Monday 31 January 2011

Look What Arrived in the Mail and a Weeny Finish

A parcel arrived today.

It was all nicely packed in a padded bag.  This is what was inside.

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Sophie has been selling these gorgeous brooches to raise funds for the flood relief.  As we will be doing a bit of travel this year, and yes, hopefully including the Eiffel Tower, I thought this one was appropriate.  Isn’t it just too cute.

Also, as it is the last day of the month, here I am, as usual, with my last minute finish.  The only problem is that I can only show you a tiny peek as it is for Jewells’ Easter Swap.  It isn’t too late to sign up and is quick, easy and fun.

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Sunday 30 January 2011

Our Sunday

We had a fairly leisurely day at home today, starting with breakfast on the verandah.  I was sitting on the steps when I noticed this fellow sitting quietly on the railing. 

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He was a good three inches long and I’ve no idea what he is.  I’ve never seen one before.  He quite happily let us take his photo.  I just wish my little camera would have let me zoom in a bit closer.  The detail on his antennae and wings was amazing.


Before it got too hot we decided to pick our plums from the Angeline Burdette tree.  They are a lovely plum to use and this year the tree was loaded.

We only have nine trees in our little orchard.  The other trees we have are an apple  that isn’t quite ripe, a pear tree with a few pears for the first time, a nashi, another plum that will not be ripe for about a month, a nectarine with a few nectarines for the first time, a quince that won’t be ripe for a while, an apricot which has never fruited as the blossoms are always frosted and our cherry died due to too much water.  A lot of runoff from the hill behind us ran straight through the orchard.  We also have a fig tree in the yard and, fingers crossed, we will actually get some figs.  Yummo.

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I describe our orchard as being “organic”.  In other words, it is totally neglected.  The trees are seriously in need of a prune. A job for the winter.  I cringed when Uncle Chris checked them out at Christmas, he being a orchardist and all, but he said it doesn’t matter as they have a terrific crop.  I think he was being very charitable.

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The chooks do love hiding in under the trees in the shade, as does Joey the cat.  I suppose the chooks are creating organic fertilizer. Their shed opens into the orchard, so they have a nice area to roam in, but are still contained.

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The crop was so heavy that the plums were hanging in bunches like grapes.

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Next it was jam making.  This is a family affair with Mick and I both getting involved.

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And, the result, 17 jars of lovely rich coloured plum jam.  I can’t wait to try some on my toast in the morning.

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There are still bags left over. I didn’t have enough sugar to do anything else today, but will make some sauce and probably stew and freeze some for later. 


Friday 28 January 2011

A Bit of This and That

I seem to be fiddle faddling around lately with very little to show for it.

Since New Year all I’ve done sewing wise is started the quilting of Verandah Views. It started puckering, so I just walked away from it, as I was getting quite frustrated with it all.  Now it has come to a stand still while I decide whether to take it slowly or start again.  I’ll look at it when the weather cools down a bit.  I know my patience level will be rather low in this heat.

I’ve signed up again for OPAM this year.  I’m already behind the eight ball, so I’d better make something this weekend.  I’d hate to not have a finish each month, although they are usually quite small projects.  It was a bit of a challenge to load the new counter button, but we got there in the end.

While I was at it, I also updated my blog background.  The code had to be updated by the end of the month, so now was a good chance. 

How’s everyone coping with the heat?  It is stinking hot here.  37 degrees for the last two days, but I think I’m noticing it more after such a mild summer so far.  There hasn’t really been much in the low 30s for us to get used to.  Apparently it is to be a bit cooler today and tomorrow. Let’s hope so.


My mind seems to be a whirl at the moment.  The Bathurst Historic Car Club holds its Swap Meet on Sunday 6 February.  We are both very involved in the organisation and we seem to be constantly thinking about it and making sure nothing is forgotten.  If you are anywhere in the area, it is a great day out.  There are the usual car and bike bits and pieces, but there is lots of other bric-a-brac as well.  We usually bring quite a bit home.

