Saturday, March 25, 2017

Victoria Our Holiday Destination. Part One

We decided to finally actually use our caravan and visit family and travel the full circle from the mid north coast down the freeway via Wollongong to Bega way, then through Melbourne, back up the middle via Seymour and Bright, Henty, Berrima and Barrington Tops.
When we left it was overcast, little did we know the torrential rain and wind gusts were to follow us most of the way. Our first stop was Mungo Brush National Park in the lovely Myall Lakes.

Our First Camp Site Mungo Brush

We were also late arriving due to getting lost and missing the ferry. Àrriving at 7pm just as the sun was setting.  John also was not used to setting the van 12 volt system and took ages, just to get the fridge onto gas. By this time I was cooking sausages in the dark with a torch, which we had with bread, and boiling water for a bucket bath, to have  in the tiny 2 foot area known as the van bathroom, in the dark again. According to the head of the household going to bed at 8.30 is what you do when camping.

                             You Never Forget to Ride.

The bikes came in very handy for riding the distance to the drop loos, you never forget how to ride. The van was sorted and organized next day,  with the solar and 12 volt and we managed quite comfortably for 3 nights. It started raining day 2.

Missed Ferry

             We Overlooked This Lovely Lake

Moving on  to Ulladulla for the next 3 nights, and perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, is when the torrential rain started, as it was a bit cold when setting up we decided to put the side annexe wall up as well.

118mm later and 3 am, night 2 with 80 kph gusts had us, dismantling the annexe, the camp kitchen, and flooring all saturated, and because we are good neighbour's,  helped two ladies pull down the most complicated tent you are ever likely to see. I hung on to a rope around my waist trying to keep the thing on the ground and imgaining myself being Mary Poppins flying while holding onto the tent kite. Consequently I didn't take any photos, although John went wandering about with his camera.

You Don't See This Sign Every Day.
Stay tuned as we move on.
Till next time.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Renovating the Caravan - Part 2

Well finally I have got around to finishing off the curtains in the caravan. I ended up just covering the old ones rather than remaking, they in in a pretty good condition it was just that the colour wasn't to my taste. I wanted something bright, cheerful and something that made you feel in a holiday mode.

Bed End
Outdoor Fabric

 Fabric and Caravan  Reminder

After a great deal of fixing, sewing, glueing and sticking, it is finally coming together. The outdoor fabric is not the easiest to work with. It is quite a stiff texture and doesn't conform like a light weave would. The old fabric is an acrylic weave, with an openness to it that can be molded around cushions and ends. It has been a bit of a struggle at times.

Under the table are USB sockets which will be very handy when plugged into 240 volts. Also a couple of little cupboards for all the condiments and morning tea biscuits.

This was a J seat now much more practical.

Finally though it is finished, new floor, new curtains, new bedding, new arrangement of table, and lots of electric to improve the function of it. All set for our camping trip next month.

Beds much nicer with exta power points to plug in radio and a fan.

I can see a lot of weekends away also.

Till next time.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Day at Bellingen

My sister and I for a change took Mum to Bellingen for Morning Tea. We chose the Old Butter Factory.

Cafe Entrance
My Mum and Sister

The beauty of going here is that there are a lot of little shops. Most of them are to do with  local craft.
As this area is on most tourist lists of must see, a brilliant idea.

Window in the Woodwork Shop
Overall view of the Woodworkers Shop

Art Shop

Leather Works

There are pathways to wander around and enough greenery to soften everything.

Old machinery dotted around for interest.

Little nooks like this.

The Ugly Statue

There is even a mosaic path.

In Front of the Dress and Gift  Shop

This area is great for the children to run around in. 

I highly recommend visiting Bellingen, the shops in the main street are old worldly including another local art place The Yellow Shed,  and the cafe here has great coffee and enormous meals.

