Thursday, 23 February 2017

Time...lack of it, and finding the remedy.

Like most of us, I'm usually feeling overwhelmed by the demands of all that needs to be done, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of a Monday night, I woke and decided that now is the time for me to retire from my paid employment.
No, nothing went wrong at work, I still enjoy my job, but it hit me suddenly that now is the time for me..... to slow down and allow myself some time.
Due to living a simple, rich and frugal life for the past decade, (yes those two words rich and frugal can belong together) we have no debts, so we are perfectly placed for me to step down.
So it's official, and after a few more weeks of fulfilling my work commitments, I shall be a retiree.
It's a wonderful feeling and I'm so very grateful that my life's path has led me to this point!
Life has been so very full these last few weeks (what's new?) and this post is long overdue.
I really don't know where to start. Can you sense that rushing sensation coming through my writing?
A few deep breaths, perhaps a cup of tea.....
So I'll just run through what we've been up to lately with a few pictures.

Last week I took a day away from the farm and work, to spend some time with my oldest longest time friend, Rachel, on her birthday.  She lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills so we drove down to Brighton beach for lunch on what was a perfect day.
I could get quite used to having a day away a bit more regularly.

Rachel has been drawing and painting ever since I've known her, when we were pre-schoolers. Her art works are stunning, and I'm very lucky to have a few of hers hanging in our home.
I'm completely in awe of people who have great talents, and here are a few of her pictures that she has hanging around her home.

 A couple of weeks ago Brian and I went to an auction sale in Angaston. Of course, the things that we were interested in bidding for were at the beginning, in the middle and right at the end, so we were required to be there, waiting around for the whole four hours.
That was a test of my patience I can tell you.....

But I hadn't been to an auction for years, and it was good fun. The large items that Brian was keen on, fetched higher prices than he was prepared to pay, but we fluked a few very cheap purchases.
I couldn't resist offering $1 for a few lots of odds and ends that no-one wanted.

So many treasures in this tub for $1
This was also in that $1 lot. I'm a sucker for a pretty jug, and I reckon we can never have too many!

 And so was this pile of plates and bowls.

Glass cups and saucers are sure to come back in vogue some day! ;)

Brian picked up a gas heater for his shed for $1, and I got a little two burner gas camping stove with small gas bottle included for $2..!! We came away happy. We caught up with our neighbors during those long waiting around hours, saw some rather interesting sights, and as far as a cheap, half day's entertainment goes, it was a cracker!

 Both Brian and I, over the space of two days, sighted three small Brown snakes a bit too close to our living areas for comfort. I'm most concerned for the safety of these two precious members of our family; Alan loves to play with lizards, so an encounter with a snake is quite likely. Meg would probably just stand and bark, but it's possible she could also get excited and go for a grab too.
One snake was located and dispatched, but I placed this net wrap from our large round hay bales along the snake access areas, so they will get caught if they try to slither through.
We're not irrationally fearful of snakes as such, and have total respect for them if they would just keep away from where we and our animals are moving about.

Hay bale net wrap around the base of this compost bin where I saw a Brown snake.

There have been two birthdays in the family during the past two weeks, so dinner in the dining room is called for on these special occasions. 
Special guests from Victoria stayed with us for a couple of days, but it wasn't for long enough, so we talked and talked into the small hours each night. 

Lots of cooking and meals preparation. 

We're picking a half case of tomatoes almost every day now, so some are bagged and put into the Farm-gate shop.

Some are washed, put into 2kg lots, and into the freezer until I have time to do something with them.

Two big batches of Jembella Farm Tomato Sauce have been made and are still waiting for the labels to be stuck on.

There was a hot spell in the past couple of weeks, but on this 41 degree day, cooking tomato sauce on the stove top was no issue. The smells and heat went straight up the chimney. 
In fact, lots of my summer time cooking happens on this gas hotplate on top of the wood stove.

These plums from Brian's roadside foraging, made a big batch of plum jam.

Plums also provided the fruit element in both batches of Jembella Farm Tomato Sauce

 Last week Brian received a call from one of our  Beekeeping Workshop attendees.  Ray had inherited some hives on his property but doesn't have the equipment or experience to look after them, so Brian went to check it out and show him what to do. 
As it turned out, Ray and Lynne are happy for us to maintain the hives for them, in return for a small bit of honey, and as they are located over the ranges, more than forty minutes away, their climate and flowering patterns are different to what we experience here. 
This season has been a tough one for our local area, but over there at Ray's, it's a different story.

So Brian took a day off work last Monday and we spent all day sorting hives, cleaning them out and collecting honey.

 It's good to have some honey in the storage cupboard again.

