Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chestnuts for breakfast...lunch....dinner....

What a fabulous day out we had yesterday! A trip to Kookootonga Chestnut Farm in Mt Irvine organised by the blue mountains fruit and nut tree network made for a great family outing. The drive there is beautiful in itself, through the upper mountains villages, across the Darling Causeway, through Bell and Mt Wilson, which I think always looks gorgeous in Autumn.

One of the first trees

There were chestnuts aplenty, less trees than I imagined but far more nuts than I ever imagined could come from each tree! The owner took our small group up over the hill to his 'best' tree which was enough to keep us happily picking for an hour or so, each filling our buckets and still leaving some behind! It was so enjoyable gathering the nuts under the cool shade of the huge tree as it was unusually warm yesterday.

Tough gloves essential (oops and sensible footwear too!)

A trio of treasure inside the prickly casing

The farm also has a good supply of walnut trees, and although these aren't quite due for harvest yet, our children managed to find a 'secret' tree (much to their delight!) where they were the sole collectors of a good kilo of walnuts already fallen to the ground. Apart from the occasional running-off episodes, they really enjoyed the day too.

Miss 4 filling bucket no.1

Bucket no.2

I found discovering the chestnuts in the dewy grass and peeling them from their prickly covers really addictive (!) and therefore when it came to weighing and paying, we ended up buying far more than we needed, but it was well worth it for the experience.

This cheeky fellow joined us too

To wrap it up, the group had organised a roasting in the grounds near the farmhouse, and we all got to taste hot chestnuts roasted on the BBQ, which was a first for us.

Our nutty bounty at home!

Since returning yesterday we have tried them microwaved and oven baked, and I also picked up a range of recipe cards at the farm with lots of yummy ideas. Just as well - we have a LOT to use!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Suddenly...lots of news!

Where is this year going? I keep thinking of blog posts, but somehow get swept up by events going on in my 'real' life and never get round to writing.... but so much is happening here in the world of mountain wildlife!

Firstly, our twins started school in February, a huge milestone for all of us! They are in kindergarten and settling in well, we are very proud of them. The only downside is that I have to drive 30 mins, 4 times a day to take them there/home and back/home. We decided to start them in school in the town we will be moving to, rather than where we are now, as this will be far less disruptive for them when we do move, having already settled into school and established some new friends. We were being optimistic that we WILL build this year and it WILL go according to plan!

Which leads nicely to our second big event-of-the-moment --- the builder we returned to late last year (after a year of owner-building-nothing-getting-done dramas) seems to be handling things well and getting things moving far faster that we did. Of course I still have moments of impatience when I would like things done TODAY (!) but at least things are progressing. The council application should be ready to submit in the next couple of weeks- waiting as I write- on a bushfire assessment. Our block is surrounded by, and covered in, natural bushland so this is a very important report which will determine what modifications we will have to incorporate into the house. We already have a good understanding and have budgeted for such things so hopefully there won't be any surprises.

However, because of my afore-mentioned impatience (LOL!) we have decided to sell up our home now, (news no. 3!) and rent further up the mountains while the building progresses. Hubby will be travelling further as he works down the mountains, but that would happen eventually anyway, and besides ---news no. 4!! -- we have bought a second car so he can do that! Its an older station wagon, cheap but hopefully reliable, and has heaps more room than our other car. The train he usually catches doesn't run from our new place, so this was going to happen sooner or later. But, the school run will be so much easier, we can be more part of our new community, and our children will be closer to their new friends. Me too, as I have met some lovely people through the school and made some new friends already! 

So, our house is up for sale and the agent is confident it will go quickly. Hmmm.... now, where are we going to live??!!!

I have been searching for a rental in the upper mountains (news no.5!!) - they are quite rare - and the ones that do come up that look suitable/affordable are so far not allowing pets. Not good, as we have our lovely dog with us.
Oh, and did I mention the 5 fat hens and the rooster who does hilarious attempts now at crowing? Well, I didn't mention it to the agents that's for sure! I think the chooks might be taking up residence on our land with daily visits from me, it's hard enough finding a rental that will allow an outdoor dog!

News no.6 - we are selling our investment property at the moment as well, hopefully that should all go through next week, so its all contracts and paperwork here!

Between building, selling x 2 and house hunting, as well as driving 100km/day, you may have figured out why I have been missing lately.......

So much going on, fingers crosssed everything will soon fall into place and I will be able to exhale again!