Friday, July 24, 2015

A woolshed and some wiggly wire

The kids and I recently made a road trip to one of our other family properties during shearing.  We happened to be there on a Saturday so no actual shearing was happening, just yard and paddock work and plenty of opportunities for me to take photos in the quiet woolshed.

The shearer’s smoko table, slightly sticky with remnants of coffee and tea from the working week. 

A pair of shearing moccasins sitting idly on the board waiting for the Monday morning rush. 

An old enamel wash basin still in use.  Can you imagine the blood, sweat, tears and grease this little basin must have washed away over the years?

Perfectly formed wool bales starting to snake their way out of the shed, waiting to be loaded onto the truck.

Lastly, this piece of curly barbed wire had managed to make its way into the yards, picking up little pieces of loose wool along the way.  As this potentially hazardous piece of wire was tossed away it caught my eye with its woolly twists.  I had to bring it home to hang up as an impromptu sculpture, much to the wonderment of the men folk.  Surely everyone must be getting used to me picking up strange objects by now.

Shearing time always brings about a certain amount of nostalgia.  It doesn’t seem to matter how many times the woolshed bursts into life or how many bales of wool roll out the door. 

Do you enjoy a quiet photo opportunity or perhaps finding pieces of random, salvaged stuff and declaring it artwork?

Wishing you a woolly weekend.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Winter in the paddock

I cannot remember enjoying a winter more than this one.  Right now the cold mornings, warm fires, afternoon sunshine, warming meals and long, dark nights just seem to fit perfectly with my state of mind.  This is a little of what we can see in our paddocks right now. 

Frost on dry grass and the sparkly light at sunrise. 

Curious cattle. 

 Curious sheep. 

These school holidays our children did not go to the movies, the shopping centres, the park or on any play dates.  Instead they soaked up plenty of fresh air in the sheep yards.

When things get busy this is how we roll with morning smoko.  The back of the ute becomes the table and warm food and hot drinks are savoured while everyone takes a breather from the cold wind, motorbikes and sheep work.  

The last rays of sunshine after a freezing cold, windy day.  

A pale winter moon rising above the red horizon.  Just after I snapped this photo the moon slipped behind those pretty clouds.  

Are you enjoying winter or are you finding it tough?

Food always tastes better in the outdoors, doesn’t it?

Happy Friday, friends. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fire and Flour Day, 2015

Our third Fire and Flour Day has been and gone.  Since our day in 2014 some bakers have had babies, at least one baker is expecting a baby, children have grown and blog friends have become real life friends.  Rather like bread, life changes and evolves and takes us all in different directions.

While I stoked the wood oven in the early hours of the morning I couldn’t help but feel just a tiny bit nervous as I questioned myself over every detail.  Would the bread rise?  Would our new baking friends find us at the end of the dirt track?  Was the wood oven warm enough or perhaps too warm?  With a slightly larger group than we had previously hosted, would it even work?

The bakers found us and the bread happily rose.  The swap table was abundant with fresh produce, preserves and little pieces of handmade goodness. 

New friendships were formed and old friendships were strengthened around the bread making bench. 

Summa made hand cut pappardelle with eggs from our chooks and we promptly ate it for lunch.  

Hamish is the man when it comes to slashing loaves in front of an audience and once again, he didn’t disappoint. 

After a hearty lunch Zara guided everyone through the process of making beeswax candles.  The children loved this activity and the aroma of the beeswax mingling with the fire was incredible.  

Photo thanks to Kate

Photo thanks to Sophie

As the winter sun set behind the wood oven and I took a deep breath and felt very grateful.  Days like this do not occur without a lot of passion from all involved.  I was almost overwhelmed with the travelling, preparations and creative contributions from this group of happy people.   There is something so heart-warming about making things happen within our little community.

Our food for the day included as many home grown/home produced bits and pieces as possible.  For anyone who might be interested, this is what we ate: 

Morning tea: lemon, olive oil and thyme muffins, quince tart, chickpea and kale non-sausage rolls, a large chunk of King Island Double Brie, biscuits, coffee and hot chocolate.  

Lunch: Lamb shank and neck ragu, lamb chops and sausages, pasta by Summa, pesto, quinoa salad and sourdough baguettes. 

Afternoon grazing: more cheese, more quince tart, biscuits and freshly brewed affogatos with biscotti for dipping.  

Kate and Zara and Sophie have written about our day too.

Happy baking, friends x

Friday, July 3, 2015

In My Kitchen, July 2015

It seems that lately I have either been baking or collecting.  

I mentioned in a previous post that we had been mustering feral goats.  More accurately, the men folk and my mother in law did the mustering while the kids and I mostly waited on the sidelines with the camera and supplies.  While we waited for the goats and the mustering team to descend from the hills and rocks we may have enjoyed cake and tea near a little fire we lit in the creek bed.  Food always seems to taste better in the world’s biggest outdoor kitchen, especially on a frosty morning.   

I can’t really explain why but baking paraphernalia just seems to find me.  This pile of battered bread tins came from the old Wilcannia bakery and apparently there are plenty more of them.  Of course, I will never use all of these but I would just hate to see them end up at the tip.  Can you imagine the floury, baking history in these solid old tins?  

A chocolate and walnut slice, recipe from the 2015 Red Tractor Designs calendar.  Packed with nuts, cocoa and rolled oats this slice proved to be robust enough to be packed up and sent to the paddock for cold and hungry workers. 

A bundle of old spoons, rescued from the shearer’s kitchen to be replaced with something more modern and hygienic.  These bits and pieces are destined for a peaceful, fulfilling retirement in my props collection.

Quince curd tarts, take two.  This batch turned out to be a much rosier colour than my previous attempt

Zara was a blogging friend and now, happily, she is a real friend who I meet for coffee and stuff.  Sometime ago she generously gave me this little collection including a piece of weighty pottery she made with her own hands.  Thank you Zara, you have a knack of finding the good stuff .

In other news I have finally joined Instagram.  I am still not sure my life is interesting enough to sustain my blog and Instagram but time will tell I suppose!

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

Happy Friday, friends.