I thought it was about time I did another Down on the Farm Update, as it has been quite a while since the last one.

It is summer here and the land has really browned off.  We have had some rain this past week (over an inch) and there is some green pick starting to show up in the paddocks.

We have our piglets in a feed lot in our cattle yards, and they are growing really well.  There are some with names such as “sausage”, “prosciutto”, “smokey” and our favourite “spit”.

IMG_0760We have sold a few and another couple are sold awaiting collection, but there will be plenty left to butcher for us.  The last sausages we made were such a success we will probably do these again.

We keep our big pigs, 3 sows and a boar out in the crop paddock and they are enjoying being out there.  When they are big they don’t crawl through fences, so they are content where they are.  Two of the sows are due to have piglets any day now.

IMG_0761Here is my husband with one of our milking cows.  We are feeding them a mixture of oaten and wheat hay and this really keeps them milking well. We milk once a day and each cow is averaging about 10 litres a milking.  We then let them out for the day for them to feed their calves and then lock them up again at night with the calf still in the paddock.

IMG_0776My husband really enjoys milking them and he always gets more milk when he does it.  Most of the milk goes to the piglets, we use some for our cheese making and for use in the house and the cats get a little bit as well.

We are wanting to put in more fruit trees this Autumn and the picture below shows the area where they are going to go.  The pigs and dairy cows have been in there and have eaten it right down so it is almost time to plough it up before the green growth starts coming back.


We had planted fruit trees the first year we moved in but didn’t realize how wet it was, so we did lose a few. This new area is right next to the old area and we will join them up and hopefully have nice mowed grass between the rows.  We want to put in berries as well this year and will have them in this area so they will be fenced off and protected from wandering stock.


We have a couple of different plum trees and they are both laden with fruit. I am looking forward to them being my next preserving project.


That’s my update for now – more to come later.

We have lots of plans and ideas and we are excited to see how it all plays out.

Hope your farm/homestead is going well and you are enjoying the fruits of your labour.





Our aquaponics system has been up and running for about 2 months now and things are going good, and not so good.

The fish are going really well and the new ones arrived with no problems and are settling in well and seem to be growing.  We have placed them into a smaller drum so as to not loose them in the big system.  We lost a couple after they went up the outlet pipes and came out onto the garden beds, but that problem has been rectified and they are going well.

You can see the shadow of the fish in the bottom of the drum. There are a couple of yabbies in their as well.
Here is one of the Silver Perch fish in the net.

Below is a picture of one of our tomato plants that is going well.  It has one tomato on it and it is growing but the plant doesn’t seem to have grown too much in the last month.  It seems to be putting all of its energy into the growth of the fruit.

IMG_0619[1]The capsicum plants have capsicums on them but the plants are struggling at the moment.   We have had a couple of 40 degrees celcius days here and it has been very windy.  They seem to be dropping their bottom leaves but the actual fruit is still growing.


We have been told that the system takes about 4 months to really get up and running.  The fish have to get bigger so their manure out put is bigger and this will help the vegetables grow better.

Our strawberry plants are struggling also, a lot of the green growth has died off but there are still green shoots so we are hoping that they continue to struggle on and then start growing some more.


We planted a heap of cucumbers but all but one of them has died. This is somewhat disappointing but we have to remind ourselves that it is early days yet and the system is still getting going.


We have some yabbies in the tanks as well and we enjoyed a feed of them at Christmas time.  Our neighbour generously let us catch yabbies from his dam to put in our system.  We still have quite a few yabbies in the tanks and they are growing well.

My husband just found some with eggs, so they are breeding and this is exciting.  He has moved the yabbies with eggs to a separate container so we can keep an eye on how it goes.

Here are the eggs under the tail of the yabby.
 We also found a local eel farmer and he gave us some eels to put in as well.  We have one left and also enjoyed a meal of smoked eel over New Years.  My husband smoked them for 10 hours in his hot smoker.

When we plant vegetable seedlings in the system we need to wash any dirt off the roots and then plant them.  We can’t have dirt going through the system.

Some lettuce plants planted over a week ago.

We hope to go to our local nursery and get some more overgrown vegetables that they can’t sell.  These seem to do well in the system because they are bigger and have a few more reserves.

We will cover the area and turn it into a hot house in a month or so when the summer heat is over and Autumn kicks in.

Stay tuned for the next update where I will hopefully be able to show you how everything is starting to grow better.




My wonderful husband and No 2 son (also wonderful) gave me a gift voucher from one of our kitchen ware stores in town for Christmas.

I admit I found it hard to figure out what to get but I finally decided on an electric slicer for meat and bread and a ice cream machine. Everyone was happy with the second purchase and we have been enjoying using it immensely, especially in the warm weather.

I started just making the basic vanilla ice cream and then a chocolate one but then decided an apple crumble could be nice – and guess what?? I was right!!!


