Words & Photos Jane Smith (The Shady Baker)
Along with my husband, Terry and our two children, Annabelle and George, I live on Scarsdale Station, east of Broken Hill in NSW. Scarsdale is 24800 hectares and is a family owned operation where we run Merino sheep and Hereford cattle.I grew up on a sheep station in the Ivanhoe area of NSW so I have spent almost all of my life in the Far West region.[Photo by Michael Wee]
In 2011 I started to share some recipes and photos on a friend’s website and it then occurred to me that I could start a blog independently and so The Shady Baker was created. My blog started as a way of sharing recipes and photos of my vegetable garden and baking. Today on my blog I share snippets of our life including the wide open spaces, stock work, animals and of course, baking. The Shady Baker provides a little space for me to gather my thoughts and photos and put them together as a way of documenting everything that I am grateful for. It acts as a journal of sorts and I often look back through old posts to find things that I have baked or to see when I planted my tomatoes the previous year.
My blog is also a contact point which over the years has provided a starting point for many projects and more importantly, many friendships. In the future I hope to continue to share my part of the world and our way of life through my blog. Finding a community of like-minded people through blogging continues to amaze me and I hope this always remains. Blogging has also linked me to many other people who share my love for baking sourdough bread. Living in the far west region we have access to plenty of wide open spaces which I love. From a photography point of view I am always observing the changing light and distant horizons that we are so lucky to experience. Our children are immersed in rural life and they are learning life skills every single day including stock work, horse riding, motorbike riding, raising vegetables and seeing where their meat and other food originates from.
One of my favourite things to do is to cook outdoors and luckily we have many paddocks where we can light a fire and cook a simple meal, whenever time permits. In our part of the far west region we are lucky to have some unique attractions and businesses and shopping locally is something that I am committed to.
Jane’s top 3 places to visit in the far west region…
When I make my weekly trip to Broken Hill I can always be found kick-starting my day at the Silly Goat located at 360 Argent Street. The hard working crew are serious about their coffee and food and there are plenty of good vibes that overflow onto the street.
Willy Nilly Art is a vibrant art gallery and retail space located at 415 Argent Street. Amanda Johnson creates bold artwork which is unique to our region as well as gifts, cards and interesting wares with a local flavour. This shop is appealing to both locals and visitors: look for the colourful old push bike parked out the front.
Right now, following welcome rainfall, it is possible for me to mention the Menindee Lakes. The lakes are bursting back into life and whether you are into fishing, swimming, camping or just day tripping this area is spectacular right now. As we recently discovered, it is also a great place to introduce inland horses to the water.