Flowering Lavendar and a trip to the Museum

In preparation for my solo train trip to the city for an appointment on Monday, I did a trial run last Friday and ended up going to the Queensland Museum alone! This is my post for Outdoor Wednesday which I do every week to motivate me to post something about getting out of the house. Included are some images of my beautiful potted lavender which I’m so happy is flowering at the moment.

It was my first trip alone using the Go Card. As I left the station at South Brisbane, the station attendant looked at me so I asked her if I did the card thing right. Well, that was a mistake! I thought I did it wrong so touched on again, then she exclaimed ‘don’t do that!’  I told her I was new and didn’t know how to use the thing so she helped me to the machine to clear the second touch on. Luckily, I found it funny, LOL!

Travelling on the train was fun, I used to do it all the time when I first got to Brisbane years ago, now I’m really wondering why I haven’t been doing it these last couple of years? I thought to take myself to the art gallery but they were closed, and the museum wouldn’t open for another half hour so I went to a cafe, got a cappucino and rang David on my new phone while I waited. I spent about an hour in the museum, its fairly small but still good, and because it didn’t cost me anything, I bought a little specialist book on local birds. Because no pets are allowed on our complex, lots of different birds visit our garden and I’ve started looking up which ones they are and thought this book would be handy.
Thanks for listening ❤ ❤ ❤

Anzac Biscuits and Rosella Jam

Today is a very sacred day in Australia and New Zealand, which we call ANZAC Day. ANZAC stands for “Australian New Zealand Army Corps”, and the annual holiday is to celebrate and remember all Anzac soldiers who have fought in any war.

There’s lots of ways to celebrate Anzac Day, in the least most get a day off work! Recently, there’s been a rise in those who attend the Dawn Service and Parades. The Dawn Service traditionally is a solemn military occasion where wreaths are layed at Anzacs memorials (there’s almost always one in major cities and towns) and the Last Post is played by a solo bugler. In the past, I’ve attended these as a member of a performing choir which sang spiritual songs. The Anzac Day Parade is often held in the streets of major cities and towns, where returned soldiers, their families and descendants march in a parade. These are usually held later in the morning, and are followed by drinks at the local RSL club.

David loves to bake and makes a mean batch of Anzac biscuits, this year they turned out fantastically!  These were traditionally made by wives and mothers during WWI and sent to the front-line in food parcels. They are sweet, nutritious and filling. The recipe David likes to use calls for macademia nuts, a native Australian nut, but we didn’t have any so he used cashew nuts instead. The Anzac biscuits with macademia nuts recipe is from http://www.taste.com

Another thing we did for Anzac Day was to make up a batch of Rosella Jam. Now, I’m not sure if the hibiscus rosella bush we got from the local nursery is a native plant, it might be, or it might the introduced species. It’s in a pot, scrawny and about as tall as David. It was laden with fruit which we picked this morning, and made into jam. We used the Rosella Jam recipe from Eumundi Papers. Thankyou heaps to Wendy for the recipe on your blog, it turned out a treat! The red from the rosella fruit was very bright and beautiful looking, too.

Like the biscuits, the jam turned out deliciously, and we are very proud of our Anzac Day cooking adventures! At least David isn’t that keen on the Anzac Day sports match, watching it is apparently a very popular pastime for Anzac Day celebrations. It’s very common to hear boisterous males in neighbouring homes enthusiastically cheer for their team, whatever it is, playing whatever they are, just like we could hear today! Thank goodness for my non-sporty, clever husband! ❤ ❤ ❤

Every Heart stands for Love

What do you give the couple who has everything? Something sweet, simple and thoughtful, complete with your very own homemade touch – homemade is best!

I have named these homegrown second generation chilli plants “Spicy Hot Love Trees”, to bring good luck and passion to a newly wed couple. I’ll pick the most handsome tomorrow, but I’m thinking the one with the red fruit is a favourite to win! To bring spicy hot lovey-doveyness into the home, this chilly plant will need lots of sunshine and happiness. A good drink of water everyday is in order, but this special plant will not like to sit in water for too long,  so it’s best it doesn’t have a saucer and is well drained. Keep it in a pot, so that in the winter its easier to move into the sun, or to a sunny window indoors. I’ve written about our homegrown chilli plants in a previous post.

