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 Bit out of date now but here goes anyway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










 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Family sheep business




Last weekend it was time for the lambs to get their next lot of inoculations. Our daughter called it "mother's and babies checkup". Truly it was a family affair.
Presiding over the proceedings was Miss Nearly Five, who can be seen above bringing the mob in. Miss Nearly Five is very comfortable around the sheep. And she is already knowledgeable about farm things. Great life for a kid.
Master One Year Old gave verbal advise from the arms of who ever was holding him at the time. That is when he wasn't playing in his pen or recovering from his hard work in his bed.

The big boss, our son-in-law was still a bit crook after surgery so he inhabited the supervisor in chief's chair, getting up to weigh a lamb here and there. (They are putting on weight nicely)

Racing around lifting, dragging, injecting and sorting were K, Aunty J, Uncle W and neighbour Zeb. And doing an enormous amount of work, including some crutching was our daughter. She looked quite professional with a lamb on the boards and shearing gear in her hand.

I was on baby watching duty.

Ewes and lambs were mustered, drafted, treated for any sign of flies. Lambs were injected, ear tagged and drenched, sprayed and crutched if necessary. Mothers and babies were united and moved out to the paddock. Dust, noise, ( believe me you haven't heard noise until you have been near a couple of hundred ewes calling for their individual baby among a couple of hundred lambs) heat, flies, in fact all the elements of a summer day around sheep.
 
The catering for these weekends of farm work is always impressive. Brownies with our cuppas, baked potatoes with all the fixings for dinner and a BBQ lunch with brioche buns and salad.


Silly  me forgot to take any photos so these amazing ones are courtesy of Master One Year Old and Miss Nearly Five's Aunty J who kindly gave me permission to use them. Good thing cos the pictures make the post I reckon.

Life is good.

Cheers Sue

A Ferg on the Move.


Window in the shed. Mr Fix It triumphs again.

This window left over from renovations in Brisbane travelled back with us just before Christmas. A great example of family contributing to K's collection of very useful stuff.
 Yesterday I popped my head into the shed attracted by the sound of metal shrieking to find K balanced on the arm of the old lounge and the step ladder creating a hole in the back wall of our little shed lounge room.
Soon the hole was finished and I got enlisted to help manoeuvre the window into the gap. (Lots of huffs are needed to make a window fit a hole).
Soon the thing was in. And I have to admit the increase in light as well as the air flow is very welcome.
Some screws to secure it and grey silicon to seal it and it looks like there was always a window in that spot.

Then K went hunting for the curtain and fixings we took out of the caravan front window when he put in the blind and like magic....no money spent......we have a front and back window with matching curtains. (The front window has spare caravan curtains as well)


Ok we did buy the bits for a fly screen today and he has to put the cladding in around the corner but I reckon that is a great Mr Fix It project.

Good job! And thanks kids.

Cheers Sue

A Ferg on the Move