Saturday, 17 October 2015

It's October already!

Time is flying by and I haven't made a post for ages. Things have been flowing along nicely and we have been making more improvements to the block and having some fun with the traction engine.

It went on an outing to Lithgow a few weeks ago. This is the truck that transported it from our house to the showground and back again. It was an enormous Kenworth. The engine weighs about 14 tonnes so is quite large but it looks like a toy on the back of this truck!

The boiler had to be filled up before we left home. I think the sign is funny as it is immediately obvious that this is a slow moving vehicle! However, it is a condition of our registration that this sign be displayed whenever it goes out on the road.

This is a lovely picture of Erin, our daughter, and her little family. Seb, her partner, is our traction engine driver and he does a great job. He is very skillful and knowledgable and is happy to talk to anyone who is intersted in the engine and how it works.

The vege seedlings in the hot house are coming along nicely. The ones that are growing the best so far are the spinach, lettuce, zucchini, basil and rocket. It's very encouraging as we really dont know much about growing veges.

One of the biggest improvements around the house has the turf we have placed out the back. The picture below was taken just as it was laid. It makes the whole place look so much more civilised and homely.

It has browed off a little now but is still going well. Mike has also done a great job of fixing up the area at the end of the house where the clothes line is. It too has been turfed, a lovely brick path has been laid using bricks which were covered in dirt under the clothes line and we have planted some colourful flowers. We have also installed an additional water tank which gives us an extra 3000 litres (if it ever rains, of course!)

The other gardens we have planted are also starting to look good as the plants become more established.

The birds are always around to keep Mike company while he is working outside. The king parrots are very cheeky and come right up to the window when they are expecting some seed. The kookaburra is never far away when Mike is digging, reading to swoop on any bugs and worms that are exposed.

I have finally put together a quilt I have been making for our daughter. It's enormous, about 96" by 96" but I think it looks great. Cant wait to get it quilted. I am going to use up some orphan blocks on the back to make it a bit more interesting.

My first foray back into dressmaking was a success. I made this lovely Tessuti Lily Linen Dress to wear to a wedding recently. It was very easy to put together and comfy to wear.

Erin was the bridesmade and looked lovely in her vintage David Jones' dress. The wedding was held at the Norman Lindsay Gallery which was a perfect venue for a garden wedding.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

At home

We have been spending quite a bit of time around home lately. It's been pretty cold but we have had some beautiful sparkly winter days. Mike has been working outside, splitting and chopping wood, laying bricks, fixing the pump, installing more solar panels and attending to various other ongoing jobs which need to be done.

I have been amusing myself with a bit of cooking. I was given a whole stack of lemons so I made my first batch of lemon butter which turned out ok. Then I made a lemon cake and a lemon slice both of which were yummy. I took the cake to choir with me and it disappeared quick smart. I didn't want it in my cake tin at home beckoning me to eat it! I also made my first batch of tomato relish which I am pretty happy with too. I cooked it for quite a while on a low heat on top of the fuel stove so it's nice and thick. It tastes pretty good too. I used the recipe in the good old 'Commonsense Cook Book'.

After all that mess making the kitchen needed a good clean. The everyday mess in one thing but grunge creeps up on you and then all of a sudden you look a bit more closely and realise there is a nasty film over everything! This happens even more here due to the two wood fires in the house. I always feel very virtuous when I do any amount of extra cleaning! Even the kettle is sparkling!

I love our kitchen. Its my favourite room in the house. I really like the timber bench tops and the Rayburn stove. I am surprised by how little I miss the dishwasher, which I loved when we were living at Warrimoo. I guess its just what you get used to.

Mt Victoria Public School has started an arrangement with Hartley Harvest to facilitate vege box deliveries. The school gets $5 for each $25 box ordered. We received our first order last Friday and I thought it was great  value. It was all so fresh! It has the potential to be a great fundraiser for the school so I hope that word gets around and the orders start coming in regularly.
There was 350g of lovely fresh beans and 3.5kg of potatoes. The apples are so fresh and crispy and the eggs are free range. So its a good deal for everyone it seems. I think it will be a while before our hothouse is in full production so its great to have an option that is so convenient and such great value.

