Friday, 14 July 2017


I should be filling out these Taxation forms but suddenly, baking biscuits for the Farmgate shop and darning socks is far more urgent.... and entertaining!


I'm retired now, so I don't need to go to the accountant this year to have my tax return done. I have not earned enough money to pay any tax, and we no longer own an investment property that we rent out. The sale of them occurred a couple of years ago, so there is nothing complicated about my financial affairs this year.
 At my last visit to my accountant (last year),  he advised that all I need to do this year is to claim my Franking Credits from my small share portfolio. He kindly showed me how it can be done without seeing him and paying (a small fortune) for his time.
Just lately I've spoken to a couple of friends who did not know this.  They were unaware that we can claim back the credits that were subtracted from our dividend payments though the previous year, so I thought I'd share it with you today.
There may be lots of folk who have money sitting there at the ATO that they didn't know about.
It's simple, if I can do it, so can you.
I spent a few minutes .... OK an hour.!!  sorting through my different dividend statements, and wrote on a sheet of paper for each Share holding so I can add them up and write it easily on the forms provided.

eg.  ** Example only**   Argo      franked amount $123.45
                                                       franking credit    $12.34
                                         Telstra   franked amount  $123.45
                                                       franking credit    $12.34

             and so on until all of the shares were listed.

Then I downloaded the forms using this site;

Refund of Franking Credits Instructions and Application for Individuals 2017
This site has all the information we need about Franking Credits and how to claim. There's a FAQ section there as well that is very helpful. eg,

"Can I claim franking credits from previous years?

It is not too late to claim a refund of franking credits you received in the 2001 to 2016 income years. If you have not already claimed these credits, go to and order a Refund of franking credits application and instructions (NAT 4105) for the relevant years. You can only lodge these refund applications for previous years by post."

 I printed all the forms on my printer because I prefer to write it on paper, make a copy for my records, and post the completed application away to the Australian Taxation Office, rather than spend an hour (or more) doing it on-line, only to discover, right at the end that I've done something wrong and I either lose the entire thing, or it takes up so much time getting it right.
The last time I tried to complete an application for something on line, I lost it all at the end. I was so frustrated! Two hours of my life that I'm never getting back! I threw a knife at the door! The little mark is still there to remind me.  :-/
 If you prefer, it can be lodged by phone, the phone number is listed on the front page, and I'm pretty sure it could be done on-line, but I'm not going there. Just saying!
My forms and instructions are still sitting there on the table because I'm procrasti-baking and procrasti-darning!
Oh... and when I've finished baking and darning, there are those spider webs that need vacuuming off the ceilings, but I'll get my Tax stuff done soon, I promise!

What about you? What are your procrastinating decoys?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sugar Free Raspberry Jam

 Sugar free Raspberry Jam

Lately I've noticed there's much more attention in the media about diet and ways of eating.
Low Carb High Fat (LCHF), Banting, Paleo, Juice Fasting, 5 & 2, and the list goes on.
I like to keep up with new findings about foods and the way different food groups affect us as individuals. The right food or diet for one person is not necessarily going to agree with the next person, but there is so much information there for us so that we can make our own decisions.
What we were brought up to believe back in the day, is often the opposite of what we know now. New research into food and diet has revolutionized our health and self care,  the food industry and our personal beliefs.
For the past few weeks I haven't been eating wheat or any type of sugar, and I've cut back on my carbohydrate intake.
I definitely feel some benefits; clearer in my thinking, and I don't get tired after lunch like I used to when I ate cereal or breads for breakfast or lunch.
"Intermittent fasting" is also a thing. Who knew? Hooray! I don't need to feel the guilt of skipping breakfast any more.
I'm not going into all these 'diets' because others are doing that much better than I can, and anyone with access to Google can study them if interested.
It is my personal goal to continue through this life, into my old age, without the need for pharmaceutical drugs by using diet as my medicine. We see people who make the effort to nourish their body and soul with good food and positive thoughts and actions, but unfortunately, those folks are not the norm any more.  Obesity, ill health and addiction to popping a pill is becoming more visible in our modern western society and is drawing heavily on the health care systems.

Wheat and sugar free one pot dinner (and lunch next day)
I don't intend to live without wheat for ever. After a couple of months of giving my body a rest from it I'll start using Spelt flour and organic wheat that I grind in my flour grinder. Learning about the way conventional wheat is grown with all the chemicals and sprays, has completely put me off the ordinary flour available in the supermarket.
Natural sugars in very small amounts will also appear in my diet after another few weeks.               eg, Rapadura sugar, coconut sugar, rice malt syrup, maple syrup and honey, but I really don't think I'll go back to consuming refined sugar again.
Sugar creeps it's way into our foods, a little bit here and there, although we might think that we don't use much sugar at all.
In this house we don't drink sugary drinks or fruit juices, and don't buy ready made foods, but now that I've completely cut out sugar I can see that we were eating more than we realised.
I can't believe that at my ripe old age, and as a moderately reasonable cook, I didn't know that apples can be stewed or poached without ANY sugar at all and still taste sweet. Ha! That was a light bulb moment!
These restrictions have not been at all difficult to deal with, adapting simple 'made from scratch' recipes  and good old Google with vast information and recipes available at our fingertips.
On the first day of the new "deprivations" I thought I would need a treat with my afternoon tea so I made a coconut flour muffin. It cooked in ten minutes and if I closed my eyes and stood on one leg I could almost imagine that it was a scone or a bread roll. But it was missing jam, so I made some.

