If you looked through the most recent photos on my camera you may think that life has been all campfires and outdoor picnics. It hasn’t all been leisurely lunches and flame grilled sausages, although the weather is perfect for paddock fire lighting. So far, winter is feeling productive and busy in the most satisfying way.
While we wait for the rain to fall the big earth moving equipment has moved in. Dams have been cleaned out and drains, roads and fences have been cleared of scrub. New pumps and pipelines have been set up in readiness for a change in the season.
Our first frost for the winter has settled gently on the ground and on my vegetables. I love that a frost almost guarantees a perfectly clear day once the ice has melted.
One afternoon in town, the kids and I met a man named Tony in a dubious back lane with a ute and trailer full of young chooks. After a no questions asked cash transaction we took delivery of four new feathery friends. They are not fancy, designer chooks but they are healthy, quiet Isa Browns that will keep us in fresh eggs for the next few years.
The ongoing dry conditions mean challenging times for our livestock, particularly for the females who are trying to feed their babies. This brave little calf was separated from her mum somewhere along the way, but hopefully she is going to take to bottle feeding, snacks of hay and cuddles from humans. Annabelle has named her Miss Caramel Plum for no apparent reason.
Of course, I have been baking, mostly old faithfuls like bread, pumpkin soup and sausage rolls. Recently a friend loaned me her copy of Jerusalem the cookbook and I tried the Spice Cookie recipe. I bake a lot of biscuits but these immediately became new favourites. The ingredients include brandy soaked currants, spices, dark chocolate and cocoa powder topped off with a zesty lemon glaze. Perfect with a cup of tea and even better if you are near a fire.
Delivering hot thermoses and smoko to the paddock is a little task that I take pride in. It gives me an excuse to bake and it provides a break and sustenance to our crew after a cold morning mustering cattle on motorbikes. I think of this ritual as a human recharge and reset before the day continues.
Next on my to-bake list is this biscuit recipe from my blogging friend Katie.
In those quiet moments when floors need mopping or I have a stack of floury bread things to clean up I often turn to podcasts. Everyone is talking about Dispatch To A Friend but in case you haven’t listened yet, I urge you to start at the first episode so you don’t miss any of the gentle, friendly audio goodness. Make sure you browse through the actual website too; it is full of glorious photos and useful links.
While I am sharing links, my obsession with bakeries and bakery equipment continues and I have been reading about The Small World Bakery. They even deliver fresh bread on a custom built bicycle. That is my new baking goal.
How are things at your place?
Are you feeding animals? Or baking?
Thinking about bakeries?
Lighting fires perhaps?
Happy Sunday, friends x