Wednesday 30 September 2020

My Other September Goal Results

In addition to my stitching goals I have been making some other fun goals for each month.  You can read about September's here.

Let's see how I went.


Having headed off for a little holiday gave me the perfect opportunity to do some the expense of the stitching I had planned to do.

When we travel, we enjoy popping into op shops and craft shops and keep our eye out for street libraries and book exchanges.  All of these came from those sources.  They are a real lucky dip.  You get some great reads and some shockers.

The first book I read wasn't a novel, but the Historic Australia Quilts book that I bought at Coolah.  It was fascinating reading.  Some of it I already knew, but you always learn something.  Of course, the quilts were nice eye candy too.

Next I read "The Wrong Boy" which was about a Jewish girl in a concentration camp.  We both read this and enjoyed it.  The author is Australian.

Finally, Five Quarters of the Orange.  This has been out for some years, but I had never read it.  It was an enjoyable read too.


This only happened last week.   I found a recipe for "Blueberry Granola Breakfast Bars".  This was a slice with a base, a layer of jam and blueberries and then a crumble topping.  It was a failure, as the base was way too crumbly.  The recipe just didn't have nearly enough butter in it.  However, it wasn't wasted.  Served warm in a bowl with either ice cream or custard for dessert was delicious.

I have rewritten the recipe using the same base as for the raspberry coconut slice and it would be fine.  Also, the crumble was yummy, so would work well on an apple or rhubarb crumble. Therefore, it wasn't a complete loss.


This happened while we were travelling, but not so much  at home.  I will blame the weather for some of it, but, really, there is no other excuse.


No, this did not happen.  We were away for a couple of weeks and then on weekends the weather was mainly wet.  Hopefully, we will get out next month.


This earned a very big tick.  We were away for eleven days and had a wonderful time. We mainly free camped, which worked well.  Caravanning is a great way to travel.


Well, we were away for two Fridays and they were fun, which doesn't really count.

We actually had a Sunday Fun Day last weekend.

Remember we rode the old motorcycle out to Chifley Dam in August to see the dam looking nearly full.

Well, the dam started flowing over the spill way a couple of weeks ago, so we had to go out again to have a look see.

We weren't the only ones with that idea.  Lots of people were walking out for a look.

It was wonderful to see the water cascading over the spillway.  The dam wall was raised in the early 1990s.  If you look carefully, you will see a line around the right hand wall and the end wall about half way up.  That is the height of the earlier spillway.  Thank goodness our local Council had the foresight to  raise the wall when they did.  There are now talks of raising it again to future proof our water supply as Bathurst continues to grow quickly.

The Campbells River was looking lovely, with everything looking so green.

The dam was looking lovely too.  At the other side of the dam there was an open day  for the rowing club.  It had gone into recess over the last couple of years and they are planning on reviving it.  There was apparently enough interest to get it going again, which was great news for those involved.

So, there you go.  Most goals achieved, but not fully.  That is fine, as we can't do everything every month.

Now I will have to put my thinking cap on to see what we will get up to next month.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Exploring the Pilliga - Part 2 - The Salt Cave

Continuing on our recent trip to the Pilliga Scrub, after our wander around Dandry Gorge, we headed further north to The Salt Cave.  There is a nice picnic area there, where we had our lunch.  We were impressed by the National Parks ranger who was working tirelessly to keep all the picnic areas and loos clean and tidy.

After we were once again fed and watered, we went exploring.  Mick had been there before, but I hadn't.

You can see the opening of the cave to the right of the above photo.

Legend has it that the cave used to run for about a mile into the ground and that there were stalactites of salt hanging from the roof.  The early settlers used to collect the salt to preserve their meat and for general purposes.  Apparently, by building a fire lookout tower on the top of the rocky outcrop the cave collapsed. It is not known how much of this is fact or what is just folk lore.  

What is known is that the local aboriginals would have used the cave for shelter. 

There is a fair bit of graffiti at the entrance of the cave, some of it quite old.

There have been fire lookout towers on the site since the 1930s, with a small hut built at the base of the rocky outcrop, where men were stationed for the duration of the fire season.  Over the years there have been many large fires in the area.

You can actually climb the current look out tower.  Smithy counted 80 steps.

It is rather a long way down.  I'm obviously getting better with my fear of heights.  

As you can see by our coats, it was somewhat chilly up there and extremely windy.  Mick is lucky he didn't lose his hat.

The view is spectacular.  This is looking back towards the Warrunbungles.  The whole 360 degrees was just a view of trees on a flat plain. Incredible.

