Friday, May 25, 2012

My Favourite Cookbook

It's turned freezing cold here the last few days with today being miserable and drizzling with rain!  We should've finished cropping yesterday but it came in and rained from lunchtime on - we're not complaining because we haven't had any rain for the past 6 weeks so the 25mm we received yesterday was very welcome! 

With the cold weather here to stay I've been craving comfort food, so I dug out Julie Goodwin's "The Heart of the Home" cookbook my sister gave me for Christmas last year.  Every recipe in it is exactly what my family loves to eat - simple and tasty country food.  This week I've already made Monterey Chicken, Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks, Quiche Lorraine, and her BBQ Rack of Lamb. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Mummy Necklace

I also bought my friend Andrea a gorgeous necklace through Etsy.  It's sterling silver and personalised with the boys names stamped onto it.  Here is the link to the shop, Divine Stampings in the USA. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Special Quilts

This afternoon, in between filling up mobile tanks with liquid nitrogen, delivering them to the air seeder and filling up it's tanks, and helping Farmer Phil scrub nozzles off the boom spray unit, I whipped up two cot-size quilts for two very special little boys - although I still need to get the bindings done.

My oldest friend Andrea who I met when we were 11 year old school girls has just become a first time mum!  I'm so excited for her because at almost 43 she and her husband were beginning to lose hope.  They eventually became parents to Maxwell and Alexander after many IVF attempts and the help of a surrogate mother in the USA!

The quilts will be sent off to NZ at the end of the week!  As you can imagine, the mother of twins doesn't get a lot of spare time to herself so there's no danger of ruining my surprise because Andrea is too busy to have a look at my blog!

The fabric is called "Peak Hour" - perfect for 2 active little boys!

The fabric is so fun I decided to just cut it up into 6" strips and quilt it in the ditch - so simple!
The end result!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cropping/Seeding/Sowing Update

We call it many names - cropping, seeding or sowing, but what ever you call it, the good news is that we're nearly finished.  Farmer Phil told me this morning that there is only about 300Ha of wheat to be sown for cropping 2012!  YAY!!! 

It's been relatively uneventful this year too which is great!  After a couple of small mechanical issues with the tractor which the mechanic sorted out quick sticks, we've had a really good run.  Farmer Phil hasn't had any super early morning starts or late nights sitting on the tractor - but rather just a relaxed 4 weeks or so with no stress!

I jumped the fence into the paddock next to the house (and ripped my work jeans in the process!) to take a couple of photos of the canola poking it's head through.  In amongst all that lovely wheat stubble mulch from last year are little canola plants.  You may remember this time last year we were fighting a seemingly never-ending battle against millions of mice who wanted to destroy our canola crops.  Well, this year we have not seen a single mouse - YAY!

Playing with Fire!

One day during the week I was sick off looking out at my untidy outer yard with weeds killed by Roundup weeks ago, left to become dry and ratty looking around all the mossy rocks there.  I had the bright idea to burn off and make it look a bit tidier.  I then decided to call our local earthmoving man Duncan to come and have a look at my work and see if he could move all the rocks and smooth the yard over so it's easier to mow with the ride-on.  He has assured me that he'll be able to move them and if his machine won't budge some of the big rocks, he'll just bring in a bigger machine! 

I'm a bit of a pyro I think because I just love playing with fire!

The end result with the rocks actually being seen!

I know a lot of you love the look of mossy rocks in a paddock, and I do too, but just not where I want to mow and have it looking all nice and neat.  Our house is surrounded on three sides with retaining walls of mossy rocks so I think we've got enough at the moment!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pennant Banner

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours cutting and sewing some pennants to make a fabric banner to decorate our hall for Ag n Chat's "Ball in the Hall" in October.  I have lots and lots of fabric scraps so the banner will be a very cheap way to jazz up the hall.  It's about 7m long, but I might make a few more pennants to make it up to 10m.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Women of the Land - Liz Harfull

I have just downloaded this book to my Kindle (the joys of not having to go to town to buy a book - I can get it instantly with the click of a button!).  It sounds like a very interesting read!  Here is the write-up from Liz' website:

Women of the Land

Making your living from the land in Australia is not for the faint-hearted. Isolation, hard physical work, long hours and the vagaries of drought, floods and fire make it a challenging environment for any farmer. But how do you cope when you are a woman in what is traditionally a man’s world?

