Summer edition

The tagline of this blog has always been there is an art to the everyday. For a while now I’ve been posting on the blog about once a month but pop in and out of Instagram most days; posting, commenting or liking. Currently I don’t have the inclination to write longish/numerous blog posts so the brevity & immediacy of the Instagram platform and community suits me most of the time but not all which is why I continue to straddle both… and because my attitude to blogging hasn’t changed. I write what and when I please and send my thoughts out into the ether where they are received by someone known or unknown sooner or later… my old friends in the blogging community respond promptly, occasionally someone I encounter in real life will remark upon something they’ve read on the blog, and enduringly I get new hits, likes and comments on posts from across the past decade… you never know who you touch.

I generally avoid closely replicating blog-Instagram content because there’s always the option to follow on Instagram for the minutiae of daleleelife101 in real time, however because both are digital journals of sorts somewhat different in nature and readership, and the practice of non-duplication occasions a deficit of everyday-ness blog content sometimes I ignore my own guidelines to remedy the lack.

January is the time of year I like to slow down… stop and smell the roses, so to speak. I spend my time pretty much as I please, setting my to-do list aside until February. My Instagram feed tells the story of what I’ve been doing with my time but there’s a few extra details, and photos on my camera roll that didn’t make it to Insta… so here it is, in photos: What I did on my summer staycation.

