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Bread : To bake or to buy, that is the question...

I like baking bread! I love experimenting with different ideas, techniques, shapes, glazes, and ingredients. I'm not the worlds greatest cake baker - my friend Maureen holds that title, but I seem to have an affinity with bread baking. The other day a friend of mine asked where I was buying my bread and was very surprised to discover that I baked it all. He said he was paying $6 a loaf for stuff that looked like mine.

It got me to wondering if it was better to buy or to bake bread - what are your thoughts?

Here's what I do...



Bread is a food staple. There aren't many people in our culture who don't eat bread at some point of the day - as toast for breakfast, sandwiches or wraps for lunch, as a roll on the side with dinner or even as the base of the pizza!

You can buy it as cheaply at about a dollar a loaf for the supermarket branded white mass produced stuff and up to $10 a loaf for the hand made, filled with good stuff, artesian loaf from a specialised bakery.

So wh…
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Pumpkin pollinating (and few other things Ive learnt about pumpkin growing!)

We had a pumpkin plant of an indeterminable type pop up in the middle of a tomato hoop. Not realising what a monster we were unleashing, we let it grow. It was the biggest greenest thing in the garden and we were quite proud of it. One day we spotted a wee pumpkin growing from it and were SUPER excited. A few weeks later and we have a giant supermarket sized totally normal looking pumpkin growing in our garden! This was amazingly good fun.



When a second pumpkin started growing off the same vine we got a bit more serious about our illegitimate babies and decided to "grow pumpkins" (not they had needed our help up to this point!)

Here's what I did...

When we found rogue, self set pumpkin we let it grow but directed the main vine to areas of full sun but not in the vege patch. (ie, the place where normal people would have grass!) Pumpkins take up soooooo much room that we have started encouraging them out of the garden beds and then we guide them around the garden edging.…

French Milled Soap - what you can do with all those waste soap bits and ends!

We managed to collect a whole bunch of those types of mini soaps that you get at hotel. You know the ones that are too small to do anything with but are too big to "throw out" and so they just get collected... I have done the wet 3 or 4 and press them together thing to make a bigger, more useful bar of soap but I figured there had to be a better way. I had heard of grating soap and melting it and remoulding it but I didn't realise it had the lovely name of French Milling!


Here's what I did...


First I made sure that all my wee soaps were dry - much easier to grate them dry than wet and sticky!


And then as I'm sure you have guessed - I grated them. The smaller the bits you make the easier the next step will be.


If you wanted it, you could sort your soaps into colours and make white and yellow French milled soap or you can go the rustic (who can be bothered separating the soaps) type look and just mix in all the bits of soap for a more random home made look!


Dry s…

Keeping Chinese Painted or King Quail - Our Experience!

I'm fond of eggs. I love the shape of them, the colours, the feel of a freshly laid egg and of course the birds that lay them! One day some one showed me a really cool egg that I hadn't seen before. It was tiny and speckled and so, so so cute! I thought it was laid by a wild bird but it turned out to be laid by a quail! Well - I just had to get me one of those birds! Or nine as it turned out!



Here's what happened...

Instead of doing the sensible thing and spending weeks researching quails and the many different types, I hit Gumtree and bought a trio for $15 - A bargain really! and so tiny. They are really just heart beats covered in feathers compared to the 3.5 kg chooks in the back yard!

I did organise a cage before getting the birds and I did spend a bit of time sorting that out but Quail Owning Tip #1 is to research the type of Quail you are getting and what their eggs look like before you purchase!!


I set up an old Guinea pig cage for my new babies. I put in a layer o…
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