Friday, February 19, 2016

What I've been up to - the late summer edition


How are you lovely blog buddy?

What have I been up to? I thought you'd never ask. Here goes;

I've been picking celery, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers and herbs from the garden.

Somewhere along the line I ditched the cider vinegar method of preserving and fell in love with fermenting. These fermented pickles are super easy to make, barely cost a thing in terms of ingredients and dollars, they are DELICIOUS and are full of beneficial nutrients for your gut. WinwinwinwinwinYUM!

I'm using Amanda Feifer's book - Ferment Your Vegetables as a bit of a bible, but I'm certain there are loads of great recipes online and in other books too.

I think my poly tunnel cucumber vines are nearing the end of their season but my market garden vines are just taking off. Looks like I'll be shoving cucumbers into jars, filling them with herbs and brine and vine leaves and burping their air bubbles for many weeks still to come.

We're picking apples! So far we've picked the the Jersey Macs, the Abbas and the Galas. Gosh it's good to be an apple farmer in apple season.

After a few years break from pumpkin growing due to lack of interest, we finally planted the seeds and had another grow(!). I'd forgotten how much fun it is to watch those big leafy vines take over the space, to watch those yellow flowers form bulbs behind them that seem to grow and grow and grow every time you look, and even though I am not a pumpkin eater, none of us are, this autumn I resolve to try a whole lot of recipes until we become so.

We've been sharing our grapes with the birds.

I read, and fell in a deep hole, and wept over, and despaired over, and then finally finished Hanya Yangihara's A Little Life. Reading it affected my entire life for two weeks like a bad dream that haunted my days. But as traumatic and heart breaking as I found it, I also thought it was brilliant. I couldn't put it down. I made excuses to run inside to my bedroom to change clothes just so I could sneak a few pages, I stayed up waaaaay too late at night to devour big chunks and I read on the treadmill - which is something I've never done before but which I have always done since. I loved this book and still feel myself sobbing a little when I think back to it.

And even though I made jokes that I needed to read a fluffy romance novel after I finished A Little Life - I started reading Room by Emma Donoghue, a much less traumatic but still very disturbing and claustrophobic novel.

I've almost finished my Flower King beanie from Anna Maltz's gorgeous book Penguin. The pattern calls for a big pom-pom on top, but I'm thinking an i-cord finish might be better for my little penguins to wear to school.

I've started a Bracken jumper for Miss Pepper which is knitted inside out with two different sized needles which is fun and fast. It's been ages since I've knitted jumpers and cardigans for my girls but this year I'm hoping to have them all rugged up in time for winter.

I felt like the luckiest Mum on earth when I discovered that an entire ball of HOT PINK yarn had gone through the washing machine cycle and not coloured anything else pink. I have no idea who the yarn belonged to, I have no idea how it even happened but I do know that I am grateful beyond words that there wasn't even a streak, or a tinge, or a speck of pink on anything to be found.

I am loving the little posies of garden cut flowers that have been appearing in jars around the place.

We watched and loved both seasons of The Leftovers and have no idea what to watch next.

And I'm thrilled to report that we have finally joined the rest of Australia by having bowls of tomatoes on the kitchen table. Finally. For a while there I thought that the girls would eat every single one that I brought into the house as I brought it in, but eventually supply overcame even their demand. We still are nowhere near a saucepan of passata or a tray of semi-drieds, but as I keep chanting to myself - tomatoes are an autumn fruit and we are still 10 days away from autumn.

And as usual I've been watering and weeding and feeding and planting and digging and fencing and cooking and baking and jamming and dehydrating, and driving, and listening and solving and writing and photographing.

I haven't yet used the spinning wheel I borrowed from my spinning group, maybe this weekend.

And that's me, us, we.

Tell me about you. How are you travelling? What are you reading, growing, dreaming about?

Wishing you the most wonderful weekend.

Love Kate


  1. In our family, we love roasted pumpkin. And on the very rare occasion there is any left over, I think it is delicious in toasted sandwiches. I mash it on instead of butter ( rather like you would avo). A bit of marinated feta with it is also nice.

    I hope you love pumpkin by the end of the season.

  2. In the last month or so I have read the entire Aurora Teagarden series of books, they are not life changing but they are a great read when I curl up in bed at night. My Lemon Basil still lives!! It was a close call after a strong wind ripped through the house and sent the pot flying, poor old basil was not well for a while but seems to have perked right back up again 😀 And I am dreaming of snow capped mountains from my kitchen window which will be a reality in another month or so. I am glad your veggie fermenting is going so well and I am loving your pumpkin patch photos!!

  3. I love everything about this, Kate! I can't wait to ferment my own veggies about six months from now. We're dreaming about all the different varieties of seeds we're going to start for our first garden on our little patch of land. The daffodils are starting to burst open and so far we have planted 50 strawberry plants and three apple trees: Honeycrisp, Empire, and Gravenstein.

    I am working on a photo and interview series on modern motherhood and I have my fourth interview tomorrow morning. It fills my heart and allows me to shoot the honest photography I yearn to shoot. The first two segments are on my blog: (you can also search #modernmotherhoodseries on facebook or instagram to follow along.)

    I am shooting my first wedding of 2016 on Saturday and I've been listening to the Dear Sugar podcast on the treadmill. And I'm dreaming about getting pregnant for the first time. xo

  4. Only one of the five of us likes pumpkin as is, but we all love pumpkin soup. I make three different variations; regular, curried and a Thai version with coconut cream and sprinkled with peanuts - yum! - so we don't get too bored with it. We also love it in our regular winter 'salad' of chopped roast vegies mixed with spinach, feta and balsamic vinegar - mmmmmm. We also don't mind it in a vegetarian cheesy pumpkin/kale lasagne. Good luck with using them all - I too, only grow them every few years, lol.

