Thursday, 24 August 2017

A few days Rest and Relaxation.

We had a small window of opportunity last week to get away for a few days relaxation so after a discussion on a  destination  we hooked our  little caravan on and headed north .
After a suggestion from our next door neighbour( Brian's brother)  we decided on a few days at the heated  themal pools at Moree NSW.
Moree is about three hours north of the farm and although we had passed through it many times we had never really considered it as a holiday destination.
We were  able to   set up the van in a very convenient location to the amenities ( our older caravan does not  have it's own bathroom facilities).
The park we chose was called the  Gwydir  Motel and Carapark. It has a motel  and approximately 150 cabins ,villas and caravan sites  for hire.
It consists of 5  heated pools ranging in temperature from 28 deg C  to 39 deg C.
This bigger pool is the 28 deg pool, with the motel rooms in the background.
The first day we started out in the 2nd coolest pool  and then slowly progressed to the warmer pools.

This place has become a favourite  stop off  point and holiday destination for the ever increasing Grey Nomad brigade. On the second day we were there, the wind started to pick up and even though it was  heaven in the pools, the chill factor on exiting the water was  in the -Deg C I am am convinced.
We met and chatted   to many lovely and interesting people, most of them were couples  who follow the "Thermal Way" a   directory of many thermal pool destinations  all over Australia.
We have always heard of the health benefits of soaking in these  beautiful warm mineral pools and we have to admit while you are in them, you really do feel wonderful, but in our case within  hours we were back to our normal  selves.
We had a night out at the local Services club, a lovely dinner and we bought a few raffle tickets,
But unfortunately,  Lady Luck was not on our side.
We made good use of our new Baby Weber BBQ, ( for at least one meal), as the shocking wind  started to really affect  all outdoor activities except the pools.
We had to pull in our awning and  not leave things outside in fear of them being blown away.
We wandered up to a nearby tavern on the Saturday for a beautiful lunch,
With extremely full bellies we made our way back  to the caravan and as most of the other campers were doing hibernated inside the rest of the afternoon and evening   bar one final dip in the pool.
Apart from the atrocious  wind, which was felt over much of eastern Australia, we really did have a wonderful, relaxed enjoyable few days away.
One thing for sure is that we will  return to this  place to once  again soak our aching  joints in those lovely hot mineral pools and in our travels seek out some of the many other locations  that we have been told about.
The next morning we  hooked the caravan back up and  reluctantly made the return trip back home.
The view of the countryside along the way is really  beautiful and I love this view across to the mountains.
This short break away has made us realize how crazy that our life is sometimes and  that we really do need to take the time to stop and  smell the roses so to speak, and will certainly be  taking a few more trips away both planned and impromptu to recharge  our  batteries.
Until we meet again, take care of you and yours,
Jane and Brian.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Visitors, a birthday, pride and a few other things thrown in.

