Friday, 1 January 2010

New year's day.

I have added the pictures of yesterday's blue moon onto yesterday's post.  It seemed more appropriate somehow.
It is tricky to prepare dinner when the weather is as hot as it was yesterday,   but with the new climate,  I suppose it's best  to get used to it....  not too hard when we have such a luxurious spot!

...and for the menu...  a salad that is based on a Greek salad but with avocado and no feta or olives.  It all depends on what is available at the market in Angaston.  The dressing is homemade...  local olive oil and red wine vinegar (3:1) garlic (plenty) and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

... hard boiled eggs with cumin and salt.  This really needs to be very freshly ground cumin seeds and salt.  I use a hand turned coffee grinder (that I always use for spices) and I put the cumin and salt through it together...

...white cloud cheese (similar to brie) from Paris Creek...

... and the last little bit of baba ganoush from the day before with some pita bread.

The new style of eating on the verandah after the sun goes down is not too bad at all!

On the news this morning is the information that 2009 was the hottest year on record for Australia.  Here, in South Australia, we have had three record breaking heat waves during the year.  The previous "hottest on record" year was two years ago.  With climate change happening around us and nothing being done about it, we can expect more of this.  I'll be planning more "verandah dinners" after sunset.
Much of South Australia has had reduced rainfall also.  In fact we received about 510mm (20 inches) during 2009.  In Kapunda, we expect 19 inches, so this has been "above average" also.

On January the first,  I am reminded of new years resolutions.  I still associate these with the debt settlement that used to happen in Newfoundland.  When I lived there, through the 1970's debt settlement at the end of the year was not the usual practice any more and hadn't been since Newfoundland became the 10th province of Canada in 1949 and social welfare payments enabled more independence for   I heard the stories about the outports from my neighbours.
In the small settlements around the coast of Newfoundland,  people lived a "subsistence" way of life, growing vegetables and fishing in the summer and making and mending nets and implements during the winter.  The summer is short, and vegetables, even when I first arrived, were limited to potatoes, carrots, cabbage and turnips.  Fish at that time meant cod.  Households needed to buy flour, sugar and tea.  The main export for many years was dried cod, and I have even made some myself.
"Dried cod and the dishes made from it are known by many different names, as it became part of the cuisine of many European nations. For example, it is known as bacalao (Spanish), bakaiļao(Basque), bacallà (Catalan), morue (French), baccalà (Italian), bacalhau (Portuguese), klippfisk/clipfish (Scandinavian), saltfiskur (Icelandic), bakalar (Croatian), and Saltfish (Caribbean)." (Wikipedia)
Each settlement typically had a merchant who traded with buyers of those commodities and kept a "tab" for each of the fishermen throughout the year.  According to my neighbours, settlement of the "tab" was to be made by new year's eve and so the "slate" was clean for the new year.  Prices for all items were determined by the merchant and so it is hardly surprising that most fishermen ended up close to breaking even each year... the fishing families remained economically tied up for generations, and the merchants became wealthy...  many of their names are recognisable still in Newfoundland business and social circles.
This is feudalism, and I wonder how society might be if and when people need to be more self sufficient, though trading for novel items.

Here,  there are mostly considerations of resolutions for the new year.  Most of these are associated with lifestyle and self improvement.  Interesting.
I have decided to join the throng.  I have never made resolutions in the past. But this time I've decided to do so.  I plan to do at least one drawing each day.  I love to draw, and I need to keep it up so that I don't lose the eye/hand coordination, or whatever it is.  It is easy enough to make one drawing each day,  but usually I put it off until either the day is gone or I decide to take the "manyana" option.  It is supposed to make a difference to the success of a resolution if you let other people know about it, and so I am doing that also.
This morning I made a drawing of a bowl of peaches that are sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not particularly pleased with the drawing itself,  but at least it's a beginning...

... and it was strange to write the date (1.1.10) too.

One little disaster that has happened in the last 24 hours.. just before dinner last night,  in fact... we have no electricity in the kitchen.
This has happened before... all of the power points stopped working (lights are ok) and the fuses all have intact wire in them.  A couple of years ago this happened intermittently and eventually settled down again... obviously some dodgy wiring somewhere.   The electrician who came to have a look couldn't work it out because it worked perfectly every time he checked.
Well, it's been like this for nearly 24 hours now,  so I have turned off all of the switches and I'll call the electrician on Monday.  Meanwhile we have extension cords for all of the really essential stuff... like the wireless internet router,  the computer and the portable swamp cooler!  The "old house" saga continues...


Barbara said...

I know the old house saga (ours
was built in 1910)! I suspect the
wiring is pretty dodgy but i
always take comfort in the thought
that plenty of electricians have
done work in the house and no
one has actually freaked out!

robyn_rainbow said...

I love your blog Jane, thanks for going to so much effort to put photos up.. I will check back and see how you're going reguarly :)

robyn xx