Friday, August 27, 2010


While Emma was rehearsing for the concerts I saw a few things in Sydney which I've never seen before. The weather was perfect so walking was very pleasant. I snapped some nice pics of the Opera House from Circular Quay.

Of course the Harbour Bridge looked fabulous.

Farmer Phil, Emma and I had a nice meal at Peter Doyle @ the Quay before the show on Tuesday night. You can't beat the view we had!

Sydney Tower.

I went to Hyde Park Barracks Museum too and discovered my families original convict who was transported to Australia in 1837 from England. On his details it said that he could read and write, his trade was listed as a butcher, he was 23 years old and he weighed 10 stone 6 pounds when he arrived.

Most of the convicts at Hyde Park Barracks had been charged with property crimes and were sentenced to life, 7 or 14 year terms. The convicts were housed and fed at the barracks and then during the day they would go out to work places in Sydney. The photo below is how the convicts slept - there were 600 men living in the building at one time in 12 rooms, so their conditions would have been very cramped.

I also did some shopping while in Sydney and had to visit the Queen Victoria Building - even just to look at it's beauty! Here is the clock on the top level.

I also visited the Museum of Sydney which is built on the original site of the first Government House. It had a lot of excellent information about the first settlers and convicts of Australia, how they treated the Aboriginal people, the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and lots more. I'd highly recommend a visit to this museum as I learned a lot from it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Emma Sings at Sydney Opera House

We arrived home yesterday after 4 days visiting Sydney for Emma to sing as part of the NSW combined State Choir for high school students at the Sydney Opera House. She was part of the Argyle and Endeavour concerts held on Monday and Tuesday nights.

On Sunday the choir rehearsed from 9.30am to 4.30pm at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Then on Monday they rehearsed all day at the Opera House. There were 75 students representing their schools from all over NSW.

We stayed at an apartment at Potts Point so it was only a 25 minute walk through the Botanical Gardens to both the Con and the Opera House. Farmer Phil couldn't come with us on Saturday when we left home because he had too much work to do on the farm so he flew to Sydney on Tuesday to watch the concert that night.

I'll have more photos tomorrow of what I did while waiting for Emma. I shopped and visited museums for 2 days - my feet are still sore!! I am very glad to be home now as I could never see me or any of my family living in Sydney. I was over the traffic, pollution and crowds by Sunday lunchtime!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ag n Chat

This morning we had our monthly Ag n Chat meeting. One of our members (Jo) is very creative with metal so she offered to teach us something very simple. Most of us made some sort of sign and we surprised ourselves by how great they all looked!

Here is Lyndal drawing out her wording - "hope".

Here is Cathy using the plasma cutter to cut out some flowers to go on her "parking" sign.

Here is Lyndal's finished "hope" sign with rusty corrugated iron behind it.

Kim powered through her morning making two rainy weather signs which will hopefully bring some luck for us farmers!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kaftan Sewing

Today was windy, cold and miserable with rain so I decided not to go outside at all but sit and sew for the day - remember I'm still home alone with no distractions! I produced this "Shearwater Kaftan" from a "make it perfect" pattern. I bought the fabric yesterday at Spotlight for only $8/m so it ended up only costing $12 to make. It'll go nicely over a pair of swimmers and denim shorts when Summer finally arrives. It's really comfy and super easy to make.

Red Tractor

I bought these tea towels when I went to town yesterday. They're from Red Tractor Designs which has some wonderful Australian themed products for sale from mugs, greeting cards, books and Rachel's original paintings and prints. I had to have the one with red tractors all over it because it looks like my own red tractor from my blog banner.

First Aid from the Home and Farm Handbook

There is a section on first aid in the handbook which is very interesting. I'm quite sure that these methods aren't used now, but wouldn't it be interesting to see if they really worked! Remember the book was published in 1929 and they seemed to love brandy!!

"EARACHE - Fill a small flannel bag with common salt which has been warmed in an oven and press it gently on the affected ear. A hot onion can be used in the same way. Pour a few drops of warm olive oil or glycerine into the aching ear. Apply a poultice consisting of a piece of brown paper soaked in vinegar and then sprinkled freely with pepper or ground ginger, tie in position with a handkerchief. If pain continues to be violent, protect the ear from cold and see a doctor."

"CROUP - Soak a piece of flannel with methylated spirits and wrap around the throat. This gives immediate relief. Give patient a teaspoonful of olive oil and sugar in equal parts."

