Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cicada rescue!

Well what a surprise to find this cicada today- I think he has been tricked into coming out by the recent warm weather, poor thing only to find the weather was FREEZING today! We had snow for most of the day, and so my husband 'rescued' him from our front garden, he swears it was shivering!

Look at those amazing golden wings!

Alien-like face, strangely compelling!

Anne from Loopity Lou and Jacqui from Life in the Dome have both found these recently - and I'll trust both their opinions that this is a 'Masked Devil' cicada. Anne has some amazing photos of hers hatching (is that the correct term for cicadas coming out?) I just did not expect to see any this far up the mountains, this early in the season.


We brought him inside to warm up a little. He was pretty lifeless for a while, then started to move just a little. By the time he was getting quite lively, I thought it might be better for him to sleep in the garage tonight (rather than rattling around the house when we are trying to sleep!)
He can get out of the garage easily, but if he is still there tomorrow, hopefully we can find a suitable home for him again.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

All things sweet and gloopy.....

Wow, what a productive day today! I blame the rain we've had for the past few days. Terrific for the garden and the few seeds I have germinating, but lousy for kids on school holidays. Oh well, make the most of indoors time and get productive!

First up I juiced a huge basket full of lemon/limes I was kindly given from a friend. I call them lemon/limes (or 'lime-ons' as my kids have named them) as my friend said they were limes from her mother-in-laws tree, but they are bright yellow and lemony inside. Thin skin and no seeds like a lime, but look and smell like a lemon. Taste? well, they taste like a lemony-lime. Whatever, they were free, need to be used and taste great.

So I decided to make the majority of the juice into cordial, using Linda Cockburns recipe from the latest Organic Gardener mag which landed at my door last week. Sensational Linda- and great timing!
With 1 litre of juice, 1 kilo of sugar (EEK!) and 750ml water, I made 3 bottles of delicious cordial. It is diluted 1 part cordial to 4 or 5 parts water, so this will go a long way.

Looks plain-but tastes incredible!

Sterilising the bottles was the hardest part- I've never done it before and tried the drying-in-the-oven method. That was ok, apart from the bit where I melted the plastic bottle stoppers onto the racks :-(  OOPS! Oh well, maybe my foil makeshift tops will do for us!

After that I made liquid soap, using a recipe from Daharja you can find HERE. I used half the amounts as I thought that would be enough (it was). It worked amazingly well, even setting in a couple of hours instead of overnight. I wanted to add some pretty colour, and let my daughter choose from the food colourings, she chose pink, no surprise there! Just one drop of red colour in almost 2 litres of soap made this totally gorgeous pale pink. I ended up filling a 500ml pump, and almost filled 2 x 250ml pumps. One for the bathroom, laundry and kitchen.

yes, I even made a label!

It is a bit similar to the laundry gloop I make, though that uses washing soda instead of glycerine. I made a new bucket of that yesterday too. It is so easy and cheap to make, and much kinder to sensitive skins. If you haven't tried it, you can find the recipe on my original post HERE.

After all that, I then made playdoh for the kids. Yes, the gas company just loved me today! I did the cooked one, the recipe is on the cream of tartar box, and since Miss A got to choose the soap colour, Master A got to choose the playdoh colour. 'Alien Green.' Eeeuukkk! Well, they loved it anyway, and I love making playdoh that is so cheap, non-toxic and the past batches I've made have lasted over a year, no kidding. Wrap in cling film, pop in the fridge.

Oh, and the last thing I made (apart from minestrone soup for dinner, but that is neither sweet nor gloopy!) was a big tray of brownies. YUM. And that is my next task, after my very productive day ....... a sticky brownie. With some lemon-lime cordial of course :)

why do brownies always look a wreck but taste amazing?

(if you want more details about the cordial or playdoh recipe, let me know. I have a brownie waiting right now though, so I'll get to it later!)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fluffy Visitor

Well how cute is this guy? He came to visit this morning and sat on our fence for such a long time, we were all outside marvelling at how adorable he is! He is a Flame Robin, and the first I've seen since last winter, when I saw my first one.

OK, now the apology- I have been away from blogland for soooooo long its ridiculous. I have been popping in to read yours every now and then, but not doing the writing thing myself. And since being so lazy, I'm amazed to see I have picked up some new followers! So welcome to you :) Hopefully I will have something more interesting to read soon than, well, the nothing I've been doing. I think I've been in hibernation over winter. Coupled with the real-estate woes we have had (don't ask!) has not made for a happy blogger. But hey, although the woes are still pretty woeful, I am still here and although I'm not promising to do the blogtoberfest like those of you more energetic than myself, I promise to not go missing for months on end again.

In my hibernation mode I did learn to crochet and knit (yes, knit -much to my amazement!) did lots of baking, and started sewing again as I had a request for a couple of items- which meant a couple of sales, which in turn has lit my creative spark again. I currently have several piles of fabric lying around showing several unfinished projects! More on that later.

So, thanks for sticking with me through my winter of discontent! I hope Spring brings new life, energy and warmth to us all.

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