Saturday, 13 January 2018

Christmas Is Over And Another Year Begins.

 2017  came to a busy close, we  attended many gatherings   for the groups that we belong to  around town including Progress, Rifle club, and the Rail Barracks.
The photo below is  the Rail Barracks volunteers, minus a few that had been unable to attend.
I made up a huge pile of rum balls for Christmas( Christmas just isn't Christmas without rum balls, liqorice, gherkins and pickled onions)..weird I know, but that's me.
 We packed up our trusty little caravan,
And we  travelled to Parkes to our eldest daughter's home for Christmas, we had decided to meet there for Christmas as our daughter was due on Christmas day  with her third child. The house was decorated, the tree was  pretty, and I especially loved the little village she is establishing in the wood fire box.

I cooked the roast pork leg, that we had swapped our neighbour lamb for,ready for cold meat on Christmas Day.

Our daughter and her husband have 2 sweet little girls aged 4 and 2  and on Christmas eve their family was completed by the arrival of a sweet little baby boy that they named Dexter.
He is an absolute sweetheart, and we adore him already.
We had a wonderful Christmas with all the family together including  our son in laws  parents and brother as well.
We brought the little girls home for a few days to allow Mum, Dad and Bub a bit of time together.
 We also then had our old friends Pat and Fay arrive to spend a week over new years.
They are great guests as they jump straight  in and help in the kitchen, which lightens the load a lot. We  also made up a big batch of Turkey/chicken bolognaise sauce for the freezer

Brian got in and  finished off the bulk of the kitchen corner adjustment that needed doing.
I unloaded the fridge so we could relocate it,
And Brian  got busy and sorted out the cabinets to surround the fridge and the pantry next to it.
I am very happy with it, all that is needed now is a little finishing of trims and a  painting job and all will be done finally. It works so much better now that I can access  the fridge and pantry properly.
We dug all our elephant garlic  and decided to  mince and can them.
I pressure canned these, but on hindsight  next time would  pickle the cloves whole and water bath as we lost too much of the product during processing. I believe it may have been because of the aeration  caused to the garlic while mincing in the food processor.
These will be great, and will get used  through the year on all my various cooking and canning projects, but I was just a bit disappointed with the look of the final product.
Brian began work on laying a base for a new water tank to connect up the house to( including the new verandah area). Currently we only collect the water off the main house roof.

The bees have been hard at work, but they  don't like the heat and we see them outside the hive much more  while we have been having these terribly hot weather conditions.
The chooks have slowed down a bit on the egg laying, and we now only get between 6 and 10 aggs a day, I suspect the heat has been affecting them as well.
We did collect one huge egg, it turned out to be a triple yolker( my first ever)
Brian's brother and his wife from next door travelled up to Queensland for Christmas to another brother's home and brought us back this great box full of mangoes, we had great pleasure I must say in devouring them  in a very short space of time.
We then travelled to Newcastle to meet our youngest daughter who was attending a family wedding on her husbands side and picked up the other two grandkids aged 7 and 3 and brought them back to the farm for 10 days while Mum and Dad were working.
We met at my daughter's friend Julia's home and she had these two very cute Indian Runner ducklings, they were just adorable and the grandkids loved them.
We returned home and unfortunately we have had a week of 40  deg c plus temperatures and we have been cooped up inside a fair bit with the air conditioning.
We have had a few outings  to the local swimming pool,  a couple of picnics in the park, one of which had these beautiful geese that the kids were able to feed by hand
and yesterday we drenched the sheep,
The kids enjoyed  watching and patting the sheep.
We wandered next door and watered their garden for them , even though they had thought it uneccessary, but with the unexpected heat we thought that we should.
The very small vegetable garden we planted this year is producing well, we are eating an abundance of zuchini and spinach and we have picked a good crop of jalapenos.
This year is the first time we have grown jalapenos( we normally grow only habaneros) and I decided to make some jalapeno pepper jelly.
I cut the jalapenos in halve and deseeded them and removed stems.
The  jalapenos were then processed until smooth in the food processor, added to sugar,vinegar,water and boiled for 10 minutes,
I then added the liquid pectin and boiled rapidly for exacttly 1 minute, added a few drops of green food colouring, skimmed off any foam and poured into the jars.
The lids and rings are placed on the jars and they are water bathed for 10 minutes to seal.
This jelly is beautiful, equally as lovely as the habanero gold pepper jelly, and I will definately make heaps more.
With the extra jalapenos, Brian decided to slice them,
We just added a brine of water salt and vinegar  plus garlic and pickling spices to these and sealed them by water bathing 10 minutes. Brian says that they are beautiful( but I will take his word for that.)
We have been having lots of easy meals with the kids, concentrating my kitchen efforts to things I know they will  eat,
Pizza, both ham and pineapple and spinach and fetta.
Homemade chicken nuggets,
Grilled salmon and fish fingers, along with frankfurts, sausages, corned beef, and the old favourite of spaghetti bolognaise.
On the whole they have happily eaten quite well.
This month we had a glorious full moon, The colour of it was stunning.
I often try and photograph the moon without much success, but this time I struck it lucky,
It has been a very hectic few weeks, we are really tired, the children will return home soon and we will spend some time with them in their home before having a few days R &R in Sydney and Newcastle to attend our god daughter's wedding.
Please stay safe  and if you are in Aus, stay cool and in the northern hemisphere stay warm,  Mother Nature  has us firmly in her grip and doesn't seem to be letting go any time soon.
Take care
Until next time
Jane and Brian.


  1. What a beautiful gift on the eve of Christmas ... a new grandchild! Meg:)

    1. We wete truly blessed Meg, a perfect little man. I am glad he wasn't born on christmas Day.
      Take care

  2. It's good to see another post form you. Happy 2018 to you and Brian. He's a keeper that man, but then he needs to be to keep up with you. ;- )

    We've had my son's family here since the beginning of November and have our grandkids here too, so I understand the tiredness.

    1. Same to you and Hanno, Rhonda.
      I think Brian and I keep each other going...I stop and see him and feel guilty and get going again...but we both do stop and have quiet days as well.
      It has been busy with the kids (4 year age gap) They fight and argue a lot and have different likes on the tv.
      The hot weather has kept us inside A lot and the last few days the town pool has saved us. We head home with them tomorrow.
      It is hard to have guests no matter how much you love them..My sister has had her husbands sister and husband visiting them at Parkes for the Elvis festival and she messaged me yesterday asking"Is it so wrong to values one's personal space so highly"..She was over guests in the heat.
      Take care Rhonda and enjoy your family.
      Jane and Brian.

  3. Another fascinating post, Jane. I do enjoy reading about your country exploits and family get-togethers. And how lovely to read that you have another grandchild.
    Hope you and your family have a very happy and healthy new year. :-)

    1. Thanks Nicky,
      I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2018 also.
      Our family is growing quickly and we now have 5 beautiful grandchildren.
      Take care