Thursday, 30 June 2016

And our busy life continues .......

It has been a really busy time here on the farm.... it seems to just happen that way, all is quiet for a while then everything happens at once.
We decided that the time was right to  start the  groundwork out the back for our new covered area that are hoping to have up before the summer.
Brian started to do it all by hand, and soon realized that it was  really going to be a lot bigger job than he had  thought. We went for a drive down to the central coast  and inspected a tractor with a bucket and backhoe that was for sale on bay , but we felt it was way over priced  and the owner was not prepared to negotiate, so we came home empty handed.
So, that  job went on hold for a short while, and  he got on with building a fence  around a covered area  near the shed, so that we could put the caravan under there and the sheep wouldn't be able to get in and cause damage like they have done in the past, and it would be protected from the weather.

We hope to add some shade cloth as well and a small access gate from the house yard  on the other side  and it will now have a semi permanent home when we aren't using it.
We have attended some meetings this fortnight  and had some  visitors for a meal or two so I did some baking, pumpkin scones,  apricot clofutus, and a sticky date pudding... we also attended a wake for a local man and friend who  died suddenly and unexpectedly, so I baked mini quiches for that.
Brian then decided that he could ask his brother who lives next door to help him with the excavation work and he arrived over very soon with his little Kuboto tractor
and  together they got the job done, while the site supervisor looked on.
 The next day, Brian and  another friend  and nearby neighbour  got together and started  shoveling  dirt and crushed metal to obtain a level surface,
So we are at this point,all boxed up and ready to go, we  had contact with our concreter today and he is unable to  come here to do our concrete slab  for at least two to three weeks as he has had to  go away  for personal reasons.
That means at least we will get a few other jobs done  that we thought we would have to be put on the back burner.
Winter has finally arrived, and we are starting to have a few good frosts  and  have just had a very chilly week.
The cold weather  has been lovely, I hate the heat, and the  winter garden seems to  thrive in it too, the cabbages and cauliflowers  have   matured beautifully.
The cold weather has also had a boost on our social life as we have had a few nights  of drinks and nibbles up at a friends who have this great fire pit, It used to be a piece of mining equipment that  they were lucky enough to acquire.
The other day I was busy in the house and Brian had gone off to help a friend do a job and I suddenly  I could hear an almighty amount of banging  up the back.   I went out to investigate  and found these naughty  sheep  all trying to pack into the  chicken coop stealing the  grain out of the automatic Grandpa feeders... they nearly  wrecked the coop,  the rotten  things, they are so sneaky...
As if  we didn't have enough happening,  Brian  last week decided to order  some more batteries for our  house. We had been  having some issues with  the old second hand batteries  and they have not been reliable and we made the decision to bite the bullet  and buy a second set of  deep cycle lead acid batteries.
They are due to arrive tomorrow , so we have been working  madly up in the shed cleaning it up. The new batteries will  have to go outside the shed in their own  little shed as it is not advisable to have lead acid batteries inside. We have ordered some new shed shelving and it arrived early this morning and that is why we are clearing the shed. It had been a huge mess up there, but it is already looking much  better this afternoon.
Hopefully By the time I next post, both  the shed will be organized and the new batteries up and running.
Life here keeps us on our toes, but we are hoping for some "down" time soon as we are having  our gorgeous grandkids here for a week which we are really looking forward to.
So, until we meet again a little further down the track,
Take care of yourselves  and each other,

Sunday, 19 June 2016

This crazy "quiet, retired" life of ours.

Hello Everyone,
Sorry that I have been missing in action for the last 6 weeks or so, we just haven't seemed to have come to a standstill yet since we returned from Tasmania.
When we were driving in Tasmania we noticed a noise in the front wheel of our car , so on our return we immediately took it to our local Ford service centre,  they required  us to leave it there  for two nights while the problem was attended to under warranty( our car was a 2014 Ford Territory, the love of my husbands life...the first new car we had ever owned)........Unfortunately the 2nd night it was there 4 young teenage  hooligans  decided they needed our car more than we did, broke into the yard, smashed into the office, grabbed the keys and stole our car, smashing out through the big metal gates.
They then proceeded to drive it to Canberra and back( 1000 klms) and were involved in three police chases that had to be called off due to their erratic and dangerous driving.
It was dumped after 48 hours but not before they had caused $17,000 worth of damage( mostly filthy obscenities  to the police carved with a knife into  every seat and panel in our car).
So immediately this happened the service centre  contacted us and delivered "Clancy" to our home(an hour + away).  A loan car for us to drive while it was all sorted out.

