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Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Warm Glow


Having an older home adds another element to the housework routine-
Polishing!
In addition to the rolling monthly/quarterly routine of windows, skirtings, cobwebs I have added polishing. 


The door fittings, window fittings and even some light fittings are brass.


We have always had a big silverware polishing day in the weeks before Christmas but all the extra brass and copper requires a quarterly routine. By doing it regularly it prevents tarnish building up and keeps it a relatively quick job.


I actually quite like polishing.
I love the satisfaction as the shine is revealed.
I even like the smell of polishing.
Perhaps I wouldn't have enjoyed it 200 years ago without the benefits of modern conveniences like vacuum cleaners and washing machines that make light of our chores these days.


Nothing nicer than a warm golden glow about the house on mid-winter days.
And waxing.....
did I mention waxing......

"Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens..."



Monday, June 13, 2016

Pumpkin Fruit Cake


This fruit cake recipe I'm about to share with you is perfect for this time of year; it uses only two eggs (most chooks being off the lay) and pumpkin which is in glut now. For this recipe I choose a QLD blue which is a dryer style pumpkin and the rest of it I will use up roasting.


The pumpkin gives the cake moistness and a lovely golden colour. You only need a cup of mash. Just cook it up and mash it without any butter or anything else.


This cake is cooked for about 1 1/2 hours at 150C so choose a good tin and line with paper. You don't have to be as fastidious as when making traditional fruit cakes. This favourite tin of mine is quite thick and I lightly grease and simply pop an old pound butter paper in the bottom to line. 


This is great-grandma Murray's recipe and the only addition I make is grated fresh nutmeg - Mmmm goes so well with pumpkin. I'll write out the recipe below in metric also


Cool in the tin before turning out and store in a cool airtight container for a week. Use your own favourite combo of mixed dried fruit. 
I have in mind that I just might try this recipe next time substituting the pumpkin for mashed quince instead....

Pumpkin Fruit Cake

1 cup of mashed pumpkin
250g castor sugar
250g butter
2 eggs
2 tabs golden syrup
2 cups of Self Raising flour
500g mixed fruit
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (optional)









Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mid Life and A Crisis


I'm midway on the path of life!
Last weekend, I turned 50 and although it was intended to be low-key and quiet it turned out to be quite eventful.


It was the weekend of the Campbell Town show. Founded in 1838, it is the longest running show in Australia. Plenty of agricultural displays along with wood chopping, dog trials, horsemanship, whip cracking....


And LOTS of sheep, fleece judging, shearing competitions, yarn bombing, knitting and wool corporation fashion parades. This area was built on sheep and still remains a key part of the community today.


Tasmanian Fisheries had a great interactive educational set up for the youngsters too.
With two grandsons in tow, the hours were filled and fun. There's nothing like looking through the eyes of the young, and a fitting way to celebrate the onset of midyears.


The rain held off for the show but the next day it poured...
and poured....
and a king tide hit and the swollen rivers couldn't escape fast enough.
Massive flooding hit Tasmania and it rivalled the worst not seen since 1920 but the millions spent on flood levies around Launceston and the town of Longford proved to be well worth the cost. The worst was held back but unfortunately other areas experienced disaster. 


Thanks for all the messages and well wishes and concern. We stayed high and dry and we pray for those still missing.

And through all the highs and lows of the weekend, just as he has been in life, one of my best friends flew down to surprise me. It was the best birthday wish come true.

"Into each life, some rain must fall
But if the storm becomes too much for you all 
Don't be afraid to enter my life
I will be there when you call me."
(Lyrics from "Call Me" Style Council)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Yarn Tour 2016


I love this pattern so much I'm going to make one in every size. It comes in a boy and a girl version and can be perused, purchased and downloaded here $6.50USD.
The body is knit in the round until the arms and then split and worked front and back with a sew at the shoulders. 

 
I was being very frugal and using up scrap so ran out of the lighter coloured wool for the sleeves. In the pattern the sleeves are in the same design as the body however I chose to go a bit plainer using up the wool I had and I don't mind this version at all. You can find my project notes here on Ravelry.


I'm getting the posse together again and we are doing another yarn tour Tasmania on 16th July. We will be touring from Launceston to Hobart with a stop at historical Ross on the way down and then into The Lucky Ewe in Oatlands on the way back. Everyone is welcome but we are limited to coach numbers so it's first in with payment to secure your booking. Please feel free to contact me via comments or email this page or our facebook events page in the link above.

You can find our event page here and keep up to date with the info and shenanigans. This year we have yarn enthusiasts joining us from QLD and Victoria! 


Thursday, May 19, 2016

An Autumn Country Luncheon


I enjoyed a very special luncheon with "the girls" today. A belated house warming with my mum and a couple of her friends. They have been special amigos for many decades now since their nursing days and I feel very privileged to be included in their social calendar several times a year. 


It was lovely to be finally sufficiently unpacked enough to set a fine table.
They arrived with a bottle of Moet champagne and we toured the house and celebrated hard work and good country living.


