Simple pleasures.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.06 amThis is a detailed image of the smoke bush flower – it’s wonderfully soft.Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.42.46 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.45.11 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.44.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.44.49 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.59 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.43.44 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.40.08 amWe installed a cotton hammock on the porch facing the sprawling landscape back in September.¬† You’ll occasionally find me lazing about in the shade in it when Wesley is napping.Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.42.16 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.41.42 amThis was Wesley’s first time playing in a sprinkler… he was so excited!¬† Rightfully so, it was 36 degrees that day (it’s still spring here!)Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.41.07 amScreen Shot 2017-11-04 at 7.40.39 am

A few days back I took a quick glance around – everything is coming together and just looked cozy and clean and clutter free.¬† We don’t own much, and those things we do have here all serve a purpose.¬† I said to Mike shortly afterward that there wasn’t much I need to be comfortable and happy here.¬† I’ve come to love the butter coloured walls I painted back in August, they work well with our furniture and brighten up the living room in a way that is really fresh and uplifting (but also subtle).

After I admired our space, I told him my short list of simple home pleasures…

  • a scented candle
  • a good book
  • fresh clean sheets
  • a nice bottle of wine
  • a new outfit quarterly (haha I threw that one in at the last second) Some of the clothes in my wardrobe have been a part of my life for many years now.¬† I have dresses and items that are 10 years old now, I still wear them.

I think Mike’s list is even shorter:

  • chickens
  • bees
  • fresh underwear

Another simple pleasure to relish here is in the image of the dip in this post.¬† It has been recreated through a recipe from a German friend who lives inland.¬† I’ve now had her cucumber dip a few times (near eating most of it myself almost to the point of hoarding it from others!) and it’s insanely good and simple!

Cucumber Dip Recipe

  • 1/2 cup grated lemon zest (you don’t need to add the lemon zest but I’ve added it to add even more zing!)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 medium size clove of garlic grated (in the fine grater)
  • 1 whole cucumber grated with the skin on (in the larger grater setting) be sure to squeeze out as much of the water as you can
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all the items together and serve on whatever you like!  It literally takes 5 minutes to make and about 5 seconds to eat.

Dear reader, what are the simple pleasures you enjoy in your life?

Aunt Stacey & Uncle Rayden

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.04 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.15.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.20 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.15.47 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.15.55 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.26 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.53 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.11 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.41 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.37 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.47 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.18.54 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.19.05 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.17.54 pmWe have just had a really magical week with Rayden and Stacey.  They travelled to the farm from Melbourne and Adelaide respectively to come and spend time with us over 5 days here in Warradarge.  It was clear that right away there was going to be a super show down for top Aunty/Uncle title as deemed by Wesley.

They were hilarious playing with him, dressing him, bathing, changing and for four long nights they tended to his every need through the night.  Mike and I both found it a treat to have had the help round the clock and honestly to lay in bed just a little longer than usual in the morning was the best thing ever!  Sleeping in is rare these days.

We did quite a bit over 4 days…

  1. We devoured some really delicious home cooked food.  An epic lamb roast with roasted veggies and some home made pear and blue cheese pizza as well as some super local pork for dinner РMike also spoiled us all with an egg and bacon breakfast which was gobbled up in mere minutes.
  2. We spent time at the beach in Greenhead.  This was where Wesley proved that it would take at least 4 adults to keep him from getting into the ocean.
  3. A little hike at Mount Leseure to enjoy the wildflowers and check out the landscape
  4. The gang even went to tennis for a hit on the courts (I stayed back to garden and also head to the bush).
  5. Risk was played rather competitively, with Mike being the ultimate winner!
  6. Rayden transformed into a professional TV chef teaching Wesley how to make chocolate biscuits for us all to enjoy during one afternoon when wee man was getting a little cranky it was such a great activity that perked him up.  He was such a diligent little helper!
  7. Rayden and Stacey helped me set up three large (50 foot) garden beds in our front yard, and brought in his expertise setting up a compost heap for us in the yard beyond the house.  It was so good to have the extra hands and energy to really crack into the work.  This also involved shovelling sheep poop from under the shearing shed for an hour Рwe did a huge amount of work!
  8. Mike spent some time managing some bee hives and caught one more on the last morning (we now have 5!!)
  9. Stacey and Mike went for a hike and enjoyed some nearby caves and Lake Indoon while Rayden and I stayed with wee man baking.
  10. A trip to the garbage dump haha was a memory for all to cherish too!
  11. Video chats with Great Grandma Izzy, Aunt Valerie and Great Uncle Andrew also topped off a pretty magical week.

