Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Kiwis are back

Tim and Mike working in the garden
Two years ago Shelly and Tim from New Zealand spent a few months at Tenderbreak (See link here Tim and Shelly, 2009). It was not long after the Black Saturday fires, and they not only helped us out with many chores around the place, but they helped take our minds off that terrible day and its aftermath. In fact, their youthful enthusiasm, “joie de vivre” and eagerness to learn about the world, inspired a new life force in us. Tim and Shelly became close friends and that friendship continued even after they returned to the “land of the long white cloud”.  

Mike and Blue  keeping the garden up to scratch
Well the wonderful news is that Tim has returned, accompanied by his brother, Mike. Shelly is hoping to join them soon. Although they have only been here three weeks, we have spent many hours sharing our respective adventures over the past few years and discussing the state of the world and possible solutions.

Digging a trench for the new pipeline
We have also been very productive. Apart from mundane tasks such as weeding, planting seedlings, watering, cooking meals, de-nailing second-hand wood, harvesting fruit and veggies and running our weekly market stall they have also helped with some larger projects. We have installed a new water line along the front of the house to provide fresh water (when we need it) under our verandah, have shifted several hundred bricks from Bayswater and started making a new door into our workshop area (see next post).

Hazelnut Truffles. Yum!
One of the joys of having Tim around is we get to devour his delicious food creations. What’s more, he carries around dozens of recipes in his head. He’s a walking recipe book and is only too happy to share his knowledge with others. One of his missions in life is to reawaken interest in good food and how this knowledge can help our bodies maintain good health.  Both Tim and Mike are vegetarians and Tim uses his culinary skills to turn our produce into delectable meals.

Whilst Tim and Heather are busy in the kitchen, Mike provides musical accompaniment on the acoustic guitar. How lucky are we!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ciao Laura!

Luckily they were thornless blackberries
Our latest helper was Laura from Italy. She is spending about 3 months in Australia and chose to spend the Melbourne leg of the trip with us.

Laura is studying landscape design and we took her to "Alowyn Gardens" near Yarra Glen, which has been developed by some friends Prue and John Van de Linde, whom we met soon after Black Saturday. Have a look at the photographs of their beautiful gardens on their web page, . It was our first visit to their garden and it was amazing, especially considering they only started creating them around 12 years ago. The gardens are well worth a visit if you are in the Yarra Valley area on a weekend.
Shall I go in again?
Whilst here, Laura experienced one of Melbourne’s heatwaves, so we mainly worked in the mornings and took it easy in the afternoons. We found our hammock and set it up near the dam for R & R. This gave Laura a chance to meet some of the local bull ants, but sensibly she kept her distance, because they can give a nasty bite if they get annoyed. All of us (including the dog) spent one afternoon cooling off in the dam- it was very refreshing.

On the Saturday, Laura helped set up our stall at the Healesville Organic Farmers’ Market and then we dropped her off at Healesville Sanctuary for a chance to catch a glimpse of our famous native Aussie animals.
Take that... and that... and that
Laura helped weed and thin out the carrots, weeded other areas, helped with watering, did some fire prevention work and house work, harvested blackberries, took our dog Blue for walks and joined in cooking meals..... a  few yummy recipes were swapped.
It was such a pleasure working with Laura. As we toiled away, we chatted and laughed, sharing many thoughts on how people could become more sustainable in their ways of life.

Laura and Blue have a break
Whilst on the internet, Laura found a youtube clip that she wanted to share with us called, “A Subversive Plot: How to Grow a Revolution in Your Own Backyard”. This short video by the founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International examines the urgent need to re-localise the global food supply, in a very entertaining and informative manner. The web address is . We were very glad that we saw it. Much food for thought (pun intended).
Ciao Laura
We feel really privileged to have people like Laura come here.....there is a sharing of cultures and we learn from each other.  It was a pleasure meeting her and we wish her all the best on her adventures in Australia and when she returns home. Ciao Laura, hope we meet again.

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