The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple. ~Doris Janzen Longacre

The best way to bring a sustainable change in the world around me is by bringing the change in myself

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All they need is love, a home and food

There on the Community Board stuck down with a pin was this notice

"Free to Good Home" DD did a double take as she walked past. Not believing her own eyes A Golden Retriever and he is beautiful. Chief is 10 years old, "past his use by date " and needing a home.

Well yesterday he moved in, here he may live out his next 5 or maybe 8 years until he is an old man. and is ready for Doggie Heaven. He is the best Christmas present anybody could have given my husband, who has always wanted a retriever but could not due to us having so many animals. The thought of ending his life at this young age was all it toke for us to take him in. He is going to be one happy dog here with us.
Until nexttime

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Look what is under Henny

Yep you guessed right ! 3 tiny little chicks and we got 3 more eggs to go, with a little bit of luck we might get some more chicks. Mum is an austrolope and chicks are orpingtons. Henny is doing a great job looking after the Matilda's eggs, they're orpingtons. One of the Matlidas decide she also wants to be broody and she is sitting on 2 eggs ... this huge bird on 2 eggs, I wish I had more eggs atm.

Check out the white stuff on the walls, that is lime that I sprinkle to get rid of lice and mite. Everybody has this problem sometime or the other, so prevention is better than cure. This treatment is done once a month.
Henny was not getting off those eggs and leaving chicks, so I took her off gently and had Dear Husband hold her while I climbed into the hutch to take photos of the little ones. He was already to take a pic of me inside the hutch, but I don't do pics.
Until nexttime

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pics of Miss Daisy

Wanna help you paint Mum.

Mum lets me play on top of the chook house.

I had lots of visitors coming to see me. I am not allowed to go swimming cause mum's scared I will drown but if I squeese hard I can still get through the bars to the pool.

That boy's a good bottle feeder, just the right height too

Daisy and Rat hanging out on the chookhouse

I just stand here and watch OK

Giving Dad a hand with the fencing.
Daisy's not happy, They livestock so why am I here in the trailer with them

Getting comfortable on the chook house

Yummy shade cloth ... don't look at me mum.

You like my pictures, then you may leave a comment
if you like.

see ya Daisy

Smoked cheese scone

Smoked cheese scones ......... more like a damper shape. No reason by you can't make 6 small scones if you want to.

It tasted yummy with just a little butter and a cup of coffee. You don't need to use smoked cheese, rather expensive exercise I reacon normal mature cheese would do fine.

2 cups self-raising flour
pinch of salt
200ml milk
1/2 cup cream
1 cup grated cheddar/tasty
1/4 cup extra cheese for top

Preheat oven to 230C fan forced. line a baking tray with baking paper.
Combine flour and salt in a bowl. add milk, cream and 1 cup grated cheese. Stir with a knife until dough comes together. gently press into a 4cm thick round. Place onto the baking tray. Score the mixture into 4/6 wedges. Bake for 15 min or until starting to golden. Sprinkle with extra cheese and bake for a futher 10 mins or until cooked through.

(six is a good size portion)
enjoy making it,
Until nexttime

Friday, December 18, 2009

Goals for 2010

Now would you believe it but it been raining all morning, a very fine rain but it's raining. The temp has dropped from 42 Yesterday to 20 today. A Bush fire has be burning North West of Sydney distroying sheds and a few homes and killing sheep in it's path. Lucky most of the homes so far were saved. It's 40km+ away from us but you can smell it. This rain has just come in time.

I strongly believe in goal setting for myself and really try to get things done accordingly. But sometime things happen and you just don't have any control over, throwing you world upside down. Then you just need to do the best you can. Here is a list of stuff I would like to do next year.

The first list is for Mulgoa Farm.

1. I decided to sell Nelson and 2 ewes, he has fathered 4 ewes this year so I can't use him to cover them when they get a little older. So a new unrelated ram is needed. Feed is a problem and I need to cut down numbers and recoop some money as well. 2 old ewes will be butchered in Febuary. That only leaves Miss Lashers who could still have a lamb next year. Our 2 baby Rams will have a nice year getting big and fat for slaughter later in the year. That leaves me with 5 ewes and 1 new ram for 2011

2. Breed more Orpingtons for selling to recoop some money, they need to start paying towards their feed. Build another chook house and run where they can free range all day, but it needs to be secure from foxes and the cats, and it needs to be further away from the house cause Harry is very noisy (crowing) Still looking for a nice Pekin rooster for Ginger.

