Relishes, Extension and Delights.

When I first moved to my home, it was a dinky 2 bedroom house, with not enough room to swing a cat – if I’d wanted to – which I didn’t!cat

But… I have so many interests, so many books, that I had to weave my way though it all like a rabbit in a cornfield. It became fairly obvious very quickly that I needed to do something – and so the L-shaped snug wrap around extension was born.

It was wonderful! I could spread all my detritus around with gay abandon.

Well … you know what that means, don’t you? The old saying ‘you always fill the space you have’ has worked admirably in my case. How did I fit all this ‘stuff’ in such a small house before? My books have bred with alarming fecundity, my material goods have wheelincreased threefold ( a spinning wheel and loom added to the floor space) and my extra cupboards are now full of jars over flowing with delights for the palate.

I have made preserves of all kinds, sauces and marmalade, jams and jarschutneys. I have experimented with cordials and different butters (lemon and peanut), flavoured vinegars and pickles, and even pastes and relishes.

When my garden gives me a glut of anything, zucchinis to apples – I work out a preserve for the lean times.

Recently, a friend gave me some mangoes. Now, I know you will all be horrified ( and mangorightly so) – but I don’t like mangoes!

Mango relish is a different story tho’. Here is the recipe I used.

MANGO RELISH: –

900g/2lb mangoes (peeled, de-stoned and sliced)

!/2 tspn salt

225g/8oz peeled,cored and sliced apples

200g/3/4cup raw sugar

1 onion – chopped finelyrelish

1 tspn crushed garlic.

Place the mangoes in a bowl (non-metallic) and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for a while.

Put the vinegar and sugar into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Add the mangoes, apples, onion and garlic, and bring to the boil (stir occasionally).

Rn hour, until the mixture is thick.

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal. Allow two weeks to mature before eating.

******

So …

Now my house is full again, my pantry is bulging and my bookcases are groaning. What else is left to do?

My dreams are reality – and at 70 years of age, that is a wonderful thing to admit. Now the only thing that I would like is a man to love. But – be careful what you wish for – not only do I NOT want a married man, or a young stud, or a drunken old man, or a widow who is still grieving his past wife, or a gambler, or a smoker, or an angry personality, or a violent man, or a sick personage that I have to care for, or a sports fanatic, or a  ……………. you get the idea? I’m very hard to please!!!! An impossible dream and fantasy at my age.

With kindness

Maureen

BookCoverImageSLF

 

P.S. I love fantasy and gentleness. Here is the second book in my chapter books about  fairies and elves that I wrote for middle school age children. Interested? email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com

Book 1 is called ‘Broken Wing’ and Book 3 is titled ‘Cave of the Golden Bowerbird’. I wonder if I’ll write a book 4?

 

 

 

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Raw Umber, Emerald Green and Dark Blue.

Hi Everyone. hope you had a great Easter break. I know I did. I enjoyed a visit to my daughter’s family in Ballina, N.S.W. Australia. It’s always lovely to see the grandchildren – they are growing up so quickly. This time, I was privileged to have my grand-daughter pick me up and then drive me to the bus when I left. She is still on her ‘L’s and was accompanied by a nervous father!L

The title of my blog post this week consists of artist’s paint colours and gives me the opportunity to introduce Mykel – an artist of rare talent.

Being an author myself, I recognize the difficulties of making a living from our craft. paintArtists, artisans and authors have a lot in common. People tend to consider our work as n This is in fact far from the truth, as not only do we put in a great many hours (in isolation), but we also add in part of our souls.

While I’m talking introductions, let me also mention Marguerite Wellbourne. She is my alter ego. Where Maureen writes children’s books and other types of books, Marguerite writes steamy novels not suitable for kids!

There is also Elizabeth Kempers and her blog ‘ http://www.lizseverest.com ‘ that writes about emotions and healing suggestions, about wholesome living and growing as individuals. You’re welcome to go and have a look.

Over the next few weeks, I will be organizing a ‘shop’ on my next page of this blog. At present it has a free children’s book  (soft cover – not ebook) that I will send if you email me your particulars. Until I have a ‘shopping cart’ available, if there are any items (including the wonderful original painting shown below) you would like to buy or know more about, please don’t hesitate to email me on maureenlarter@gmail.com and I will answer as soon as possible. Payment can be made through Paypal or direct payment to my bank account – the details will be available when I receive an email from you.

As well as my books, there will be ‘Sweetfield’ and ‘Mykelcee Designs‘ products for sale. Mykel’s original paintings will gradually come on line, and an online exhibition is on the way, too.

