Thank you October, you were amazing!

Expanding my range with cultured honey.

These flavoured versions are mind blowing.
October is often the month we have loads of juvenile king parrots visiting.
Far from shy, we often have 8 of them chatting away...
...or cheering you on
Coming back from New Zealand with rain, lots of it.
Here you see one of the dam overflows, releasing water into the gully.
All the rain is doing wonders for the garden, which is now is full blown Spring growth.
At last, the start of the cabin build!
Coinciding with my parents flight out of Amsterdam, the pressure in on!
Laura approved
And of course a massive thunderstorm rips through just before the roof goes on.
Quickly erected, wired up and a toilet hooked up onto the new septic system, it has already hosted our first overseas visitors and a Tim’s mates sleepover.
It will still need a couple more coats of oil on the outside, a finish on the inside walls and doors. And a bit more permanent furniture, other then the comfy queen size bed. 
Any friends and family visiting, we can now offer you a place to sleep, with a gorgeous morning view over the dam... Be welcome...
Jacaranda’s are coming in flower. The start off of the Jacaranda festival.
When you have a massive basket of eggs sitting on the kitchen bench, you make brioche.
Letting the dough rise long and slow in the fridge, with a dash of sourdough starter, improving the taste big time.
Sunday morning baking, scrolls with homemade fig jam...
These two...
The reality of having your whole family living on the other side of the world. When they visit you have them all to yourself, for weeks on end. Leaving many good memories behind.
Planting out the new orchard with the kids. It’s making my heart sing.
I managed to find a lemon myrtle tree, treasure! Growing alongside are an aniseed and cinnamon myrtle and a macadamia tree.
So far we’ve planted out mostly natives, wanting to support our local bees and butterflies. 
We might even end up with enough blossoms to sustain a beehive!
Besides natives, we've managed to plant a lemon tree, we’ve transplanted bananas, a lychee tree and a have quince tree on standby. A friend has kindly taken cuttings from his trees, soon we will be planting out coffee and Brazilian cherry trees.
We’re still waiting to plant: apples, avocado and a lemonade tree. Dreaming big!

Saying yes to all the challenges that come onto your path for a whole year  brings you to many interesting (and scary!) places. This year has brought me outside of my comfort zone many times.
This week I got asked for a feature for the “Keeping it Local” in the local paper.
They did a video feature of Nerissa and me at work as well...
Find it here... Can you here the nerves raging in my voice?
And what’s with the accent?!? Hearing yourself talk on video is weird, big time...
Making jacaranda ice-cream with the children: frozen blueberries and banana, yoghurt, macadamias and a spoon of quince paste, to get the colour just right...


Family Time

Taking some time away with the family. 
A couple of nights in Cumbalum, on a farm stay between Ballina and Lennox Head.
The perfect location for day trips, like going for a hike and a swim at Killen Falls.
Beach and ice creams in Lennox Heads
David ended up with a bad asthma attack. A parents nightmare seeing your child gasping for breath. He’s had them before, often when he gets a cold. But since free sailed the last couple of ones, we were hoping he was growing out of it. Sander ended up taking him to hospital during the night, a couple of days medication and he is back to his old self. It has scared me enough to keep an asthma puffer in my hand bag, at all times.
Gliding on the thermal waves, man and eagle alike.
Farm stay highlights

Making a run for the waves
Stop-over in Newrybar, enjoying the deli at Harvest.
Blue cheese, salami and olives. A kids delight...

Loosing the fights with the waves
The most amazing swing, in a fig tree!


New Zealand

14 days in New Zealand, North Island.
Taking along my eldest, Tim, who turned 10 this year for a catch up with my youngest sister, Lisa, free for two weeks with a mandatory training break. 
My parents and my husband held the fort at home. 

