Fruit Loaf

1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
2 oz. margarine or butter
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 level teaspoon carb soda
1 cup mixed fruit
1 egg
Melt butter and sugar in boiling water
Let mixture cool, then add sifted flours, carb soda and fruit, mix well.
Beat egg and add to mixture. Pour into a greased and lined 22x12cm loaf pan.
Bake in moderate oven 160°c for approximately 40 minutes.

Served with butter and honey, or on its own, this fruit loaf is a family favourite.

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Hedge pruning

Hedges give a touch of neatness to a garden, but need occasional pruning.
Our garden has a variety of hedges. Beside the driveway – in a raised garden – we have a small, shaped hedge of Duranta ‘Sheena’s gold’.
On the other side of the driveway is a tall hedge of Orange Jessamine (Murraya paniculata), which makes a good privacy screen. After rain, this beautiful screen is covered with creamy white flowers, which smell like orange blossom. Both of these hedges are underplanted with Lomandra Tanika, which adds a touch of softness.

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Creative Photos

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These photographs were taken by one of my grandsons.

  • Elizabeth Beach, south of Forster (New South Wales), is the setting for this awesome photograph of a seagull. Taken in the late afternoon, just as the wave was breaking on the shore, you can see the calm water receding before the foam of the next wave rolls in.
  • Shadows and footprints in the smooth sand made the perfect backdrop for this seagull, as it watched our approach seemingly unafraid.
  • I love this beautifully composed photo of our goldfish pond, combining shadows, movement and reflection.
  • This photograph of the wharf at Mallabulla, near Port Stephens (New South Wales), was also taken in the late afternoon. The sunset created a pink – nearly purple – glow over the calm water of the bay and even rendered the wharf a similar colour.
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Hebel carvings

Carved from a block of hebel, these owls and pagodas were made during a sculpture workshop.
Hebel, a lightweight building product made from autoclaved aerated concrete, is very easy to carve using saws, chisels, surform files and gouging tools.  Off white in colour, these sculptures which weather over time, can be painted or coloured with oxides.
Starting with a block of hebel, which measures about 200mm x 200mm x 600mm, it is best to mark out your design roughly with chalk.  Begin carving carefully, sawing away unneeded areas first and then using smaller tools for the finer details.  A lot of dust will be released when working on your project, so always wear a mask and safety glasses.

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Sulphur-crested cockatoos

Picture taken by my 11-year-old granddaughter.

Surveying the world from the branches of a Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as the broad-leaved paperbark, are these Sulphur-crested cockatoos.
A common sight in suburbia on the central coast of New South Wales, the Sulphur-crested cockatoo is a large white parrot. It has a dark grey-black bill, a distinctive sulphur-yellow crest and a yellow wash on the underside of the wings. This is a noisy, conspicuous and highly intelligent cockatoo.  Its diet consists of berries, seeds, nuts and roots.
This beautiful 40 year old paperbark has grown to a medium-sized tree of about 20metres – large for the front garden of a suburban block. It has provided shade and amusement for the children who love climbing on the sturdy branches, swinging from an attached swing and writing messages on the peeling bark.

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Summer surprises

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Surveying my garden,  I was pleased to find many new flower buds.
The Polygala, ‘Little Polly’, has pretty mauve flowers and little feathery tufts that sit within its pea like flowers.
New buds on my miniature Agapanthus are a welcome sight, adding a touch of mystery as I wait for the reveal of their colour.
Periwinkle pink flowers are a mass of colour contrasting with the dark green leaves. Growing to a height of about 90cm, these cheery little flowers brighten up a section of the garden beside our driveway.
Soft new growth on the Indian Hawthorn is surrounded by leathery leaves.  Growing quite happily in a pot, our plant has many surprises as it produces new growth followed by pretty pink flowers, then seeds which change colour as they mature.

 

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Small native visitors

Eastern bearded dragons, miniature green tree frogs and dragonflies – these are just a few of the small visitors to our garden.
Here an eastern bearded dragon watches for insects in our vegetable garden and a small green tree frog is camouflaged amongst the rhubarb leaves and stems. This dragon fly with its large multifaceted eyes and two pairs of strong, transparent wings – which resemble a stained glass window – rests on our door.

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Shelly Beach

As the early morning sun cast shadows on the perfect yellow sand, we were treated to glimpses of snug little cabins nestled behind the dunes. It doesn’t get much better than this for an early  morning walk.
Wading amongst the incredible rock formations at Shelly Beach and watching the waves curl around the rock pools, I enjoyed the opportunity to capture some photos of this beautiful beach.
Shelly beach, located east of Tuggerah Lake and bordering the Pacific Ocean south of The Entrance, is on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

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Davistown waterfront

An early morning walk is often very rewarding. Water, as calm as a millpond, is disturbed only by the occasional fish jumping, or a white Heron skimming the surface in search of breakfast.
At anchor, the Codock II – a passenger launch built circa 1945 – is mirrored in the perfectly still water. Then a small boat motors by and sends perfect silky ripples to the shore.
Davistown, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, is home to many small wooden boats. The Putt Putt Regatta and Wooden Boat Festival is a popular annual event. Pictured here in the early morning light are some of the wooden boats, protected with their blue canvas covers.

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