Autumn is definitely here. On our early morning walks the mist hangs like spun fairy floss in the curves of the hills, the farmers have baled all the summer grass for winter feeding of the cattle, the horses boast coloured rugs against the colder nights and our thoughts turn to ordering wood for the fire and enjoying slow cooked food with some big reds.
Ratty and his friends have also noticed that the balmy summer days are over and he has his eyes firmly on our potting shed adjacent to the chicken coop and all the lovely egginess that goes on there. This means that once again The Meadow has become the Killing Fields with traps scattered here and there enticing the rodent population to eat the forbidden fruit within. I hate it of course but I know it has to be done. The turning point for me was when the guys in the produce store where we buy the chicken feed mentioned that what we thought was a straight forward moulting of our chooks may be rats chewing on their tail feathers as they roost at night! I was suitably horrified and now turn a complicit blind eye to the trapping of the Ratatouille family.
Back now from our holiday we are also back to work in the garden. The hydrangeas arrive this week for the new hedge and the winter veggies are all being planted now we are home to water the seedlings and protect them against the snails. We are practising crop rotation so I now keep a little book with diagrams showing where I’ve planted things previously. Planting things in a different place each season helps reduce the chance of bugs lying dormant in the soil and popping back to eat your entire tomato plant when you’re not looking. Some crops are heavy feeders – sucking up all the nutrients in the soil very quickly whilst others barely make an impression so it’s good to mix things up a bit and to keep those rascally rabbits on their toes too…..
In other changes, the Retired One lasted all of 4 weeks before the job offers that were rolling in sounded just too interesting to refuse! It has been rather pleasing to see that a man on top of his game and an expert in his field isn’t judged by his age but rather respected all the more for it as it equates to experience and knowledge. Sooo….it’s back into the field he goes, this time with a Melbourne based company that he has worked with before and who he respects so I am optimistic that an exciting and rewarding couple of years lie ahead!!
Just to add to this new phase we start our renovation in a few weeks. The builder came for a chat on Friday and I now have a list of things ‘TO DO’ before he can come and start ripping the back of the house off. First thing is to chat to the Council about their request in the Development Application for us not to paint the new extension white or grey which is very strange considering we live in a white house! Of course the colour I had envisaged for the new trim was grey just to make it doubly annoying – grrrrrr!! I’m sure there will be several hiccups along the way and despite the builder’s optimistic estimate of a 6 week build I will be happy if its finished by the time we go overseas in August! So here we go again with mood boards and appliance catalogues, tile samples and spread sheets galore but this time I get to update my kitchen which is FAB! I can’t wait to get rid of my ancient stove and install something magnificent that actually works. I have my eye on this gorgeous English Belling which looks suitably country-ish whilst doing the business with 2 ovens, a grill and a warming oven as well as a multifunctional cook top, all music to my ears after the original 70’s oven I am using now which either cremates food or barely manages a sizzle – no matter what the number says on the control!
I’m still to decide whether I go with a snazzy colour or not……
After a very social weekend where we literally served Sunday breakfast in shifts to overnight visitors and then pop-in visitors followed by other Sydney friends who were passing through on their way North or South we realised how lucky we were to live in such a popular area only around 2 hours drive from Sydney. It’s so nice to see people relaxed and in a different environment and spend some time with them outside of a busy Sydney restaurant which was our main way of catching up before our move. Not to say that these new country visits don’t involve food and drinks – they most certainly do – but it’s lovely just sitting on the front veranda with them chatting about the vagueries of life with a wine or a beer and watching the sun disappear behind the escarpment before the night sky with it’s hundreds of bright sprinkly stars arrives to amaze us all.
Drinks to sunset
Sunset to stars