Winter chill and activities

It has been hard to find a suitable time to put pen to paper or just sitting in front of the computer to wait for an inspiration. But here we are at last. Charged and ready to share a few moments.

Yes, we are on the verge of experiencing the first winter chills. I can see that when I first wake in the morning and see the valley shrouded in the heavy mist, the beams on the veranda are dripping with heavy dew and of course the sun rises much later. The atmosphere is more damp and a chill in the air is definitely present…Woollens are a must in these early hours. The days reach a very agreeable temperature of around 22 to 25. But not for too long as the cold approaches toward 15h..

The wood heater is already burning. The animals: dogs and cat refuse to stay out when the night falls and the chickens go to their perch early. The cows have started to demand their winter ration, the grass is still long and plenty but they are spoiled beasts and bellow as loud as they can as soon as they see one of us. The calves have also started to imitate their mums and the concert gets louder every late afternoon.

it has been a very busy few months. The Gallery is in the middle of its extravaganza and everyone worked very hard to make it happen. Many artists joined us from interstate as well as quite a few local ones. Many works have sold and we are all very proud and happy that it is going so well. After 15 years it has become an icon of the Northern Rivers. We get an average of 300 visits per day. Not bad for our little village! See our Facebook page@Nimbin Artists Gallery.

In the meantime, our son and his partner Tum who live in Thailand have joined us for a week….too short but happy to have stolen a few days together where we enjoyed some superb food as usual. A glorious green curry prepared by them was truly appreciated by 2 of our friends who joined us for lunch one day. And of course very lively conversations ensued as it is usually the case in the family. The beef was from our property, all the ingredients freshly harvested from the garden for the green curry paste, the green papaya freshly picked that morning and the bitter gourd grows wild on the chicken fence. Such a pleasure!

Sulma and Peter had a go at playing their flute and improvise on some jazz tunes. Peter played also some pieces during opening hours at the Gallery. Music has always been part of Peter’s life and the boys.

Sulma and Tum went for a lovely drive with our friend Magali in the rain forest near home where they enjoyed a picnic and a walk around.

Sulma and Tum
Sulma and Tum
Sulma and Peter have a jam!
Sulma and Peter have a jam!
Sulma with Zaina and Elsie in the sun
Sulma with Zaina and Elsie in the sun
Left over Spicy green Papaya Salad
Left over Spicy green Papaya Salad
What was left of the Beef  green Curry
What was left of the Beef green Curry
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Spicy pork and bitter gourd

The garden has not been neglected. Our friend Scott Harrower, has taken to transform the front garden with flair, vision, aesthetic, colours and shapes. It is visually superb now. A feast to the eyes ….and he has cleared up the branches obstructing the large pond which gives to the whole place a sense of depth as the expanse of a water feature always add such a calming touch. Especially when all the purple and cream water lilies are blooming.

We also had the incredible good luck to have hosted for 1 month 2 lovely guys from Vanuatu who have cleared the property, constructed a retaining wall, built a wood shelter and split some wood for winter. Trimmed some mighty bamboos, cleared the chicken run and coop, gravelled the drive with Peter, brush cut around the dam and so many other tasks that I am sure have forgotten to mention. Thanks to Murray and Joel for facilitating the whole process, feeding them, driving them and took them back to Port Vila . They all flew  back to a devastating sight. The mighty cyclone had created havoc in this small town and the surrounding islands. Murray and Joel raised some money to alleviate the plight of the villagers. Joel had not heard from his sister for 2 weeks as she was in the top island of Efate with no means of communications. All is fine now. Food and hospital needs as well as reconstruction materials were a priority. A mighty effort to say the least on their part to have attended to the need of the people of Vanuatu.

Lorrence and Watas on their last day
Lorrence and Watas on their last day
Lorrence enjoying his tea
Lorrence enjoying his tea

In between all the effervescence of these last few weeks I have knitted a baby blanket. No, no babies in perspective. But I might just sell it at the Gallery. While knitting, listening to my audio books from the library made the hours pleasant and a little calmer.

Merino wool 2 ply with crochet borders
Merino wool 2 ply with crochet borders

The winter veggies are under way : Cauliflowers, cabbages, peas, broad beans, fennels, radishes, a few beans and lettuces. I have to wait and make sure that the cabbage moths or white butterflies stay away from them.

