In a week when the polar vortex hit Eastern Australia with a vengeance our main focus was on keeping warm. That is easier said than done in an old weatherboard house built in the 1800’s. The beautiful old oregon floorboards have cracks through which you can see the great outdoors and and heat is easily lost. We have decided to get the underfloor of the house insulated with a hi-tech honeycomb material clad in what looks like tinfoil. It blankets the underneath of the house blocking the cold that comes up from the ground and effectively trapping in any heat. I wasn’t too sure until a friend of mine said her brother did it in Tasmania and it made a huge difference. It should improve the temperature indoors by 5-7 degrees which would improve it from ice box to cool room temperature! The cold weather has encouraged us to keep the wood fire burning and we snuggle up in one section of the house as much as possible. The easiest way to get warm is to take the dog for a walk or do some work in the garden to be honest!
Our wood neatly stacked and staying dry next to the old bread oven.
We finally got round to “pruning” the mulberry tree which was so huge there was absolutely no hope of getting any of the fruit before the birds so Cam made yet another call to Noel in Nowra (who provides him with all his boy toys) and on Saturday Noel delivered a sparkly new chainsaw. He stayed to show him how to work it and to help us chop most of the tree down. He was invaluable as he had straps and experience to ensure it all went event free. Now we are hoping that when the new canes sprout from the tree we will be able to bend them and create a tree – almost like an espalier – where we can harvest the fruit easily and hopefully before the birds do….
I was most excited this week to discover there is somewhere in Berry that stocks all my foody items, No more trips to the Essential Ingredient in Sydney to pick up my favourite things. The Treat Factory was, I thought, just a gimmicky place selling jams to the coachloads of tourists that flock here each weekend but next door to it is their warehouse and blow me down with a feather it sells Careme pastry which is a girls best friend when it comes to a bit of puff pastry for a tarte tatin! Those of you that use it will understand my delight….
A bit of foodie heaven in Berry
Armed with my beloved pastry, pomegranate molasses, the longest cinnamon sticks I have ever seen, some raw honey and some mustard pickles I was a happy chappy indeed. They even said they could order things in if I needed something they didn’t have in stock – customer service excellence!!!
Back home the chocolate one had her collar removed much to her delight and has been finding long lost pleasures in running (well leaping actually) around the garden and reconnecting with her toys that we had hidden while she was meant to be resting. Stitches out this week and hopefully no more vet bills for a while.
Happy to be collar free and reunited with her toys.
In the veggie patch we harvested the baby leeks and some onions and a large batch of potato and leek soup will be made this week and frozen for a quick and easy lunch down the track. I really need a bigger freezer now that I have such big gluts of produce. The cabbages are nearly ready to pop too so I’m dabbling with the idea of making sauerkraut. I’ve never had it but its flavour of the month in the food world – pickled and fermented foods being the thing ‘de jour’ so maybe I will give it a whirl.
Our beautiful baby leeks
Cam and I have been looking for a chest of drawers or a console for our bedroom. It is such a big room all our current furniture just fills one half of it so I was quite excited to find this at a local recycled furniture shop. A nice shape and size but not quite the look I was after. The owner suggested I could revamp it with Annie Sloane chalk paints which doesn’t involve any preparatory work – you just slap it on apparently!! Cammo even voiced some enthusiasm for the project so I’m keen to see his creative side come out after 30 years in the dark….
I’m enjoying being part of Greenbox, the local co-operative packing and distributing farmers produce. There are a dedicated bunch of volunteers and I have buddied up with a couple of the women there and persuaded them to do Pilates with me. They also have dogs and we have plans to walk beautiful 7 mile beach with them when the weather warms up a bit.
Our warehouse Headquarters
Our warehouse in Gerringong where everything gets delivered and packed and people come to collect their orders. Fresh, local produce – delicious !!