"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Sofia: loves to help collect the eggs.
Otto: Rubenesque. 

Most days Sofia helps collect the eggs from our two chooks. "Egg, egg, EGG!". Just after this photo was taken, I handed her the other egg (one of our chooks, lays in the chook house, the other in a spot near the fence which Sofia can access more easily) and she delighted in having two by smashing them together. So only one made it back to the kitchen intact to be wiped, dated and placed in a carton in the fridge. Oh well, there will be another two tomorrow and an opportunity to practise gentle hands.

I am not sure how often the adjective Rubenesque is used to describe a (boy) baby, but Otto is all luscious curves so it seems apt. I remember that Sofia used to have little skinny legs (we called them froggy) and I think they were the last thing to flesh out. Otto's calves (and thighs) are splendid in their size and squishiness.

Linking with the 52 Project at Che & Fidel.


Then and now - 3 months

A number of people have been commented (both here and in real life) on how similar Otto and Sofia look. I hadn't really thought about it. Ian mumbled something about babies looking like babies, but looking through some older photos it becomes apparent that there is a resemblance. I just scrolled through some baby photos of Sofia and Sofia pointed and said "Otto, Otto!".

I thought it would be interesting to compare, then and now, both at three months.

Sofia was prettier (not entirely evident from these photos), Otto is chubbier, but really this could be the same baby.


Fruit season is on

Fruit season is ON which means lots of fruit to eat and lots of jam to make.

Cherry Plums

Sofia helping pick the cherry plums

Cherry plums are not that great to eat but they do make yummy jam (as we discovered last year) so just over two kilos when into a batch of jam, two kilos went to our friend Helen and we have a kilo in the freezer too, not sure what will become of them yet.

Sofia helping again...

There was a little mishap in between tree and pot - Sofia was helping out and managed to spill the large bowl of cherry plums on the kitchen floor. I am wondering how many cherry plums might have rolled under the fridge!


Last year we only had five apricots from our tree - apparently this was either something to do with a late frost or too much rain at the wrong time of the growing season. This year we didn't have any late frosts and it's ages since we've had any proper rain so we had over a hundred apricots on the tree - even after Sofia's regular sampling as the fruit was ripening.

There are about ten gazillion recipes on the web and at least half of them are jam recipes. Ian adapted "the best apricot jam recipe" from Little Green Cottage, but as he says, really jam recipes are really pretty simple - chop up your fruit, add in all the sugar in the house then boil it until it's nice and sticky. The recipe used the weight of fruit before preparation, but a lot of our fruit developed brown soft spots and needed bits chopped out so the recipe needed some adjustments. So we used 2kg of chopped fruit with 1.8kg of sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon. Ian misread the recipe and added half a litre of water but it worked out well. The quantities varied but the method was copied from the recipe above. We also added in some apricot kernels too as they are yummy.

Chopping out the bugs and gooey bits

I also made an apricot upside down cake - yum!

The apricots ripened very quickly and a lot of them went brown and mushy before we could get to them which may have been related to the heat. It was much more successful than last year but we'll try to do even better next year.

The mulberry tree

One thing we discovered last year is that the birds leave us more than enough fruit to eat, except for the cherries and mulberries. So we netted the cherries this year (possibly a bit late) and we collected a good size bowl.

The mulberry tree was pruned with netting in mind but still presented a bit more of a challenge due to its size and rough branches. This did not deter Ian and he "stitched" together a couple of large nets then weighed the bottom down with bricks after we had a few blackbird intruders. Netting has had the added benefit that it has saved the car and everything else from being covered in mulberry coloured bird poo. That is Ian's head poking out of the top middle of the tree.

There is heaps of luscious fruit, you have to go inside the net and tree canopy to get at it. I have been visiting most days to do a little hand to mouth picking - so sweet! It reminds me of my childhood when we used to pick mulberries from a family tree at Yallingup so my Grandma could make jam and mulberry tart. I have managed to stop gorging long enough to pick a little to use, but have frozen the fruit until inspiration strikes. I may have to honour Grandma's memory and make a tart.