Nothing planned, just a return flight and camper van.
My calm was tested before I even left Coffs Harbour. Our flight into Sydney was canceled, which my travel agent forgot to mention. But he got us into Sydney on a later flight, rather bumpy with a massive thunderstorm ripping through on the other end, keeping us in the air for another half an hour. An end sprint saw us having our bags pushed back onto the plane that had already given up on us, making it to Auckland after all, just after midnight.
With so much stuff happening in my day to day life: planning, organising, checking. My head could do with a break. So I made this deal with my sister on the first day, we would swop roles. Where as she normally just have to follow her training schedule from the Dutch Rowing Federation, she would now take on the role of planner and organiser. Where I would just have to drive, or hike or wherever else she would get us into. Quite a bit as it turned out! Then, what else do you expect when you go on a holiday with a professional athlete?
Hiking we did, onto just about every mountain Lisa could find.
First day, I made the ignorant comment off: ”It getting to four 'o clock, we better start looking for a campground soon”.
Which got answered with: “We still have almost 3 hours of daylight left, lets do this hike”.
That set the tone for the rest of our holiday. Eat when it gets dark, let’s go.
Although Lisa put a lot of effort in getting a plan together each morning, more often them not, we would change our plans multiple times that day, going with recommendations from locals, or hunches. 
Where mine would get us to some excellent coffee and food, Lisa would manage to get us on another windy gravel road...
We ended up chugging away quite some kilometres, on foot and by camper van.
Wherever we went, the scenery was amazing. The amount of photo’s we took was crazy. Every turn would bring another surprise.
Winding our way along gravel roads, for 230 kilometres on end, barely seeing anyone. 
On to some hidden lake.
 Boat trip on Lake Taupo.
My first go at mountain biking, in Rotorua meaning I’m now spoiled, I loved it.
Where Tim & Lisa quickly took to the more difficult trails, riding their hearts out.
We lost count of the many, many waterfalls we saw on hikes and along the road.
Wherever we went it was so green. With Spring in full swing, we couldn’t get over the many flowers popping up wherever we looked.
Feeding lambs at the farm of one of New Zealand's Olympic Gold rowers was great fun.
And so were the hikes he advised us to do. Even though they were rather crazy!
Rough, wild and windblown.
Hiking is so more relaxing, without the snakes!
 Old mining tunnels.
 Writing cards for the home front
Napier, one cute little art deco city.
Where we free camped along the black pebbled beach, where we gave aid to a sick baby seal and walked along the boulevard. We loved driving along the many different orchards covered in blossom, the many, many beehives brought us to a local honey factory where we tried many of their gourmet honeys as well as the amazing hokey pokey ice-cream...
...well earned after having conquered Te Mata Peak.
 Caves, glowworms and natural bridges.

 Whirinaki Forrest - Hiking amongst giants and...
...fern trees, so many fern trees.
And although this one was one of the “tamer” hikes, it was my favourite, just magic.
Playing "the floor is lava” at Mihi.
Bubbling mud, geysers and steam in the forrest.
Soaking in the thermal pools at night, rather smelly, but totally fascinating!

 Even into the second week, the waterfalls didn’t stop amazing us.
Most nights we free camped. Keeping it peaceful, quiet and simple.
The first night was the stuff from horror stories, including a woman screaming on the top of her longs in the middle of the night, being chased by a ute doing burn outs. We survived this sibling spat and decided it could only get better from there. Which it did.
Time away from the pesky little siblings, outdoors and trail running. Tim was in heaven.
Tairua, more free camping with a view.
 The Coromandal Peninsula, so pretty!
Cathedral Cove
Shoveling away into the boiling sand, making a hot water bath.
 Swimming and slowing down on secluded beaches.
At the very last night we rocked up at a free camp. It turned out to be the parking lot at the local rowing club, still open. 
That’s a sign right!?!?! 
And so Tim went for his very first row, guided by his auntie.
The next morning, we left Lisa behind in Cambridge, where she’ll train on Lake Karapiro until December. 
Making our way back to Auckland, switching the head back on, navigating, organising, a camper van to return, a bed to find and flights to catch 
We didn’t make it all the way south, neither did see the Bay of Islands, 
two weeks just wasn’t enough. 
Which gives us all the reason to go back another time...
 On home soil again, Not sure who they missed more, their mum or big brother...
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