Monday, 26 February 2018

A Visit To Our Local Agricultural show.

Once again  our local agricultural  show rolled around.
We  are very fortunate that  we have a very dedicated team of volunteers  that  work hard through out the year to make the show the great  success that  it is.
Our  show has  a wide variety of attractions to  offer the many  visitors who walk through the gates.
There is  really strong participation in the ring events,
 Good friends of ours  had brought their beautiful Brahman  cattle  to be judged,
They had  great success  winning in many  categories  and ended  up with Champion,Grand Champion and Supreme Champion.
There was a variety of sheep judging, this group from a neighboring high school Ag class.
There was great competition in the sheep dog trials,
A great time  was had by the kids in the petting area,
 There was also the wood chop competition,
The local car club  had a great display of old cars and trucks which drew  quite a bit of attention.

Poultry was also well represented  with  great competition  between breeders .
The  bantams were  cute, but I fell in love with the Indian Runner ducks.
The local Lions club  ran the  BBQ stall, keeping up a constant stream of  rissole and steak sandwiches to the hungry hordes.
The Rural Fire Service  manned the cold drinks stall , and as it was a very hot,humid day  they were practically ran off their feet.
The  Rural Fire Service also had an information booth.
There were the usual  fun  activities for the  kids,
Dodgem cars,
Inflatable  slide,
Bungy style jumping activity,
Pony rides,
And many other sideshow attractions ,displays and stalls.
The pavillion also offers  a great days entertainment to the show visitors, with the show committee ladies working hard in the kitchen providing morning and afternoon teas  and lunches .
Inside the pavillion , the individual volunteer stewards each look after their area  and organize the  displays ready for the visiting judges to  make their decisions  on who wins each particular class.
There were beautiful floral displays,
The local public school and pre-school  were well represented by lovely paintings, collages and drawings.
We  obviously have some very talented sewers,  quilters and embroiderers  as there was an amazing display of  finished works,
There were some very clever art and sculpture ,
With such an exceptionally dry year  behind us, we did not expect to  see much in the garden  and farm produce section, but were pleasantly  surprised  to see the quantity and variety on show.  We entered a few things and got first prize  for our chillies,  honey and eggs.
Once again this year I set up my preserving display, showing the old and new  equipment used in preserving. It was very well received and many people stopped to ask questions and check it all out.
I entered  some of my own preserving into the competition and was fortunate to  be awarded  first , second and third places  for several of my entries, I was also very honored to  have been awarded Grand Champion Preserve for my green  Jalapeno Jelly.
I also entered the cooking section for the very first time,
and  was awarded  first place for my Boiled Fruit Cake,
and a second place with my plain scones.

The photographic competition  is highly contested, and  This year I also entered that  for the first time as well. I selected  18  of my favourite photos and  popped them in to the steward  the week before as required.
The  evening before the show there is an art and photographic  preview , where the displays are open for us to have an early look and see the art and photo  competition placings. It was a lovely social evening with wine  and nibbles and we caught up with many people we haven't seen for many years.
I was very surprised to see that I  received several placements in the various categories.
Over all we  were very successful  at the show this year which was a wonderful surprise  and this is  the total of the certificates we  were awarded.
Hubby had taken his drone into the show and  put it up  to take an aerial photograph of the entire showground.
I must make it clear, we do not belong to this wonderful group of volunteers, our  time is donated to other local volunteer groups, but I really  want to sing the praises of the Binnaway PAH&I Association  , they are an amazing group  of hard working, dedicated ,talented people  who  work  the entire year to make sure that our small town has the best possible agricultural show that it possibly can have,
Small  towns are struggling to keep alive and running and many have lost their  annual shows, but with the  hard work and determination  of this  great  team, ours appears to have a bright shining future. Congratulations to each and every one of you for all your hard work and generosity of time.
We have had a few falls of rain this week, with 27 mm falling  yesterday, the paddocks will look a little happier  in the next week or so.
We are keeping busy with many small projects  happening which I will update  on  over the next few posts.
So until we meet again,
Take care of you and yours,
Jane and Brian.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Fruitful Few Weeks.

