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Monday, 30 July 2012

Cool days, Calves & Kids

The weekend saw us head to Bottle Tree to take off the last round of weaners.  Full dams


and a full complement of feed doing wonders for the soul.


Cool Winter days left Wallace wishing he's brought his jacket, as reminded. 


Though he did remember the gun.


Sal kept a watchful eye,


as Dad ran horses.


These three dears caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, given a fright by the thundering horses behind them.


Horses came in looking a little wild and woolly with their winter coats in place.

 
Though obviously wintering well, as girths barely seemed to stretch around their midriffs.  Kids also growing, with stirrup leathers having to be lengthened a hole or two.

These weaners not quite as heavy as their mates who came off two months ago, 


a situation we hope to remedy as we work on reducing the calving window and have them all falling early.  Sal caught up with her much loved pet heifer Helen,


when not working the crush.


With all calves taken off, we drafted the breeders into paddocks based on breed and type.


So we've now a paddock of blackies, a paddock of creamies,


as well as the larger paddock of reds and of course the precious grey stud paddocks.  With plenty of heifers, as well as cows looking like this, it won't be long before we're brimming over with calves again.


Jess climbed a rung on the ladder of child labour this weekend, 


given the stressful task of manning the headbail, where the boldest and bravest take their place.  As well as a little height and a little strength, one must have a fairly thick skin.  For if you happen to let one through you won't hear the end of it.  Fortunately Jess made no such slip-ups.

I'm not quite sure what these ones were up to.



Tracking, by the looks.

We arrived home in the cold and dark last night.  Unco-operative weaners not wanting to come off the truck.  Not keen to experience the spear-grass environment perhaps.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Raspberry Coconut Slice ... The Recipe

It's hard to find a recipe that pleases all the family.
The girls absolutely love Carrot Cake, Wallace won't touch it.
Wallace loves Chocolate Cake, Jess won't eat it.
Wallace, Sarah & Sally enjoy Choc Chip Biscuits, Jessie won't try a bite.
Jess and Sally like Fruit Cake, Wallace and Sarah don't.
Thankfully I enjoy them all.
Hence I run.
Here though, is a full family pleaser, Raspberry Coconut Slice.


The topping calls for 2 cups of dessicated coconut.  Last week I only managed to scrounge 1 cup, but added an extra cup of shredded coconut.  With no grocery trip in between, this week's baking meant 2 cups of shredded coconut were used.  Both worked really well, but in a perfect world I think I'd continue to combine 1 cup of dessicated and 1 cup of shredded.



Finally ... the recipe:

90g (3oz) butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam

Topping:
2 eggs
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 cups coconut

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).  Grease a Swiss roll tin (I use my standard slice tin, approx. 18 x 27 cm).  Cream butter, sugar and egg together.  Stir in flour and press evenly into tin (not a lot of pressing involved, the mixture is quite moist).  Bake in oven 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread with jam (I warm to make easier to spread), then topping.  Bake in oven for a further 35 minutes.  The topping is made by lightly beating eggs, then mixing in sugar and coconut.


The base is more cakey than biscuity (excuse the scientific terminology) and is absolutely beautiful.
Give it a go Annie, just get Shorty to read the recipe for you.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Fettuccine, Flowers & Favourites

You can see by the food splatters on this page that this is one of Jessie's favourite dishes to share with us.


The nights Dad's away we generally enjoy a little more relaxed dining.  Not so when Jessie takes charge.  Though with no chicken mince in stock she had to substitute pork mince.  With no tinned tomatoes she used fresh combined with some condensed tomato soup.  With no spaghetti, she used fettuccine.  The addition of a little Chinese Five Spice to the mince, and those meatballs sang.


So all in all we could have done without the recipe.

Thankfully she didn't need eggs.


Two pyjama-clad girls could be seen searching the dome for breakfast this morning.  We eat quite a lot of eggs and the seven old hens are struggling to keep up.

Which means baking occurs as surplus eggs dictate,


this Raspberry Coconut Slice using up the last three today.

I was given these flowers as a thankyou gift the other day.


I'd forgotten how much I love fresh flowers.


I've been moving them around the house with me so as to fully enjoy them.


I'd love to buy a bunch every town day.  But such frivolity isn't in my nature.
Instead I'll buy some tinned tomatoes and spaghetti.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Sunny Sunday

I was so excited to be given a small collection of ferns for our verandah yesterday from a lovely lady who had a few spares in her shade-house.  In need of some splitting up, the girls and I broke them up and re-potted them this morning, enjoying the beautiful sunshiney weather.