Swap Meet Poster 2011

This year will be different though.  Last weekend I started going through some cupboards and seeing what I can live without to put on a stall.  I had to stop, as there wouldn’t be room on the table. We have got to the stage where the collections just don’t fit anymore and something has to go.  Now I just need people to think that they can’t live without my bits and pieces.

Also, our big trip later in the year is starting to loom large and we need to start making lists.  There is so much to do and organise beforehand.  You see, we are once again heading over to the Isle of Man.

1.281 Gooseneck - Mick on chair

I’ll get to catch up with Loulee again, which I’m looking forward to. 

We are taking “Olga” over and will be riding around the British Isles for eight weeks on her.  It should be the best fun and a lovely, relaxed way to see the countryside.  Olga leaves Sydney in early March and then we head off in early May.  Travelling around by motorcycle does, unfortunately, require quite a bit more organisation than just hopping off the plane into a hire car or tour bus.

By the way, the bike problems we had on our weekend away to Scone have all  been fixed.  Mick fitted a new you-beaut shock absorber to the sidecar today, so I should have a nice comfy ride.ShabbyBlogsDividerK We had a great day out for the Australia Day Celebrations.  Our local council hosts a day out at one of the local villages each year on a rotational basis.  This year it was the old gold mining village of Sofala.  Yes, where we stopped in the park on our way to Scone. I didn’t take a single photo.  I think I was just too hot to concentrate.  Mick did take a few though.  There were quite a few stalls, many with crafts. Quite a few of the Historic Car Club members took out their vehicles.


The Red Cross always have a big white elephant stall and we usually bring quite a bit of it home.  We were a bit late this year, so it was already well picked over, but we found a few books and some lovely linens. 

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There are also some great cooks among their ranks and we bought some preserves.  The tomato sauce is the very best.  I always buy it.

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There are all sorts of interesting things in Sofala.


We decided to take the scenic route home along the Upper Turon Road.  This runs beside the Turon River for quite a while.  We encountered a few deep gutters across the road, as expected, but we didn’t expect the road to be completely gone in some areas.  Where the road used to be, there was a gully the full width of the road and about 3 feet deep!!!   This ran for about 200 metres.  Fortunately there was a grass area between the road and the river and a new two wheel track has been formed.  We stopped at the next causeway to skip some stones.


The road was completely covered in the river rocks.  Just the occasional turret of the causeway was showing through.


It was tempting to have a swim, but we weren’t exactly dressed for it.


Now for the exciting bit……

Drum Roll……

Guess what???

I won a raffle for the flood appeals. Yippee!!!

Rather than bid in the auctions, I worked out how much I intended to donate and made a few donations of $5 and $10. I then entered some of the raffles.  I was lucky enough to win a layer cake of Sherbert Pips from Ladybug Quilting.  You can see what will be arriving in  my mailbox on her blog.  Mick and I had fun looking up the designer Aneela Hoey’s blog where she talks about the evolution of the fabric range.  This is the first layer cake that I have had, so now I will have to think about a pattern to show off the lovely fabrics.

It is such a credit to the crafting community that they raised so much.  Just mind blowing.

Well, I think I’ve probably bored you enough by  now so I’d better bring this to an end for today.


Tuesday 18 January 2011

Weekend to Scone on Olga

As our big adventure on “Olga” the old girl is sneaking up on us at a rate of knots we needed to spend some more time on her.  We hadn’t been away on a weekend fully loaded as yet, so last weekend was the time to test her out.

We looked at the map for a suitable destination a day’s ride away. Approximately 300 kms is sufficient on Olga, travelling at an average of about 80 kph. No huge days like on the other bikes.  Scone looked to fit the bill and there were plenty of other options in the area should we change our mind.

Our first quick stop was down by the Turon River in Sofala.  It is a lovely little park and there always seems to be someone stopped there.  The footbridge used to be across the river, but it was washed away in the 1986 floods.  There were big fund raisers to salvage, restore and reinstate the bridge, but it will never cross the river again.  At least it is on show.

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Unfortunately, it was wet and drizzly most of the way on Saturday.

