2014 – the year that was

2014 has been a strange year for us. A year of ups, a year of downs and on the whole Continue reading

Cheese – the taste test

I bought myself a cheese kit last year for my birthday gift from my mother and mother-in-law. It’s been sitting there since October, untouched aside from being unpacked from the bag in which it arrived and packed into a tub for safe keeping. Not good enough. 😦 This year is all about doing things and following through on plans. πŸ™‚ Continue reading


Another weekend

Yes, another weekend has passed and here I sit, warming myself by Ignisa’s glowing belly, sipping a hot cocoa just before bed and reflecting on the weekend that was.

In some ways we have done precious little this weekend. Martin has managed to procure some nicely seasoned (read bone dry) wood extremely locally (just across the creek on our own property so has it) and chopped up the necessary for the weeks supply but aside from that and the other daily tasks we have done little. We have however, achieved a lot.

One of the things small towns are know for is their sense of community. Sometimes it’s a negative when the whole town knows the whole towns business but on the whole, there is a sense of community that is hard to find in larger towns or cities. And that sense of community, of being local people for our local area is something we sought when we moved here to Ballan. And, we have found it. Not just in Ballan but also in the surrounding towns.

The ultimate smal-town busybody – Rachel Lynde

Saturday was a day for the people. Meeting up with and spending time with 2 different families. Like-minded people. People who are walking their eco journey. People who don’t look at you like you’ve got bats in t he belfry when you talk about things like organic vegetables, peak oil, melting polar ice caps, solar panels and homemade just about anything. It’s nice not to be a rabid little hippy sometimes but just someone who is doing her part and who’s levels of rabid are understood and maybe even applauded. πŸ™‚ That’s not big-noting myself or saying I do heaps/enough/great. That’s just saying that to some people I know I am extreme, go to far or am just plain crazy. The moniker Rabid Little Hippy was given to me after all. πŸ˜‰Β So, Saturday was a day to spend time sharing ideas, ideals and general conversation about eco and unrelated things.

We started the day off with a visit to Gavin Webber again. I have a few friends who are also keen to get into the homemade cheese scene and who better to ask than Gav of Little Green Cheese fame (and of course Greening of Gavin fame πŸ˜‰ ) and as Gav sells both mozzarella and feta kits I said I’d grab them some mozzarella kits so our visit began with me picking up the kits. When Martin expressed some mild jealousy at my intended visit I was cheeky enough to ask if it would be ok for the rest of my family to “tag along”. With permission granted we headed off armed with cake. What ensued was a visit filled with laughter, serious conversation, shared beliefs and ideals and in general a great time. The kids all seemed to have taken their angel pills again and so were all on the best of best behaviour. We had great food, colby cheese and morning tea that edged nearly into mid-afternoon! πŸ˜€ I hope we didn’t overstay our welcome guys but we had a wonderful time. Thank you.

We lost Jasper and Allegra to the sandman in the car on the way home and Orik was also due for a nap so we had a couple of quiet hours before heading out once again, this time to Phoenix Park for a roast lamb dinner. And my goodness was it good! Organic lamb and the full trappings cooked by someone else. I know I can cook a good roast but there is something about eating food that you haven’t had to prepare yourself. I swear it really does taste better! πŸ˜€ And again, several hours of like-minded people sharing ideas, dreams and goals as well as achievements. A great finish to a great day.

One of the best bits of a busy Saturday is that the kids sleep well and we scored a sleep in Sunday morning! I was also smart enough to head to bed early and so scored nearly 11 hours of sleep with only 1 interruption! I cannot remember when last that happened! πŸ˜€ And an 8am wake up to boot! Win!

Today was a much quieter day and although we didn’t achieve what we had planned, the house is tidier and the souls are peaceful, hopefully ready for the week ahead.

Oh, and for those that have seen my washing pile, I’ve folded and put most of it away! πŸ˜‰


What to make for breakfast this morning?

I am at the point my stomach is rejecting porridge, we’ve eaten it so much. The chooks are on the blink and off the lay for the winter bar 1 egg a day so scrambled or fried or boiled eggs aren’t an option. We don’t have cereals in our house as they are mostly loaded with sugar which our kids can’t eat and we are also cutting down our bread consumption and I only bake on Saturdays now and we’re out of bread. I didn’t feel up to making pancakes either so what to do?

Hanging from the overhead cupboard handles dripping that golden green whey.

Hanging from the overhead cupboard handles dripping that golden green whey.

Well, you make ricotta! Yep, fresh Thermy made ricotta drizzled with raw honey to be precise. I had attempted to make ricotta the other day with limited success just using citric acid so I figured I’d just try vinegar today but also met with limited success. So I added both. Perfect! Strained lightly then served up still warm with raw honey melting through the cracks. Delicious! Decadent too. πŸ˜€


After breakfast when I went to feed the animals and let the roosters out I came across a few new arrivals too.

Life outside the egg and less than 24 hours old

Life outside the egg and less than 24 hours old

Life really is beautiful!



Ok, I’m sold! And I’ve not even tasted it yet.

Yes I am now officially a curd nerd to borrow the term from Gavin Webber. Actually, I’m going to lay the blameΒ lay my sincerest thanks at his feet. Reading about how he makes his own cheese at home has had me itching to follow suit and finally I made my own cheese. And not ricotta (I’m afraid I don’t really count ricotta as cheese making although I know it is) but mozzarella. For pizza tonight! πŸ™‚ Continue reading