Starter – Day 3

Posted in Food and Drink on May 31st, 2011 by Coffee

Everywhere we’ve looked lately we’ve been harassed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall into trying to make our own sour-dough starter. On TV, on the net (although we didn’t use the rhubarb version of the recipe), in his latest cookbook that we’ve just bought, in his bread book that we’ve just bought..

Ok, so accusing him of harassing us might be a bit rich, but the constant bombardment about how easy and how nice sour-dough loaves will be got me to finally start a starter of our own.

I was a bit worried that I’d not managed to pick up any natural yeasts wandering around the kitchen whisking the dough, but after bringing myself to stop staring at the mix every 5 minutes and just sitting back and letting it do its stuff overnight we had some yeasty bubbly action in the morning.

So we’re now on day three of the starter feeding regime. Another week or so and hopefully we’ll have a starter ready to make bread with.

Looking forward to it!

A couple of visitors…

Posted in Rants And Rambles on May 30th, 2011 by Coffee

The last couple of days have seen a couple of unexpected visitors. First up, yesterday afternoon we were having a relaxing game of snooker with the windows open to make sure we didn’t expire with heat exhaustion when we slowly became aware that there was a hell of a noise coming from the courtyard area. The fantail was back, and boy did he want us to realise it! What was unexpected? The timing of the visit mainly. This was pretty early in the afternoon, when the light was still pretty bright.

So I interrupted our game and wandered out casually with the camera and said hello. He was quite relaxed with me wandering around trying to get a reasonable pic. He even kept flying right by me on his missions to get a bit of food from here and there. And by “right by me” I mean about a foot away. The only thing he refused to do was to show me his damn tail when sitting in the tree where I could take a photo! Grrr. But I’ll keep trying.

The other visitor was even more unexpected. We were up early again this morning, and staring out the window we suddenly realised there was a hot air balloon floating at a pretty low level right over us!

We see a balloon or two pretty much every clear morning, but they’re normally a long way away from us. Looks like this one landed in a paddock just down the road.

I have a brown jersey…

Posted in House, Rants And Rambles on May 25th, 2011 by Coffee

I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that we’re running behind in blog plosts lately, so here’s something that caught our attention today…

I have a brown jersey (I can hear one particular person echoing something along the lines of “a POO BROWN jersey!”).

All the cats I’ve ever met while wearing it seem to like it. Really like it! Our two are seemingly no exception. They tracked it down and even though both of them were falling off, and even though there were hundreds of other more comfortable spots to sleep in, they chose my jersey.

The fact they go out of their way to sleep in uncomfortable positions might go some way to explaining why she in particular is quite happy to try to sleep right in front of our faces at night.

I guess you want all the other news too, huh? Well, there’s not much. We finally got our lounge suite delivered. We’ve had some very welcome visitors for various day or day/night visits. I’ve mowed the “lawn” again. I think we’re very slowly getting better at our long snooker shots. I don’t think we’re improving much at all at our shorter snooker shots… The fantail’s popped in now and then, but not as regularly now it’s a bit drier. There’s still at least one hare hopping around outside…

Basically there’s nothing that exciting going on!

We’ll try harder to find something. Honest!

Kitties installed

Posted in House on May 7th, 2011 by Coffee

We’ve always planned to have a kitty or two here at the ranch for many reasons. But today we installed a couple in the house. We didn’t really mean to, but we saw them at the pet shop and just couldn’t resist.

We got a boy and a girl, from different litters, but they act like they’re sister and younger brother. He follows her around, and she sometimes gets a bit snarly that he’s always in her space, but right now they’re curled up sleeping next to each other.

They’re just so cuuuute! Not the best photo of them, as I can’t bring myself to wake them up to get a better one. It makes them look about 4 times bigger than they are. He’s just tiny! You pat him gently and he falls over.

No names yet. We’ll see if they display any sort of need to have a special moniker over the next few days. But already she’s continuing to display the character that we saw in her of a very, very laid back cat, while he’s a bit more curious.

An unexpected visitor

Posted in House, New Zealand, Plants and Gardens, Rants And Rambles on May 6th, 2011 by Coffee

Late this afternoon we were getting in a bit of snooker practice when I noticed a bit of flitting around in the temporary nursery that has been set up in the courtyard until we decide what to do with both it and the plants. A focussed look revealed a fantail jumping all around the tree that’s there!

This grainy photo’s all we managed to get as it was pretty dark and horrid, but it is proof.

I’ve no idea where it came from or went to. We’re pretty much in an empty paddock except for the house. But I’m stoked that it came and said hi, even if it doesn’t come back for a while. But I hope it does! We might have to have more trees in the courtyard than I thought if that’s what they’ll bring in.

We keep trying to get a decent photo of all the swallows that seem to have made the house a regular venue for a snack, where they come and hover just under the eaves and pick off insects. But they’re just so fast that getting a decent picture is a bit difficult.

This is the best I’ve managed so far:

Reminds me a lot of Top Gun, for some reason! And they certainly fly pretty close and fast to both the house and us when we’re working.

A cunning disguise?…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on May 5th, 2011 by Coffee

A few days ago we made a bit of an attempt to hide all the septic tank gubbins.

A few grasses and iris and stuff seemed like a good start. We’ll just have to see if they do the job, or whether we need to get out a pail of green paint and attack the concrete and plastic. Hopefully we’ll remember to take another photo in 6 months or a year to compare the view.

Cooking With Gorse!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on May 5th, 2011 by Coffee

Remember way back when I got my little red thermette? Well, today we were down the back doing a bit of general tidying up when I came across some of the gorse we chopped out a while ago. A random synaptic fit led me to link the dry gorse and thermette together, and a fun experiment was had.

It actually worked pretty well! Gorse seemed to burn pretty hot when it’s all the little leaves and spikes burning, but it didn’t really like to catch the larger stalk logs I’d sawed off. And it can give off a lot of smoke! But I got there with a bit of careful tendering. Boiling water for a coffee with a jug just isn’t the same!

And yes, I did risk the water and drink a coffee made from the thermette. Tasted like any coffee made here so far. Maybe a small hint of smokiness coming through, but that might have just been off my clothes!