The Pilliga Scrub is about ninety kms long by seventy kms wide. When you look at a map, there are several different National Park areas as well as several State Forest sections. It looks featureless, when you look at it on this scale, but as we saw, there is lots to see and explore.

Once we descended to the ground, we noticed a sign for a bird walk of approximately 2 kms.  

As you can see, the landscape here is completely different to Dandry Gorge.  The soil was really sandy.  A fire had been through in recent years and it was only starting to regenerate.  A severe drought for the last couple of years wouldn't have helped either.

It was really pretty seeing all the wild flowers.  I loved how they were nice, neat plants.  Wouldn't they look good in a garden.  Mind you, if they were planted in our clay soil and had to experience our severe frosts they may not do so well.

We also notice a couple of these weird fungi coming out of the ground.

We noticed some different flowers here too.

We had no idea where our walk would take us and  were just enjoying looking at the scenery, when we met a couple coming the other way.  The lady quite bluntly informed us that there was no point in going on, as there was only a muddy dam and one lousy wood duck!  

Eventually, we came to the muddy dam.  We looked at things a little differently.  There was water in the dam!  After the drought, isn't that wonderful.  Yes, there was one wood duck.  I suppose if you had expected an idyllic lake teaming with birdlife you may be disappointed, but we had no such expectations.

We actually found the dam rather interesting.  We noticed lots of little bubbles coming up through the water.  It wasn't like those made by a tortoise.  Smithy informed us that it would actually be natural gas, as there is lots of gas under the Pilliga, which is looking to be tapped, to much concern from the locals.

We did comment that we hardly saw any birds during our day out.  Up near the salt caves we did see flocks of  white browed wood swallows, but not much else.  Maybe the cool overcast weather was keeping them quiet.

By then time was marching on, so we returned to our camp at Baradine.

We had to finish our day as we started, so a nice afternoon tea of scones with jam and cream and home made bikkies.  Yes, we did rough it.  No, we felt absolutely no guilt, as we had been rather active during the day.

Miss Jules and I have decided that we will have to explore Mt Kaputar, over near Narrabri, next spring.  The top of the mountain has alpine plants, so there would be lots to see.  We will have to work on the boys.

There is still more of the Pilliga to explore, so I will be back soon.

Monday 28 September 2020

Stitching Goal Results for September

As usual, I set myself some hopefully manageable stitching goals for the month.  You can have a look back here for the full post.

I'm happy to report that, despite being away for part of the month, they all were achieved.  Let's have a look at what I was able to get done.


My goal this month was to turn my Trail Mix blocks into a flimsy, which I did early in the month, as I was on a roll and couldn't wait to see how it would look.  I did a blog post here.

Not only is it a flimsy, but it has been to my friendly long arm quilting fairy and been returned to me.  No photo as yet, but it is looking all nice and snuggly.  The binding is made and ready to attach.  I just have to trim the excess fabric from the edges and add the binding and it will be done.  I can't wait to finish it off.

I'll be linking up over at Elm Street Quilts.


The colour was red and I made my blocks early in the month before we went away.  I blogged half of it back here, but forgot to add the drunkard path blocks.  So, to recap, here are my RSC blocks for September.

We only have one more month's colour to go this year, which by deduction is yellow, and then it is time to put them together.  Mine will become cushions.  I'm not sad to see the end of making my drunkard path blocks,  but have loved making the pineapple blocks.  I'll be linking up over at So Scrappy on Saturday.


There were four blocks released this month and I only made them this last weekend.  However, they are made and that is the main thing.

This one is 12 inches, as there were so many HSTs.  If it was much smaller it would have been very bulky. I take my hat off to the ladies who made 6 inch, or even 4 inch version.

This one is eight inches.  It  was quick and easy and a great way to showcase a feature fabric, unlike most of the blocks.

This one is six inches.  It looks nice and easy, but I struggled to get my points doing the right thing.  It will just have to do.

I made the 12 inch version of this block as well.  I really do struggle with flipping corners.  I can get HST and flying geese nice and accurate using my rulers, but do have trouble with the square in a square block.  It isn't nearly as good as I would have wished, but it will do, and realistically, once it is in the quilt, among all the other blocks, I can't imagine anyone noticing too much........and bad luck if they do.

We now have 37 of the 56 blocks completed, so still quite a few to make.  I'm worried I will run out of some of my favourite fabrics, so may end up having to add a couple more to make up....Fancy that, an excuse to go fabric shopping.


This is where my WOOFA Challenge Clam Shell Stiching Roll started at the beginning of the month.

