating I realised that the tomatoes, garlic and basil all came from the garden. I made the bread the day before. Life can’t get much yummier than this. One of the things I pride myself in is honest food. Simple but tasty and it helps if the produce comes from our farm or from others around us.  Local food is the best.

We are really fortunate to live in a valley with plenty of food. Slowly as our farm gate evolves we are getting more & more folk who want to buy direct from the farmer. So many of them go unnoticed but a few are doing really well. I thought I would share a few of the places I shop to buy meat and veg (ones that I don’t grow) over the coming weeks.

Tomato Bruschetta @ Strayed Table

Tomato Bruschetta @ Strayed Table

I shared this recipe before but here it is again for those who are feeling the spring air and can get tomatoes.

Homegrown & Homemade Lunch
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: snack, lunch
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 vine ripened roma tomatoes, diced finely
  • ½ red onion, diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 sprig of basil, finely sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Basil leaves
  • Crusty white bread (day old), thickly sliced
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine diced tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly giving it a light mash with a fork. Let it rest for half an hour to let the flavours meld together.
  2. Toast the bread to lightly golden. Rub the toast with peeled garlic while still hot. Top the toast with two spoonful’s of tomato mixture. Drizzle over olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with a few basil leaves.

Tomato Bruschetta @ Strayed Table

Dispatching Chickens For the First Time

strayedtable-2698

During Roy’s last break home I gave him the task of dispatching our one too many roosters. For those of you who are a little squeamish this may not be the post for you, so don’t look at the pictures either – just in case.

Leading up to Roy’s arrival we had two sussex roosters that were clearly full of testosterone and were harassing all the girls. There was fighting between the males and feather plucking. It seemed cruel and I didn’t want my girls who are just about to start laying to be put off. I have fed them for five months I want eggs. Since the two boys were clearly roosters I had my eye on two others that I was just not too sure about. Though one was crowing like a rooster – it has been said that females too can crow. So not having the same physical characteristics as the two boys I decided to leave them for the time being.

Chop day: Roy’s mate Julian from down the road came over to lend a hand for the morning. Isla and I stayed up at the house until the birds were dead. I still got tears in my eyes when I popped down to visit the boys during plucking. Hormones are at 150% when breastfeeding.  Ok back to the birds. The boys discussed methods to help with plucking and the most humane way to kill a bird. After making a decision they came up with a plan.

Roy had earlier put up a funnel to help hold the bird in place on a tree. The tree would also aid in helping pluck the birds by hanging them from their feet. It’s now called the Kill Tree. The method the boys used was to pierce the brain with a metal skewer making for a quick and painless death. Then they would slit the throats to let the blood drain. After they plucked all the feathers, then cut the heads & feet off and gutted the birds. I just realised I don’t even know how they got the guts out. Hopefully Roy can fill you in with more details if you want.

After the job was done, the bird who I thought was a girl was mounting a girl – so he too was a rooster. A few days later the other bird I was not sure about was doing the same thing. Testosterone had set in. Before Roy left he did our other two roosters and did a couple of our neighbours. We now have a few birds in our freezer waiting to be cooked up on the BBQ.

We still have Berk the Rooster for breeding purposes as his temperament is very gentle. Though he is very protective of his ladies, he recently has taken to charging me when I approach to feed them. I am not sure if it is because of the roosters who were testing him and keeping him on his toes. I want soft and gentle Berk back. Each afternoon I am now hand feeding him again to reacquaint myself with him, so we get back to where we use to be.

Do you think you could kill a chicken? or in our case a rooster.

strayedtable-2681 strayedtable-2682 strayedtable-2691 strayedtable-2692

 

Strawberry Crumble Cake Recipe

strayedtable-2729

Stepping into parenthood I knew that I would need a little help so I purchased A book. When looking at books I tend to get distracted, I think I was looking for pregnancy books a guide on how to give birth. Such a silly thing really, its a natural process and women have done it for thousands of years. Needless to say I walked out of the store with a single book. Its called French Kids Don’t Throw Food. It’s the perfect book for me it about a little tough love, teaching through play and kids developing patience and sleeping through the night. Perfect.  In the book there is a single recipe and I have adapted it to suit us which is for a simple cake made with yogurt. I like anything that is easy and well I want to jazz it up as I was going to visit friends so I add a crumble on top which was delicious. Almost like a dessert but its a cake.

