Winter At Home

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Hello friends. I am wondering if anyone is still reading, I am hoping there are still a few people out there.

As I wander through winter, life is good and we are safe and healthy but I am missing the usual highlights that are normally scattered through our year. No visits to or from family who live interstate. No community horse or farming events. No weekends away that might involve a market visit or breakfast in a café. The list of things that are cancelled or on hold is long and tedious.

Wont it be nice to travel again? In the meantime I am always looking for joy in the small things, particularly in the winter months.

Homemade sausages cooked in the paddock just before our eldest headed back to boarding school for Term 3. I love these times when the light is pretty and we are away from the mess and distractions of the house. I even managed to get on the other side of the camera.

I have cooked my first batch of Afghan biscuits. I omitted the chocolate icing as I felt they were rich enough. These are beautiful, sturdy biscuits and are sure to become a regular in our kitchen.

Steve Cumper’s food page in Country Style magazine is a favourite and I have recently made Steve’s homemade spinach pasta. I used kale, spinach and small beetroot leaves from the veggie patch and served it with slow cooked lamb shanks. Hearty winter food just as it should be. Another simple recipe to add to my regular collection.

With the main horse rider back at school I have been visiting the horse team with the occasional treat. I love their dusty aroma and soft noses but really they are only interested in the treats.

For years we have had an old piano in our living room. It is a treasure but doesn’t have particular sentimental value to us and I felt as if it had become a big, heavy dust collector. So, one day when we had some strong men in the house we put it into storage. Suddenly the entire room felt lighter, brighter and more spacious. In fact, the whole world felt a little lighter. I am slowly giving the extra space a makeover, starting with an obligatory indoor plant. The piano is free to a good home, pick up only.

On the subject of makeovers I have been searching the internet for a special wool blanket. It is a slippery slope as there are so many woolly choices. Eventually it came down to this one from Grampians Goods Co. I chose it for the traditional tartan look but I also felt as if the colours reflected our landscape; soft blues, greens and a touch of red. Too much thought for a simple blanket purchase perhaps?

I have watched five tiny puppies become silent and cold as their first time mum wrestled with becoming a first time mum. Thankfully one survived.

I have planted an orange tree and some grapevines.

I have listened to teenage angst and teenage happiness down the phone line.

I have watched the kids doing simple things in the kitchen; testing pasta, chopping fruit, making jelly, pastry and homemade dipping sauce. I hope they remember these little skills along the way.

What is happening at your place? Stay safe, wherever you are.

Happy Sunday, friends x

August 16, 2020

42 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kerrie Wall

    August 2, 2020

    Isn’t it good to give spaces a makeover. We are currently looking for a new property to move to and it feels a bit stagnant as we have sold where we are living now, so we have no projects going on. So I’m going through the whole house and having a big clean out of things that we do and don’t need anymore. So refreshing.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      I agree Kerrie, it is refreshing. Good luck with finding your new home!

  2. Reply

    Trudie

    August 2, 2020

    First time commenting, but have been reading your blog for 5 years. I enjoy my quiet moments reading your blog, marvelling at your bread and vegetable garden. The beautiful wholesome food you’ve posted over the years. I dearly love the red landscape and for a few slight minutes feel at home and rejuvenated. Please continue to post, I do so enjoy your blog!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thank you Trudie, so kind of you! I appreciate you calling in.

  3. Reply

    Helen

    August 2, 2020

    Just want you to know people are definitely still reading. I always love your blog posts. They encourage me to notice the smaller things in my world that make me happy. Hope you are getting the rain you need and that travel to your family will be a possibility soon. We are in country WA with a 23 year old son working in the Torres Straight Islands so I know how you feel!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Hello Helen, lovely to hear from you. Wow..the Torres Straight Islands, I hope your son is staying safe. Perhaps he is in the best place under current circumstances. It will be nice to reunite with our families wont it?

  4. Reply

    Fran

    August 2, 2020

    Yours is my favourite blog. I look forward so much to your calm, peaceful words (of course I’m aware your life isn’t always calm and peaceful). I am sure there are many like Trudie and myself who don’t comment but who look forward greatly to more stories of your life in the “Big Red”.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thanks Fran, I appreciate your kind words! Lovely of you to call in.

  5. Reply

    toph

    August 2, 2020

    Dear Jane
    I always enjoy your blog updates .. as I am so far away from home as I knew it .. thailand is sooo hot 🥵 most of the time this year a shocker or I’ve just got old .. I too lost a friend last week .. my dog was 15 years n 2 months a very sad loss 😞
    Your photos are beautiful n those cookies look yummy 👀
    Take care n beat wishes
    Keen on making us all interested in something other than Corona or Covid
    Best wishes from thailand 🇹🇭
    tophie

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thanks Toph, so sorry about your dog, heartbreaking isn’t it? Stay safe.

  6. Reply

    Bronwen

    August 2, 2020

    do so enjoy your posts.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thank you!

  7. Reply

    Chookyblue

    August 2, 2020

    The fun busters have cancelled all joy in life. It’s just work out sleep. I did have a wonderful time seeing on zoom with friends around the globe yesterday….. Have to find new fun things in life.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Yes, I agree Chooky, we are in strange times aren’t we? Stay safe, thanks for calling in.

