Friday, 17 February 2012

Making Jam...

Jerry and I decided to take a few days off to go camping and explore another part of this beautiful state. We found upon a sweet little spot called Wee Jasper, a wee little tiny village nestled in the foothills of the Brindabella ranges. We camped along the idyllic Micalong creek where we fished (unsuccessfully), swam and discovered an abundant grove of wild blackberries.

Yes, blackberries are considered an awful weed. Working as a bush regenerator in Sydney, to us, they are considered a GREAT pest and an even bigger pest to dig out and poison. However, I was able to take my bush regenerator hat off and taste the sweet deliciousness of the blackberry. We ended up picking about 2 – 3 kilos of berries and whilst I probably ate enough to make me feel slightly ill, we decided to take our berries back to our camp site and make some delicious jam.

For some strange reason, I always thought making jam was a difficult thing, reserved for CWA ladies and grandmothers who had their method down pat. Ohh, was I mistaken. Jam is so incredibly easy, I don’t know why anyone would not do it and I cannot believe that it took me until 22 years of age to realise the satisfaction in making your own jam; especially with fruit you picked yourself.

So in our first batch we used about 5 cups of berries to about 3-4 cups of sugar. So you bring the berries and sugar to the boil until the sugar is dissolved, skim off any excess foam off the top. And continue to boil until the jam thickens slightly. A good indicator is to put a teaspoon of jam onto a cold plate, let it cool and run your finger through. If the the juice wrinkles than it should be ready. A squeeze of lemon can also be added or some pection (available from the supermarket) to ensure no fail jam setting. 

crush berries and combine with sugar.

And then we went a little crazy eating with the jam eating. We couldn't make damper because of a fire ban but we got ourselves some delicious bread and lathered it with butter and blackberry jam...

Valentine's day breakfast of blackberry porridge

Thursday, 2 February 2012

So much rain...

Is this supposed to be Summer or what? Apparently. The constant rain and cloudy weather has given me such a poor crop of tomatoes that I was forced to pull some bushes out the other day to make way for a planting of green manure (fava beans). However, I am not complaining. I rather do enjoy the rain, how can one not? It is great for the garden and the bush. There is one slight problem. If it rains, I can’t work and if I can’t work, I don’t get paid. Now, there is a good and bad side to this because sometimes  it is rather nice having a sleep in on a rainy morning . BUT I am a person that needs to be doing something and so what does busy bee such as myself do on a rainy day when I cannot work and when I cannot garden? I GET CRAFTING. Pretty much my second favourite hobby after gardening and bush regen.
Here are some pieces I have been busy working away at:

Making garlands out of old, recycled picture books.
This one has a farm inspired theme...

I picked up these fairtrade beads from Etelage on King St Newtown

Some garden inspired felt crafts
This is blatant copying from my own sister who makes bookmarks and cards out of old pictures. I picked up this picture book on growing wheat from an excursion to The Bower in Marickville. 

A crown for my nephew Oscar's upcoming 2nd birthday; he just loves playing dress ups!

So need some crafty inspiration for a wet weekend. Get to it...there is nothing better than a homemade gift.