This Strawberry Crumble Cake is really simple to make and with the last of the strawberries in season it will really make you feel like its spring. The other cool thing you can do is make it with strawberry yogurt instead of plain for extra strawberry goodness.

strayedtable-2724
strayedtable-2731

Strawberry Crumble Cake Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: cake
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 200g Plain Yoghurt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 170g Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • 270g SR Flour
  • 1 cup of Strawberries, chopped
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  • 50g chilled butter, chopped
  • 55g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 190'c and line a round 22cm baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the yoghurt, eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Sift in the flour and stir to a form a thick batter. Pour into prepared cake tin and pat down.
  4. Scatter strawberries over the top pushing a few into the mixture.
  5. To make the crumble place the plain flour, butter and sugar into a bowl and using your hands form breadcrumb like mixture. Sprinkle the crumble over the top.
  6. Bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until cake is firm in the middle.

 

COMPETITION: Win A Years Subscription to ABC’s Organic Gardener

OrganicGardener14

The fabulous folks at ABC Organic Gardener are kindly offering one lucky reader of Strayed from the Table a years subscription to Organic Gardener Magazine worth $50 and three runners up a copy of the latest edition. I can’t live with out my subscription each year as it provides us with new ideas about gardening and new veggies to try.  We often refer back to past issues when we are researching new plants for our property or thinking about building garden structures.

Win A Years Subscription to ABC’s Organic Gardener

The lucky winner will get a years subscription delivered into their mail box every two months. It’s the start of spring  and if you need inspiration in the veggie garden department, don’t miss the chance to win this prize. It will keep your green thumb going for a whole year. Three lucky runners up will also get a copy of the current edition.

To Win

- You MUST have an AUSTRALIAN POSTAL ADDRESS.

- YOU MUST Answer the Comment Question to go in the draw. Start your comment with the words “Veggie Patch” and tell me “A name of a plant/veggie that you struggle to grow successfully but keep trying to grow anyway?”

- You MUST follow us on Facebook .

- Giveaway runs from 6th September, 2014 (Saturday) until 5pm 14th September, 2014. One lucky winner will be picked randomly along with the three runners up and announced on the 15th September, 2014.

Good Luck everyone & happy gardening.

Grandma’s 90th : A True Pioneer

strayedtable-2616

Last Friday was my Grandma’s 90th Birthday. To think that Isla is 90 years younger is just amazing, the next generation. Many of our school holidays Amy (sister) and I would stay at my grandparents farm outside of Murgon. During these times our Grandma would play boardgames with us, read us bed time stories, taught us to knit & crochet, bake endless chocolate cakes for us and generally keep us in tow. It was reported that one week Amy and I went through three chocolate cakes – incredible for two little girls. Little do you know that my gran is the best cook there is. Even Roy has asked me to cook gran’s cakes like Hilda’s (grans sister) ginger cake, fruit cakes and of course the chocolate cake. For a man who does not like sweets to often my gran one him over.

This past year my grandma has been put to the test with surviving breast cancer. Now on the otherside of it all, apparently she doesn’t look 90 so many folk said at her party. For a woman who worked everyday in her life on a dairy farm, raised three boys and kept house for all these years I hope to look as full of life at her age. We do have longevity in our genes – obviously. My grandparents still live on their farm and go about there days the same as if it were 1950. Just recently gran got herself a little oven like mine to put in her kitchen so she no longer has to rely on the wood fired oven that she has used for the past 90 years. Bless

Here is just a few snaps from the day. I was not feeling as photo happy as usual after a rough night with Isla.

strayedtable-2624

Grandma (mum) & Isla, who’s cute and adorable when they have had sleep?

strayedtable-2637

My grandma in front and sisters Laura (left) and Hilda (right)

strayedtable-2650

Four generations of Evans’s : Grandma, pop, dad, mum, Amy, Isla and I.

Looking at this photos I can see the resemblance now from my gran to my dad and to Amy and I. As Isla grows I am sure we will see more of the Evans in her too. Just don’t lean forward for photos makes you look silly.

Garden Share Collective : September 2014

IMG_1859

IMG_1889 IMG_1905

 

 

 

 

 

Spring is here on our doorstep and for me it’s been one hell of a month. With the garden expansion planted out its now a waiting game to see what comes up. I have worked through the rain to get as much done as possible while Roy was home – his priority was to spend some quality time with Isla. We both win. In the basket above is one of my Farm Gate customers veggies for the week. Our harvesting has slowed at the moment while the garden is in transition but still producing enough to feed five families.

I am pleased to say we got R A I N! Over 100mm for the month which is unheard of for August. Working with the rain I planted out plenty of seeds for the coming months to be transplanted along with direct sowing those that should provide some summer freshness.

After all my efforts in August, I can take it a little easier these coming months and wait for the harvesting to begin. Fingers crossed for watermelons.

strayedtable-2562

One of the major jobs in the garden this month was to mulch the beds before the rain was to come. It was drizzling on the day it made it a slightly sticky job with the combination of our clay like soil and sugarcane mulch on our shoes. We organised five bales of sugarcane mulch to be delivered at a ridiculously affordable price. turns out the whole garden can be mulched thickly with three bales. Good to know. One of the extra bales is on standby for when the garden expansion bit works – more on that later.

