Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The crazymonth of December.

Since returning from my trip away to Melbourne . Early  December and the lead up to and including  Christmas has been the busiest   period  for ever it seems.
The heat and the dryness have hit with avengence and the  pump control panel on our solar bore died so  we have been doing a lot of hand watering  and carting water  from the Brother in Laws  spring fed dam for which we are eternally grateful.
The  control panel was covered under warranty  and so after an inspection and waiting for it to be  ordered and delivered the pump people came and sorted it all out.
We now have water again,  it pumps up from 300ft underground, it only pumps slow( 6litres per minute) but  it is good quality  water  and while ever the sun shines, it keeps pumping. This supplies our garden, washing machine and toilet as well as troughs.
We put our Christmas tree up in early December,  it started to make  it all feel real.

The young apricot tree in the new orchard  bore half a bucket of apricots which we were surprised  to get,
Out of which I was able to bottle 9 small jars of  apricot halves in light syrup, these jars are just the right size for Brian and I for  a meal without leftovers or eating way too much.
We already are picking heaps of zuchini's and so I decided to once again do a batch of bread and butter  zuchini pickles. My daughter had been saving jars for me, nice angled jars from Aldi that she buys a certain few products in, and I had about 5 dozen of them from the last few years and decided that I  if I  wanted to sell this that these jars would be the best option to use.
 We have had an extremely busy few weeks at our  volunteer jobs  as well, cleaning the campground facilities, publishing the local newspaper and a run of local funerals that means repeatedly stripping and remaking and cleaning the 22 beds in the local rail barracks accommodation. We then had a weekend  at Parkes to  have an early Christmas get together with one of our daughters and her family which was lovely.
We returned home and that night attended our local town Christmas get together down at the local oval. The Lions club  do a massive amount of fundraising through out the year and donate to wonderful causes, but  they also fund this  evening as well each year.
Santa arrives on the local fire engine and hands out sweets and chats to each child, there is a free sausage sizzle dinner for each child and a jumping castle and other activities.  They run ham raffles and adults are able to purchase food and drinks also.
At the conclusion of the evening each year the Lions put on a spectacular fireworks demonstration for all to see. I took many pictures and video but will just post one photo here.
There are a few  silly but important little rituals   to me that  really mean it's Christmas, one of those is that I have to make rum balls, it's just something that we have done forever and now my  children also follow this tradittion..
I use arrowroot biscuits, coconut, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa,and rum.
Mixed altogether then roll into balls and then roll in extra coconut, they refrigerate and freeze well, but rarely last very long.
It's a messy job, but fun,
and the reward is worth the effort.
 Our  firefighter pump that we keep with the 1000 litre plastic cube on the ute over summer( used for  pumping water from the BIL's dam or to fight fires) had become unreliable ,so we decided to buy a new one. As a good named brand pump was prohibitive in cost we opted for a chines  look alike brand off ebay, the old blue one was given to us many years ago, so has earnt it's keep.
Brian has hooked up the new yellow one and it is doing a brilliant job and starts first pull every time. We need  it to be reliable so that if needed  it will work immediately.
A neighbor friend and I decided to go in search of figs, we knew of a tree at an abandoned house on a neighboring property so  we went to  see but unfortunately the birds had beaten us to them.
We were telling another friend about it the next day when we were overheard and this person told us he knew of a tree that we were welcome to pick,  so  we did. They were a green variety  that I made   fig jam from. This was the first time I had ever made fig jam, something my mother is well known for.... I borrowed her recipe, so am hoping mine is as good.

This year I made the decision that I would like to spend Christmas day with my Mum, something I hadn't done for 3 years as we have been spending it with our daughters and grand children.
We picked Mum up  from her home about an hour away on the Friday afternoon and brought her to the farm.
We went into town to the bowling club for dinner on Friday night where she caught up with some of her friends( Mum has been gone from here for about 22 years now and most of here friends have either moved, are in care or have passed away, there are not many left.)
On Saturday she asked to be taken to visit a fiend who for many years was a neighbor and also they lawn bowled together.
Joyce( on the left of the picture) is an amazing 98 years old and Mum is 92.
It was so wonderful to see them together, chatting and giggling away  like long lost school friends.
They had a lovely catch up. The are both amazing women, both living independently and are  reasonably healthy for their age and are quick witted , smart and humorous. I only hope I am half as good as they are when and if I reach their ages.
The brother in Law next door offered me a bucket of plums on Christmas eve( probably the last thing I needed at that busy crazy  point before Christmas) , but I gladly accepted and got busy and made a batch of plum sauce. The BIL has a great recipe that he makes annually so he passed that to me and I got busy.

