Author Archives: Janice Graham

About Janice Graham

I was born in England in 1938 and migrated to Australia in 1976. During my working years, along with my husband Ken, I managed a goat dairy and distribution business supplying health food products. At the same time I took up the challenge of helping build a mud brick home and lived a somewhat 'alternative' lifestyle. Since retirement I have published three e-books, two on vegetarian cookery and a collection of short stories from my younger years. My pastimes are studying the Spanish language, volunteering as a Crisis Counsellor and Community Visiting. I have been married for 54 years, have a son and a daughter and five grandchildren plus a little terrier called Sophia.

A NEW SKILL, WATER AEROBICS, PROJECTS, RECIPES

A new skill

Although obtaining ‘a new skill’ wasn’t on my desired achievement list for 2016, I was recently inspired by a blog I came across where the author had taken up whittling.  Amongst her many projects were crochet hooks.  I just couldn’t resist the temptation to have a go.  Ken pulled a face when I told him and suggested I would cut myself.  Anyway he very kindly came up with some twigs for me to practice on and I tried to follow the instructions in the blog without much success.  I decided to resort to a YouTube tutorial which was extremely helpful and gave a list of requirements needed before you could commence your project i.e. a sharp craft knife or similar, various grades of sandpaper and of course the material you were going to whittle.

i didn’t cut myself but had aching shoulders and sore fingers from all the sanding.  I have to say it really isn’t easy to make the hook but with persevierance some sort of success can be achieved.  Of course you have to get the wood very smooth otherwise your wool will catch and snag when crocheting on your finished hook.

You may well wonder why on earth I wanted to try and whittle but the idea brought back memories of both my grandads sitting on the back step whittling.  Ken also remembers his grandad making cigarette holders from cherry wood.

Here’s a photo of my efforts:

4 hooks with croched cushion

4 hooks with crochet cushion

If you would like links to the Tutorials I viewed, e-mail me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to pass them all on.

Crochet

On the subject of crochet, I really have taken to the creative possibilities and following on from the success with the blanket I made for my daughter’s Christmas gift, I recently completed a second blanket for use by Ken and I during the winter months.  Must say I was a bit ambitious with the size because it really is rather large.

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

I’ve acquired a pattern for an antique type throw but need to get some advice from the Crochet Group before I attempt what are termed ‘puff stitches’.  I think a lot of practice will be required.

Water Aerobics

If you don’t already pursue some exercise activity, have you thought about water aerobics?Every week I try to attend three early sessions at my local gym.  It has become so popular that there are now six classes a week.   After the class refreshments are provided and in addition to the social aspect of the group there are the health giving benefits which I think we are all looking for as the years roll by.  Some of these benefits are documented as:

  •  Aqua aerobics can benefit us as we age by improving muscular development and our cardiovascular system
  • Since water buoyancy supports your weight, strain on joints, back and torso is greatly reduced
  • Due to increased resistance under water, it burns a great deal of calories, up to 400-500 calories/an hour taking any excess body weight off
  • Long term aqua aerobics increase joint flexibility and lowers the risk of stress and anxiety

Can you spot me in this recent photo of the group?

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Vegetarian cookery

On each of my blogs I have decided to share with you a recipe from one of my cookery books.   You certainly don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these recipes, in fact it might help if  you are looking for a substitute when cutting down on the amount of meat you eat.   I know in the UK the idea of a meat free Monday is widely promoted.

SEMOLINA CHEESE FRITTERS

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120g/4oz semolina
1 small onion
1 bay leaf and 1 clove
600ml/1 pint milk
125g/4oz grated cheese
Large tbs parsley chopped
Egg and wheatgerm to coat

Pin bay leaf to onion with clove and place in saucepan with milk. Heat until almost boiling then remove and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Discard onion, bay leaf and clove and re-boil milk sprinkling in semolina, being sure to stir continuously until very thick. Remove from heat and add cheese and parsley.

Turn out mixture onto a small wet dinner plate and with a knife dipped in water smooth over. Leave to become quite cold in the fridge. Cut into portions like a cake.  Coat with egg and wheatgerm or breadcrumbs and fry in hot shallow oil until crisp and golden. Alternatively bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes turning once.

If you would like to view any of my cookery books you can find them at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

Two recipes for when you have excess quantities of cucumbers and rhubarb 

Depending on which hemasphere you reside in you may well have an abundance of certain produce.  I have far too many cumbers and loads of rhubarb.  Rhonda a companion at water aerobics passed on a recipe for rhubarb chutney which I decided to try.  Mine came out somewhat stringy but I think I should have chopped the rhubarb into smaller pieces and made shaw there were no stringy bits at the same time.  It tastes really nice so the stringiness really hasn’t spoilt it.   I also have a really unusual recipe for preserving cucumbers which I have used for years and shared many times with others.  Here are both the recipes:

RHUBARB CHUTNEY

½ kilo rhubarb chopped, 120g sultanas, 1½ cups brown sugar, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 onions chopped, 1¼ cups vinegar, 1 tbs mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground ginger.

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 1¼ hours or until mixture is thick (I stood the saucepan on a trivet to prevent burning).  Pour into hot sterilised jars, seal when cold.

PICKLED CUCUMBER USING THE FREEZER

This is not your typical pickle recipe and will produce a crisp sweet pickle that goes well in salads, on sandwiches or as a side. The secret to the crisp texture is the sugar, so do not reduce its content.  Of course you may have to vary the recipe depending on the amount of cucumber you wish to pickle.  

1 litre volume of cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced, 1 small onion sliced thinly, ½ tbs salt, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup white distilled vinegar.

