Reasons, Eggs and Daylight

Hi everyone – well, Easter has been and gone, and here in Australia, Summer daylight saving has finished. The cooler weather has started and shorter days progress. The hens have gone into a moult and there are feathers everywhere, but, while they are growing new feathers for Winter, I’m not getting any eggs.

The goats are getting old, and the cows are dry – so no fresh milk. Life is not as rosy as it was just a few short weeks ago.

So those are the reasons I can cheerfully say “Oh – woe is me!” Lucky I have a sense of humour. But – you can’t keep me down for long – there is still so much to be happy about. I have seedlings to put in – cabbage, broccoli, cauli, snow peas and all-year lettuces. They will be feeding me in the coldest months.

However, on a lighter note, I am still writing, and there are going to be several books added to my library stable. “Elephants Everywhere” is the next of my children’s picture books to be released.

I have a picture book – “Bartholomew” by Elizabeth Kempers that Sweetfields Publishing will release very soon, and 4 other books waiting in the wings by two different authors.

I have started on two more chapter books for middle school children as well. “Rosferado – a New Adventure” (The titles may change in the future) is book two of my wizard series. “Kathy and the Sea Dragons” or maybe “Smugglers and Dragons”(?) is the second book in the Kathy Edwards series of adventures. Hopefully these will be available later in the year.

It’s going to be a busy year.

Release, Extraordinaire and Direction.

Now that three months have gone, and Easter is almost here, I am able to give you all news of the new direction my life has been moving in.

I have started to publish, not only my own books, but other people’s as well. Sweetfields Publishing has already helped two struggling authors, and there are more in the pipeline.

I have also been working hard at releasing two more of my books – one is a picture book (‘Larry Lyrebird Laughs’)

and the other a fantasy chapter book for middle school children (‘Rosferado – Wizard Extraordinaire‘).Rosferado Cover FRONT Trim

Whoever said retirement was relaxing had obviously not retired. I seem to be busier than ever. Not that I’m complaining – as you age – challenges and busyness are the very things that keep your brain and body functioning.

In Australia we are now in Autumn (Fall) and heading for winter. One of my other projects is my vegetable garden. Now is the time to prepare for winter – so I’ve planted cauliflowers, cabbage, broccoli ( these are collectively called – brassicas) and onions.Brassicasa cauliThese are all more slower growing than Spring and Summer vegetables. I’ve also put in carrots, beetroot and turnips. Root crops should be in poorer soil than other plants, as the roots are the edible bits – protected from Winter frosts, but easily misshapen by too much fertilizer. I still have parsnips, silver beet (also known as chard) and leeks to get into the soil.

Of course, the northern hemisphere is in Spring – so they should be growing everything from lettuce to zucchini, tomatoes to watermelons, and cucumber to corn and everything in between. I love flowers for the bees as well, but I am very much a vegetable grower. It is important to be able to grow your food and know where it comes from and that it hasn’t been sprayed with anything toxic.

If you enjoy gardening, both Autumn and Spring are wonderful times to get out into the outside, as the temperature is not too cold, nor too hot.

With Kindness.

P.S. I have two more pages to this blog. Can you find them – would you prefer all of page two and three moved to page one?

Raisins, Environment and Dolphins

I can’t believe it is already March! 3rd month of 2019 – the time goes so quickly.

It doesn’t help that I have another birthday, so am one year older. birthdayI remember my father telling me when he was 80 that he didn’t feel any different to when he was 40. At the time, I didn’t quite believe him, but now I understand. It is a pity the mirror can’t be more understanding and show you a younger face as well! LOL!

At the moment, the environment around here is still dry. All through January and February we were crying out for rain and relief from the heat and still we wait. The ground water table is low and my house has moved and the doors don’t close. We desperately need moisture in the soil. The fields here were nearly dust when they should have been lush and green.

The fires, in Tasmania, were ravaging the land, the snow, in the Canada and the USA, was frigid and thick, and floodthe floods in North Queensland killed cattle by the thousands, and with them, people’s dreams and livelihoods.

Nature is, and always has been, cruel. We hear of famines and floods in the distant past as well as now. Potatoes in Ireland full of disease, droughts in Africa with thousands dying of starvation, earthquakes in Europe burying people, and mudslides in Asia eradicating whole villages.

Perhaps the Earth has been trying to tell us for ages that we, as a species, need to be more mindful of this beautiful planet. I honestly feel that we haven’t learnt – we populate at a staggering rate, ruin habitats that have been sheltering animals for years, and pollute oceans with rubbish and plastics without a thought or care about other species.

