Monday, November 22, 2010

Rain in West Wyalong

When most people hear about Australia, they would probably imagined Uluru and the hot dry dessert in which most of this island covered with. This great country can be seen to be unpleasant sometime, and unfortunately it has been true for the farmers in the past 10 years of constant drought. But, our prayers had been answered in this special year as Greg’s parents farm has finally been getting lots and lots of rain, and it was so incredible to see everything becoming green again!

I remembered when my parents visited their farm for the first time in 2007. Everything was so dry that they were even having sandstorms! The dams were all dried up, and water supplies for the houses are very limited, even in the cities. This is a photo we took of the farm in 2007. Most of the ground is dry. The canola only grows in wet patches and it didn't grow very tall at all. (Greg also still has his crazy hair-do like a Dragon Ball kid back in the day... :p)

Greg’s parents live in a small town called West Wyalong which is North West of Canberra. They own 4.500 acres worth of land that they have been working on for a long time alongside Greg's uncle. After persevering 10 years of drought, they're finally experiencing the complete opposite and had a little too much rain for their crops this year, which is amazing to see! Crops can get 'too much' rain which will make them drown and die, but most of them had grown very well. Some crops that are closer to the house are growing as high and as big as they can get, like chickens on steroids, they almost look like something else other than what they are. The main crops that they’re growing on their farm are canola, wheat and barley with a little bit of lupins for stock food and chickpeas. You can imagine how exciting it is to see these crops reaching its potential growth once again after the farm had been dry for so long!

This is a photo of the canola seeds that developed from the canola flowers. They have very strong distict smell, and are mostly used to make vegetable oil.

... the wheat that's bursting like fireworks,

and the drooping barley.

Greg and I went to visit the farm one weekend and his dad let us ride with him on the windrower. I didn’t know what a windrower was when I got there. A windrower is basically a machine that is attached to the tractor. They're used to cut the dried, tall canola plants that are full of seeds and lie them on the ground so that when it has been cut down, the wind won’t blow all the canola seeds away. We basically went round and around the farm to windrowed the canola, and I've realized that the ride can get a bit bumpy and tricky to do. (No wonder farmers are great drivers!) When we were there it took Greg's dad 3 hours to do the last paddock. They had to do nonstop rounds of windrowing during the previous days so he had to swap with his brother every 12 hours so the tractor never stops.

This is the windrow cutting all the crops, leaving a trail of canola behind it.

This picture shows what's left of it, the canola pile, and sticks of the 'beheaded' canola... Well, they're pretty much dead anyway. :p

I wasn't there when it happened, but Greg's mum sent me a few more pictures to put up on this blog. This is a photo of the header with the draper front picking up the windrowed canola

And this is the header filling the mother bin which is filling the truck to take to the silo (a silo is basically a huge barrell where the grain is kept) with Greg's dad and a huge smile on his face! =)

I'm so amazed by this event. A lot of farmers have given up, but Greg's parents hadn't stop praying and always had patience and hope, even for 10 years! That's like, almost half my life time! We always felt the struggle but we very seldom saw them getting too caught up about it. They always keep trying to celebrate everyday in other things knowing that there's 'bigger' things other than the farm.

Congratulations mum and dad, we love you and are sooo proud of you. You totally deserve the rain. =)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Settling in...

I have to say that it's not that easy to just put up with this much change all at once. Being married, new house, new studio, trying to make new targets…. I thought I'll have a job by now, but so far, I haven't got any call backs. I don't know... maybe it's a good thing to just enjoy my free time.