I wonder if we will be there to harvest them! A trip is in the pipe line.

Time for drink and dinner!

Till next time

Early morning

Life on the farm has been busy recently. But that is hardly news really. Awake at at 5Am this morning a cup of tea in hands, I ventured outside. Still dark. White clouds shroud the whole valley and the top of the mountain. Chilly and nippy the cold mist spread on the fields creating an eery feeling of the world just about to wake up. The birds have not yet started and a lonely wallaby bent over the grass chews some unknown delicacies no doubt. Its ears pricked up. Noise, foot steps, am I worried? Yes, just a little. The smell of the dogs does not abode well for it. Shall I run or stay? I will stay for a little longer then will see how the situation develops. The last few bats make their way back to the trees and one can hear their heavy flapping as they rush away from the newly appearing sunlight.

Blue Salvia
Blue Salvia

The sky has the colour of light grey charcoal and the half moon stands out yellowish and full of blemishes while the stars are getting a little fainter with each minute as the light starts to appear slowly over the horizon. Distinct bands of foggy clouds hover now and move slowly across or down till they will disappear with the first rays of the sun. Different picture just from a few minutes ago and ever changing, transforming and continuously metamorphosing.

Invigorating… that little bite in the air. A shawl wrapped around my shoulders I venture in the semi dark morning towards the chicken run. The two dogs trailing behind me wondering what I am doing so early. As I opened the coop, the big and gentle ginger rooster called “Ginger”, flies off its perch and comes next to my feet. He does that all the time when I open the door. He seems to talk and asks me all sorts of questions…a chicken babble which I quickly interpret as: “Do you have any food so early”? Not yet, you’ll have to wait a little while, I am not ready yet, I have to open the little coop where the newly born chicks are still sleeping under their fat mother. Yes, Lady Grey is a little plump. Little chirps can be heard muffled by a load of feathers and little heads appear from under mum. They seem to say “can we go out now”? So, Lady Grey starts clucking and they all make their way out of the coop in search of little insects so early in the morning.

The first birds are on the move and their songs echoes in the valley. Butcher birds, noisy mynas are the first in the morning parade. The dogs have smelled the wallaby and they are giving chase. Not a hope in the world tho! It scoots so fast that the poor dogs are left miles behind. But the chase was worth it. A little excitement so early is not to be missed.

Still cup of tea wrapped around my hands, I decided to meander down the drive for a walk to the pond. The cows were not around at the time, so I guessed they would have been at the back where the grass was greener no doubt. They are not going to miss me this afternoon tho!

Butcher Bird quite at home. Frequent visits
Butcher Bird quite at home. Frequent visits

The water hens have not yet emerged. The lilies are about to burst in flowers and thousands of little fish dance in circles in the clear waters in the pond. The dogs are running and frolicking chasing each other, grabbing some sticks and playing tug of war. Sipping the tea, I can feel the dew on the grass as the morning slowly breaks and to the east the first light shines on the opposite slope… slowly. Such a sense of vastness and serenity. Everything is alive, Away from news and politics, away from scandals and gossips, away from greed and the stock market, the economy, new laws, the internet, Facebook, corruption at every turn, wars in the world. Boy! How much can the mind take? Comparing to the calm and freshness…There is really no comparison. It seems that a part of the world has come to a stop. Just does not exist at this moment. All the noise that clutters your mind during the day appears to have ceased…at least for now. Just silence and a pristine state of being. Just breathing the crisp air that bites your nostrils and is drawn deep into your lungs with every breath. Just to be there and a sense of timelessness engulfs you. Everything seems to melt into one single movement. 

As I make my way back slowly toward the house the first rays of the sun beam their little warmth over the land, just a little cosiness this morning. It is not going to be a very hot day as rain is expected later on.

Dogs in tow, I sit down on the bench and soak it in this unspoiled moment. Not for long, John next door is also an early riser and he decided to slash the property next door. The noise of the old diesel motor makes its way sluggishly up the road to our neighbours and breaks the silence. But it is there and that is all. Part of the farm, part of the scene, part of rural living.