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Like all weekends away, our itinerary was based on our stomachs.  Morning tea was planned for Mudgee.  We always say we want to have a walk up and down the street, but are usually on our way somewhere, with no time to stop.  As we drove into town we also discovered that the Farmers Markets were on.  This looked promising, even though it was wet.

That was until we pulled up to park and heard a distinct CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK!!!!! That didn’t sound good.  Oh well, let’s have a cuppa and then think about it.  After a restorative coffee and cake it was decided to find a bike workshop, out of the rain, and see if Mick could find the problem. 

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The local Kawasaki dealers were very helpful.  Mick had a tinker and a part was found to be a bit loose.  Once tightened up TIGHT we were on our way again.  We’ll look at Mudgee and it's Farmers Markets another time.

We travelled to Merriwa with no further problems. We had only been through this way a couple of times before and had only stopped for fuel.  It is a lovely little town.  When we pulled up I noticed a craft shop that looked worth checking out after lunch.  Our rather late lunch was in a cafe that was doing a roaring trade. A great spot to stop.  Next to walk it off, in the drizzle.  I made a bee line to the craft shop to find that it closed at 2.30pm.  It was now about 2.40pm! Blast! It looked quite interesting through the windows too.  In front of the craft shop was a nice big op shop as well.  Of course it was closed too.  Oh well, I saved my money.  We might just have to make another visit and ensure that we arrive before lunch.

The road from Merriwa to Scone was new to us and is a really pretty drive. The rock formations were stunning.  They just looked liked they needed to be climbed. (It would be a funny sight seeing me trying to climb them.)

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Once we arrived in Scone the rain cleared.  It had been getting quite hot and muggy as we travelled north.  We were very happy to get out of our wet weather jackets as we were starting to boil in them.

The weekend wasn’t to be too expensive, so we just stayed in the Royal Hotel, which was basic but clean and the pub puts on a terrific counter meal. As the evening was quite warm we had a stroll around the town.  There are some beautiful old homes there and some rather tasty looking shops as well.  Once again, Scone is usually one of those towns that you just pass through, or just stop quickly at the park.  It was a good opportunity to have a bit better look.

The only downside was that there is no cafe open on a Sunday morning for breakfast.  Therefore, we headed to Muswellbrook, only to find the same situation. The best option was a McBreakfast, which was still very nice.

Our ride home was through our favourite valley, the Bylong Valley.  The weather was grey, but we didn’t have to put the wet weather gear on.  The temperature was just about perfect for motorcycling.


We saw another BMW bike a couple of times and he took our photo as we were coming up the steep windys as we leave the valley.

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This was just as the bike started to do some funny things as we went around right hand corners, so once we were back on the flat we pulled over to see what the problem was.  The sidecar shock absorber had started to fail and when it hit a bump or we went around around a right hand corner it was causing the sidecar brake to go on.  Not ideal.  Mick was able to disconnect it, so, once again, we were on our way.

The fellow on the other BMW pulled over when we stopped, as motorcyclists do, and we ended up yarning for about an hour on the side of the road.  It turns out that he attends many of the same rallies as us, so I’m sure we’ll bump into him again.

Once we were underway again we stopped in Rylstone for the yummiest lunch at Gallery 47.  It was a great way to top off a fine weekend.

The aim of the run was to see how the bike travelled loaded up with our luggage.  That side of things worked perfectly.  Yes, we did have a few issues with the bike, but they were all easily fixed by Mick.  That is one advantage of an older bike, unlike electronically programmed bikes.

We’ll still do some more test riding before Olga heads off in early March for her big adventure.

Friday 7 January 2011

Jewells’ 2011 Easter Swap

I had decided to not participate in many challenges or swaps in the first half of the year, as I want to concentrate on finishing some UFOs and make a start on some other things I’d like to make.


However, when I saw this swap I had to join in.  It sounds fun and is quick and easy.

You just have to make an Easter themed wash cloth, include an Easter themed tea towel (bought or made), a craft magazine and something sweet to eat.  I can do that.

If you also would like to play, pop over to Jewells’ blog to see the full details and sign up.  She is closing it off at the end of February with posting at the beginning of April.  The more the merrier.

Now I’ll have to look out some patterns.