Till Next Time.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A New Homemakers Forum

The Down to Earth Simple Living Forum instigated by Rhonda Hetzel is going to close on the 16th March 2017. Rhonda has decided to close down her very popular forum after 8 years. She has written several great books on Simple Living and I would guess encouraged thousands of women to appreciate their homes, cook from scratch, stop consumerism of the latest objects, and slow down.
 I entirely agree with simplifying your life, using green products, and anything to do with a self sufficient lifestyle as best you can. Many ladies are very sad at its closure, as online friends are quite common and its a close knit community, and even some meet up regularly within their district; to have it all disappear seems such a shame.

Citrus Cleaner

It is with great pleasure though that I have been invited to moderate at  a brand new forum. Using similar principles but not carrying on where the Down to Earth forum, left off.  A brand new start. This forum is called  The Homemakers Forum, and won't be opened until after the other is closed, out of respect for Rhonda's hard work. A date is yet to be set but it will only be a few days later. You can join and be accepted but as yet, no-one can enter.

If that wasn't enough work thinking up ideas for threads and checking things were running smoothly, the Community Garden meeting is this Tuesday, so another new year for John and I in  helping that move along. So far the fence is up and several gravel paths have been laid. A Membership Drive is being formed and an opening being arranged. In the future I hope to teach what I have learned over the many years growing vegetables, preserving and making my own cleaners etc.

Cleaning time front garden.

Just a quick blog today, as you have read been a little bit busier than usual. Hope to see you on the new forum.          

Stay safe.

Till next time.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pruning Time - Apple Trees

 The apple trees were getting so high, they were starting to shade the beds too much. They also haven't been producing a lot of fruit, and the heat we are having is not helping, so to give me more time in the garden I decided to halve the height again. In the future they may come out altogether, it depends on how cold the winter is this year, as it is needed for the chill factor, even low chill like these. It was a nice overcast day and rain was hovering, but  I did a quick go on the branches, with the big loppers, then John got the chainsaw out. Now that's serious. My aim was eye height, so away he chopped.  I will tidy the trees up in a few days.

Apple trees lower and thinned.  They may come out as getting to hot to produce fruit.

 It is amazing how underneath the trees, it was very weedy, and next doors vine has crept in over them, Ivy that was on the fence had also increased. Our son lent us a chipper but it broke first go and we only recently got it fixed at $235 for the repair bill. Would have been cheaper to drop a new motor in.

Chipper and Mulch

Any way all the branches went in and I have  now a nice lot of apple mulch. We kept back a couple of logs for the smoker. John often does a ham, pork or chicken. I kept back some long thin branches to top up my twig fences.

Fence repair stock.

One of the twig fences, usually holds the gooseberry back.

After all this heat the back garden is in a real mess. I have slowly been weeding it, pulled out the corn, tomatoes, and laying on manure, lime, blood and bone and getting ready for the broccoli, broad beans, spinach, last planting of beans and sweet peas and snow peas. The nut grass is a real problem here, and my biggest hassle, chasing the nuts through the soil. Leave the clean bed for a week and it all comes back from nuts left behind that are very hard to find, being the same colour as the soil.

In desperate need of a tidying up.

I must admit it is very nice to get out early, although today had to stop due to the rain. It rained last night as well but digging away at the soil, found it was very dry. Lots more soaking rain needed.
Picked a couple of cantelope,  and cucumbers which are flourishing. Located 3 butternut pumpkins amongst the  cherry tomatoes still growing well. I am going to pull down the climbing beans and replant in the same spot after moving the soil around. How did your summer garden do this year? My sister mentioned how tired everyone seemed to be, due to the heat, I can certainly relate to that.

Looking forward to Wednesday next week as finally getting the stitches out. Also planning a getaway to relax and get over the last couple months, so busy sewing new curtains for the van as well.

 Till next time.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Melanoma Jan/Feb 2017

Well all I can say it has been an awful 6 weeks to date. The melanoma discovered by my chiropractor has finally been completely removed and cleared. 2 biopsies and then another margin clean and a skin graft. I find it hard to understand as I am usually wearing a hat when its hot, but apparently not early enough.