The days are quickly rolling by and one activity or job seems to seamlessly flow into the next.
Our 5  zucchini plants  have been flourishing  and we have been giving them away left right and centre.
We have also been thinking up ways to use them ourselves. We have a huge supply of pickled zucchini, and we are regularly cooking them by stuffing with my canned bolognaise or chicken  combined with rice  and cheese.
I had seen on a Face book page somewhere but I can't remember where, a person had been dehydrating the zucchini for later use ,so thought I would give it a try myself.
I grated the zucchini and spread it out on the dehydrator trays.
After dehydrating for about 6-8 hours, we ended up with this,
This will be wonderful to chuck handfuls into soups and casseroles ect and after being re hydrated  at a ratio of 1/2 cup dried  to 2 cups of reconstituted  it can be added to muffins, slices, cakes, quiches and any number of savoury or sweet dishes. This will be a great staple in my pantry this  coming winter.
We had also processed about a dozen roosters and hens and hung in the cool room for a few days.
Usually when we process the birds we cut them  in half  and freeze them to either bake later or use in soups, curries and casseroles. This time as we have a surplus of all of that in the pantry we decided to bone out the birds reserving legs and wings for  slow cooked meals,  and divided the rest into breast fillets, tenderloin strips, thigh cutlets and stir fry bits.
We then  divided up into individual meals , marinated some with our various home made sauces, various rubs and spices and popped it all in the freezer.
As I didn't need the carcasses we offered them to a neighbour to make some soup .
We  had been up to the neighbours  last week  and on our return to home we found this little koala on the side of the road.
We stopped and Brian got out to see if he could move it back into the bush for safety,
Brian noticed that he had some large ticks in his ears and removed about 6 or 8 in all.
After making sure  he was free of these  nasty little afflictions, we  moved him back away from the road hopefully out of harms way.
We have ordered a new rain water tank and Brian has been getting the pad ready for it to be delivered, he has also started on the channel to take the pvc piping from the house to the tank.
We hope to be able to purchase the piping this week.
Our fertilizer spreader that was a bonus implement  when we purchased our tractor  finally arrived  last week, after 7 months of negotiations  although sadly only after we had contacted Fair Traders to force the issue.
This will make the task of fertilizing the paddocks much easier in the future and we also owe a big thank you to the BIL next door  for the use of his over the last couple of years.
Our chilli plants have also been doing well, I made  more  green Jalapeno  Jelly and made up another big batch of  pickled  sliced jalapenos.
The habaneros are also producing a large number of fruit,
and I decided to make several  batches  of  Habanero Gold Pepper Jelly as well.
This jelly is so  beautiful and can be used in so many ways, sweet  but with that warm chilly kick.
We also decided to chop some habaneros and dehydrate them.
These dehydrated quickly and after they were dry we  powdered them up in the grinder.
I also decided to make  some Tomato Habanero Chilli sauce, and I was able to cook it out on the outside stove that Brian connected up on the back verandah( keeping both heat and chilli fumes out of the kitchen)
The sauce has been great, but it really does pack a punch.
Another  thing we made was  the Brie Bites that I have posted the recipe to in a previous post.
These are lovely little mouthfuls of pastry, cheese and chilly jelly.
Brian has been enjoying flying the drone and  has it up a few times recently.
He took this great photo of our place. it really shows how terribly dry it all still is.
Brian has also been getting on with a few other smaller projects, one of them being the replacement of the old basin in the powder room,
We now have a more modern, neater, slimline vanity and cupboard underneath.
Yesterday he hooked the ripper onto the tractor and began  ripping  rows across the paddock beside the house. As this paddock is all but bare of any  growth we are worried that when the rain finally does come there will be nothing to slow the  water down as it surges down the slope. We  are hoping that this small process may just help catch some of the run off and hold it long enough to do  some good.
Our last batch of baby turkeys have grown fast, now almost adult birds themselves,
And yesterday another clever turkey hen hatched out a  batch of 8 little poults.
We moved mum and babies down to the nursery/orchard yard and while there checked up on a hen that was being a surrogate mum for a clutch of guinea fowl babies that she hatched. She seems to be doing a wonderful job as they are thriving.
While in the orchard I checked the quince tree to see how it's crop was progressing,
I can hardly wait, we adore quinces.
I also checked the pomegranates which are doing well also.
We ahven't a large crop of either, but it will be nice to at least get some fruit if we can keep those rotten but beautiful parrots away from them.
This will be a busy week, we have a lot to organize and then next Friday and Saturday will be taken up with our local show,
I have decided to enter the photography  competition this year and these are a few of my entries,
I don't expect to win, but it will be fun seeing my pictures up on the wall with all the other people that love to take photos. We will also enter some garden produce(what little there is) and I will enter some preserves,sauces,jams ect.
I was also invited to set up my preserving display in the pavillon again, something I love doing to show people  all the old and new methods of preserving and hopefully encourage some new people  to give preserving a go.
I will post up after the event to give a report on how it all went.
It has been a full on few weeks, but a rewarding few weeks as we feel we have accomplished quite a bit.
So until we meet up again, hopefully not too long in the future,
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones,
Jane and Brian.