So, not a lot done, but there has been progress.  I thought I would get quite a bit of stitching in while we were away, but no, I didn't feel like it, so read a couple of books instead.  I also worry that my rows will end up wonky, so am happier to do it at home where I have access to rulers.  I don't think this will be a quick finish, but I will get there in the end.  Mind you, without Cheryll's encouragement, it would probably have stayed lingering in a box.


Finally, for my little challenge on the side with Loulee I made another string of bunting.

When I went to get the makings out of their box I was very happy when I saw that I had already made up the pennants for this string last month.  I'd forgotten about that.  It does sound a bit like cheating, but I just call it smart.  I didn't have a lot of time this month, so it meant I did end up with a decent finish. They are surprisingly quick and easy to make. Now I have a string to hang above our sliding door to the back verandah as well.

Here they are together, just to show that I didn't just turn last month's upside down. LOL  


Thank goodness for the bunting!  That is my one and only finish for the month, but better than nothing.  I like to have something each month to report in to Kris.


I didn't know what I was going to work on, but in the end my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks were started, so once again, Cheryll's encouragement had me stitching, which is always a bonus.

I love looking back and seeing that I have actually done something during each month.  Now to turn my thoughts to October's goals.

Sunday 27 September 2020

Exploring the Pilliga - Part 1 - Dandry Gorge

As I said in my last post, the main reason for visiting Baradine was to see the wild flowers in the Pilliga Scrub.  We had been given an introduction to this area when we attended the first Scrub Stitchin'.  Have a look here to see our visit to Dandry Gorge.

When we told Miss Jules of our outing, she and Smithy decided to join us for the day, which was a nice bonus.

The sign to the entrance of Dandry Gorge is rather stunning.  I love the colour of the local stone.  So nice and warm.

When you are planning on taking a bush walk, it is important to build up your energy.  Miss Jules provided freshly baked scones with jam and cream and we supplied the home made bikkies.  Yes, we rough it in the bush.

Once we were fed and watered we headed off.  This is the sign we saw on our last visit which sparked our interest in returning.  Can you imagine seeing this sort of colour in the Pilliga Scrub?  We couldn't.

Let's go for a walk and see what we can find, and of course, enjoy the Sculptures in the Scrub as we go along the top of the gorge.

The weather was quite cool and grey, which made the colours of the flowers just glow. It also made walking rather pleasant.

It is such a nice walk.  The National Parks have done a fantastic job with the walkways.  Yes, there were loads of wild flowers, but I'll share them at the end.

The walk continued down in the base of the gorge and the landscape is quite different.

As I said, quite different. It has its own little microclimate.  Hardly any of the wild flowers we say on top of the gorge were growing down here, but there were some different ones on show.

Some of the cliffs were quite high.  Can you spot the sculpture at the top?

There has been a flood through here.  It was hard to imagine the volume of water required to leave so much debris so high in the trees, when normally there is just a trickle under the sand of the creek.

I love this photo Mick took.  I think that is what Miss Jules and I were like for most of the walk.  We couldn't believe how many flowers we found.  To our amazement, we came across the majority shown on the sign at the start of the walk. 

We met some people at the camp ground who were visiting just to see the orchids.  They were very excited to find them.
We were on the lookout for flannel flowers, but the still closed bud above was the best we could do.  I'm guessing they would have been blooming shortly after our visist.
There were so many different varieties of wattle.  
We saw lots of grass trees.  Some were in full flower, some just starting to bloom.  The individual flowers were so delicate.  What we did notice was that there were no tall ones.

When we visited the first time I was somewhat surprised to find a little maidenhair fern at the base of the cliff down in the gorge, despite conditions being very dry.  Therefore, I was on the lookout for ferns again.  Firstly, I found the little rock ferns.  I came across these as a kid where we used to collect fire wood and even took some home and had it growing in a pot for quite some time.  Once we descended into the gorge I came across a couple of different varieties tucked into the cliff, but still no maidenhair.  Finally, not far before we climbed back out I came across a lovely large clump of maidenhair fern.  It is such a delicate plant to find in such a harsh landscape.  It just goes to show how diverse the Australian bush is.

I think we timed our visit perfectly, as all the flowers we saw were at their prime.   I read somewhere that a botanist found over 100 different plants within one metre of the path.  I'd believe it.

The sign at the start of the walk recommended that you allow two hours for the walk and we easily spent that long, as we took in the views and hunted for flowers. 

We still had more exploring to do on the day, but I think this post is long enough already.  More soon.