Monday, July 26, 2010

Jams, Jellies and Chutneys

AFTER all our recent fruit picking excursions and farmers market visits, it was time to do something with all these baskets of fruit! And so it happened that the afternoon was filled with chopping and boiling, sticky-fingered children, singing, laughing and a delicious-smelling kitchen. By the end, we had managed to assemble quite a little stock pile of yummy preserves. We had: peach-ginger chutney, peach jam, blueberry jam, tomato chutney and stewed blackberry and apple which we enjoyed over ice cream at dinner time.
I don't use any 'real' method of processing, rather the inversion method, which is no longer recommended by those in the know. I've never had any problems canning this way, however I did discover that you're only supposed to invert the jar long enough to seal the vacuum and not for a really long time like - ahem - overnight. My blueberry jam was upside down long enough for the jam to set, which left a gap of air at the bottom of the jar. I wasn't comfortable with this so ended up reboiling and recanning this jam.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blueberry Picking

I had never been blueberry picking before. But I understand that our first experience was far from usual. Over 50 years old, the blueberry trees (not bushes) were the size of apple trees! The owner of the small orchard was telling us how it had been passed through the family and lovingly tended over the years. This care was evident and Emma and I gathered bucket after bucket while Alexander trolled the ground, his face competing with his fingers for the most-purple award.

It was a blisteringly hot day, but the avenue of trees kept us in the shade. Nevertheless, after lunch at a nearby park, a babbling brook was a welcome sight and we all plunged in to cool down.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Worm Palace

WHAT else would you do when visiting a muddy creek than build a worm palace?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cleanliness Rebels

I realised today: I actually kind of enjoy other parents looking at me with a mixture of disgust, amazement, and occasionally awe when I allow my children to do something theirs would never be permitted. We're not talking harming animals or talking back to adults. It usually involves dirt. Lots of it. Like today when we were at the playground and a mother was throwing a very verbal wobbly at her maybe 7-year-old. Because he'd taken his shoes off and now his socks were dirty. Well, I understand the despair of the never-ending laundry pile. I really do. I also fight the 'socks-AND-shoes-on or socks-AND-shoes-off' battle. But when all's said and done, they're only socks. I shouldn't comment really... my two were not running on the grubby play equipment and wood chip ground surface in socks. Actually after fifteen minutes we hadn't yet made it past the sprinkler at the entrance. Can you say 'soaked to the skin'?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beach Table

AFTER holidaying at the beach, a beach sunset seemed like a good topic for a watercolour painting. Emma wanted to display our paintings on our nature table, so we rounded the table out with a few sunsetty silks, some of our favourite shells and a jar of rugged flowers.

Monday, July 5, 2010


WHAT better activity for a hot summer's day with friends than blowing bubbles! We made our own bubble mixture with washing up liquid, water and glycerine and left it overnight to 'cure'. Then took the soapy mixture outside with a collection of implements from around the house. After trying a few, the children had fun running around looking for more things with holes or circles to experiment with. We had drinking straws, cookie cutters, funnels and various toys and tools. Then we made paper bubble blowers and after a bit of practice, even the toddlers became experts! Finally, our team of intrepid bubble blowers piled into the paddling pool for a bubbly washapalooza!