Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Christmas and enjoy your time with family and friends

Last weekend I was busy baking and tidying up the garden.  Hubby has erected the new gazebo that we bought.  Almost the same as the last one we had which lasted a good five years, so hopefully this one does the same.
I felt a bit guilty inside with the aircon on, while he was outside in the tropical heat.  We both achieved what we had hoped though, and this week I will be able to give out some of my home made Christmas treats.  Next weeekend I will bake some of the more delicate items to be served at Christmas. These bliss balls are what I have in mind for dessert ..... recipe
A new recipe I tried was the Gingerbread Mocha biscotti:  recipe here at kitchen simplicity.  They are lovely, and perfect with my little teabag idea that I already posted about. Rooibos chai cookies which I dont really have the recipe for as I swayed so much from the original recipe. Here is the original recipe.  I made the chai mix and added it to some rooibos tea, and that was when I decided to add the rooibos instead of the black tea.  The cookies are great, and it was a nice tea to sip while baking. Gingerbread men and trees.  I made a million of them, and had a hard time herding them into the boxes before they ran out of the door :)  Run, run, as fast as you can......

 
 Here are the gingerbread men all dressed and ready to be packed up.  I use royal icing as it sets hard.
 I also made some christmas trees this year with green icing and sprinkles.  The stars are more like blobs, I have no idea what happened to my proper nozzles...

I will be taking a blogging break for a couple of weeks and will see you again in January.

Happy Christmas
and
A Very Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A German Nativity Pyramid in the Tropics

I received an unexpected package in the mail this week.  A pyramid nativity!  It turns!  It comes with love from my daughter who is living in Germany at the moment!  She knows I love nativities, and this is unlike anything I have ever seen before.
The theory is that in a small, cold  draught free room the heat will rise and send the windmill spinning, which in turn will rotate both of the platforms.  At first it wouldn't work - firstly it is hot here, secondly we have the fans going, and at times the aircon, and it is in the middle of an open plan kitchen living area.
My dear sweet patient, persistent hubby has made a plan.  I hope you can see this little video.


It is now a tropical Nativity pyramid!  With the fan on it goes around like crazy - probably too fast, but once the fan was adjusted it settled down to a nice easy rhythm.  
Down the bottom are Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the Three Kings.  On the Top level is a shepherd with some sheep.  The craftsmanship is just amazing.  It looks so pretty with the candles lit too!



My daughter sent me this photo, so you can see they come in all shapes and sizes. 


I love seeing all the different ways that people celebrate Christmas all around the world. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keeping in touch over Christmas

I have friends and family all over the world and love to make some sort of special connection over Christmas.  The best things is to pop something special into a Christmas card.  Something light and flat that can be considered part of the card.   A couple of times I added crocheted snowflakes and angels, once a little felt needlecase.  On my searches I came across this lovely little poem

On Christmas day at
half past three.
Brew yourself a 
cup of tea.
I'll think of you,
you think of me.
Underneath the
Christmas tree.

I loved it immediately - just the sentiment I wanted to express.  My daughter informed me that with all the different time zones I will be drinking lots of cups of tea :)
 I found these awesome little envelopes at Kmart that perfectly fit a little teabag.   They look like the old fashioned aerogrammes and many of my friends have received aerogrammes from me over the years.
I am using the idea for friends locally too and attaching the package and christmas card to some home baked goodies.  I will be baking gingerbread men and christmas trees, chai cookies, gingerbread biscotti and chocolate fudge, also a selection of bliss balls. What are you baking?

We are getting rain!  The frogs are happy :)



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Flowers!

Lizzie said that she didnt want flowers in the garden collecitve post, so I saved the photos I took last weekend to post them separately. They do deserve their own post - flowers in the garden make me so happy! My lipstick plant is flowering.  Gosh I love these flowers.


You can see how they get their name as the flowers peek out of their little containers just like a tube of red lipstick!


I love the orange of the ixora next to the purple of the tibouchina.



