Saturday 15 April 2017

What a Lovely Day We Had

This Easter weekend has been planned to be nice and slow, while Mick's knee heals.  The weather has been absolutely glorious, with cool, crisp morning followed by nice, warm blue days.

We had in the back of our minds that on one day this weekend we might go for a drive and have a picnic.  Today seemed like the perfect day.  We phoned some friends, picked them up and off we Burraga Dam.  I blogged about the dam back here back in 2011, when we went for a bit of an explore.  We have been back one day with the kayak, but I don't seem to have blogged about it that time.

We weren't sure how busy it would be, what with it being the Easter long weekend and all.  There were heaps of people in tents and caravans, but it didn't feel too crowded.  You wonder how they all hear about it, as it is secluded and doesn't even have a sign at the top of the road.  However, apparently it rates a mention on quite a few of the free camping sites.

We found ourselves a nice spot close to the water and enjoyed our picnic lunch.

The dam was built for the tin mine about 100 years ago.  It was looking a picture.  I love the little water lily growing near the reeds.

Mick tried his hand at catching a fish off the dam wall.  No luck, which meant he didn't have to deal with cleaning a fish, so he didn't mind at all.

We wandered down below the dam wall.  The water cascading down was so very sparkly.  Just lovely.

We noticed some slippery jack mushrooms near one tree.  This is prime time for mushroom foraging in the forests in the area.  I don't know enough about them to have a go.

We went for a wander along the foreshore.  You can see that there is still room to move.

We will get out there with the van one day, hopefully later in the year.  It was the first place I mentioned as a destination for a weekend, so we must make it happen.

Meanwhile, today was really relaxing, just lazing around.  It was a pity we had to come back to town.  I think there would be nothing better than sitting around a camp fire out there tonight.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Reconnecting in March

It is time once again to reflect on my word "Reconnect" for the last month.  I'm quite enjoying actually thinking about what is happening and breaking it down into categories.  Anyway, enough guff, this is how I went for March.


I still haven't finished "Wind in the Willows", but I will.

One book has been completed, though.  I took a couple of books to Nundle, but they didn't see the light of day.  However, when we were at the little antique shop in Nemingha the lady was going to have to find $1 change.  It was easier to find a $1 book.  This old copy of an Agatha Christie classic fit the bill.  Yes, I've read it before, probably in my teens, but I couldn't remember the outcome, so it was good entertainment. Don't you love the 50s dust jacket.


Yes, I think our trip to Nundle fitted this category nicely.  We are so pleased we had the time to have a good look around, seeing as it turned out to be the last Girls Day in the Country.


I really am not having much to show for this since the beginning of the year.  My efforts for March were my little swap project and my project that I worked on at Girls Day in the Country.  Better than nothing I suppose.


There have been two good finishes in this area.

Firstly, my office at work has got somewhat out of control.  There never seems to be time to finish filing etc.  Anyway, I spent a weekend in there, in the quiet, and had a big sort out and tidy up. It is so much nicer to be in now. There is an ulterior motive for this, but more on that later.

Secondly, we attacked the garage.  The plan is to have the car, a couple of bikes, stuff for the swap meet and a bit of other stuff stored here.  Well, there were two dressing tables and a treadle sewing machine taking up a lot of space and boxes of "stuff" from Mum's had just been dumped wherever it would fit.  What a mess!

We took everything out and started again.  One dressing table was moved to a bedroom and the other taken to the charity shop.  When we could get to the cupboards around the walls, most of them were empty or didn't have much in them.  Mick had a set of shelves not being used in his shed so they were put together and it turned out they fitted perfectly over the top of the sewing machine.  The machine will get moved inside eventually.  Things were put away in cupboards, chucked out or some moved elsewhere.  We ended up with a sidecar and a bike fitting in and being able to move and get to things.  A great result.

It also proved timely has we had a huge storm which blew rain in under the roller doors.  I had boxes on the floor in that area and the contents would have been ruined.  Phew!


I suppose the garden has been the main feature here.

We planted eight climbing bean plants in spring, only to have black birds destroy all but two of them.  They grew well and flowered profusely during the hot weather, but no beans.  Finally, in March, once the weather calmed down, we started to get beans......loads of them.  Thank goodness we only had the two plants.

This is only a small portion of them.

We planted sweet peas, both perennial (in the garden by the shed) and annual (on the other side of the arch to the beans).

