Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Birthdays and such...

Last post I showed you a shot of our dam. Well, it's still full. Getting fuller with every downpour! But oh, how lovely the farm is looking. The bright green paddocks hurt your eyes!
Around the beginning of June, friends Michelle and Michael from Brissy came to spend a few days with us. Now you have to know that these two house guests certainly know how to pay their way! Whenever they come, they tackle a big project that we have on our 'to do' list. This time was no different. Michael levelled off the dirt pile where the septic tank was sunk behind the cabin. He dug a trench for new cables. Then he tackled the old apple tree under our netting area. The tree had to go. This man is a machine! We grow our strawberries in this patch, and without the tree we can increase our strawberry harvest many times over. We've never had an apple from this tree yet.
Michelle and I cleared out the grassy weeds. Yep, if you turn your head, the weeds will move in. Faithful Nala is ever close by. Side story.... Nala's brother Barney belongs to Michelle. Sara saw all the puppies being born. The litter got farmed out to everyone around the mum's house. We still have tabs on all five puppies. They're old dogs now. They turn 16 in July! Their mother, Sooty, lived till she was 18! So they have good genes. Nala is pretty deaf these days. She moves slowly and sleeps a lot! 
The apple tree getting a good workout! Crowbar is called for. Nala just ignoring all the action around her. 
Reinforcements were called in to 'rock' the tree out of the ground. Just as well someone had to take the photo, or you would have seen two crazy women hanging onto an apple tree stump, looking very stupid. But, it came out!
Ahh... it may not look like much now, but this garden bed will be providing beautiful organically grown strawberries this coming summer. The next job is to divide the existing strawberry plants and pop them into the new spots vacated by the tree. Roll on Summer!


It's not every day a girl has a 'big' birthday. Yep, this is my year. The big Five Oh! I've approached it with reluctance I have to say. My family have been hell bent on having a 'do' for me. My aversion to having something done especially for me is well known. I'm happy to cater for everyone else, but don't make a fuss about me. Please! Instead of a big birthday bash, I thought I'd make my fiftieth year one of significance. I want to do something special. Something adventurous. But not dangerous.. so no stupid sky diving vouchers or shark feeding tickets! No, I wanted to do something where I would learn more about the land that we have custody of, the food that we grow and perhaps even how to teach others to do the same. 

So... it's good to know that my family abides by my wishes.... Not. However, I wouldn't change it for anything. Sara being an amazing organiser and even more of a control freak than her mother, went ahead and arranged for a few of our Melbourne friends and close family to convene at a lovely Indian restaurant in Camberwell. I was spoiled all day. There was a run sheet happening and I was just pointed into the direction that demanded my presence. There were the nails that had to be done (first time ever!), make up done (another first), some shopping, some champagne. Then off to a lovely boutique hotel in the city with Frans for an hour where I was had to get dressed. We arrived at the hotel and of course there was only street parking a few blocks away. We grabbed our bags and walked to the hotel. It started raining didn't it? All over my nice hair do! I found an old wine box in a bin and flattened it, using it as my makeshift umbrella. It had to be a wine box of course!

So then Frans called a taxi to take us to our dinner. I still had no idea where or what we were doing. In the typical posh style that I'm used to, a maxi taxi turned up for us. No worries. We clambered in and off we went. To say I was surprised when we entered the room at the restaurant is an understatement. There were a bunch of people I love!

Sara read me a fabulous poem. Then presented me with a gift that everyone had contributed towards. Are you ready? See the pic below??? That's me almost in tears! 
I'm off to India! With my darling Frans. In September. That's not far away at all! But it's not just a holiday. It's for a very special reason. Sara has organised for us to attend the Earth University in Dehradun, in Northern India. This is an organic farm run by Dr Vandana Shiva. If you've never heard of her, then I encourage you to 'google' her and watch some of her talks on seed freedom. I will get to spend two weeks with this amazing earth warrior!  
I was told to wear something bright. This was the brightest thing in my wardrobe!  
Stephen, (yep, you can't get a smile out of him easily :-), Sara, me, Frans and our darling niece. 
Two gorgeous girls in Indian dress. Katie looking stunning in her turquoise sari. Sara rocking the silk indian dress and pants. 
Yes I do love him. Just wish he'd respect his older sister!
What a wonderful cake! And the cupcakes were just beautiful. Thank you Sara for organising it all!

And look what my lovely Mum sent me! Lionel, my lovely brother in the pic above, recently came back from a lightning visit to see our Dad who was ill. It was a well timed visit as he was able to bring my quilt back with him. My Mum made me this fabulous quilt using all the fabrics from Oz Dye Art Fabrics. My friend Michelle (apple tree girl!) and I used to screen print Australiana fabrics for the quilting fraternity. What a great job she did. I don't think we have ever seen one so colourful using every single design. Well done Mum! 
It has been difficult to come down to earth after all the excitement of my birthday. The weather has made sure I have. We've had the wildest days! Rain and more rain. There's a swimming pool outside our back door! 
The chairs didn't stay upright! 
A big tree hit our fence along the road side. Frans taped it off with electrical tape. This was all a ruse to keep the cows from wandering out onto the road. 
He cut. I dragged the branches down to the fire pile. It took us hours! 
We ended up with a couple of trailer loads of wood for next winter.
And to finish off this post, a pic of our dinner last night. We're getting our Indian taste buds conditioned. Fish curry. Taken from "Tasting India" by Christine Manfield. It is a beautiful cook book. Get it from the library and dream of travelling!
Till next time... stay warm!

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