Saturday, January 17, 2015

The relief of rain

One week ago we were struggling with temperatures above 40°C, dust and dry dams.  Fast forward one week and we have now received 60mm of rain.  For now, the temperature has dropped and the dust has been washed off the trees, grass, animals and humans alike.  Our dams are yet to fill but we are grateful for damp soil. 

Although it might not look like it, this water is part of an intermittent creek system that flows through our property once every few years.  This time the flow is slow, but the novelty of having fresh water meandering through the paddock never wears off. 

This sweet little home was blown from a tree during the rain and I found it, freshly sprinkled with tiny rain drops.  

In non-weather related news, I have met another blog friend in real life!  Since my blogging journey began I have only managed to meet a handful of blogging friends face to face.  This week I met Zara who generously gave me one of her handmade, vintage creations.  Over lunch and a coffee we chatted about old buildings, honey, op shops, moving house, bread making, Kitchen Aid attachments, Saltwater sandals and everything in between.  Slowly but surely blogging really does create some amazing connections. 

How is life at your place?

Is it raining? 

Have you met a new friend?

Wishing you a lovely weekend x

Friday, January 9, 2015

Colour in my world

Right now my world is engulfed in shades of red, brown and orange with the occasional sprinkle of green.  The summer sun is dazzling and almost everything is covered in fine red dust. 

Bright work shirts inject colour into our day no matter what farm jobs we are tackling.  I have come to the conclusion that brightly coloured, long sleeved shirts do far more than just protect us from the sun and scrapes and scratches.  They also give us a tiny sparkle and sometimes in the heat and dust any sparkle is welcome. 

A powdery road, shimmering sky and an endless horizon. 

A richly coloured, complacent cow. 

Our sheep are resilient creatures, even their wool cannot escape from being tinged with dust. 

An enormous, freshly cleaned out dam with a tiny girl right at the bottom, just waiting for rain. 

Closer to the house, vibrant colours picked straight from the garden. 

What colours are you seeing in your world today?  I hope they are pretty. 

Wishing you a happy Friday and a lovely weekend ahead.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

In My Kitchen, January 2015

The Christmas table complete with a gingerbread, icing sugar and olive branch forest.  Our Christmas and New Year period involved a steady flow of family and friends visiting, some tasty meals, yabby catching expeditions to the dam, a few late nights and a few cold drinks.  It was fun and low key, just the way it should be.

I am still shelling chickpeas that I grew as a green manure crop last year.  With only one or two peas in each pod some patience is required for this job.   

The festivities and Christmas cooking might be over but farm work rolls on and workers still need to be fed.  After harvesting apricots in December I made a batch of apricot jam using this recipe from Sophie’s blog and book.  With plenty of jam on hand, jam tarts seemed an obvious choice for some New Year’s Day baking.  When tarts need to be transported to the paddock or further afield I have found muffin cases provide extra stability when packed snugly into plastic containers.  Packing food safely and neatly gives me a sense of satisfaction, strange I know!

The first Snake beans for the season are heading for my kitchen.  They are growing in the middle of a tomato and basil jungle which doesn't seem to be worrying them, so far.

Bloggers are some of the kindest people I know.  Just prior to Christmas I was truly touched when our mail plane delivered a parcel all the way from Anne in England.  I know I am not the only blogger who loves enamel ware.  Jane and Brydie, don’t you just love this mug?  The bottle of Slamseys Blackberry Gin is disappearing quickly.  Gin is a lovely tipple, who knew?  Thank you Anne.  

Are you baking or packing or harvesting or enjoying a quiet festive drink?  
I hope you are enjoying January so far.

As always I am linking up Celia and many other busy kitchens from all across the world.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

On Christmas Eve

An army of mini gingerbread men all packed up and ready for a special delivery.  Eight hundred and fifty of them to be precise. 

We have picked and chopped around 13kgs of apricots off my little tree.   Happily this became a family affair, thanks Mum!

 My first tomatoes have been picked and put straight onto pizzas. 

