A friend who reads my blog gave me a gentle ribbing a few days ago regarding, firstly, the dearth of posts in the last few weeks, and secondly, my promise to post about what's bugging me (and my lack of follow up).
What can I say? I have no less than seven draft posts languishing on my Blogger dashboard at the moment. Apart from one - a chookie update, which I just haven't gotten around to uploading all the photos to yet - I am hesitant to post any of the rest because, well, they aren't constructive in any way. At best they sound like a poor-me whinge-fest and at worst, an incoherent rant! So, there they sit, for the moment anyway.
In the meantime, I certainly haven't been idle:
* I scored a never-been-used electric bottling unit on eBay for a fraction of the cost of new. I have always been a bit suss about using my stove top Vacola bottling unit because it just doesn't sit comfortably on my gas stove top burner trivets, nor does it heat evenly since it sits over two burners when it is being used, one of which is a large wok burner, which makes me paranoid about potential accidents and/or bottling issues. With a self-contained electric unit however, I am not heating up my kitchen as much in summer when I bottle (yay!), and I am using electricity rather than natural gas - with the installation of our solar panels recently, plus paying for Green Power for the electricity we use from the grid, this is a 'greener' option for us.
* With the Aussie dollar currently almost on a par with the US dollar, I couldn't resist going halves with my Mum in a Presto pressure canner. Three years ago I priced them and they were in the vicinity of $380 plus delivery (to order them in Australia), but with the current exchange rate we got ours for $200. Awesome! I haven't used it yet, but I intend 'can' the foods which are taking up all the room in my tiny 140 litre freezer, particularly chicken stock and soups.
* Mum and I also went halves in an overlocker (serger), which I can't wait to bust out to make some clothes for my girls. I'm hoping to give it a trial run this week making some new handkerchiefs for the kids out of repurposed fabric.
* I've been flat out working out Christmas to-do lists. I had a sudden panic a couple of weeks ago when our more-organised-than-me relatives asked for present suggestions for the girls for Christmas, and gently pointed out that it was 'only' 10 weeks away at that stage. It's awesome that they asked, but I was terribly unprepared with suggestions! Thankfully, after a couple of days of heavy-duty internet trawling - including Jenny's terrific list of handmade presents she's given her daughter over the years - I've got a list of cool (I think!) present ideas. My mum is a much better crafter than me so I've sent her away with a list of hand mades I think think my girls will be thrilled with, but I am still in the process of refining the list of items I will be making for them! I want to stick to hand made as much as possible, with the exception of books and craft supplies, so I've literally got my work cut out for me.
* I've had some amazing luck at the op-shops lately, coming home with some excellent finds, yay! One of the more interesting things is this vintage Sheffield spoon, which I totally forgot to ask my Mum about over the weekend:
It has this odd flat edge on one side, which has broken with use over the years, hence the little split you can see. What do you think it is for? My thought is that it's for basting roasts? It's about the same size as the vintage table spoons I have, so bigger than dessert spoon size, but I thought that basting spoons were generally larger than table spoons? Suggestions anyone?
Anyway, back soon with a chookie update I hope :-)
P.S. Can anyone tell me why I can't leave comments on other Blogger blogs at the moment? Very frustrating! I've wanted to leave many comments this morning and none seem to be going through?