Monthly Archives: October 2010

Spring, shoots, Sydney and blossoms

Now, suddenly it’s as if winter never existed (except of course in the $400 electricity bill of heating and clothes-drying that landed yesterday) as the clocks jumped forward an hour last weekend, and the onset of lush late afternoons of brilliant sunshine, dinners eaten in broad daylight, and little children wondering why they have to go to bed while it’s still playtime…

We gave a mostly rainy welcome to Daylight Savings, but it was a warm, moist and muggy one, followed by some gorgeous sunny, heat prickling days – the perfect recipe for explosions of garden-green, the trees and plants and flowers and bugs all bursting with life and joy (well perhaps not the snails, alas they burst underfoot on my late-night trip out to find Charlie… less life and joy, more death and snot). Everything has exploded into life, so beautiful! Our trusty lemon tree has bloomed – it’s such a pity to be so far away at the back of the garden as the blossoms are so amazingly aromatic and Jasmine-like: exquisitely perfumed, heady and tropical.

Just driving along next to the racecourse yesterday I was hit with such verdant brilliance it felt like I was on some crazy hallucinogenic drugs (which I wasn’t),  the scene of trees, grass and sunshine was so bright and crystal-clear… Centennial Park was jumping with joggers, walkers, horse-riders, dog-walkers, stroller-runners – it really does feel great to be alive when everything around you is teeming with life and pulsating heart-beat, and joy!

When I open the kitchen door in the early-morning haze of sleep, the waking dawn smell of Sydney is one that hits me full in the face and takes me right back to being a kid at my grandparents in Carlingford, … although their house was right on the busiest road in the area, the block was deep and surrounded by mature trees, thriving banana palms and passionfruit vines… the particular smell is of sun warming dew-wet leaves, the sub-tropical Sydney flowers awaking, the hungover humid air… and then it goes, replaced by cut lawns, truck fumes, tradies’ smokes, burning toast.

Yet again this year I’ve neglected to prepare the nectarines from fruit-fly onslaught… The boughs of the tree are now beginning their slow sag, weighed down with the promising fruit. Last year we had hundreds and hundreds of juicy nectarines ripen beautifully: unsuspectingly I went to bit into one freshly picked from the tree, then at the last minute thought better to wash it – and cutting it in half was freaked to find two fresh halves of squirming maggot… luckily we had the chooks to enjoy the fruit & buggie bounty but this year will have to dispose of all the nectarines lest the maggot eggs infest the soil. Bugger!

I miss the chickens – discarding all the uneaten bowls of lovingly prepared children’s meals into the compost just isn’t the same… and as well as the wormy nectarines I think we let them run wild in the crab apples & bitter, mean persimmons too… In reality though, the stress of keeping safe someone else’s livestock is something I can live without, with the landlord’s advice ringing in our ears, “Whatever you do, do NOT leave the chickens unlocked at night, or they will DIE!!!”

So now to throw down some more snail bait, pick the seeding tops from the rocket, and hide the ripening strawberries from impatient fingers… and of course breathe in the juicy morning spring air, stretch arms out wide and look ahead to summer, beachy days & sizzled sausages… aaaah Sydney!

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Categories: Garden | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little cakes for our friends the fairies (and gnome)

What to do on a long weekend where there’s nothing but rain, rain, rain? My thoughts turn, as always, to food! With Ollsy asleep, we gave daddy a well-earned nap on the sofa watching sport on the telly & apron’d up in the kitchen for a little fairy cake escapade…

Fairy Cakes

 Ingredients
110g self-raising flour
110g butter, softened
110g caster sugar
50g sultanas
2 eggs, lightly beaten

 Method
Pre-heat oven to 180°C
Cream the butter and sugar until soft and light
Add the eggs a little at a time
Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture
Fold in the sultanas
Place 24 paper baking cases into mini muffin trays & spoon in  the mixture
Bake for 12-15 minutes,  until well risen and golden brown
Eat in garden with fairies
Makes 24

A perfect public holiday Monday afternoon: Steve & Olly woke to a house of yummy cake smells & Ava got to do some important mixing & spooning, licking the bowl and even to do some washing up –  me, I bit my lip and ignored the floods of soapy water cascading onto the kitchen floor…

Such delicious little morsels! They almost made up for the lost playground opportunities over the three days with the early spring downpours – a great thing for the garden as all the green stuff has EXPLODED! I’ve got some lovely photos for my next post –  in the meantime, as they say: the proof is in the pudding, hmm-mm!

So, with that the weekend was over and it was time to think about finishing our little holiday – back to work, school and the week ahead with all its stresses and worries. Well, maybe after just one more tasty little morsel? And still enough cakes left to hide one in the garden for our little friends…

…and one last thing!

Good old Collingwood forever!
We know how to play the game
Side by side we stick together
To uphold the Magpies name
Hear the barrackers are shouting,
As all barrackers should!
All the Premierships a cake-walk
For the good old Collingwood!

Congratulations to the fearsome Magpies, winners of this year’s AFL Grand Final

Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Have the cats got Olly’s tongue?

Our little Ollsy turns 18 months tomorrow, already… how amazing that the times flies so quickly! It seems that the hours are excruciatingly long but the weeks fly by: I’m very conscious of trying not to wish this time away as I realise how precious it is but I think it’s automatic conditioning to want to get to the next stage with your babies, whether it be solid food, walking, potty training or talking…

Talking of talking, or not talking as the case may be – I’ve been so enjoying Olly’s silence up til now that I haven’t even thought about his ‘next stage’… Ava, bless her darling heart, is a whirlwind of noise and motion and the two days a week she is at school have been our little oasis in a desert of maelstrom. It’s only in the last week I’ve thought about Olly talking and realised that he really should have been saying a few words by now, especially as his little buddy William has been galloping ahead in the verbal stakes!

So off we went to the audiology clinic at the Children’s Hospital and we had a fun half hour testing Olly’s aural reflexes, to be told his hearing is within the normal range and perhaps he has fluid behind the eardrums and to check it out with the doctor. Or perhaps our wee man is just a tiny bit lazy?! Why bother making the effort for all those separate words when a “uhh?!” will do for absolutely everything?

Let’s see what the next month brings – walking didn’t happen until he was almost 16 months, and at the moment he probably doesn’t feel the need to compete with the cacophony: Ava, the radio, the iPod, me shouting etc. Maybe this weekend we’ll turn it all off and see what happens…

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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