Railing Against

Mandarine Waster
1. Strain the juice of 3 large, chilled mandarines into a blender.
2. Add 3 tablespoons of chilled full fat yoghurt.
3. Add 1.5 measures of chilled Cream Liqueur (2.5 if in a hurry). Baileys or Feeneys work well.
4. Blend on high for 90 seconds.
5. Pour into a chilled highball glass (no ice).
6. Decorate with a dab of fresh yoghurt and a curl of mandarine peel.
7. Dispose of the pips, peel, and fruit pulp in the compost, because while the object is to use up the mandarines as quickly as possible, we don't want to add to landfill, kids.

Mandarine season is upon us, and with it our predictable panic and lack of preparation. In addition to the above recipe, we have had great success with mandarine curd, and also marmalade - though a combination of citrus is required for this.
After a chance meeting in town, Lynne and Richard showed us a place that does a good flat white in South Lismore, cunningly hidden in the garden of a furniture shop. There is a tiny sign on the road, and you have to walk through the furniture shop and almost into the garden at the back to get to the cafe area, where seats are arranged amongst the plants and garden furniture, looking out over a pond and the woods to the West. Not only is the place on our way out of town, but almost unique in Lismore in having somewhere outdoors to sit which overlooks some countryside. Richard also walked me around the native plantings he's started on his block, and I took copious notes.
Now that Winter is here, I've made a start on planning the native plants which will replace the invasive camphor laurels at the foot of our garden. The emphasis is on smaller plants which won't stop the breeze coming up the hill, or block our view of Blue Knob to the North (which was completely obscured by the 50 foot tall camphors). I'm also hoping to find a mixture of colourful flowers, winter berries, and interesting leaves, but most of the more colourful varieties are native to parts of Australia a bit North of here, and I'm unsure how much leeway I should give myself. Climate change could see the more Northerly plants moving into this region in my lifetime anyway.
Stefan and Iris have had a beautiful baby girl, Nala, and we have taken K around to meet the new arrival. She spent the next two days pointing at every picture of a baby and grinning manically.
The project (literally) around the house this month has been replacing the railings on the balcony - this photo shows one of the three stretches of railing we have replaced (and some of the old uprights in a pile). I didn't really think through the number of uprights in the structure, and in hindsight, I should have invested in an electric screwdriver, especially once we'd decided to go with hardwood for the new uprights. The new toprail has one massive advantage over the old one however - it is wide enough to stand your beer on.
When not rebuilding the verandah, coddling the toddler, doing my day job, or lying in a dark room listening to whalesong, there has been time for a little partying - not least of which was a rather excellent do at new friends' Chris & Kirrily's place; Kirrily's Alice-in-wonderland themed 40th birthday bash. I just wish I'd thought to undercut the other hatters by pricing my hat at 10 shillings and fivepence.

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