This will a great addition to the pantry, as plum sauce is just so good with everything.
My Brother from Sydney also joined us for Christmas which was lovely.
We had a very quiet Christmas day with just  the four of us, I missed being with the grandchildren but felt it was much better to spend some quality time with Mum, you never know how long we will have them.
Christmas lunch this year was a traditional baked  affair with plum pudding( cooked by Mum) ,icecream and custard to follow.
My Christmas gift from Brian was a brilliant new Breville food processor, my existing one started dying when I was making the rum balls,(that's when Brian purchased the new one) and then totally died when I was doing the plum sauce. The new one will certainly get a lot of use. The old one had been passed to me about 10 years ago  and was about 40 years old.
It must have been a very exhausting  preparing all the Christmas lunch and all the associated clearing and cleaning(lol)... as the men of the household all seemed to collapse  onto chairs and sleep for several hours in the afternoon......
But that's what our Christmas's are usually like, and truth be known probably wouldn't have it any other way.
I hope your Christmas was as joyous as ours and that   the new year is a happy and healthy one for us all.
Take care until we meet again down the track,

Merry Christmas  and a Happy New Year to everyone,
Jane and Brian.


  1. ...oh, that afternoon nap trying to deal with the food coma. I know it well.

    1. I remember as a child wondering why all the adults had that post christmas lunch nap...now I know... cheers and all the best for 2017..

  2. I bet your mum and her friend had the greatest of times catching up and reminiscing. I am impressed with all the canning you have done.

    1. They had a wonderful time together Sherri, I was so glad that they wete able to catch up.. It's really crazy here that summer, Christmas, garden produce and canning all happen at the same time...
      Happy new year.

  3. Love reading your blog, Jane.
    I hope 2017 is a good one for your and your family. :-)

    1. Thanks Nicky,
      I enjoy putting all our crazy messed up bits together...often is a jumble, but that's our life...
      All the best for 2017

  4. The post Christmas sleep is my favourite part of Christmas although with visitors staying over I didn't fit a siesta in until the 27th. This must be the first year in ages that I haven't made rum balls. My recipe uses 9 weetbix and I've always made it by hand. Crushing up the weetbix by hand is quite therapeutic ha ha. Now to binge read your blog as I'm not sure I've come across it before or if so it may have been a quick visit.

    1. Haven't tried the weetbix recipe, would love to give it a go if you are happy to share the recipe with us. I love Christmas, but this year I am glad it is over, just want this heat to move on too !
      Take care and thanks for popping by

  5. Too funny, the women do the work and the men have a nap. Actually, after an afternoon lunch and a rousing game of LUDO at the table, we all went to sleep, in beds. A few hours later and we were all ready for leftovers. Id cooked the day before, so our meal was cold. Too hot down here this week. I'd sliced all the lamb and made gravy from pan juices so there was the option of reheating if anyone wanted. My favourite is the roast veggie salad. It has a lovely creamy apricot dressing.

    You are so industrious with all that you do both in the kitchen, on the farm and within your community. Inspirational and you would never be bored. Seasons Greetings.

    1. Lynda, I live for left overs, love them !!! I think that's why I do so much bulk cooking, because the lazy in me then knows that there will be some easy meals in the future..
      That creamy apricot dressings sound delicious( care to share with us, if not then not offended,
      Take care Lynda

  6. Happy New Year to you & Brian too!
    glad you got to spend some time with your mum, she looks like she enjoyed herself too
    thanx for sharing

    1. Thanks Selina, and to you and yours also.
      I am very glad I spent this time with Mum, we never know what's around the corner, do we ?.

  7. Wow you did have a busy time through December Jane. I hope you are enjoying a little down time now.

    It is so wonderful that your mum was able to join you this year for Christmas.

    Wishing you both a great new year!


    1. It has been a bit crazy Tania as I imagine most of us are, it was a lovely time with Mum, but I am glad the rush of Christmas is over.
      Hope yours was an enjoyable time as well.
      Best wishes to you and your ( and keep cool)
      Take care