Monday, January 08, 2007

day 3: delights of the land

To me the journey home from a wonderful trip is deflating. You pack your bags, load the boot, and reluctantly point the car homeward; back to the real world, a world of work, cooking, cleaning, washing; back to commitments and responsibility. A lingering sadness edges its way across your thoughts as you turn away from the place that has brought happiness and rest, realising that life cannot consist of endless holiday, but wishing it could!

That's how I usually feel! However, this homeward journey held no such emotions. Our day turned into a lovely extension of the holiday as we filled it with numerous mini-excursions. There was still more scenery to explore...

...before the fun really began.

It's summer here, and the countryside is dotted with orchards and farms laden with succulent fruit, all advertising their wares by the side of the road. Who can resist such lushness? Not us! We'd been anticipating one big farm crawl, and all the way home we stopped in at farms and stocked up.

It turned out that we got more than we bargained for - delicious fruit at incredible prices and the chance to rub shoulders with some real Aussie battlers.

First stop, the strawberry farm. The pick-your-own strawberry farm.

Neither of us had picked strawberries before and we were delighted. After being taught how to remove the berries without damaging the plants, we set too, munching as we went. Ah, the taste was wonderful! We ended up with over 1kg of strawberries - all polished off within 24 hours, half of them in the car before we left the farm!

The farmer did more than just teach us how to pick the berries - he taught us how to grow them! Don't treat them too well - let those little strawberries think the soil is bad and not worth reproducing in. Only two minutes of water a day, and food every couple of weeks but no more. The little plants will think they are almost dying, and rather than send out runners, they'll produce fruit so their seed may be scattered far and wide until it finds fertile soil to settle in. There'll be strawberries galore for months at a time. We are now in the process of starving our plant! Hopefully it works for us as well as it works for him!

Next we stopped at an apricot farm and purchased 1kg of very small apricots. I looked at them and wrinkled my nose up on the inside. But I figured we'd better buy them - didn't want to disappoint the farmer after we'd stopped and all! It's possible he wouldn't have even noticed if we'd slipped away without purchasing any - he talked and talked and talked; about coming to the farm 26 years ago and digging a bore; about never needing the bore because there was plenty of water; about buying a tractor and hiring out its services to other farmers in the area when the vegies weren't paying enough; about two years of dry, rainless weather that had rendered his dams empty and reduced his fruit to their present state; about firing up the pumps on the bore that very day so he could maintain his gardens.

As he talked I realised how foreign his farm life is to my city breeding. Two generations back my family lived off the land, but now I know little of it. He's been living with a water shortage for two years, while only now is it beginning to affect me. The farmers are the hard workers who fill our pantries with good things. His story prompted me to spare a thought for the people on the land. Their labour in the dirt enables me to prosper in the city.

Finally we got away and bit into the apricots. They may have been small but they were packed with flavour and juice. Mmmmm. Delicious.

Soon we added freshly picked cherries to our bounty. More taste bud heaven.If you're anywhere near Sydney, you might be eating some from the same batch! Picked on Friday, in the Sydney markets by Saturday. I don't think you'll get them for $5 a kilo though!

We enjoyed one final stop on our journey home. Richmond. Back to our convict roots. A gentle rain began to fall as we wandered the historic streets. In the park we eyed off the convict built bridge - the first such bridge in Australia, built in 1823 and still used today.

We might have tried to ignore our seedy, criminal past, but there's no way that we can deny that the convicts paved the way for civilisation to prosper in Australia.

Hooray for convicts! And hooray for holidays! What a great time.
It's back to work tomorrow for me - and I don't think I'm going to find it easy.


At 5:40 pm, January 08, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Yum! Its hard to beat fresh picked fruit. I'll have to try that trick on our strawberries. They're determinedly sending out runners at the moment with nary a strawberry in sight.

At 5:45 pm, January 08, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

Apparently the yummy food they like is aquasol and epsom salts - every two or three weeks, just a little bit of them. (This is his secret formula - don't tell anyone hey?!)

At 11:05 pm, January 08, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

Thanks for sharing your vacation Cecily. This was a real treat. I hope your re-entry into work is as pleasing as possible.