Sugar free Raspberry Jam (use any berries)
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and sliced. Cook in a small saucepan with 1/3 cup water until mushy.
Add 1 cup of raspberries (I've still got lots in the freezer from our last harvest)
Gently simmer, stirring frequently until is reduces and slightly darkens in colour. This could take approximately 20 - 30mins.
*Optional- add Stevia sweetener (Natvia) to taste.. I didn't feel the need to sweeten it though.
Spoon into a jar and store in the fridge.

The weird thing about this way of eating is that I don't get hungry at all so that was my first and last Coconut flour muffin. I simply can not fit all that food into my day, but the jam is lovely as a sweet treat desert on a 'Banana and egg flourless pancake'  or with baked apples, or a baked egg custard, if a treat is really what I think I need.

How about you? Have you made discoveries about your diet and how it affects the way you feel?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Lambing Season

Lambing season is upon us, with these twins the first to be born last Thursday.

Those readers who follow my Facebook or Instagram pages daily will be aware of our battle to outwit the foxes who's numbers have become out of control in recent years. 
Without these two beautiful creatures, I think we would not have many live lambs. I love to watch them carefully checking on the new lambs, playing a large part in nurturing the flock, young and old.
While I was out checking the flock one morning, the alpacas were watching me curiously when suddenly, their attention turned to the top of the hill, towards the boundary fence where a ewe had recently birthed a new lamb. They called loudly in their donkey like fashion of communicating danger, and ran towards the fence. Well, one ran while the other stood guard with the flock, as is their habit of teamwork.
There on the hill, a fox glided with stealth towards the new lamb and mother, and stopped to sit in a clump of grass just out of my sight.
As luck happened it was one of those rare occasions that I carried my phone, so I called Brian who was down at the house. He grabbed his gun from the securely locked gun safe, and bullets from a securely locked ammunition safe in a different location to the gun safe (author raises eyes and sighs whilst writing this) and high tailed it up to the hill towards me.
I indicated to him where I last saw the fox, and as he walked along the fence line, looking in the grass, the fox moved. Brian took aim, but as I was positioned on the other side of the fox he didn't get a shot until the fox had ran a small distance through the fence. We then realised that he had grabbed the single bullet gun instead of the 12 gauge which sends out pellets over a small radius, so the fox got away.  This time!!
The cheek of the thing. To blatantly attempt to attack a lamb in broad daylight, and in the presence of a very visible, orange clothed human!

We purchased two fox lights three years ago, and decided to buy another one last week after the fox episode. When Brian went to our local farming supplies outlet there was only one light left in stock. Another farmer had just purchased ten of them an hour before!

This one is solar powered and more expensive at $139, but saving on the cost of replacement batteries each year, brings it in line with the other battery powered lights.
When factoring in the cost of just one lamb sold at market, currently an average price of $150,  this is a reasonable price to pay for a devise that we believe helps reduce the number of fox attacks on our lambs.
(We have no affiliate connection to the makers or suppliers of this product.)
With three of these strategically placed  lights blinking randomly around the paddock I'm reminded of my disco days back in the 70's. ;)

Lamby, the bottle fed lamb brought to us in early June, is growing like a mushroom. At six weeks old he is drinking just three bottles a day, no night feeds. However, he doesn't know he's a sheep and will NOT stay with the mob in the paddock when I take him in with me to do my rounds.
He still spends his nights safely locked in the poultry shed with the hens, out of harms way from marauding foxes. His days are spent in a grassy paddock near to the house, close enough that I can pop out to feed him his three bottles each day, but far enough away that he doesn't hear my voice and  call out to me every five minutes.
In an effort to find him a lamb companion I put out a request on our local Barossa Online Classifieds Facebook Page
 "It's LAMBING season, so to all sheep owners out there, who find yourself with any ORPHAN lambs and you don't want the job of bottle raising them (time consuming & expensive) I will collect them from you and raise them. I will take all breeds of WOOL sheep only. Sorry, I can't take any of the wool shedding breeds as their wool will contaminate our Merino wool at shearing time. Message me at any time & I'll pick up your orphans ASAP. 🐑🐑🍼🍼 Pls share or pass onto anyone who has lambs. Some folks don't see Facebook so they can text me on 0473493413 "

 The advertisement was successful..! And these two little cuties were delivered to me yesterday all dressed up in their little waterproof jackets.
They came from a large farm of more than 1000 Merino ewes. The kind farmer and his daughter pick up the lambs on their property that have lost contact with their mothers. and feed them all with an automated feeder. These two would not drink from the feeder unaided, so they were being fed with a bottle. As there is little time for bottle feeding lambs, five times a day, on these big farms I was thrilled to receive them.  :)
So now my days revolve around feeding babies at all different times of the day and night. 

After three days of confinement in the safety of the enclosed calf yard, Poppy was allowed into the paddock with Lavender.
The first day was spent getting to know  each other in a small paddock separated from Mulga Bill. 
He (Mulga Bill) is such a big boy, and looks so mean, that I was hesitant to let him near the calf too soon, but on the following day the calf went in with them both, and Mulga shows such tenderness towards tiny Poppy.

OK it's time to heat milk and fill bottles... again..!!
Cheers, and thanks for dropping in.

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