Winter mornings

Chilly mornings on Mulberry Tree Farm bring a special magic to the garden. Jonquils and daffodils bloom, and the trees make majestic silhouettes in the mist.

And the past two morning have brought a new feature – an ice skating rink, for the birds! The birdbath has been frozen solid, much to the dismay of the wrens and lorikeets!

But the birds are enjoying the biscuit and bread crumbs we put out for them. Scone crumbs are a favourite, so I’m pleased my winter baking is proving to be a hit with the locals!



Home grown, homemade!

Some things in life evoke feeling. They make you happy when you look at them. And they warm and nurture you.

For me, homemade soup is one of these things, especially when it’s made lovingly with homegrown veggies!

Hubby was chief chef this evening, and his pumpkin soup, made with our beautiful produce, has hit the spot! Topped with homegrown mint from the herb garden, I’m feeling happy and warm and nurtured!

Bon appetit!


A/W 2014 Fashion Colour

It’s a magnificent Autumn day here at Mulberry Tree Farm, and all inhabitants seem to be dressed in their finery, trees included.

Reds, yellows and brown are the hues de jour, and what a sight for sore eyes they are!

They’ll also make for magnificent mulch for the garden. It’s best to run over the leaves with the mower to break them down. The reason for this is the surface area increases, making it easier for micro organisms to break the leaves down, which in turn adds goodness to the garden beds more quickly.

Not only are the leaves beautiful, but they’re practical as well. And that’s exactly the kind of fashion I like!



The Preservation Society

We love preserving things at Mulberry Tree Farm, especially when they taste good! Our homegrown quinces have been quietly curing in the larder, and Hubby decided to do what he does best with them – make quince paste!

And this time he discovered something else – after boiling with a lemon rind and whisking them in the blender, he came over with a teaspoon. “Taste this!” he beamed.

I’d never thought to try puréed quince, but it is a beautiful, complex and delicate flavour. And the best bit is, there’s no added sugar!

So Hubby set some aside for us to warm up for breakfast with a dash of yogurt … And it’s amazing.

And, by the way, so is his quince paste. We can’t wait to find some delectable cheese to sample it with!




The good oil

Olives and their oil have been treasured for centuries, and every year at Mulberry Tree Farm we harvest our olives with great pride. And unfortunately to date, we haven’t had much to celebrate post harvest.

I’ve tried curing buckets of the beautiful, bitter fruit but not with much luck. Hubby suggested we make our own oil so we started researching – at the local café in town.

Sure enough we were very lucky to be introduced to a local treasure who is an olive expert and lives two farms down from us. Mr Fratelli came to the Goulburn Valley in his twenties. He fell in love with it, bought a small plot, and met and married a beautiful girl who helped plant the groves. He now has his own olive oil press and supplies the top restaurants in Melbourne with his liquid gold. His oil is so good that he even puts his image and name on the bottle!

We learned from him that certain olives are best for oil, and others are prime candidates for preserving due to the amount of oil they yield. A good oil olive will yield 16% oil. Some olives yield 3% and these are the ones for preserving.

We were shown that pH plays a big part in preserving olives – just add a splash of vinegar to fresh water to keep the olives from becoming mushy.

Some of ours preservers were ready, so they’re in sterilised jars and we’re changing fresh water every day for 10 days before adding that touch of vinegar.

And our oil olives are still maturing, so we’ll leave them a while until we take them down the road for pressing.

So now there’s no excuse for anything but restaurant standard olives … But, just quietly, I might be doing the tasting before putting my name to these!



The Angus Boys

Every parent is a little biased about their child’s talents. So it’s not surprising that I think our Angus Boys are very clever.

This morning, Hubby had some mowing business to attend to and whilst I was sipping my morning coffee, I spied a few familiar black masses in the paddock nearest our cottage – the very paddock that I had moved those familiar black masses from yesterday. The Boys had somehow opened the gate and let themselves back in!

Down went my coffee, on went my boots, and out I headed. As I walked up to The Boys, they slowly started heading towards the very gate they’d opened. I walked ahead, and with few “Koo-mons!” we soon had a game of Follow-The-Leader! Our gentle approach has seen them become very calm and they seem to know that when we appear, we take them to greener pastures.

So within less than ten minutes, The Boys were reunited with the rest of their brothers chewing happily, even posing for photos. And I was back with my coffee!



Rain on a hot tin roof

I’m a sound sleeper. There’s not much that wakes me up, but this morning’s thunder clap had me sitting (lightning) bolt upright at 4am. And I was glad to be awake to hear the blissful sound of raindrops on the roof.

With no town water connection, we rely on our tanks for water. And when it rains, we feel happy! Hubby was up at 6am clearing a blocked down pipe, Drizabone on, drenched and smiling! I watched through the kitchen window as he stood to take in the heavens opening.

Country life has taught me about simplicity. And it’s the simple things that really matter. Water is fundamental to all of us, and if I can be reminded of that in the middle of the night, I’m somehow even more grateful!