Friday, April 24, 2015

Cattle, horses and fierce competition


We could see the dust rising from the outback arena long before we arrived at the Topar Campdraft on a hot autumn day, earlier this month.  I have written in a previous post about the popularity of horse events in the bush.  People travel from far and wide to participate, usually camping onsite with their horses and making a whole weekend of it.  Hardworking local volunteers dedicate days of their time to run these events and the whole community benefits both socially and financially.  

Days like this tend to be gritty, sweaty and very dusty but no one seems to mind, this simply adds to the atmosphere. The fierce competition between cattle, horses and riders makes for an exciting day out. 

The mature riders were impressive in their focus, confidence and horsemanship.

The younger riders were equally impressive with their talent, courage and horsey camaraderie. 

Our Annabelle participated bravely on her horse in the novelty events for the young riders.

Our children are lucky to have easy access to horses and through this they have some pretty unique opportunities.  Travelling with children and horses does not occur without a fair amount of organisation, effort and commitment but these years are precious and they are flying by.  

Have you attended something unique with your children lately?

It is almost always worth the effort isn't it?

**Campdrafting is a sport involving both cattle and horses.  Naturally, Wikipedia provides a more technical explanation for anyone who is interested. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lately...dust then rain

This post has been rolling around in my mind for a while and it was going to be loosely based around the theme of dust.  

I was going to write about how every single tank on our property is dry.

I was going to write about how my skin, eyes and hair all feel so dry.  So gritty.

I was going to write about how a little bit of dust has gradually started to feel grubby and every single surface around me feels dirty and impossible to keep clean.

Then, overnight it rained. We were desperate for rain, especially water for tanks.  So far we have measured 31mm and life feels better already.

With water in short supply my vegetable garden is back to basics with just a handful of winter vegetables and some garlic.  In the remaining bare spaces I have planted a green manure crop which I am watering just occasionally.  So far it is looking healthy and this boy, Pirate seems to like it too.

Thank goodness for these two hardy, reliable quince trees.  With not much other food growing in the garden having these quinces feels comforting and reassuring.  

School holidays have meant horse riding, almost every morning.

While Annabelle has been riding George and I have been collecting manure and old hay for the garden from the cattle yards nearby.  We all get some exercise and fresh air while the garden also benefits.  A winning combination in my mind.

Is it raining at your place?

Did you plan a post and then things changed? 

I hope your Sunday is full of goodness. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter, fires and an old tin hut

When our Easter break coincides with school holidays it is a wonderful thing.  It means we can relax and enjoy Easter, happy in the knowledge that we still have two glorious weeks ahead of us, free of the usual school routine and commitments.

Over Easter we shared plenty of good meals, good company and the odd drink around our wood oven and fire.

The fragrant flavour base for a camp oven lamb roast on Easter Saturday included layers of onion, lemon, garlic, thyme, rosemary and sage.

On Easter Sunday we drove to a property that is fairly new to our family business to check the water tanks and sheep.  This expedition involved a few Easter eggs, a packed lunch and some photos of course.   As we drove towards this swamp I felt instantly grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world.  A little slice of private, watery paradise in the middle of nowhere.

A rough, tin hut abandoned long ago.  

On the inside all that remains are some shelves and this little collection.  There would be so many stories here, if only the walls could talk.

A small boy standing on the edges of an enormous house tank (dam) looking for yabbies or adventures or both. 

Are you enjoying a warm fire, some interesting scenery or a little extra time to get things done?  

I hope so. Happy Friday friends. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In My Kitchen, April 2015

So many things happen in our kitchen, here are just a few snippets from the past month.

Homemade pasta just feels good, especially when the whole family joins in to make it. This batch started out as spirals but some pieces were more spiral-ish than others.  It all tasted good with a tomato and meat sauce and plenty of fresh basil that my daughter trotted off to pick, midway through her spirals.    

Hat care and maintenance happens in our kitchen every few weeks.  A friend with vast experience in these matters shared some hat care knowledge with us and since then I have been steaming and re-shaping the kid’s hats regularly.  The hat is held over a pot of steaming, simmering water and gently pushed back into shape.   When the desired shape is achieved a spray of metho keeps the felt stiff, in shape and ready for action.  

Once the hat is back in shape fancy hat bands, feathers and hat pins while not essential are highly sought after, it seems.

I found this pretty little cup at our local Lifeline tip shop.  It caught my eye amongst mountains of other cups, saucers and plates leaning precariously on the trestle tables.  It is my observation that the op-shop world is almost drowning in crockery.  Where does it all come from and where does it all go? 

This recipe belongs to Emma from My Darling Lemon Thyme.  On her blog she featured perfectly presented, healthy treats in neat balls.  My mixture would not hold together so I pushed it into a slice tin instead.  I am the first to admit my cooking is not always completely healthy, but this was delicious and free of my usual best friends, butter and sugar. 

The quinces are starting to fall off my trees.  It just feels too warm and too early to be cooking quinces but of course these were cooked, I wouldn't dream of wasting this precious fruit. 

Biscuits, there are always biscuits.  There just also happened to be some pretty ribbon lying around and who doesn't love a little bundle of biscuits?  For me, having biscuits in the freezer feels like a safety blanket.  It means I am always ready for hungry visitors, farm workers, small folk and the occasional sweet craving.  Ok, so the sweet cravings are fairly regular.  

I wonder, are you shaping, baking, op-shopping or harvesting?  I hope so.

As we head towards Easter and the school holiday I say, bring it on my friends. 

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