Being outside grounds me: a quick walk with the dog while the sun is coming up, checking on the horses and the chooks. The first rays of sun, so pretty with a bit of cloud cover or the smokey haze over the valley. Giving a tiny hint of warmth on these freezing mornings. A friendly nicker from the horses while they wait on their hay, now the grass is all gone. The kookaburra, always a happy sound in the morning, frolicking away in the distance. The magpies, sitting on the branches above me, doing another sing along. And of course the chooks, always hungry, spotting the chook bucket and calling me over. All of this while the dog is happily doing bouncing laps around me and the kids finish their breakfast and climb on their bikes. 
Good morning, breathe in the beauty and possibilities.
The day might be busy, but its all going to be ok. We’re doing all of this again at the end of the day...

The soccer carnival came and went. It was a major job, taking up many hours. But it was a huge success. 600 juniors played, accompanied by parents and siblings. 
Behind the scenes.
It’s been quite the eye opener seeing the other side, the organisational part of a carnival. 
The strong community spirit, the many, many awesome people volunteering their time and energy.
You don’t know how strong you are until you pushed a little at your comfort zone. 
Even if that includes doing presentations...
Still Winter, but we can see nature gearing up for spring. 
The feedback from the mulberry patrol: “Loaded!”
“Wings and Wheels” at the local airstrip.
David would like this one for his birthday...
While Alex and Sophie wouldn’t mind going up in the glider...
The dam is getting lower. 
With all of NSW drought declared, we’re aware that a bit of rain in June has done wonders to get us through this Winter. We still have water in our rainwater tank. Even though most of the grass has disappeared with the first good frost, the coldest winter since a rather long time, we know that many other are not so lucky. It’s been heart-warming to see how many people are involved in fundraisers to pull our farmers through this. With long road trains of hay going all over the state. We have to look after our farmers, where would we be without them...
Going Nuts Macadamia Oil.
I keep bringing out new products, knowing it probably not the most efficient way having a menu so wide. But it’s keeping it fun, the experimenting, trials and promoting. It also enables me to bring out the best products of the season. That means sometimes saying goodbye (temporary) to best sellers, like the maple pecans. Sometimes the stress of keeping up stock is not worth it. I’ll bring it back for next Winter, with a better supply line...
My gorgeous boys, always keen for adventure.
The end of the Young Guns program,  soccer has finished for David. 
Soccer season is going towards its end, only a couple more training and games for the older ones and the season is all wrapped up for the year. Organisation for the presentation (end of year celebration) and the club's 50th birthday dinner are in full swing.
With my Autumn granola coming to an end. I’m introducing a new seasonal granola: Berrylicious.
Raspberry soaked oats, with lime, coconut and vanilla. Finished off with almond flakes and dried blueberries. 
My house now smells like raspberry macaroons... This trial batch got all thumbs up. Today will be making new labels, getting ready for the orders that are already starting to roll in!
And another couple of weeks gone, the year is flying by.
This would be the year that I would challenge myself a bit more, stretching the comfort zone. Trying new things and making sure there wouldn’t be any regrets. While keeping a balance...
Well, the balance is often the biggest challenge. But I’ve grown so much this year, in skills, as a baker, business woman and as a person. I’ll let you know at the end of the year what the verdict is...


Full Moon Weekend

Full Moon rising over the gum trees.
Macadamias, raw organic cocoa and raw local honey.
Smooth, dark and irresistible.
Soccer games. Alex’s team had a formidable opponent. After a rather frustrating first halve, Alex had enough and took on the role as goal keeper. An Edwin van der Sar in the making, nothing did pass this little wall.
To say that it’s rather dry is an understatement. With a fire ban coming in early. The valley was rather smokey from all the back burns cleaning up dry vegetation for when it gets dangerously dry, combined with hot Summer weather. 
It makes for interesting driving though...
Another way to clean up the grassy shoulders, cattle patrol.

The paddocks are bare, the horses get hand fed daily to keep them going.
My first go on a plaited brioche.
The Amongst Friends, Trees and a Full Moon get together. After many moons, still going strong and highly anticipated by our kids.
Full Moon after party, with breakfast by the fire.
“Cleaning up” my macadamia brittle disaster as a topping for lemon myrtle and vanilla cake.
Back at school, all the extracurricular activities have started up again.
A couple more days and the soccer carnival is on, 64 junior teams have nominated. 
It’s going to be a massive day! It’s a rather steep learning curve...


School Holidays: into the mountains

Another week of school holidays.
With quality time at home, doing some fun workshops at the library, kitchen experiments and a trip into the mountains.
A change of scene also creates head space. A drive along the Mann River always puts a smile on my face, trying out new tracks a sense of adventure.
Bush tucker Taste and Talk at the library. Getting some new ideas for the kitchen and the garden.
I accidentally made honey macadamia brittle while trying to improve a recipe.
I must admit, this turned out so good. Not too sweet, letting the macadamias shine. There was so much positive feedback on it that I might try to replicate another batch, but making sure to press it flat this time!
More Going Nuts! kitchen experiments: Macadamia nut butters. With a hint of vanilla, sea salt and local honey. Adding raw organic cocoa made me a winner...
The scream
for coffee...
School holidays = Board games
And silly selfies.
Team: Curly Whirly

Horse riding, enjoying the sun, space and fresh air.
While David rides his bike besides me and Tyson is never far behind me.
Middle of the Winter. With sunny and dry days often reaching 20 degrees.
The nights have been a lot colder this year, we’re going through hay and fire wood in record time.
Going into the New England Highlands for the weekend.
Driving up, through the mountains, with beautiful views on the Clarence Valley.
With the road cutting through the Word Heritage listed Gibraltar Range and Washpool, National Park. Giving us a beautiful, fresh, picnic at Dandahra Creek.
Which is very much like a painting...
A run at The Standing Stones
 The Chill in Glen festival.
David was rather proud of his (mini) snow man. 
But didn’t understand why his hands got so cold!
 Finding a new and trendy coffee place.

Farmstay on the plains,
surrounded by 450 acres with only cattle to share the space.
So quiet during the night!

With the night reaching -8 degrees. Waking up was a rather cold affair!
Now I hear my fellow Dutchies thinking, “have they turned into complete wusses?!?!?”.
Yes, maybe, well, let me explain: houses build here don’t have double glazing, wall insulation or central heating. Just a bit of ceiling insulation, if you’re lucky.
For warmth you have a wood fire in the living room, that needs to heat the whole of the house.
While the very modern houses have reverse aircon...

Being on a farm, this is the best place in the house.

But seeing everything white outside from the frost....

That needs investigating!

Which warranted hot chocolate for breakfast...
 Going down at the mountain. Making a stop at the Boundary Falls for a walk.

 Spottting good boulders and trees to climb.
And of course a pretty waterfall
Next stop: Coombadjha creek,
at Washpool National Park.
 Team: Straight & Narrow
Trying to keep the kids on the walking track with a creek nearby was hopeless...
Rockhoppers, all of them.
But with a rather wild rain forest like this, who can blame them.
Revived after a weekend of fresh air.
Ready for the next school term, a rather busy one by the looks of it. We’re expecting the new cabin to be build it next week, the soccer carnival and a major overhaul of our septic system. 

At the beginning of the year I made a deal with my husband. He would go rock climbing in Thailand with a mate, I would catch up with my sister in New Zealand. 
Already looking forward to the next adventure, I’ve just booked the plane tickets for the next school holidays, two weeks exploring the North Island, before my sister Lisa will commence her training there.
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