a good catch up and some interesting links

The school holidays are winding down in Australia and the children return to school next week. William is currently on a camp no doubt having a blast and it seems particularly quiet here with only three children home. 

Elsie has gone through leaps and bounds developmentally recently and she suddenly seems so big! She is playing better with her brothers and loves to tag along on their adventures. They help her navigate tricky terrain and do a fantastic job of looking after her. Angus and Henry are always thick as thieves during the school holidays and are both homebodies. 

We went to the local show for the first time since moving to NSW. For those who aren't familiar with a country show they happen once a year and were traditionally a place communities could get together and show off their best livestock, horse skills, working dogs, cakes, jams, preserves, flower displays, artwork, knitting, sewing and more. It's a bit of friendly competition to see who can walk away with a blue ribbon. 

These days there are rides, show bags and a sideshow alley too. The kids enjoyed the dodgem cars and a ride each but we avoided the games and show bags which consist of overpriced plastic junk that usually gets tossed in the trash after a day. Elsie got a little knitted purse and a cardigan for her doll made by the women of the CWA (County Womens Association) who give the proceeds of their stall to a well-deserving local cause. All in all, it was a lovely day out. My favourite was the milking goats with whom I spent quite a lot of time patting. Elsie thought all the different chickens were hilarious, the boys thought the demolition derby was exciting and we all enjoyed the horsemanship. The crowd favourite was a pony called Tully, who might have been small in stature but by golly, she could jump. 

I'm pleased to report that I have fully recovered from Covid now and my energy and enthusiasm has returned. Over the last couple of days, I have been thoroughly dusting and wiping over the lattice walls in the yurt. I didn't intend to do the whole yurt but I pulled a desk away from the wall to clean under it and then noticed how dusty the lattice above it was. After cleaning that small section, I noticed the rest of the walls looked revolting in comparison. (Isn't that always the case?!) 

So, I have been methodically working my way around the yurt scrubbing walls. It is slow and messy as everything needs to be moved and the lattice is tricky to clean but it's a good job done that's for sure. I should probably dust more but usually find more interesting things to do, like playing with goats! I'm also going to give William's room a once over while he is away. He left it tidy enough and usually, once a term I like to deep clean the boy's areas with them. In between those times, they do it themselves, but they don't always do it quite as thoroughly as they should. Mind you, given the state of the yurt lattice, I can't complain. 

We had a bit of a run of bad luck over the past term. Along with illness and covid, my old Suzuki finally died. We bought a second-hand Mitsubishi Pajero which was a great buy and ran well, but as I was going down our mountain the radiator hose fell off (which should never happen) and I accidentally cooked the engine. Badly. The repair was going to be as much as the car and that was if no further damage had been done, which we couldn't be sure of. So we bit the bullet and bought another second-hand Mitsubishi Pajero. 

The best car we could find in our budget was a couple of hours away, so we thought we would take the opportunity to go for a lovely country drive and visit some interesting places along the way. When we arrived to the pretty town of Guyra we inspected the car, took it for a test drive, had a yarn to the very nice fellow who was selling it and all seemed good. I managed to drive it 20kms down the road before it shuddered to a stop. 

There *may* have been cussing. 

Fortunately it was just a $50 bearing that gave way which attaches to a belt that charges the alternator. Except it was Good Friday and nothing was open, and it was raining with intermittent hail. Turns out Guyra is significantly colder then our place. We probrably should have checked BOM before we left. 

Thankfully seller was a lovely, honest man and rushed to help us get it towed to the mechanics. He then got it fixed, gave it a service and got the mechanic to give it a once over for our peace of mind even though it wasnt really due at his cost. The next week he and his friend met us partway so we could attempt to pick up the car again and thankfully this time all went smoothly. At least we metsome lovely new people and might even make it Guyra again to try and catch the snow. 

Now we have two cars to sell to a wrecking yard, neither of which will be worth much so sadly, we are out of pocket far more money than we had intended. But such is life. I am now looking for ways to tighten our belt strap. I am feeling enthusiastic and inspired by the challenge. 

On the weekend I'm going to make a fresh batch of laundry liquid. I'm not sure why I got out of the habit of making it. I use the recipe from Down To Earth by Rhonda Hetzel, but I use Sard soap which I find a little more effective for my grubby mob. While making cleaning supplies I'll also whip up a batch of soap. These products are gentler and far more natural than most of the shop-bought alternatives, especially for the price point. 

I have also noticed a few more "shortcuts" making it into my home recently. That nearly always adds extra dollars onto the shopping bill, as well as extra additives that we don't need. Have you noticed your shopping bill getting more expensive? How are you managing to trim it?

I've been trawling through the specials and bulk buys to mealplan as carefully as possible. I'm really pleased that the weather has cooled and that soups are back on the menu. I think for tonight's dinner there will be a chunky minestrone soup with some bone broth in it for extra nourishment. With the weather cooling, I'm able to use the wood oven more, which is free as we have an abundance of sustainably harvested timber from our property. 

I tend to do click-and-collect as we live a two-hour return trip from the big supermarkets and it saves me a lot of time. However, I go to an independent fruit and veg market for all our veggie needs. I buy whatever is seasonal and well-priced then work it into our meals as necessary. Midweek top-ups of milk etc are done at the IGA which is 45 minutes away and Grant usually gets it on his way home from work. 

Menu Plan

x1/x2 means I will cook enough for 1 or 2 meals


  • Cerial (wheetbix)
  • Porridge
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Toast


  • Two minute noodles (kids treat) x1
  • Simple quiche x2
  • Sandwiches x2
  • Pizza scrolls x1
  • Baked beans and toast x1


  • Minestrone soup x 2 meals
  • Pork Roast with seasonal veg x1
  • Leftover roast pork with stir-fried greens and steamed rice x1 
  • Beef stroganoff with pasta/potato and veggies x2
  • Chicken strips, home made oven chips and veggies x1


  • Popcorn
  • Banana bread
  • Musli bars
  • Anzac biscuits
  • Fruit/yoghurt
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Apple crumble

Interesting links of things I have enjoyed recently

YouTube: Amazing Life In Shoria Mountains. Russia Village Life

YouTube: A Step Saving Kitchen, 1949

YouTube: Lessons From the Great Depression | With Mary's Nest

ABC: Everyday Supermarket Phsycology Tricks

10 best ways to increase dopamine naturally


  1. The cars sounds frustrating. I have found grocery costs have increased significantly. I had to stop click and collect because I realised the prices on the website were more expensive than instore, at least at my store. I have been interested to discover that prices very between stores (even same company). The coles near my work (Fancy end of town) is much more expensive than the coles near my house (NOT the fancy end of town).

  2. I miss your thoughtful writing Emma. I do hope things are well with you and your family. I imagine with all the new projects on the farm you are just very busy with life. Take care.

  3. Hello Emma, where have you been?
    I don't always comment, but I do always read.
    It's nice following along with your efforts on the farm.
    Hope you are well.
    (jay from the Homemakers Forum)


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