3. Rotary hoe more paddocks and plant grasses and seeds for fodder.

4. Put guttering up on the sheep shed to catch rain (that's if it rains) It seems to rain all around but not in Mulgoa. Set up a few 45 gallon drums to hold the water in.

Now For Lavender Hill at Bellbrook. The list is very different.

1. Need to buy a Gas refridgerator, I just made an offer on one on Ebay, so I might still have one this Christmas.
DONE. George built a platform to accommodate the wheel hub of the caravan and we fitted the fridge on top of it. where it just fitted in nicely. A slap of white paint to freshen up the van inside. Job welldone.

2. Build retaining walls with besser blocks holding soil back next to the pergola and also where the polytank will be. Concrete slab for tank to sit on. Redo the paving under the pergola. connect the tank. (I bought 2 x 4500 ltr polytanks last year and some besser blocks not enough to finish the job)

3. Build more retaining walls with besser block where the chook house will be. (only 3 rows high) I might have a builder lined up for this job.

4. Remove more trees and lantana, cut for firewood and burn rubbish off in winter.

5. Move prickly pears to permanent position. (urgent)

6. Plant fruit trees Lemon, Peaches, Olives, Pecans, and Cherries. I would love a perssimom tree too.

7. Start getting council requirements and application forms in too start building.

8. Get soil test done.

9. Put plans in for a shed, cottage, dam and concrete water tank. Let's not forget the access from the road, now if the road was there in the first place, there would be no need for this one. I better start working overtime to pay for all this stuff.

10. Pour slab for shed and cottage.

11. Put in the concrete tank.

12. Get dam dug.

13. Septic Tank.

This is a long list of things that need to be done. I really don't expect to get everything done but then Rome was not built in one day. So we will just try our best.

Seasons Greeting to all and have a great New Year.

Until nexttime

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Second cup of coffee

Just busy on the second cup of coffee for the morning trying to wake up. All ready I am at work standing in front of a noisy machine popping in bits of brass and seconds latter there's a thread on the oneside and all nice on the other. We making some fancy bathroom fitting. later today I will be making tap handles.

Are you a morning person? all cheery? aren't you the lucky one...
Well I am not and lack of sleep is one reason for it .... ah and then it take very little to get into a bad mood. Poor Husband knows don't talk to her first thing, let her have that second cup of coffee, then it'd safe.

Just think 5 weeks holiday to look forward to ...
No Harry the rooster to wake me up at 4 am
No husband to bug me for 3 weeks, someone's got to go back to work early
I get to watch my sheep munch on lovely green grass
Fish with Cobi by the bridge, no catch and release, we going to eat it for lunch ... we might even spot a turtle again
we going to dig up potatoes for dinner, cook them and serve with a knobe of butter and salt and pepper.
We going to spend quality time together. We could even visit Maryanne and Patent up river, her pony was called Tip Top but she might be to big for it now.

I got some pics of Cobi's first fish he caught somewhere, might try find it ...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chrissy Decorations

They slowly going up one scene at a time.This year I just can't seem to get going, but I am trying to put up a few. Tanya's pool party is this weekend coming and there is a heap of work to do before that.

A litle touch of Christmas.

I made this little quilt a few Christmasses ago.

The mirror started it's life off as weatherboarding for the St Vinnie's mens home, we save a heap of the Kauri pine when they pulled it down. George made it for me with a matching tray. I sanded just enough of the old paint off to expose the milky green paint underneath.

Can you spot the cat? I love collecting arnotts tins.

I spent the morning checking out blogs while enjoying a coffee break, some wonderful white Christmas pics, I wish I could experience a white christmas just once. All the lights and real cosy atmosphere.
But alas it's normally so hot around this time, we just hanging out for a dive into the pool, after eating a roast a leg of lamb with season's veggies and a trifle. At least this year I can have a lamb roast and not be stuck with a big ham or turkey again, and then have ham for the next week, just sitting in my fridge. As you might be able to tell we not fond of ham!!!!
I did this whip around at work, asking who would like ham/turkey or rather a Westfields shopping voucher form work. Only one wanted a ham, so brave me approched the Boss and he seems happy about that. Yes go Rina.
Well today has been about getting this house in order and clean. Boxes of ornaments put up and other put away. Still got the clean the kitchen and make dinner.
So I better be off, see ya

Add Image

Christmas Decoration Swap

Make something under $5 and send to a internet friend. ... I love taking part in swaps and recieving a present from someone your only "spoke" to on the internet. This happy seasons swap coordinator was Tammy from Down to Earth (sorry link won't work but click on D2E on the right under blogs I follow)and my swap partners was JakiF who sent me the above decorations and I posted Pixie her present. I made 3 little gingerbread men from felt and a red and white candy cane dishcloth. Bummer I should have taken a pic.