Zaina our latest puppy gives Elsie a hard time. She is fast, mischievous and very playful. Not for poor old Elsie whose labrador nature (she is rather plump) does not make her a sprinter. Given that her back leg is also injured, that does not help. But she stands her grounds and Zaina has to tow the line and obey her elders.

The colours of the trees now are greener and the tall bamboos sway gently in the breeze. I make my way to the vegies garden secateurs in hand that I grabbed on the table and start cutting the dead leaves from the tomatoes. Uproot the dead eggplants that have withered from some unknown disease. Plant a few seedlings of corn and okra and water the newly planted gherkins.

Time to see if Peter is awake. But not before peeping at the rose bushes and seeing that there are a few dead branches that I happily snip away. A few weeds also. But I stop there. It is already 7AM. As I enter the house, I can see upstairs that the curtains have been drawn and yes, Peter is awake checking his emails no doubt or maybe just enjoying the view from the window where the bamboos sway lazily in the wind bending graciously almost touching the ground.

Cup of tea” I shout from downstairs? Yes, he replies. So the water is slowly on the boil and in the meantime I set out to feed the dogs and the cat. Quickly run to the chicken run and throw a few handful of sunflowers for them and coming back just in time for the water to be ready.

Oh! and I forget, I also read a few emails from J who went mushrooms gathering in the woods in England and is preparing a feast for dinner. Time for gym and a nice cup of coffee. The day’s chores and routines are about to get into full swing.

Till next time.

Busy at home

Just a few photos of what I have been busy doing over the last few weeks. This old traditional family recipe has been around for more than 150 years and it is a pleasure to do it. Labour intensive it is. Dates and nuts come into the realisation of it and NO SUGAR. Who needs it with the dates? A real treat with coffee.This is what we called: DESERT NOUGAT. No spelling mistake. It is DESERT.

Old family recipe.
Old family recipe.

Cheese making a real fun project  that I enjoyed tremendously putting together and the taste was just superb.

Blue Vein, Camembert and Feta.

Blue Vein and Camembert
Blue Vein and Camembert

 

In the making
This one is Feta

 

 

 

The process.
The process.

It took some time to realise this jumper. I was craving for a nice green one and here it is.

My green jumper
My green jumper

Peter went out after the rain and collected dozens of mushrooms. We had omelettes and I have incorporated them in a chicken ragout. When our son came to join us last week they collected plenty more. By that stage I did not want to see another one…I became almost allergic to them. Just joking!  All super delicious. We even dried some.

 

Mushrooms collected by Peter.
Mushrooms collected by Peter.

 

Day inside

The temperature soared to almost 40o  today.  In fact a friend of mine told me that it was 43o in the village. The dogs did not want to put their nose out and neither did we. So, we sat on the sofa reading. (not the dogs) I did some knitting and listened to my audio book. Even the cat sat all day next to us sprawled eagle. He has the knack for that posture or any other weird positions. Stuck between chairs and perfectly at ease looking at you as if it was normal a for a cat to relax in this way. ( may be it is)

Zaina, quite comfortable there

The aircon was going full tilt and it was comfortable. But I was getting restless and decided to do the artichokes that I bought yesterday at my local supermarket. Every year they order me the best produce . I get some broad beans, quinces and artichokes.  Two cases which amounted to a total of 60. So I peeled them and got to the furry heart, got a huge saucepan full of water and slice a few limes or lemons water is growing in the garden at the time and a big pinch of salt. Tossed all the hearts in the boiling water, left them there for a few minutes and then scooped them in jars. The boiling lemony water was scooped onto the jars and then I tightly seal them. That was my artichokes for next year’s feast.

 

Artichokes and Nectarine

Then Peter told me that there were a few nectarines that needed to be done. Ok said I, you cut them and I will bottle them and make some compote out of them. So, as well as getting my fingers black with the artichokes I managed to slip in a jar of home-grown nectarines. Peter had spent a lot of time taking care of them. Pruning, and wrapping the tree in a heavy mesh so that the rats and the bats would not devouring them first. And it succeeded. We obtained some huge fruits and ever so sweet!

