Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday, April 30 ........

Lonicera (Honeysuckle) "Firecracker"

Tomorrow will dawn a new day ......

And .... It will be "May Day"

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday - change coming ....

Well it's Sunday, 2pm, April 29th. Got cooler last night - minimum of 2.5C (36.5F) so weather is definitely on the change - expect more frosts from now on until late winter/early spring.

Its Rhonda's only day off work this week. Crikey she's one for work.

We no sooner had breakfast and washed up and she had two loads of washing on the clothesline. I weed wackered around the lawn edges then I took a rest as this cold has flared up again. Rhonda grabbed Denny, hooked him up to the clothesline and gave him a wash. He was not impressed but he submitted. The last couple of days he's been rolling on the concrete and scratching his back so time to wash the extra dog out of his coat.

Had some cold sliced sausage (beef and chorizo), some crispbread crackers and slices of the soda bread for lunch - sat outside looking for some sunshine but a big black cloud just sat in front of the sun. Just ate  it alfresco style (with our fingers) as we had a mug of tea (coffee for Rhonda) and Denny hung around picking up all the leftover bits and anything that slipped from our fingers.

Soda bread slices
I cooked another loaf last night, more traditional recipe, but I must have had too much moisture in the dough as it failed to rise much - but it tastes OK!

As I write this, Rhonda has just finished running the vacuum cleaner through the house and has now got the mower out cutting the grass. There's not a lot of grass to cut but with all the heavy dew it's not drying out until around 2 pm. Will get a few catcher full of clippings into the compost bins though - the worms will like that, be like a sauna for them!

Rhonda is then heading up shopping . She will come home and put the shopping away and then she will cook a roast dinner of baked fresh chook (chicken, that is) and vegetables - we've got potatoes, parsnip, sweet potato, carrots, string beans and snow peas to have with the chook.

I guess by then she'll parcel up a small 'leftovers' lunch to have during her shift tomorrow (10am to 6pm) and then we'll settle down and watch a movie on the television - if there's anything half decent on television, that is!

Here's a couple of images I took on Saturday  of the War Memorial in Yass from the Anzac Day Commemorations.

I realise that some readers are a bit sensitive about memorials to war, but this is our memorial to those who fell during war.

Not too many of the WWI diggers from Yass served at Gallipoli - most of them served in France - so seeing as most of them would have been British or Irish extraction,  its probably apt that our Memorial is a large local stone quarried from nearby that looks to all intents and purposes like a 'Menhir stone' found in parts of southern France. 

menhir (French, from Middle Breton : men, stone + hir, long) is a large upright standing stone. Menhirs may be found singly as monoliths, or as part of a group of similar stones. Their size can vary considerably; but their shape is generally uneven and squared, often tapering towards the top. Menhirs are widely distributed across Europe, Africa and Asia, but are most numerous in Western Europe; in particular in IrelandGreat Britain and Brittany)

The Building behind the commemorative stone is the Memorial Hall and its an impressive and imposing structure.

I've got to finish up now as its cooling down and its time to close up the house and turn the heating on.

C'ya all around the 'traps'!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mystery bloom - ? no mystery now

I think it is a "Ragged Robin" - Lychnis flos-cuculi, a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. 

It is certainly similar to this:

and it does get the same 'seed pods' like those in the Ragged Robin image.

While it is/was native to Britain, growing wild like my variety, intensive farming has all but eradicated it from most areas. It was probably introduced to Australia from Britain, probably as a cultivar at some time and its gone "feral" in Australian conditions.

This is how it (used) to bloom in Britain and, as such, is again similar to the way we found it blooming.:

Saturday morning and a mystery bloom

Well, it is 10am and Rhonda has just left for work. I like these 10am to 6pm shifts as we get time to have a bit of a sleep-in, have some breakfast and to discuss things we need to. Added bonus is Rhonda is home by dinner time. Be even better in summer when we go into summer daylight time.

This morning we tried the soda bread.

"Bread" !!!! It's more like cake. Rhonda thought it was vaguely similar to a Madeira Cake. I thought that if I had mashed one or two over-ripe bananas (which I have at present) and added those it would have come out like a Banana Bread and a good one at that! (Cindy please note!)

If I make this one again I'll make some adjustments - I will reduce the buttermilk from 2 (metric) cups of 500 ml to one and three quarter cups - about 400 ml. I also used a 70gm egg which no doubt added to the distinctly yellow colour of the loaf when cut - I would use a 60gm egg next time. It was definitely sweet, so one third (1/3) of a cup of sugar is too much and I'd reduce that to a quarter of a cup. The wet mixture definitely needs to be well mixed and I will use an electric hand mixer instead of a spoon next time. I'd also add about 2 tablespoons of oat bran as fibre.

Having said all that, it was quite nice with some butter and honey on it, especially a nice Australian dark Grey Box honey.

I think I'll try Cro's recipe for Soda Bread next time as his loaf looks more like what I'm trying to produce.

I found a plant growing in a pot we had brought with us from the coast about five years ago. It has done nothing until this year when the cool moist conditions of last summer prevailed. Now it has decided to flower. Its a type of tuber, a form of lily, but one I don't recognise also I am unable to classify it. I remember we came across a field of them growing wild in the sand dunes behind Barlings Beach. We only dug it up (strictly illegal for wild flowers in Australia) because the whole are was about to be ploughed under for a massive housing development.

Anyhoo-dee-doo,  here it is and I'd appreciate any help in identifying it.

Time for a quick shower, get dressed and walk Denny up to the shops to get the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald - find out what's going on in the world.