I have finally finished all the blocks for the big quilt I am making for our daughter and her partner. I'm really happy with it and now just have to sew them all together. They are arranged in a random pattern in no particular order which is what she wanted.
These guys were hanging around up near the driveway for about half an hour the other day, just munching away on the grass. They are so hard to see when they are in the bush. There are three roos in this picture. They were quite relaxed about me wandering near them taking a photo!
Really looking forward to some Spring weather. It seems to have been really cold this year but that just may be that its our first Mt Vic winter. Keeping up the supply of wood for our slow combustion fires is a big job. The new log splitter is really wonderful and makes Mike's life much easier. We are lucky that we have so much wood laying around our property and don't need to buy it. It will keep us warm for quite a few years I think.

Our winter bushfire in Wentworth Falls is still burning and from 1 August it has been declared a bushfire danger period in some areas of NSW.  It will be summer before we know and the fire worries will return again. Hopefully the Mountains will not have another bad year.

I have been making some bibs for our grandson who goes through them at a rapid rate. I raided my stash and used some terry tea towels for the backing that I picked up at the op shop.

One tea towel had a Christmas print on it, big enough for two bibs, and the other one was red and big enough for three. They are just the right thickness for a bib so they wont take too long to dry. I think they look great and they were fun to make. Its nice to make a small project and have some instant gratification!

Thanks for dropping in!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Let it Snow!

We woke up this morning to the most amazing sight and one which I have been dreaming of for more than 10 years now, that being to be here when it snowed. Well it finally happened! We always were at work in Sydney or down the mountain too far away to come up in time.

We had a really good fall. I think it was about 6 to 7 inches thick and so soft and powdery. Apparently, it snowed as far down as Lawson and that doesn't happen very often.

The house and front garden. Hope the plants survive!
Two hardy Mountain Lowrys
Mt York Rd with no footprints or car tracks.

The big shed from the back.
After a while, we went for a walk down towards Mt York to have a look at the view from Bardens Lookout.

This shows the view toward Victoria Pass and Hartley.

Slightly further west
and further west again.
On the way back the sun came out and clumps of snow started dropping from the gumtrees. It was so bright in the sunshine.

When we got back Mike got up on the roof to sweep off the solar panels. It think it will take a while for the snow to melt and disappear. Its still freezing outside but nice and cosy inside in front of the fire.

Snow falls like this only happen once, maybe twice, a year and this is the first time we have been here to see it falling and settling. Such a treat! Now I just want it to happen again!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Glow Worm Tunnels

Today we took our grandson, Oli, on a visit to the Glow Worm Tunnels near Lithgow. Its about 30 km drive from the town through pine logging areas and into the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park.

Neither of us were expecting such a beautiful place. We drove through one of the old shale railway tunnels before reaching the car park then it was about a 1km walk to the glow worm tunnel. What a beautiful place it was. The scenery was spectacular both before and after the glow worm tunnel.

Mike and Oli (peeking from behind the rock)
Oli and I in a narrow cutting.

We walked from the carpark for about half an hour to reach the glow worm tunnel. The tree ferns and trees were spectacular along with the amazing cliffs on either side of the cutting. The creek ran along side where we were walking and at times went underneath big rocks forming deep caves below.

The glow worm tunnel itself was quite long and very dark. The creek ran through the tunnel and we had our torches to show the way. Deep inside the tunnel we turned off our torches and soon we could see the tiny lights of the glow worms high on the ceiling of the tunnel. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust to see the tiny little glow of the worms.

Mike and Oli at the exit from the tunnel. You can see the water flowing through.

Beyond the tunnel was a large open area full of big tree ferns and the cliff was cut away from the water running through for millions of years. The little bridge allowed us to walk through easily. It reminded me a lot of the entrance to Jenolan Caves.

Looking back at where we exited the tunnel.   

The tree ferns were spectacular and plentiful.

Beyond the tunnel we walked on and eventually we could see the Wolgan Valley below. On either side we could see huge cliffs and caves. The pictures didn't really do it justice but you can get an idea of what it was like.

A culvert cut into the rock to provide drainage for the train track.
Oli behind a huge piece of rock that had slipped down from the cliff.

All along the way there were small reminders of the industrial feat that had existed on this path. The culvert above, small pieces of train track, large iron pipes underneath the track for drainage and the cuttings in the rock, all reminders of the past use of this area.

After completing our walk, and little legs getting a bit tired on the way back, we had a tailgate picnic in the carpark and then set off home.

What a great day! So much more than we expected. Well worth the visit and I would definitely go back again. to explore it further.
Oli balancing on some old rail tracks