Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Out and About and Back Home Again.

Once again we have had a few busy weeks, and I am only now getting the time to catch up on the blog.
We were invited  to our great nieces wedding, which was to be held in the garden  at  the home of   friend  of theirs . as it was located several kilometres out of town and  drinks and nibbles were going to be served out there while the bride and groom had their photographs taken, they hired a courtesy bus to take  the guests to and from the wedding ceremony to the reception.. We were all surprised to see it was the double decker red party bus.
My elderly mother insisted on traveling on the bus with us and although it was a major struggle getting her and her  assistance walker  on board  the bus and off again, it was so worth the effort as  she had the most  wonderful time.
The garden the wedding  was held in was beautiful, especially considering that  this last year has been in severe  drought. I was told that the bride and groom had spent months carting water to the property  to keep everything alive .
The  ceremony area was set up beautifully,
The grooms mother is a florist and the displays of native flowers in the  arrangements for decoration and the bridal party  bouquets  were stunning The reception was held at a club back in town and  the auditorium  was decorated exquisitely ,
Those gorgeous flowers  were just overwhelming, I have never seen such  gorgeous native  arrangements  as they had there,

The  wedding cake  was simple and  stunning, it was used as dessert.
It  was a gorgeous wedding, and  we were honoured to be invited,  our cute  little  red headed niece   has grown up to be a beautiful   young woman and made a truly gorgeous bride.
We returned home for a few days  and caught up on a few things, Brian added a new power inverter to our caravan so that  I  can successfully  run n my CPAP machine throughout  the night when we are not on powered sites and are dependent on our battery supply.
It's  really great as it gives me two extra power points  plus two extra  USB charge points.
We headed off again!,
This time destination Trundle ABBA Festival.
We were the first of our group to arrive and selected a good campsite, which for the first  few hours we felt quite alone,
The rest of crew arrived  and we circled the vans like covered wagons, the reason being to try to block some of the persistent  strong winds that felt like they were reaching gale force.
The racecourse camping filled up quickly,
It was cold ,so we lit  a fire in our new fire bin, an ex beer keg that has been modified for the purpose, It was lovely and warm, and we were glad that we had taken a supply of wood with us.
The next morning we got ourselves ready to head down the street for the day's festivities.
Brian's sister and her partner  got in the spirit,
As did our great nieces,
We were ready to head off !!!
The was a display of over 100  vintage cars down in the main street,

Brian and  the other men loved looking at all the beautiful old cars.
There were many  people dressed  for the  festival, true Abba devotees,
We moved over to the oval later in the afternoon ready for the highlight of Bjorn Again performing, and  the next photos are from there.

We had a wonderful night at the concert. Bjorn Again are just amazing performers, you can close your eyes and you would swear you are listening to ABBA.
We had a wonderful weekend, Trundle volunteers  do  a truly amazing job in organizing  this brilliant festival, This year they made some changes to the program which we and many people we spoke to  agreed wasn't really  for the best and I hope that they revise these changes next year, Some changes they made were definately for the better, and I realize that  things can't always stay the same.
When we left Trundle we made a detour to our eldest daughter's home to celebrate the 5th birthday of our sweet granddaughter.
We brought the girls and their kelpie dog Desmo  back to the farm for a few days to give  their parents some time to do a few things they needed to catch up on.
We cooked cupcakes and decorated them.
They helped Poppy do lots of jobs with the sheep and chickens and Desmo the Kelpie  has  settled into farm  life well too helping at every opportunity.
I met back up with my daughter to return the girls, and we also caught up with my Mum for Mothers Day  and  so that she could meet her new Great grandson for the first time.
We got a couple of photos while we were there to record the four generations together.
Brian  headed back up to Lightning Ridge to spend some time with his brothers  and while he was away I  got into some canning.
I  tried something new that I had been wanting to  do, canning corned beef chunks.
To each jar I added brown sugar, peppercorns, malt vinegar and cloves, placed the rings, lids and clips on the jars,
Placed into the pressure canner and processed for 90 minutes at the correct pressure for our altitude.

I haven't tried this  yet, I am hoping that this will a very useful tasty addition to our pantry . It will great to have canned corn meat on hand for salads and hot meals.
It's been a fairly hectic few weeks, and  I think the next few will be equally as busy.
Today I attended the "Biggest Morning Tea"  in town and it was well attended by  locals and some visiting travellers, The organizers raised a very healthy $1000 or more, well done to the volunteers who ran the morning. The Cancer Council will be glad of that generous donation .
So until we meet again down the road,
Take care of you and yours,
Jane and Brian.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

A Catch Up Of The Last Few Weeks Activities At The Farm.