Mix cucumber, onions and salt in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl on the work top for 2 hours.  Pour into a colander and drain water from cucumber mixture.  Combine sugar and vinegar.  Stir well and pour over cucumbers.  Pack into freezer containers or zip-closure bags (ideal).  Freeze immediately.  Pickles are ready to eat in 3-4 days.  

International Women’s Day (March 8)

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.  If you would like ideas for celebrating the day visit the following link:

www.internationalwomensday.com 

I’ll sign off with one of Buddha’s quotes:

DO NOT DWELL IN THE PAST, DO NOT DREAM OF THE FUTURE, CONCENTRATE THE MIND ON THE PRESENT MOMENT

Janice

 

 

 

 

ENJOYING RETIREMENT IN 2016

WELCOME TO RETIRE AND ENJOY IN 2016

Firstly I would like to thank all my Blog followers for their continued support and wish everyone, including those who are not yet retired, a year filled with opportunities and achievements.  It’s probably a good idea to make a plan of what goals you would like to accomplish whether it’s to catch up with friends, start an exercise regimen, travel, volunteer or work on something you’ve been putting off until you had time.  Many of us hate making lists but if you write down a “to achieve list” you can refer back to it in the future just to check on your progress.  Of course conversely you could also make a “not to continue doing” list which could prove interesting.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Break a bad habit
  • Learn a new skill
  • Do a good deed
  • Visit a new place
  • Read a difficult book
  • Write something important
  • Try a new food
  • Do something good for someone who cannot thank you
  • Take an important risk

Now I would like to share the contents of my “to achieve list” with you:

  1. Complete the Upper Advanced Spanish Course that I stopped doing last August because the homework became quite daunting and difficult.
  2. Sew a bomber jacket with felt panels.  I have plenty of wool over from the felt hats I made so no excuse.
  3. Complete a book about my family’s adventures with an alternative lifestyle i.e. living without electricity for 10 years, building a mud brick house and running a goat dairy.  This book has been in progress for far too long.
  4. Try to practice the piano each day.  I’m only a novice.
  5. Enjoy every day to the full.

I’ll keep you up to date.  It’s a bit of an ask especially items 3 and 4

5 REASONS TO VOLUNTEER IN RETIREMENT

Because I am very passionate about volunteering  I would like to share with you an article I came across  recently on the website  www.oversixty.com.au which listed five reasons to volunteer in retirement:

Want an active, happy and meaningful retirement? The evidence shows that volunteering isn’t just good for the community, it’s also good for you. Here’s five reasons why you should consider volunteering in retirement.

1. You’ll find satisfaction

It’s better to give than to receive, and the data backs this up. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, volunteers – defined as someone in the previous 12 months who willing gave unpaid help – reported higher levels of life satisfaction than non-volunteers.

2. You’ll be happier

Numerous studies have shown that volunteering not only makes people feel emotionally better but boosts their own happiness. 

3. You’ll connect with the community

For some people, retirement can lead to loneliness, boredom and a sense of isolation. Volunteering both opens you up to the wider community and connects you with likeminded people.
4. Your health will improve

Studies have found volunteering has many health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and a longer life span.

5. You will have a greater sense of purpose

It’s been long known there’s a significant correlation between volunteer work and social wellbeing but research from Duke University and the National University of Singapore that looked at data of 3,200 volunteering Americans found that volunteering just one day a month will give your life a greater sense of purpose.

JOINING A CLUB

Joining a film making group has been an inspiring experience for Ken so if you have a passion to learn a new skill it’s well worth looking around to find a suitable course.  The University of the Third Age is a good place to start or your local Community House.  Shire Councils put out a book which includes all the clubs in your area together with contact details likewise the library is a fund of information.

Since his youth Ken has had the desire to ride the high seas on a sailing ship having been inspired by the Hornblower book series.  Late last year his dream came true when he found that trips were available on a replica vessel sailing from Mornington in Victoria, Australia.  He booked on line and enjoyed himself so much that he took a subsequent trip.  I decided to keep my feet firmly on terra firma but was able to take a little film from the cliffs which have been included in the production.

I hope you enjoy the film Ken produced of his adventure:

 

Crocheting

I have decided to continue joining the group of ladies at my local Community House this year for their weekly get together of crochet, knitting and project discussion.  Just before Christmas I was inspired by a blanket pattern I saw on a crochet blog to make one as a present for my daughter.  Because the blogger was American the yarn she used was not available here in Australia so I had a bit of difficulty sourcing what was needed.  However, with a few false starts, some undoing of rows and issues with row  lengths, I managed to complete the task.  I did deviate from the pattern by using contrasting wool mainly because I didn’t purchase enough material in the first place.  My daughter was delighted with her gift and one of my granddaughters has put in an order for her next Birthday.

Christmas present for my daughter

Christmas present for my daughter

Whilst searching for wool supplies on line I joined   www.ravelry.com – Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content is all user- driven and is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in their forums.

ROCKET, FETA & POMEGRANATE SALAD

Here’s a salad recipe I located on Pinterest recently.  The description is a bright, crisp salad which is a little different but it works really well.

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Ingredients:

• 200g feta
• ½ lemon, zested and juiced
• 120g rocket
• 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 red onion, sliced
• 2 pomegranate, seeds only
• Salt and pepper, to season
Method:

1. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine rocket, pomegranate seed, red onion and feta cheese. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

REMINISCING

I wonder if like us you have piles and piles of old films in various forms that haven’t seen the light of day for many a year.  One friend told me that her husband had transferred their films to a memory stick (hope I have that right) and when they take a coffee break they watch and enjoy.  Ken has recently decided to transfer our old footage and what a walk down memory lane that has turned out to be.  A few tears have been shed when seeing parents and family members no longer with us.