It was a languorous day in every way. Then, around 2PM we decided to upstairs and watch an episode of “Prime Suspect” . I always take my knitting with me and advance my sweater. I quite enjoy in knitting. Many people have told me :” do you knit in summer with this heat” ? I reply: ” it is the best time to have your jumper ready for winter. If I knit in winter it never get finish and can’t wear it on time”. So, I always do it in summer. Especially when the heat is so fierce and there is very little one can do outside. At least in winter you still can dress a little and do some gardening.

Talking about gardening, all my matured eggplants just decided to die. They wilted for some unknown reason as they were just starting to produce fruit and off they went. Dead!

Wilted Eggplant.

Till next time on a not so hot day.

 

Busy in spring

Well, it has been a while since I put pen to paper or should I said keyboard to WordPress.

It is a glorious day. Spring is definitely here. Judging by the smell of orange, grapefruit, lemons and lime blossoms. The bees are buzzing around selecting the nectar. The wisteria is in bloom. We do have a white one at the moment and the scent is just so subtle and sweet. The daitura are also propagating their scent at night and the evenings are just divine with their sweet and overpowering smell. Just a delight! And the native iris are also showing their best. As dusk slowly arrives the frogs in the background are already calling their mates. The owls are fluttering as soon as I walk out and I can hear their heavy flights above the bottle brush when I take the dogs for a late night wee before retiring for the night. The green frogs are croaking in the background. The cows are still begging and bellowing for extra hay every night. They must be the best fed cows around.
Native Iris

We have not heard nor seen the butcher birds over the last couple of weeks. I guess they are busy mating. The magpies tho, have come for a nightly feed, still awkward at catching the little meat that I can throw at them. Frip, the cat does not help there I am sure as he stalks them ready to pounce and catch…if he can.

It has been a very busy few months since we got back from Europe. Very busy indeed. I have redone the whole veggie garden. A complete overhaul. I have weeded 8 beds and recovered them with wood chips. A new technique inspired by the video called:” Return to Eden”. Not that I am very keen on religious propaganda. But that does not distract from the fact that the principles explained have got some merits. I was a little suspicious at the start to hear all this bible recitation at every step of the video. It got quite tedious. In the end I decided to give it a go in spite of the spiel.

So quite painstakingly, I weeded all the beds . Yes, the 8 of them meticulously.
As for wood chips it was not too hard. When we were away, the local charming and efficient Bill came and lopped a few trees that were quite dangerous to have around. He made a huge pile of wood chips which I wheeled into the garden day after day. The results were quite amazing. After just a couple of weeks I could see how the soil was still very moist and the newly thinned and planted vegetables were growing very well. I was impressed.

They did mention in the video that there was no need to add any fertiliser of any sorts or even watering should be kept at a minimum if at all. But I decided to complete the experiment keeping only 2 beds mulched with the chicken manure and hay that I collected from their coop.

I also planted the same vegetables on the chips bed and the manured/hay bed just to confirm it for myself and to see if there was a grain of truth in all that.

It has been a 3 months now and I really can see the difference between them. We had a few days of over 31 dry and windy.
The one with the chips are springing and shooting ahead at quite a speed. The weeds are down and if they spring up a gentle tug will do the job. The soil underneath is really moist. As for the other beds with the straw, they are quite dry and weeds crawl onto the surface at a faster pace, making harder to pull the whole root. The soil has also hardened quite a bit and I have been watering them more often.

Veggi garden with wood chipsWood chip beds

We also has some fabulous crops of broad beans and peaches. The peach trees have been thinned last summer and this year we had huge peaches, but they were not as sweet a little floury. Nevertheless quite good and are still producing. Maybe the later on they might get a little sweeter. Mulberries have also been abundant and every morning we go to the trees and harvest a little basket. I am freezing some for later on also.

Broad beans
2014-09-25 11.29.39 Peaches

Well, that was the garden bit. In the meantime with the few days of rain that we had, I managed to finish Peter’s pullover. I had knitted one last year with hemp and wool and it became an Indian dress. So I redid the whole lot. It fits him to perfection now. He is very happy with it and so am I. As I was knitting, I also listened to some audio books. Nothing fancy. Just a thriller by Harlan Coben. That really got me in and help me finishing the knitting quite nicely.