I have been experimenting with drying apricots in our wood oven.    

Sourdough baguettes have been cooked in the wood oven to share with family and friends on Christmas Day.  Perhaps they will be topped with some smoked salmon, one of my favourite Christmas treats.    

Thank you all for calling into my blog this year.  There has been times when your generous comments have almost made me cry with joy and gratitude.

Happy Christmas, however you chose to celebrate the occasion. 

Jane x

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lately, from the paddock to the kitchen

In the paddock

The men have been sorting out cattle: mustering, drafting, branding and weaning the calves.   For the kids and I this has meant occasionally drifting along behind the mob in a ute with smoko on board and the camera, naturally. 

Accomplished stockmen pull up alongside each other briefly, exchange a few words, survey the mob of cattle in front of them and ride on. 

In the kitchen

I have purchased a Fowlers Vacola preserving kit complete with all of the necessary bits and pieces.  I have never used one of these before; I see some You Tube tutorials in my future. 

In the vegetable garden

Originally I planted chickpeas as a spring green manure crop to replenish the soil.  The bonus is that we now have our own chickpeas to dry out and eat.  This has been a successful and hardy crop and I will definitely be growing it again next spring.  

Out and about

Our family business has recently purchased another property.  The first time the kids and I visited we were greeted with a dramatic storm which happened to be brewing in the sky right behind the rain gauge.  A good omen I feel. 

Happy Friday friends.

What is happening at your place this week? 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Country Style

Way back in June, Country Style magazine came to visit us.  Back then we were in our winter clothes, the garden was full of winter vegetables and our paddocks were lush and green.  It feels like so much has happened and changed since then.  I took one photo for the whole day and it was taken on my phone.

Photographer Michael Wee shooting Miss Annabelle holding a bundle of freshly baked sourdough baguettes.  

It feels quite surreal to appear in one of my all time favourite magazines.  

A special thank you to Claire Mactaggart for making all of the arrangements and for her patience as she pieced together our story.  If you are interested we are in the December issue, on sale today.

Friends, I hope you are having a lovely week.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

In My Kitchen, December 2014

Is it a savoury scroll or is it a rolled up pizza?  I am not really sure.  I took a piece of bread dough from my last batch of sourdough, rolled it out roughly into a rectangle and topped it with tomato chutney, chopped ham, grated cheese and fresh thyme.  Then I rolled it up into a sausage, cut it into seven slices and cooked them in a hot oven. It couldn't be any easier and reminds me of just how versatile sourdough is, once you have a bread making routine established. 

Walls, roof pieces, attic windows and tiny doors, building material of the gingerbread variety.  At Christmas time there is just something about gingerbread houses that I love.  I find the only way to achieve stress free building success is to make the pieces early and freeze them.  Then, closer to Christmas it is easy to construct my houses without the pressure of baking.  I favour a fairly simple structure with not too many embellishments. 

Zucchini season has started in my garden and I cannot wait to make a batch of Rohan's pickles

My cousin and his gorgeous wife recently had their third baby, a precious little girl.  I made Sarah a batch of oatmeal lactation biscuits.  Apparently these are great for boosting milk supply.  When I was at the breastfeeding stage of life I had not even heard of these.  The magic ingredient is brewers yeast, I wonder if anyone else out there has tried them?

Garlic from my garden.  This harvest has not been my biggest but I am still thrilled to have home grown garlic after months of having no garlic in the house at all. 

I have been baking biscuits like a maniac.  Some are for Christmas gifts, some are for everyday snacks, some are for hungry workers to dunk in their tea or coffee and I am also in the middle of a massive batch which is a one off paid biscuit project.  I made this batch using my favourite gingerbread recipe finished with a sprinkle of candied fennel seed from Herbie's spices.  They were crisp, spicy and robust enough to be packed up for farming men on the move.  My favourite type of biscuit. 

Are you baking, building or breastfeeding? 

Wishing you a happy week.  

As always I am linking up with Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial