April flew by in a flash with many busy days.
Work is booming, the kids very active with (after) school activities and the end of school term 1.
The athletics presentation on Friday evening and thus finalising the Summer sport season. The following morning: the first soccer game of the Winter season. For me it was the pinnacle of 4 months of organising and registrations, clocking often 15 hours a week. My work as a registrar is done for this season, I’ve decided that this will be my last year on the committee for the soccer club, it’s just too many hours and too much stress on top of my already busy days. I’ll be doing registrations for the athletics club instead and are still helping out with he breakfast club and P&F committee at school.
Alex got his yellow belt in aikido, he’s so very proud of himself.
Taking on new stockists, including this deli in Yamba.
Rrrrrrripping out the 35 year old carpets. I’m loving the spotted gum floors in our bedroom.
Making the most of the rain predictions: planting time!
Choosing to change my kitchen garden to more permanent plants and adding the last trees to my orchard: persimmon and tangelo.
Rosella, a pretty hibiscus flower that turns into fruit that makes awesome jams and sauces.
I had been asked to do a foodie workshop for a special council event. 
We decided on smoothies and had a great time whizzing them up.
With 3 basic smoothie recipes, all favourites with our kids
with an large variety optional of extra toppers
and other stir-ins to personalise and boost up that smoothie.
Autumn has arrived well and truely now. We celebrate it with maple roasted pecans 
and Autumn granola back on the menu...
Easter baking
A very Good Friday, taking the kids and the dog for a run in the between the showers.
The Clarence Valley compromises over 10.000 square kilometres with a multitude of rivers and creeks. With the Pacific Ocean to the East and the Great Dividing Range to the West. Besides the sprinkling of small towns, most of this farming land. Needless to say, we still have a lot more exploring to do, we drove one of the 4 drives recommended by the tourist information, which is about 200km long. Totally amazing, such an eyeopener to see how close we still are to our pioneers history.
Chilling out at Cangai Creek
Sunday morning exploring on horseback. Our own little creek in the backyard is rather dry at the moment, even with the bit of rain we’ve had over the last couple of weeks, the waterholes are still dry. The horses are very pleased with the green grass though!
My little chatter bird in the mulberry tree, keeping me company while planting the garden.
Easter breakfast,
I love this crazy bunch.
I’ve started again with riding lessons. This my “riding arena” at the front of the house. 
Anzac parade, with Tim in the drum band this year.
Full Moon get-together. A paddle and swim in the dam, great food, playing spotlight with a rising moon and roasting marshmallows for dessert. Our kids love these evenings.



And another month flews by! The fact that we’re already halfway into the next month, before I’m getting to writing this should be a testament on how busy I have been...
Soccer registrations, a new registration system, a new hope, totally crazy: 3 months of phone calls, messages, battling a new system into submission, organising coaches, getting kids organised in teams and preferably registered before they start their first game. A monster job that once again took so much of my time, energy and head space and I’m currently considering making this my final year on the committee. The responsibility for 230 players, combined with everything else going on in my life, is weighing very heavy.
And yes, I have issues saying “no”, because I like to help, because I know I have the right skill set and because I want to invest in a stronger community. But is it worth it, when it starts to give you anxiety?

Something that I chose to take on was the Regional Master Food Expo, where I was asked to have a stall and provide a masterclass on macadamias. An honour, people that love food and don’t mind me going on and on about all these things that make my heart sing: local produce.

The day was a great success, meeting many new people and customers. The masterclass went well, I had kept it very flexible, talking comes easy and let the audience give it direction. Turned out they loved the talk on macadamias but were intrigued about the bush foods that I’ve started using in my products, so we rolled with it.

Since I was already in Yamba and having left home at 6:15am with a packed car, set up the stall, ran a stall solo for the whole day, chatting to customers and an hour masterclass snuck in. My head was buzzing. After packing up, I took 45 minutes on the beach. Catching my breath, stretching out the kinks and just listening to the waves, breathing.
Sand between my toes is a great energiser. The banquet in the evening was phenomenal, a perfect ending to the day.

The cultured honey is so satisfying to make.
How time, love and patience can transform a plain honey into something magical.
So thick and smooth...
Chester has been dreaming of rain and paddocks full of grass, no dust trailing his every step.
End of the month, after many misses, we finally got some rain. It has been glorious, the changes the landscape makes within days, the new grass so vibrantly green.
A rainwater tank overflowing with hope for the garden.
Tim’s 11th birthday party (part 2).
Instead of presents, from us and his mates, he asked to go to Tree Tops in Coffs Harbour with his best mates. Massive zip-lines, ropes and challenges, we had awesome fun.

Another Biggest Playgroup Day, come and gone. 
Friday Night Athletics. Alex after finishing his own training with the U6 was still bouncing around with every and asked if he could run in Tim’s race with the U11 and U12’s...
He ran in the lead for the first two rounds and finished in 5th position. Pretty good for his first 1500meters...
If the kids aren’t up in a tree somewhere, you’ll find them on the water, enjoying the canoes.
Tim has been getting a lot more active in the kitchen. Baking pancakes, wizzing up smoothies and whipping up a batch of (oven) doughnuts. With the school holidays coming up next week, we’ll get to work on expanding his repertoire, to the great delight of his (always hungry) siblings.
Alex’s school trip, I think he made a new friend...
A solo road trip, visiting my horse Laura, who has been in training in Uralla.
Having had such a massive couple of weeks, I decided to take the long way, to clear my head, through the mountains, and along the plateau. A drive that always puts a smile on my face. The pretty winding roads through the rainforest, the cattle grazing the road shoulders once you hit the plateau, a cuppa in Glen Innes, a cup of soup in windy Guyra and along the treelined New England highway, showing a pretty Autumn display.

Laura was amazing to ride, in the two days I was there I rode for at least 7 hours! (a new saddle has appeared on my Christmas wishlist...) A bit of work in the arena, trail rides and my first whiff of cattle work. I am hooked! Reading the herd, splitting them, singling out certain calves, herding them through obstacles, with my trusty companion not being faced by anything you throw at her. She has gotten home this week, we’ll be starting lessons on dressage this Friday. Not that dressage eventing is my game, but working on perfecting our communication is. She’s horse that needs stimulation, challenges or will make up her own entertainment.
Tim has been taking piano lessons at school, he’s loving it. Alex has been trying to work out the left behind sheet music and is showing great interest. Tim has been teaching him the basics, he started his first piano lesson at school this week.
Sophie has been taking riding lessons at a local bush riding school. She’s making lots of progress and has Sander now intrigued as well... Looks like I’ll be getting some company on my rides!



Laura started training, she got picked up for a 5 hour drive to her trainers place.
Chester was not happy...
But most of all he would like some rain, the paddocks are so bare...

Two weeks in, Laura is doing great. Cattle work can be very technical.
At home I’m practicing with Chester on opening and closing gates while riding and picking up kids at the bus stop. Riding easy while his leg is taking a long time healing from his abscess.
Breakfast smoothies for a great start of the day, we’re going though our blueberries rather quickly.
It’s all great practice for a workshop I’m supposed to be running in April...
Our dragon fruit has been flowering and producing it’s first fruits. The flowers are so big and bright white, filled to the brim with bees.
The kids have counted 21 flowers!
Sophie’s riding lessons
For weeks we had been looking for a second kayak, for Tim’s birthday. However no luck, the day of his party a friend mentioned he had a couple of kayaks taking up space in his shed. He delivered us 4! We now have a whole fleet, we didn’t see much of Tim and his mates all weekend...
Also David is becoming an old hand on paddling the dam. Do you see his friend in the tree?

Cyclone Oma, so far south. It got very windy for a couple of days, but all the rain that got predicted didn’t eventuate... We really could have used it...

Birthday cake at the Full Moon gathering.
Boys are making lots of progress with athletics this year.
Sander fractured his finger with volleyball and required surgery. While his finger was getting screwed back together, we made the most of our time in Coffs on the break wall.

 And even got to see a sea turtle!
 Full Moon rising over the paddock
My garden is a sorry mess. Not having had any rain for months on end, combined with very hot and windy summer days, water is very precious. I’m hand watering my orchard, taking u many hours of my week. The permanent plants in the vegetable garden are being kept alive by a drip irrigation. But for anything else to grow, I’ll need some serious rain. We’re onto the third day of Autumn, we’re getting a little bit of drizzle during the night and the temperature has dropped a bit for now (you know you’ve gone through a hot summer when the kids are wearing jumpers as the temperature drops under 30 degrees!). It has given me enough confidence to plant out one (out of 7) garden beds. Knowing that at least I can keep the watering up, without stretching myself even thinner. 

Hopefully when the busy registration part of the soccer season is past us, I have a bit more free time again in my weeks.

I’ve been asked give a Master Class on macadamias at the upcoming Regional Masters Food Expo on the 30th of March in Yamba.
Being part of the Gate to Plate movement we have in our valley which focuses on the exquisite ingredients we’re producing locally. A fundraiser for the Gallery Foundation.
If you would be interested to Go Nuts! with me: tasting, trying and experimenting with macadamias and their wide variety of uses. You can find more info and tickets here: https://gatetoplate.com.au
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