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Sofia: Returning from childcare, she insists on wearing her (often heavy) backpack.
Otto: 3 months old, a single 0 wondersuit and he is almost too big for his Moses basket. 

When looking through the photos from the week I realised that I want to capture moments with this project rather than just concentrate on quality photo portraits. While the Olympus takes a much better shot, the iPhone is always handy - hence the snap of Sofia.

Linking with the 52 Project at Che & Fidel.



As mentioned in this post, it is easy to get a photo of Sofia.
It can be hard to choose just one for the 52 project so I try to pick one quickly so as not to over think it.

Any of these "outtakes" would probably been just as good and looking at them now, I like some of them better!



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Sofia: Eating grapes. At nearly two, her curls have only just come in.
He has impressive expressive eyebrow control (like his mama).

Having always been a bit of a "deadline Dora" it is not really surprising that these photos were taken this morning. I am finding that I have a lot of Sofia photos to choose from, but it can be difficult to get something suitable of Otto.

Lots of lovely comments from other participants last week, I am trying to get a minute to return the feedback.

Linking with the 52 Project at Che & Fidel.


Chicken proof fence

Now that we've had the chickens for three or four months, we'd noticed that one of their favourite places to hang out was just outside our back door and they were making quite a mess of it. Something had to be done so we decided to build a chicken proof fence to keep them off the driveway area and away from under the washing line. The chickens can still access most of the yard but we now have a cleaner area near the back door. It also has become clear why the council regulation says they shouldn't be within six metres of the house.

We had a big roll of mesh in the shed that had previously been part of a dog fence and it was big enough to do the job. There were also lots of star droppers around the yard. We'd given up on the existing enclosed vege patch so we dismantled it to get a gate. This meant that the fence could be built entirely out of recovered materials apart from some wire and nails to hold it all together. There was even a piece of mesh left over that was just the right size for the gap at the back of the shed near the woodheap.

There were a few issues with the fence. The first is that Sofia would hold the gate open and tell the chickens to come through. That seems to have stopped. The second is that the wind would blow the gate open and the chickens could run through but this was easily fixed. The third issue is that every time we turned our backs, the black chicken (Barbara) would appear inside the fence. We never saw it happen and couldn't work out how she kept getting through the fence. The chickens can both fly a little bit so we thought she must be flying over so I went looking for anywhere she might be getting a helping hand.  I noticed that there was a gap under the fence where it changes height between the garden bed and the lawn and this looked like it could have been big enough for a chicken. Of course, when I was watching she wouldn't go through and confirm this.

So I blocked the gap with a plank of wood...

...and since this plank was put in place the chickens haven't been inside the fence once!



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Sofia: Loves to be helpful, lately assisting with the packing and unpacking the dishwasher
Smiling up a storm, discovering his tongue and busting out of 00s

I have really enjoyed following Jodi's of Che and Fidel 52 series this past year.
So I have decided to embark on my own 52 this year.

Having only rudimentary photographic skills means this will be more a record of points in time (I am predicting often with iPhone snaps) than an artistic endeavour, but you never know - I might even be inspired to take the camera off automatic.

You will be able to display all the 52 posts here by clicking on the button in the sidebar.


Bobbin' for apples

We have had some new year's visitors - Sofia and Otto's Aunty Emma, Uncle Stephen and cousins Mathilda, Gwen and Jonny came to stay as part of their big Australian holiday. The girls were heading to an international girl guide jamboree near Launceston so they popped in for a couple of days before heading north to drop them off.

It was Gwen's 10th birthday yesterday so we had some party games - apple bobbing and a doughnut eating competition. I haven't played these games in about 35 years and while I didn't bob for apples I was triumphant in the doughnut eating (apparently some skills are for life). Unfortunately I couldn't eat and take photos (although I believe there were some taken), but we had two heats so here are Gwen, Jonny and Stephen doing their thing under the trusty hills hoist.


Gwen was the champion apple bobber with a ruthless technique of deep plunge and chomp. Here is the bobbing action.

Even Emma had a go!

Sofia was a bit young to be an active participant, but she had a lot of fun helping set up, getting wet and generally hanging out with her cousins.