JakiF little button wreaths are so cute and very easy to make. A few buttons and wire from the bead shop, just thread button on the wire make a twisty thingy to close wreath, add a little gold thread for a handing loop and add a bow ... Done and to top it off I get spoilt with a little bag of choccies too. Thanks JakiF

Today I thought I might change my Background to a christmas themed one and even found a little snow, can you see it? Love this time of year when you can decorate to your heart content.

The graduation went off well, the girls looked lovely in their costumes and they had a ball. Here's a little view of their costumes from the back DD sewed them.

Love your new background Miss Chatty Crone, very pretty.

Seasons greetings to All

Until nexttime


Friday, December 4, 2009

Staff Christmas golfday and luncheon.

The Boys Teed off 7.30 ish this morning and had a great time by the sounds of it. It's good for them just to have a day where they could have a little bit of fun. Good to beat the Big Boss a little too. My mate Alby won the price for the worst player, more balls in the water than anything else. But give the man a rifle or pistols, then he's the Man. He's made of tough stuff our Alby cause he's a cowboy. Oneday I will introduce him officially.

We all meet up at the clubhouse for a nice 3 cource lunch and drinks. Nobody overdid the drinking and we all had a nice time. The comedian/magician hired did a great job Entertaning us with tricks. Craig gave the Boys some prizes and lucky persons got gift vouchers. Us girls got given vouchers to spend at Westfields.

Our CEO Mr Edd, who is 83, missed joining us for the luncheon. It is the first one he has missed out on. But Mother Betty was there making sure everyone was having a good time.

Well tomorrow is work and if I don't get going, I might not be bright eyed and bushytailed tomorrow and it promises to be a busy day collecting sand stone blocks DH bought on Ebay. And DD is having the last Graduation (for this year)for her Dancers , which promises to be a late night again. Sonday we have to move all her stuff out and clean the premises. Then the hunt starts for new premises again.

Have a great weekend
Until nexttime

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My path to retirement as debt free as possible

I mentioned before my job is just a tool to pay the morgage & bills, and purchase stuff like watertanks, building materials and stuff for the animals. Why am I working ... so I can retire sooner. It is purely a way to fund my path to Self Reliance and sufficiency without feeling quilty. There is a difference between the two and this is my take on it. But first the question asked by Rhonda that lead to this post

I'm quite confused by the term 'self sufficient' and I prefer to use the term self reliant when I refer to myself. To me the common understanding of self sufficiency is being able to supply your own needs, but with limits. Most people can't produce their own salt, tea, coffee, sugar, oil, flour etc, although it is possible to do these things, they're just too time consuming and labour intensive.

I suppose I think people are self sufficient if they're supplying about 80 percent of their own needs. What is your understanding of this term?

"Ok My 2 cents worth, Self sufficient being able to supply (with hardwork)your food/shelter and your animal's needs. Be it growing veggies, fruit and meat. Everyone forgets if you don't feed you animals, they not going to lay eggs for you, have chicks to raise for meat. Milk, cheese and butter from your cows/goats and roast beef for your sandwiches.It is important to grow food for them, cutting your feeding costs and making sure they eat healthy too, so you get the best quality food possible.

Provide your own water having tanks, something most people forget as soon as the water restrictions are lifted. Depending on where you live ... rural and off the grid or on the 1/4 acre block, and time we have to work on this self sufficiency thing. Our needs all differ and some will be more successful than others.

Self reliant would mean being able to do the jobs yourself, or if not know someone that can and is willing to swap skills/services or goods for their help. Back to the barter system. Does that make any sense?"

My aim is to grow as much food I can myself and freeze or bottle it for later use.
Having the right tools will make your job easier.

Our meat supply is the excess chooks and sheep. It has it's own problems that need addressing when there is not enough grazing for them, constant medical care, and husbandry.
Learn how to process your animal.

Growing as much fresh produce as possible as well as feed for the animals.

We are very handy DIY folk and prefer to help ourselves where possible. Most of our furniture DH made himself under my very sharp watchful eye. So any chook houses, fencing etc will be done by ourselves where possible. Recycle building materials ... we have been buying a lot of sandstone lately, mostly from old homes. These we plan to use to build our cottage for the bottom/foundation 3 rows and the fire place.