Here’s a real antique that our son came up with of Ken in his ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

I’ll sign off this blog with a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

IN THE END, IT’S NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT, IT’S THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS

Janice

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITES, PROJECTS, IDEAS VOLUNTEERING AND MORE

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Hello everyone.  I have lots to chat about so here goes.

Recently I came across BLOGLOVIN which is a platform that allows users to read, organise and discover their favourite blogs on mobile and desktop.  You can easily find blogs on any subject in which you have an interest.  I have been inspired by the creativity of people especially the dressmaking and crochet blogs which provide so many ideas and in many instances free patterns to download.  My eyes pop at the possibilities.  Of course some of you may already subscribe to Bloglovin but if not here’s the link:   http://www.bloglovin.com

Update on my crochet and dressmaking 

I’ve been continuing to enjoy the weekly meetings with the group of ladies who crochet, knit and chat about all manner of things.  The envelope purse I was making morphed into a small bag to carry my crochet hooks and pattern book.  I’ve since made a cushion cover which I have to say left a bit to be desired in shape.  The ladies of the group suggested I enter my “bag” in the local show in the Beginners Section but I’m somewhat reluctant.

Joining a group at your local Neighbourhood House or Learning Centre is a wonderful way to get to know people and learn a new skill.

I’ve finished the two piece I was sewing in Peruvian Cotton and am reasonably happy with the outcome though I did make a mess of the shoulder seams at first.

 

Milton Film Club – do watch the film they produced

Ken recently received a newsletter from his film club with details of films that had been made by various clubs around the country.  I selected one which I’m sure you are going to really enjoy showcasing a ukulele-playing group of women from Milton-Ulladulla, NSW Australia, with a sense of humour and rhythm who enjoy just jammin’ with their ‘ukes’ and having a glass of bubbly or three.  Apparently some of the members were a little hesitant about making the film, especially in regard to the personal clips, but they bravely went ahead and you can see the result here.  They call themselves CHOOKS ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

 

 

Ken’s latest video

Ken’s latest video is a reminder of how we used to travel way back in our past.  We can both remember standing on the platform waiting for the train to take us to London.  It came thundering along like a huge monster belching and hissing steam before finally coming to a stop.   We also remember as children standing on the bridge over the railway line waiting for the train to pass under and envelope us in steam.  It all seemed great fun in those days.

At Coal Creek Community Park and Museum in Korumburra (120km south east of Melbourne) you can ride on the Count Strzelecki Steam Train and take part in other activities.  I submitted the video to the Museum and received a notification that they were so impressed that they were going to include it in their web site.  Watch the video and enjoy the experience.

 

Whilst waiting for Ken to do his filming of the train I popped into the General Store in the village where they sell all kinds of sweets packed in the old fashioned way together with other goodies.  One of the things that took my fancy was a small pack of recipe cards which the lady in the shop told me were reproductions of recipes of cakes and breads made every week by a volunteer for over 30 years and served in the cafe in the village.  Here are 4 of the recipes that I have tried and which turned out really well.  You will be amazed at the simplicity:

JOHNNY CAKES

250g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs baking powder, biutter

METHOD – Mix flour, baking powder and salt, slowly adding water until mixture is stiff.  Make into small cakes and fry slowly in butter (5-8 minutes each side).  Serve with honey, jam, molasses or golden syrup for a real bush treat.  The flavour is greatly enhanced if served with Billy Tea.

PIONEER BOSTON BUN

1 cup mashed potatoes, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup dried fruits, 1 cup milk., 2 cups self raising flour.

METHOD – mix potatoes and sugar into a cream, add the fruit, mix well then add the milk and flour gradually.  Put into well-greased sandwich tins and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.  When cool ice lightly and sprinkle with coconut.

BUBBLE BREAD*

METHOD – Mix 1 cup plain flour, 2 tbs grated cheese, 30 gas butter, pinch salt, mustard, cayenne, squeeze of lemon juice and a little water to combine.

METHOD – roll out thinly, cut into fingers, cook in a very hot oven.

* I sprinkled the fingers (and twisted them) with black pepper.  They turn out like cheese straws.  Very yummy.

BISCUIT FRUIT SLICE

Place in a saucepan 125 gms butter, half cup sugar, 1 cup mixed fruit.

METHOD – crush 250gm arrowroot biscuits then mix with boiled mixture.  Press into greased tin.  Cover with lemon icing.

(ALL RECIPES COURTESY OF COAL CREEK MUSEUM)

A new member of the family

Last week we adopted Ferdy, a fox terrier/x, 8 years of age from Save-A-Dog at Malvern, Melbourne.  We have been looking for a companion for Sophia for some time without success.  Apparently small dogs are very popular so it has been quite a search.  We took Sophia to introduce her to Ferdy before making a decision and they got on really well from the first sniff.  Ferdy is a little over-weight so has had a hard time keeping up with Sophia when we go out walking but I think he has already lost a little bit of his fat.  He likes a lot of attention so we are being really careful to make sure Sophia is top dog.  I think it will all work out well.  Here’s a photo of them together:

Volunteering

I received the sad news this morning that Josephine, the lady I have been visiting in the aged care facility, (Community Visitors Scheme) is fading fast.  Recently it has been very difficult to communicate with her due to the strong medication she has been prescribed which makes her sleepy.  Jo is only one year older than I am which is very sobering.   During her lucid days we were able to chat about our youth in the UK as we came from more or less the same area.