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/8 cups raw sugar
  • 3 cups thickened cream
  • 1 cup stewed apple
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • enough olive oil to blend together


Using a stick blender mix the milk with the raw sugar until sugar has dissolved.  Stir in the thickened cream and the stewed apple.

I used stewed apple from last years preserves.
Here is the mixture ready to go into the machine.

Set up the ice cream maker and turn it on, pour the mixture into the freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Ice cream churning before I put in the crumble.

While ice cream is churning make up the crumble.  Mix the flour, rolled oats and brown sugar together, add enough olive oil until mixture is blended.

When ice cream has 5 minutes to go, pour the crumble into the machine and allow to mix for the final 5 minutes.

If you can stop yourself from eating it straight away, put the ice cream into a container and place in the freezer for 1/2 an hour or so before consuming.  If you can’t wait, eat it straight away, we usually do.

The ice cream straight from the machine.



Welcome  back to another Good Morning Mondays Link Up.  Wow where is the month going, we are nearly mid January and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly time is passing.

I’m sitting here thinking about what I did this week and I really can’t remember.  My brain isn’t good on the short term memory so it’s good I keep a diary :-).

It was quite hot here earlier in the week and there have been some big fires one about an hour north of us and some bad ones in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.  We have had thunderstorms and this brings lightning strikes which start fires and there were quite a few of them earlier in the week.

Then came the rain and the cooler weather mid week.  We live in a very blessed area where we get cool changes regularly and it isn’t often that we get weeks and weeks of hot weather.  We live about 50 mins from the coast and we get a lovely sea breeze in the late afternoon and early evening.  I really enjoy living here because of that.  Our No 1 daughter and family live a couple hours north west of us and they have much warmer weather than us.

The only problem with where we live is that we rely on the weather for our vegetables and it has been a couple of years since we have had a good tomato crop but we are blessed in so many other ways.

This week has seen our No 1 son go away fighting fires only to come home the next day due to wet weather. Thank you Lord for the rain and his safe return.

We picked our apricots this week and I stewed them with a little sugar. I preserved 6 bottles to store in the pantry for the coming months and I have some left in the fridge to enjoy this week.

This first preserving of the season is very exciting and I look forward to more to come.  We don’t have many fruit trees yet, that is a farm goal this year to plant at least 20 trees if we can.

In Australia we have our longer school holidays until February but I like to start earlier, so this week we will get going on music practice again and a little school.

I want to finish clearing up my creative space (a room we have that has our sewing machines, quilting machine, our No 1 sons gym and lots of other stuff).  This is a great space but it can really get away from me and I am nearly finished, then I have some quilting to do some mending of work jeans and some general sewing for the children.

They are growing so quickly that my No 2 son has often got a bare midriff which is definitely not a good look.

Ok enough about me now onto the Link up…

Our three top posts this week were:

thmb54aace543984fHappinness is Homemade Link Party from Rahab to Riches


Tiny Toadstool Cottage: No Superfluous Spending   from Jayne at Tiny Toadstool Cottage


Blessed to be a Homemaker from So Much at Home

and my personal favourite:

thmb54aa02cccc50bHow to Enjoy an Early, Joyful & Productive Morning from Morning Motivated Mom

This is my favourite because it really spoke to me about getting up and getting going.  So I am going to endeavour to do this, hopefully starting this week.

Congratulations to these lovely ladies and, to all of you who took the time to link up I say thank you.  I enjoy reading each and every post, and I am learning so much.

My encouragement to you this week is to try and encourage others, whether your children, husband or friends.  Maybe you could send a card or note to someone in your life who you know is having troubles or maybe give them a ring.

Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Ok let’s get the link up started, please link up any posts that relate to God and christian living – especially encouraging or challenging posts, also recipes, crafts, gardening or homesteading as you call it in America and just plain old country living here in Australia.



Are you a cup half full or a cup half empty type of person.  I hope mostly that I am a cup half full or actually a really full cup person, but after reading what I wrote below I am wondering…


The following statements/questions might help you decide.  When you are asked the following questions – how do you answer?

My it’s lovely sunny weather isn’t it?

  1. Yes it is wonderful.
  2. It’s just too hot for me.

Hasn’t the rain been wonderful?

  1. Yes it lovely to see it soaking into the garden and refreshing the ground.
  2. What, it’s just too wet now, there is just too much mud everywhere.

You have such wonderfully behaved children, what a blessing they must be?

  1. Yes they are such a God given blessing – thank you.
  2. Yes they are a blessing, but they can be so naughty and disobedient.

What way do you answer?  I just realised that I don’t always answer with a cup full attitude.

I am adding a new goal to my list for 2015.  I am going to endeavour to embrace each moment in a positive cup full type of way not in a negative cup empty attitude.

I am going to try to turn my eyes to the positives in my life and shun the negatives.

God has given us a cup full of love and blessings and we should grasp hold of all that that entails.

Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 



This post is linked up here…

Thought Provoking Thursdays



I wrote this last Tuesday night when my son was getting ready to go over to South Australia.  He went on Wednesday morning and arrived back on Thursday night safely.  They had rain over the fire and they were sent home as there was no more work for them.

Thank you Lord that he got home safely and  thank you Lord for the rain.

Acts 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.


As I have been sitting at the computer tonight our No 1 son is preparing to head over to Adelaide in South Australia on a Strike Team to fight fires in the Adelaide Hills with the Country Fire Authority (CFA as called in Victoria – all states have their own titles and acronymns). A Strike Team is a group of about 20 firefighters that travel to another state or area to replace crews that need a break.

They flew them over on a 20 seater plane from out local (small) airport and they are to stay over there for 5 days and come back on Monday sometime.

My husband has done this numerous times in the past years, to Sydney and North of Melbourne.  I have always found it hard when he was away but I understood his need and desire to help.  My husband has a very giving heart and so does our No 1 son.

My husband states that he is getting too old to do these trips, but I think that he is concerned about leaving us at home in the fire season.  He would do an overnight or day shift closer by to help out when needed, but not go away unless he really had too.

Now all this being said, I just don’t want my son to go.  I prayed that God would allow him to stay at home and keep him safe.  I’m not overly protective and I want my children to grow and learn and live their lives the way that God wants them to, but I am admitting to harbouring fear at this time.

I would never stop him from going but I feel so unsettled about it, and unsure.  I won’t go to the airport with him as I don’t want to embarrass him with my tears.  My son is so excited to be able to go and help people and finally put all his training into practice. He has been fighting fires with his father for a year or so now and has gone away on day or night shifts but he has never been away for more than a day.

Now if my husband was sitting here reading this he would say that Fear is not of God, and I agree with him wholeheartedly and there are no buts about it.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear is satans way of making me take my eyes off my Lord, and not resting in the fact that our son is in Gods hands.  His plans are perfect and He loves and cares for us more than the sparrows, so I need to step back into His word and allow Him to take care of our son.

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

As any mother would probably agree (I hope) this isn’t easy.  We are mothers and mothers love their children and want them to be safe, but holding on to fear isn’t allowing us to love them, it encourages us to smother them.

I am so pleased with the way our No 1 son is growing and how he is becoming as a man.  I am going to try and spend the next 5 days praying that God will bless him and keep him safe and then I am going to try to allow God to do His job.


There were around 30 odd homes destroyed in the Adelaide Hills fire and your prayers for these families would be greatly appreciated. 


This post is linked up here …

Thought Provoking Thursdays


I started this Vegetable Planting Update a few weeks ago before Christmas and I got caught up with other stuff and didn’t finish it so I thought I would just post it and then do another one in a week or so and show you how much everything has grown.

I think I should change the title of these posts now to “Vegetable Growing” instead of “Planting” but I think you get my drift.

The vegetable garden out the front is growing daily, it is so exciting to go out there and see the changes.  We are now busy just trying to maintain all the weeds and making sure everything has enough water.

It has been rather cool this week but there are warms days coming by the end of the week and next week and although I don’t like the heat, we need it to to make our vegetables grow.

We have a great water supply here with a bore which is drinking quality and very abundant, it is such a blessing.  Water is so important.

The children and I finished strawing the tomatoes and the first ones we put in are flowering.  The potatoes are going great and the photo below shows my husband using the tractor to bring dirt from the trench up onto the sides of the potato beds, using a bed former which is like a double sided mulbourd plough. He actually did this with all the beds as well.

Below are the potato beds after they have had the dirt from the trench brought up.


Here are the zucchini plants, they are coming away nicely. I can’t wait to have fresh zucchinis, I really miss them during the winter. This year I am going to grate the excess and can them for soups, stews and cakes.


Below is the second lot of tomatoes we put in and they are looking really healthy. Yum fresh home grown tomatoes are the best.

DSC_0647The next update will follow soon – after I have done some weeding (lol).



This afternoon we decided to go for a drive, get an ice cream and have a look around some of our old haunts.

We haven’t taken a Sunday afternoon drive for ages and it was really enjoyable.

We went and had a look at the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere which is about 30kms away from us and close to where my husband grew up. This wind farm is made up of 140 turbines and is quite a sight to see.


This afternoon before we went for a drive we were outside looking at where we are going to hopefully plant fruit trees and berries this autumn.  Where we want to cut back some old cyprus trees and prepare the soil and fencing.  We have had pigs on the plot and they did their job of digging it over.

I  really enjoy these Sunday drives, actually I really enjoying any driving with my husband. It’s one on one time to talk and discuss our plans, what we have done, what we want to do and what others are doing that may be good for us to try.

During our drive we drove past the farm my husband grew up on.  All around it was land that belonged to his family and before we sold we were the last surviving family members on the farm.  It was really hard for him to put out the for sale sign.  He had mixed feelings and I am sure he especially felt like a failure.  I suppose for me I looked at it as new beginnings, of owning something that was ours and not something that we took over.

It was good to drive around the old place and see how the trees that he direct sowed were growing and remembering that he knew how to do that and that we can do it where we live now.

We discussed how we used to grow broccoli for the export market for the Japanese and what would be happening if we still lived there. Our No 1 son (19 years old) thought about how good it would have been to have grown up there and to own it now.

We also discussed that in hindsight it wasn’t our fault that we had to sell up, we had other family members to look after and care for then and they were more important than our dreams.

I don’t think that if we were still there that we would have the same ideals and opinions as we do now.  Having sold and moved and bought and sold again and then rented we have learnt so much about what God wants for us and how he wants us to live.

The years have at times been hard, just like everyone has hard times but God has truly blessed us and brought us back to a place where we own our own land and we feel so very happy to wake up every morning where we are.

So although things could have been different and we could still be “big” landholders, God didn’t have that plan for us, but His plans are perfect and that’s what we feel right now.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

And my husbands favourite scripture:

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

My husband always says that we shouldn’t worry about our future because God has got it all worked out, all we have to do is sit back and hang on to Him.

Blessings to you all.


This post is linked up here…

Fellowship Friday



Hello everyone, welcome back to Good Morning Mondays. Welcome to the New Year.  I am excited to see what God has for us in 2015 and where He is going to lead us.


We had a lovely New Years Eve get together with about 30 people from our church, mainly older couples.  We really enjoy getting together with these people and sharing our hearts and lives with them.  They are always interested in the children and what we are doing and we like to give them the best meal we can because we love blessing them.

My husband smoked some pork and beef roasts.  They were in the smoker for about 12 hours each and they were absolutely delicious and melt in the mouth.

They were all gone before midnight so we had it all cleaned up and were relaxing on the couch when the clocked ticked over into 2015, so it was very relaxing.

I must admit since then I have been a bit whacked and I am taking some time to catch up and get ready to start our new school year in a week.  I have got some new planners from a couple of wonderful blogs and I am looking at which one is going to help me be organised.

Our No 1 daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters have headed off on their grand adventure and you will be able to follow their journey here. They are heading to the outback of Australia by the end of January and my daughter has a humorous way of writing, so the journey will not be boring.  We will miss them while they are gone but 8 weeks is only a short period of the year and they should have a great time, see heaps and learn heaps.

We went to a wedding yesterday and had an enjoyable time.  It was the second time round for both and we pray that God will bless them as they blend their families together and learn to live with each other.  Weddings always make me remember my own and just how much I love my husband and how blessed I feel.

Now onto Good Morning Mondays.

Out top four post this week were…thmb54a0ef3d3ccde Petite, Plus-Sized, Modest by Sweet Water and Bitter

thmb54a125c538e1eAn Organized and Orderly Home ~ Inspirational & Printable Helps from Jes at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth


5 New Things Around the Clay House from Adelaide at Clay Clan Cultivatesthmb54a1548f08486

Modest Winter Outfits Inspiration from Marie at Different Kind of Woman.

My favourite was…thmb54a0acfa1aa49

Dehydrating Pumpkins from the Farmer’s Wife at Growing in His Grace

Once again, thank you ladies for sharing your hearts and ideas.  I didn’t even think that you could dry pumpkin, what a wonderful, space saving idea.  Also thank you to everyone else who linked up I really enjoy reading your posts.  I am looking forward to what everyone links up this week.

This week I want to encourage us all to remember our family and all that they mean to us everyday, not just on special occasions. Let’s enjoy them and love them.  Blessings to you all this week.

Ok let’s get the link up started, please link up any posts that relate to God and christian living – especially encouraging or challenging posts, also recipes, crafts, gardening or homesteading as you call it in America and just plain old country living here in Australia.


I made this recipe for New Years Eve and it was absolutely delicious. When most heard that it had peanut butter in it they weren’t sure about how it would taste but once they tasted it they were amazed about how nice and smooth and creamy it was.



  • 500 grams (2 packets) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 200 grams toblerone chocolate
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 125 grams of plain biscuits
  • 80 grams melted butter


Crush biscuits and add the melted butter, mix and press into greased 20 cm round springform tin. Place in the fridge until set.


Beat cream cheese, sugar and cream until smooth.

Melt chocolate and peanut butter and add to cream cheese mixture. Mix until well combined.

Pour over prepared base and smooth top.  Allow to set in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.