Outback blogger’s creative outlet away from farm life strikes chord with foodies

Outback blogger’s creative outlet away from farm life strikes chord with foodies

Before the world of social media took off and influencers could profit from documenting their lives, blogging was a popular way to share stories and content.

Jane Smith, also known as the The Shady Baker, started blogging in 2011 to showcase her love of sourdough bread, gardening and photography from her remote sheep and cattle property in far west NSW.

A bounty of olives picked from the Smith’s grove on their sheep and cattle station. (Supplied: Jane Smith)

She said she soon found blogging enabled her to share snapshots of her family’s life on the land and to connect with other women in similar positions around the country and the world.

“They felt like friends, those people,” Jane said.

“It felt like really genuine connections.”

Jane’s audience has grown since her first posts more than a decade ago.

Her flair for photography and baking has also evolved.

Capturing station life

Utilising their outback property as inspiration and a backdrop for much of her content, Jane has shared her stories and photography through social media and the rural women’s magazine Graziher.

Jane said she often looked to “catch those little moments” that encompassed station life with her husband Terry and their two children.

“If you’re out and about and you see some pretty light or some pretty dust – I am always looking at the light and capturing that,” she said.

Jane Smith often writes about the produce grown on the station.(ABC Broken Hill: Lily McCure)

What started as more of a hobby turned into a deeper passion and a role that Jane could immerse herself in when the demands of station life took hold.

“It does give me a creative outlet, it’s something away from the day to day running of our farm,” she said.

“It’s something that’s just for me.”

Under the alias The Shady Baker, Jane has used produce from her garden to create new recipes and baked goods.

“To be able to pick my own veggies and cook with them and sometimes give them away is really rewarding,” she said.

The olive trees play an important role in some of the content Jane creates. (ABC Broken Hill: Lily McCure)

Jane said her shady baker name was inspired by a set of sheep yards.

“Years ago when we planted the olive trees around the sheep yards we came up with the name Shady Yards,” Jane said.

She said The Shady Baker caught on as her interests evolved.

“I became more interested in bread baking and the name stuck.” 

Many of the olives grown at Scarsdale Station are scattered around the sheep yards.(Supplied: Jane Smith)

Shearing and smoko

An integral part of a wool producing property is shearing time, which often presents as a particularly busy period for those involved. 

Jane said when the buzz of the woolshed, shed hands and shearers took shape, it was the ideal time to get behind the lens and capture the action. 

“It’s an opportunity to take nice photos of our sheep and the shearing.”

Shearing is often a busy time of year on wool producing properties. (Supplied: Jane Smith)

She said her images often evoked a sense of nostalgia for her online audience.

“It doesn’t matter how many times I seem to share shearing related stories, people really love it,” she said.

“People comment about how shearing always reminds them of their childhoods.”

Along with shearing comes smoko, also known as morning tea, and Jane has it down pat. 

Capturing shearing time and smoko is a common thread in Jane’s work. (Supplied: Jane Smith)

Diversifying interests

Jane said being able to see and share online what people were doing often in remote locations encouraged others to do the same.

“I think it definitely inspires women to do their own thing, start their own businesses, whether they’re big or small,” she said.

“[Women can] be a little bit more creative with what they do everyday.”

Fruit and vegetables grown on the property inspire Jane’s passion for food and photography.(Supplied: Jane Smith)

As for her delicious creations and recipes, she said she often turned to the “old favourites” that she knew were going to be well received.

“I tend to go for things that are achievable for people, ingredients that they’ve got mostly in their pantries, seasonal fruit and veggies where I can,” she said.

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