Have a good day all and I'll catch you around the traps.

Friday, April 27, 2012

More Autumn trees

Trees changing hues in Banjo Patterson Park, Yass, NSW Australia - April 2012

Baking soda bread

Finished loaf

I baked some soda bread this afternoon. I used my rectangular baking tins.

Recipe I used was:

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 egg lightly beaten
2 cups of buttermilk
1/4 cup of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325F (165C) degrees
Grease a 9" x 5" baking tin
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda
Blend egg and buttermilk together and add all at once to flour mixture Mix just until moist. Stir in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 65 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavour.

Prepared dough mixture

Baking pans ready - I always prepare a small pan in case of extra dough

Finished results cooling on rack

Bread wrapped in foil for overnight - hopefully for breakfast
tomorrow with sliced ham

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pimms Hut Wee Jasper

I've been on the lookout for a mountain home up around Wee Jasper on the back road to Tumut.

Pimms Hut  has come on the market and it is about 15kms up a gravel road from Wee Jasper and is ideal for my current purposes and also fits my future plans - away from the gravel road, the current building has two large bedrooms, open plan kitchen, dining and living area with fully serviced bathroom.

Pimm’s Hutt was originally part of Wee Jasper Station. It is 4,737 acres or 1,917 ha of which approximately 600 acres has been previously cleared or partly cleared and is free hold land with the reliable and pristine (permanent) Micalong Creek running through it. Brook and Rainbow trout can be caught in the creeks and the dam shows lots of sign of Yabby activity (a type of freshwater crayfish).

Timber harvesting income under Forestry permit is an income option with quality timber comprising, Yellow Box, Messmate, Mountain Ash and Stringybark.

Unfortunately its out of my price range - at present - the owner wants to sell and its not permanently occupied. 

(See the creek ford and access road pictures below and that will give you and idea of how often it has been accessed of late.)

Features include:Wood, open fire heating to cottage; Boundary and internal fences are in good condition; Many springs and small creeks run through the property; Spring fed large dam; Good all weather roads to property, and within; Cleared house site with electricity nearby; Spectacular views.

These are some photos of it:


Old hut beside new hut

Old hut beside new hut 2

Original Pimms Hut

Old hut beside new hut 3

Huts overlooking Micalong Creek

Micalong Creek

Micalong Creek

Creek access ford

Partially cleared pasture

Partially cleared pasture 2

Access Road

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day 2012

Today is Anzac Day in Australia. 

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand, a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name. 

Before dawn the gathered veterans would be ordered to "stand-to" and two minutes of silence would follow. At the start of this time a lone bugler would play "The Last Post" and then concluded the service with "Reveille". In more recent times the families and young people have been encouraged to take part in dawn services, and services in Australian capital cities have seen some of the largest turnouts ever. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Battle at Kapyong, Korea, April 23 - 25 1951

The Battle at Kapyong, just before Anzac Day in April 1951 involved Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand troops of the Korean War holding back an invading Chinese army which aimed to drive the foreigners into the sea. Often in total darkness, individual is pitted against individual for the control of a valley - the traditional invasion route to Seoul.

What follows becomes the turning point of China's spring offensive and decisive moment in the Korean War.

This video runs for over 50 minutes.

The battle of Kapyong

NOTE: Overseas readers may not be able to view this video from its linked source - Please go to youtube and search "The Battle of Kapyong, Korea 1951"

Burger Kings 1050 piece bacon whopper

This post was originally published on Mashable

A man walks into a Japanese Burger King and orders a bacon burger laden with 1,050 pieces of swine...

No, this isn't the beginning of a bad joke - it actually happened, and there's a viral YouTube video to prove it.

In the video, we a see a guy sit down at a table and unwrap a mountain of bacon loosely held together by two buns and some nominal garnishment. He measures the mound of pork against his iPhone. He bows his head in a short prayer and starts stuffing his face.

Eventually he takes an alternating-hand approach - a bite of bacon from his right, a bite of bun from his left. After making a valiant effort, but relatively small dent in the monstrosity before him, the man retires to a bathroom with a decidedly queasy look on his face.

Believe me - there's a lot more of this story to read, so, if you have the stomach for it (bad pun - "slaps own wrist") read on through the hot link below.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Sunshine Award

Award to me by  Cindy over at Just North of Wiarton

1.) What is your favourite color?
Blue - I love blue shirts, particularly those tending towards a darker hue of blue.

2.) What is your favourite animal?
Dogs and horses! I've always had dogs and I have a natural affinity with horses. At the Jockey Club I was always the Director appointed to assist the veterinary for his inspections in the saddling enclosure as I had no fear of highly strung thoroughbreds and could always calm them. I often led a fractious horse by the reins out on to the track through the public chute.

3.) What is your favourite number?

4.) What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink? 
Icy cold  mineral water

5.) Which do you prefer - Facebook or Twitter?
Not into either - I cancelled my Facebook account - I do not like public media

6.) What is your passion?
After my grandsons and my garden, I would have to say the Australian Bush.

7.) Do you prefer giving or receiving presents? 
Rarely do either. Rhonda and I will buy ourselves and each other little gifts as the fancy takes us.

8.) What's your favourite pattern? 
Don't have one

9.) What is your favourite day of the week?
Choose-day - i.e. "Choose any day!"

10.) What is your favourite flower?
Gazania -  
Gazania linearis and Remembrance PoppiesPapaver rhoeas

Now, I award my Sunshine Award to Cathy, over at Cathy is at Home for her continual production of marvelous images around her home region!

Autumn - Yass April 2012