For Josephine

For Josephine

Volunteering in whatever field you choose is very rewarding.  If you are interested contact your local Council or search the internet.

Interesting people

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet up with Noelen Lyons who is a Genealogist and Family History Researcher also a Cemeteries and Local Area Historian.  Although she is a very busy lady she has promised to give me a little of her time to have a chat about her work and hopefully give me a few snippets I can pass on to you all.   Her moto is:   To know who you are, you have to know where you came from

Buddhist Prayer

In closing off I would like to share with you this Buddhist prayer:

MAY YOU BE WELL

MAY YOU BE HAPPY

MAY YOU BE PEACEFUL

MAY YOU BE LOVED

Until next time

Janice

Getting ready for Christmas, Crafts, Good company, a recipe and trips

Getting ready for Christmas

Puddings:

We say every year we can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas.  I wonder how many of you have made your puddings ready for the big day.  I made mine some weeks ago and as customary Ken and I stirred the mixture and made three wishes.  We always take photos and I think perhaps I should put together a montage of these photos from over the years, though this could prove a little confronting observing the passing of the years.

I always make a few individual puddings so they can be enjoyed later in the year usually at Easter and on Ken’s birthday in June.

Gingerbread houses:

For the past 11 years I have made gingerbread houses for the grandchildren.  Last year I produced 14 little houses ready to be decorated.  This was because I had three additional people in the group, the two sons of my daughter-in-law and the girlfriend of my eldest grandson Nicholas.  Even at 20, Nic still wanted to decorate a gingerbread house.  I did receive help in glueing up the houses as my granddaughter Emma came to stay for a few days.  With much soul-searching I have decided to discontinue the tradition this year, though I am going to make two large gingerbread houses for decoration by my three granddaughters.  It’s a little sad 😥  but they grow up.  They all agree it will be one of their important childhood memories, decorating the gingerbread houses ready for Christmas.

If anyone is interested I would be happy to supply the gingerbread house recipe and template.

Crochet and Sewing

Recently I have been going along to a crochet class at my local Neighbourhood House.  It wasn’t quite what I expected as many of the ladies attending were knitting or doing other crafts.  However, with the help of Elsie Hope, who fronts up the group, I have started to master the first steps on my way to be able to crochet, a skill in which I was sadly lacking.  I’m making an envelope purse but not sure how long that will take.   My new sewing machine has proved to be a gem and I am very pleased with the dress I completed a couple of weeks ago.  I feel inspired to keep sewing but the reality is that there are only so many dresses you can wear so will have to curtail my activities a little.

 

First efforts at crochet

First efforts at crochet

 

 

 

 

 

The dress worn on a day out with Olga during visit to Jan Huggins

The dress worn on a day out with Olga during visit to Jan Huggins

Enjoying good company

Nothing beats a day out with a good friend.  That’s what I was able to do a couple of weeks ago when Olga and I went in search of gifts she could take home to Chile when she visits family and friends in December.  We shopped ’til we dropped, had lunch and afterwards visited Jan Huggins for a cuppa and cake and a nice long chat.  Jan and I met when we were in hospital at the same time having hip replacements and have kept in contact ever since.

A salad recipe for entertaining with Hokkien Noodles

Packet of noodles, 4 spring onions chopped, 1 red capsicum sliced thinly, 100g snow peas sliced, 1 small carrot sliced.  Pinch of mint and coriander.  100g roasted cashews.

Cover noodles with boiling water for a couple of minutes then drain.  Combine all ingredients.  To make dressing you will need to whisk together 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbl olive oil, 1 tbl lime juice, 2 tbl soy sauce or kecap manis, 3 tbs sweet chilli sauce.  Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

 

Update on trip to Printing Museum at Chiltern

In my last Blog I wrote about our visit to the Printing Museum at Chiltern, Victoria.  Ken has now produced a video documenting how a local newspaper was produced up until the 1960’s.

 

Sailing on the Enterprize – Melbourne Tall Ship

Sailing on a tall ship has been on Ken’s bucket list for a long long time.  He was able to fulfil that dream last week when he took a trip on the Enterprize.  I have never seen him so excited.  I have to say I didn’t share his enthusiasm so stayed on dry land.  He enjoyed it so much he intends to take another trip during December.  He’s in the process of making a video so will upload that next time.

 

Ken, ready to set sail

Ken, ready to set sail

GET WELL

I would like to send get well good wishes to my friend Joan Blain (UK), who has been in hospital for some time.  Joan suffers from MS which has necessitated her staying in hospital for some months after falling and breaking her ankle.  I hope you will be home for Christmas Joan.

Especially for you Joan

Especially for you Joan

I hope you are all enjoying pursuing your different projects and learning new skills.  Here is a Chinese Proverb for you:

LEARNING IS A TREASURE THAT WILL FOLLOW ITS OWNER EVERYWHERE  

Janice   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trips, projects and people who inspire

Well, it’s certainly been a while since my last Blog, but I have some stories to share and some inspirational people to chat about.

JOURNEY TO NED KELLY COUNTRY

Federal Standard Printing Works

Ken’s quest for film and information about printing methods from the past, recently took us to Chiltern which is in northern Victoria about 300km from Melbourne.  Chiltern is very close to Glenrowan where Ned Kelly made his last stand.  The purpose of the visit was to go  to the National Trust Printing Museum, which is in the original building of the Chiltern Federal Standard printing works, and see the original letterpress machinery in operation.  It turned out to be a rewarding experience.  The custodians, Robert and Mary Martin, made us really welcome and their enthusiasm was catching.  Now it’s up to Ken to document our visit on video.  Hopefully that will be available shortly.

