Monday, 21 April 2014

a feast on the farm

After many invitations and far too many full diaries, we at long last headed to Clearwater Gardens Farm for an afternoon of the most wonderfully delicious delights and purely perfect simple moments. Jess, Lucas, their two little ones and a pretty constant stream of WWOOFER's and Helpx folk, run this organic farm in Glennifer, Bellingen. Clearwater Gardens is a relatively new farm which is still in the throes of steep learning curves, determination, frustrations, shiny eyes and passion. As we sat and dined on a stunning lunch made pretty much entirely with ingredients from the farm (with the exception of the spices, parmesan cheese and a tiny bit of flour), every mouthful we ate was made even more delicious with this knowledge, the pumpkin sweeter than ever, the moussaka like nothing we had ever tasted (beef from the farm and the béchamel made from the goats milk, eggplant from yes, the farm) and the salad was literally jumping from our plates it was that fresh and full of a bounty of all sorts of greenery.
Oh yes, this is the epitome of loving and eating local, we were minutes and in some cases seconds from the source of the majority of our feast. Ah, yes, this to me is pretty damn perfect. To make matters even more pinch worthy was having a big table with said feast taken to a perfectly shady grassy patch and it was there we devoured, chatted and greedily quizzed our hosts about their farming experiences. 
As challenging as this whole farming experience has been, what with wholesalers (outside of Bellingen) not wanting their beautiful and utterly delicious organic watermelons due to, wait for it, seeds (!) seriously, come on people, check out the protein levels in watermelon seeds, damaged but still great pumpkins wasting away and having an excessive amount of produce that can't be sold. They have a plan for the future, a plan to grow based on what their retailers want and then the plan is that there will be little waste and they can fulfil their retailers needs with preorders. They also have a beautiful plan about creating beautiful commercial compost, (see the rich and wonderful grass compost below). With an organic and biodynamic focus, they rotate and stagger crops, they research, talk, learn, document. All this whilst being present and beautiful parents and people. Scott and I were more than a little awestruck and starry-eyed.

After a wander around the farm, greeting the goats, admiring the cows and gathering armloads of eggplant, we worked up a sweat and wandered down to an absolutely stunning Never Never Creek swimming hole, the near on freezing turquoise water was the most perfect way to end a day that had my head spinning with pure and simple joy and wonder. 
Although Scott and I have no aspirations to be farmers on this scale we do nurture a deep and growing desire to grow more food, food for our family and for giving our excessive food to those beyond our family. We dream of doing it on a smaller scale (like a town sized block) but on a scale that is full, even brimming with plenty. When we connect with people like Jess and Lucas it inspires us in the best possible way. Thanks guys for providing our town with such delicious produce, for being passionate about growing food and for being part of something so important for our future. 




Tuesday, 15 April 2014

fixed

Okay, hi, yes I did post earlier today explaining all about my computer problems but I am back, computer problem solved (fingers crossed), masses of photos uploaded and brain brimming with an overload of electronic stimulation. Deep breath.
So, here is what I was planning on doing, mostly because I would prefer to take it easy on myself, but   what I was thinking was, how about I kind of just throw you all out there, out into these snippets of our lives with only the vaguest of descriptions, yes, I know, not quite the grand and spectacular homecoming I am sure you were all waiting for but instead, merely the one that feels right for me. Slowly, slowly with minimal need for too much information, any great wit, nor the need for too much wracking of a, ah at times, wonky memory. Okay? Let's go.

To celebrate our beautiful friend and, lucky for us, neighbour, Nina's birthday, we showered her with love, gifts and a delicious, kind of experimental cake based on this recipe. It is true that I thought that a layer of mango and avocado/choc mousse would maybe make it even more delicious than the divine looking berry topping in the original recipe and yes it is true that I threw caution to the wind and did not peel my almonds after soaking (the fact that I was using almonds rather than cashews was already pushing the boundaries), but I must say the gamble paid off the cake was really very delicious, with great flavours and wonderful textures, oh and it satisfied some of our dear friends who are gluten free and the fact that our oven was broken.
But just a word on the lovely Nina, a beautiful human who is open and full of love, wisdom and curiosity, as always I cherish friendships where things are really explored, conversations that are rich, understanding, challenging and interesting. When Nina and I talk it is often around our children, it is often interrupted, it is often left wanting but it is always with understanding, this is how conversations often happen when little ones are around but in that there is so much beauty and acceptance. Thank you Nina for all those juicy half conversations that we so often have.
Okay that wasn't that short at all, but don't get too excited because basically that is as good as it's going to get. 
A delightful play with Ginger and Ilo, oh the love. 
It has been too long between protests, so because there were so many things to march against we decided to do the March in March. A peaceful protest, a wonderful turn out, a time to reflect and become reignited in the passion to bring about change. 
A beautiful friend at the march, wearing a top that I made, her whole outfit made me smile with delight. Come on, a high waisted lime green polyester skirt and a beautiful floral mid-drift top, yes, it takes a very special human to pull of this look, in a way that is totally gorgeous, effortless and supremely natural. 
A wonderfully long party in the Thora Valley, filled with swinging, horse riding, water balloons, river swimming, cubby house making, chasing, hiding and some obscure french pop songs. 
In the cardboard box we trust and love. Always and forever. 
A show, usually filled with some serious dance moves, is always around the corner.