Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas balance

How are you feeling about Christmas this year?

Are you filled with excitement and anticipation or perhaps you are not in the least bit enthusiastic?

Are you from a traditional family who gather around the tree in harmony?  Or is your family partly fragmented and while gathering together is good in theory it might not always be achievable in reality?   Honestly, I am more in the latter category. 

On a positive note I am looking forward to giving our children and close family members a manageable quantity of affordable and practical gifts.

Setting the table properly and cooking some special food is something I love planning.  

Christmas baking, gift making and some easy craft projects are three of my favourite things at this time of year. 

I do not love shopping bags bursting with useless plastic junk.  Hot, crowded shopping centres make me anxious.  Trolleys overflowing with enormous amounts of Christmas food also remind me of the crazy excess that people feel obliged to indulge in. 

This Christmas I will be working on finding a balance somewhere between a special family celebration and unnecessary excess.

For me, online shopping and homemade gifts are a better alternative to shopping in the heat and making hasty, last minute decisions.  

I will gather my groceries well in advance and be happy to improvise with the rest.  Our menu will be quite non-traditional this year, using at least two recipes inspired by Sophie from Local is Lovely.

I will take my children to drop off some food at a local collection point for charity.  They may or may not completely understand but I feel this is an important part of our Christmas.   

How do you tackle this time of year?

Has your strategy changed over time?  I know mine has.  

Happy Sunday friends.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

In My Kitchen, November 2014

Over the years I have gathered quite a collection of old kitchen implements.  Amazingly, I have not bought much of it.  Most of it has been scrounged or given to me by thoughtful friends, family and fellow bloggers.    The dints and worn handles remind me of outback cooks, shearer’s kitchens and solid lunches eaten in the paddock. 

These old knives could tell a story or two about white bread, hearty meals and real butter.  I am not actually sure of the correct name for the middle implements but I find them very useful for lifting warm biscuits onto cooling racks. 

At some point I decided I quite fancied old thermoses.  I bought one at a second hand shop and shortly afterwards a whole box of old thermoses found me.  Life is funny like that.  The little glass Cottees bottle has sentimental value, apparently it always travelled with at least one of these thermoses whenever milk was required. 

I know some of you will have memories of these brightly coloured metal cups that stack neatly into soft leather pouches.  These two sets have never been used and are just waiting for a picnic or road trip.   

One day I hope to get invited to a vintage themed picnic.  When I do, I will be ready with at least four Willow brand picnic tins all in varying condition.   This old cane basket has three compartments within it, making it perfect for carrying thermoses or bottles. 

I am not really into mashed potato but these old mashers are lovely.  The graters are buckled and bent, just right for grating wayward fingers.  They will live out their retirement happily in the props cupboard far from active duty in the kitchen. 

I could go on.  I haven’t even started on the sifters, aluminium colanders and teapots, rolling pins or enamel ware.   Another day perhaps?

Are you collecting or baking or creating?  I hope so. 

This post was partly inspired by Francesca from Almost Italian and her charming collection of green thermoses.   

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cold beer and frisky horses

Each October we have a busy schedule of weekend horse events. 

It all kicks off in the tiny town of Pooncarie with their annual race meeting.  With a dirt racetrack and just enough lawn and shade to keep the crowd happy there is always a great atmosphere at this bush race meeting. 

The airstrip happens to be right next to the racetrack.  No baggage scans, taxis or trains required and since accommodation is scarce some aviators just roll their swags out underneath their planes

From there we load up Annabelle’s pony and head to a racetrack in the bush called Nanua for amateur racing and hotly contested gymkhana events.  There is no town for at least 140kms, just a dirt track, basic amenities, a busy bar area and plenty of keen horses and riders. 

The next and slightly more refined outing is to the Silver City Races in Broken Hill.  We dress up and buy member’s tickets, meet up with family and friends and enjoy the charm and shade of the historic grand stand.  

Bush horse events involve plenty of travelling, dust, cold beer and steak sandwiches.  They are also major fund raising and social occasions, especially for the smaller communities.  Long may this tradition continue, we love it.    

My husband plays an official roll at these events which is part of the reason why our month is so horsey.  It is also a great excuse to be sociable, take photos and watch the horsey world go by.

Are you into horses I wonder?

Horses or not, I hope you are having a lovely Sunday.