  8. Reply

    Anne

    August 2, 2020

    Hi Jane. Still reading and looking forward to your posts, which never disappoint. Like you, we’re focussing on the good stuff and accepting that life is different.
    You have some funny looking horses in Australia!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thanks Anne, yes, trust a goat to sneak in on the photo opportunity! x

  9. Reply

    Kate

    August 2, 2020

    I do so love reading your posts Jane. I love your photos and stories of your life in the Outback. I have never been to Australia but my childhood had horses and dust and golden hues with dryness and sometimes red too, boarding school and savored trips into town, albeit in Africa. I’m still here, living in a dictatorship spiraling out of control at the moment and life is quite surreal some days! So I treasure the retreats into others relative normality more than usual at present. I will definitely keep reading if you feel up to posting:-)

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thank you for calling in Kate. How is the COVID 19 situation in Africa? I have heard very little reported on the news from your part of the world. Your life story sounds very interesting. Stay safe.

  10. Reply

    Karen

    August 2, 2020

    Love your posts Jane! Beautiful photos and words, will try those afghans. Thank you!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thank you Karen, the biscuits are worth a try!

  11. Reply

    Ewe beauty

    August 2, 2020

    Still look forward to your blog and fabulous photos Jane ……you have a knack for capturing the simple life !
    And I do enjoy the dialogue, well done and don’t give up , it’s very entertaining xxxx

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thanks Trish! xx

  12. Reply

    Marie

    August 3, 2020

    Hello Jane, It’s always a sweet time to read your messages and look at your photos from the other side of the world. It reminds me to look at the beauty of each moment, each light, each thing to nourish me in anticipation of more difficult moments. Thank you.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thank you for calling in Marie, I appreciate it.

  13. Reply

    Heidi

    August 3, 2020

    We so do read you blog! I love reading the little snippets from Australia. Reminds me of when I went travelling there, over 20 years ago now! OMG, that’s a lifetime when you see it like that, but it seems it was only a few years ago. I especially love your photo’s. Lots of love from Ireland!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thank you Heidi, I would love to visit Ireland, I wonder if we will ever get the opportunity to travel overseas again?

  14. Reply

    Jenny

    August 3, 2020

    Still reading. And making cumquat jelly this week. My daughter is in ‘locked down’ Melbourne, on her own. We haven’t seen her since Christmas and we try not to worry too much.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thinking of you Jenny, I hope your daughter is safe. My mum is in Adelaide and with the border closures we haven’t seen her since January. Time is just marching on and I just don’t know where it will all end? I can almost smell the cumquat jelly in your kitchen. Take care.

  15. Reply

    Elise

    August 3, 2020

    I’m still reading 🙋 I look forward to your blog posts. Will have to try the Afghan biscuit recipe too.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      They are good Elise, worth a try!

  16. Reply

    Kate

    August 3, 2020

    I’m a blog reader and lover from way back, rarely comment though. Thanks for sharing your part of the world, I’m in Tassie so quite different scenery and surrounds.
    Those biscuits look good, I try not to bake much now all the children are gone because I eat too many, but gosh it’s good to have a nice bikkie with a cuppa.
    Cheers Kate

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 3, 2020

      Thanks for calling in Kate, I dream of exploring Tassie one of these days!

  17. Reply

    Brandy-lee Shannon

    August 4, 2020

    Always looking forward to your well crafted words, stunning pictures and yummy recipes Jane. We swapped the reds of the desert uplands near Aramac-Pentland in central Qld for the stunning green and muted yellow between Proserpine and Bowen last January and I’ve been enjoying yours and Mr Shady Baker’s Instagram posts as well. Luckily in Northern Qld we are COVID free and praying to stay that way with our limited resourced rural hospitals. A few years of terrible droughts and isolation already equiped us for these lonelier times, but I do so feel for the people that have never had to experience it. Especially when having to remotely help their children with schooling. We can all look forward to when we can attend a campdraft or a bush race meet with dear friends and family. I wouldn’t even complain about horse sports if I must be delegated to coax and drag an unwilling fat pony around an obstacle course for the babes. Stay safe

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 4, 2020

      Thank you for calling in Brandy-lee and for your kind words! I hope your part of the world remains COVID free. Yes, we are looking forward to getting back into some horse sports, I underestimated what a big part of our social life these events make up! Take care.

  18. Reply

    Sally Pittman

    August 6, 2020

    A lovely read Jane! – after looking up your delicious soup recipe again from your last post!!

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 7, 2020

      Thanks for calling in Sally. I am pleased you had success with that recipe. Great soup weather here today with a maximum of 8 degrees and beautiful rain on the roof. Have a lovely weekend!

  19. Reply

    Kate

    August 7, 2020

    What a warming winter picture you paint with your words. Having a safe place to call home and gather your family close is such a luxury in these times.

    I don’t think it’s too much thinking for a blanket. I have two Onkaparinga blankets that were my grant aunts. I’ve repaired a rent in one but I suspect they’ll last many more generations and are thrown over our beds every winter. I am thinking of buying a blanket like this for every one of our adult children. A good blanket never goes to waste.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 8, 2020

      Thanks Kate. I think giving a beautiful blanket as a gift is perfect and as you said should last many generations. A few years ago I snapped up a perfect orange, checked Onkaparinga in an op-shop…it is the only one I have ever seen in an op-shop. Stay warm and safe. x

  20. Reply

    KateW

    August 11, 2020

    Jane,
    I think you have heard it loud and clear – we are here and reading and loving it! I too enjoy your posts – so do keep them coming – sentimental, soppy, practical and pragmatic – it is all about life lived well – under all sorts of conditions but we are in it together – so keep up the posts knowing that your words bring us joy. Stay safe.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 15, 2020

      Thank you so much Kate, lovely to hear from you.

  21. Reply

    Amanda

    August 25, 2020

    What a beautiful surprise to discover my blanket on your gorgeous blog – such a stunning photo of it too… I hope you’re in love with it 🙂

    Amanda xx
    The Grampians Goods Co.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      August 26, 2020

      Thank you Amanda, yes I am very happy with it! x

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