My cheeky husband came around, said a few solemn words and made the sign of the cross over them.


Possibly I've been known to sacrifice a few items of greenery in the past.


While I fussed on the verandah, Jessie washed layers of dirt and mud from the car.


Wallace baked choc-chip biscuits, Sally washed out dog cages, and Sarah hosed the breezeway after working dogs with her Dad.


All signs of the wet weeks just gone, washed away.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

What was HE Thinking?

Matthew and I have found ourselves members of various committees over the years.  From flipping snags to baking patty cakes, cleaning toilets to mowing school ovals, overseeing dog-jumping to parking ice-cream vans, we've always been willing contributors to our local community committees.  As have many others I might add.

As the children get older and home work commitments become more pressing, we are hoping to slowly ease away from some of these outside endeavours to focus more closely on issues closer to home.  Like fencing.  And spraying lantana.  And making hay.  And possibly getting a BAS in on time.

One committee though that we hope to remain involved with over years to come is the CQ Carcase Classic, a competition that really encompasses all that our industry is about.  BEEF.


Last night's Presentation Dinner was a fitting culmination to a great competition.  Competitors put forward their cattle, who are processed through our local Teys plant, and carcases scored on various attributes including weight for age, eye muscle area, fat coverage, meat and fat colour.


With a lucrative prize pool up for grabs, it's an exciting night, with only us select few aware of the results beforehand.


Matthew and I had the task of producing these trophies this year, awarded to class winners and given to our sponsors as a gesture of the committee's appreciation.


Fortunately, wet weather for the past month has allowed plenty of shed-time.


Amazing what can be done with some old rosewood and a stirrup iron.


Of course it was yet another excuse to pull out my now favourite dress.  Just add castanets.


And of course I didn't realise until uploading this picture, that my husband was doing 'rabbit ears'.
Child.

Friday, 20 July 2012

What Was he Thinking?

I honestly don't think I can recall a Winter as wet as this one.  For months, anybody who enters the house via the laundry has had to manoeuvre the  line of jeans hanging in the covered space between house and shed.

Last Friday's local District Inter-school Athletics carnival had to be postponed until Wednesday of this week.  With close to six inches of rain falling up until that point, and drizzle continuing, kids slipped and slid, enjoying the squelch between their toes and mud splattered legs.


With Matthew somewhere between Barcaldine and Blackall, the kids and I arrived home that afternoon to find our grain delivery truck going nowhere fast on the slippery road up to our yards.


With sun setting fast, the kids were deposited at the house to feed animals, while I found chain and roared the little tractor down the paddock.  Larry (known to be a little temperamental), seemed suitably unimpressed.  I reminded him (in the bravado possibly attained via a quick stop-over at the local watering hole on the way home from sports day), he maybe should have rung before coming. There was a buck being passed faster than any pig-skin covered ball on a Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

As we towed, and backed, and pulled in the drizzle and well into the dark, I was eternally grateful for one small mercy.  That it wasn't Matthew in the truck.  For if there is ever a recipe for marital disharmony, try separating a husband and wife by twenty feet of snig chain.

Unable to see what we were doing, I persuaded Larry to leave it until morning.  I took him in to get a room at the pub, and spent the night stressing.

But as so often happens, daylight allowed us a clearer course of action.  With a series of backing and forwarding, the little tractor pulling from the front, then pulling from the back, rinse and repeat, within a couple of hours we had him entirely jack-knifed but at least some parts of the truck facing in the right direction.  And with Larry still disbelieving, the little tractor pulled him all the way to the gate.


Now of course you'd hardly know where he'd been.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A little Ray of Sunshine

You'll rarely hear somebody who makes their living from the land complain about rain.


Except of course when there's hay on the ground, a sorghum crop waiting to be headed, 


bulls to be fed, cattle needing to be trucked or a yard full of weaners knee-deep in slop.


We rarely complain.


Though there was much happiness when we saw this sky yesterday for the first time in a week.  A great excuse to jump on the new bike and head out for a gander.


These girls, all so grateful to feel the sun on their backs.  


A little knocked around after a week of wet cold weather.


We all enjoyed sitting with the sun on our backs.


While at home the washing machine worked her way through the backlog of dirty laundry.


A quick trip to Bottle Tree revealed by-washing dams, something that had eluded us over our wet Summer months.  Some relief with talk that an El Nino event is heading our way.

I say ... El-Nino, schmino.

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