The little garden out the front is thriving, especially now the sting has gone out of the sun.  Lots of pansies have been planted to provide winter colour.

Mick didn't want any roses in the garden, not wanting to get scratched while mowing.  I wanted at least one rose.  We compromised.  One standard rose in a garden not near a lawn.  But what variety?  We chose "Peace" in the end. Mum had one in our garden when I was little and Mick and I had one in our first garden.  It has taken a while to get established, but it is really doing well now.  Lots of growth still coming, but the cold weather will put paid to that before long.

This red rose is a miniature.  There were two straggly specimens in the front garden when we arrived and they were unceremoniously pulled out.  Well, we obviously missed a bit of root as this little rose has come up.  It has the sweetest little blooms.  The colour here isn't a good indication.  They are a much deeper red, not pink at all.  Anyway, we will keep it pruned to a nice shape and enjoy it.

I did bake some Anzac biscuits one day as well.


This year has turned up some surprises.

Firstly, a recap on my bicycle,  We have been using them a lot and really enjoying it.  Mick has put a rack on the back of the van and we took them to Nundle.  They travelled well and it was a great way to explore another town.  They will certainly come away with us on a regular basis.  We are having a little break at the moment, as Mick has had knee surgery, but when he feels strong enough we will be out there again.  It will probably be mainly on weekends now, as the days are closing in.

Now, for the biggy...Da Da Daaaaa!

After Mick and I had a little chat about Mum needing a bit more help and me ducking out of work to go to appointments etc, I've approached work to see if I can work three days a week and make my job a job share role.  To my delight they have agreed and they are in the process of recruiting someone.  I will be working Monday to Wednesday, which will leave time to spend with Mum, give us the opportunity to go away for long weekends and maybe even enjoy some stitching time, or horror of horrors, get the housework done.

I'm quite excited and nervous about it all.  Hopefully, the new person will be trained up by the end of June and I will be able to go to the shorter hours then.


Well, Nundle features here as well.  We've also spent time with friends at home too.  An unexpected lunch with someone you haven't seen for some time is always a nice treat.


Nundle again.  Fancy that.


And once again, Nundle.  It was a lovely few days spent together.  One thing about going away with the van is that you have to take time.  We travel relatively slowly, so you get to really enjoy the scenery, rather than just have it whizz by.  We just have to factor in extra time to reach our destination, but that is just fine.

Now we just have to see what April brings.  I can't wait.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Nundle - Girls Day in the Country


Once all the girls started to arrive this was a common sight.

Yep.  Tears of laughter.  So much laughter.


Friday saw quite a few of us venture out to The Cottage on the Hill for a little retail therapy.  Notice how the nice sunny blue day of Thursday has vanished.  This was more like the weather we had for the rest of the weekend.

A kit for this quilt, plus a bit extra for borders to make it larger may have just come home with me.

There is always so much inspiration here.

Friday evening saw us all gathering in the camp kitchen for nibblies and  a little show and tell.


Dzintra, Jo Jo and Kerri's.

Jenny & Chooky's.




And mine.  (I'm sure Chooky won't mind that I borrowed her photo).

There is so much talent among this group of ladies.  I know I certainly wouldn't have the patience to do so much of the work they do.


As usual we gathered at the Town Hall.

This is what we received on our table.

And just some of the lovely ladies on our table.

We were introduced to the lovely Bonnie Sullivan who then revealed our project for the day.

Wow!  Rather lovely.

Inside is a pincushion made from upcycled bedspread.

We received pre printed fabric with a lovely saying.  It was so easy to just stitch straight over the printed text.  Here is mine ready to applique to my circle of antique quilt.  How much use must this quilt have had?  The colours so soft and faded.  Yet, it has been beautifully created, with lovely, even, small hand quilting.  I wish I had taken a photo of the back before I stitched through it.  This is a great way to add life to something that would otherwise have been just put at the back of a cupboard.

This is as far as I got on the day - although the bird was stitched down before I left.  I also completed my pincushion.  I love that each sewing box will be different due to the unique scraps of quilt. I opted to have my steamer painted a French blue which should go nicely with the quilt piece.  It won't take long to finish the project.  That can be my Easter project.

There was a trading table of Bonnie's projects.  They really are lovely. 

As always there is a swap on the day.  We were given a design of Bonnie's and could make whatever we liked with it.  I came up with a little sewing holder.  

I received a lovely pin cushion made by Deb to add to my collection.

