Saturday, 15 April 2017

Birthday joy.

Got a year older last Wednesday. My birthday falls around Easter and therefore I am usually at Rathmines at Bible School. This year Mr Fix It has been working here doing maintenance and helping with the renovations so there was a small crowd of workers here in the day.

Breakfast in bed in our little bedsit home away from our caravan, with a tear jerker of a card and message from K. Very romantic.

Roses from one friend, rose scented candle  from another and cheerful happy birthdays all round. Some hand made tea towels I have laid over my breakfast supplies.

Treated myself to an expensive trip to the hairdressers and I now sport lovely blond streaks.

Happy birthday song from the Brisbane crew over the phone. Video messages from  Miss Five and Master 18 Month. SMS and Facebook wishes as well.

Dinner out with friends completed a wonderful day.

Feeling very blessed.

Cheers Sue
A Ferg on the Move

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The young and the older.

Youngest grandson went off to inspect the property last weekend. Toddled off down the hill toward the rams. Grandfather K (Poppy) wandered along behind just in case. At one stage the two of them were standing, hands behind their backs in matching stances as the rams stood watching them. I missed that photo.....

Then Master grabbed Poppy's hand and led him back up the hill.

Such a lovely relationship.

Cheers Sue
A Ferg on the Move

Friday, 17 March 2017

Me versus the yarn stash. A progress report.

Regular readers will remember that I declared war on the yarn stash earlier this year. So, of course, you will be waiting with keen anticipation for a progress report. I believe the score was Sue one, yarn stash too many

So the sneaky fluffy pink yarns have been tamed into this single bed spread, with only one ball left over. One up to me.

Left overs from Aunty Fay's Aztec inspired afghan  are now a smaller one ready to post to its new owner. Provided it is still wanted of course.

I tipped all the balls out onto the bed and sorted them into groups. So I have two stash busters on the go now.  Orange and beige tones. Black, cream and brown Tunisian entrelac. Both starting from the centre which is I think the safest way to use leftovers up. You can always (wait for it......) buy something to create a border if you run out of yarn before it gets to a good size,

So there's just  a small bag of greens, a bag of purples,  and some balls of green, blue and grey fluffy stuff left. Oh and the left overs from the rainbow cot blanket. As well as a random ball or two of white, and some bits and ends.

I haven't bought a ball of yarn for weeks........

Current score Sue three, yarn stash a bit more. Bag of finished but homeless afghans growing. Funny how the finished product takes up more room than the balls of yarn.

Cheers Sue

A Ferg on the Move


A little farm romance. A wool tail.

Here's a little tale about romance on the farm.
Once upon a sunny autumn day a ewe spied some likely looking rams over the paddock fence.  
Now it is not breeding time yet but a girl should get to know the potential men in her life.
Two prospects, no three even. I wonder which one she will choose.
This one seems the best. Nose kisses and cuddles through the fence
These two lovers kept me entertained as I did my dishes, washed some clothes and tidied up. She moved away from him coyly every time I went outside the caravan, and nosed up to him when I was out of sight. Good thing the fence is sturdy!
Cheers Sue
A Ferg on the Move

FW: Autumn off grid

So I am finally somewhere with internet viable enough to post a blog. I wrote this post last week. Bit out of date now but here goes anyway

I caught this rainbow as I drove down the drive way into the farm.

K has been away in Newcastle and with the Crookwell lot both not able to drive (complications from surgery and a horse squashed foot) it has fallen to me to be onsite dog feeder, and keep the water up to the rams. Being on my own has tested how easy our off -grid set up is for me to manage. K does all of the heavy lifting normally so I admit to being a bit apprehensive about how I would go.

Don't tell K but I forgot I had set the pump up to transfer water from the shed rainwater tank to the caravan tanks and went down the hill to feed the dogs. Good thing the caravan storage was empty and the 12volt pump slow cos there was water running out and under the annex when I made it back up. Not sure how much I wasted. I pride myself on being careful with the water so I was I bit red faced!

(As I post this it has rained recently so the rainwater tank will be topped up again but still....)

Woke up one morning to find water all over the floor, a sure sign that the gas bottle that runs our  caravan fridge and the water heater was empty and the frdge had defrosted all over my floor..  So I popped outside to the caravan front boot and carefully switched the gas over to the reserve bottle. Sprayed the connection with detergent to check for leaks and swanned back in to relight the fridge. Press the button, click the lighter. Not working. There is a little gauge that tells you the thing has lit and it didn't even flicker. Our fridge is getting on in years and has a habit of  the pilot light not relighting. Goes for weeks without a problem and chooses to play up when there is no Mr Fix It in sight. Typical. I wonder if it is related to the ute, whose door locks only ever refuse to open for me.

Now Mr fix It does some mysterious banging when this happens. (The fridge not lighting I mean. Banging in the ute could you yelled at.)  It entails taking off the outside cover of the fridge and doing 'stuff". So I thumped out of the van and around the back to the vent with my trusty butter knife in hand (just the correct size to flick open the catch) pulled off the cover to find a maze of pipes and wires. A flick here and a tap there and a few Mr Fix It like huffs. Tromped back inside. Held down the gas button and press the lighter and up she came. The pretty little indicator bar flew up into the "well lit" section of the gauge. Now truthfully I have no idea what magical thing I did but the fridge liked my spell weaving so who am I to complain.

There are two gas bottles in the front of the van  and we have two spares that are supposed to be kept full. In the mad dash to get back up to Newcastle K didn't get to fill the two empties and I just "knew" that the reserve bottle was not very full.

The nice man at the service station fills them so I dragged two empties out and stashed them in the car. Left them in his tender care and came back the next day to resume custody. They were too heavy when full for me to lift into the back of the ute. I caused a few grins when I tenderly belted them into the back seat next to the granddaughters booster seat for the trip home. Unsealed road you know.

Given my luck you will not be surprised to read that the gas ran out again at night.... Picture me with a torch in my mouth, spanner in one hand, a gas connection in the other, trying not to cross thread the thing as I did it up.  Darn thing kept leaking gas. So turn off the gas, transfer fridge goods to the 12volt travel fridge and tackle it all in the morning.  After a couple of goes and lots of detergent spraying in daylight I got a sealed connection and reenacted my fridge lighting routine.  And lit the water heater for a well earned shower.

The rain must be on the way. This little echidna was crossing the road.
 All joking aside I have been pleased to find that the setup is quite manageable for me. Some things are hard work and heavy. True. But ok. The solar panels and batteries performed really well. Once or twice I thought I might need the generator. And I guess if there had been a few days running of really grey skies I might have had to work out how to start it. Not a job I have done before. That would make a really good blog post!  The autumn weather was kind to me, batteries charged, lights, pump, freezer and coffee machine all ran perfectly..

K has worked cleverly to make this possible and it is gratifying to find that the free camping set up is really stable.

We are hoping to take the whole lot on the road this year again. And try out a few outback camping spots along the way.


All along the side of the roads here are "wild" fruit tress.
Cheers Sue
A Ferg on the Move

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Off grid in a caravan. Some musings about cooking

When I utter the words "We live in a caravan," I can see people's minds going. They are fascinated by the mechanics of daily living in a tiny space. When I go the next step and mention that we are currently off grid as well, then questions erupt. Bathroom, cooking, power, clothes washing.... But I have been thinking lately about what things I really appreciate having here in the caravan what we have stashed that we really could manage without and what more travel weight we could discard.

We have over the years collected some things and discarded others. There are a lot less of what once would have been essentials in my cupboards. And probably much more to discard when K is not looking. The longer we spend off grid, rather than attached to town electricity and water the less I utensils I use.

So to answer the cooking question .... Top of the list has to be the BBQ. Oven and cook plate in one package. Next has to be my coffee pod machine. Runs on the inverter. Followed by my coffee plunger for essential beverage production on grey sky days. Kettle to boil water. On second thoughts maybe coffee making first and BBQ second. We can always make a sandwich.
While I still have a full set of saucepans, which are still in the drawer cos K bought them specially on our first caravan trip, most days I get out either one medium pot or the fry pan the same size. I have a lid that fits both.
For larger jobs I choose a 26cm square fry pan with a lid and detachable handles. Two square light weight metal tins complete the regularly used things.

 I manage most stove top meals in one pan these days. Stove top pot roasts with vegies, stir fries and casseroles. I cook my meat in the pan and pop vegies with a bit of liquid and season in tin foil to steam. Either lazy or very clever. Not sure which.    

 Ditch the rest of the saucepans and free up a drawer I reckon. Plenty of tin foil, cling wrap and baking paper and I'm set.

Our outside kitchen consists of the BBQ and my portable two burner cook top. The BBQ doubles as my oven and the aforementioned saucepan, large fry pan sans handles and my loaf pan are my bake ware.  I double line the pan and use it for cakes and bread. The square saucepan is good for scones, homemade fries, and baked meat. I wrap things in tin foil and pop them alongside or in the pan.

Simple really.

Cheers Sue

Grandma duty.

Home made yogurt, stewed apples from a tree somewhere up the back of the farm and the first ripe wild blackberries for the season. I make a good breakfast.

I have been off air for a week or two. Family things filling our time. Both of the Crookwell farmers are out of action so Grandma is on school run and dog feeding duty. K is working elsewhere so I am solo in the caravan for a week or two.
Miss Nearly Five has just started school and the drive to school each morning is very exciting. Every truck, bike and animal on the way is commented on. Today the white horse was closer to the fence. The yellow truck was on the road in front of us and two boys were riding bikes. She waves at the dog walkers and stops to pick up leaves and things on the pathway into school.

Yesterday I was given a tiny yellow flower and told that I was her favourite grandma, which made me very proud. (To put that in perspective...Nanna is her favourite nanna, Mummy is her favourite mummy, Poppy is her favourite poppy.... you get the idea. )
The favourite day of the week is Tuesday. After school gymnastics in a local hall.

The school entered an art work of Miss Nearly Five's in the Crookwell show. She came first in her age. Very proud relatives indeed. It was apparently a rainbow in the car mirror!

Master One Year Old learned to walk while we were away after Christmas. He is now confidently getting around. He has also worked out how to open things and most importantly to insist on being lifted up for a cuddle. Melt your heart it does. He is a constant source of amusement. And boy can he move fast! And empty a plastics cupboard at lightening speed. His favourite thing, while we are on the subject, is to walk around with a sachet of his favourite baby custard in each hand.

So solo caravan off grid...... The power is good. Solar panels doing well in the sunlight. So morning coffee under control. Hot water for shower ok. I had to have a refresher in how-to switch the gas bottles over when they run out. Will have to empty the toilet cassette and pump water in from the rain water tank sometime soon. Ok with the second task not so happy about the first.

Cheers Sue