Earth Angel
Earth Angel. “Most people didn’t see the beauty behind the everyday, didn’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life, didn’t stop and smell the roses … and just because these phrases were considered platitudes didn’t make them any less true. For you could belittle truth, lambaste it, deny its existence, but truth would always still be there…” ― Ray Smith, The Magnolia That Bloomed Unseen
Christmas books
Christmas books… reading material for January… Jessica Dore’s Tarot for Change is incredibly insightful.
Beach Collage
The beach… always.
Rhapsody in Green
Rhapsody in Green… for plant lovers and gardeners… a conversation with a kindred spirit who has a passion for plants and books, and a reassuringly perfectly imperfect garden. My own garden is a mess… courtesy of summer rain… that has also sanctioned rainy afternoons spent in the good company of her essays. Would’ve earned an extra star had drawings of the garden been included, and had I been certain the Charlotte Mendelson’s opinion of permaculture was entirely tongue-in-cheek.
Tomato Relish
I don’t believe it’s possible to have too many summer tomatoes… from the garden, neighbours and friends. This year so far I’ve begun accumulating tubs of my usual slow cooker tomato-garlic-basil soup in the freezer, restocked the pantry with a few jars of our favourite tomato-lemon-garlic-ginger-chilli jam… but inspired by @simply_sourdough I spent a couple of relaxed hours in my kitchen stirring a pot of tomato pickles aka tomato relish… a worthy addition to my kitchen repertoire. Recipe from: https://www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/homemade-gift–barrys-tomato-pickle… that lists 4 large tomatoes in the ingredients… I used 1.5 kg tomatoes which made 4 jars.
Green goddess dressing_collage
Some days you’ve gotta be your own goddess… and make green goddess dressing… what better reason to grow fresh herbs and leafy greens in my garden… Recipe based on @jilldupleix https://www.goodfood.com.au/video-food/video-good-food/jill-dupleixs-green-goddess-dressing-and-dip
Basil pesto_collage
By lunchtime I was pretty much done in the kitchen but then I started thinking how nice it would be to eat vego pizza on the weekend… which got me to thinking the vego pizza would taste even better drizzled with garlicky basil pesto… Fresh basil leaves + elephant garlic + pine nuts + olive oil + salt + stick blender = yum.
Pizza_sourdough foccacia_collage
I couldn’t let the weekend pass without homemade vego pizza to go with a drizzle of the garlicky basil pesto I made. Ask me what food I miss from my time living in the city, the list will be long but invariably come back to decent pizza… sadly, takeaway or dine-in food at the only establishment in our village is very ordinary… we haven’t been there since shortly after its occupation by new managers two years ago… and the offerings 30km away in town aren’t much more inspiring. Therefore, homemade pizza is an ongoing quest. My latest version is to split sourdough foccacia dough, bake, then depending when I plan to do the pizza part… cool or leave overnight, top with garlic butter, reheat until warm, add a generous amount of toppings and bake until hot and melty. Always make enough for leftovers.
Farm Stall Collage
A morning of errands and a quick trip to the supermarket but first the perfect way to procrastinate… a short detour out of town to the farm stall at Tewinga for free range eggs, my favourite white sweet potatoes and local bananas.
New Year 2022 books
Instead of making 2022 new year resolutions I bought books. I read Hannah Moloney’s The Good Life in one day… the words, information, inspiration and beautiful photographs flow and bubble along with the joy of a good life that is doable, all or in part, today, tomorrow, whatever, wherever, whoever the circumstances… it covers a little bit of everything but not too much. This is a gift of a book. No matter how far into your good life journey you are… or aren’t, it will change your life. I will be referring to it time and time again. Futuresteading is a bit harder going and slower progress.
Bee water
Upgraded the bee water… Thanks @down_the_back_today for the Instagram inspo… I recycled a terracotta pot, added a couple of spider plant cuttings and sat it on an upcycled terracotta mosquito coil holder lid in among the marbles and sludgy water. Soon enough the bees will have the respite of a shady, damp, cool arbour.
Nasturtium pesto_collage
‘Cos I felt like nasturtium pesto on my cheese and mushroom wraps for lunch… a wander out in my garden. Snip nasturtium leaves. Ignore weeds. Make a mental note there might be enough coriander to make pesto later in the week. Watch bees. Deal with snails. Spot new sweet potato shoots that have come up. Get excited about baby eggplants. Search for beans for dinner. Discover the mystery chilli bush is a Bishops Crown. Check out the cucumbers… we’ll need one for the watermelon salad on Wednesday. Remember I need ginger root for the water kefir. Back in my kitchen… wash then blend nasturtium leaves with a handful of walnuts, a couple of cloves of garlic, zest of a lemon (by-product of making water kefir), a pinch of salt and a good slurp of olive oil.
Australia Day_Collage
Last Monday I put out the call to the neighbours… come for lunch on Wednesday… the Australia Day public holiday… bring a #multiculturaltheme side dish… and this is what we did ♡ #winnerwinnerfriendshipdinner #bbqgreeklamb #sourdoughfoccacia #germanpotatosalad #hummus #watermelonsalad #freekahsalad #waldorfsalad #asiannoodles #bbqmeats #pineapplerings #cheeseplate #grapes and much later -not pictured- delicious lime cake -that disappeared quickly- with coconut icecream. #homemadelife #australiadayourway #changethedate #mateship #sharingiscaring #lunchwithfriends #potlucklunch
Mags
We usually leave the local birds to their own devices but teenage Mags comes and finds us some days and apparently has made itself at home with the neighbours too… he/her is a bit limpy… needs a help-out every now and then.
Size is relative_collage
Size is relative, I understand. But I regularly get comments that we must have a big garden. Heaven forbid. Our 822 sqm residential yard is enough work. We have a caged garden area, 11 wicking bed planters plus a bathtub, 2 half wine barrel planters, numerous scattered pots, a few smaller garden beds, and a big messy front garden. Actually it’s all a bit disorderly… we like it that way. Yet we pick manageable amounts of something edible most days, a sufficient supplement of fresh edibles for the 2 of us. For me, spending days, weeks preserving a glut of produce only had a brief appeal in the early days after we moved from the city. Every day I’m grateful for the garden… and today I found my missing mojo during a morning of mooching around #inmygarden, picking, weeding, observing, thinking, planning, photographing.
Coriander pesto_collage
Earlier in the week I wondered… and I was right… there was just enough self-sown summer coriander to make a small batch of coriander pesto aka cilantro… these days in my garden it comes up when and where it wants, does better in winter and tends to bolt in summer… so getting a jar in January is special. Blend a few handfuls of washed and chopped coriander, a few kaffir lime leaves, a chilli, a clove of elephant garlic, a couple of handfuls of cashews, a generous drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. While we’re on the subject I have to tell you how much I appreciate the food processors in my kitchen… these 3 are the latest in a long line… my aunt gave me a Sunbeam Oskar in the mid 1980’s that kept going for over 30 years. The blender that came with the Kenwood leaked -a known fault- so I chucked it, and the Kambrook was a $5 market bargain I couldn’t resist. I only have one stick blender now but I need a spare for the caravan as well. I also have an affection for and 3 slow cookers but that’s another story.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
―John Lubbock, The Use Of Life