Stacey takes some top points for changing some poopy diapers Рand on that alone she should probably take out the lead, but there was a lot of love shared between the 5 of us and Wesley would be hard pressed to choose his favourite.  He was laughing, running around and being his curious little self during the trip.

The help over 4 days not only with Wesley but with some major jobs around the house was so appreciated.¬†¬†We’re so lucky to have such incredible family and will cherish the times we share with them for years to come.

Today Wesley and I are back into the swing of things – we hiked to the top of Leseur this morning and have had a really chill afternoon.¬† We’ll be hosting a friend for dinner this evening and have a few dates out this week with some new local friends from Germany and Canada.

I’ve also got to plan out how much more manure will be needed for the gardens and work with Mike on how we will plant and grow food for us and for the markets in Jurien.¬† Big plans!

It’s going to be a great week, even though we miss Mike – we have plenty to keep us entertained and dive into the adventure of life on the farm.

Till next time!

Ps: red spotted jezebel butterfly and jewel beetles feature above if you’re curious.

Warradarge, Western Australia.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.05 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.14 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 9.59.51 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 10.00.20 amScreen Shot 2017-08-11 at 9.59.37 amWhen I first started this blog nearly 6 years ago it was in this exact region of Western Australia that Mike and I were working.  In fact we were working on a cattle property just up the road from this little farm house.

To move back here feels so surreal, and wonderful – it’s as if we never left. ¬†The house is just as charming as when we last lived here and the view… I doubt we will ever tire of these spectacular sunrise and sunsets.

Wuzza and his mates sleep in the driveway in front of the house, and at the right time of morning you can just catch a hint of a grey silhouette and the stunning soft pink and purples that fill the sky just before the sun cracks over the horizon.

We have a number of projects we’d like to jump into on the house, and when Mike returns from work (he’s working offsite on a mine up North) next week we’ll sit down together and come up with a plan and start to prioritise tasks. ¬†For the time being Wesley and I have been doing quite a bit of gardening and have also dug in a watering system for the yard (lucky for us it’s sand so made it really easy).

Wesley is hilariously obsessed with the pet sheep, from the moment he wakes till the moment he sleeps he points them out and asks in his own little way if we can go and see them. Once we are near he squeals and chases th wee lambs and is unstoppable until I scoop him up.

Wuzza is weary of my human baby, but he has come over to say hello a couple of times. He’s my first wooly baby and I have missed him dearly, not sure the same could be said in return… but I’ll be sure to offer him some bread to reestablish a bond of trust.

When we first arrived to the home late last Friday afternoon, there was a gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers, some free range eggs and wonderfully juicy oranges for us to enjoy from Tessa and Brian.  Such a welcome package for a couple of tired travellers!

Manitoba & A New Slightly Altered Dad

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.31 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.42 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.46.58 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.47.41 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.47.54 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.02 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.15 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.28 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.55 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.18 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.44 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.56 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.10 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.25 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.38 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.32 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.51 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.52.08 amWell, sitting here in our living room it feels surreal that we were just in Manitoba, Canada for 10 days. ¬†Wesley and I flew over to spend time with my dad who’d just survived a harrowing ordeal which involved a complicated emergency surgery. ¬†Frankly we were expecting him to be in serious shape when we boarded the plane. ¬†The dad that we encountered was walking, eating and generally moving about without too many issues.

His recovery was to put it simply… Amazing. ¬†

Our trip was initially meant to be much longer – but travelling solo with Wesley and trying our best not to get in the way…it became clear early on that we wouldn’t stay longer than we were needed. ¬†So 10 days it was. ¬†My sister and her husband Jordan were our hosts along with the two dogs Odie and Maggie. ¬†Dad was driving himself by his second day and it was really nice to know he’d be basically independent.

The weather at first was quite a shock.  We arrived to -16 degree weather, though over the course of a few days spring took hold and began to thaw the snow and ice.  The dogs were a huge source of entertainment for Wesley which was awesome Рwe were inside quite a bit of the time.