Please let me know what you think when I finally get something together.

Here is the first of Mykel’s original paintings.

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‘Jellybrain’ $700

ARTIST – Mykel

Sometimes it is amazing to see other peoples art and this Australian artist is one very talented man! His art can go from realistic to abstract, colourful to optical and hypnotizing.

Just imagine this painting in your lounge room – colours swirling and fracturing around you. Or perhaps in an optometrist’s office, exciting the eye and disturbing the brain.

All the art work of this artist is thought provoking and vibrant.

I love it – and there will be more examples to show soon.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the art work now and in the future – please contact me at maureenlarter@gmail.com

front

‘Tarnished Gems’ by Marguerite Wellbourne is a story of 6 women and their interaction after an accident. (Some sex scenes) $20 plus postage.

Maureen Larter writes children’s books – as well as picture books for children. This is a children’s chapter book in a series of three, about fairies and elves: http://amzn.com/B00BLVP0KM

My fan page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eBooksByMaureenLarter
My author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ISCNZ4U

Radishes, Eastern and Dahlias.

Did you know that after the atomic bomb hit Japan and there was so much destruction, the first things that were grown – on a hospital window sill – were radishes?

This gave hope to the devastated people.

War is so terrible – innocent people get hurt with horrific wounds, let alone be killed. I saw the effects in Cambodia, and yet – still – somewhere on the planet, there is war. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are, peace is hard to maintain. It makes me sad.

I live on the Eastern side of Australia, and even here, there are crimes, anger and violence within homes and communities. Seems to be that humans can’t learn – and the urge to violence is in all of us. If we can’t get along with our family or friends or near community, how an earth can there ever be peace on Earth?

What with guns used indiscriminately and cruelties against women, the world, for all its beauty, is an uncomfortable place to be at times. I have just about finished a novel about domestic violence – so much in the news at present – and it wasn’t an easy book to write. It is called ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ and should be available soon. Book cover by Francessca Wingfield. OrdealbyIa

OK – enough! Lets\’s talk about other things.

Here is a lovely salad recipe, using radishes, from Coles free magazine – February 2017 Page 4 – feel free to go and look at all the free magazines at you leisure. img257

( http://www.coles.com.au/magazine#view=catalogue2&saleId=15442&page=4 )

The other thing that happened this week was our local country town show. Country shows in Australia are the event to show off our produce, stock and horses. imagesaSo there are judging for cows and calves/ sheep and goats. Even poultry. In the pavilion, we have knitting, crotchet, quilling, quilting and dressmaking. We also have flowers such as Dahlias,downloaddroses, lilies and plants of all kinds. Everything is judged and gets a ribbon.

The schools also enter displays.

clownSide-show alley is alive and well, and stalls sell all sorts of things.

 

Tractors, mowers and machinery are all on show. We have a rodeo one nightdownloadf, and a demolition derby on the next.downloadb

 

 

 

 

Great fun for all ages and on top of that gives the next year’s entries something to dream about.

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. – Here is a lovely picture book for children about a concert or show. “Ben Brolga’s BenfrontBand’ is about Australian birds that dance, and they form a band, giving a concert to all there friends in the bush. It is FREE if you email me for it. My email is maureenlarter@gmail.com

This is also shown on my next page.

 

 

Recipes, Electricity and Dinner.

As an elderly (No – not possible – where has the time gone?  I am still 30 inside my head), single lady living on a pension, I strive to live comfortably on a budget.

To do this, I put necessary bill money away automatically.  These are things such as elecelectricity, phone, my stock feed and Internet bills. A little every fortnight is not missed, but a large bill coming in on the three month cycle can be a huge hit in one go, so this is a preferable scheme.

I try, also, to cook my meals from fresh produce – either out of the garden, or the specials of the fortnight. (I only shop once a fortnight).

I garden, I preserve my produce, I knit to make my own garments for Winter, I teach piano and violin for a little pocket money and I write children’s books and novels, to keep my brain active. It makes for a busy life – but I am never bored. It means I have many interests and projects to do.

In this blog, I like the idea of sharing my knowledge of all the above activities. So I often have gardening tips, recipes for all sorts of goodies and books to sell.

One of my favourite dinner recipes, easy, quick and tasty, is:-best-ever-spaghetti-sauce_large

Spaghetti with yummy sauce.

1 tin diced tomatoes, one onion (chopped), 1 zucchini (with skin, chopped) 1 rasher of bacon (chopped) 3 mushrooms (chopped) and a handful of spaghetti (or so).