Fresh herbs are usually best, but these “Love Sprinkles” are a lucky love charm to add when cooking food to share. These herbs were homegrown, dried and prepared with love for good luck! Marjoram is well known as the herb of weddings, rosemary is for love, and just a few little chilli flakes are for spicy passion. These herbs would be good to add to a pasta sauce dish. I’ve written about drafting this idea in a previous post.

I’ve also made my own gift card and wrapping paper for our other gift (another simple gift for goodluck, to help with homebaking). This is a magical gift card with its matching paper. Every time a heart was handdrawn, the word ‘love’ was whispered for goodluck.
xoxxox

Scented Rice Pack, Ribbon Gift Bag and Flowering Rosella

Today, I made up an organza bag to go with the hot rice pack I made last week. Well, I don’t think it’s proper organza, just a nice white sheer fabric I’ve had hanging around for ages. I finished it off with some of the new pretty deep pink ribbon I got from Lincraft the other week. My old machine did catch on the fine fabric, so I’ll probably have to get around to that service soon.

To make the scented rice pack, I used a cup of rice (I got 10kg when on special), and added a tablespoon of dried lavendar petals, some dried homegrown marjoram, basil flowers, and lemon myrtle along with a drop of rose fragrance oil. I used more of the soft red cotton material, although I know red is not the best colour for a relaxing eye pack, but it is nice and soft. And it smells simply divine, if I do say so myself! It would be handy as a relaxing eye pack, or you can heat up it up in the microwave for a minute on high to use as a soothing hot pack. Alternatively, you can put it in the freezer to use as a cool pack. These rice packs are very handy to have around!

Flowering at the moment is our new rosella plant which is really taking off in this humid weather. We can’t believe we picked this one up in the bargain bin at our local nursery for only $1! Its got a heap of fruit on it now, and also some optimistic white meally bugs. I sorted those bugs out, so hopefully we will have some fruit to try and make rosella jam in a month or so.

Baby Basils

We have three types of basil growing in our garden, the ‘all-year-round’ variety is doing very well. The sweet basil does not survive the winter, and the thai basil is currently looking a little sad.

Because the all-year-round basil is doing so very well, I researched how to propogate basil, which turned out to be a simple matter of taking some cuttings and putting them in some water. I had these on the kitchen window sill for a week or two, and they madly put out a bunch of roots. This morning I decided it was time to plant them, as the roots were starting to push the plant out of the glasses, making them fall over.

I’ve decided that whenever planting into an empty pot that is black, I shall first decorate it! I find the black plastic garden pots quite depressing looking and have been trying to work out how to paint them. I thought I could paint them with some acrylic paint I have, which turned out to be “epic fail”, as it just washed off in water. Finally, I found some Paint Markers from the newsagent that do the job. This is my first successful plant pot decoration, a very simple red, blue and gold design. Now the healthy basil has two new babies to grow and shelter under its wings.
/awwwwww

Love Sprinkles and herbal Love Tea

I’m working on some herbal combinations, one is a herbal tea and another is some herbs to add to pasta sauce. I’m also working on a mix of herbs to add to a relaxing hot rice pack. All the herbs I’m using come from my garden and, according to tradition, are good for love and weddings!

Marjoram is thought to be the herb for ‘marital bliss’ and should be added to food to strengthen love! It has a very subtle flavour, so it will be the main ingredient of my Love Sprinkles. I’ve read marjoram is best dried, then elsewhere I read it’s best fresh, so who knows? I’ve dried a bunch already by hanging them up in a paper bag. I’ve started to remove some of the leaves to test how it holds its flavour. To that I’ll add a little rosemary, which is a strong flavour, and some flecks of chilli flakes for a bit of spicy passion! These herbs would be good added to pasta sauce or maybe vegetables. I hope to try it out very soon.

For a herbal Love Tea, I use peppermint, lemon balm and pineapple sage. This makes a subtly flavoured relaxing tea. As I used fresh herbs for this, it needed to be steeped quite long, about 10 minutes. Lemon balm is well known as a good herbal tea.

