Monday, December 19, 2011

More Home Improvements

The builders have just packed up their tools and left after 3 days work installing a verandah across the south western side of our house and a covered walkway to the shed. All it needs now is some potted hydrangeas (one of my favourite plants) and maybe a staghorn or elkhorn on the wall to make it look even cooler. It'll be so good to kick off your workboots at the back door without fear of them getting drenched in a downpour!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harvest 2011 Finished!!

We finished harvest yesterday at 5pm and today it has started to rain - perfect timing!!!

It feels so good to know that we've finished and can now relax and enjoy Christmas. We put in some very late nights last week to beat the rain we knew was coming - try 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30 am!!!

Today we slept in and have just woken up from an afternoon nap. Now to get the final Christmas shopping done and get this house back to normal!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

End of School Year Bragging

Both Fiona and Corrie have recently posted about their kids school achievements at their respective presentation assemblies. Well, now it's my turn to do some bragging about Emma's achievements!

Friday was Emma's last day of school for 2011 and it culminated in the school's Speech Day assembly. It starts at 10am and does not finish until at least 1pm. The parents then have to collect all their kids clothing, bedding, horses if they have one at school and general junk before making the long journey home to all corners of Eastern Australia.

If you've read my blog you will know that Emma is a bit of a singer. At the assembly she received a class award for music, she also received the whole school music award, and on top of that she was awarded a special Cultural "Blue" award for excellence in music.

The school only awards a few "Blue" awards each year. This year there was one given for academic excellence, two for agriculture, two for sport and two for cultural excellence. Each recipient had a half page write up in the Speech Day programme about their achievements in their special field.

Unfortunately neither Farmer Phil or I could make it to Speech Day as we were flat out harvesting with wet weather on the way. We had to get friends who have a son at school with Emma to bring her home. The school didn't inform us that Emma was to receive this special award and Emma didn't tell us as she wanted it to be a surprise. It would've been lovely to see her receive her awards but it is an especially busy time of year for us with harvest.

We can always look forward to next year and see if she wins another "Blue" award!

Monday, December 12, 2011

ALDI Gingerbread House

I bought this gingerbread house kit from ALDI a few weeks ago and today Emma put it together. I think they only cost about $10 and they look really cute with the wicked witch and Hansel and Gretel already made out of marzipan. I know it's cheating but really who has time to make one from scratch anyway?


Our almost 23yo son Daniel has been home helping us with the harvest for the past few weeks. He is occupying his old bedroom which has been converted to my sewing/ironing/spare bedroom ever since he left home almost 5 years ago.
I thought I'd show you all a photo of the whirlwind he has created...... he calls it his "floordrobe"!! Arrgghhh! All I can do is close the door so I don't have to look at it!

PS - Harvest is on hold again after receiving another 12mm of rain. We still have 1500ac of wheat to go - it's been a frustrating harvest with breakdowns and wet weather. The yield is down a little from last year but the quality of the wheat has been very high which is great!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunset at "Fairfield"

I snapped this photo on my phone on Saturday night in between driving the header, fueling up vehicles, setting up lights at the silo pad, moving augers, sampling wheat etc. Too pretty to let it go unnoticed!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Finally Started on the Wheat!

We finally started to harvest the wheat today! It's taken a while for the grain to be dry enough to harvest after we received 50mm of rain last week. So far the quality of the grain has not been affected by the rain. The yield is down slightly from last year as we didn't receive as much Spring rain this year as last year. As long as the grain quality doesn't get downgraded from any weather damage we'll be very happy! Hopefully finish in 2 weeks all going well - fingers crossed!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Deck

Jack thinks the new deck is pretty good. It'll look even better in another month when a couple of coats of oil are applied which will make it an even richer red colour. We love it!

This is the new outdoor setting I bought a few weeks ago. Farmer Phil and I spent the afternoon putting it together yesterday while the rain was pouring down!

New Ute!

As soon as Ryan turned 17 he went for his driving licence and got it first go which is very unusual for 17yo boys in our area - the RTA here is very tough on teens going for their licences with only a 56% pass rate!

As you can imagine the first thing Ryan wanted when he left school and came to work for us was to buy his own vehicle. We searched for a few weeks until he found exactly what he wanted. So here it is - Ryan's pride and joy!!