And now, back to the serious business of preparing my entries for this year's annual Angaston Show on Saturday.
Yoghurt and soft cheese are both in progress on the kitchen bench.
I've gathered all types of various jams, sauces and pickles, honey, eggs, apples and tomatoes to add to the entries for displaying in the beautiful historic Show Hall for celebrating this 120th Annual Show.

Oh dear, this has turned into an epic, and there's still so much to show and tell..!

So for now, I look forward to slower days ahead....maybe! :) 
The raspberries need picking, and so do the nectarines, before the birds take more than their fair share. 
Cheers for now and thanks for visiting.

I love reading comments, but often don't have time to respond, so I apologise in advance for that.
I also totally get it that you may not be inspired to leave a comment, so I'm just grateful that you've made it this far through reading my posts.
However, if you DO feel inspired to leave a comment, I'd love to know from which part of the world you're from and a little bit about you and your situation in life.  If you're a blogger, I generally trace you back to your blog, and have discovered wonderful blogger friends who inspire me in many ways.
Thank you sincerely!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Summer Days

Ian calmly urges Mulga Bill into the race and onto our waiting trailer.

 An early start is always on the agenda during these hot summer days, especially if we need to move stock around.
It's time for Mulga Bill to return home after a two month working holiday at Kersbrook in the Adelaide Hills. This is his second time at Ian and Pam's beautiful property, as they requested him again after last year's nice crop of calves.
Today's temperature is rising up towards the forties, so we were on the road early this morning for the fifty minute drive to collect him, and were home and unloaded by 9am.
Mulga started roaring his arrival as we pulled into our gate, but he walked calmly off the trailer and down the ramp to greet Lavender and the two black Angus steers.

I had done all of my morning chores at sunrise; let the chooks and geese out of their sheds and fed them, fed the pigs, cleaned out and filled water containers for all the poultry and pigs.
I also brought Lavender into the dairy so I could seperate her calf into another yard for the day because I want to milk her tonight.
So when Brian got back from his early morning work at his paid job, I was ready to go.

It was still cool enough to pick some mulberries before retreating inside for the hottest part of the day. I've filled many containers over the past few weeks while the mulberry tree is producing a bumper crop, and am storing them in one of the freezers until I decide what to do with them.
When the peaches and apples are ready I'll make jams. Peach and Mulberry... Apple and Mulberry.
When I finish picking I grab a few unripe berries and head for the nearest tap or the water trough in the paddock near the old mulberry tree.
Squish the berries and rub into the stained skin, then rinse with water. Viola!!! All stains are gone!
Meg and Alan always love being with me when I'm in the paddocks, and today as I was busy avoiding stepping on any snakes whilst picking, Alan snuck off to have a lovely roll in the smelliest stuff he could find. But I didn't realise this until later.

Yesterday evening we processed two hogget sheep, presently hanging in the refrigerated cold room for a few days before we cut them into chops and roasts.
Where they were killed in the paddock is where Alan must have found a lovely smelly place to have his roll.
So when we all came inside to the cool house at late morning, the dogs went to their favourite sleeping places in the passage and bedroom. I was preparing lunch and kept getting a whiff of something not good.
I thought it was me, smelly from hosing off the trailer, until I stepped over Alan sprawled out in the passage.
"Oh my goodness Alan, what have you rolled in?"
Off we went outside to the hose, armed with a bottle of shampoo. A perfect day for a bath, I think I ended up just as wet as he did.

Look who watched our bathing shenanigans without moving a muscle.
Lizard watering station.

A damp smelling dog snoring next to me on the rug that he always has to scratch at to get it just so! He likes to be near me at all times when possible. A little bit of separation anxiety there perhaps.

Meg, on the other hand, is content sleeping under the table on her bed in the spare room.
Today is the first of four hot days forecast in the high 30's to low 40's here in South Australia. On the weekend we had more than 40mls of rain, so it feels quite steamy now! 
This is most unusual weather for us at this time of year, where we are used to it being hot and dry in February.
Our old house wears the heat staunchly, if we keep the doors and windows closed. So far this summer, the air conditioning hasn't been turned on, but oh it's lovely to know it's there if we need it. Perhaps after four days of extreme heat we may need to run it for a couple of hours. 
The ceiling fans do a great job, and I prefer them to air-con unless it's absolutely sweltering.

During the school holidays I had a visit from my blog buddy Emma who writes A Simple Living Journey.
I finally got to meet her three boys, and oh what fun we had together and.... to my complete joy, she wrote a blog post about their visit here.

 There might be a bit of this at some stage today!
Happy summer days to you my dear friends! 
Do whatever you have to do to cope, it's the only way, even if it is a bit unorthodox at times!

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