Can you imagine a life without dolphins, whales and fish in our oceansdolphins – no eagles, owls, bats or birds in our skies, or Polar bears, majestic cats and great elephants on our lands? It would be a sad and sorry planet. And it is heading there fast!

It is time we did something to halt the spread of our peoples ( almost like a virus) over the planet.

Suggestions? Is education the answer?

Is the earth ready to eradicate us? Are governments so full of idiots that they can’t and won’t see what is in front of their eyes?

OK. Enough said.

But I would love to hear that we can do something – the plunder of our planet and greed that causes a lot of it – must stop.

Just so we can end on a positive note – let’s have a lovely recipe.

(just be aware I add sultanas in place of raisins.)

Barabrith – Welsh tea bread.

Ingredients:-

250g mixed dried fruit/raisins/sultanas – your choice

125g raw sugar

250g SR flourbread

1 egg

½ tspn mixed spice

1 cup cold tea.

  1. Soak fruit overnight in the tea with the added sugar.
  2. Next morning, pre-heat 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 45mins.
  6. Serve cool, sliced with butter. Serves 8-12.

YUMMY!

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. – Have you checked out page two and three yet? There is another story to read on page two ( readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ) and some art to look at on page three ( readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs ). Some of my archives have recipes, too. (I haven’t learnt how to tell the contents of each post in my archive list – sorry).

Resolutions,Envy and Distractions

Now that 2019 is well underway – gosh – February already – it will be Christmas soon!

(I really didn’t say that – one thing on your New Year Resolutions list of things to do this year, is to buy or make one gift a month!)

At the beginning of the year I traveled by train to Ballina on the north coast of New South Wales in Australia, (an 8 hour trip), to see my daughter.

I had plenty of time to think, without too many distractions. I was luck to have a seat to myself on the train, both up and back three days later! I spent the time organizing my resolutions for the coming year – things to do and books to write.

Fortunately, the list is long, and the motivation to rule out the jobs when they are done is enough to keep me going.

Motivation is a problem for many people, and I understand. There are some days that I really feel like staring into space, envying all my friends for their achievements, but not willing to do anything myself.

It is a trap we all fall into! But once you actually make yourself do something towards your goals, you actually feel better! Funny how that works!

However, please accept, that some days it is alright to relax, re-charge- and sleep if necessary. Factor it into your resolutions – one day a week for yourself – relaxation, meditation or just simply – doing nothing. It is good for the soul!

What resolutions did you make for this year?

Have you been distracted yet – or have you managed to start?

If you have begun your list, and actually crossed a couple off, I envy you.

To help you in your motivation – follow these steps:-

  1. Make a plan/list.
  2. Get up!
  3. Start!
  4. If the list feels overwhelming, start with the simplest tasks first.
  5. Each day allow one hour to do something on your list – even if you don’t finish – it is progress.
  6. Repeat.

Well, that’s all from me this month.

For all those in the Northern hemisphere who are snowed in – I hope it gets warmer. For all those waiting desperately for rain in Australia – let’s hope it arrives gently on your doorstep. For all those in Townsville, Queensland, having to cope with the mess of floods, I hope you can cope, and for all those in Tasmania beset by fires, I hope a deluge occurs to quench the flames.

Life and nature are harsh and difficult at times, but there is beauty and happiness, too – remember that.

With Kindness

Maureen

P.S. Remember to have a look at readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs for some artwork to buy.

readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book has a new story to read as well. Enjoy.

Return, Everyday and Drudgery.

Don’t believe the title!

Sure, I have returned from my holiday with my daughter, when I went fishing, shopping and eating in a nice, if noisy, restaurant. (not worth the price of the meal, I might add.)

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, ocean, sky, mountain, outdoor and nature

Yes- that’s me! Out on the boat catching the most fish that day.

Yes, I have returned to the everyday chores of my home life after the silly season. (I’m sure we all gave a collected sigh of relief for another year!)

But DRUDGERY? No way!

If life came down to a dull, painful monotonous day, would it be worth living?

Now, I know many people, as they age, can not do too much, due to health problems. but I decided many years ago, to not give in to aging. I saw my grandmother go downhill rapidly when she decided she was ‘old’ and therefore couldn’t do anything. She gave up knitting, sewing, gardening and reading. All these things had been her normal life, but as soon as she gave them up, she became a shell of her former self.

Not for me!!

The old saying – ‘to grow old gracefully’ should be changed to – ‘to grow old DISgracefully’ That is my idea to make sure I keep young. The more interests and the busier you are, the better for the body and the mind. I ‘do’ even if I don’t feel like it – once my day becomes active (either with the body or the mind) I feel better immediately.

