It's the first weekend of the Spring school holidays in Queensland. There's light rain outside with more predicted. For a family who, like many others across rural Australia, has experienced more than their fair share of drought over the past ten years it's good to have a wet start to the growing season. I want to let you into our world on this Sunday morning. A special day for me - one to be remembered. Not because it's a birthday or some special occasion but simply because we're all here together - happy, healthy and contributing in our own way to life on the farm.
Yesterday Warren and I had a 'play' with Humbug, our popular Aniseed and Spearmint soap. It was already pretty, with swirls of white and black oxide but we were looking for more of a striped look. It's a big risk playing with a batch of seven kilos but on cutting this morning we were delighted with the result. What do you think?
We're a bit spoilt for fresh fruit and veges on the Granite Belt. Although we do sometimes source our fruit and veg straight from local growers, more often we call in to see local character Sam Giacca at The Summit Fruit Shop. Sam sources everything he possibly can locally and clearly labels local product in his fruit shop. Sam also sources quality fruit and veges such as tomatoes and corn that we can't grow over winter in the Granite belt. He's a great bloke with a big heart and he always manages to tuck something extra into our weekly supplies. Sometimes he sneaks out to the car to slip a punnet of strawberries to the girls. This week Sam generously gave us this lovely box of tomatoes with our order, as he knows we love to bottle them or make pasta sauces. Warren and Emily were in charge of removing skins.
Jess and Hannah were in charge of pureeing the tomatoes. Far from being child labour, these girls absolutely love helping out in the kitchen. I suppose jamming whole tomatoes down a shute and watching them come out the end holds a certain fascination for littlies.
I was feeling a little bored with the usual bread I've been making so thought I'd glam it up a bit for Sunday lunch. I was really putting our small kitchen under pressure, with four people already in there but I managed to find a small clean corner to make messy. After making a dough in the bread maker using organic Kialla Pure flour I split the batch in half. I spread the dough and rolled corned meat and pickle in one and a mixture of cinnamon, fruit, apple concentrate and pecan nuts in the other. Being a little chilly due to the rain (and 'cos I always leave it too long before starting my dough) I'm speeding things up a little in front of the fire.
Yesterday I cut out this beautiful Japanese Kokka double gauze fabric I bought from Earthgirl Fabrics. I've really been drawn to these peasant style dresses and Emily was so excited when I showed her the fabric that I got straight too it. Despite my best efforts the pink band was slightly out of line when she did her final 'try on' last night. I nearly let it go because the pattern said this simple dress should take about 2 hours and I was already on overtime but Warren patiently unpicked the offending section and repinned it for me. I'm off to sew the last few stitches in place while the rolls finish rising.
I wanted to share this day with you, but I also want you to know that, like you, we have our ups and downs, triumphs and struggles, happiness and sadness. I know that tomorrow will be different to today. For me, what's important is that this precious moment in time, however mundane and ordinary, is what sustains me during the difficult times. Thank you for visiting.
PS. Our black orpington chicken, Shirley, died today. She'd been quiet for a few days. We isolated her and made sure she was clean, warm and comfortable but sadly she wasn't alive when Hannah went to check on her this morning. All the others seem happy and healthy and I've read that chickens are vulnerable to illness so we're hoping this will be an isolated case.