Robert operating the type setter

Robert operating the type setter

Printing machine

 

Chiltern Athenaeum Museum

Chiltern has lots of other attractions to offer like the Athenaeum Museum where I felt I could have spent the whole day.   I was especially interested in the life of Alfred William Eustace who came out from England in 1851 and was initially employed as a shepherd.  Whilst tending his flocks in the solitude of the bush, he turned his attention to painting and music to while away the long and weary hours.  He endeavoured to capture the spirit of the bush sometimes painting on board, canvas or tin plate, but as these materials were not always readily available he then started painting on large round eucalyptus leaves from the White and Red Box trees that grew around about.  By the turn of the century his paintings had become world famous even being acknowledged by Queens Victoria.  Some of his leaf paintings are displayed in the museum.  I found this all absolutely fascinating as I had no idea you could paint on leaves.  However, having searched the internet I see there are many artists who use this medium today.

One of Alfred Eustace's leaf paintings

One of Alfred Eustace’s leaf paintings

Whilst walking in the Mt Pilot National Park I was able to pick up some of these large leaves.  Of course I’m no artist but had a doodle with a pen to see the result.  The leaves are really thick so presume that’s why it’s possible to paint on them.

 

My doodle on the large eucalypt leaves

My doodle on the large eucalypt leaves

Actually there’s lots more to tell about this trip like the Chiltern Recipe Cookbook from the Past printed in it’s original format, but I’ll leave that for next time after I tried out some of the recipes.

INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE

Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe

Some time ago a friend suggested I went to a cafe in Loch (Gippsland), the incentive being that one of the partners was from Spain and it would give me the opportunity to chat in español.  It turned out to be a great experience and I can certainly recommend the food and the atmosphere of the cafe.  You can challenge your taste buds with some of the hot sauces or experience milder flavours as well as indulge in delicious chocolate beverages.  It’s called The Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe.  Diana and her husband are working very hard to make their venture a success and have now produced an outstanding website (link below).  I’ve extracted the following from their site to give you an idea of what they are doing and what’s available if you visit or order on line.

Here Diana tells their story:
“In this beautiful Village of Loch was born the first Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe.

When you arrive in Loch you can feel some of the rustic spirit of this country and the old-fashioned hospitality.

We, Alan and Diana, think that we just may have the opportunity of creating something different, like manufacturing genuine and tongue tingling products and merging the Spanish and Aussie tastes by cooking dishes that embrace both cultures.

Here, I manufacture a thick raw cacao with Australian sweet spices or chilli. You can have a “free tasting” of this unique hot drinking chocolate or iced chocolate, every weekend, at The Rustic Cacao Cafe.

Alan grills tasty meals on the barbecue and you can give your lunch a kick with any of his 20 varieties of the World’s Hottest Chilli sauces… if you dare!… We always have a glass of milk ready to put out the fire inside your mouth.”

The Cafe

The Cafe

Diana

Diana

Follow this link to their web site:   www.rusticcacao.com.au

Kira’s Legacy written by Joan Woods

I met Joan Woods, a local resident of Wonthaggi in Gippsland, a couple of years back but didn’t realise what hidden talents she possessed.  Kira’s Legacy is Joan’s first full length work detailing the History of the first Twenty-one Years of the West Australian Ballet Company (1953 to 1973).  It highlights the triumphs and difficulties of members of the Company in those fledgling years whilst at the same time brings to life the performances of the ballet together with photographs.

The heroine of this book, Kira Bousloff chose Perth as her home and through hard work and perseverance, so emotively described in this book, started what today is the highly acclaimed and successful West Australian Ballet.  If you decide to read this tale of the birth of a ballet company it will be obvious to you that Joan Woods not only has an intimate knowledge of the West Australian Ballet but also great affection for all the many dancers who gave so generously of their time and talent.  This is a story that perfectly illustrates that dreams can come true.

Joan plans to visit WA in the near future where she has been invited to do a book launch and signing.  The book is published by PJW BOOKS, 4/13 Hunter Street, Wonthaggi, Vic.  email:  [email protected]

Book cover of Kira's Legacy

Book cover of Kira’s Legacy

I’m going to sign off for now but in the next few days will continue with details of my quest to learn how to crochet and also my latest dressmaking challenge plus more.

Here’s a saying sent to me by my son:   “It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up”

Janice

CREATING MEMORIES, PROJECTS, TRAVEL, SPRING

CREATING MEMORIES INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE

It’s amazing how we are able create happy and rewarding memories intentionally or otherwise by past actions.  One memory which I am able to enjoy every day, had its roots 10 years ago when my grandchildren came to stay for a weekend and I needed an activity to amuse them.  I recall browsing through various books and magazines where I saw some painted totem poles and thought what a good project that could be.    I knew Ken had some poles behind the garden shed and I had various sample pots of paint and so the idea became a reality.  It turned out to be a fun weekend, very messy, some tears, much laughter and best of all I still have those poles in the garden.  They have moved location over the years as the garden has changed design and the colours have faded but now they are outside my living room window, so every morning when I draw the blinds there’s my happy and continuing memory of my lovely grandchildren painting and placing their hand prints on those poles.

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Another memory  is of my mother participating in a drawing class at the age of 90.  In her effects after she died I found a couple of her pictures one of which was of a window in different colours.  At the time we were in the process of building a small mud brick cottage and I had the concept of having the drawing used as a pattern for a lead light window.  The chap who did the work for me reproduced the colours exactly and installed the window half way up the staircase.  I feel my mum’s light shines through that window and gives me great joy as I pass by it each day.

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KEN’S FILM MAKING PROJECT

Since Ken joined the Movie Making Club and set out on a quest to make a film of how printing had changed from the days when he was a Compositor up until the present time,  we have embarked on some very unusual adventures.  Ken needed to find a letterpress machine that was still operating and he located someone  on the internet with a company called Printing Museum Pty Ltd.  He phoned and had an in-depth conversation about printing methods and the chap said he had all types of machines, some still operating so Ken made arrangements to visit.  It was right out in the country up in the hills, necessitating us to stay away overnight.  When we looked at Google maps I thought it was an odd place to have a museum and I mentioned this fact to Ken who said not to worry.

It took about 5 hours drive to get there. We went round and round these narrow roads until we eventually came to a derelict pub and post box. There was a man collecting his mail so we asked for directions. He told us where to find the place but said “he’s a weird bloke”. Eventually we came to this really run down row of houses, most with wonky roofs and planks falling off.  The chap we had spoken to earlier drove by, stopped and said ‘that’s the place’. Ken got out of the car as a man emerged from one of the buildings and introduced himself as Kerry and told us to go further along the road and through a farm gate. Well, there was rubbish everywhere. Great first impression. I said to Ken, ‘I’m not going in there’. Anyway Ken sets off with Kerry and was gone for nearly 2 hours.   I started to wonder what had happened to him. Fortunately I had a book with me.   When Ken returned he said Kerry did in fact have printing machinery and equipment but none of it was in working order and it was all going rusty and was impossible to film. It was all packed into these falling down houses.

Kerry told Ken he wanted to set up a tourist facility and was hoping for Government assistance.   Poor man, what wishful thinking.

We came down from the hills and stayed in a small cabin by the side of the river which was really pretty and tranquil though the weather wasn’t that good. What an experience and a real talking point.

Not to be deterred, when we got home Ken set about surfing the net in search once again of someone with a letterpress machine and came up trumps finding a man in Melbourne printing authentic looking tickets for trips on tourist trains such as Puffing Billy.  We were invited to visit and Ken came away with some great footage of a machine in operation.  I will post his film when it is complete.  Goes to show perseverence pays off.

 

TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE

I recently caught up for a coffee and chat with a friend who had been on holiday to Alaska and various other destinations.  Her trip sounded absolutely amazing.  Enjoying good company, sharing experiences, chatting about adventures and plans for the future is so uplifting.

Continuing on the adventure theme here’s a link to the 10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ARGENTINA as promoted by the Spanish Cat Language School:  There are also links to the best things to see and do in other South American countries.

http://www.thespanishcat.com/learn/index.php/learn-spanish-blog/the-10-best-things-to-see-and-do-in-argentina

It might inspire you to visit South America or think about learning Spanish.

 

Spring is coming to Australia

I am very excited to have a new camera.  Ken said that the one I was using didn’t have enough pixels to do justice to the pictures I wanted to take so he bought me one that he considered would do the trick.  Well, I’ve started snapping away and will finish off this blog with my first efforts, Spring coming to the garden:

I wish you all well and hope you are filling your days enjoying retirement or planning for when that day comes.

Janice

 

 

 

FELT HAT PROJECT, ADVENTURE IDEAS, A QUICK RECIPE IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING

FELT HAT PROJECT

I am happy to report that my felt hat project was a success, in fact I was so inspired that I made two hats.  There were two options open for the hat felting process;  the first was to lay the wool out on a template and the second to use a ball and cover it in layers with the wool.  I chose the second option though, on reflection, I think you may be able to get the design a bit more consistent with the former method because you have more control on how you lay out the fibres.  That’s for next time if I decide I need another hat!

I took photos of the hats on Photo Booth and came up with these as the best examples:

In case you are inspired to have a go here’s the YouTube tutorial I followed.  It’s a bit quirky but fun to watch.

 

 

 

PERU, LAND OF HIDDEN TREASURES

Following on from my post about the 10 best things to see and do in Peru, I thought you may be interested in the Peru Official Travel and Tourism Portal.  I subscribe to a newsletter called PERU THIS WEEK, which is packed with information about Peru, not only travel but lifestyle, recipes, music and culture.  This site makes you want to pack your bags.

http://www.peru.travel/en-us/

 

ALL IN ONE QUICHE – IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING AT SHORT NOTICE

This quiche really is delicious and so easy to prepare:

200g smoked salmon chopped, 1 cup grated cheese, 3 eggs, 1 onion chopped, 1½ cups milk, ½ cup cream, ¼ cup melted butter, ½ cup self raising flour.

Place all ingredients into an airtight container.  Shake well.  Pour into a heavily greased flan dish.  Bake 180C for 45 minutes.  Garnish with smoked salmon.  Serve cold.  For vegetarians replace salmon with chopped vegetarian sausage.

S1010012Photo taken in my garden last summer.

 

BITS AND PIECES – crocheting, water aerobics and books

I’m still practicing my crocheting skills and have managed to make a very large circle with different patterns.  Nothing to be proud of so far.  I had a bathing costume malfunction and couldn’t go to water aerobics until I bought a new one.  I think the costume was about 15 years old.   I’m now the proud owner of two bathing suits being unable to choose which one I liked best so bought both.  I finished reading The Dandelion by Terry Guilford (mentioned in my last blog).  I enjoyed the psychology advice given to the main character but have to admit to skipping a few pages.  I’m now reading a book of short stories, entitled BRAVO,

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which was kindly sent to me by the author, an American lady, who is a volunteer in a school in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The school was set-up especially to help educate indigenous disadvantaged children.  It has had enormous success thanks to donations and volunteers from all walks of life.   The book is in both Spanish and English (Spanish on the left page and English on the right).  I am reading the stories to my friend Olga whose native language is Spanish.  It’s good practice for my pronounciation and causes quite a lot of hilarity when I get things wrong.  Olga is a wonderful help to me in my quest to converse in her language.

