Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Photo Essay'...or, why I haven't been blogging lately!

Hmmm, it's been a month since my last post, oh dear.  I find that the longer there is between posts, the harder it is to write anything.  There's so much I've got lined up I want to talk about, it just gets to be TOO much and it all becomes too hard and I give up and go and watch something dumb on TV instead...a bad habit I really must give the flick to!  So just so you know I have been doing something while I haven't been waxing lyrical (aka waffling pompously!) in the's a list of stuff I've done.  Which I've decided to give the very undeserved, but terribly professional sounding, name of 'photo essay'.

Sooooooo...during the school holidays, munchkins and I made a 'spring goddess' scarecrow for the vegie garden out the front.

Her head has seen a LOT of history!  An old polystyrene foam wig/hat stand, which I swiped from the wardrobe department in the theatre at uni about 14 years ago (well, ok, I asked first), and used for a life-size (and very basic) puppet 'Miranda' for the one act reworking of "The Tempest" that I wrote and directed there.  Hands were courtesy of Beloved who made them for me back then.  She's been knocking around in old boxes and upside down in crates since then, so I decided it was time to give her a new lease of life.  So munchkins were given one side of her face each to paint, on strict instructions that there would be NO FIGHTING OR MUMMY WILL DO IT!

Then we decorated!

They seem pretty pleased with their work!

Munchkins in the foyer of the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, after the two day puppet-making workshop. Smallest made a 3-eyed alien, and biggest made a dragonfly (with a touch of Dame Edna Everage I think).  I was volunteering, and had a great time and learnt lots.  Particularly the wonder that is the HOT GLUE GUN, which I have never used before...I now own my very own.
Can you tell which are their favourite t-shirts?  And hats for that matter!

I bought THIS book (re-worked for the Australian market), and tried out the simple cheese recipe.  And it worked!  Even munchkins declared the fresh herb cheese to be yum
Equipment laid out.

All that it required was supermarket bought full-cream milk, and some lemon juice!  

Lemon juice added to the hot milk.

Curds put into the muslin to strain.

Knotted up and left to drip overnight.

This was my actually second attempt.  The first went so well, I made a double batch this time because I wanted to see if I could make a 'baked ricotta' style as well.  So half was mixed up with some salt and fresh herbs from the garden, and the other half mixed just with salt, and put into the muslin lined mould (the middle of a yoghurt container with top and bottom cut off) and weighed down with a can (which very conveniently fitted perfectly into said yoghurt container!), and left to drain overnight again.

Very carefully wrapped in baking paper and popped into the oven.

Crikey!  It actually worked.  And it tasted alright too!

A cuppa out under the apricot, which now is in full leaf (and is covered in apricots...we've already started 'jamming').  Me looking slightly rumpled (ok, it's how I usually look!), with my painting apron on...well, it's a painting apron now!

The garden looking at about its best I think, everything blooming and green and lovely!

The Lavender and those lovely poppies.

Some small feral creature spotted on the back lawn.

And California poppies too!

On the last weekend of the October school holidays, we went camping up in the hills, in the Darling Ranges out past Gidgegannup to the Avon National Park.  And trying out our new Pentax DSLR.  Looking north westish.

Fairly impressed with the zoom!

Sunrise on the granite outcrops that overlook the valley below.

Looking back over to the north west, to see the moon going down.

The way the granite splits naturally fascinated me, it looks for all the world like some ancient human cut monument, old standing stones perhaps, that have fallen in the aeons since they were built.

Munchkins in matching hats scarpering over the escarpment!

Dinner on the Barbie.  Grandad cooks!  Our tent in the background.

Ahhh, now you could have knocked me down with a feather when beloved said "you know, we need something to hang up here, some kind of a family decoration or hanging, something we can put up every time we go camping."  Because, well, I'M the hippy, tree-hugging, rainbow-kombi-wishing member of the family, and beloved...well, he likes motorbikes...and stuff like that.  So, after I picked myself up out of the dust, I suggested some prayer flags.  And because I just happened to have brought my little green handy sewing case with various scraps of fabric with me...I set about making some straightaway.  And here they are!

View from the big rock which munchkins insisted on climbing without PG!

 Then back to school, and I put my hand up to help out in biggest munchkin's art class again.  They're looking at mythical creatures this term, so this was my idea for an art project, junk monsters.  This was the first prototype to show the teacher to see what she thought.  Of course, I was only half an hour into it and I realised that this one was perhaps a bit complicated for 2 adults to supervise 27 small children to make, so I made a simpler version as well.  But I had so much fun making this (adults really should do stuff like this more often, pure silly fun is so good for you), I decided to finish it and show the class anyway.  They were pretty excited, and I've seen some lovely monsters being created in the last three weeks since they started working on them.

And so, back to the garden!  This is what the vegie garden is looking like now.  
The triffid on the right was once a Cos lettuce.  The triffid on the left is a Beetroot.  I have never seen beetroot run up to seed before! And spring isn't even over yet!

And this is my cherished Elder plant.  Well, that's what it says in the label.  And it looks like the pictures I've seen.  But aren't Elder flowers supposed to have a lovely scent?  And aren't they tasty enough to actually make fritters out of?  These, however, have no smell that I can discern, and after having a nibble on a couple of blossoms, no taste either.  Anyone know what's up with it?  I had utterly implausible romantic dreams of making my own Elderflower wine and Elderberry cordial, and they have been dashed to pieces by the utter inodorousness of my Elder plant...sigh!

And finally (this must surely be the most photos I've ever put in one blog post), I was asked by the school if I would run a little art club on Friday afternoons for Years 4-7.  And for reasons unfathomable to shy and never-taught-anything-to-anybody me, I said yes.  I decided to make some simple hangers with the kids, and here is a sample of finished work after the first 4 week block.
They're rather lovely, aren't they!

Phew!  So, I haven't been spending ALL that time watching Big Bang Theory!

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