Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Another Crazy Exhausting Week.

As I concluded  my last post we had been experiencing  extreme weather conditions  and there had been  terrible fires about 40 minutes away.
I had a medical  appointment in Sydney  and so the day after the fires we travelled down and were diverted because of the fires.
We  passed  near them and could see smoke  on the horizon  clearly visible
And then as we progressed along the roads we passed many, many fire trucks on their way to help out.
We  found our way to Sydney and to our Motel  and then I booked into the Hospital.
I was there to have an overnight sleep study followed up by a daytime sleep study as I have had some issues lately  with falling asleep whilst   driving. I have  been  treated for  sleep Apnea for several  years now and this was   also a revision of that treatment.
I had been bitten by a  red paper wasp the day before and had a really painful and itchy arm, but was advised not to  take an  antihistamine as it could affect the sleep  study results.
So they wired me up ,
(Not such a pretty picture)
And connected all the cables and  belts,
An even more  not so  pretty picture  :-)  :-)
And monitored me overnight.
Next morning I was  woken at 5.30 am and  allowed some free time to go downstairs ( along with all my electrical monitoring equipment attached)  to get some breakfast.
I had several "sleep  Opportunities" throughout the day and was released later that afternoon.
We had a lovely dinner at the motel to celebrate Valentines day and very early  the next morning headed  north out of Sydney towards Newcastle.
We had forgotten how much we hate the traffic  and it was good to leave early as all the cars were heading the opposite way to us.
We called past our old house on the coast, now earmarked for demolition or removal and had a coffee with our old neighbours. It was great to catch up. They gave me a few bromiliads to   bring up to the farm .

It was sad to see our old  home in such condition. Apparently it has now been vacant for many months awaiting council  approval for the planned unit development application.
We  visited the bee  keeping supplier  and purchased some more frames for our bee hive, then headed to Medowie to purchase 60 kgs of tomatoes that we had pre -ordered.

Our next stop was to a  jar and bottle supplier  at Rutherford  to  restock my supply of sauce bottles, jelly jars and  a new line of jars for me  to try a few new things.
 With the car loaded to the hilt we headed home up  the Golden Highway.
What a total  shock to us as we travelled up through the   area of the recent fires. The absolute blackness and starkness of the landscape where the fires had passed through only days before.

These fires were devastating , taking homes, properties, stock and  sadly we have also heard  a  precious life of a person working  on this fire.
We saw  many trucks of hay brought in to feed the surviving stock and saw many  groups of stock sitting and standing lost in their blackened paddocks.
My heart goes out to all the people  that lost so much in that horrible fire, it has been truly tragic.
After  returning home, we got busy and started to  sort out the tomatoes that I had brought home with us.
I started with  doing
  tall jars of crushed tomatoes, I use this for the base for many meals  here and also  the base for when I do some of  my sauces.

Next I decided to make up a good batch of tomato salsa. My supply of this in the pantry had completely run out .
I used this recipe from the Ball blue Book of preserving.
We  eat a lot of salsa, it makes a quick low fat, low cal dip with veggie sticks and is great to add to other dishes for a quick hit of flavour. I tend to make  a mild salsa so that all the family  and guests can eat it.
With the tomatoes I had left I did another 14 smaller jars of crushed tomatoes and  a double batch of Quetta ( a spicy tomato style  relish/chutney. It is an old recipe from the "Coronation Cook book" compiled many years ago by the CWA.
This should keep  the pantry well stocked for the next 12 months as well as allowing me to sell a little bit at a market stall at a  100 year  railway  celebration  that our town is having in April.
Our neighbour had lost a few ducks and the other night Brian found this fellow slinking around our turkey yard thinking he was going to pick up another tasty feed.
But he was mistaken,  he won't be  hanging around here again.
Sadly this is a necessary  part of our life, Brian doesn't like to  kill needlessly, but our poultry flock are very important to us.
We have had  a really extreme summer, very hot extended periods with little or no rain. Our poor farm is truly suffering.
Hopefully  it will turn around soon and all will be well again.
Take care of you and yours until we meet again,


  1. We had heard of the devastation that had been caused by the fires in Australia. It is heart wrenching to see people lose everything. Once again you have been the canning queen and made short work of all those tomatoes. I love the size and shape of some of those jars that we don't get here. I wish we could get the one piece lids here but they are not available. I sure hope you get rain soon, but not to the extreme that you'll be dealing with flooding!

    1. Thanks Janice,
      It really has been a full on summer, and the fires nearby really brought home how quickly it can escalate and how vulnerable we all are.. We have a much close experience since then that i am just about to post about this afternoon.
      Take care

  2. the extreme heat is everywhere, 2 weeks ago we had temps in the mid 50s, very hot, this week it has finally cooled a little, back down to the 30s.
    sorry to hear people lost their lives fighting the fires, don't know where'd we'd be if it weren't for our brave volunteer firefighters.
    that is a lot of preserved tomatoes!
    we used to have lots of foxes here but they've slowly died out, think there's been some behind the scenes baiting.
    hopefully you & the rest of us will get some much needed rain
    thanx for sharing

      ( sorry about capitals, too lazy to go back and change,
      Take care

  3. So what was the result of your study. I ask this because i have a hubby who also has sleep apnea and uses sleeping machine. He still falls asleep everywhere.

    1. I don't get results until early April( 1st appointment I could get back at the specialist.
      The waiting is annoying me.

  4. Hi Jane, another interesting post, thank you. I hope you can get you sleep sorted out. I have trouble sleeping now but when I talk to people my age and many of my friends, they all report the same.
    When I saw that road with heading towards Newcastle, the first thing I thought of was: oh no, traffic! I grew up in sydney and never had a problem driving there but now, I'll drive a hundred kilometres to avoid the city.
    It's good to see you home again, back in in your kitchen doing what you love. We've had a very dry hot year too but next week we have a week of showers forecast. I hope it's not another false alarm. Maybe you'll get some too. xx

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Yes we detest that traffic, it really stresses us out now, just love the country life and quiet pace it moves at.
      The storms still seem to be missing us, but at least the temps are much milder now.
      Take care Rhonda