Fresh summer fruit! My mouth craves that right now. Even though winter is mild this year for us, the fruits of the summer would be welcomed.

At 1:12 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

Just thought you should know that you're not registered on Google at all yet, can't find you, even when I know exactly what to put in. I think there is some way to get registered with them.

anyway - interesting reading, your description of Tassie has no doubt played a significant part in Jill's desire to tour down there again in a few months maybe?

hope the return to work isn't too stressful. BTW did you put a comment on a site about the media at the mining thing in wherever it was last junish? If it wasn't you it was another cecily in Launceston, though it sounded like you. it was the only thing that came up when I was searching for your blog

At 2:19 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

ok, ok, so I'm a techno novice. turns out on further investigation that you do in fact appear on the omniscient google trawl engine. just not if you narrow the search to australian web sites, this must be hosted overseas (thus the .com I guess). so all that stress for nothing,

...be honest you were stressed - contrary to your self-diagnosed acquiescence into ignominy, this blog is really a covert attempt to at least bump the train of human history off the tracks of destiny, impacting the course of the whole future of civilisation. why else would anyone blog? isn't it just a low risk form of exposure?

enough nonsensical philosophising
(here I tried an HTML tage) i have no idea what that does, but it said I could do it up the top, so me being the intrepid explorer of all things i have incorporated (here was tried some more HTML tagging that this programme refused to publish for a range of reasons)
and for fun
(more unpublishable brilliance) into my repertoire of blogability.

At 2:22 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

clearly the fact that i couldn't get any kind of HTML tagging to work, is proof that I in fact am a technological novice, of unforseen incompetence - who would've thought i'd learn humility off my sister?

At 2:24 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

there's whole caverns of irony in there to be explored - though now I'm just avoiding getting back to work.

At 2:26 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

Cecily, okay for me to post your last comment? I've been trying to decide if you meant it for public eyes or not.

I think I'm in one of those moods where I think too much. Not that I shouldn't think too much:-). Just thinking too much is not necesarily good for me at the moment???:-O

At 2:29 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

actually I just realised that
it probably is italics which needed two bookends, if this works I may have just rescued some of my dignity?
what the?


At 2:34 pm, January 09, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

now that was a smug smile if I ever saw one. I've decided blogging is very ungodly by the way, because there is no way to erase your sins. although perhaps that makes it quite godly, because I imagine that the blog mastress holds a somewhat divine position of supreme editor over all blogging - thus containing the power to remove the sins of all bloggers as needed?

if I keep writing like this I'll have to come back and check out what else happens around here on a more regular basis.

At 9:12 pm, January 09, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

nato, though the blog mastress does indeed have power to remove your blogging sins, she deigns to allow them to remain (she is rather pleased with the concept of teaching humility to her brother), so have no fear - your comments will last into blogging posterity. she is also taken with the look of '10 comments' and the apparent popularity and kudos it adds to her site. lol.

You'd be most welcome to visit this year - we have a lovely room just waiting for people to come and stay! it even has an ensuite. what are you waiting for???!!!

nato - you should really try blogging. it's great!

At 9:13 pm, January 09, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

hi sandy :-) thanks for being so kind and considerate - I hadn't even thought of that! I don't mind if you prefer not to post the comment, but I'm a pretty open person so I don't mind if you do...

And may your mind find the rest it needs (I hate when I can't stop thinking, thinking!)

At 1:15 am, January 10, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

Thanks Cecily. By the way, Nato, your a pretty funny guy. The conversations between you and Cecily brought an LOL.

At 3:00 am, January 11, 2007, Anonymous luke said...

13 comments eh.

Can't have that.

13 is a most unfortunate number!

Admittedly I had at first thought that Cecily's blog had finally reached a wider audience, but no, it was just my brother mastering the art of unintelligible prose authorship.

Oh well.

Hooray for convicts!!

And hooray for almost catching up on all the happychatter I missed out on while we were at beach mission!!

At 12:43 pm, January 11, 2007, Anonymous sandy said...

Are we meeting the family here?

At 1:01 pm, January 11, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

oh yes - that's my two brothers... they've given up on talking to each other and just hold conversations on my blog. LOL.


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