Once again that merry go round has started up and doesn't seem to be letting us off, as we have had another really full on few weeks.
We had some good friends come to visit from the coast as as they are keen sewers and love to help out we asked them if they would be prepared to help us  with a big project that we had started.
Our beautiful old Rail Heritage  Barracks accommodation that we volunteer for, has need a bit of a revamp but as money was  tight we opted to just do a bit of altering to the older style quilts  to achieve  a more streamlined look.
The  original quilts  had a huge surplus of material, including a pillow sham and a sort of pleat or placket  at the end ,
So our visitors , Pat and Fay got busy and started unpicking the surplus material,
Then  my Sister in Law Kerry  who was  one of the two original ladies that thought of this( along with Cheryl) came over with her trusty  sewing machine and along with Pat  did the alterations in a huge all day +++ working bee.
The girls worked hard all day,
While they did all the sewing and unpicking, I kept up with  being the  gofer, the morning and afternoon tea supplier  and the clean up person, and  also made a lovely batch of sausage rolls for their lunch,
We had cut up a batch of cauliflower pickles the day before, so while they sewed I cooked and bottled  that.
I ended up with a good supply to share with everyone.
After a couple of busy days, the end result we feel has been so worth the effort,
This "new" lighter quilt is so much easier to strip, launder and remake as most of us volunteers are now getting older, every little bit helps.
The photo above shows the winter option on the left and an idea we had for a lighter summer option was  to use the old pillow shame at the foot of the bed to  keep that area clean and the small flap that was in the pleat we have turned into a scatter cushion.
All 24 quilts have now been altered, laundered and returned to  their  beds at the barracks.
Thank you girls for that mammoth effort that you put in, It was so worth it and we really appreciate
all your  hard work.
While the girls were here we decided to  take a drive and head to the Warrumbungle National Park  and head to a cafe we had heard about.
It had been completely destroyed in the devestating fire of January 2013 and has now been reborn with love.
I don't normally advertise or push a product or business but  after visiting Tibuc Gardens cafe and meeting the owners Trish and Elaine  and hearing their story,  I decided to include the visit in this post.
It is located in a beautiful spot  not far from the Siding Springs observatory,
Elaine and Trish are working hard to reestablish the lovely gardens, and they are coming along well. The cafe has a beautiful bush outlook.
The cafe has a wonderful open, light filled feel about it.
So if you are in the Coonabarabran area and  looking for  a nice cafe, believe me you couldn't go wrong with Tibuc Gardens, the  atmosphere was wonderful,  food was really fantastic at very reasonable prices and the service was  efficient and  friendly . We certainly will return in the future.
The details are below.
Brian celebrated a birthday during the week, so I made him a cake, he requested  one that wasn't too creamy or rich, so I made him an old favourite  from a recipe my sister shared with me over 30 years ago, an Armenien Nutmeg cake.
We had fish and chips on the river( his choice)  and then had the cake for supper with hot chocolates.
The next night we were invited up to a friend and neighbours place to a lovely baked dinner , cake and a nice fire . Great food and great company never goes amiss.

It is still incredibly dry here, even though this happened, ( and here is the proof),we recorded 19 mms.

  And as well as that Brian actually got to wear his raincoat to collect the eggs  one afternoon,
We are still hand feeding hay to our sheep  to supplement the lack of green grass.
We have now  changed from the large round rolls to large square bales as we can feed out in "biscuits" in  multiple  area instead of all together to hopefully reduce waste.
The whole place is  very bare, the days have been warm but we will need rain to produce  pasture for the stock.
I love how they get straight into the piles , rushing between lots thinking that there may be something better in the next pile.
Even the chooks get in on the act and are not the least bit concerned about the sheep.
The chooks and turkeys  spend hours every day scratching around in the hay.
They are always looking for bugs and insects and the hay laying around provides the perfect  place for that.
Our turkeys now only number 6 but I am sure as in years before they will  very quickly multiply.
We are collecting on average between 14 and 17 hen eggs per day.
I was able to send our visitors home with  many dozens of eggs and a few big batches of lemon butter.
We have been doing some cleaning,clearing and burning over the last few days, Mother nature supplies us with a constant  accumulation of leaves, twigs, logs and rubbish that we always must keep on top of and especially now as the fire season approaches.
I took on clearing around the wood heap and fire drum area,
Brian took on a fallen log on the high rocky are behind the chook yard.
If we don't get substantial rainfall soon, we are  certain that the fire restriction season will be brought forward , so we are  taking advantage of what time we have available.
We have been doing some running repairs on our caravan,
Cut the top out of an old beer keg  for a fire bucket,
Purchased a new shade screen for the caravan, we also bought the end drops. As well as shade this also acts as a privacy screen and also  creates a bit of a wind break. We hope to have a few small trips away  before too long and are really looking forward to the break away.

We have had reason to be a little proud this week. Brian's brother Bill travelled ( along with the other Australian team members) to Maribor in Slovenia for the World benchrest  shooting  titles.

He and the team did Australia proud in the team events , GOLD and BRONZE  !!!!  Well done  team.

On an individual level,  Bill also excelled, bagging a silver medal. We are  extremely proud and excited  for  him and all the Australian team members.
It has been  great to have our visitors here for the week, and as much as we had a totally wonderful time it also was  nice to just be  the two of us again, not to have to  think of meal preparation  and special diet requirements ect.
We will have a few quiet days to relax and recharge.

 So until we meet up a little  further down the road of life
Take care
Jane and Brian.