At the end of the day there was the usual group photo of all the bloggers.  

This one is rather special, as it is the last.  Yes, at the end of the day, rather than announce next year's tutor, Kerry announced that this, the 10th Girls Day in the Country, would be the last.  To say we were sad is an understatement, but we can understand that it is time for Kerry to move on to other things. To achieve what she has over those years is something she should be so proud of.

However, this will not be the end of our get togethers, as plans are afoot for something for next year.  I can't wait.


So, while most of the girls were tucking into a yummy breakfast, Mick and I were packing up our campsite, ready to drive back home.  We'd enjoyed our stay in Nundle very much.

We travelled home the same way we had come.  I was hoping to see the other big cliff, as you drive out of the Bylong Valley, all lit up with sunshine, but alas, it wasn't to be this time either.

One thing we did notice coming home is just how dry it was on the tablelands, compared to where we had visited.  We had been missing out on all the rain.  Fortunately, that has now changed.

Hopefully, we will get to visit Nundle again in the future, despite the fact that there is no more GDITC.

Monday 10 April 2017

Nundle - Playing the Tourist

I know it is a while since our visit to Nundle, but finally I'm sharing the rest of our few days away.

Back here I shared our trip up and our first day.

On the Thursday we had a full day to play the tourist.  The day started out nice and sunny, so we decided to head into Tamworth via the scenic route.

First stop was Chaffey Dam.  This was in preparation for Mick and his mate Smithy to go fishing in the kayaks on Saturday, while all us girls were busy with needle and thread.

We noticed lots of dying trees along the shoreline and that the wall looked rather new.  It turns out that the wall was raised last year, increasing the size considerably.  It really is a lovely spot.  How did their fishing go on the Saturday?  Not well at all, as it was blowing a gale, but they had a nice day out anyway.

We were amazed at the number of mail boxes at the start of a couple of roads in the village of Woolamin.  I don't think I've ever seen so many.

Once we reached Tamworth it was time for coffee and cake - a most important ritual when travelling.  We noticed a cute looking little shop, with a parking spot nearby so tried it out.

Inside, Ruby's turned out to be full of interesting old bits and pieces.  The photo doesn't do it justice at all.  It was also a bit of a tardis, as once you went through the small coffee shop area it opened out into a delightful courtyard garden.  We really did enjoy our brief interlude.

After we had bought our few stores we headed back to Nundle, via a little antique shop in the old schoolhouse at Nemingha.  Mick was thrilled to find a cake tin similar to our bakelite one.  Ours has had a mended lid for many years, after a dropsy misshap.  This one had a fully intact lid, with a base that wasn't all that attractive and was inexpensive to boot. Here is our old cake tin with her nice new lid. One very happy Mick.

Once back at Nundle we headed out of town to visit the famous Hanging Rock lookout. What a view.

I tried to take photos of the wild flowers, but unfortunately, my camera wants to focus on everything but the flowers.

There is a picnic shelter near the lookout.  It says "No Camping", but I think that is ignored from looking at the site.  It really is delightful, particularly the poem written in charcoal on one end wall.  I wouldn't mind camping up here and sitting inf front of  a roaring fire.

Next stop was Sheba Dams, which we had never heard of until the day before.  Another lovely, peaceful spot.  There were quite a few caravans camped there, so something to keep in mind for the future.  The dams are quite small and were built for the gold mining in the 1800s. The top dam is more geared up for visitors.  I don't think the fishermen had caught anything, but I don't think that was a priority for them.

The bottom dam was quieter and not as easy to access.  The timber structure sticking out of the water would have been to do with releasing the water to the various mines.  We really enjoyed discovering this peaceful place to visit.

On our way back to Nundle we stopped to have a look at a rustic old slab hut.  This area has a surprising elevation, being about 1200m above sea level and, as such, gets snow on occasions.  Imagine trying to stay warm in a little hut like this.

We enjoyed another lovely sunset when we returned to Nundle.  A great way to end the day.

However, although we had finished our sightseeing, the weekend was just beginning, as many of the other girls arrived on Thursday for Girl's Day in the Country, beginning with dinner at the pub that night, but more on that later.

By the way, we took our push bikes with us on the back of the van.  No photos (I forgot), but they travelled really well and we had a couple of nice morning rides around the cycle path and out of town on the quiet roads.  We will certainly take them away with us most of the time.  Great fun.