My days as a housewife have finally arrived. I wash dishes everyday, laundry every week, I try to wake up early to make Greg his sandwiches before he leaves for work and give him his daily dose of hugs when he gets back from work. I watched more tv in these 2-3 weeks then the past 2 years of my life put together. First watching loads of actual tv, and now I’m an Avatar addict (anime Avatar, not James Cameron Avatar). I'm starting to think I can bend certain elements in my dreams... Overall, our first month of married life is great! =)

Applying jobs had been rather exciting. I mean, how is it possible, that when I look online for weeks now, there’s a job opening for floristry in every state of Australia, EXCEPT Canberra??? Now I’m left to knock on people’s door. I've never had to walk into shops and ask for work in my life so it turned out to be a really good experience. I still wouldn't underestimate the first time I had to do it though. I was so nervous and scared I thought my heart was about to pop out of my chest. I've applied to 7 florists so far who told me the same thing, ‘we’re fine now, but we’ll have your resume just in case’. Think it’s time for me to apply for jobs outside floristry hey?

Regarding the house... well... I think it's getting there. We had a house inspection last week. It was quite funny because when the agent came by the house at 9:30 am, I was asleep on the couch in front of the tv! Haha! XD The house were already clean by then so I don't have any problems with it apart from being awkward. The TV is still sitting on a crate and we still don’t have a bed but The inspection was a success regardless. If you see these photos, you can see that the house has well... it's neater...


and after...

And finally... my Etsy shop. My studio is starting to take its shape slooowly, and when I start complaining to Greg that life is starting to get frustrating (usually caused by my inability to prioritize, which caused by lack of pressure to do anything) , Greg said to me, “You should set yourself some goals. What about try to make at least 1 jewelry per day?” I started on Monday, today is Thursday, and I’ve already given up. It’s my fault really, I tried to design and make 1 jewelry per day, and wire jewelry is not exactly simple and straight forward to make. Hm... need to rethink of new strategy...

This is the earrings I started on Monday, and finished on Tuesday arvo... I'm really proud and love the result! Except the earrings are facing on the same direction, so I will have to make the mirror image of this shape to pair these 2.

This is really cool that the internet is moving fast in this country. Should try to sharpen my inner journalist and blog more... :p

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mmm... Rhubarb Souffle!

In the midst of moving around funiture, applying for jobs, re-setting my Etsy shop,cleaning the house, I have been cooking quite a bit. I've never spent this much time in the kitchen. It must be an early sign to being a housewife! :p Our kitchen is tiny, but it turns out to be a neat little place to be!

The cookbooks that I've bought is coming to use. I'm a very unexperienced dumb cook but always tries to achieve higher things without knowing. Normally I just look for a recipe in a book that uses ingredients that I already have in the fridge. I thought that if I have the ingredients in the fridge, as if I won't be able to do what a recipe tells me to? And of course, I was very wrong...

So yesterday night, I was determined to make a rhubarb souffle, not really knowing what a souffle was. I just happen to have 4 unused egg whites in the fridge and the picture looked yummy in my book. Good thing Caroline came over randomly just as I was about to make it. She is such an incredible and versatile cook, and I think she had saved my stupid attempt. She told me that I'm brave wanting to tackle a souffle. Think that just made me realize, I probably shouldn't do this on my own...

I have to say the progress of making this souffle is reeeally delicious! We couldn't stop licking the rhubarb compote out of the bowl! We also made Rhubarb bellini, which is rhubarb compote stirred in with champagne while we're waiting 20 minutes for the mix to cool down

(Hm... don't you think our dessert is starting to look a bit like the picture...?)

we folded the meringue with the compote and put it on top, and it's ready to be put in the oven!

30 minutes later, this is what we get! Doesn't that just looked amazing...?! :D

As soon as Caroline pulls the tray out of the oven, it's time to eat! 3 hours of cooking, and we finished eaiting it in 10 minutes! Shouldn't take that long, but it was our first attempt so we think we did well. Afterall it was VERY yummy, everyone should try making it! It was totally worth the effort and now I finally know what a souffle really is! Yippie!

Ps: If you're curious, I got this recipe from Jamie's Oliver cookbook that I own (which is an awesome book btw) , or you can click on this link for the recipe and try it out yourself! Have fun! =)