Home Alone!

Yesterday and last night we had another 10mls of rain so this has really thrown a spanner in the harvest works!!

I'm home alone for the weekend as Farmer Phil and Ryan have gone to a water ski tournament in Albury and Emma is in Sydney performing in the Schools Spectacular.

I think I'd better head to town and do some Christmas shopping before we get busy with harvest again. I'm not really in the Christmas Spirit yet but I'd better get into it quick because I've got my first Christmas party tonight!

Ryan just back from a slalom ski

Friday, November 25, 2011

Farmer Phil - Media Star Again!

Each time there's a newsworthy story about farming the local Channel 7 news reporter seems to call on Farmer Phil to give a comment or two. Earlier in the year it was about the impact the mouse plague was having on the crop. Today it was about the 25mls of rain we had over night and the impact on harvest.

Needless to say there will be no harvesting done over the next few days!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Harvesting Again

We finally started to harvest again late this afternoon after waiting a few hours for the moisture content of the canola seed to come down below 8% which it's required to be at the handling facility.

The two headers, Farmer Phil, the semi trailer, and the tractor and chaser bin waiting to start.

This is my view through the windscreen of the header.

Deck Update

The deck building has been a very slow process with the builder busy with other jobs elsewhere. They will finish it today with the last boards about to be fixed down now. I'll show you the finished product this afternoon. We're really happy with the result and it'll look even better in a few weeks when we oil it.

Harvey Norman delivered my new timber/wicker outdoor setting this morning. It's in cardboard boxes all ready to be screwed together! Can't wait for Summer to really kick in and have some BBQ's with family and friends on the new deck!!

Harvest 2011

We started harvesting last week, but we've now been stopped for 3 days after receiving 15mls of rain on Saturday and Sunday!

The canola is yielding really well with the oil content up to 45% - it should be at least 42%. For every % above 42 we receive a bonus premium.

We bought a second header during the year so that we can hopefully complete harvest a bit quicker before the receival handling sites become full.

I am driving one of the headers with Daniel and Ryan sharing the other one and chaser bin duties. Farmer Phil is driving the semi delivering all the grain.

Daniel is home from Deniliquin just to help with harvest, and Ryan is now a full time employee of ours after leaving school at the end of Term 3 when he finished Year 11. He turned 17 at the same time and got his Provisional driving licence so he's been a helping hand for us. Emma is our housekeeper as she's basically finished school for the year - no more lessons, just work experience and a leadership camp to attend.

We should be finished harvest in another 4 weeks - all going well weather wise, breakdown wise and sanity wise!!

Surfer/Sailor Boy

Last week when President Obama visited our country my nephew Surfer/Sailor Boy was the centre of our attention in both the print and TV media. He was splashed across every newspaper and TV news report for a few days.

You see, he recently enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy and is based at the moment in Darwin. When Obama and Julia Gillard visited, my nephew was smack bang in the front row behind the podium where they both spoke from.

That's him in the grey fatigues right next to President Obama's hand!

Family Reunion

A few weeks ago my sister Lisa and I went to a family reunion on my dad's side. The last reunion was in September 1999, a few months before our dad passed away. Both Lisa and I decided that Dad would've wanted us to attend this latest reunion even though we'd probably know hardly anyone there.

It was true!! We only knew a handful of people but we got to meet a lot of dad's first cousins who we'd heard about over the years but had never met them. We had a really nice time in the end.

As kids Lisa and I would always get mixed up by long lost relatives because they all thought that we looked so much alike! There is two years difference in our age with Lisa being the oldest and me being about five inches taller! I guess it didn't help when mum dressed us in exactly the same handmade clothes - the only difference being the colour of the material!!

Here are the two photos taken of us at the reunion - what do you think? Alike or not?



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Minute to Win It and Colombo's Got Talent???

At night if the kids aren't too tired after 4 tough water ski training sets each day, we usually have some entertainment for them (there's no TV allowed!). We always have the annual Colombo's Got Talent and then this year we also had some Minute To Win It type games. In past years we've had a trivia night and a ping pong tournament.

Kirsty, I don't hink praying is going to help you with the Oreo!

Our two youngest skiers Callan and Kyle mastering the jigsaw puzzle.

