Franklin

My sister got her cat food delivered to my house. I stored it in my room til she could take it.

I underestimated Franklin’s wiley persistence. And appetite.

I went in to investigate after I heard some suspicious sounding rustling.

Franklin: Honestly, I would never do anything naughty. Trust me… Your eyes are deceiving you, this bag has not been tampered with.

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Then he thought I left. “Oh sure, why not have another little snack. I have earned it”. Proceeds to drag copious amounts of food out onto my floor.

Such a cheeky boy!

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Could have handled that better….

There was an incident.

I would like to say that I handled it well but I did not.
I was in the back yard. Herbie (my sisters cat) walked up to me looking for pats (fairly standard so far, I know, but wait!)
I looked at him, I thought, holy fruit bats what the hell is that on his side?
Is that..? could that be..? it is a flippin’ dirty great spider. I backed away (step mother of the year!) Herbie followed, totally unaware of the monstrous thing on him. I was unwilling to brush it off (WAY too big for me to have contemplated for even a moment!) So being the responsible adult that I am I grabbed a stick.

I tried to get it off with that, still unsure if it was dead or alive (it was approximately 4 or 5 cms big but not black and shiny, more like a young Huntsman [I thought about googling that to make sure I spelt it right but am absolutely unwilling])

I got in a swipe before Herbs knew what was going on. It moved, but I couldn’t tell if it was from the stick or evasive tactics. I was worried it would bite Herbie. I was worried it would spread its wings and fly at me (recurring nightmare of mine). I went with decisive action, sure I could swipe with a stick and precision. Sure. So i did. Half its legs fell off. The body disappeared into the grass. I think it was dead to begin with.

Herbie sleeps in the other kennel in the back yard. He rarely ventures from there. It came from that kennel I am sure. His kennel. But it totally smashed my delusions re no spiders in Princess Leia’s kennel. Luckily she hasn’t laid yet today as that egg would have been staying there. Now she can lay there no longer. I have decided and I am resolute.

This is the action I have taken.

IMG_3737Mean I know, she hasn’t done anything wrong. But there is no chance that I am sticking my hand in there with the image of Herbie’s friend fresh in my mind.

Herbie does think I was swinging a stick at him with wild abandon. No idea of the danger he was in. Doesn’t know that I fought some very strong fleeing inside instincts to deal with his situation. Lucky he is super forgiving, I am not ready for him to sleep on my lap yet but those issues are from my end…

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I really am trying…

I’m trying hard to clear out junk, not accumulate more, live with less, be all zen and minimalist. But then I watch the British Antiques Roadshow. I love that show! No I am not 90 years old. Yes I am aware it is not prime cerebral viewing. The joy on people faces when their $2 thrift store purchase turns out to be worth $2000 is (for me) great viewing.

I have no problem telling people all about Antiques Roadshow, judge, judge away, I tell these people. This is because I have the warped notion that I will find something at the thrift store worth a kabillion dollars, rare and precious, I will recognise it thanks to Antiques Roadshow. This is at odds with my desire to own less. But damn do I love thrift shopping. It fits beautifully into my low waste lifestyle as I buy all my clothes from there, it does not however align with owning less. I tend to buy more, unsure if I will wear or use it just because it is cheap, I am supporting a charity and I feel no landfill guilt. I buy all my books from thrift stores and return them there too. If I want something specific I go to the library.

I do take things to thrift stores if I find I am not using them or wearing them but I really shouldn’t be bringing them home in the first place. I have cleared out the hanging section of my wardrobe and have a large pile of clothes to give to charity. There is nothing wrong with them but I either felt uncomfortable in them, they didn’t fit well or I just wasn’t opting to wear them. The process continues through out the rest of my room…

Back to Antiques Roadshow! I am the nutbag that is picking up all the cups and saucers to see who made them and make my own very educated assessment on age and quality. All my education has come from Antiques Roadshow, unquestionably high caliber.

The dream is still well and truly alive that I will find something valuable. I have a sneaking suspicion that my odds are the same or worse than winning the lottery but I will continue. One day I will be the person on the show that does a happy dance after literally dropping my jaw open and being absolutely shocked (but on the inside sagely nodding and repeating ‘I knew this day would come’) Seems reasonable to me. Let the quest continue (the cleaning out of junk and the hunt for the kabillion dollar thrift store pottery)

Just because I can. Here is a picture of Herbie with his frequently displayed “crazy face”

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An apple a day…

Apple crumble is sure to keep the doctor away, there is way more than one apple! I love apple crumble. It is a soothing food to me. It isn’t heavy, I can eat heaps of it without feeling ill and the biggest bonus, it has my most favourite spice in the whole wide world in it… Cinnamon! My love for cinnamon cannot be overstated. I add it to so many things even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. If the recipe does call for it I usually double it before even trying it the way the recipe states. Cinnamon is bliss!

This is an amalgamation of about 4 different apple crumble recipes that I have tried. I have taken elements from each recipe and altered them to my taste creating a whole new recipe. This is now my go to crumble recipe. It is very flexible on the fruit front, don’t have enough apples, add something else, I added some blackberries to the last one and it was delicious. Have lots of apples, add more. The ratio of fruit to crumble is purely personal. Don’t like nutmeg so much, omit it or reduce it. Love cinnamon, add way more, it can take it. This is a cinnamon level that is adjusted to general palate so feel free to add more!