We  also received a  fine in the mail for speeding, apparently the  thieves were clocked at 175 klms per hour through a camera and the fine was for $2,306.00 ( it was immediatly waived from our record) The police said our car was treated extremely badly during the chases.
So. the insurance company refused to write off the car and we legally were obliged to  take it back, but we made the decision even though it was going to cost us we would not   have it back  and decided to trade it on another car. Brian was so  adamant that there would be damage mechanically and structurally underneath that  it would only be problematic down the track.
We thoroughly enjoyed "Clancy" while we had him and gave him a good test, as we had many trips to the service centre and to police ect, so when the time came to decide what we wanted to buy we decided to buy one the same.
The Ford dealer gave us a very good deal( they felt very bad ,even though they were not to blame,as  they had taken  all due care of our car) and so we  bought this , our new baby,  a new Ford Everest Trend.  All is well ...
We had only been back from Tassie  a short while  and the volunteer group we work for , our local heritage rail barracks accommodation , had an open day/market day.
 I spent a lot of time  making  chilli jelly, mano habanero sauce and tomato habanero sauce for the stall I was running. Hubby worked on the BBQ with other men and we also did Devonshire teas with scones/jam/ cream and served mugs of my hot home made soup.
Even though  the weather was not very kind to us and we were washed out just after lunch we still had a very  good day,   raising over $1,000 on the day for our group for much needed repairs and  updating.It was a great public relations  day  ,  I was extremely pleased with how well my home made preserves were  snapped up as this was the first time that I had ever sold any of my wares. I also now sell a few jars in our local craft /tourist shop in town.
Hubby has been flat out as well, between the car issues, helping at the open day, he has spent weeks everyday up the back replacing  the old boundary fence between us  and  our new neighbours behind us. He had to virtually clear a roadway up and along  beside where the new fence had to go, he had to remove trees and   worked tirelessly driving in new posts and erecting the fence. I am so proud of the man he is, he will not let things beat him, and he is  such a great bloke. The new fence looks brilliant.
A couple of weeks ago we also had a major rooster cull as  we seemed to acquire a larger number of roosters than hens  in our last few batches of  chickens. So we got together  with 2 other couples nearby and killed 13 roosters and divided them up between us.
We kept 4 and with ours I decided to turn them all into "rooster soup" .
I  made 4 big pots of soup with veggies that I simmered away all day 2 at a time on the lounge room wood fire,
We ended up with about 100 jars of rooster soup,
We use a lot of soup and there is nothing better on a cold wintery night then being able to just pop open and heat up a yummy jar of  lovely homemade soup to eat in by the fire( which is exactly what I will do tonight after  catching up on this blog)
During  the last few weeks our son has also relocated  back to NSW from WA to start  a new job that he applied for. He has  now 10 weeks training ahead and had stored a  few things here temporarily. He stayed here with us for 2 weeks and it was good to have him around again, he was a big help to his dad getting a few jobs done that were easier with 2 sets of hands or too heavy for me to help with.
They got in a good store of wood,  did a few repairs, planted a new area of oats and grasses for the sheep and also just hung out together and talked cars and watched footy together which was nice.
We also have been trying our hand at sourdough  bread for the first time also. A friend up the road and I had been discussing   having a "Starter" and when we returned from Tassie, he handed me one he had began, and so it has continued from there.

We are now actually making reasonably edible  bread and buns, we probably are not making it according to the true ways, but  are just doing it our way  and having fun with it.
There is nothing yummier than  a ploughmans style lunch with your own sourgough,  some cold meat, cheese and my homemade zuchini pickle, delicious!!
The  starter has also produced some great bread rolls as well,
We have been devouring them as fast as we can make and cook them,  I need to stop, as our diets that were going so well will be blown right out the window.
Hubby also decided to   rotary hoe  down in the orchard  where he had  vegetables growing last summer, as he turned the  beautiful soil over the  chooks raced in and scratched away like mad for the rest of the day, they loved it. He will probably give it a few goes  ready for the next planting after winter is over.
It has been a very hectic 6 weeks or so, and all  these activities combined with many others and the regular day to day  jobs we do  and a few health issues that have been  annoying me and are  being checked and monitored  have snowed us under. I  keep meaning to update and sit down at night with good intentions and just nod off to sleep... There is nothing serious, just  minor hiccups that will soon be all good.
I will endeavour to update again soon, today was good, we had rain, glorious rain ( 40 mm so far and still raining lightly) and it forced us inside, so time for once was on my side.
So, until we meet again down the track,
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Jane  :-)  :-) :-)

I am just adding to this  , as The recipe for my zuchini pickle was requested and I can't seem to add it to the comments as a photo...