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Archive for the 'Home Front' Category

You’d Better Watch Out…

Dear Mr. Thrush,

Thrush

This is your last warning. If you don’t stop looting and plundering my strawberries…

Strawberries

I’ll take strong measures and shoot you with my supersoaker. You have been warned!

Guy Fawkes Day!

It’s Guy Fawkes day today in New Zealand. We spent the evening at my brother-in-laws and once it got dark, the men let off the fireworks. During the drive home the night sky was very busy with fireworks being let off on back lawns and grassy areas.

I was the sober driver tonight, and we gave one of our nephews a lift home. There’s a large park near his house and lots of people were letting off crackers. As I was driving past a little white dog shot in front of me. I wasn’t going fast and slammed on my brakes. Luckily no one was driving behind me and I missed the dog. Mr. Munro immediately shouted at me for slamming on the brakes. I know experts say you should keep driving, but I hate even killing ants or other insects. A cute fluffy dog…heck, I would have felt guilty for days…make that weeks.

As an aside, I’m a bit angry at the owner. Animals don’t like fire crackers and he should have been locked up in a safe place!

So, my question for you today – do you brake or serve to miss or, do you steer straight and hope for the best?

You Know Summer Has Arrived When…

The first ripe strawberry makes its appearance.

 

Strawberry

 

What sign says summer to you? And for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, what sign says winter to you?

Water Lillies

I’ve always liked water lillies, which is probably why I’m a fan of Claude Monet. I adore his water lily paintings. A few years ago hubby and I purchased a single water lily. It’s never grown very well until last year when it had two flowers. A few months ago hubby repotted the plant, dividing it into three. Since then the plant has flourished, growing heaps of leaves. We’re now waiting for the flowers to pop up. Maybe we’ll even beat our record of two this year.

Water lillies are actually Nymphaeaceae and they grow in fresh water in both temperate and tropical climes. The plants grow in dirt, but the leaves and flowers float on the surface of the water. They come in lots of different colors, the flowers lasting only a few days before dying.

I took the photos below at the Wellington Botanic earlier this year.

Water Lily

Water Lily

Water Lily

Do you like water lillies?

Shopping Success and Foster Dogs

I went shopping yesterday, on the hunt for a nice summery dress. Success. This is the one I purchased and I’m really pleased with it. Now if only the weather would cooperate so I could start wearing it.

Photobucket

When we applied to foster dogs for the SPCA we thought we’d have dogs quite often. We had Patch for five weeks and haven’t had another dog since. I rang to ask about the frequency but evidently the fosters aren’t available all the time. Color me disappointed when I arrived home after picking up my husband from golf to find a message on our answer phone. I rang back straight away, but they’d found an alternative foster for Mikey meantime. Cross your fingers that a foster comes up soon. I’m really missing a dog around the place and, unfortunately, we can’t adopt one at present since it’s possible my husband will be transferred to the other end of the country.

And finally, I was very excited to wake up to find The Spurned Viscountess had made the Top Five list at Carina Press. By the time you check out the list I’ll probably have disappeared, but I thought it was exciting. :grin:

Time Out!

Photobucket

Shelley is away from her computer, taking time to smell the roses…

Sweet Tooth

I have a terrible sweet tooth. I blame my father. He’s always liked anything sweet ranging from dessert to cakes and sweets. It would be much easier if I hadn’t inherited this gene, but I try to control myself as much as possible.

My father is a farmer. He’s worked hard all his life and has never had a weight problem. My sister thinks, and I agree, he should be allowed to indulge his sweet tooth. He can’t hurt his teeth since he has false ones. :grin:

He has a lolly jar that my sister fills periodically. There used to be a running joke. My sister would fill the jar and before she knew it, the lolly jar would be empty again. My father always denied everything and said that Joe ate them. (Joe was my sister’s big foot cat. He was a real character but he died earlier this year) This is how the conversation would go:

“My lolly jar is empty.”

“But I filled it a few days ago,” my sister would say.

“Joe has been in the lolly jar again,” my father would say. “He’s a real fiend. I told him off but he keeps eating the lollies.”

After Joe died, my father forgot for a minute. He tried the lolly jar is empty and Joe ate them.

“Ah-ha!” said my sister. “You can’t blame Joe. He isn’t here.”

My father is still trying to come up with a good excuse.

