Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last week of Autumn and what we got up to...

In a small country hall a little way from us, a couple of friends and I, (Norma and Wendy) took ourselves off to the Great Australian Morning Tea a week or so ago. This is an annual fundraiser held all over Australia to raise money for breast cancer research.

A welcome sign at the door. A gold coin donation was the entrance fee.

What a spread was waiting inside the hall! The country ladies of Irrewillepe had outdone themselves. Besides the lovely cakes and sandwiches, there were beautiful quilts to admire. A table groaning with cakes, preserves and farm veggies was tucked in a corner of the hall. No-one left without a bag of goodies. Lucky door prize time and Norma picked up a huge hamper of Natio products. I won a prize too. A bottle of wine. Nice.

Crafty stuff
I've been experimenting with empty feed sacks lately. They make great shopping bags. They are tough, waterproof and rather nice. Well, I think so anyway. I will be putting them up on our Etsy store in the next day or so. In the mean time I'll share some of the styles with you. Let me say, getting photos of the bags in the back yard with the chooks as props is not easy. A chicken doesn't know about posing in a shot, so I had to be quick!
Horse bag. I have these in red/grey and also a gree/grey version. No, we don't have a horse. I was given these bags by a friend.

This one is my favourite.

If you want to add a touch of 'country' to your city shopping experience, then you need one of these bags! I can promise you that you will receive may compliments! I use one for my library books and I always get comments, good ones of course, when I use it. How much you ask? $15 plus a few bucks for postage. For this you get an upcycled bag that gets a new lease of life!  

And now for a lesson in farm reproduction....

While I was out being a photographer/stylist, the farm animals were doing their thing. In particular, the ducks. I have to say that duck sex is not pretty! The drake is aggressive and the poor duck literally just lies there while he hammers her head with his beak, pokes at her eyes and generally beats her into submission! What will the outcome be? Fertilised eggs we hope! I'll keep you posted.


This past week I harvested pumkins. I've learned that a basket of pumpkins requires a huge growing space. Valuable vegetable patch real estate. Will I grow them again next season? Definitely. I grew two varieties. Butternut and Italian Zucca. However, the Zucca seeds have given me two different varieties in one packet. The round green ones and the oblong ones. The vegetable bed looks quite sad in this dying state. But this is exactly what it has to look like before you pick pumpkins.

I'll be making soup and roasting these babies!

After pulling out all the spent vines, I then dug over the long veggie patch. You may not get as excited as I was, but looking at this soil makes me smile. There are lots of earth worms in it. A good indication that the soil biology is healthy.

The bed on the left has been planted with a few different veggies. Turnips, parsnips, carrots, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, broad beans and some garlic.
The bed on the right is where the pumpkins were. The soil is ready for the next round of planting. It's going to be.... GARLIC! Lots of it!  

I received another 5kgs of garlic from Kym at Farm with a Future. I spent a few hours separating the cloves in each bulb. I'm not sure if there's an easier way, but by the end of separating nearly 2000 cloves, my fingers were sore and ponged! I planted around 650 cloves in the left garden bed (shown above). My back and legs were a tad sore by the end of that little excersize! And I've still got another 1600 to go. We've got some visitors coming for the weekend this coming long weekend.......

Visit to the big smoke...
This week I also visited Sara in Melbourne for a couple of days. She had some hospital appointments so I took her. I know the way by now. Our first appointment with her specialist was rather stressful. I missed a turn and ended up in a long line of traffic going the opposited direction to where we had to go. I was driving Sara's little Yaris which is a manual. I can drive a manual. Well, I used to be able. So you can imagine how many times I stalled, restarted and waved hands of apology to cars around me. I decided to do a 'U' turn in the middle of the traffic as there was a little gap in the centre island. Big mistake. I misjudged the turning circle of the little white smartie and ended up having to do a 20 point turn, scraping the bottom mud guard at every turn. So I feel I have now gone through a right of passage to get us to the hospital without ending up in Sydney! Sara's tests went well. She has another specialist appointment later this month.

While I was in Melbourne, we took the opportunity to have breakfast 'out'. We ate at a lovely little place called Porgie and Mr Jones in Hawthorne. Best coffee I've had in ages. So I had two. My breakfast was folded scrambled eggs with holy goat fetta, and Sara had Swiss cheese melt with kassundi. Delish. The service was good and I'd go back anytime. We parked around the corner and I couldn't resist taking a few pics of the cute little houses that line the tree lined street.

And look what I bought while I was in Melbourne.... the cute little Tony Biaco flats on the right. Op shoping is the way to go! $5 for my new shoes. I also bought a pair of gum boots for the farm. Yes, I like red shoes!

Free stuff is good stuff!
A couple of weeks ago Frans and I went to the council in Colac to find out where we could get free mulch. We'd heard that the council had a spot where you could go and get this stuff. Why pay for it if you can get it for nothing! Well, they didn't have any. They suggested we stop and ask a truck driver when we saw the tree loppers chopping branches or trees. Mmm.... ok. Then as luck would have it, the power company came to our neck of the woods. They do an anual pruning of trees close to power lines. We happened to have some trees on our fence line (on the council side) that had to be cut down. Good wood too! Frans was determined that we would get some of this good stuff. The rules have changed in Victoria and you can now gather wood from the side of the road. Frans didn't want anyone else to get 'our' wood! So once the trees were down, he and I drove down into the paddock with the trailer and set to cutting up the logs with a chain saw. Now bear in mind I remained in the paddock, while Frans climbed over the fence to the road side to do the demolition work. A fence. Electric. As he sawed through tree trunks and branches, he would pass the bits over to me. Of course it goes without saying that a couple of times I leaned a little too close to the fence. And yes, ZAP! Electric shocks aside, we were happy with our haul. The next day, the power company boys were back with huge chipper. They proceeded to mulch the branches that they'd cut. And guess what! Yep, we got all that lovely mulch. They backed the truck down the driveway and dumped it beside the willow tree. Lovely free, sweet smelling mulch!

And finally...... Winter has arrived! I lit the Rayburn last night for the first time this year. I have given myself a rule. If I light the wood stove, then I can't use the electric one. So I cooked a roast chicken dinner in the wood stove. It was delicious! Today a pot will go on the top to get a hearty country soup going. It's raining outside. Perfect wintery weather for staying indoors.

Have a wonderful week!

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