Here are three ideas I’m working on for herbal combinations which are good for love and weddings.

good for herbal tea (Love Tea)
pineapple sage – weddings, wisdom
lemon balm – love
peppermint – love & sleep

good for food (Love Sprinkles)
rosemary – weddings, memory
marjoram – weddings
chilli – passion

good for rest (Hot Love Rice Pack)
lavendar – love & sleep
lemon myrtle – love & sleep
oregano – weddings & sleep


The Herbs in Our Garden

One of my greatest simple joys at the moment is our cute little herb garden. Although it was a challenge to get established, it’s finally starting to become productive.That might be because our companion plants like basil and lavendar are growing nicely and their smelliness is discouraging pesky pests. Taking care of these herbs is a sure-fire tonic for keeping the blues at bay.

Growing your own herbs is a very simple and satisfying way to save money too. If you love good food, you would know having fresh herbs at hand is always best. Buying a bunch of herbs from the supermarket is wasteful, expensive and just not as good as growing them in a pot at your back door and taking a sprig or two as you need it. The absolute essential herb as far as I’m concerned, which is the first one we were able to successfully grow and harvest, is parsley. It’s very healthy, versatile and hardy. But now we have a bunch of other herbs that are turning out to be real joys, for example, having three types of basil and mint on hand is just wonderful!

Here is a quick break down of the herbs currently in our potted garden and what they are good for. Many also have traditional ‘magic’ properties too, which I think is nice to just keep in mind, even if you don’t fully believe in that kind of thing. After cross referencing several websites I found common themes amongst them using various words meaning basically the same thing. So I came up with three practical catergories that are meaningful to me.

aloe vera – skin (burns and rashes), “health”
basil (thai, all-year-round, sweet) – relative to peppermint, antioxidant and antibacterial, add last to hot food, “health & passion”
chamomille – flowers make a relaxing tea, also good for the skin “health & sleep”
chilli – antibacterial, good for nasal congestion, migraine relief, high blood pressure, good in winter, increases metobolism, “passion”
chives (garlic, onion) – like garlic and onions, antibacterial and antioxidant, but milder, fresh is best “health”
coriander – wonderful fresh herb for salads, “health & passion” (weddings)
lavendar – relaxing tea, migraines, insect repellant “health, passion & sleep”
lemon balm (a type of mint) – relaxing tea, stomach aches, pre-menstrual cramps, headaches, overuse can cause insomnia “health & passion”
lemon myrtle (eucalyptus, part of the myrtle family) – a relaxing tea, good for headaches, used in cooking for a mild lemon flavour, antioxidant “health, passion & sleep”
marjoram – food preservative, relaxing tea, good in cooking, upset tummy, headaches, mild antioxidant and antifugal, dried is best, “health & passion” (weddings) “add to food to share with your object of affection to strengthen love”
mint – good with peas, juices, punch, tea, icecream “health & passion”
oregano – antioxidant rich, antibacterial, close relative to marjoram, makes a good tea for nasal congestion, dried is best “health & sleep” (weddings)
parsley – high in iron, good for high blood pressure, tummy upsets and uti, breath freshener, toothache, constipation, detox, salads “health & passion”
peppermint – tea, indigestion, tummy upsets, IBS, cough suppressant, morning sickness, relaxing herbal bath, “health, passion & sleep”
pineapple sage – tea (with lemon balm), anti-anxiety, “health, passion & sleep” (weddings & wisdom)
rosella hibiscus – native bush fruit for making jam “passion”
rosemary – food preservative, cook with lamb, good for upset tummy, relaxing baths, may protect against cancer, use liberally in food, “health & passion” (weddings & memory)

resources
http://www.global-garden.com.au/gardenherbs.htm
http://www.scribd.com/Herbs-and-Their-Magickal-Properties
windspirit57.tripod.com/id4.html
http://www.earthwitchery.com/herbsa-g.html
http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/pagan/articles_magass.htm
http://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbMarjoramMag.htm
http://www.herballegacy.com/Branca_History.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_4436311_oregano-tea-rid-sinus-problems.html
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtaceae

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