Those of you with a sweet tooth will probably curse me in a moment. I found this recipe for Coconut Ice in my favorite food magazine – Taste. It’s incredibly easy and uses the microwave rather than a saucepan on the stove top. It would be great for those times when you need to make something for a fete or school fair.

Coconut Ice

1 kg icing sugar or 2.2 pounds(confectioner’s sugar in US)
1/2 cup milk
200 g butter or 1.76 sticks of butter
4 cups long coconut threads
2 – 3 drops red food coloring

Mix the icing sugar, milk and butter in a large microwaveable bowl and microwave for 2 minutes or until the butter has melted. Stir in the coconut.

Spread half the mixture into a baking paper-lined slice tin. Smooth until flat. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring to the remaining half and mix well. Spread on top of the white layer and carefully smooth until flat. Refrigerate the coconut ice until firm then cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Notes: If I’m making it for myself I make half the recipe. I couldn’t purchase the long coconut threads and use normal dessicated coconut. I’ve given the conversions NZ to US.

This is really yummy stuff. :grin:

Do you have a sweet tooth? What is your biggest sugary indulgence?

Five Plus a Day!

Peppers

In New Zealand we have a five plus promotion that encourages us all to eat at least five servings of fruit or vegetables per day. It’s surprising how many people don’t eat much in the way of fruit or vegetables. I know at times cost can be a factor. At other times it’s diet choice.

During the eighteenth century it was quite common for people to eat a diet consisting almost entirely of meat. Tourists from France and farther afield were very surprised at the lack of vegetables in the English diet. British seamen died in large numbers with scurvy, which is caused by a lack of vitamin C. We obtain most of our vitamin C in fruit and vegetables.

Today, I just scraped in eating cranberries with my porridge, 2 x mandarins, mushrooms, onion, garlic, red peppers and tomato on our homemade pizza.

I know it’s difficult to get kids to eat vegetables some times. I remember having to sit at the table and not being allowed to move until I’d eaten my vegetables. Luckily, my tastes have changed with age and I enjoy most vegetables these days.

Do you manage to eat five plus fruit or vegetables per day?

Postie’s Worst Nightmare

I love receiving mail, not that I receive much these days because email has taken over, but I troop out to our mailbox each day with great anticipation to discover what treasures we’ve received. I’m usually disappointed because most of my mail is nasty bills.

It made me think about mailboxes. They can be freestanding or wall mounted. Some people inset them into brick walls while other people have a door slot instead.

When purchasing a mailbox you need to think about all sorts of things. Do you want them to match your house? How much maintenance will it require? Stainless ones last for ages while powder coated or wooden ones won’t last quite as long. The mail slot should fit an A4 letter folded over. They should have a spot for a newspaper, preferably one that will keep a paper dry. Think about having a lockable one for security.

When you’re installing a mailbox make sure it’s at a height that will save the poor postie’s back and prune back surrounding bushes so he or she won’t have to struggle past prickly undergrowth to deliver your mail. They should bear a clear number to avoid confusion.

Our mailbox is green and everyone who lives in our street has the same style. In the old part of our area, there’s a real mishmash of boxes. Some are decorated while others are plain wooden ones.

When we came back from our recent holiday all our mail had holes in it. There was a snail lurking in our box, busy eating all the envelopes. I made hubby deal with the hungry critter. He mentioned that some mail boxes house cockroaches. I’m praying none decide to move into ours!

Do you have a mailbox? What does it look like?

I Have A Mushroom Farm.

We went to the Farmers’ market last week. We haven’t visited for a while and there were some new stallholders plying their trade. One of them was selling fresh mushrooms and small mushroom farms in buckets. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at growing mushrooms so I purchased one straight away.

Mushroom Farm

This is my mushroom farm on the day I purchased it.

We keep the farm in the lounge because it’s the warmest room in the house. It only needs a misting of water every two to three days and needs to be kept out of draughts and excessive light.

Mushroom

Here’s one of the mushrooms. Mr. Munro said I needed the kiwifruit for a size comparison. We’ve eaten about three of our mushrooms so far, and they were delicious.

The bucket is meant to produce mushrooms for 6 – 8 weeks under ideal conditions. It’s been very cold here but there are actually some tiny pinhead mushrooms appearing. At one stage we thought we were only going to end up with five mushrooms.

Do you like mushrooms?