Koalas in My Backyard! or What is Biodiversity?

Image from www.inspiration7.com

We must be the change we wish to see in the world       ~ Mahatma Gandhi

One of the hats I wear in this lifetime is ‘Organic Farmer’. My husband and I have a strong commitment to food production that nurtures and values the land, and that uses no chemicals or harmful practices. We believe that protecting and restoring the land’s biodiversity results in healthy farms, healthy plants and animals, healthy humans and a healthy planet.

Apart from that, living like this just sits well with me.  Being on this farm, surrounded by a rich diversity of species is good for my soul. And we’re blessed to live in the Byron Shire, where many of our friends and neighbours share this view and have a commitment to the Earth.

So, what does biodiversity look like? I’d love to show you.

Grab a cup of tea and we’ll go for a stroll through the paddocks to see what we might discover.

Let’s go!  Tramp, tramp, tramp…

Cows.

 

Look up.  You may need to squint. Sun, sorry.  Tawny Frogmouth and her chicks.

 

 

Butterfly on the lantana.

 

Grass, trees and sky.

 

Sleeping koala.  This one keeps us awake at night with his gruntiness.

 

Platypus, busy in the creek.

 

Black cockatoo, singing a mournful cry.

 

Green frog that lives in the stone wall under my kitchen window. Cute, huh?

 

Heritage citrus from the orchard – lemons, mandarins, oranges, tangellos, grapefruit.  Shall we pick some to take back and make a fresh juice?

 

 

Cedric the carpet snake who lives in the roof, right above my writing desk!

 

Chillax the possum, (named by a neighbour) and her bub.  She quite likes living in the shed.  Nice and dry, and warm on those cold nights.

 

More koalas. They’re breeding like rabbits.  Rabbits? Yes, we have those too, although the wedgetail eagle has cleaned up quite a few!

 

 

Owls – lots of owls…

 

 

Wallabies. They like to graze the orchard in the morning, and the river flats in the afternoons.

Pademelons – also known as garden thieves!

Gus, the water dragon.  He ate all my goldfish, but how can you stay mad at something so… Yeah, I’m still mad at him.

I could go on, but you’re probably getting tired from all this walking. No doubt you’ll need a restorative cup of tea and a tasty snack, back on my veranda.

Dogs? Yes.  We have those too.  These are the domesticated variety. Sadly, I still haven’t taught them to vacuum or do dishes yet.

You’ll have to come back again.  There’s still so much left to show you.  Now, how about that cuppa? The chocolate brownies are delicious aren’t they. Do you want the recipe?

Heavenly Chocolate Brownie Recipe

I’m so glad you came to visit ♥  xx

 

 

Heavenly Chocolate Brownie Recipe

This brownie recipe is so good that my neighbour’s son prefers to be paid by the tin full rather than take cash when he works in my garden! As the picture suggests it is moist, dense and fudgey.  It’s a pleasure to make, using only a large saucepan and a cup. You can have it in the oven in ten minutes, and half an hour later it’s done. I always make a double batch in a baking tray (approx 22cm x 32 cm) because it doesn’t seem to last long around here. The recipe below is for a standard batch.

*Be warned – they are highly addictive!

Ingredients: 125g unsalted butter (one stick or 4 ounces), chopped into chunks (you can use salted but I prefer the sweetness of unsalted butter for this recipe), 200 grams dark chocolate broken into chunks (7 ounces chocolate or 1 cup), 3/4 cup soft brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour), 3 eggs, 1 cup of nuts or chocolate chunks or a combination to suit yourself.

Note – Good nuts to use include walnuts, pecans or macadamias.  Chocolate chunks should be largish – if you use small chocolate drops they will melt and you won’t have any evidence of them in your finished brownie. Milk, dark or white chocolate are all fine – use whatever takes your fancy.  I also use fresh berries from time to time for a pleasing variation.

Method:  Use baking paper to line a slice tin (28cm x 18cm or 8 inches by 12 inches) Add the butter, sugar and chocolate to a large saucepan. Melt ingredients over low heat, stirring until all combined. Turn off the heat. It should be warm but not hot.  If you can’t stick your finger comfortably into the mixture let it cool a little. Add the vanilla.

Dump in the cup of flour, and then break the eggs into the cup, beat lightly and add to the saucepan too.  Mix well to combine.  Add the chocolate chunks or nuts and mix through, then pour batter into tray.

Bake at 180 degrees celcius or 160 degrees celcius in a fan forced oven (moderate or 355F – drop a little lower if fan forced) for 30 minutes.  Mixture should no longer be wobbly but a pick inserted in the middle of the cake should come out with traces of mixture still clinging to it. If you like your brownies fudgey take them out now.  If you like them firmer and more cake-like cook for 40 minutes. (You may need to play around with this timing depending on the speed of your oven.  They all differ a little.)

Cool in tin.  To serve dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.  They are excellent warm, served with cream or ice-cream. A perfect accompaniment to coffee.  They also travel well and make great gifts.  Enjoy!