Fires and Frosts

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Isa Brown

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.

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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.

Spice Cookies Jerusalem

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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.

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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

20 Comments

  1. Reply

    Laura

    June 24, 2018

    This post evokes memories of many smokos and Bbqs in the paddocks growing up. The teapot is very similar to one my grandma had.
    Can’t beat something baked with a hot cup of tea.
    Today is baking day here. Sourdough is proving and I’m trying my hand at some cinnamon and cardamom scrolls. Lately I’ve been unadventurous in the biscuit department but those spiced ones on Katie’s blog look good so they might get a run today.
    Sadly no fire here, although it would be very welcome to ward off the canberra winter cold.
    Happy Sunday to you too Jane.
    Cheers,
    Laura

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      Stay warm in chilly Canberra Laura! Your scrolls sound delicious and just the thought of them is making me hungry.

  2. Reply

    Karen

    June 24, 2018

    Dear Jane

    Miss Carmel Plum ! How gorgeous is she and tell your daughter I think it is the most beautiful name, not just because it reminds me of a yummy cake. Thanks for these wonderful photos and recipes I am going to try the biscuits. Wishing you rain and comfortable days Jane.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment Karen. I am pleased to report that Miss Caramel Plum is getting stronger by the day.

  3. Reply

    Dani

    June 24, 2018

    Miss Caramel Plum just melted my heart! I’ll be baking soon I hope – we’ve been packing and moving so everything is in boxes but your post makes me want unpack it all this morning and just do it but I know I should just wait until we’ve moved and settled. Wish we were lighting fires… someone in how neighbourhood has been and the smell is insane!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      I hope you get to do some baking soon Dani! Thank you for calling in.

  4. Reply

    Christine

    June 24, 2018

    Dispatch to a friend is delightful. I was cooking in my kitchen on a cool summer evening listening to all of them and imagining I had stepped back to the sixties and was sitting in my grandmothers living room listening to the BBC. What a face Caramel Plum has, perfect name.
    Christine

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      Thank you Christine, what a lovely memory.

  5. Reply

    Chookyblue

    June 24, 2018

    Full on feeding here…. Gosh it’s been so long………
    Love the new chooks……

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      The end must be in sight!

  6. Reply

    kate

    June 24, 2018

    Oooh, a friend gave me Jerusalem and I don’t think I’ve cooked anything sweet from it. I can’t even remember there being biscuits so I will be taking a better look.
    You will love those biscuits. So, so morish.
    I have also just downloaded Dispatch to a Friend. I haven’t listened to any yet, but it sounds my cup of tea.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      You would love that recipe from Jerusalem. I actually love the whole book.

  7. Reply

    Sally F

    June 25, 2018

    Hi Jane, I squatted quickly in front of my laptop this afternoon to transfer money and pay bills, and here I am an hour later, warmed through by your posts. They are like balm to my sometimes frazzled soul. As we drove through Broken Hill heading west from NSW where we holidayed recently, I was imagining where you might live, which of the gates might be yours, how many of the plaque emus are on your land?? etc etc. I love these photos, the old kettle and open fires bring such a feeling of peace and wonderful memories. Thanks for the link to Dispatch to a Friend, which I’ll get to maybe later in the day. Cheers and wishes for rainfall in your area, Sally F

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      Thank you for such a generous, kind comment Sally. We have many emus on our land…and kangaroos, too many. I hope you find some time for that podcast, I think you will enjoy it. Jane

  8. Reply

    anne

    June 25, 2018

    Is your goal the ethos of Small World Bakery or delivering bread on a bicycle? Sounds a long bike ride for you!
    Hope your chooks have settled in and you’re getting some delicious fresh eggs. I’m down to one hen because the fox has taken the rest, which is very annoying. Mind you, one egg every day is much easier to cope with.
    Just getting into the season for cooking in our outdoor wood stove, though reading your posts I always wonder why we don’t use it more in the winter too.
    Ax

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 26, 2018

      The bicycle Anne! Although I do love their whole package as a business. Yes indeed, a long ride for me! I know what you mean, one fresh egg a day is sometimes just enough. So nice to hear from you, as always. x

  9. Reply

    Sally

    June 26, 2018

    PS Jane, I found the podcast and can’t thank you enough for pointing us to it.
    Well..!!! It’s quite the most beautiful piece of conversational eavesdropping on two friend’s correspondence, and the funny places they find themselves. This morning, whilst washing dishes, I’ve been in stitches over the story of the (many times used) icecream container, and almost wept when one proposed the other accompany her to Scotland. The music is divine, as are the voices of these two gorgeous women. A million thanks to you for allowing me the pleasure. XX

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 27, 2018

      My pleasure Sally, I am so pleased you enjoyed it. They get better!

  10. Reply

    Kate

    June 27, 2018

    Oh Jane, I was just reading through your post and all of a sudden I heard this big sigh over my shoulder and realised that Bren was reading along too. How beautifully you tell a story of a time, in pictures and in words. And years and years ago, when Jerusalem just came out, I tweeted a photo of my krantz cakes and Yotam wrote back to me and retweeted it. Fan girl moment!!!! xx

    • Reply

      Jane S

      June 27, 2018

      Thank you Kate, it is lovely to know that in this busy, over-crowded internet world that you (and Bren!) are following along. I would have had a fan girl moment too! Your comment just reminded me of when Jamie Oliver followed you on Insta. Amazing isn’t it? x

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