Saturday, 25 June 2011

towards the light

solstice fire

While we enjoyed our experience at the solstice bonfire last winter, we decided soon after that this year we would be having a fire with friends in the comfort of our own back yard. We wanted the kids to get up close and enjoy the heat and ambience of the fire.

So with a lovely group of friends on board, we've spent the last few weeks planning what we wanted to do, we collaborated so that the load was shared, and finally today we implemented our ideas... and it was a light-hearted and fun evening, where the kids all got to enjoy the magic of staying up late{r} and playing outside with their friends in the dark.

making bread 'sticks'

bread dough

bread on the fire

While we didn't have any guest fire twirlers, we did have some fun activities for the kids to do... Nay & Nic brought sticks and dough and helped the kids make 'bread on a stick' which was then cooked on the fire and smothered in butter and syrup to be enjoyed by all.

lantern supplies

lantern lights

making lanterns

making lanterns

Next up was the lantern making... we didn't do the lantern walk last year, but wanted to include it this year. I remember when I was a kid, the idea of walking around, outside, at night was quite thrilling. The kids made an assortment of tissue paper covered jar lanterns, which were lit with an LED tea light, making them not only pretty, but very child friendly too.

lantern walk

For the lantern walk, we all lined up with our lanterns and wended our way down the hill, through the gate, then off across the paddock {with every second kid seeming to fall in a hole, oops} then down through the very long grass until we reached the creek in the gully. I think some of the kids had hoped we would see a fox, but with the sheer volume of noise that 10 kids and 7 adults generated, I don't think there was a fox within a kilometer radius... so while there was no wildlife to be seen, the glowing kids were quite a spectacle.

It was short and noisy, but I think it was a success!?!

around the fire

We spent the rest of the evening overindulging in much food; sausages in bread for the kids; baked potatoes with the lot for the adults; a very enjoyable session making s'mores on the fire {aussie style :: mcvitties digestives, cadbury chocolate & marshmellows}; apple pie with lashings of ice cream and cream; and mulled cider by the fire. oh my stars. too much food. {in a good way, of course}

While this was all happening, I noticed a few cozy corners with a couple of kids tucked in together with a lantern and a glow stick each, having little chats; and then later when it got a bit closer to bed time, there was much running and sillies, with awesome lightsaber activity with the glow sticks.

Ah, it was exactly what we had planned, and I can see this becoming an annual tradition... great friends, fun kids, much food, and the magic of an open fire. Thanks for a great night my friends, well done for making it perfect for everyone!

Friday, 17 June 2011

up ~ and ~ down

inadvertently felted

:: on the down side, our washing machine died

:: on the upside, we acquired an excellent commercial Whirlpool to replace it

:: on the downside our new machine doesn't have a delicate cycle

:: on the upside I am now consistently on top of the laundry in the house, the machine is fast and furious

:: on the downside, the fast and furious in the warm water with wool wash is not very good for looking after hand knits, a fact I discovered after testing what I thought was the delicate cycle... a lot of wrecked knits later....

:: on the upside, if I ever want to do any machine felting, my machine would be perfect

:: on the down side, all {remaining} woollies in the house will now have to be hand washed

:: on the upside, since we are now down two handknits, I had the perfect excuse to order new yarn

:: on the down side, winter may be over before I get around to finishing any of them

:: and so it goes on....

Tiny Tea Leaves
{in remembrance of a lovely cardi that served us well}
{and an admission :: I'm sorry mum, the powder blue jumper that you knitted for Daisy last Easter was also ruined... good thing you just delivered her an updated knit!}

Friday, 10 June 2011

in the [winter] garden

snow peas

I've been sneaking out into the garden so many times throughout this week, I have seeds sprouting their little heads up everywhere and while I don't know why I find this endlessly fascinating, I have come to accept that I just do. So out I pop, peeking through the netting, trying to figure out why the seeds at one end seem to be coming on just that little bit quicker that the seeds at the other end... is it because the morning sun takes longer to warm up the earth, so the side that it hits first is a smidge colder that the other side of the bed that gets the sun for an extra little bit at the end of the day? {that's it, that's my only theory!}

telegraph pea

pea seedling


I planted two different varieties of garlic this year, Tasmanian garlic that I bought from Bunnings, and two heads of Australian Garlic that I bought from the organic section at my local fruit and veg; the reading that I'd done indicated that because the organic garlic is grown without harmful chemicals, there are no inhibitors to growing it in the home garden. We'll see in six months or so I guess... the Tasmanian Garlic is supposed to be grown in the home garden, so that's a bit of a safety measure, after enjoying the beautiful {three} heads of garlic that I grew last year, I wanted to have more this year. I've planted about 48 cloves which should {magically} grow into 48 heads of garlic for us, fingers crossed.

I also planted red onions again, the ones from last year were sweet and full of flavour, so this year two rows are in, interspaced between three rows of All Season Carrots. After learning the hard way last year not to transplant carrots once they are in the garden, I've direct sewn my carrots, one seed at a time, 10cm apart... also not as recommended, but I have issues with 'thinning' in that I can't decide which one to thin, I mean who am I to decide which seedling looks better than another?, so then I don't thin, and that never works. So this time, I figured that if any any of the seeds didn't sprout, then I could just plant another seed in that spot?... we'll see.

legume supports

My other garden bed, the one that's been providing me with the lions share of peeks, has legumes in it {of course}... I've {well technically Cam} added higher nets to my middle garden bed, which means I could build the support structures that the peas and beans need to grow. I've 2 {going to be 3} wigwams {is that the right word?... three stakes in the ground, joined at the top in a teepee shape} in with a telegraph pea seed planted at the base of each stake, then I have a row of snow peas in, that have trellis to grow up, and another broad bean paddock {same as last year}.

So far, two of the broad beans have emerged, all of the snow peas have sprouted, and four or five of the telegraph peas. It's all very exciting!

daisy's seedlings
{Daisy's pilfered seed experiment...}

On my to do list are a few little jobs though... I have another garden bed in but not quite finished, it needs a few more boards, a little more soil, and netting. Also, I need to green mulch in the 6 or 7 packets of seeds that Daisy planted into it {taken from my seed stash without permission I might add} ~ maybe this long weekend I'll make some time to get out into the garden?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

crochet cowl


While not so easy to photograph, this cowl was so easy to make, and has been keeping my neck snuggly and warm for the last week or so.


I started with one ball of Patons Wilderness 0507 and a size 15mm crochet hook and after a couple of false starts {one involving finishing and weaving in the ends before frogging the lot} I settled on a 35 chain, joined in the round, then trebled around and around and around, until the last complete round before the yarn ran out.

All finished, it's about 8" high, and because my chain was tight I wear it at the top, technically making the cowl upside-down. Whatever, I'm happy with it, and its been thrown over my head and around my neck most mornings...