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!


Jess said...

Great photos of you and your family! You've been very creative, love the scarecrow-lady!
Jess xx

Unknown said...

Good month! x

artymess said...

Great post worth taking a month brewing that one !!......lovely photos and camping looked like fun ...I love camping its the best .....x

Valerianna said...

Goodness... you've been active! LOVE the garden woman and the dragon, and I have a stash of glue guns at school because there are just some things one can;t do without them! Glad you discovered them, especially when working with munchkins - with PG... I've burned myself pretty badly with one before, FYI.

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

Wow, what a lot of lovely things you've all been up to! Your girls did a fantastic job of the Goddesses face, she lookes great... the flower earrings too, a lovely idea...

Your gardens looking lovely, (of course we are in a drabby grey damp descent into winter here,)and the Australian landscape is extraordinary isn't it, the quality of light - I like the picture with your three pairs of feet! Some stunning photos...

I'm very impressed with the school junk monsters project, I bet the kids loved that - a bit of inspiration and enthusiasm and they're well away aren't they! Its great that you volunteered, they'll get so much out of it! Good for you!

Joel Le Blanc said...

Beautiful photos! Just loving the garden and all the wonderful spring plants that are thriving. The nasturtiums are beautiful.... we had none at my house, so I have sown a few seeds, and right now watching them rise up -- not long now before the delectable flowers blossom and find their way into my salad bowl! My beetroot looks somewhat similar to yours -- I think it had a few very dry days, and they go to seed early when they've been through some rough conditions. Oh, and the spring maiden - fantastic! She is a beauty. I am sure she will attract some wonderful vibes into your home.

herhimnbryn said...

All that AND The Big Bang, sounds perect to me. Your camping spot looked great. It is beautiful up here outside Perth!

Unknown said...

I love that dragon! Your camping photos are beautiful - thanks so much for sharing! -sus

Erzebet said...

Beautiful! It's nice to see a garden in bloom, it's too easy to forget that it's always summer somewhere. Thank you!

Lynn said...

You've certainly been busy. Love the dragon. I fully agree that we grown ups should let ourselves do things like that more often - it opens us up to a whole different playful and creative side to ourselves. The landscape around the place you camped looks just stunning! Thanks for sharing all of this.

Barry said...

MIA- wow that is a lot of catching up. Lovely to see so many healthy ordinary family things happening and that you are all good - though like a few of us rumpled with life. Go well and be happy. B

Anonymous said...

love that dragon & good to see what you've been up to of late, it's ridiculously cold here on the other side of Oz, the jasmine is still flowering since late July!

Anonymous said...

oh and that's definitely elderberry (Sambucus nigra) the flowers have a delicate flavour when infused, the cordials & wines are often made with sugar or honey and lemons or limes to add sweetness and zest. The berries are good for wine and pies too just don't eat them green OK?

Raven Moon Magic said...

funny, yesterday I wondered out loud, 'where is she??' and here you are! The goddess is so beautiful, why is it we have onlt thought of making ugly men for the garden, I love her! a goddess, perfect, I think the two toned face works so amazingly well. All your art projets witht he kids look awesome, I so love the dragon, he turned out so well, and I might get my Indi to make some of those hangers, its good to find crafts that they can do 80% of alone, I love that idea so muc, she is very into beads. and camping drooool so close, so close. its such an amazing spot you go to, do you have to watch out for snakes while camping?? I have no idea how this snake things work. well I know what you mean about the pressure of the blog some days, I have found it hard to restart back into it and so many cool things get left behind, I sort of want o log it all but real life, thats the stuff that is taking up my time so thats ok with me. great to see you back here and look forward to more of the kiddie crafts you will be doing on fridays.
much love

ps. great to see photos of YOU too!:)

Claire said...

wow!! what a post! so lovely to catch up :) and i just adore the dragons - amazing! but, i must confess, the nature photos are always my favs - esp. the sun on granite *sigh*

Ruthie Redden said...

Hello treasure, hee hee i think i beat you my last was nearly 3 months ago eek! So many adventures (i get exactly the same when i don't post for a long while & then always have way to much to say & end up not saying anything at all - "virtually" tongue tied lol) I am adoring all your creations, the dragons, your goddess. The munchkins look as though they have had enormous fun.

I so want to give the cheese making a try now! Thanks for the inspiration. Just have to buy a new muslin as the mice chewed through my old one many moons ago. I have a vision in my head of us one day being a semi self sufficient little household, lol im dreaming again. Still i am planning our veg patch over the winter, a first step i guess. x x

Southern Witch said...

What a great post! Love the pictures of you and your munchkins. ;o)

Oya's Daughter said...

Hey there, just thought you would like to know there is an auction for Terri Windling today as she is in crisis. I figure you'd be interested to here's the Livejournal link though there's other ways to bid and donate.

I had no idea she was in such dire straits though I knew she was ill. I'll be trying to help as well somehow.

Anonymous said...

Your Miranda-goddess is lovely and the elder does look like the elder in my garden, just a lot lower growing. Maybe it needs to grow up a bit!

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