Boil the spaghetti in water in a saucepan till soft but not sticky. While spaghetti is cooking, heat a small dribble of oil in a frying pan. Add bacon and onion. Fry gently till just coloured. Add the zucchini and mushrooms. Stir through the bacon/onion mixture. Finally add the diced tomatoes. By the time this is all heated through, the spaghetti should be ready. Drain it and place on plate, top with the sauce. If desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

If you are vegetarian, leave out the bacon. You can add other vegetables if you desire, but make sure they are chopped or grated so they mix in and cook at the same rate as the rest. This usually makes enough for two or three meals – so adjust the spaghetti accordingly. The extras can be frozen for later meals.

Keeping good food on the table and looking after the environment around me is a wonderful way to keep young, healthy and active in the community. I have traveled to China and Cambodiapaddy – and the people are lovely. If I can impart some of my knowledge I will be a happy human.

While I think of it – are there any recipes, projects or gardening tips you would like to know?

Do you have any questions?

Please leave a comment and I will try to add in any answers I am able to give.

With kindness

Maureen

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Some of my garden guides – for a temperate area – cost is $10 for each booklet – or $30 for the lot (plus postage). Contact me on maureenlarter@gmail.com if you are interested.

Rest, Effects and Decorating.

Finally we all get a rest from the heat of Summer. This year has been dry and hot, and as I age I’ve felt it more than previous years. With Autumn came the rain, and a better temperature. My garden thanked the Nature Gods and the plants that had almost expired, re- hydrated and lifted their leaves to the heavens.

plantI find the effects of rain amazing. I water diligently in the heat, and the plants wilt – along comes the water from the sky, and they rejoice. The grass becomes green overnight and the flowers perk up and buds and new leaves form.

Now I whinge about the wet! And I worry I haven’t got my seeds in soon enough, and that I’ll need to mow more now the grass is finally growing.

Aren’t humans contrary!

I can’t believe that I went from sitting at the edge of a stream, fanning myself and wondering whether I could breathe, to looking at the possibility of donning a cardigan or hoodie! All in the space of twenty four hours.

While I think of it – I haven’t given out a recipe for a while – here is a delicious cake/bread to be served warm or cold, with butter or not – great picnic fare.

Barabrith:-

250g mixed dried fruit of choice

125g raw sugarbread

250g SR flour

1 egg

½ tspn mixed spice

1 cup cold tea.

  1. Soak fruit overnight in the tea with the added sugar.
  2. Next morning, preheat oven to 180-200°C.
  3. Add egg, flour and spice to the fruit mixture. Mix well.
  4. Place in 2 greased loaf tins or one large square cake tin.
  5. Bake for approx 45 mins.
  6. Serve cool, sliced with butter. Serves 8-12.

Enjoy! It can be decorated with a sprinkle of icing sugar, or a lemon icing goes well too. I prefer to eat it warm – nothing except a pat of butter – YUM!!

These days, I love to cook – it is better to know what I put in the food I eat. Maybe, the escalating of weight and disease can be attributed to the preservatives and other things that the manufacturers put in our food to give it a long shelf life. Of course, that is only my opinion, and there are many influences in our 21st Century lifestyle that contribute to our health. One day, maybe, the dream of a long and healthy life will be the norm. (As an aside, it probably should be pointed out, that a check on our population would not go astray either!)

With Kindness

Maureen

Here is a little children’s picture book celebrating the changes in life, and the beauty around us. ($20 Australian plus postage)Candy Cow Front

If you would like a copy to read to the children in your life, be they sons, daughters, grandchildren or nephews and nieces, please feel free to contact me on maureenlarter@gmail.com

 

Raw, Earth and Dips.

One of my passions in life is trying to leave my little patch of paradise in a better condition than when I moved to it. I have nearly 15 acres in the mid north coast of New South Wales in Australia.

My home

What a view as I sit at my computer!

The soil in most of Australia is of a poorish quality – so the first thing is to try and improve it. I have decided NOT to add anything man-made as far as fertilizers go. Sure – everything in Nature can be tracked back to chemicals, but I prefer to use the natural manures to help the soil.

Did you know, that fertilizers were more or less ‘invented’ after the World Wars. bombCommercial manufacturers of bombs noticed that the grass and plant life around bomb-craters were green and healthily growing. When the wars ended, they didn’t know what to do with all the left over chemicals in their factories, so they turned to making fertilizer with them. The use of these fertilizers have become so widespread that it has now become known as ‘conventional’ farming  and ‘organic’ farming that had been used for millennia suddenly became ‘alternative’ and  strange.