Again, I failed you with photos!
For mains we had chicken pot pies and leafy salad.
The recipe is here
Mum is vegetarian, so instead, hers was caramelised mushroom and leek with a vermouth (Noilly Prat) and yellow mustard seed reduction. This was then enfolded into a white sauce and "pot pied"


I wanted the dessert to incorporate some of the last ruby rhubarb from the garden and I also fancied using sago; something nostalgic and oft overlooked. A quick google and I found this stunning recipe idea from Katrina Kanetani,

Instead of rosemary, I infused the panna cotta  with bay leaf. I took a short cut with the jelly and chose a packet of "strawberry and cream" from the cupboard. Several components that came together for a visual delight and interesting flavour combinations. The tart rhubarb, soft woody bay tones in the creamy panna cotta and the elderflower cordial infusing the sago, divine! I learnt a lot and it has given me some inspiration for trying some different combos with citrus and quince.





Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dry


Drying clothes becomes a bit of an obsession for most Tasmanian families in the winter.
We line dry at every opportunity but because the daylight hours are so reduced, the washing must be brought in and "finished off" on drying racks, even on sunny days. As the sun sets in the winter here, the air quickly becomes chill and damp.


And on consecutive wet days....
When visiting, a common phrase upon greeting is"Excuse the washing...",
but by bringing it in we take advantage of the heating that is already in use rather than spending extra money using a dryer.


Now-a-days most people have collapsible white plastic coated wire hangers. Super portable and easily tucked away but not designed for significant weight and they collapse readily when trying to manoeuvre them.
I'm fortunate to have acquired a couple of vintage ones. They are a bit larger but certainly much more able to hold outer clothing. I'm not sure what wood this one is made from but it is time for a bit of wax! It folds up neatly and when extended to it's full spread it is locked in place by the angle cuts of it's "elbows". A really great design and maximises the space.
Solid rails are fitted and joints are strongly hinged.


The other one is an extremely simple style that concertinas together and stretches out with simple top and bottom rails. A pair of damp shearing dungas are quite heavy and this is perfect for the job.

We use electric heating and the clothes usually dry overnight. The electric dryer is seldom used but handy for linen wash days and the shearer's singlets.
A typical wash day for the shearer in winter is 2 or 3 pairs of dungas (thick pants especially designed for shearing), 6-8 singlets, 4 thermal long sleeve tops, 2-3 pairs of socks and 2-3 bath towels. He is constantly changing wet soaked garments all day to stay dry and warm.

I remember when the children were babies and toddlers. Going through several changes each day meant we constantly had ladened wire racks in the winter. Another good place I found to dry some smalls was on racks over the hot water cylinder. One of my neighbours had her husband rig up some pulleys and ropes on the ceiling so she could hoist up a drying rack to dry in the warm air near the ceiling like she did back in Scotland.
Care should be taken though. Never place washing directly onto a heater. Take care not to place too close to a heat source for fear of scorching and starting a fire and be mindful to keep washing out of "falling reach" near a fire place. Have patience and turn regularly and take advantage of as much sunlight as possible.

How is this oh so mundane but essential job done in your neck of the woods?


Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Cottage Hospital




Here is the story of the cottage across the road. This was the very first original hospital in Campbell Town. The research I have done is sketchy and sources are a little contradictory, especially on exact dates but I imagine this cottage was built in around 1835-1840?


It seems that it was leased for a hospital from about 1850 until 1859 when another larger site was sought. The hospital was then located on Bridge St till it burnt down in 1888 and the patients were then transferred to a new building in High St further up the town and this is still the site today.


The basic layout is very similar to our home and has been very tastefully restored. The house sits alongside Johnson's Creek and has in the past been subject to flooding so the floors were quite buckled and had to be sanded to create a flat even surface again. They are still the original Georgian planks and made from Blackwood so they have a very dark character as the name suggests with golden veins. They remind me of peering into a dark forest where the sun penetrates in shafts and one glimpses the golden glowing richness of a tiger in the depths.

2009 Before Restoration

The original six paned windows are charming and I wish ours were still the same. A newer staircase to the attic also makes access much easier than our ladder-like climb and it was probably used for staff quarters. Below stairs are another four rooms with 6ft clearance and these rooms were probably used for stores and of course as a morgue. 

THE TASMANIAN ARCHIVE AND HERITAGE OFFICE. NO PH30-1-1138

Here is an early rough sketch of Campbell Town Tas. not properly to scale but close and you get the idea. The date is unknown but it is definitely post 1855 as it shows the Red Bridge in use and Kean's Brewery on the corner close to the bridge. 

**********************************************
Resources
"A History Of Campbell Town" Compiled by Geoff Duncombe
"Campbell Town ...On Elizabeth" by Walter B. Pridmore
The Campbell Town Facebook page
Great Australian Secret page "Discover Tasmania's History"
Some images also sourced from a Domain listing 2009

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