Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Away with the Fairies


We have had so much rain in Toowoomba in the last couple of days. It has been causing all sorts of flooding issues; both in our storage areas which are soaked and on the roads, many of which are dirt! I believe 87 mm fell at Toowoomba airport on Monday night, which is a record rainfall for the area for many years.

This morning I wandered outside into the mist and rain (which is ever continuing) and I discovered a toadstool. Not an exciting red and and white one like that pictured but a toadstool nonetheless. It got me thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a young child to share stories about the fairies that live under the toadstools with.

When I was little my Mum used write letters to me from Fairy Twinkle Toes and Fairy Almond Blossum. We recently rediscovered a box of the letters when I was back home visiting. Mum's efforts created a very real world for me and I was a very enthusiastic letter writer back to the fairies. What a wonderful gift of imagination it was. I hope I can do the same for our little girl one day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Calender Cards

I had a calender lying about which I had been unable to get rid of because I loved the pictures. It was an old Kew Gardens one Mum had passed on to me. Then on Angry Chicken's blog I saw instructions on how to make cards out of an old calender. So that's just what I did. 5 sheets of pictures (because that is all I had saved) made 10 cards.

It was a quick and easy project; less than 1/2 an hour's work start to finish and very little mess. My two criterias for undertaking any project! Though, as I say that, the kitchen table is covered in cut fabric and has been for the last two days:) I haven't wanted to disturb my arrangement of patchwork squares so we have been eating around it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's Cooking: Lemon and Coconut Slice

Last year when my Nanna moved into a nursing home one of the things I inherited was her collection of recipes. I made this Lemon and Coconut slice the other week and my husband gobbled it down. One of the advantages is that it is no bake; ideal on those hot summer days. And, for us, it mainly uses ingredients we have on standby. It seems to keep for about a week in the fridge - if it lasts that long!

Lemon and Coconut Slice

250g packet Milk Arrowroot biscuits (crushed)
1 cup coconut
grated rind of 1 lemon
125g butter
1/2 cup condensed milk
For the icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (sifted)
15g butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp hot water
extra coconut

Combine biscuit crumbs, coconut and lemon rind in a large bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan, add condensed milk and stir over low heat until combined. Pour butter/milk mixture over crumbs and mix well. Press firmly into a foil lined 18cm by 28cm lamington tin. Refrigerate.

To prepare icing, combine all ingredients, except extra coconut, and beat until smooth. Spread over chilled base. Sprinkle with coconut. Lift out of tin using foil as a handle and cut into squares to serve. This makes about 24.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Country Life

We have now been living the country life for 2 weeks. It has been quite an adjustment - a new state and very different way of life. We are living about half an hour outside the regional centre of Toowoomba. Our location doesn't even have any mobile telephone coverage and we get the country television stations; no digital signal in this part of the country!

We are told that the Darling Downs is in severe drought, with the dams having less than 10 per cent capacity. However, it has done little but rain and storm since we arrived. And, this is the middle of summer! Many mornings we have awoken to thick fog covering the range. It sometimes takes until 10-11 am to clear. We drove to church last Sunday with visibility of about 2 metres. Slightly nerve-racking when you are turning across a major regional highway. The picture below is the view from off our patio - you might be able to tell there are not many houses around us.

For me the move means not just adapting to the quieter country life but also commencing some time staying home. It is 8 weeks until our baby is due. Having always worked or studied I am finding this aspect of our new life the most challenging as I find ways to fill my days. This came as quite a shock because when I was at work I could always think of ten thousand things I would prefer to be doing at home!

We might have an hour round trip into Toowoomba to do shopping but there are certain advantages to where we are living. We have discovered the local YMCA markets, which are full of fruit grown locally in the granite belt- this being an established fruit growing area.

This week we are indulging in plums - three types from three different growers. The small ones are sugar plums, the large red amber jewels and a large black variety which I can't identify!

The figs currently available are also delicious - like fresh honey. They just melt in you mouth.

The bird life making its way into our garden is also fantastic. Though we are not overly appreciative of the 5:30 am wake up call from the birds using our washing line as their night resting spot!

These Kookuburra's were on our back fence when I got up to make the breakfasts this morning. They had another friend but it flew off when I opened the back door to take the pictures. They seem to live in one of the trees over the fence.

The other afternoon we had a visit from some form of parrot. Only the male was brave enough to make it onto our outdoor table. His female friend was off in a neighbouring tree! You can't really tell from this picture as we didn't want to spook him by getting too close, but his breast was bright orange!