I also got a little carried away at the local plant market here on the coast, I didn’t buy many seedlings, no I just bought 190 curly kale plants – crazy. I sell a fair bit of kale so I am sure it’s not a waste of time. Plus I have spread them through out the garden so if I do get another aphid attack that they don’t take over the place. Since  the rains were on their way, I gave all  the new seedlings a good sprinkle with an organic fertilizer – its like dynamic lifter. All the seedlings have doubled in size with the rain. So we are off to a good start.

strayedtable-2563 strayedtable-2564

My purple king beans have taken off with the arrival of warmer weather and some rain. Below is one of my rhubarb crowns gone to flower. I thought I would collect the seed and resow if I need too for next year.

strayedtable-2568 strayedtable-2572

Isla, my garden helper and basket carrier. She loves being outdoors with me. Below the new veggie patch, one bean/pea trellis on the right and working down four rows for spuds, one row is still yet to be planted. Waiting on the spuds to sprout eyes. The bottom half where its bare dirt (or should i say thousands of cobblers peg seedlings) is where I scattered corn, melons, pumpkins, zucchini and cucumber seed and raked it in. I also threw in some old flower seeds I was given. Maybe I will have some snap dragons and carnations up too.

strayedtable-2575 strayedtable-2583

ABOVE: The snowpeas and beans are up. BELOW: The first of the spuds are up

strayedtable-2590 strayedtable-2592

Millions of cobblers peg (farmers friends) sprouting through the ground. Once the seeds have germinated in this patch, I will use one of the bales of sugarcane mulch to cover the bare ground to keep the weeds down. Also by then I hope that my spuds have grown enough that I can also cover them with more mulch. Should take a whole bale to do the lot. Just waiting on seeing the seedlings I am after to come up. Maybe I little more rain will help.

strayedtable-2594

Some of my many cabbages. With the high rainfall we had in a few days many of my cabbages split from the rain. My chooks are not interested in eating them either so it’s all me to find a use for them. Sauerkraut is on the agenda people.

strayedtable-2598

The heavily mulched bottom section, with the addition of Shane the scarecrow. We built two scarecrows to keep the crows out of the garden to stop them from eating my tomatoes. Turns out two weeks has past and they found their way back yesterday! I found some tomatoes half eaten on the ground in my garden. Not cool. So I may have to move Shaz & Shane around to keep those pesky crows away. Also I might buy some cheap netting for my tomatoes this year too. keep the fruit fly population off them.

The big fella’s below are from our Potato Leaf tomato, they seem to be very huge. I picked them rather early as i discovered caterpillars on the fruit. This way I can ripen the good ones for sale and any that have gone bad I just cut the caterpillar eaten section out and cook them up in numerous ways. We have also had some rodents eating the ripe undiscovered fruit. I am at war again with bugs and critters in the veggie patch.

strayedtable-2601 strayedtable-2602

The onions are finally looking like they might provide something for us.

Lastly my broadbeans. Honestly I don’t know what went wrong. We have had them in the ground since March they have flowered like mad for months and look we got another two bean pods. Thinking it might be the same plant that produced the first two pods I am wondering if I should keep them for seed and try again. When do you plant out your broadbeans? I need help.

strayedtable-2603

Planting: This month we planted everything ready for summer – watermelons, rockmelon, pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, rosellas – for jam of course, spuds, snowpeas, beans, more beans, peas, kale, eggplant, sweet peppers, asian greens, okra, silverbeet, onions, a few more cabbages just for fun. Tomatoes a few different varieties went into seed trays.

Harvesting: This month we have had a great tomato harvest with the last of our black russians, we are now picking the potato leaf, cherry cocktails, grosse lisse and soon a roma like variety called Palmwoods. We live ten min away from Palmwoods so hoping they are a great success here. We have had a glut of cabbages, the snowpeas have slowed as too are the half dead looking zucchini’s. The broccoli are just about all done, only picking the side shoots now and have left the rest to flower to promote happy bees. Silverbeet, kale, asian greens and rhubarb have been steady. Our sweet peppers are still going strong too. Our fridge never seems empty.

TO DO:

  • Mulch the new garden area once the seeds have germinated and grown at least two inches.
  • Mulch the spuds at the end of september
  • Plant out the next three trays of seedlings
  • Make a decision on what to do with the broadbeans – pull them out or give them a couple of months of spring.
  • Netting for tomatoes
  • Spraying for caterpillars and cabbage moth
  • Relax and watch the plants grow