A fun weekend away with friends

Last weekend we packed up the Ute and the dog and headed south to Milton for a weekend with friends all gathered together for a long table dinner put on by the South Coast Food Alliance and hosted by our gorgeously capable friends at The Old Church, Milton. It was a beautiful balmy evening with that golden light that invites you to share glasses of crisp bubbly and freshly shucked oysters from the Clyde River. The marquee looked beautiful decked out with huge branches of Moreton Bay Fig and table runners of living moss and candles. The food was provided by four local restaurants – Bannisters, Tallwood, Cupitts and St Isidore, each of them being responsible for a different course and accompanied by (plenty of) beautiful wines. 137 people had bought tickets and it was wonderful to see so much support for local growers and passionate foodies.

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Each restaurant had used one of the themes of earth, wind, fire and water to choose their food and one of the Claydon Park pigs had been cooking on an open fire for most of the day, an arduous way to cook anything and much harder than using a dependable oven! Luckily the weather was on their side that day and the little piggy ended up cooked to perfection on our plates after some beautifully prepared and presented fish and veggie courses. Pretty as a picture!

The next day saw the weather decline into a freezing cold wet day and about 25 guests with a few sore heads demolished a big barbequed brunch before embarking on various local activities (ok yes, I went shopping in Milton) and a book by the fire for some or an afternoon snooze for others before we did it all over again that evening with a spit roasted cow! Luckily Phil has an amazing machine to do this and didn’t have to rely on a fire pit which would have been a non starter in the inclement weather. 29 degrees and sunshine  one day and 12 and rain the next – ouch!! As always Claydon Park was a joy to stay in and as a special treat for us non farming types 5 little piglets were born on the last morning and I defy ANYONE to not fall in love with those cute little things. They definitely peak then though as the older ones are more about their character and personality than their good looks…..

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As usual the place was a hive of activity, hangovers or not the horses, pigs, dogs and chooks still need to be fed and the cattle checked on and the market garden which now supplies lots of the local restaurants needs a lot of work to stay looking as neat as a pin – farming is certainly a full time job!!

Bailey as usual had a wonderful time hanging out with the other dogs, there were 4 this weekend and they played and ran all day until collapsing in a tired heap at the end of the day all snuggled up together in a big outdoor caged run. It’s nice for her to have some friends to play with and 100 acres to run around on and she literally slept for 2 days when we came home. When she did wake up however she was incessantly licking and grooming her rear paw and after a few days started hobbling as well so off to the vet we went. $150, a steroid injection and a course of antibiotics later she is home very unimpressed with her new collar which she has to wear for at least 3 days. She can’t quite gauge how wide she is now and staggers around like a drunk bumping into everything. Hopefully the treatment will work as her paw was red raw and bleeding yesterday and she was not a happy bunny.

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The weather seems to oscillate between beautiful summery days, when I stupidly decided to pack up my winter woollies and boots, and chilly wet wintry days when I have to go and get them out again. Luckily home is a nice place to be as we gradually get it the way we want it. Everyone said we would live in our new back area and they have been proved right even though I adore our big old lounge I just don’t seem to spend much time there anymore. Mr Sport Lover does of course as that is where the foxtel is and I seem to be relegated to the kitchen…………..(good job it’s one of my favourite spaces!!)

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Our next project is to get a pizza oven installed outside and the Man of the House has been given the job of researching the best option and organising the brickies to build the base for it.We are going to put it where the old bread oven is, a relic from the 1890’s that we would like to integrate into the base somehow. These ovens are several hundred kilos and need a solid base to support them so it’s another job for the tradies but I can already imagine the many ways in which we will use it in the summer when cooking indoors is no fun. Pizzas are only the beginning of what you can cook in these gorgeous woodfired ovens and I can’t wait….

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