The anxiety, which I suffer quite readily since minding my dying father and dementia mother, arrears itself in moments like this. So as a result lack of sleep, lack of exercise after the last 2 operations, and just generally feeling very low.

The heat of these past two months, has also not helped, as it  reach up into the 38C  locally, and 41C in Canberra when we attended my niece's wedding.

I now check the UV every day as anything above 3 is time to put on the Sunscreen, the higher the better, wait 20 mins for it to soak in. Sometimes a 2nd. lot is recommended. Always wear a hat no matter what time of day, and sunglasses. It doesn't matter what country you are in the statistics are available for every country and melanomas especially are reported to the Governments. 30 - 40 yr. olds have the highest death rate due to hormones and the over 50 have the largest number found due to the longer exposure of years.

Bandage now off.

I also didn't realise you can buy SPF 50 clothing, and now waiting on an order of 2 long sleeve shirts, and a wider hat. I am not going to stop gardening, but definitely will finish by 9am. and start again after 5 if necessary. Even an umbrella might be handy to keep in the car.

So apologies to my regular readers I haven't really felt like blogging. The bandages are off, but I still wear a scarf to keep my head clean. I haven't washed my hair all this time, and Dr. says to wait till the stitches out and he has a look. That will be in another 2 weeks. There is a bandage stitched to the wound as well. So I am booked in with a nurse first week March, when I will actually be able to tell what's going on.

Just a quick update, till next time.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Plum Tree

Last year we picked so many plums  I  had to bottle them up. I still have lots left over, and I really didn't need anymore this year, so I pruned the tree drastically hoping nothing would fruit. But as with  all plum trees, fruit it did. Not too many thank goodness. It has been a horrible, hot & humid January and the last thing I wanted to do was pick fruit. So early one morning, about 7am, John and I attacked the netting on both the plum and the peachcot, which also had lots of fruit in early December , but I hadn't got around to removing the net. You can see it just at the back in this picture.

Tree from the Verandah

Altogether we picked about 22 kgs, in two varieties, of which I gave my sister 8. The red blood plums ripen the quickest and there weren't very many as quite a few had gone squishy and fallen to the ground. The few that were left I made into a 'Plum Upside Down' cake. Haven't made an upside down cake in years.

2 varieties of plums left over from the first lot I took out of the fridge for the cake.

The recipe I used was a Coles one which consisted of Self Raising Flour and Almond Meal, but I had Hazelnut Meal so I substituted that instead. I creamed the butter and sugar till it was really light as I had been watching The Great British Bakeoff all week in the air conditioned TV room, and I was thoroughly inspired. It baked beautifully.

Cooked cake

I was a bit nervous turning it out, and waited 10 mins. before I did, as recommended.

Wow looks yummy

Very pleased with the results. Lasted 3 days, and my sister came over for afternoon tea with a tub of  cream, so that was even better.


It was so nice, and very different from the usual fodder, I have decided to make another one next week with the yellow plums that are still left. They will be a bit riper.

Not only has it been a very hot and humid 3 weeks, but I have also been waiting on an appointment on Monday the 30th to have a malignant melanoma removed, on top of my head which my chiropractor picked up early Dec. I thought it was where I had bumped my head and it had just scabbed up, but by Jan. I decided to get it checked out only to have to wait 8 days for the first biopsy, and another 10 days for the Plastic surgeon to remove it complete as a large biopsy. He thinks that will be that, as its only on the surface and tiny, so hopefully I won't have to go back again unless the 2nd  pathology reading says it wasn't enough. It has been a worry.

So to all my fellow Australians, do check regularly all the spots. According to the Dr. checking with the naked eye every 3 months for any change is enough, and to get it checked if you notice any anomalies. Now you can also get a phone app that will take a photo, then when you do it again, change will be noticed. So refresh your knowledge, and be safe.

Till next time.