Now there is a swing back to the sustainable way of farming. Raw cow manure

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

and poultry manure

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREare easily obtained – and should be composted down to create a wonderful bio-media to add to the soil. If you put the raw manure on your plants, it will burn – always compost down first.

I suggest that you make three compost bins – one just started, one working and the other ready to dip into to add to the garden.  There are various ways to easily construct a compost heap, and if you google it you will find an amazing amount of information.bin

I like the idea of buying rubbish bins – digging a hole in your garden, taking the bottom out of the bin, and burying it in the hole up to the brim. The scraps and manure etc go in the bin, the lid goes on to protect  the contents, the worms are able to get in from the bottom, and when it has all worked its magic, pull out the bin, and the compost is exactly where you want it!

Now on a small vegetable house garden that is not so difficult – but what about on a broader scale – paddock size?? It is easy to spread man-made fertilizer there, so how do you use ‘organic’ methods on a large scale? That has been the biggest problem for our modern day farmers with huge tracts of land to improve, machinery to use that makes it quicker and conversely, not enough time to create the amount of food that our growing population needs.

That last paragraph needs an article all to itself – in fact all environmental improvements for our Earth need lots of people to talk about them. We are lucky that the human race is inventive and resilient. Hope and dreams are necessary for us all.

With Kindness

Maureen

Soil cover front cI have written a little booklet about improving the soil. If you are interested, they are AU$8 plus postage. Contact me at maureenlarter@gmail.com and let me know where to send it.

 

Raspberries, Equipment and Diets.

To follow on from my post last week, let’s talk more about diets.

We are bombarded by advice all the time. Diets have become a multi million dollar business.

But just what do you follow? Are you hoping to have a body of an eighteen year old, even though you may have had 3 children and have reached the ‘over the hill’ age?

I think it is about time to be realistic – blow raspberries (yes – I know – the real things are good for you) at all those yoyo dieters and gym junkies.raspberry

Now – I have nothing against exercise and good, healthy eating. But there is no need to go overboard.

Yes – the gym has a certain appeal, with it’s equipment and weights and bars – and healthy eating has it’s place, too. But …

It’s your friends birthday, and there is a birthday cake covered in luscious chocolate icing and accompanied by whipped cream as well as a very insistent friend smiling at you and begging you to have some. Now that’s exactly my point – have some! You don’t have to demolish the cake all by yourself in one sitting!

The secret, as far as I can see is my mother’s generation’s old adage – everything in moderation.

My mother even went so far as recommending that a dinner plate should have a little bit of as many colours as you can find. White from potatoes or turnip or rice, green from lettuce or broccoli or beans or peas, red from beetroot or tomatoes or capsicum, yellow from pumpkin or corn. You get the idea.

We always had a small dessert after dinner as well. Sugar was never overused in our house, and was not considered a health hazard.

The things we DID NOT have was soft drinks and junk food. Everything was cooked fresh.junkb

Weight was never a problem – and as you grew older, it was understood that your body changed and exercise was not so robust. I have been doing some research into the phenomenon of the ‘middle age and older’ body. It used to be called ‘middle-age spread‘. Women, in particular seem to take on a bigger boob, rotund tummy and larger backside shape.

Why?

It can’t be that we are all bad eaters and not exercisers. Well – I’ve found out that as we age our metabolism slows down – but we can do something about it! Matt Stone has done a lot of research into this particular problem – see his website –  http://180degreehealth.com – very interesting reading. Diet suddenly becomes a dirty word!

Let’s get back to a sensible outlook on our food and daily lives. Stressing constantly about what you eat and what you weigh is counterproductive. Consider that you can eat less, if you are overweight, but don’t starve yourself – it only makes the body confused and can be dangerous in the long run. And remember – getting tangled up in the diet mentality means you are only making someone else rich on your weaknesses and addictions.

That’s all from me about that now – I’ll get off my soapbox. Enjoy your life – let minor irritations go and learn from your mistakes but don’t let them rule your life. After all, to be blunt and scary – in a hundred years time no-one will even remember that you were worried and stressed.

In my next post, I’ll talk about gardens – our Earth seems to have been put on a diet too, and the soil is impoverished and needs food. What are your thoughts?

Till next week.

With Kindness

Maureen

Even dogs can experience stress – and it is no good for them, as well as for you and/or your Dotdogfrontchildren. Here is a story about Dorothy Dog who gets lost. The paperback to read to your children is available from me for AU$20 plus postage. Take a look at my facebook page and message me if you are interested. www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia