Monthly Archives: March 2017

Nice ‘ere innit?

Had to go to Bega Hospital this morning for an x-ray. We can ignore the 2.5 hour round trip as an inconvenience because it can’t be helped, it’s one of the little niggles of living in an area with such a small population. Anyway, as I was driving along I was reminded time and time again how beautiful it is to live in this area. There was a lot of low cloud today misting up the mountainsides and valleys and giving the whole area a romantic look.

Sadly I was on a main road so couldn’t just stop to take photos but here are a couple I took few days ago of the area immediately outside our front gate… now I’m asking myself why the image is so small. There are times I hate computers. 🙂

 

 

Oh… I see. it’s only after it’s been published is the expanded version available. Makes sense I suppose. Either way not the best of pictures and doesn’t really display what I saw today. Next time maybe.

 

 

 

Discovered a new old favourite!

A long time ago when I was blogging regularly on my “Opinion Australia” site, I used to use a handy little program released by Microsoft as part of their ‘Live’ suite. As is usual with MS they decided to make dramatic u-turns and after some huffing and puffing decided to make this part of the suite ‘open source’. The result has been the creation of Open Live Writer which has all the functionality of the original, and more. Essentially it allows you to use time when you are out of reach of wifi, more common than you might think, two write blog posts and upload them when you get home, or uni, to work or maybe to o free hotspot!

This is the first post I’m making using the new software but I’m already pleasantly surprised with how it functions. For me of course it’s going to be *really* useful because our internet connection is almost permanently throttled down to 128kps… ridiculous in the 21st century but that’s what we’re stuck with out in the bush.

So. That’s all for now. This is really a ‘taster’ post so no pictures, no funnies, just a hmmm… this is nice! Open-mouthed smile

To market, to market…

I think I might have mentioned already that the ‘harvest’ this year will be minimal to non-existent. We have a few olives in brine ready to pack and sell but otherwise the farm produced little in the way of the hazelnuts and olives that should provide our living.This throws us out onto our own resources so we sat down, thought a bit, and decided I could make lots of pickles, jams, chutneys and the like to sell at local markets until we had a decent harvest of the other produce.

Since then I’ve been working slowly towards creating a variety of products, tho necessarily in small batches. They have to be small because we don’t have that much fruit from the orchard to process! We had quite a few Nashi pears, Damsons, Conference Pears and a lot of plums but not really in commercial quantities. Still, we have *some* things to sell.

Another challenge has been the labelling. Apart from having exactly *no* experience or expertise in producing the pickles etc *(so have to play it by ear), I also have no knowledge of *labelling* either which is making the entire process both time consuming and *very* frustrating! Ok it’s a learning curve I have to climb… and a steep one at that, but in all honesty I can say it wasn’t high on my ‘bucket list’ of “things I want to do before I die”. Even now I’m prevaricating. I managed to make some form of label for most of the jars, at least for the front so people know what they’re buying, but I’m yet to compete the backs. It’s a legal requirement to have nutritional labelling on the jars etc so I have little choice but do it, nevertheless it *is* a struggle.  😀

Lorst ma dawg!!

Had a massive thunderstorm the other day whilst we were in the local town. Got home to find one of the dogs, Wolfie, had disappeared. We got his as a ‘rescue dog’ from the local pound and he’s been a great companion for the year or so he’s been with us. Unfortunately like many other dogs, he’s scared of thunderstorms and whilst he manages when we’re there… when we *aren’t* and he’s locked outside, he bolts

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He’s done it before but came back an hour or two after things had quietened down. This time however he was gone overnight. Got to admit I was seriously worried about him and got quite depressed at the thought of him out there in the wilds, soaked through, bitten by snakes, spiders or paralysis ticks and us unable to help. Living where are is wonderful but there are drawbacks. Our own plot is nearly 65 acres of bush and there is even more surrounding us! Anyone, or anything, that ventures too far in could well get lost!!

My daughters both suggested laying his blanket out on the fence so he could follow his own smell home. We both thought this was silly as if he couldn’t find the scent of our Alpacas, geese and chickens etc why would his own scent be any more use?? Anyway, as a last resort we did hang the blanket out. Two hours later, and after over thirty hours of worry, he padded into the sitting room and sat down. So *was* it the blanket?? Or was it all coincidental?? You decide.  😀

What outcome on the income?

The obvious problem with leaving a well paid job and moving away from the sort of company liable to employ you in a similar role is that you end up in a situation where you have no income. So in those circumstances what do you do?

If you said ‘panic’ I’m right there with you. Well I sort of was but again obviously, that couldn’t last and we had to start trying to make sense of our situation.

To begin with we had bought a nut farm so our first step was to check the potential harvest. Wonderful. We’d arrived in a drought period and there were no nuts. To add to our delight we discovered out olive trees cropped biennially… and we were in the wrong year. More joy.

Something needed to be done and the answer was simple… no, not to panic again but to make something. With that as our inspiration we set out to creat things ‘farmy’ that we could sell at local markets until the nuts and olives fruited etc.. Over tha opast few weeks we’ve set to making pickles, jams and chutney’s, bottling them and preparing ourselves to set our stall up (literally) in local markets.

I should point out here than we have as much experience in creating, bottling and selling pickles, jams and chutneys as we do farming, in other words none. More on that in the next post and probably the next twenty-five or so!!

And so we’re back…. from outer space… etc

Yes after months of absolute and pointless inactivity we’ve finally returned to plague the world with our rambling. By ‘we’ of course I mean ‘I’ but we I mean I thought it was a bit presumptuous to claim all the credit for my idleness, but there ya go. So, where have we been? Quite simple really… we’ve been moving… we’ve been settling in… we’ve been trying to work out how the hell we’re going to generate some sort of income and what on earth possessed us to buy a place so far from anywhere that it’s actually *called* the back end of nowhere!

You may think I jest but if so you’d be wrong! The little farm we bought (see last post) is called Erehwon Orchards and as I’m sure you’ve worked out already from the clues, Erehwon is Nowhere backwards… i.e. the back of nowhere. Obviously it *is* ‘somewhere and that somewhere is about an hours drive up corrugated dirt roads from the one time bustling fishing port of Eden. Where is Eden you ask? Grab a map and head down to the very southern tip on NSW and Eden will probably be the last town you’ll see. It’s a quiet little place these days. There are still a few fishing boats working off the wharf but there’s little else happening. At one time there was a huge fleet, a cannery, and even a thriving logging business in the hills surrounding the place. Now however it’s almost all gone and the Eden community is struggling to find its place in the modern world.

One thing that’s happened to liven the old place up is an influx of ‘sea changers’, people who are fed up to the back teeth with the rat race and house prices of the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne and have headed out to where the sun shines yellow, the seas are still blue and you can see an abundance of wildlife on your doorstep. This is pretty much what we did and this is where we are. We gathered together our possessions, our animal friends and ourselves and headed off to the place I mentioned earlier, 65 acres of bush with a few acres of olives and hazel nut trees. There’s lots of scope for improvement and lots of opportunities for small producers to make a living, perhaps not a highly paid living but certainly enough to keep body and soul together and what more does anyone really need??