Wednesday, October 03, 2007

There's a quilt in here somewhere!

The kids were off at Holiday Bible adventure today. I often help but we are due to begin shearing here any day and as I have to cook for at least 10 I couldn't commit.


Shearer's cooking is a very serious business, well Really Serious, if you are my MIL and slightly less dramatic if you are me.


My MIL trained me for the first few years that I was home. Roast mutton every day with full roast vegies, and hot dessert and ice cream. Everything had to be fully cooked hours before the midday deadline and on the plates with a good 10 minutes to spare. She also made a lot of fresh cream cakes every day for morning and afternoon tea (Smoko) to go with the biscuits and a couple of rounds of sandwiches EACH!


Well, since I took over, things are not quite that focused. My MIL was happy to achieve nothing else in the day, I'm not. Aside from having to help shift and draft sheep, and press wool, I also like to fit in sewing (strangely enough) and the kids of course! So now I do all the baking beforehand so it is all ready in the freezer to be pulled out as needed...I do the groceries at once and not every morning at the local shop for 3 times the price, I put my meat on early, get the morning smoko done then wander off and do my own stuff until i realise with a panic that it is after 11am and vegies should be on...and that it's too late for that dessert so pull a sponge out of the freezer, microwave it, cover it with hot caramel sauce and in 8 minutes you have the equivalent of sticky date pudding! The whole thing is a mad rush and it is a very close thing between the men walking in the door and the food appearing on the plate...but I figure that they can wait a few minutes, it wont kill them. (But don't dob me in to my MIL!) A lot of places don't feed their shearers any more, women just aren't at home to cook, but it is tradition that we do, and I quite like the hustle and bustle and the company.
So while the kids were gone for 6 hours I had a finish.
The quilt that has haunted me and taken much longer than necessary is done. This is my Fall quilt for the four seasons swap.
I followed Atet's excellent advice and incorporated my hobbies with exercise.....seeing no-one has come up with a magical fat exerciser while sitting on your couch/sewing table for me yet!(But don't give up, keep trying!) I rode my bike to the canola paddock and played around with our Spring canola crop in the background of my fall quilt.
See, I used an alternative setting I hadn't even thought of when I showed this to you the last time. I decided this suited the recipient, so went for it. I would have normally just given something this size a spray baste, but no, it was going to someone else, who can quilt, so I basted it all beautifully, then stressed about the machine quilting before deciding I am not a hand quilter and can only do my best, so went to post it when i got the kids and..hey, where's the address email gone? Oops, a quick email has gone into Margaret, the organizer, and it should be in the post in double quick time! I am adding in a little book to make up for the lack of quilting expertise, think that will cut it???
Yesterday I incorporated my hobbies with exercise again and went adventuring with the kids. This is our canola crop, sorry to those whose crops are dry in Australia but that has been us the last year or two and you have to enjoy it while you can in this farming business. I love the colour of this crop, perfect for photos, but only flowers a few weeks.
Have a great day, Tracey

21 comments:

Lily said...

Tracey that sounds like A LOT of cooking! Glad to hear you've modernised things around there (and made enough time for crafting!).

Your quilt is gorgeous - I am sure it will be loved.

And yes, go the cats!

joyce said...

That sounds like harvest here in the old days. Now with the big combines they no longer have crews of men working on the harvest. BTW a lot of North Americans have never tasted mutton outside of lamb chops in a restaurant and I bet lots have never even tasted that. You sound more efficient than your MIL. Mine was the same - work,work, work.

Screen Door said...

I love the photos-- just beautiful.. mutton??? is that rabbit?

Doodlebug Gail said...

Roast leg of lamb is on my Thanksgiving menu for this weekend ..... along with roast potatoes etc etc etc etc.

What a gorgeous canola crop - just looking at the photo made me want to sneeze - LOL. Hope none of you suffer from allergies.

Take care!

Ruth's Place said...

Beautiful canola crop, and after the dry that you guys have had down there, you deserve a good year or 10!

I can't imagine doing that much cooking! How many days do you have the shearers there?

And the quilt is stunning.

Laurie Ann said...

Tracey - I epecially love the picture of your kids in the canola. What a really cool picture! That would be great, framed on the wall!

Gizmo said...

Can I come shear for you?? The only way our shearer (ME!) gets fed is if I think ahead...lol.

Your quilt is beautiful, as is the canola with your kidlets.:)

Bren said...

"it was going to someone else, who can quilt, so I basted it all beautifully, then stressed about the machine quilting before deciding I am not a hand quilter and can only do my best,"
I found this quite comical..I had the same feeling about the person getting my quilt as she is so good at machine quilting and I am not! Like you I decided to do what I knew how to do. Whoever gets your quilt will love it as it is beautiful!!
The pic of your kids in the Canola field is gorgeous!!!

loulee1 said...

Good luck feeding all the shearers. Your fall quilt is cute.

Fiona said...

Great picture of your kids. To me it sounds so romantic to cook for the shearers, it reminds me of all those books I read when I was younger - 'A Town Called Alice', 'Seven Little Australians' or 'The Sundowners'. It does seem a shame that the tradition is dying out.

Linda said...

Yum roast mutton, I must admit I splurge at Thanksgiving time and buy an Australian leg of lamb for Thanksgiving lunch. It's so expensive here, plus we're not in a sheep growing part of the country. Love the photo's of your kids in the canola field, and your 4 seasons quilt is beautiful.

Elaine Adair said...

Your photo of the kids in the canola, is toooooo cute! Stick a yellow hat on each of them and it will be over-the-top cute!

Kinda exciting hearing about the shearing - we use to have helpers for baling hay, although only a few, but we fed them well.

Chookyblue said...

hey way to go girl I am flat out to make one husbands lunch when in the wool shed but yes we also have to do a lot more that the MIL used to do............like to fall quilt.......great crop we haven't had one for 5-6 years and this years is gone so good to see you have one as someone in Oz needs to get some crops..........how are the other crops........

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

Holy cow, I'd be in a terrible state if I had to cook for that many. You MiL's teas sound wonderful - smocko is a great term, I've never heard that before. Beautiful pic of the kids in the canola.

anne bebbington said...

You just won't have time to draw breath Tracey. Love the 4 Seasons Quilt and the photo with the kids in the Canola field is pure magic!

Andrea said...

What an amazing life you lead. It's really great to get a glimpse of what goes on in your day.
Beautiful quilt and beautiful kids.

Patti said...

What a perfect picture of your kids in the beautiful field of canola. I see canola oil in the grocery stores but never thought about where it came from - now I know.

Just reading about all that cooking has exhausted me - I can't imagine having to do that for days in a row!

Susie said...

Hi Tracey,
I so enjoyed reading the details of your meal for the shearers. Sounds like lots of work, and I'm sure those workers have big appetites.
The canola field is absolutely beautiful. I've never seen it growing before!
xo

Anne Ida said...

Your 4SQS mini looks wonderful! I'm sure whoever receives it will love it! And the pic of the kids in the canola crop are great! ...and hey, I learned a new word *lol*

atet said...

Your fall quilt swap is lovely! And those photos are amazing. I love seeing what others grow. Around here -- just a whole lot of corn and soy. And right now, a whole lot of fields being harvested. As for the cooking -- I won't tell your mil if you don't!

Carol said...

Oh my gosh, this is an amazing photograph Tracey, I adore it!!!! If you want, I'd love to scrapbook it for you. Wow! A sea of yellow, it's glorious. Write me if you'd like a scrapbook layout of it.