New pull over.

Another event that took place was the arrival of a new dog. Yes, after we lost our last German Shepherd 2 years ago, we were playing with the idea to get another one for quite a while and having difficulties in making up our mind. So one day I looked up to see if there was a local breeder. We don’t like driving too much. I was not hoping to get one around here. Finally, we did and the little Zaina is among us. Peter and I were quite impressed by the way the kennel was ran. We saw the mum, aunties and uncles. After 3 hours of talks and info (which drove me crazy)  we drove away with her…not the owner but the dog. Deb was a real German Shepherd lover and has been doing it as a hobby for 30 years apart from her teaching biochemistry at the local school We did have something in common as both of us are also ex teachers. So the yakking went on for quite a while and I was glad to drive back home finally!

The old Labrador, Elsi, is not sure of the new arrival and Frip, the cat, did not take it too nicely either. (to be expected) But after a week of cohabitation the two of them have become the best of mates. Running around the house and the garden playing chasy. Of course you may have guessed, The dog is really at a disadvantaged here as she is the newly arrived on the block. But that does not stop her from trying to get the upper hand with her size and being boisterous. Frip so far is winner. And Zaina is nicely fitting in in our routines.

After all this, we also managed to catch up with friends and have a lovely lunch and working at the gallery over the week ends and doing a new hanging there. As I said a very busy few months.

Till next time.

 

ZainaFripZaina

 

 

Back Home at last!

After 6 weeks away wandering in Thailand, London and Paris we are back on the land and in the swing of things… and loving it. Mind you the times spent with the family were of course the best moments. I won’t go into details the fabulous food we had in London and Paris with J and G. Bangkok is in itself an exploration into some great restaurants that we thoroughly savoured with Tum and Sulma.

Towards the end of our stay in Thailand in spite of the lovely time with the family and being treated to spend some time in a superb resort by Tum, we had enough of Bangkok. We felt more assailed, besieged by the publicity everywhere. On the sky train for instance they have now erected huge televisions set on both side of the quays that blast add loudly. There is not a square inch of the train itself that is not plastered with adds and even smaller screens that do not give you a minute of respite. Even the announcement of the next station is overpowered by them. Not a minute a silence and the streets are even worse. Every wall, every post, every billboard invades you and wherever you happen to cast your eyes you are being reminded to buy this products or that. You are being reminded to look like this model, use this face whitening cream to resemble a westerner.  The cacophony of cars and the endless traffic jams was reaching saturation point. Enough of that! Let me go home now to the serenity of the land, to the songs of the birds, the bellowing of the cows and the sounds of water as it splashes in the ponds, the crowing of the rooster and the site of the newly established swamp hens in the large dam below.

As we approached the road and the farm, the air so crisp and fresh hit our nostrils and lungs. It felt invigorating. In the middle of winter that is what one would expect. Fortifying and biting. Another layer of clothes is definitely warranted during the chilly nights.The land was dry and almost brown.  The grass was very low. It is usually low in winter but this time there was nothing growing. Given the fact that the rain was scarce this summer there was very little growth that could be sustained in the leaner months of winter. The cows looked scrawny so I hurried to give them some good lucerne/hay. The one they love most. That was my first task. I took the wheelbarrow and filled with the good hay. They bellowed and I took off the electric fence and fed them. They chomped through it in no time at all. I reminded myself to give them some decent feed everyday. They need it!

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Scrawny cows

Magali and Mereki came to pick us up at the station after a sleepless night on the plane from Bangkok. What a treat to be so welcomed. She had prepared a succulent lasagna, cleaned the house and everything looked so spick and span. What a delight to be home. Elsi the dog was beside herself. It was hard to know if she was wagging her tail or her tail was wagging her whole plump body. Fripouille,  the cat looked scared and bewildered at first scampering away at the site of the car with people in it, but upon hearing my voice  he darted toward me rubbing himself against my leg and I am sure I could hear him purr.