We have had  a hectic  few weeks here at the farm and this post covers  both before and after my last  ANZAC Day entry   and so  I have combined all that in this post.
Brian had been preparing an area up beside our existing rain water storage tank ready for the  tank that we were relocating from down in the house yard.
The BIL next door kindly allowed us to get base sand from his farm,

We then waited until our son came to visit one weekend and he helped us to begin moving the tank.
It was heavy work and the slope of the land we had to  navigate soon made us realize that it was beyond just us alone , so Brian  re- thought it and  brought the tractor into the process.
That made all the difference !!,
The boys were then able to move and position the tank with ease, I was sacked ( as I was voicing my nervous and worried opinion maybe a little too much)
Brian has made all the connections now and  this  relocated tank now adds 22, 000 litres to our water storage. These two tanks now gravity feed back down to our house, you can see in the following  photos the  gradient of our land which allows the gravity feed system to work well.
The green tank collects the water harvested off our roof and is them pumped up to the higher beige tanks to feed back down to the house. It finally is all coming together.
We butchered another bunch of turkeys and chickens( as well as selling a few turkeys this time),
We processed them into smaller more usable cuts,
This time I decided to gather all the smaller cuts from the freezer and mince them up,
The plan was to make up a couple of batches of turkey/chicken bolognaise sauce and can it up.
I added a pile of sneaky vegetable, grated pumpkin, zucchini and onion.
This produced two batches of sauce , one load of small pint jars and a second load of larger jars.

This will be a wonderful addition to the pantry and makes a quick easy meal , just  needing to reheat and pour over  freshly cooked pasta. I also use these jars of sauce to make  lasagne.
We have seen the safe arrival of 7 baby lambs this season, (one set of twins) ,

They are such cute little babies, and these four seemed liked they actually posed for my photograph.
Our daughter came to visit for a few days with three of our grandchildren, we had a wonderful few days, The girls loved checking for eggs with their Poppy and seeing some  baby chickens we had,
Their Mum planned a treasure hunt  which ended with a "treasure" being found and dug up from the vegetable garden.
There was a ride on the tractor to feed hay to the sheep with Poppy,
Poppy did a bit of pram pushing with our little  grandson,

and we did a picnic at the park in a nearby town where there was a great play ground.
We had a lovely time and are already looking forward to their next visit.
The slow cooker has been my very good friend  of late as I have been trying to use up the non grill, stir fry, bake type of cuts from the freezer , and the slow cooker works well, giving us at least 2 or 3 meals each per cook.
I have made turkey and chicken casseroles,
and several lamb neck chop and shank casseroles.
It also frees me up to go on with many other jobs and lets me work later or socialize and dinner is ready in a flash.
Our chilies continue to flourish,
another picking of jalapenos produced another batch of sliced pickled jalapenos( of which Brian can't seem to get enough of),
We also picked  more habaneros and made  even more habanero chili jelly.
Our local Anglican Church  had planned a boot sale/market day, so I decided to have a stall and sell some of my  preserves. I made up a batch of  Mango Habanero  chili sauce,
I also made up a batch of Tomato Habanero Chili sauce,
For these sauces I used the dehydrated  Habanero chili powder that we have made on previous occasions, It gives a wonderful flavour and gives a real chili kick( not for the faint hearted).
It all proved to be very popular at my stall, I sold Mustard pickles, Mango sauce,Tomato sauce, jalapeno jelly and Habanero Jelly.

I had a successful  day, selling over $200 worth of goods. I think I may try  to do another market before to long some where else to see how it goes.
I got in and cleaned up and organized the front porch last week and made it a pleasant place for us to sit and have our early morning coffee  as the sun rises.
we had the first fog for Autumn this week, I love how the sun is rising and trying hard to shine through.
Yesterday  I picked EVEN MORE habaneros,
We chopped them finely with our trusty chopper,
We then  dehydrated  it all and have just powdered it up and stored away for future use.
My old Sunbeam dehydrator has worked wonders for many years and still seems to be going strong. I have often thought of buying a new bigger, flasher model, but  so far haven't bothered.
Last night was the coolest night we have had this season so far, and we decided to light up the fire for a few hours to just take the chill off the house.
It was lovely, I am so looking forward to Winter , the older I get the less I seem to tolerate the Summer,  and once the  Winter is really in swing I will begin to cook big pots of soup and curry on the wood heater and the kettle is always on with its  slight  quiet whistle letting me know a cuppa is never far away.
We have been busy, but we have thoroughly enjoyed all the work and play. We feel like progress is being made and we are having a good time along the way.
Until we meet again down the track,
Take care,
Brian and Jane.