Saturday, January 24, 2015

We're back!

Well. That was the biggest break from blogging I've had since I started the blog some years back. There have been times in the last 6 weeks where I've wondered if I was going to come back to it. But hey: this thing is a record of our adventures, and the adventuring ain't stopping here. It's a place for us to rant about the things we're passionate about, and we're passionate about a lot. It's a place for us to share stuff and (hopefully) teach or inspire people, and there's a lot to learn. So we're back.

What have we been up to since the canceled party debacle?
Heaps of stuff! And also heaps of relaxing!

We have a little break from chicken farming over the summer because we find the chickens really struggle with the hot weather. Also, chicken farming is bloody exhausting, especially after the year we've had, so we need a break!

Life without chickens is roomy and free and relaxing. There's space for new friends, foraging (blackberries! plums! raspberries! oh my!), baking, crocheting, quilting Australiana-themed baby-quilts, reading, swimming, eating, old friends, bee-swarm-catching, a trip to the big-smoke for circus shows and visiting, and general merry-making.

After processing our last batch of chickens for the year and (happily) providing delicious chicken Christmas dinners to the people of the Bega Valley (and one lady who comes all the way from the Snowy Mountains for our chicken!) we headed out to the coast for a luxurious 2 week holiday with some of our nearest and dearest. It. Was. Amazing. Eating, swimming, reading, crocheting. Repeat. Oh, and we harvested a bucketload of native wild raspberries, which we dumped onto a baked ricotta for New Year's dinner. 
Not a bad spot for an afternoon of foraging
There are no words to describe the deliciousness, but here's a picture...
When we came home to the farm the garden was ridiculously overgrown, but we didn't mind. We harvested and made merry.

Our neighbour called to say there was a late swarm of bees at his place, so we caught it in an esky and installed it in our top-bar hive. We've been waiting for a swarm for 2 years since our last lot of bees got hive beetle and evacuated, so that was a happy day.
Me in my "crazy person" beekeeping 'suit' and Gunnar in his proper suit.
The roadside plums came on, and we had a harvest-and-preserve party with some new lovely friends.
I finished a custom baby-quilt order for an Australiana fan in Sydney. Love this quilting bizzo...
The blackberries have come on, so we're harvesting and freezing daily. When the season's over and we've got our haul, we'll have a massive jam cook up. In the meantime, we pick and pick and eat our fill.
Locavore dinner parties with friends, including plum cakes with Jersey cream!
And in between it all we've been working at our off-farm jobs. I've started a new job at the local wholefoods co-op, which is AWESOME, and of course we've been running and working at our little abattoir, which continues to process for small-scale chicken and duck farmers and backyard growers around the traps. Sometimes, the abattoir cleaning (not processing!!) is a family affair. 
The kids don't mind at all (it's an excuse for us all to hang out together playing with high-pressure hoses, after all), and we feel it's important for them to see us (and share in) working hard for the things we believe in.

Oh and I've been thoroughly enjoying exploring the instagram world. Never thought I would, but there you go. Life's full of surprises, right? 

On the immediate horizon we have another little break and then we dive head first into building and chook-enterprise-expansion and abattoir overhauling and school and uni and show season and roadside-apple-and-peach season and all the other busy-ness that comes with this life we're living. I'm excited.