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Fripouille

After finally a good night sleep in your own bed away from the noise and chaos of the cities, I wondered in the vegetable garden and was surprised to see so many goodies still growing. Heaps of cabbages, lettuces, carrots, peas, leeks, fennel, and sweet potatoes and much more. I hardly  bought any vegetable since we got back. What a treat! Fresh salads from the garden. roasted sweet potatoes, and I even made some Kimchi with the daikon (white radish) carrots, cabbage, ginger and turmeric and chillies, yes all from the garden!

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Sweet Potatoes and Fennel

I decided to spend some time redoing the garden beds and already I am weeding and cleaning. Out of  the 8 beds that we use I replanted the leeks and the carrots in two new ones and carried on weeding the others. What a lovely task to be in contact with the earth and the mild winter sun!

Sulma and Tum came 5 days after us from Bangkok and are spending 10days enjoying the calm and the fresh air of the countryside. Lots of good cooking and sharing some good wines and company as usual. Magali treated us to some of her delicious crepes last night and a good yarn. Mereki found a good playmate in Sulma that evening and could not believe his luck. The dishes were done and the kitchen tidied ready for the next day’s feast…..which will be lamb cutlets with fresh garden peas.

Till next time.

PS: 2 photos courtesy of Sulma. Cows and cat.

Wintery day and reflections

Night comes quickly now and by 5pm we are all in and ready for a fire. Humidity falls down rapidly, chill is in the air. Even tho, the sun goes down to the west and shows it luminous last colours of pink, purple and crimson red fading to grey, one can feel that the chill factor is here. Winter descended upon us quite fast this year. Colder already than last year.

Peter and I have decided to get stuck into the garden this wintry afternoon.
Tho, it is cold in the early morning and late evening, the days are at times just glorious when it does not rain too much. A nice 18 to 20 degree is almost the norm. Hence it is a pleasure to spend time out in the garden.

Now that the veranda is finished or almost and we are waiting for the balustrade to be delivered, the garden needs some remodeling. New concept on how to create something different. I am not so good at visualising all these things in the garden. Our dear friend Scott, might drop in later to give some advice, but in the meantime, we have decided to get a rose bed going. Hoping that the wallabies would not get a taste for them. They, apparently love roses and demolish them with gusto. We shall wait and see what happens. A little project that is worth a try as we both adore roses especially the ones with a real rose smell.( That is me)

Polished deck now

Rose bed in progressRose bed coming on.

We worked till late, both tired from a hearty physical workout. Almost forgetting the time when suddenly one feels the cold getting into your bones. time to get in, but not before a last look at what we have done so far. From up the veranda we ponder and admire what we have accomplished so far. Digging these invasive little bulbs that multiply like crazy and picking them out one by one and putting them in a bag heading for destruction.
We both admire the work so far….It does not look too much does it….It will get there… slowly. Tomorrow will be another day in the progression on that rose bed.

While we had a few people for lunch the other day where we entertained the idea of death and it consequences, discussed politics, our way of life, the fate of the world, the drastic consequences of an austere budget, the plight of refugees, the lies of our leaders, and then we delved onto the idea of death some more. A friend said that life and death are part of the same cycle. We all agreed and started to exchange our ideas on this. Referring to our common experience, religions, literature and our personal feelings on the subject. But what would happen if it struck one of us right now? Silence. Well, we’ll get on with it I suppose seems to be the consensus. Were we telling the truth or were we deluding ourselves? Were we putting on a brave face in order to say how strong we were? Were we really avoiding the pain of loss? The answers will be for next time as we decided to meet again and discuss it further over some nice food and wines.

The afternoon went on, drinking some beautiful French wines, followed by coffee and Algerian sweets. Then we all are heading out to the cars. as we exchanged our goodbyes I noticed that one our cows was laying down. It was dead. Four legs up in the air. Consternation all around….Life and death in the raw. Unbelievable said Richard, we were just talking about it. There was a moment of consternation, silence and then we all had to accept it….Life and death come together.

Bianca our youngest heifer was apparently bitten by a brown snake according to our next door neighbour who is a seasoned farmer. How do you know that Ron? Well, says he : “if the wild dogs have not got stuck into her then it is a snake”. Fact or fiction? But he was adamant about it. So far the corpse is still intact in the pit waiting to be cremated.

