We have just come back from a week’s holiday in The Barossa Valley in South Australia with our great friends of 30 years who share our love of good food and wine, cosy open fires and lovely old buildings. It didn’t disappoint. We stayed in this cute little stone house in Tanunda and had delicious food, literally Every Single Meal was wonderful and all swished down with some of the local grenache which we took to like ducks to water. Every morning we swore we couldn’t possibly eat or drink another thing and then somehow by 10.30am we were back at another winery being led through yet another tasting!! Our intention was to mainly buy wines only available at the cellar door and within a certain budget and for the most part we stuck to that plan and since returning I have had to make a daily visit to our local post office to pick up our purchases, I’m sure the new lady there thinks I’m a total lush as I stagger out of the door with yet another carton of goodies!The weather was pretty good, chilly enough to enjoy being indoors (yes eating and drinking AGAIN) but not too cold to enjoy a walk through some of the beautiful wine estates. The local ironstone made for very uniquely South Australian architecture, mostly built by German migrants back in the 1850’s who arrived with vines from the old country and started vineyards reminiscent of their homelands. In fact the oldest Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet vines in the world are in The Barossa as the phylloxera infestation wiped out entire countries of vines in Europe after they left and ironically gave the very new territory of Australia the oldest vines in the world by default.Another famous and well loved place to visit is Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm and Farm Shop which stocks all her many yummy jams, dressings, chutneys, pastes, ice creams and books as well as a great cafe run by her daughter Elli, The Eatery. All this is located on a scenic lake. Seriously, what’s not to like?
It was such a luxury to basically do nothing for a week housework and cooking wise. To be able to lie in without feeling guilty about letting out the chooks or the dogs or the fact that we should be up watering our parched garden. I read an entire book, learned how to play Euchre (semi successfully) and we all spruced up on our Scrabble however there was a bit of an outcry when JB got away with this….. however according to Google it is apparently an acceptable Scrabble word. What is the world coming to I ask you? Dunno.
So after a lovely week away it was back to The Meadow, 2kgs heavier and a lot poorer but nicely relaxed and ready to get back to it. Everything had survived beautifully without us, including the house which we loaned to Tom and his mates for the weekend in exchange for getting Bailey out of the kennels for some R&R. However the combination of the lack of any rainfall and the arrival of our (not so favourite) August winds has really brought it home how very dry it is EVERYWHERE now. The inland has been suffering for months, even years in some places, but now the normally lush and verdant coastal areas are also officially in drought. Some people call it a green drought as there is still some form of plant material in the ground but it has little to no nutrition and every farm that can afford it is now hand feeding. Finally, with a lot of help from social media, everyone is now aware of the plight of the farmers and people from far and wide are eager to help in whatever way they can. People have chipped in for hay bales and feed for cattle and truckies have formed convoys to deliver them throughout our wide brown land and give those most in need a little helping hand.
Many people were able to donate food and provisions to help the farmers but there has been a lack of available people to drive the big distances to deliver them. My work buddy Danielle has come together with some other local horsey families to help deliver some much needed goodies and they are off to Yeoval . Yeoval is a quiet rural service centre on the crossroads between Dubbo, Wellington and Parkes. It is surrounded by rich agricultural land known for its production of fine wool, wheat, orchards, canola, vineyards, beef cattle and lambs and is a town famed for its connections with ‘Banjo’ Paterson who spent his first seven years on the family property, ‘Buckinbah’. An archetypal Aussie farming community and one that has so far missed out on any of the relief programs so this Sunday they are going off in their own little convoy of Utes and horse floats and taking along our contributions. It is thanks to these good souls who are giving up their time and petrol to get to things done that this week the people of Yeoval will be enjoying some food parcels (thank you also to our number one son and my friends from The Bay for helping to contribute to our donation seen here). More importantly these country folk are feeling the love from everyone far and wide and are feeling valued in a very tough time when properties are being abandoned after being in the family for generations and livestock slaughtered as they can see no way out. In return Yeoval is putting on a shindig for these #aussiehelpers on Sunday at their local bowling club which had to recently reduce their staff to a bare minimum due to no one having any money to spend on going out so this weekend will mean they can pay a few extra people to work and the event will give the town something to look forward to. You can follow their progress on ‘ABCD drought Drive’ on Facebook. Thanks so much guys xx
In other very exciting news The Meadow will be hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet in 2019. The Cameron family is expanding and we are absolutely thrilled to be joining the Grandparent Club. The cubby house that lies under our giant pear tree will have to be cleaned out, painted and decorated in honour of this new little member of the clan and I look forward to showing ‘Peanut’ all things country in the coming years. Can you tell that we’re just a tad excited? Happy Days!