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


Where did January go?

With some monster orders rolling in at the end of the year, working from home while the kids had school holidays was doable, but busy. But when Sander had a day off and took all the kids to Mulligans Hut. Bliss...

Mungo Brush Campground. Part of the Myall Lakes National Park.
Where you chuck the kids into the lake at the end of the day, followed by the laundry and dirty dishes. We tend to camp pretty basis, without electricity and wifi.
A campground without tap water however, was a new experience for us. We got used to it pretty quickly, but back at home being able use the tap for a drink or to flush the toilet became a whole new luxury...
The vast sand dunes of Dark Point

Bringing out some new items, just in time for Australia Day.
Using native spices brings cooking to a whole new level. Like these Aussie Sprinkles, they shine with the kick of wattle seeds and the slow releasing aroma of cinnamon myrtle.
Chester got himself a hoof abscess. Not able to walk on it, he was one sorry sod for a couple of days.
It’s been weeks, but still slowly healing. I can’t wait until we can go riding again...
Thankful for good friends with horses. Horse riding to and cooling off in the river.
Keeping work fun, bringing out some limited editions. Like this Sweet Chilli Sauce that makes use of the massive glut of chillies currently in my garden.
Another Aussie Pride: swagman macadamias. With salt bush and many other native herbs.
The school holidays tend to be the time for massive growth spurts. They all went up at least 1 clothing and shoes size in a matter of weeks!
On the Tea Garden-Nelson Bay Ferry
Kayaking with dolphins
I had been asked to do little gifts for all those attending the Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards.
My biggest job so far. But so happy how it all turned out. Doesn’t it look cute?!?!

Scored ourselves another 10kg blueberries for the freezer!
Another day of packaging, while the kids played nicely.
Ao they all got homemade ice cream.
 Our first dragon fruits have taken off!
 Cooling off at McPhersons Crossing.

Enjoying the evening when it finely starts to cool off.
Perfect for dinners outside with friends.
Celebrating good friends


Alex’s 6th Birthday

Alex turned 6, our adventure kid had his mind set on a kayak.
Pooling together all his birthday money, he had one waiting by the side of the dam for a birthday morning paddle. Then spend just about all day paddling around!
 A pretty day by the water.
With the other kids getting a turn,
or a ride!

But was able to be tempted out of the water for birthday cake...
The weekend after, we had his birthday party, we ended up with about 30 kids!
We set out treasure hunt/orienteering track with 15 clues and activities.
Divided up in 4 teams, they had to traverse, climb, jump and dive through the climbing hall, tree house, pool, “lion cage”, slack-line, helping each other out over fallen trees and having to paddle out to the tree in the water finding tokens. They all had great fun. 
More cake, although a little droopy by the 36 degree day, was a treasure packed castle defended by a dragon.
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