Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter to all my Friends and Family Far and Near

Happy Easter everyone, wishing you peace, love and happiness.

Life seems to have been pretty busy in our neck of the woods. How about you?

The bees continue to thrive and Mr. HRK is feeding them their sugar and water syrup every few days to keep their energy levels in top gear. It is heart warming and reassuring to see them flying around and feeding from the flowers and bushes in our  garden, but they are also flying off early each morning in search of the local flowering native trees. That's where the real magic happens.

We were invited to a beautiful 40th birthday party lunch, on Thursday at the Ocean International Hotel in Mackay and this was the birthday cheesecake and dessert. I thought it looked amazing, but it tasted even better. The fresh mint was a nice touch. Local tropical bougainvillea in flower just set off the visual effect perfectly.

Mr. HRK, whilst a guest,  was also part of the entertainment for the birthday party, and here he is second from left, next to Bill, our host and the Harmonica player, strumming his guitar. Everyone enjoyed a good old fashioned sing song, song sheets with the words were provided.

We have been conducting an experiment over the last week with two of our home grown vanilla beans. The yellow one was ready to harvest, but was the only one, so I also picked a green one from the vine to see if I could also ripen it by the sun and sweating method, although most of the articles I have read about it suggest that they can't be ripened effectively unless they are turning slightly yellow at the tips or on the bean when picked. The difficulty being that with a small crop of vanilla beans they aren't all going to ripen at the same time, are they?

Below is a photo 7 days later, of the beans after being left out in the sun for four hours a day, and brought inside to sweat overnight in an esky.The lower one is ready I think and just needs to be aired now for a couple of weeks. It possibly had a little bit too much sun. The top one seems to be browning so perhaps it will be ok as well, however it doesn't have the full vanilla aroma that the darker one has. If anyone has any experience with curing vanilla beans I would love to hear from you, but I have learned a lot just with this simple experiment.

We have been spending sometime in the garden over the Easter break, there are always enjoyable things to do. It rained this morning and that is perfectly timed as we have just planted some radish seedlings and alyssum seeds. The next one on the list are silver beet seedlings. Other areas of the garden were looking a bit dry, so there is no need to water now.

I have also been enjoying doing some reading, and planning some sewing and doing some decluttering.

There is a large pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove, I made the stock yesterday,  so that will be a delicious, easy and nutritious meal for our dinner. I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing time over the break.

Happy Easter and thanks for dropping by.



  1. Happy Easter, Pauline. Yes that cheesecake does look amazing. I have never grown vanilla beans so don't know anything about them unfortunately.

  2. hope you had a fab easter pauline. we sure did!:) how lovely to have your own vanilla beans. so did you hand fertilise them? and great to hear the bees are doing well. isn't it a lovely thing to grow your own stuff? have a good week. cheers sherry

  3. What a fantastic looking dessert and fun sounding birthday party. Your Mr HRK is quite the talented man, song and dance and handy around the house. Say high to the bees for me. I'm thinking your going to harvest some amazing honey.

    1. Thanks Ron, I will say hi to the bees for you. They are very contented at the moment, weather is great and our very old native paperbark tree is in beautiful bloom along with some other flowering plants.Hoping for honey in October.Best wishes, Pauline

  4. Thanks Sherry, yes we hand fertilised them, hubby is particularly good at it.

  5. Wow that's amazing re the vanilla beans! They're so precious as they are but I can imagine so much more precious when they're home grown!

  6. It makes me realise why they are so expensive and precious when I try to cure them as well. Growing them is the easy part, but I will persevere. Thanks Lorraine

  7. Wow - I'm very impressed with your vanilla beans. Good vanilla is now more costly than silver, on a kilo for kilo basis!

  8. Thanks Amanda. I hadn't thought of it like that, and now that I have them I realise the amount of time and effort involved in producing a good quality vanilla bean, it's worth it though.


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