Women of the Land brings together the inspiring and heart-warming stories of eight remarkable rural women who run their own farms, or in the case of one, manage a cattle station on behalf of an entire community. Often juggling the demands of raising a family, they have overcome tragedy, personal fears, physical exhaustion and more than a little scepticism to build vibrant futures that sustain them and their families, in the process inspiring their neighbours and communities with their entrepreneurship, humility and determination.

Despite the fact they come from diverse backgrounds and run very different types of farming enterprises in widely divergent parts of the country, the women have several things in common – they have made active choices to be farmers, they have a genuine love of the land and a deep, spiritual connection to the place where they live and work.

Each chapter explores the personal story of one woman and the people who have inspired her, the challenges she has faced as well as the humorous and heart-warming moments that have sustained her. The book also captures something of the rhythms and routines of daily life on their farms.

Most of the women are virtually unknown beyond their local area, or the industry in which they work. They agreed to participate because, in this, the Australian Year of the Farmer, they see the book as an opportunity to bridge the gap in understanding between city and country, and to explore issues that matter to them and their communities.

Mothers Day - 2012

Mothers Day 2012 had a much better outcome than last year's.  If you remember this post from 2011, Farmer Phil made sure that my family didn't feature negatively in my Mothers Day post this year!!  I received some yummy Body Shop body butters and a gift voucher from Witchery!  I wasn't sitting on a tractor either!  Farmer Phil had the day off because it was too windy for him to do any spraying, so the seeder had to stop as well!  I spent the day inside with the heater on watching TV and then had tea cooked for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Marrar Ag n Chat

Jump over to Marrar Ag n Chat's blog to see what we've been up to this year, and what charities we've been supporting.

Our main one is lending to Kiva to distribute microfinance loans to women in agriculture in Africa.  We are currently financing two loans.

Faith - a tea grower from Kenya

Millicent and her group - maize growers from Kenya

Last year we also decided to donate money to the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) to buy supplies for these very important kits.  The kits are then distributed to developing countries to help reduce the number of deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth - "every 90 seconds a woman dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth".  For less than a cup of coffee you can buy all the supplies needed for one kit - a plastic sheet, soap, 2 gloves, sterile scalpel blade, 3 cords and 5 gauze squares.  Funds are also made available for training women on how to use the kits.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Little Bit of Sewing

This afternoon I've been a bit productive and churned out the centre of a quilt top.  I'm still waiting on the rest of the fabric to arrive via Australia Post to add the borders on and get it sent off to the quilter. 

Our Ag n Chat group has decided that since 2012 is the Year of the Farmer we should put on an event to recognise and celebrate the impact farmers have on our community, region, state, nation and even the world.  Our event will be a "Ball in the Hall" in October and we'll have a lovely dinner and dance with some raffles and items to auction.  I volunteered to make a quilt as one of the prizes.  More details will come in the next few months as we finalise all the details of our night.

Can you see why the fabric is called "Prince Charming"?!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Professional Waterski Photos of Ryan

Rocco Pirrottina of Distant Light Productions took this photo of Ryan flying through the air!

At one of the many waterski tournament we attended last Summer, a professional photographer hopped in one of the boats while the jump event was on.  He took some fantastic action photos and Ryan happened to get some taken of him.  I'm planning on having the photos enlarged and put onto some canvases for Ryan's room.

Why We Dislike Sheep!!

This is what greeted us yesterday morning!!  About 150 of the neighbours sheep had jumped across the stock grid and had a lovely time with one of our bags of wheat from last year's harvest!  They had climbed all over it and put holes everywhere.  There was a few tonne of wheat spilled on the ground, and probably a fair bit in their stomachs!  They'll be feeling quite ill for a few days with that much grain in them!  This is just another reason why we don't have sheep and probably never will again in the future!!!

Cropping 2012

There's been an awful lot of this going on over the last few weeks.  All the canola has been sown, and now we're onto the wheat.  We're just over half way, so we can see the end in sight!!  I've been relegated to "gopher" for this year's cropping as Ryan has taken to the seeding rig like a duck to water!  Not that I mind at all!!!