I knit, crochet, garden, write and read. I socialize, I market on the computer and I publish other people’s books. I teach piano and violin and keep bees, cows and chickens.

meandbees

Only two hives, but they keep me well supplied with honey. I’m giving a workshop here for Landcare, about keeping bees.

I cook – making sure I get whole, fresh produce every meal.

I make my own mayonnaise, peanut butter, muesli (granola) with my own home-grown fruit, dehydrated in my own dehydrator and more. I endeavour to cook a variety of food, so that my body gets a load of different vitamins and nutrients every day.

Here is a typical weekly menu – but, remember, it changes every week.

Monday: Breakfast :- 1 egg on a slice of multi-grain toasted bread. Lunch: – salad wrap, with lettuce/tomato/cucumber/ mayo/ ham and pickled onion (my bit of fermented food)) in a Quinoa wrap. Dinner:- Sweet and sour Pork with rice (include capsicum/onion/pineapple/broccoli and carrot in the stir fry). for my homemade s/s sauce see recipe later)

Tuesday:- Breakfast:- 1 cup granola with 1 cup milk ( and a touch of sugar – optional). Lunch:- 2 egg mushroom omelet. Dinner:- Crumbed chicken thigh or breast and vegetables – generally carrot, peas and potatoes.

Wednesday:- Breakfast:- 1 weetbix with 1/2 sliced banana (or diced strawberries, blueberries) with 1 cup milk. Lunch:- Tuna and avocado with mayo and corn sandwich. Dinner:- Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Thursday:- Breakfast: 1 cup of yoghurt with diced fresh fruit and a sprinkle of granola to add texture. Lunch:- Bubble and squeak ( leftover potato from previous night with onion and cabbage.) Dinner:- Satay chicken stir fry with vegetables and rice.

Friday:- Breakfast:- 1 egg, (scrambled). Lunch:- Caesar Salad. Dinner:- Macaroni cheese with mixed vegetables on the side.

You get the idea!

I was thinking of putting out a cook book called ‘For one and only” as most cookbooks are for a family, and as I live alone, not really relevant for me. 

What do you think?

Oh – and here’s the sweet and sour sauce recipe:-

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1 cup Pineapple juice (with water)

2 tblspns cornflour

¼ cup vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tblspns soy sauce

2-3 tblspns tomato sauce

1 cup chopped onions

1 ¼ cup of pineapple pieces

2-3 drops of red food colouring (optional)

other chopped vegetables as desired. (carrot, cabbage, broccoli etc.)

  1. Blend cornflour, pineapple juice and vinegar in a saucepan.
  2. Soak onion in red colouring for a few minutes.
  3. Add everything to saucepan except pineapple pieces.
  4. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Serve with rice. Serves 4. 
  5. Veg can be par cooked if desired.
  6. I bottle extra and keep in fridge for a little while – using the next week with a different meat – pork, or chicken or diced lamb – it can also be used with just vegetables for vegetarians)

P.S. Don’t forget to have a quick look at my second and third page. There is a new story  (The Killing) up to read on page 2 ( readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book ) and some art for sale – will be doing some T-shirts soon) ( readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs )

slower

 

 

Reindeer,Elves and Decorations

XmasAAAAh! ‘Tis the Silly Season!

Now, I have to admit that I’m not religious in any ‘orthodox’ religions. In Australia we tend to think of kangaroos instead of reindeer, and heat and flies instead of elves and snow, but there is still the decorations all over the place.

How incongruous to be giving cards with snow and snowmen on their covers, how silly it is to feed a family a full roast dinner with a flaming fruit pudding with all the trimmings in the middle of our summer – pity the poor cooks in the kitchen! It isn’t unusual for the day’s temperature to soar into the forties, and there has been the odd time that firemen guests have been taken away from the festivities by the siren call of a fire in the bush.

I really don’t like what the celebration of Christmas has become – commercial codswallop to make you spend money, and ever more expensive gifts that the children and young people of today lust after.

Where are the joys of handmade gifts, made with love throughout the year? Why does Australia continue to glorify the birth of Jesus, when it is fairly widely known that He was born in the Arabian Summer?

I found it even more amazing, when visiting the Buddhist country of Cambodia, to see Christmas paraphernalia every where. When asked why, the general population didn’t know the significance, and just thought it was all ‘very pretty’.

Still … I don’t want to be considered a sad sack, so here is a menu for a summer feast – salads and ice-cream to enjoy.

Watermelon salad:

lettuce (any type – your choice), Watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese or similar, pickled onions and dressing ( mayonnaise mixed with olive oil and salt and pepper.)

