Thursday, February 28

oh little fig tree

only one fruit tree was here when we bought this house two years ago. a fig. it looked so neglected back then. i gave it a prune, loaded compost, manure and pea straw underneath during the first winter. when summer came it returned the favour with a nice crop of figs. this year the tree has grown quite a bit and the size of the crop increased quite a lot. for the past three weeks it has been giving us luscious ripe figs day after day. i leave them on as long as i dare and pick them just before the skin starts to burst open. the chickens get some and the birds get their share but that hasn't been too much of a problem. there is plenty to go around.

i gave some away to one of eloise's teachers and she made the most delicious crystallised dried figs with them. we ate a couple each for morning tea today and they were just like eating toffee. so sweet.

twice this week i have made a deep, dark jam, beautifully infused with cinnamon and vanilla. it is truly divine. the recipe comes from here which i just found by chance the other day. i now have a new (to me) blog to read and a new favourite jam recipe. 

i have also put up a couple of jars of figs in vanilla syrup, requested by my dearest. they are lovely with some home made vanilla ice cream and i haven't made them since before jessica was born so i guess it was about time.

next on my fig cooking list is a fig and pistachio frangipane tart. after that i am not sure what i will do with them all. any suggestions? there are still loads of figs left on the tree, maybe two more weeks and it will be finished for the year

one thing about figs is that all my recipes do seem to incorporate sugar and quite a lot of it. for someone that eats very little it is all a bit too much sweetness but then...
 fig season only comes once a year!

Tuesday, February 26

garden details

late summer in our garden.

it feels so good to type that because it means autumn is nearly here! my favourite season. our best growing season (i think anyway). sometimes summer can linger for quite a while around here though so it is a little difficult to know whether it is too early to be planting out autumn crops or not. but no harm in being prepared i think.

walking around the garden at the end of summer i keep coming back to the stalwarts that have given the garden colour throughout this hot, dry season. cosmos, hollyhocks, verbena and a tiny little pink rose have all continued to flower for what seems like months now. they are hardy, they are survivors, they never complain and hang their heads if i forget to water them, they just keep on keeping on. never a day goes by that i am ungrateful for their presence in our garden. other heat lovers i have growing that just get better and better over summer are mint, rosemary and sage, they are thriving.

some things haven't gone quite as planned this summer. the trellis along the top of the stone wall is there to accommodate grape vines. they all died except two. we lost a couple of fruit trees and i haven't had much luck with my strawberries.

in the veggie patch all but a bit of basil has come to an end. tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini and corn have all been ripped out and thrown on the compost heap. there is spare ground aplenty. two beds are earmarked for rejuvenation and will be planted out with green manure in the hope that they will be ready for winter crops (or at least spring!). seeds have been planted in trays and i intend to be very attentive over the next week or so and ever so hopeful that something grows. i have put in many leafy greens, fennel, leeks, herb and spice seeds as well as a few flowers. 

i am wishing we lived near to a garden centre and could just pop in to pick up some seedlings today. i really have an itch to get my hands in the soil and start planting!

Saturday, February 23

these days

this week ended in the same place that it began... at the beach, yet plenty happened in between!

1. we celebrated a friend's second birthday in the cave at our nearby beach on a perfect summer's evening. three little girls squealed and laughed in the shore break, we ate delicious food and watched the sun head towards the horizon. 
2. we moved furniture around so new carpet could be laid in two bedrooms. jessica promptly moved in where i left a spare spot to put an upturned bed. she claimed this corner was chuggingtion's house and that she was going to make it very clean!
3. the cleaning bug continued later in the day in another room.
4. my grubby little naked harmonica player!
5. a day laid up drinking lots of nettle tea.
6, 7 & 8. daddy's home! ending the week with a evening swim.

joining in with the lovely em.


