The week started with the start of shearing and the whole state had the most terrible dust storm. It was a dreadful day. We weren't the only ones affected badly as even a highway was closed. But here it was awful and the little bit of green grass poking through from some rain was all dried out and I could see the surface of our paddocks blowing away. Some were left just like bare sand dunes. For the first time I truly felt the heartbreak of what a farmer feels I think. I had to stop looking out the windows it upset me so much.
The following day Mum and I had our day trip to see the girls. It was a wonderful day. We set off at 9am. Armed with the usual baking and knitting!
I was able to pick figs, zucchini and capsicums in the gardens.
Also I noticed many big thistles in the veggie garden and loads of spinach. I picked a big bag of each to bring home for the chickens. So this was helping weed the garden and my chickens loved it! I will take a big bag just for thistles every trip now.
I managed to get a photo of Harper and "her dog" Kelly. When they moved to this farm a farm worker had several dogs and this dog was not popular with him. I don't think she was mistreated just more unloved. Anyway Harper fell in love with the dog and would go to visit him and the dog appeared to adore her. It became a love affair obvious to absolutely everyone including the dog owner. He said Harper could have the dog! So just like that Kelly moved houses and after about five minutes she seemed like she had been their dog always.
With a mature dog they exercised a lot of cautions as we don't just trust dogs with children. But with lots of supervision it soon became apparent Kelly has the patience of a saint and she has been just wonderful.
I got some photos on my phone and Harper was so excited to have photos of her and "her dog."
Scarlett just loves her too! She is holding her hand up they way her Dad taught her to do if she is feeding Kelly something. When Scarlett wakes up from her sleep she asks "where is Kelly?" Then where is Harper?" In that order!
Harper looked at all the photos then held my phone down in front of Kelly's face and showed her. She said "Look Kelly!! That's you!!" And Kelly looked interested!
A few weeks back when we were there I said to Kato and Lucy... "do you realise Kelly is pregnant?" They both looked slightly shocked and wide eyed, mouths open.... I turned to Harper and Scarlett and said "you are getting puppies!!!!" and they were going "yippee yippee" and dancing around. It was hilarious! I would be guessing Kelly with have puppies in about two weeks.
Well, we had such a fun day and came home with produce and treats for chickens!
I made some of the zucchini into a bake with tomatoes Mum gave me and onions. I top this with breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake it. This is wonderful as a side with a roast, steak etc and was delicious.
I got busy and dehydrated lots of apples. It took just ages but they turned out so well. All the rounds went into the dehydrator...
The odds and ends went into the slow cooker and for the first time I made American Apple Butter. I had never heard of this in Australia. It is so nice!!
Vicky helped guide me with this. I don't care for cloves so I left those out.
Next I dried some figs. Now I have so much dried fruit! I learned finally to use my food saver and packaged it all up. It is so good! Everything is sealed and air tight. Looks kind of professional too!
My niece Ally came and cleaned out our gutters. She said she didn't want money so I gave her apple butter and dried apple as she told me how much she loves it. So I gave her a big pack.
Ally and I made a deal. She has red hens and a white rooster but her hens won't sit. I have no rooster and Bantam hens that never stop sitting. So some of her eggs are coming over here for my Bantams to hatch! I am so excited. We will share the chickens! I cannot wait to have chickens!
I made two chocolate cakes. One was for Chloe and Luke. And two Date and Honey Gluten free loaves.
I did a trade! It was so generous of Tania... I always wanted a soap dispenser like Nan had. To me this could save a fortune on dish soap. Tania offered to send me one! I traded her some essential oil blends I made up.
Tania had also added some home grown and dried Basil and Oregano! Thank you so much Tania!
Mum gave me six of her knitted hand towels!!
My "stock the present cupboard" craft was just assembly. These button cards are a free print out from Shabby Art Boutique. I purchased bulk buttons from Ebay...
These will go into little cellophane bags then into the gift cupboard. I figure these will post in normal mail. Most of my friends either knit, crochet or sew all all of them!
Yesterday I went to the op shop and did a big grocery stock up. It was a huge day. I am still unpacking! I got some warm bedding for the farm dogs and a vase and two huge jugs. They are a good shape and size but hideous colours. Over the weekend I am going to give them make overs!
We did more wood cutting and bon fire building.
I planted Snow Peas into the veggie patch.
So that was my week! If you could have seen me peeling sixty giant apples as that is how many I went though! It was even a treat for the chickens to get so many peels and cores! I had some left from the apple butter too, when the slow cooker was filled I made an apple butterscotch pudding.
Today is sunny and lovely. We need rain badly though. They are still shearing. As I type I hear dogs barking and men whistling them instructions.
I hope you had a good week and found ways to get ahead, build your pantry and preparedness, do nice things for your family and home. I am finding grocery shopping increasingly expensive and we have to be smarter and adapt to high meat and vegetable prices. Fortunately I can buy less and less as the garden produces more and we have meat from the farm. I watch the catalogues closely now and just stock up on the specials. Are you noticing this where you are?
We might have a post on how to beat these rising prices.
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx