Friday, 10 November 2017

The Rest Of The Week.

What a full week this was, when I look back over the photographs I can barely believe all  that was squashed into seven very short days.
On Thursday , we had a lovely storm pass over,
A wonderful 4 mm of rain fell, not a lot, but enough to keep things hanging in. We really need to get the new rain water tank up, there have just been so many things going on, we haven't got there yet, but soon we hope.This  overflow of water is only off the new verandah roof, the rest of the house  run off is collected.

We had visitors arrive last Friday morning, two old friends from down on the coast. It was lovely to see them again. Pat and Fay are now semi- regular visitors to the farm.
We went out for dinner to our local  bowling club on Friday night which was a lovely break from cooking, they do a wonderful menu there at quite reasonable prices.
The next morning, my Sister in law and myself had volunteered to  do  the  Devonshire Teas at the local Anglican Church  market/boot sale as a fundraiser for the Rail  Barracks group we  volunteer for.
It was a lovely day, but sadly not patronized  well by the local towns people at all. We still made a small profit for the day, but it just annoys me that the bulk of the town people just don't seem to have that community spirit anymore.
The next morning when we were sitting having coffee on the back verandah Brian spotted a very unwelcome visitor on our front lawn,

It was a goanna or Lace Monitor, he was about a metre long , they are known to regularly raid the nests for chicken eggs and will also take small  poultry.
After the obligitory photo session, he was very quickly hunted away up into the bush. These are a protected reptile and we are not allowed to kill them.
The next  morning, a delivery came that we have been waiting three  very long months for,
Our brand  new Tractor !!!
The old blue 1954 Fordson had become dangerous and  Brian was only using it for absolute  urgent jobs and we  had spotted this one at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Day back in July and ordered one, being told it would be 5 weeks delivery at the most.....well three months later and lots of stories, lies ,excuses, and a threat by us to cancel the order if it was not delivered that arrived !!!
Brian is loving it, the old Blue Girl never had a FEL  so he is out there digging and scraping and all those fun jobs that he has been saving, and on our sloping block the fact that it has brakes is a definite  added bonus.
That night we had  invited the neighbours over to share a big baked turkey dinner in  honour of Pat who will turn 70 in a few weeks and we won't be able to be with her.
Speaking of turkeys, our babies down in the orchard run are growing quickly, they don't  stay still long enough for a decent photo, so I apologize for the quality. We have about  20 young turkeys altogether.
Our visitors left on Monday morning to head back to the coast.
Brian picked me a  lovely washing basket full of rhubarb from the garden.
So I decided to can it  up,
The fruit is chopped into about inch sized pieces and  sugar added,
The rhubarb is coated in the sugar and sits for about 5 to 6 hours until it creates it's own juice.It is then brought to simmer point and immediately turned off and bottled into hot jars, capped and water bathed  for 15 minutes to process and seal.
Our apricot tree fruited much earlier this year, we think due to the warmer drier winter conditions we had, It normally is ready about the end of November,
The apricots were much smaller this year, so it made processing them much slower than usual.
They were halved ,seeds removed and packed into the jars. I used an extra light sugar syrup over them and capped and water bathed 20  minutes.
Brian was away when I processed them and I was unsure whether to use the electric water bath preserver on the battery system, so I opted to use my old Fowlers stove top water bath this time. Under the new rules of totally covering the jars with water, this old girl can only be used with the smaller jars, as water would escape out the top of the thermometer hole.
I canned up one box of fruit and decided to share the smaller box with the BIL next door who also loves to preserve.
The days work  is well worth the result of all those lovely jars of rhubarb and apricots.
Because of all the canning  that I have done this week, I needed to do some re-organizing in the pantry to make it all fit.
At least it keeps everything reasonably rotated in there, and keeps me aware of what's in need of using up or replacing .
One decision we made this year was regarding  tomatoes,corn kernels and beetroot.
As these are  big time, and water consuming crops and we are in drought conditions here, we have forgone the luxury of purchasing seeds or seedlings for these crops and will only plant out a very minimal garden( no  canning crops ).
The last two years we  ended up buying bulk tomatoes  from quite a distance away as what crops we planted failed, so this year we decided to watch for sales in the supermarket of those 3  items and purchase when the price was right.

The cost of these  are way lower than what it costs me to buy in bulk, and then I still have to spend time and money processing them. I will continue to watch the prices throughout the year.
Another job I undertook this last two weeks was to print up this blog so that I would always have a hard copy, like a diary so that if ever  the internet crashes  world wide for some reason, I would still have have it . I would hate to see it all lost forever.
When I go to Office works next time I will have to purchase some folders to  store it all in.
It is surprising how much I have written over the four year period that I have been writing down my ramblings  of our life here on the farm.
I hope you all are well and happy
and until we meet again,
take care of you and yours,
Jane and Brian.


  1. well i hope the old fergy gets a good retirement, perhaps you can put a garden around it or something if you're not going to fix her up; dear old girl.
    you still amaze me the amount of canning you do, do, what an awesome pantry!
    glad you finally got some rain too.
    great post
    thanx for sharing

    1. The old girl will be put to good use Selina, she will be a stationery engine to run the hammer mill smashing hay up for sheep feed.