  5. I love your apples! I want a tree with red apples. There's one with yet unknown colour in the garden! Sprouting two little apples, I'm waiting patiently.

  6. Oh I just started A Little Life and I can tell it's going to be a cracker. But ummmm, I'm seriously disturbed about the pumpkin eating thing. Just thinking about the awesomeness of roast pumpkin is making me happy. And pumpkin scones. Yummmmmmm. Hoping your pumpkin conversion goes well!!

  7. Hmm...Gala apples are my favourite!
    We love to eat pumpkin risotto. It's so yummy and rather easy to cook.
    It's still winter here in Austria, dark and grey and rainy. I'm planning to have a slow weekend, as my husband will be away and I have our appartment for myself for two whole days. I vowed my self to stay away from any kind of social media and the TV and to be outside for at least 30 minutes each day, even if it's cold and windy and wet outside. Just me and my books and my crochet.
    I started to read the Game of Thrones series and I find it as addictive as the TV series. I'm really looking forward to emerge in this fantasy land on the next two days.
    Have a happy weekend!
    Greetings from Austria

  8. 10 days till Autumn! Music to my ears - I love February so! It only gets cooler from here on....

    1. My favourite pumpkin recipe! Accompanied by some apple cider- it's delish!

    2. Adding the link would help!

  9. Such an inspirational post filled with gorgeous pictures Kate! I think I'll have to check out that book. Is it truly beanie weather for you already? It's been 35'C here!!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Sarah xx

  10. Beautiful photos as always and lovely to catch up again Kate. Love the pattern and colour combination of the beanie. Think I shall be keeping cosy and start knitting my second pair of socks this weekend. Have a good one!

  11. I have tried pumpkin in so many ways and I just don't like it so I have stopped growing them. I everything except tin pears and pumpkin - I think they may have the same texture! Jo x

  12. I read Room a bit ago, and while I agree with your description, it is a lovely novel and I enjoyed it so much. Since I started teaching, catching up on your blog is nice since I have so little time to tend my own garden, but I so miss the sight of colorful veg!

  13. The growing season is the busiest season! Lovely bounty! I can hardly wait for things to warm up here again. The hens and bees are acting as spring has already arrived, gearing up, more eggs from the girls and more activity from the bees. I'm seed sorting and soon I'll be planting all those early growers, potatoes and such. Have you tried fried pumpkin blossoms? A treat from my childhood at grandmother's house.Finishing WIP's here then hoping to knit some socks. Enjoy the bounty!

  14. You and your garden are so inspiring. I picked one cucmber off my tbree vines. Its not worth thinking of pickling. I love the idea tho of puckling celery...I'll have to try that one day. We're currently doing well on kale, basil, rhubarb and egg plant. Fruitfly kill our tomato dreams. Thanks for the motivation. Ps congrats on recovering the pink yarn with no disasters!

  15. Oh gorgeous things Kate! Love all of it but those little flowers in the jar are so sweet. Your pumpkins look very healthy. Half of our family are pumpkin fans, half wont even look at it. Enjoy what is left of this Sunday x

  16. When we used to have a garden we used our pumpkin in savoury pumpkin pie, onions and garlic sauted, pumpkin cooked in stock and then drained, mixed with the onions, garlic and feta cheese and baked in a pie shell with a bit of black pepper.

    I'm very envious of your garden and love the photo of the apple.

  17. Galas rock our front yard with two gloriously producing trees just outside the front door. I noticed the blueberry bushes were acting like Spring too !~! I love the one cup of berries we manage to get every year.

    What shall I do with the literal dozen olives off two trees ?~! Perhaps one day there will be enough to do anything with them. For now we enjoy the legginess of the trees and their unique, to our garden, ashy color.

    Your colorful pictures are the Best, Kate, many thanks.

  18. With all those colourful pictures of garden produce your blog helps me to survive through our winter :) Thank you.

  19. Your pickles look delicious, Kate. It's such a satisfying thing to do. Those pumpkins look great. It's always good to go into winter with a stockpile of pumpkins. I'm getting ready for a book tour which starts on Sunday. Three weeks on the road, something you're familiar with, I'm looking forward to it. Sending love. xx

  20. Pumpkin scones. Even better than 'plain' scones.

  21. I watched the first season of The Leftovers...haven't seen the second's a show I can't decide if I like, but it's intriguing....and wow..lucky on that pink yarn mishap!

  22. Mums pumpkins soup is the only one i will eat: Peel and chop half a pumpkin. dice an onion and a 2 rashers of bacon. Fry until browned. Add pumpkin, cover with water (until only just covered) and a dash of chicken stock powder. Cover and simmer until pumpkin is squishy. Blend until smooth and add 1/4 cup cream or milk at the end. Its deliciously thick and creamy.

  23. pumpkin pie! i also made up a recipe which i call pumpkin pie baked oats, which in winter i often eat for breakfast / lunch / dinner much to the disgust of my family (who think eating dessert for all meals is wrong?! i think they're the ones who are wrong!!)

    I'll send you the recipes.

  24. The best way to clean your specs is to run some warm water over them and rub the glass with soapy fingers. Yellow Velvet soap is best. Rinse and dry with a plain tissue (not one that has Eucalyptus in it). Your photos are amazing - how do you get such great colour intensity?


Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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