You may notice I haven’t given any quantities – it depends on whether it is intended for one or a crowd! For one:- A small handful of lettuce leaves, broken  into small chunks, a slice of watermelon cubed (If you want to get fancy, try cutting with cookie cutters into wmelonhearts, stars or Christmas tree shapes), 1/2 cup of diced cucumber, a handful of crumbled feta and several small pickled onions, sliced. Mix together a tablespoon of mayo with a slurp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over, then mix into the ingredients all tossed together in a bowl.

For a crowd? – just multiply the ingredients!

For omnivores – a lovely cold roast chicken or leg of lamb or cold whole prawns (or all choices for a crowd) sliced onto a self-serve plate are great accompaniments to salads.

For vegetarians? Add a main meal of :-  Mixed vegetable Quiche.

Take a handful of any vegetables you have on hand and cut them into small cubes. This could be carrot, capsicum, onion or leek, and zucchini. you can add a small tin of corn kernels, tiny florets of broccoli and cauliflower, as well as anything else you desire.

Add the vegetables to well beaten eggs. Use 2 for a small quiche, and 6 to 8 for a large one. Pour into a pastry case (bought or made by you) and cook in a moderate oven until eggs are firm and golden. Grated cheddar cheese can be sprinkled on top if you wish. Pop it back into the oven for a few moments to melt the cheese. Allow to cool to serve.

Top the meal off with a lovely dessert. ANYTHING with home-made ice-cream (see recipes in archives – I think May?? ). An Australian specialty is Fruit Pavlova.

You can buy the meringue base from the supermarket (try minis meringue shells if you are on your own) and add lashings of sweetened whipped cream topped with seasonal fruit – whatever is your favourite.Pavlova.jpg

P.S. Remember to look at my second and third pages for children’s books as gifts, and original art and limited edition prints for someone special.FLOW

readeatdream.net/sweetfields-products-and-mykelcee-designs

readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-bookBookcover2

 

 

Reactions, Educate and Dairy.

Gosh a fortnight goes quickly!

It is time to post another article about my thoughts and life – although why anyone would find that interesting, beats me!

Judging people always seems to me to be an exercise in futility. We all have challenges and obstacles in our lives, and that is what makes us who we are. Reactions to our hurts, worries and doubts often cause us to react to other people, often with anger, and they react right back. It can cause heart ache and misunderstanding.

Always treat people the way you would like to be treated – I know that is difficult sometimes, but kindness, tolerance and love are emotions we feel, and they shouldn’t be buried. We need to educate ourselves to show these qualities, so that we can reach the happiness we all deserve.

Now that I’ve done my preaching for the day, I should give you something to enjoy.

I’ve already given you a great recipe for ice-cream ( see Archives – May 27th – you can find that by clicking on the bars on the right hand corner of my site). I often give you icerecipes – and I don’t consider gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan or vegetarian or allergy making ingredients.

I’m sorry.

I will try to find a great tasting treat to include all those things.

What about :- No cook, Apricot balls?apricot No – that’s no good – it includes dairy.

What about :- Christmas mince pies? No – that’s no good, there is dairy in the pastry and                              gluten, too!

What about :-  My favourite – savoury mince with rice? – Obviously no good – it includes                               meat!mince

Well, that took care of my ideas for a recipe  … so … instead of a recipe today, I thought I’d give you something to make for a Christmas gift – after all, Christmas is fast approaching. This is a knitting project.

Knitted Slippers – can be made in any size – from baby to adult.

slipperUse 8 ply wool or acrylic yarn, double strand, and size 6.00mm needles (remember I live in Australia – use the equivalent in your country.) 2 x 100gm balls in two different colours makes two slippers for an adult.

Cast on (using two strands) 17 (23, 29, 35,or 41) stitches, depending on the size you require.

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Knit 5 (7 – 9 – 11 – 13), Purl 1, Knit 5 (7 – 9 -11 – 13), Purl 1, Knit 5 (7 – 9 – 11 – 13)

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are 11 (13 – 15 – 17 – 19) ridges on the right side, ending with a row 2.

Shape toe:

Row 1: Purl 1 Knit 1 across the row.

Row 2: Knit 1 Purl 1 across the row.

Repeat these two rows until you have 9 (11 – 13 – 15 – 17) rows worked.  Break off yarn, leaving a length of about 10 inches to use for stitching together. Slip the thread through the stitches on the needle, casting off and pulling the thread tight to form the toe shape. Sew to the beginning of ribbing. Fold in half and sew inside seam for centre back. Add a pompom or button or bow (use your creativity) to finish off. Make a second one to finish the pair.

Knit a pair for each member of your family.

With Kindness

Maureen

quakeP.S. A new short story is up on the next page. An amusing true story!! – readeatdream.net/free-childrens-picture-book