We’d never been to this area of Manitoba before, and in all honesty – I felt like such a tourist! ¬†There were little details I was noticing that the younger me wouldn’t have really paid attention to. ¬†The plants, cats tails, a red squirrel, the geese flying in for spring and the grass turning from brown to green in only a few short days. ¬†We stayed in a trailer at Ron and Madelines property, which was great to escape and sleep in peace and quiet whilst listening to the geese fly overhead. ¬†The property has a very large oak forest which we also had the pleasure of tramping through a few times. ¬†I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is in the summer with the leaves and greenery.

One of the day’s Wesley and I joined Ron (Liz’s boss) and he took us out to do some bird watching. ¬†We spotted 2 eagles and several different species of hawk. ¬†He also took us into a Hutterite colony and we got an up close and personal view of what it’s like inside these exclusive communities. ¬†I might write more about that at a later time. ¬†I did refrain from taking photos – out of respect. ¬†I didn’t want them thinking we were there to gawk.

Agriculture and mass farming is hugely popular in the region.  We were staying in a little town called St. Pierre Jolys which has quite a french influence.  Most of the accents in the region had a slight french style to them which is unusual to find outside of Quebec.

My twin sister also made it down for a day en-route to Alberta to spend some time with the family and meet Wesley for the first time.  Here he was lunging in for a bite.  She was excellent with him, and gave me a bit of a break to shower and was super helpful.

He picked up a few interesting skills whilst we were there including: biting me when he wanted food, eating dog food (almost daily) and throwing a ball for the energetic and friendly Odie. ¬†Thankfully on the way home Wesley stopped the biting. ¬†I’ve a large bruise on my left are from one good chomp he gave me…and refused to release the skin from his teeth.

I drove on the right hand side of the road, which at first was kind of a dangerous transition. ¬†After a day I was ok… but I did blame it on the epic lack of sleep and jet lag.

We ate poutine a couple of times (it was so goooooood) and also brought back some moccasins to keep my toes warm this winter.  They are sheepskin lined and are like heaven on my feet.

All in all it was a successful trip. ¬†We survived the journey to and from (thankfully Wesley is a people person – he made so many friends during each leg of the trip) and it was fairly easy going to and from…lots of games and singing and horsing around on my part to keep wee man entertained. ¬†Travelling with a little baby is daunting, but at the same time it made it alot more fun than usual. ¬†I probably wont be putting my hand up again for that any time soon – but it is nice to know that Wesley loves the planes and is stimulated by all the people. ¬†He was adorable.

Coming home to New Zealand – it was so beautiful to see the green and even though it’s raining and a little chilly we’re sooo pleased to stretch our legs and settle into our little life here again. ¬†Mike had flowers waiting and firewood stacked along the front of our home. ¬†Such a wonderful welcome!

But… I’ll warn you all now. ¬†We have news. ¬†It involves…relocation. ¬†To another country…

Can you guess where we are headed?

I’ll reveal this to you shortly!

Take care all and be well

x

Holly

The first crop of onions.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-37-50-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-33-16-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-04-17-amscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-27-13-pmTo put a seed into the soil is to believe in the future.  You trust that earth, water and time will bring you nourishing food.  Time has brought us 8 red onions and a random white one.

They grew in rather close quarters, and a tiny lesson has been learned.  We must plant them at a greater space to allow for bigger bulbs next year.

I’ve trimmed them and foolishly placed said onions onto the mantle in our kitchen. ¬†Now, I am airing out our whole home from the intense perfume of fresh onions.

Another novice mistake.

Now they sit on the porch airing out for a few days before I store them in the cupboard.

Do you have a recipe that features onions that you love? ¬†I’ll probably need to get through these red ones rather quick! ¬†

We’ve been misted today in a dainty almost microscopic rain. ¬†You know the kind that lightly falls on your face and skin, it feels refreshing? ¬†Eventually it saturates you to the core, and yet at the same time is lovely because it is warm. ¬†Summer rain, is so pleasant.

This constant rain has made New Zealand’s soil fertile and created an optimal growing season in many regions. ¬†Palmerston North has had one of the wettest summers on record. ¬†We can only help but flash back to our struggles in Eneabba trying to grow our food in the hot heat of summer. ¬†We watered it endlessly. ¬†Many of our plants died. ¬†Here, we hope for some more sunlight to help ripen our green tomatoes. Though, I’ve heard they are good fried green anyway!