"GENERAL HINTS - In case of broken bones or dislocation leave the patient as he is, and where he is, until the doctor comes. Don't rush off for brandy when there is an accident - hot milk is better. Only give brandy when people are reviving after fainting from exhaustion, or foul air. NEVER give spirits when the face is flushed or the head injured."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home and Farm Handbook

I found this 1929 issue of the "Ensign" Handbook for the Home and Farm in an antique shop a few years ago. It's got some really interesting information in it and some very imaginative recipes I've never heard of.

"Ensign" were a company that made baking powder, cocoa, tea, coffee and jelly crystals so the recipes all include these items. The recipes are very basic so you have to use some imagination as to how to make them. Here's an example:

"Paris Kisses - 1 C sugar, 2 C flour, 4 t cocoa essence, 3/4 C butter, 2 t baking powder, 3 eggs

Rub butter well together with the sugar and eggs well beaten; on no account add milk or water. Rub vigorously; patience is required, but the result is well worth it. Join together with jam - raspberry for preference."

It doesn't mention how long or at what temperature to cook them. I'm guessing that they must be some sort of biscuit?!

Here's another recipe I found interesting. There's no photos or pictures in the book so I might have to make this one to see what it looks like.

"Apple Snow Jelly - 1 packet strawberry jelly crystals, 1 pint hot water

Dissolve jelly crystals in hot water. When partly cold turn into sherbert glasses, filling three quarters full. When firm pile Apple Snow on top.

Apple Snow - 1/2 packet lemon jelly crystals, 1/2 pint hot water, 1 grated apple, 4 T sugar

Dissolve half packet of jelly crystals into hot water. When cool whip to consistency of thick cream. Then add grated apple and sugar."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Alone!

I'm home alone for a few days this week! Farmer Phil is on a 3 day bus tour around Victoria visiting farmers who have adopted a "controlled-traffic" farming system. They will look at the impacts on soil and productivity from using this system.

Emma is in Sydney for 2 days to see the musical "Wicked" with her Year 9/10 music class. We'll be back to Sydney at the weekend for Emma's Choir Concerts at the Opera House. She has 2 days of rehearsals first and then 2 performances on Monday and Tuesday nights.

I think I might treat myself to see a movie when I'm in town and have a look around the shops which I don't get to do very often. My trips to Wagga are normally just quick ones or at night when Emma is at singing lessons & choir.

The photo of Farmer Phil was taken on Saturday in a paddock of Ventura wheat sown in mid-May.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Crop Comparison

These two photo's are of our Cobbler canola crops from 2010 and 2009. The top one was taken today - 13th August 2010, and the bottom one was taken on the 16th August 2009. It is amazing the difference in them as far as how advanced they are. This year's canola was sown 3 days earlier than the 2009 crop.

It's clear to see that the 2009 crop was almost out in full flower and struggling for moisture. This was due to last year's drought conditions so the crop was desperately trying to reproduce no matter how tough the conditions.

This year's canola has had lots of rainfall right from the time it was planted at the end of April. It looks lush and healthy with just a few flower heads beginning to emerge. This is how canola should look in August!

Our rainfall to date this year has been 544.5mm as compared to last year's rainfall total at the same time of just 206mm!

So it just goes to show that all we farmers need to grow a decent crop is RAIN!!!! Fingers and toes crossed that rain keeps falling in September and October.


I'm so grateful to live in Australia in 2010 as a strong, free and equal woman!

I've just started reading "Nomad" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It sure does open your eyes to the big wide world out there and how women suffer at the hands of men, religion and culture!

If you get a chance to read this book, then you'll understand where I'm coming from!

Farmer Phil read the book first and could not believe the cruelty.

Ayaan was in Australia a few weeks ago and we watched one of her interviews. Farmer Phil asked me to get the book for him next time I was in town. I've also ordered her first book "Infidel", so that should be an eye-opener too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sewing Again!

I've taken the cover off the sewing machine for the first time in 6 months to start making this quilt. It's made from the left over Anna Maria Horner Garden Party fabric I had from making Rachael and Jess's wedding quilt last year. I had the intention of making it as a Christmas gift for a family member, but now it's made I don't know whether I can part with it because I love the fabrics so much!!!

I also completed this dress using Anna Maria Horner fabric again. Here is the link for the pattern from her blog. I love this fabric also and it was the simplest dress I've ever attempted. It'll be lovely and cool for Summer. Sorry about the dodgy photo but it's really hard to take a photo using the bathroom mirror!!