"A portrait of my littlest, once a week, every week in 2013" 

joining in with jodi over at che and fidel

jessica: evening swim. 
we are so proud of how confident jess has become in the water over the course of this summer. we just love to see her enjoy it so much, the smile never leaving her face and the squeals of pure delight as she tumbles about in the shore break or joins us in the deep water is beautiful and something i want to remember about this summer... always. 

Tuesday, February 19

the painting ritual

the painting ritual is always the same, every time she paints
it goes like this...

"mummy i want to paint" she says
so we get the paints set up, apron on, paper clipped onto the easel. she picks up a brush and does a few strokes on the paper...
then decides to paint her hands
just a little at first, watching the colours blend together, bit more paint and a bit more
 does a few hand prints to test it out
 adds more paint, squishes it about a bit letting it ooze through her fingers
 enough with the brushes, i will just squish it around on the plate
 print print print... "look at all those colours mummy"
"are you done" she says to end

 painting hands has been the thing for months around here...
 i wonder if this phase will ever end...
(its not that i mind, its just a little messy... you know?)

Sunday, February 17

these days

firstly sorry about the photo overload.

this week... thoughts... an overload on them too...
i am sure i do this nearly every time alistair leaves for a job... i reflect a lot on the time we spend together, the interactions of our relationship, the good and the bad, the amount of time he spends away from home and how that impacts on our little one, what i can do to lessen that impact, i think about him every moment he is away (okay... maybe not every moment but close!)
i have also had so many thoughts this week about things i want to make and have spent far too much time perusing pinterest boards, mine and everybody elses. my brain is now in overload and it's time for a total ban on pinterest for a while. i started a new pinterest board just for colour, just because my thoughts have also focused on colour as i ponder how i can bring more into our home (without spending money!) i have tried to put all that energy used on thinking into some doing too. there have been plenty of walks to the beach, much swimming, plenty of playing, plenty of homemade icy poles consumed and plenty of crafting.
i  also do this every time alistair leaves too...  changing bits and pieces here and there around our house. doing lots of housework and cleaning. i suspect it is more about distraction than not.

and so this is what it looks around here this week...

1. i saw this idea on pinterest (where else!) the other day and while we had a bit of coloured kite paper out for gluing i cut out a few hearts and stuck them to the window. cute.
2. kite paper card making for a special little friend's birthday.
3. finally finished making felt balls and threaded them up to make a garland for jess's room. it's hanging across a tree branch with bits wrapped with coloured thread (inspiration, pinterest!)
4. pretty blooms and teapot on the table sitting on a new place mat that i made recently. i have a few more to make yet and then we will use them at dinner time.
5. icy pole making.
6. little changes in jess's room.
7. i finally hung up this shelf/hooks for jess's dress ups... been meaning to do that for a while now! we don't have many dress ups... yet... i am sure more will come our way and then i will need to look at other ways to contain them but for now this is perfect.
8. the beautiful fairy skirt jess got for christmas.
9. i love these flowers although i have forgotten what they are called. it is some sort of perennial plant and the flowers last for ages in a vase.
10. on my kitchen bench... more figs, knitting a little bunny for easter, a pilates book encouraging me to do a bit here and there even if i am just waiting for the kettle to boil.
11. the beginnings of a felt bird cushion via pinterest
12. i am half way through potato stamping a canvas to hang in jess's room, yes you guessed it via pinterest and here.
13. jessica is into giving in a big way at the moment. these are just a few of the things given lately... she doesn't seem to notice if you don't keep every thing. every time she passes a feather, a rock, a gumnut even a bit of seaweed that catches her eye she says "is that for mummy?" and i oblige with an enthusiastic "why thank you!".
14. icy pole sticks
15. colour colour colour, paints ready to go

joining in with lovely em.

Saturday, February 16


"A portrait of my littlest, once a week, every week in 2013" 

joining in with jodi over at che and fidel

jessica: oh that hair with its soft little curls at the back, those eyes of blue and those cheeks.

 i realised today that i hadn't taken any photos of jess this week so i snapped away about twenty shots in a few moments then i couldn't decide which photo i liked the best... lucky i haven't posted all of them!