Apple Crumble

7 apples

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup desiccated coconut

1 generous tablespoon of cinnamon

1  1/4 teaspoons of nutmeg

1/2 cup of butter (can use coconut oil if you want it vegan)

2 tsp vanilla essence

Heat oven to 170C. Peel the apples and slice thinly. Place in casserole dish, sprinkling throughout with the teaspoon of cinnamon. If you use tart green apples you may want to add a bit of sugar as well.

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Crumble: mix flour, brown sugar, oats, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Melt the butter, add the vanilla essence to the butter and mix. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. It will be crumbly.

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If you are unsure if it will fit in the bowl, wash the bowl you know it fits in and use that…

Put on top of the apples and bake in oven for 40 to 50 minutes.

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Ready to go in the oven

Bake til when you stick a fork in the apples are soft enough for your liking. I like them to still maintain their shape and some texture not be a mush, others like mush. Bake to your liking.

Enjoy. You can serve it by itself or with cream, ice cream, or custard or whatever tickles your fancy. It is delicious!!!

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Chicken antics

All Winter I have had one chicken laying. Only one out of 5. Not great, but I knew when I got the others that they weren’t amazing layers. This lady is though!

IMG_2560So when the others stopped, Princess Leia was a prized lady, the only non free loader. When there was no eggs for a few days I thought she had taken a break from laying, turns out she decided she was too cool to lay in the spot that they had all layed their eggs in for the last year. She had moved to a sheltered spot under the trees. A new nest.

IMG_3699I was unimpressed with this as it meant I had to go under the tree foliage and get wet (if it had rained) to get her offering. I made a decision. This wouldn’t do. I tried letting her out later so she would lay in the house like she was supposed to. No effect, turns out she can hold that egg in. Upon release, she sped across the yard to “her” spot.

I took things to the next level. I put a brick in her nest. What a horrible person I am. I suffered greatly with this. I felt like the worst owner. She took the hint and went back to laying in the house. A semi win, the guilt was large, the eggs were where they were supposed to be. For a few weeks.

Princess Leia raised her game. I came to the conclusion that she hadn’t taken a few days off but had created a new nest, a massive search followed this. We used to have a small dog, who had a small kennel. We no longer have the dog but the kennel acts as a barrier to the chickens getting on the verandah where all my potted plants are. She chose the back of the kennel. I did think it was kinda cute, chicken in a kennel. Less cute when I have to get down on my hands and knees and reach in to the back of the kennel to get the egg. Obviously there would never be a spider in there (right??? Ah the lies I tell myself) but it crosses my mind every time I collect her egg. Please please please lay the egg at the front! She never does!

Due to the guilt over the brick and her special status of “only laying chicken” I allowed this to continue. I thoroughly regret this. Luckily she has not taught the other ladies who are restarting now. They are laying in the house like they always have.

She is a funny thing. If the cats stick their face in to see what is making all the noise they will get a swift peck to the face. Suprisingly they still look occasionally.

Not sure what to do about this situation.

Oh well!! Not a bad problem to have.

Here are a couple of today’s pics.

Beautiful Bearded Bella

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Curious Beatle. Checking out what is under the branch.

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Low waste

I have a goal. It is to not need a garbage bin. I have made the decision that for me and my life zero waste would be just a bit too challenging. Instead I am aiming for very low waste. This gives me some wriggle room. Reduces guilt when I fail. And seems so much more do-able. I have decided that I am willing to accept some waste as long as it is recyclable.

I have encountered some problems that I am still unsure how to tackle. Things like, I can buy local cheese that comes in plastic or I can go to the deli and buy unpackaged cheese that has been imported from overseas and therefore has large miles attached to it. I am going to email the cheese people that I currently buy from once a month at the farmers market near my house and ask them if there is some way to bring some unpackaged cheese. Small thing but it seems to come up a bit. I can buy something in a glass reusable jar from another country but the local is packaged less well.

I haven’t nutted out where to buy milk that is packaged in glass. Luckily I rarely drink milk, but in Summer I like to make my own yoghurt, this will involve sourcing milk. I also have not worked out where to buy butter that is unpackaged. I love butter, so a quality unpackaged butter would seem like heaven!

There are so many things that I have worked out. I now produce very little waste which thrills me but I know I can do better without much more effort. The devil is in the details.

On a somewhat related note my ladies have decided the days are sufficiently long enough that they will lay an egg every now and then. I haven’t found a way to buy their food unpackaged, I am trialing a different way of feeding them that will reduce but not eliminate the packaging. I currently buy it in 20kg bags which is not too bad!

IMG_36783 eggs so far today, I expect a blue one later this afternoon. All the signs point to warmer weather on the way! yay!

Also just made a sandwich. Bread unpackaged from the farmers market. Eggs from the backyard mashed with a tiny bit of garlic salt, garlic from the backyard, salt bought unpackaged, avocado unpackaged from the market, watercress and rocket from the backyard.  Delicious, no packaging. A win!

Spring ready

I have planted the first round of my Spring/Summer seeds. Beyond exciting!

IMG_3677My markers are sticks that I collected from the ice-cream shop tasters and washed. I reuse the sticks quite a few times before they get moved to the compost. They do darken with age, you can see some in the pots in the background that are older.

Bring on an abundant garden!