13 thoughts on “Summer edition

  1. Nice to have the long-form of this summer summary. I always enjoy Hannah’s contributions to Gardening Australia so I can imagine she lends the same energy to her book. Your timely reminder for me to enjoy the many little blessings in our life couldn’t be more appreciated. It is a difficult time here in the NT. We are not just cut off from food supplies, but ALL supplies at the moment. It is unnerving, so I’m busying my usual slothful summer self with decluttering. I had a big clean out about five years ago and knew at the time I would have to go deeper at some stage, and this is that time! When my focus runs to anxiety over the current state of affairs, I find another shelf or drawer to clean out. It’s going well and my friend and I will have a lawn sale in a couple of months when the weather cools down. Sorry for the verbal diarrhoea here, still some anxiety leaking through. Thank you for the lovely photos of your verdant garden and life. That top photo of the rose is exquisite. xx

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    1. I can only imagine how anxious you are… Covid case numbers are concerning everywhere and vision of empty supermarkets in Alice Springs is surreal. I’m only slightly less anxious because the situation locally as far as I know is not so severe. I need to brave the supermarket next week and have no idea what to expect, and my expectations are low. Decluttering is empowering and that’s what we all need in some form right now. I think similar might be the unconscious modus operandi behind my compulsion to harvest and blend up the offerings from my garden… take that pandemic, and political shit show… see what you think of this! I will survive… we all will… wiser for it. Thank you my “old” dear friend for the lovely generous comment… I’ve been wondering if I could send you some Wellington Wonder climbing green bean seeds, they give us green beans all year and the pods we miss provide new seeds. I think they would go well even in Alice’s challenging climate.

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      1. I would like the green bean seeds but I don’t think border customs would! Thank you anyway. Yes, I must focus on the fact that we will survive this because I’m sure we will. It is probably more the dread of how long it will take and watching our lives tick over months and years in the process! Good luck at the grocery! x

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  2. You’re a woman after my own heart, Dale: ‘always make enough for leftovers.’ That mantra has stood us in good stead during this pandemic. Lunch used to be a ho hum meal – bread, a bit of ham, maybe cheese, boring. At least the bread was from the local hot bread shop. Since I stopped going out to buy bread we’ve had to make do with packet muck. As a result, lunch became even more ho hum until I got smart and made sure we had left overs. Yum. 🙂
    Speaking of yum, all of your food looks scrumptious. I’ve never tried putting homemade pesto on pizza but as our favourite topping is fetta, caramelised onions and basil leaves, it sounds like the perfect fit for us! Many thanks for the tip. 😀
    Btw, I have to ask, what is Instagram about? I’ve never even looked it up but another blogger friend – Frank from Beechworth – mentioned doing something on Instagram so now I’m curious.

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    1. Your favourite pizza topping sounds delicious. Instagram is many things to many people… users upload 1 to 10 photos, videos, reels into their feed, and can also upload stories that stay up for 24 hours. Narratives tend to be short and include connective hashtags which when clicked take followers to other posts featuring the same hashtag. The photos I’ve posted in this blog post and narratives are very close to how my Instagram feed appears but I have removed most of the hashtags for the purposes of the blog post – the neighbours lunch narrative is most typical to Instagram. If you click on the pink ‘Instagram’ and ‘daleleelife’ text in the blog post it will take you to my Instagram feed. Like WordPress bloggers, Instagrammers tend to form communities of followers who like and comment on posts… indeed some of my community hark back to my early days of blogging.

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      1. Aaah, okay. That wouldn’t suit me very much as I hardly ever take photos, certainly not ‘good’ ones and I don’t produce enough ‘graphics’ to keep people interested. Good to know though. It’s a glimpse into a very different ‘world’. 🙂

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  3. Oh, that Australia Day lunch makes me pine for the last time we had lunch together. Rye bread, soft cheeses, local honey, buffalo chorizo, olives, pesto. It made a big impression, obviously! One day we’ll do it again. One day. Up here, the Day of The Chook looms ever closer, and we will be doing the final work necessary when we get back from our quick outing to Townsville (assuming even that goes ahead). Once the chooks are installed, I’ll have mulch and fertiliser to start the vegie garden I want. Step by step…

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    1. I’m looking forward to vicariously enjoying your chooks… and seeing your garden take shape. My favourite kind of meals… a potluck selection, contributions welcome… relaxed and celebratory in an everyday kind of way. Beyond day-to-day everything is take it as it comes… we have hopes but no plans.

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