Stockpiling ah the secret stash ... something I been working on for a long time, mostly non-perables atm. I have replaced all my Manchester goods, new sheet/towels/donna covers and store them in big plastic tubes, for when we retire. A good medical kit/supply box for the farm. Having a good supply of basic food stuffs such as rice, pasta, flour, lentils, oats, sugar and coffee/tea. Bottling tomato sauces, jams & pickles ... a pantry stocked with rows of grandma's goodies. I remember going into my nan's pantry, where she had rows of yellow peaches in jars, smaller bottles of jams and big bins for sugar and flour. What a intriging place that was.

Books and craft stuff is my one weakness, I love my craft but don't find enough time to do any atm. There are a few tubs with craft stuff in them for later use. I love buying reading books from the Op shop where it costs a $2 a book compaired to $29.99 granted not always the lastest. These I store to resell at the market and get my monies back. I do like buying stuff for the Boy's when they visit, poster paints,canvasses, brushes, and story books from the opshop.

Is it hard work doing all this stuff, sometimes but it is rewarding to live a simple happy life with as little debt as possible.
Until Nexttime

Monday, November 30, 2009

New arrival and update on weekend's to do list.

Little Ginger has hatched out 1 little orpington chick. She is a great mum but I wonder what she's going to do when in a few weeks it going to be twice as big as her.

Yep it the fence again, all 50 posts down this side, all except 4 concreted in, and now we heading across to Pumpkin Patch. thank goodness we just about done. Nexttime I going to do a post count. Bets are on we should be nearing 250 posts.

Daisy follows you around where ever you working. She even hitched a ride on the little trailer behind the rideon, did go extra slow so not to spook her.

The lambs travelled really well up to the farm and back, the lucerne helped get them loaded for the trip back. When one jumps in the trailer the rest just follow.

Miss Daisy throw a little hissy fit, cause she got demoted to livestock. If I had not been there , there was no way I would have believed it. She refused to look around or get up when she was called. Just faced the "naughty corner" not even moving a muscle or an ear ... had the sulks big time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Santa's helper

I just had to share this picture with you out there in blogland. This is my 13yr old cat called Rat. Weird name for a cat, but there's a good reason. She fell into the toilet when she was little cause someone never put the seat down hmmmm, don't we all known the struggle we have with the men folk. Poor thing looked like a drowned rat and it stuck.

I mentioned Tanya's party a while back and she asked me very nicely to please decorate the house. Seeing it was going to be just us 3 this year I was hoping to get away with just a nice meal. She very willingly dragged the decorations out and promptly dismissed herself from helping as she had urgent costumes to sew for the graduation night.

Well my helper looks very pleased with herself sitting amongst Santa's reindeer and trees.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cruising around Bellbrook and our favorite spots

When we have heavy rain for a few days, this bridge could be easy 1mtr under water, leaving the poor folk on the otherside stranded.

Early morning pic of the Maclay River, just miss a fish jumping check out the water disturbance ... must have been a big one.

Picnic spot in the park,it was here we had a welcoming picnic for the new comers to our villiage.

Bellbrook Hotel and pub, every town needs one ...

Beautiful arts and craft products sold here.

Two of the lovely properties as your heading out of the Villiage.

World famous Freddo Pies definately the best pies we ever tasted.Their sausage rolls are to die for


Lunch at Smithtown's Riverside Hotel overlooking The Maclay River, it's the same river that menanders past Bellbrook. It flows towards South West Rocks, one of the prettiest sea side towns. Anyone joining us for lunch ... best ribs and just to top it off some sticky date pudding, Yummy.

I hope you enjoyed this day out with us
Until nexttime

Lavender Hill ... our slice of heaven

Another weekend at the farm, we left Thursday 4am for the 6hr drive to Bellbrook. But first we stopped off a Nabiac for a quick cuppa with Tipsiepixie from ALS. She is doing great since our last visit, her garden is looking great and she also gave me a quick run down about Wicker beds, the vegetable kind. So I thought a few photo's of the farm would make a nice change. While the whistling kettle was warming on the hotplate, I went snapping pics, leaving George to make the coffee. I love the misty mornings. Maggie the magpie joined us for breakfast, she must have been handraised to come this close, but we have never touched her only given her some scraps which she happily takes. She brought her hungry juvinile baby with her, my but it noisy. Warning many people have been bombdived by magpies around this time cause of the babies.

Well thats just a little taste of life Up River. I still can't believe the place was so overgrown when we first started. Still got a bit to clear. We have had 80mm of rain since the last time we were there, and the grass is growing like crazy. Roll on December, them sheep are going to have a feast.
Please excuse the state of the garden but there really was no time to do any weeding, we had posts to concrete in.

Until nexttime when I will take you on a tour of Bellbrook