Sunday, 29 July 2012

Voyage into the countryside...

Today we woke up to a fantastic sunny day with the most brilliant clear blue skies!
It was decided that it is perfect weather for photography, so Brett, Katie, Bob and I piled into the car in search of adventure.

We drove a short distance to Yamanto for breakfast of pies and a quick stop for sunscreen.  Then off we went with the wind in our hair.  The drive to Boonah was surprisingly quick, and pleasant. So much beautiful, if not a little dry countryside to see.  No itinerary, no real direction, just where ever the road would take us.

Our first detour down a side road led us to this horse and her massive blue skies above.

We drove around just looking for this to put into the viewfinder.

I love run down, sun baked falling apart buildings, be they sheds, old water tanks or houses.  They have a story to tell of our harsh Australian history.

We had seen some mountain peaks on the drive through to Boonah, and decided to head for those in the hopes of heights and spectacular views.  We never did make it to a lookout, however we did find the views. We went bush walking around Flinder's Plum Picnic Area, and found some pretty little spots.

 This little creek provided entertainment for a while, the boys skipping rocks, while Katie and I aimed for the perfect photo.

 After a few minutes we looked up and around the corner from the car to find two horses standing on the road, looking at us.... wondering what we were all up to playing in their water.
 Brett decided these large kitties must want to be patted, and quickly trotted off to introduce himself to them.
 All animals have an affinity with Brett, they adore him, and these horses were no different, within moments they were old friends.  Bob bravely joined Brett, while Katie and I opted to keep our distance in order to document the proceedings...

We drove to the top of the mountain to the picnic and bush trail area, got out of the car and studied the map. Bob optimistically convinced us it would be an awesome idea to tackle a level 4 hiking trail, even though we had no intention of hiking when we left home, and as such were completely unprepared! So armed with bottles of water, camera's and two people wearing thongs we took off into the trees.  Only to discover a really really steep dirt track, but Bob's enthusiasm knew no bounds, and we all became infected and started ever upwards.  I promptly began to struggle with the degree of up we were travelling, but made it passed the first dirty hurdle... only to be faced with a steeper hill! A quick rest, and huge lungfuls of air we pressed onwards. The second rest stopped provided us with some shade, and beautiful red headed little finches.  Katie got some brilliant shots, while I was too busy thinking about how much oxygen I could get into my body and how quickly!! By the time I settled and decided that indeed Katie was correct the birds would be wonderful pictures they had flown up high into the tree tops.
 We pressed forward faced with more hills and valleys, where we promptly gave up.  We all bravely decided this advanced track would be better tackled on another, more prepared day. It wasn't until we had turned around, trying to decided just how we would managed to get DOWN these steep slopes that I saw this sign! It made me laugh, extreme caution! Warning! haha too steep for horses, yet we had scrambled somehow skyward.

We ambled down, giggling at each other. This time we decided on a track much more suited to our current abilities. The easy amble through the bush. 

 After more stones splashing into water, and many steps of beautiful scenery we were done!
A perfect day, turned into a perfect adventure.  I cannot wait for the next one.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Winter Delights

My days and weeks have been full of life and hectic lately.  There is a lot going on! Always projects, we are working on, and people we have to see.

I keep trying to write something here and getting distracted! So now I will catch you up on the last few weeks.....

We have been continuing to build the chicken coop, but rain has been making this a little difficult for us.  I love the rain it means all my fruit trees will grow and prosper, but I really, really, want to finish the coop so we can get some ducks!! And chooks! Lots of eggs for us, which will mean I will just have to cook more! Darn *SARCASM* :P hehe.

Not much more to go on it though, it only needs a roof now, and it is supposed to be sunny this weekend so hopefully soon….*Fingers Crossed*

As I mentioned it has been rainy, and also cold. A cold wet winter for us this year, which means lots of fire.  YAY!  

Our indoor fireplace has been burning nearly constantly. Which gave us all an exciting idea…. Now the fire pit is finished, why not have people around to celebrate!  It is finally the weather for it. Chilly cold clear nights skies filled with stars and a wintery crisp air. Which is what we did, we invited several of our closest friends to stay the night and enjoy the fire, as wells as lots of wonderful bright stars.

Fire is great, but is it enough we thought? 

We needed something else, something we have never tried before, something to excite everyone, we are always having BBQ's, tasty but not exciting anymore.  So we decided to be adventerous and cook a pig on a spit over our fire pit, and it was awesome. Something we have never done before!! 

Don’t look if you are squeamish, but this fire roasted pork was delish.  We stuffed the meat with rosemary, garlic, lemons, and apples. YUM! The crackling was superb, in fact just looking at these pictures and writing this is making my mouth water, I want to do it all over again!

KT and I spent the morning making home made apple sauce (Of course! What else is so perfect for pork) 

The boys took care of all the pig and fire related tasks.  (Not that they minded, ITS FIRE!) hehe.  Hours before the guests were to arrive the tasty dish was prepared and stuffed, hung and started turning over a well tended fire.

I asked everyone to bring a side that would go with pork to cut down on costs, and we had lots of yummy dishes -  Homemade coleslaw,  Yummy Mash potato and garlic, Fresh garden salad, Cob Loaf and spinach dip, delish potato salad, Homemade Cheesecake, and Awesome Cake pops for dessert.  We finally found a use for our old cast iron bath tub I have stubbornly held onto, it makes an excellent esky, for now.

Everyone sat around the cooking dinner salivating at the wonderful and smokey smells.  We nervously cut it up, filled our plates and hoped that we had cooked it correctly and that the entire night wasn't going to be a disaster!!!!

AND we did, after a huge sigh of relief we all ate our fill and then some.  I cleaned up, collecting bones for stock, and any left over meat for pies. 

It makes all our efforts worth it to have our friends around to laugh and chat in the starlight, wish it never had to end. But one by one we all got sleepy and drifted off to bed.

The next day KT and I divided up the leftovers and tidied up. 
Thank god for my dishwasher!!

The next few weeks have been uneventful, pottering in the garden. Hiding inside from the cold and the rain. Last week I received an electric mincer/sausage maker, so obviously the first thing I wanted to do was try it out.

 Saturday morning I did the weekly chores and waited for KT to arrive, she was also keen for homemade sausages. I researched a little online.... We decided on lamb, rosemary, garlic and honey for one batch, and lamb rosemary garlic and thyme for the second. Yum. We started with just under 3 kilo of lamb, chopped it up and then ran it through the mincer.

 It was extremely loud which I wasn't expecting! For years I've been mincing meat with my trusty hand turned mincer and it is very quiet, so I wasn't quite prepared for the onslaught on my ear drums!!

 Despite the noise though it made short work of the lamb shoulder meat. We whizzed the herbs and bread crumbs through as well. KT had procured some natural sausage casings and admittedly it kinda grossed us both out, the smell of it was very um... Unique, not extremely pleasant!! 

I rinsed the casing and popped it on the machine, between the two of us we made sausages!! So exciting. I fed the meat into the machine as KT looked after filling and tying off the casing..... After a very very noisy time. We had homemade sausages!!
I think for our first ever batch we did an awesome job, they taste delish. With just over forty homemade gourmet sausages for an afternoons work I think it was easier than we both expected. Can't wait to try it again in a few months after we have eaten these.

 Sunday was quite a relaxing day for me, recovering from the excesses of Saturday night. I strolled the garden inspecting the progress of our hard works and dreams. Trees are quietly sleeping for winter, but the veg patch is as lush as ever. Soon I will have a lot of broadbeans, and I can't wait to see what I can cook with all that beetroot!!


Brisbane River at Dusk.