All in all the garden does not seem to have suffered too badly through this drought, and we have had a few little rain showers almost every day for the last week so I guess that means the wet season will be here soon.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Garden share Collective

Here it is again, time to link up with Lizzie for the garden-share-collective-december-2014   It doesn't seem as though a  whole month has passed.  Not much has been going on because even though we are in the beginning of the wet season it has been so dry we actually have stage 2 water restrictions.....
the wet season plants are all coming up out of dormancy though - ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, and oh my gosh the cardamom has flowered and it looks as though seed pods have formed - how great is that!  I have been told repeatedly that you cannot grow seeds here, that the type of cardamom we have is called false cardamom... These definitely look like seeds to me....
 I presume these will now shrivel into the cardamom seeds that we know and love.
Last year I did not grow enough rosella, so I started some seedlings, and they needed some shade so they each got their own little cassava umbrella, along with lemongrass mulch alongside..
Can you see it hiding under there?  
 The eggplant are producing - yeah.  they are growing in the wicking beds, and it seems to have worked really well during this dry season.
 The fennel is growing long and lanky not short and bulbous - should I harvest it already do you think?  One of the others is going to seed.  I read that if you cut just above the ground it will re-shoot.
The shade cloths are doing their job well - in fact it would be better if the whole garden was shaded, but that might happen down the road once my trees grow up.  The barbadoes cherry is already proving some nice filtered light.
I have grave fears for my avocado though.  It looked a bit sad when I bought it, but I thought with some compost and worm poo it would recover.  What do you think it needs?  
Eeek only 24 sleeps to Christmas - how did that creep up on me?  
I have a cheese making kit on my Christmas wish list ..... what is on yours?
It will be January already by the time we link up again, so I wish all of you a very Happy Christmas if you only swing by here once a month.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It isThanksgiving in America

My two daughters are together for Thanksgiving this year, and since we are a family scattered all around the world this is a rare occurance.  I think you need to have lived through a couple of  American Thanksgivings to really appreciate the holiday, and I am grateful that I did experience living in America for many years.

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

After a busy week and weekend we went and sat on the beach with some brie and fresh bread for a couple of hours.  Very relaxing.


You might have noticed that I now have all my blogs tabbed across the top of this one blog.  I have wanted to do this for ages.  Just this last week I e-mailed  Joan at bluemountainsjournal and she very kindly sent me the instructions.  It was easy peasy!  Gosh I am so thankful to be a part of this blogging community, thank you Joan.

On yet another note I am going to be in the grow your blog party again this year.  Please sign up if you are interested - it is great fun, and you will find lots of lovely blogs.  It is hosted by Vicki here .  I am going to have  a giveaway when I post mine so watch out for it on January 25th.


I wont be eating Turkey, but I will be counting my blessings.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lots of colour in the garden despite the lack of rain.

Last night we had a little rain, and it was lovely to walk around this morning and see how the garden had drunk it all up.  We have stage two water restrictions at the moment - unheard of at this time of year here in the wet tropics......  The grass is brown and dry and crunchy underfoot.  The wet season is taking its time arriving, it is muggy and hot as we wait.
The kookaburra like to sit on the fence post surveying where their next meal will be coming from.
 With this dry weather my poor dear hubby is on a conintual quest to mulch up all the leaves.  All my bins are full, and yet they continue to drop.
 The evodia tree is in bloom - so pretty as the flowers from along the branches.  This tree hosts the ulysses butterfly and lots of other nectar feeding birds.
 Look at the flowers close-up - arent they awesome?  They start out like little pink origami boxes, and then the white loops arrive and pop!  they open up!

The lady slipper orchid vine also loves this time of year.....


There is a beehive ginger playing peek - a -boo!  


You can see how the fluted fan palm has suffered during this dry spell.  I have cut back a lot of the dried out heleconia stalks and laid them down as mulch, along with the leaves.  When the rains start that will all start to rot down and form lovely new soil.  

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