I hope you are keeping fit and well and filling your days with enjoyable activities.  Until next time,

Janice

 

 

RECENT ACTIVITIES (16/08/2015)

Goodness me, I can’t believe it is such a long time since I last blogged.  I seem to have been chasing my tail and feel I should slow down but on the other hand there is so much to do and enjoy.    First of all I want to chat about books and how I have been inspired by other retirees.    First a little apology to the male readers of this blog because the first book is slanted towards the ladies.

BOOK LAUNCH OF:  OLDER & BOLDER – LIFE AFTER 60 – Author Renata Singer

Last week I went down to Melbourne to attend the launch of this book.  It was a coming together of women to connect, share and inspire.

Older and Bolder is a rallying cry to living audaciously in the last third of your life.

For the first time in history, women can expect to live well from their sixties for another three decades. A drab existence of retirement, disease and disconnection is not an option for this generation of women.
In Older and Bolder, Renata Singer contrasts the stories of the pioneers of active, productive old age against the anxieties of those facing the milestone of turning sixty, considering each viewpoint in the light of revealing research. Older and Bolder is her rallying guide to living audaciously in the last third of your life.

Here’s a picture of the book to help you find it in the book store or library if you decide you would like to read it:

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One of the ladies featured in the book, Elizabeth Kirby, participated in the launch.  What an impressive life she has lead;  a star of the Australian soapie No.96 in the 1970’s, a politician, a radio broadcaster, an Order of Australia Medal recipient and now at 93 a PhD graduate.  Here is a link so you can read more about this amazing lady’s achievements:

Dr Elizabeth Kirby

BASS COAST WRITERS SHOWCASE

My local library hosted a writers showcase where 10 authors from the area were given 5 minutes to showcase their book(s).  It’s really surprising the talent and interest there is in writing.  The youngest published author was 22 and the oldest 80+ and all managed to inspire the audience.  I have decided to read The Dandelion (Fiction) by Terry Guilford, who is a local Psychologist.  I liked the sound of the the relationship plot.  A lady sees her husband sitting in a park with another woman and waits for him to tell her he is leaving.  When he doesn’t she decides to make the decision and leave herself.  Haven’t started yet but will let you know what I think.

MY FELTING PROJECT

At last I have managed to source some carded wool from South Australia suitable for felting.  It arrived a couple of days ago and I am absolutely thrilled with the quality.  Now I need to get down to work so I am planning a free day next week i.e. no housework or cooking, as  once you start on the project you have to follow through.  I ordered three different colours, shown here together with a Felting Book I found at the library which is full of really good advice.  I intend to make a hat;  if successful I will post a picture, if not !!!!!

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Have a look at Bennett & Gregor website to be inspired:

Corriedale and Marino type fleeces

CROCHET LESSONS

After seeing some beautiful crochet work, I was at a loss to understand why I had never learnt the art.  My mother was always crocheting so I ask myself why she did’t teach me.  Perhaps she tried and I wasn’t up to the task.  I still have a shawl she crocheted for me when they were very much in fashion back in the 60’s.   I mentioned this fact to my friend Olga who said she would teach me so under her instruction I have been practicing different stitches and enjoying it very much.  I did a circle which turned into a small hat, mainly because I kept going round and round.  I think it’s going to take a while to perfect the art but I will keep trying.

 

I still have a few other things to share with you but that’s for next week’s blog.  I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying your activities.

 

Janice

 

OUTINGS, ACTIVITIES, THINGS TO DO

OPEN DAY AT A GIPPSLAND PRINTERS

Since Ken joined the Wonthaggi Movie Makers Club he has sourced different events which he considers are worthy of filming, one of which was an open day at a Gippsland Printers  celebrating  the power of print.   The effort put into the day by the owners and staff was absolutely amazing.  It gave a real insight into the processes of printing and the changes that have taken place over the past 120 years.  Of course Ken was in his element chatting to the staff involved in the different processes likewise all those who attended had a great time as you were given the opportunity to have your photo taken by a professional photographer, which was then printed in large format, you could choose a design and have 250 business or personal cards printed, children could have their photo on a Wanted Poster and there was an over-supply of pads, shopping lists, booklets and calendars;  everything was for free.    It all culminated in a sausage sizzle and a raffle for a laser printer.

Here’s the photo Ken and I had taken:

Janice and Ken at Gippsland Printer Open Day

Janice and Ken at Gippsland Printer Open Day

It’s wonderful the enjoyment that can be had by checking out local events and going along to see what’s on offer.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable day.  Whilst Ken was off looking at the printing machines I met up with a lady called Jean who told me about her interest in Scrap Booking.  I must admit I have never thought about undertaking that activity, but it really sounds as if it could be a great hobby in retirement.  Jean was a really interesting person to talk with and we covered quite a bit of ground in a short time.  Enjoying good company can be so rewarding.

Joining a club has opened up a lot of opportunities for Ken to make the best of his retirement.  Through research on the internet he has found  there are at least three printing museums with working machinery that we can visit.  He now has his map book out and is planning various trips.

