Home life and the next Scrappy Vintage Kitchen block...





Do you remember going to the grocers and weighing your produce on big scales like these? I loved filling the bowl and watching the needle spin until it landed on the correct weight. If there was too much Nana could remove some of the produce and if there was not enough she'd add some more. Mostly she bought just what we needed that day or maybe for the next. That was an era when only seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables were available (unless you bought canned) so there was such excitement mid summer when plums arrived to carry us through into autumn, or when cabbages were abundant in winter and those summer cherries at Christmas. We got excited about food, about what we'd find back in stock at the grocer, you know?



DOWNLOAD block 5 'for apple pie' HERE
The pattern will be a free download until November 15th.
Links for the previous four blocks are here.
Today as I walked through the fruit and veg section at the supermarket I saw cherries and grapes from the USA, asparagus from Mexico plus more produce from other countries. And here were are in Australia, being offered 'fresh' produce which has travelled half way around the world...no thank you. I can wait for local. (no offence to my overseas friends, as I'm sure you understand what I mean)
Shopping local...
Part of the process for my husband and I to simplify and be mindful of our purchases, expenses and taste, is to choose only Australian grown for our meals and sometimes that's not the easiest thing. Even tinned fruit and veg from brands we used to trust would supply only Australian ingredients have begun to let us down. Reading labels in Woolies and Coles has become essential because we want to support our farmers (who have a hard enough time as it is). 
Tinned food...
I made an apricot cake yesterday because I had a tin of apricots (homegrown Australian) in the pantry plus plenty of eggs and all the other ingredients needed. I love that we can still have local apricots or peaches this way out of season.



I haven't mentioned this before but for three months now I have been eating very mindfully - mostly all fresh ingredients with a sweet treat as dessert each night. During this time I've lost over 11 kg (around 25 pounds), dropped two dress sizes and feel more energetic than I have in many years. I'm not missing out on what I genuinely love but have ditched chocolate and lollies because they were my everyday weakness and three months along I don't desire them anymore.  I also swim every day (all through winter) and move my body more in both housework and the garden (as well as playtimes with Cully May and Rafaella). Without all that extra weight my knees don't hurt anymore and my migraines have decreased due to the removal of all that concentrated sugar I once consumed.
Finding good  low-fat and not-so-sweet dessert recipes which are satisfying for my husband has been a challenge because he's rather fussy with them, but this was a success so thought I'd share it with you.
Ingredients ·         800g can of apricots (or peaches) ·         3 eggs ·         pinch of salt ·         90 ml of lukewarm water ·         70g sugar ·         Grated zest of one lemon ·         150g plain flour ·         1 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions 1.   Preheat oven to 180C. 2.   Butter a pring form cake pan around the sides and place a circle of baking paper on the bottom. 3.   Separate the eggs into two different bowls. Make sure the bowl with the egg whites in clean and dry. 4.   Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. 5.   Beat the yolks with sugar until creamy, then add the water and whisk on a slow speed for a few seconds. 6.   Add lemon zest, flour and baking powder and mix well. 7.   Fold the egg whites into the cake mix very carefully, being careful not to overmix. You only just want to combine everything so there’ll still be flecks of egg white in the batter. 8.   Pour the batter into the pan and distribute the fruit on top. 9.   Bake for 35 minutes. 10.      Let the cake cool for 10- 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

In the garden...
I harvested our first beans yesterday! My beloved planted beans in the front yard to add nutrients to the soil because after he'd dug up the concrete which was there when we bought the house last year the soil beneath was parched and horrid. Then came the floods in January/February. So in May he set to work adding new soil, sand, compost and mulch to the area in preparation for next year when we plan to have a fully productive vegetable garden there. We really didn't expect to reap a bean harvest now!



Carrots are also in the front garden, planted to break up the ground, and they are thriving so it shouldn't be long before my apron pockets fill with them as well.



Out back we have nine or ten pineapple plants in various stages of growth and one has just begun to put forth fruit...



Our cherry tomatoes have kept us in tomato heaven for months already and after trimming away the spent stems and leaves they looked a bit sad and sorry. Hubby thought that was the end of their season but no...new leaves and flowers have cropped up everywhere and long hands of green plump tomatoes are forming all over the plants. 
We decided to plant out more tomatoes as well, so he put up a frame for them. We have a Black Russian which is now in flower and a small Italian tomato, something like a mini Roma which already has fruit. Apparently they're perfect for drying so that's what I'll be doing.
We've also planted birds eye chilli and jalapenos, both of which are in flower and beginning to produce their first fruits.



Something you might notice behind the bird feeder in the above photo is the clothesline. If you've followed along for a bit you'll remember it was on the other side of the yard. We want more shade on that side of the house so hubby moved the clothesline over and planted a Poinciana tree where it used to be (bottom right of the photo below). The tree is thriving and I much prefer having the line where it is now.



You can see a bale of sugar cane mulch beside the clothesline. Hubby had just mowed over the first bale to break it down into smaller pieces for the compost. He used the second bale to mulch part of the garden.




We've been visiting a cane farmer down at Majors Creek every few weeks to buy bales. They're quite expensive at garden shops or Bunnings for much smaller amounts so we thought it would be better for us and for the farmer if we cut out the middle man. 



We're only a couple of days away from Spring but already the temperatures are rising quickly and the sun is fierce during the day...I'm counting down the months to next May when the weather once again cools enough to really enjoy life in the tropics. But having said that I also intend to enjoy the time between now and then by planning ahead for more garden improvement, digging even deeper into my Bible study time, preparing for and launching the next big project for Elefantz, and learning more about self sufficiency and the value of those 'older ways' our grandparents lived by.
Design...
I used one of the September Rewind Stitchery Club patterns to make a new bookmark this week. Since Monday every morning after my husband has left for work I brew a cuppa and go sit quietly to dwell on one chapter of Ruth Chou Simon's beautiful book, Gracelaced - my Bible beside me for following the Scripture references, further reading and contemplation.  Initially I had a scrap of paper for a bookmark, then I cut a length of silk ribbon...but as I was tidying up the sewing room yesterday and about to put this little Topiary Bird stitchery away the thought came to make it a bookmark. So glad I did.



It was pure coincidence when I opened the book to take these photos that the colours I used in the stitchery were the same as those inside the cover.



What a treasure this book is. It's long been on my heart to buy a copy but I needed to wait awhile. Such a blessing now.



Bookmarks don't have to be complicated.  Do you have a small stitchery you've no idea how to use? This is simply backed with scrap fabric and a pretty ribbon sewn into the top.





If you like this little stitchery of mine it's over HERE but only until September 5th.
Well, my love's Jeep has just pulled in to the driveway so I'm going to sign off and put the kettle on. A slice of that apricot cake might be good too.
May the Lord's blessings abundantly flow over your home in the days and weeks ahead, assuring you of His faithfulness, kindnesses, forgiveness and bounty. 
hugs
#FreePatterns2019 #Garden2019 #Recipes2019 #2019YearOfGentleDomesticity #ScrappyVintageKitchenStitch-along2019
FreePatterns2019 Garden2019 Recipes2019 2019YearOfGentleDomesticity ScrappyVintageKitchenStitch