The week before that we played grand parents. Our friend Magali, a single mother asked us to look after Mereki for a day or two. But Peter and I said, we can have him the full 3 days. She makes crepes and needed some time off for the show. She makes wonderful crepes indeed. And Mardi Grass was a good experience for her. A great adventure for both of us. Finding the time to be with a four-year old all day long and giving him our full attention. Reading him stories, watching a few films at night together in bed. Playing trains. Feeding the dog, the cat, the fish, the chickens, the cows. Cooking pizza. Going for walks and of course Peter took him for a ride on the tractor. Wow! He loved it. A real boys’ adventure!

Pizza made by Mereki
Peter and Mereki

Mardi Grass is a once a year event where people from everywhere around the world and locals of course gather to demand that Hemp be legalised for medicinal purposes and industrial uses. It has been going on for quite a while now. But we seldom attend Peter and I. We have been a few times to watch the parade and the speeches. The police was apparently quite tamed this year. It has seldom been a problem anyway. Peaceful, colourful and fun for everyone. 3 days of fun really.

Well, tonight is very chilly out and Peter just lit a fire. I don’t think that I will have anything for dinner as I am still full from lunch with fish and chips.Not bought mind you but all made here. The chips were just succulent and we really gorged ourselves on them. Calories here we go!

Till next time again

Inspiration on the new deck!

I am here today sitting for the first time outside on the new veranda and new deck that Peter and a friend Benoit have finished building. A completely new outlook over the paddocks and the hills across the valley. Just stunning and so appealing to be sitting here and writing. Truly inspiring.

It is really a totally new experience to sit out among the trees, the bamboos, the flowers and the smell of burning mosquito repellent. (not bad as scent goes) The black and white breasted pigeons are perching on the mighty bamboos and cooing their heart content. The butchers birds are demanding their daily ration of bits of meat. They have arrived and perched on the surrounding trees twittering noisily. The Noisy Minahs are quarreling for space in the grevillias for the last few drops of nectar. The sun is setting down in the west starting to glow and scintillating slightly in between the trees and the breeze is definitely getting cooler but still very agreeable to be out.

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In the meantime the butcher birds are really getting more vociferous as Fripouille the cat (which means brat in English) is stalking them with devouring eyes. But they surely know by now what his intentions are and making a raucous to warn him off. So, Fripouille, sits also among the trees hoping and hoping for a decent bite. But this is not going to happen. Fripouille is now stuck high on the branch and is deliberating how he is going to come down. That is more crucial for the moment.

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The quite largish white breasted pigeons are flapping their mighty wings and trying to find a spot for the night. The cows across the paddock are for ever eating grass. Insatiable creatures. Just munch and munch. They have not come up to the fence today bellowing for an extra feed. That is because, we have cleared a big patch of sweet potatoes early in the afternoon and they had a little feast with it as well as the bamboo culms and small branches that I trimmed. They have pretended to like them, not quite sure about it, but ate them in the end.

The chickens are making their way slowly back to the coop ensuring that they have not forgotten that lonely insect on a twig not far from the entrance and where they will get another scoop of grain before Peter shuts the coop door for the night.

A few swallows are catching the last few flying insects on the wind and the cockatoos calling with their grating screams are surely going to roost at some stage not too far away.

The plovers are starting their nightly call for safer ground and the swamp hen is already on top of the sedge near the dam ready to settle down. And I almost forgot Elsie our faithful Labrador that has just arrived and sits by my feet looking forlorn: “Dinner time boss, I am getting hungry you know, it has been a long day”. Well, how can I resist that look? Won’t be too long, I almost finished writing this paragraph and your bowl will be full shortly. So, her head goes down for now… maybe she understood. Well, she surely saw that I was not in a hurry to move right away.

Pink Datura

As it is definitely getting cooler, I am going inside to light a fire for the night, and Peter will starting to cook the salmon with our first batch freshly harvested of sweet red potatoes just a few hours ago.That is the first time that we managed to grow them properly and they were quite large. I was so excited about it that I rang our friend who actually told us how to do it properly. He was elated that we finally managed to grow them and enjoying eating them.

The sun has now vanished and the ski is clear . That breeze is definitely much colder and it is about time I packed up and move inside where it is warm and cozy.

Till next time.