Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Catch up of the last few weeks activities.

We feel like we haven't stopped over the last 3 or 4  weeks,  we have attended weekend  birthday events that required us camping  over a couple of days with our caravans, have been heavily involved  with our local volunteer groups with working bees at our local rail heritage Barracks accommodation, cleaning of the camp ground  facilities, and   many, many hours spent  trying firstly  to learn the process of producing our  local monthly newspaper and secondly actually compiling and  getting it to the print stage(which  we will do this evening  all being well) What a VERY steep learning curve that has been.
Along the way, we had butchered   our surplus roosters and after sitting a while in the freezer until I got time, I decided to turn them into Apricot Chicken.
I sectioned all the   roosters , added all the ingredients, Onions, Canned apricots, french onion soup,  apricot nectar,mushrooms and then divided between my slow cooker and two heavy  cast iron  baking pans I have.
After many hours of slow cooking, I removed all the bones and added more mushrooms,
Then  filled my  warm  canning jars,
Then  I pressure canned  them. This was the first time I had tried this recipe and wasn't sure how it would turn out,
I have to say, I am very pleased with the results. It will be very handy item to have  in the pantry for a quick meal with rice or pasta.

While unpacking a few more  boxes  the other day, I came across  a box in which I had safely stored away my grandmother's wedding dress many years ago.
My grandparents were married in 1919 and this truly represents the style  of the times.
It was made  from silk material, mostly hand made and hand embroidered at the neck and cuffs.
Also  with it  are the  lace hanky that  Ma carried and the camilsole that she wore under the dress, also mostly handmade.
The big question now is,  do I just put them back in the box and  continue to store hidden away, do I somehow display them to enjoy  or do I donate to a suitable museum or like.   This is something  I will have to have a good think about before making a decision.
Our summer garden  has come to a fairly abrupt end, extended heat periods with no rainfall, pretty well brought a stop to  it, we had a  good supply of watermelons, rockmelons, zuchini, cucumbers, a small picking of green beans, but a good  amount of beetroots, which I cooked and pickled.
We ended up with three batches of pickled sliced beetroots  this season which will see us through  next summer's salads and BBQ'S , there is just nothing lovelier than  home  preserved  pickled beetroot.
Hubby  has been busy building the new  enclosure  down at the orchard, he now has all those big poles up, wires strung across the top to take the mesh covering and has enclosed a smaller area for the second chicken coop to be built.
We purchased a new  coop in flat pack form from Bunnings,
and Hubby got busy and erected  it.

Hubby then had a great idea, to  reuse some kitchen cupboards that a friend had ripped out of her kitchen( but were too good to throw away) ,she had said she didn't care what they were used for, just that she didn't want them to be landfill.
He decided that the  doors would  make excellent  laying boxes, with the hinges  working in perfectly for the lid.
So, we have now moved the chickens into the new yard and coop, installed a new water trough inside the coop (in case we ever need to lock them inside), purchased one of those treadle feeders (which are amazing) for the scratch mix and pellets  and hung an older feeder we had for the powdered feed we also use.

The girls seem very happy and the four Isa Brown hens are already giving us  four  lovely eggs a day, and the light sussex won't be too long before they begin laying as well.
We are heading off on holidays tomorrow, we are doing a driving holiday  around Tasmania for a few weeks. My   family many generations back came to Tasmania as convicts and I want to see where it all began.
Our  house/farm sitters are arriving this afternoon,  hubby will run them through the things that will need attention and  hopefully all will run smoothly while we are away.
We are so looking forward to this trip, when we first  retired and moved we allocated 12 months to the renovation and  set up,  now  we have reached this point  and are well and truly ready for the break.
I will be taking many, many photographs (which will be no surprise to those that know me) and will do an update of the trip soon.
Take care everyone, until we meet again a little further down the track of life,


  1. I hope you have a wonderful, restful trip, you certainly deserve it after all you have accomplished. I understand your dilemma with your grandmothers dress. What an heirloom to have, but will it just continue to go from house to house, generation to generation, in a box! It would be wonderful to see it in a museum with some history as to the origins of the dress and how it came to be in the museum. Just my thoughts,lol.

  2. Thank you Janice ,
    We are now in Melbourne ready to catch the ferry in the morning. We are very excited about our holiday and are so looking forward to all the things we will be doing and seeing.I will seriously think about my grandmothers wedding dress, you have given me food for thought.... Thanks for calling in ,

  3. Im catching up. Great Preserves. Awesome use of those cabinets.