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

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Too many bottles....

We have just started another project, clearing out the brake van (another name for the guard's van on a train) which is not far from the house. At the moment it houses the generator and basically a lot of old junk.

The brake van before we did up the hothouse (wonky frame on right hand side).

The end of the brake van that we have started clearing.
One end of the brake van was filled with Vacola bottles of all shapes and sizes. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while you may remember a previous post about these bottles. One has to ask the question, how many preserving jars does one person need?

I have estimated that there are over 400 Vacola bottles of all different sizes in this van. Many of them still have preserves in them some of them dating back to 1990. Beetroot is not good after 25 years! We had cubed beetroot, shredded beetroot, liquified beetroot, powdered beetroot and everything in between. There are peaches, pears, cherries, pineapple, plum sauce, bolognaise sauce, more beetroot, etc, etc. Such a waste of energy for all this produce to have been grown, picked, peeled, sliced, bottled, cooked and kept for it all to be thrown away.

Anyway, we have cleared out the shelves on one wall and the shelves in the middle, taken the sliding door off the outside wall and wow what a difference it makes. The door will eventually go back on, but we have also exposed the window in the door, which was covered up with masonite, and it will still be much lighter inside. The door is extremely solid and heavy and difficult to move.

With the outside door off and the centre shelves still in place.
With the centre shelves removed and the floor cleaned.
The remaining bottles are mostly empty and upside down so they are not as dirty as the others. There are a few that need emptying but not too many.

We have thought of a few different options for using this space already, one of them being a place for me to set up my leadlighting bench.

These are just some of the bottles I have washed. Oh dear, I miss my dishwasher!!

Some of the bottles are sooo tiny I have no idea what they are for. However, I have found a new use for some of them and they look great!

They are the perfect size for tea light candles.

Mike has been busy cutting up all the trees that were cut down a couple of weeks ago. This is some of our stash, tucked away underneath the bench in the hothouse, drying out for future use. There are piles of wood everywhere, much of which needs splitting. We will need to hire a log splitter for this. It's a big job for another day.

I had a great day at sewing with Chris Jurd last Saturday. We started her scrappy sampler quilt and made our first foray into 'made fabric' which consists of sewing lots of random scraps together and then using this just as you would use normal fabric to cut out the desired shape. It was great fun and the day just flew by.

Mine is the one on the left and Sue's on the right. Chris put them up like this to show how you could use them to make a zig zag pattern. I have five more of these to make to complete the strip.

Looking forward to doing some 'homework' for my scrappy sampler this month so we can move on to the next strip pattern at the end of July.