PLANNING A TRIP/LEARNING A LANGUAGE

Learning another language is a real challenge but it broadens your mind and gives you insight into other cultures.  For me it has become part of my everyday life.  Each Monday I have a lesson with a teacher in Lima, Peru, who shares various topics with me including typical recipes of her region which I like to try out.  Last week it was a wheat salad which sounds really different.  Learning a language is also a stepping stone to visiting a country where the language you have chosen is spoken.  The Spanish Cat is a language school in Melbourne and they have put out a blog:  10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PERU.  Here it is for you to enjoy.  I am sure you will be tempted to visit Peru.  I know I am:

http://www.thespanishcat.com/learn/index.php/jaggyblog/10-things-to-see-and-do-in-peru

 

VOLUNTEERING

As a volunteer with the Community Visitors Scheme, I visited Josephine in a local aged care facility today.  Sometimes these visits can be quite confronting and sobering which is the case with Josephine as she is just one year older than myself and is suffering some short term memory loss due to a growth in the brain which can’t be operated on.  However, she is always pleased to see me and I try to chat about things we did as young women which she can recall  with clarity.   It is so important for people like Josephine to have contact with the outside world and for a short time be part of that world with me.  When I leave the facility I count my blessings and know I have to make the best of each and every day.

 

CANDY FLOSS

Can you remember enjoying Candy Floss.  I used to absolutely love it and remember it was part of the joys of town and village fetes.  This was brought home to me on the weekend when I saw two mature ladies laughing whilst they ate candy floss  with the floss well and truly stuck to their lips.  I looked for a picture on Pinterest and came up with this great fun postcard.  Some of you will have seen it already because I posted it on my Retire and Enjoy Facebook Page.

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All for now from Retire and Enjoy.  Enjoy each day.  Until next time

Janice

 

PROJECTS, THE GARDEN, A RECIPE, GOOD FRIENDS

PROJECTS

Felt hat project

I am still in pursuit of assembling sufficient information and skills needed to be able to make a felt hat.  Last week I collected flowers from the garden to try and make some natural dyes.   I followed a recipe I had seen on Gardening Australia.   My efforts all resulted in very pale colours.  First I soaked red salvias, blue salvias and yellow/orange calandulas in glass bottles using cold water and then brought these to a  simmer in my electric preserving pan.  Next I drained each colour and put in a separate pan and added some white wool bringing that slowly to a simmer for half an hour.  I definitely need to do more research and practicing but I’ll keep trying.  I know you can buy special dyes but I think it would be nice to achieve a result by my own efforts.

Video for Author page

As mentioned in my last Blog, I needed to make a video for inclusion in my Author page on Amazon.  Location for filming the video was the first hurdle.  Ken said he could add film behind me if I sat in front of a green screen which is the recognised method of superimposing someone or something on a background.  I bought some green material and we taped that to the wall and then I sat at a small desk in front of the camera.  I’d written out a sort of script of what I wanted to say but of course I couldn’t look at that because I had to face the camera and speak.  Ken was so patient;  it took me 11 attempts to sort of get it right.  I had no idea how hard it would be to talk without making mistakes.

Ken superimposed me on different pieces of film he had but nothing looked right.  I had the idea a library background would be good so Ken went up to the local library.  He described to the librarian what we were trying to do and approval was kindly given.  Joining the film making club has certainly given him some new skills not to mention a few headaches besides.

If you would like to see the end result it can be accessed on my author page at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

 

THE GARDEN

I can’t believe how colourful the garden is even though it’s winter.  Some of the fruit trees still haven’t shed all their leaves but at the same time are budding up, likewise some of the ornamentals.  Even sweet peas, which self sowed, are whizzing up.  This surely must be a sign of how confused nature is due to climate change.  I planted garlic on the shortest day of the year, which is what I normally do, then read in a gardening blog that wasn’t the best way and it should be planted sooner.  Anyway I’ll keep with my method of planting on the shortest day and harvesting on the longest.  My last crop was fantastic.  A while ago I planted broad beans which are now looking healthy and strong and I am fortunate enough to be able to harvest carrots, lettuce, beetroot and corriander as required.  Gardening is very rewarding if you are able to accept failures along with the successes.

 

 

RECIPE

Once again I have to thank Jo Marty for kindly allowing me to include one of her recipes in this blog.  This time it’s for Spaghetti and Pea Pesto.  I tried it out last week and it tastes really delicious.   In Jo’s words ‘the recipe is super cheap yet flavourful and filling’.

200g frozen peas, defrosted, generic is fine
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons almonds/35g, skin on is fine
100g cheddar cheese, grated, reserve a little for sprinkling over
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup vegetable oil (olive oil is best but any mild oil will do)
500g spaghetti pasta

Method
Half cook the peas. Set 2 tablespoons aside for garnishing later.
Place the almonds in a food processor and blend well. Add the garlic, peas,cheese,salt and pepper then vegetable oil. Blend well until smooth.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the instructions on packet.
Ladle out and reserve approximately 2 cups of the cooking liquid then drain the rest.
Add 1 cup (i.e. Half of the reserved cooking liquid) of the cooking water to the pea mixture in the food processor. Blend well, stopping to scrape the sides and base.
Return the spaghetti to the pot then over medium heat toss through the pea sauce until well heated and well mixed. Add more of the reserved cooking water if necessary.
To serve divide amongst 4 bowls and garnish with the reserved whole peas and grated cheese.
Serves 4

ENJOY ………………………………….

GOOD FRIENDS

25th June was the birthday of my good friend Olga.  It was a happy celebration.

Olga blowing out the candle

Olga blowing out the candle

 

A get-well message to Joan Blain, a regular contributor to the blog, who is in hospital with a broken ankle.  I hope she is catching up on her reading.

To everyone else, keep well and treasure each day.

Janice