Super coach Josh trying his hand with the ping pong balls.

Emma trying her hardest to get a ball in each cup.

Brodie and Jenna concentrating on their cup stacking technique.

This years winners of Colombo's Got Talent - "The Sparkles" (aka Sierra, Hannah, Tahner, Jaycee and Leah) who performed a wonderful Taylor Swift number.

Emma singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" - great look with the trackie pants and uggies!

Emma lost points because her back up dancers weren't quite up to scratch - sorry girls!!
Jenna, Tanika, Riley and Jayme trying their hardest.

It's really great to see the kids come out of their shells and move away from their comfort zones to have some fun!

Second Silo

Last week the builders finished our second 300T silo. Great job!! And the new "silo paddock" has been levelled to resemble a billiard table! That's Farmer Phil and Farmer Andrew having an inspection before the builders completed the cone!

Ski School

Every year in the first week of October school holidays Ryan and Emma have a water ski training camp at Colombo Creek. Here are the future superstars of Australian and international water skiing!!

Here are our amazing coaches - Chelsea ("no wimps allowed" super coach), Cathryn (Australian Water Ski Team member), Jacinta (World Champion Silver Medallist in Women's Jump!!) and Josh (everyone's favourite "Joshie"!). I must apologise to the girls because they all apparently put on weight after eating the great food we cooked for them over the two week camp!

Ryan doing his thing in slalom.

Emma showing her slalom style.

Guess What.........??

WE HAVE STEPS!!!! Yeah!!! Just a bit of cleaning up and push the mossy rocks back into place and we're in business!

We also have battens fixed down ready for the merbau decking boards to go on top!

And, the retaining wall around the pool filtration system is almost done! Just need to knock the boxing and formwork off and then the timber box creation can be fixed into place!

We can almost see the finished products - just a few more days work for the builders and they're done!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another Silo + Earthworks

We have decided to build another 300T silo which will be located right next to the other one built earlier in the year. The builders were here on Friday setting up the crane needed to lift the silo as it is being built.

We also had the local earthmoving contractors in to laser level the small paddock the silos are in. It will eventually have just a 1% fall across the whole paddock which will make it much easier for semi-trailers to tip their loads of grain into the silos.

The machines were quite mesmerising to watch in action! The levellers hold almost 50T of soil when full so you can imagine the horsepower needed to pull the beasts!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Birthday Cake and Field Day Loot

Farmer Phil and Ryan arrived home last night at 7.30pm both complaining of sore feet, legs and backs after a very long day at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Ryan is now able to eat solid food after his surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago so it was steaks on the BBQ with salad and roast potatoes for his birthday tea. Then we had a chocolate sheet cake from The Pioneer Woman's cook book - yummo!

I took these photos this morning of the mess left after Farmer Phil inspected every purchase made yesterday. There are cordless drills, an impact wrench, rain gauge, motorbike work stand, HID lights for the tractor, drill bit sets, miscellaneous tools and another 3 hats and 4 stubby holders for our already overflowing hat and stubby holder cupboards!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ag n Chat Overnight Trip to Cowra/Canowindra/Manildra

Last week 10 Ag n Chat ladies embarked on our annual overnight trip - this time visiting Cowra, Canowindra and Manildra. First stop was a quick morning tea/catch up at Young before heading to the Cowra Information Centre for a presentation there about the World War II Cowra Breakout.

The Cowra Japanese Gardens were next on the agenda and what a beautiful day to visit there!

On to Canowindra and the Age of Fishes Museum to learn about the districts important fossil history.

Our overnight accommodation was at the very comfortable Old Vic Inn at Canowindra.

We were joined by 5 local ladies from the NSW Women In Agriculture group for a very yummy dinner.

Super cosy lounge room to have a great old chin wag!

Next morning was a very informative and mind-blowing tour of the Manildra Flour Mill. Wow, whoever designed that factory was very ingenious!

Last "agriculture" stop was the MSM Milling canola crushing and packing plant.

We then all wanted to go back through Canowindra and sample some of their gorgeous boutique clothing (Saffi) and homewares (Bendy Street Emporium) shops and art gallery (River Bank Gallery).

Phew!! We fitted in a lot in our 2 days away - thanks Wendy for organising!!