My Favourite Morning Job

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” 
~  Hermann Hesse


Here on the farm my favourite morning job is checking our water points. I slip on my gumboots (still usually dressed in my pyjamas!) and then go for a little walk to check the cattle troughs. They all fill by themselves with float valves except one up in the orchard, that we only need if the cattle are there.

If the cattle are grazing in the orchard I will take the heavy farm hose and top up the trough for them before the heat of the day comes. While it fills I talk to the cows and watch the birds doing their early morning circuits. Our skies are always busy just after dawn.


I’ll flick the hose around the vegetable gardens and note anything that needs picking. And yes, a few stray strawberries or sweet little tomatoes usually find their way into my mouth.

Back down at the house again my last stop is the birdbaths. I fill them up, and the one on our front deck has new flowers placed in it from whatever I have gathered from my morning walk.

It’s a peaceful start to my day that never fails to put me in a good mood.

I’m wishing you a peaceful day and happiness too, much love, Nicole  xx


Misty Morning Wonderland

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“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
~ Henry David Thoreau


It’s so good to be home.

The dogs and I went for a very early walk. We have six new calves and the unseasonably warm weather means that our paddocks are lush with dewy grass, and the dam is still full.

Closer to home the guava tree is groaning under a new crop of fruit and our lemon tree is also so heavy with fruit that some limbs are touching the ground. I can already taste the guava cake and lemon butter I will make with them.

Friends are arriving today, and then we will be off to Bluesfest.

But right now Ben and I are off to the Mullum Farmers Markets to stock up on some local goodness.

Did I mention it’s so good to be home?

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Morning, after rain

Bromeliad_Tree_Frog  “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

~ Henry Beston


It rained last night.  Not just gentle rain but heavy, loud on the roof soaking rain. Nearly an inch of it.

The world is washed clean this morning, and the sun is out.  The birds are singing, and so am I.

Come for a walk around the farm with me…





rainy garden




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My morning walk…

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“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”~ Dolly Parton

A good friend sent me an urgent text message yesterday to let me know that a shop called Rivers in Lismore had just received a shipment of gumboots, but they were selling fast! It’s been so wet in our part of the world – 3 floods in the past two months – that gumboots have been impossible to buy. Right now at our farm gumboots are the only suitable footwear, and my old pair has holes in them from when Bert was a puppy! So I always have one cold wet food and one toasty warm dry one.

Of course we went straight to town to buy new boots! I finally settled on two pairs – a celestial purple set and a bright pink pair.

This morning I took them for a test run, in my pyjamas of course. Who is going to see me out here except the cows? The one great thing about the rain is all the flowers are blooming and everything is lush and green.  So here is my morning walk, in pictures…

Harry, accompanying me on my adventure.

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The view looking past the cattle trough to our bottom gate. It’s quite misty and rainy right now, but the weather is supposed to clear.  Fingers crossed.

2013-03-07 08.02.38Gorgeous weeping bottlebrush.

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Jolly Jumper, the naughty steer who keeps leaping over the electric fence to get into my vegetable patch.  He was quite perplexed at my purple boots!

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Moss growing on the path to the pump house.


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The front paddock.

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Is that blue sky I see peaking out from behind those clouds? This is the little freshwater spring we pump from.  The water is so beautiful and clean – truly delicious. You can still see the remnants of Ben’s chainsaw work from the massive storms over the Australia Day long weekend that put trees and branches down all over the farm.


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And home again.  Blue sky!!!  Time to put a load of washing on and get it on the line to dry before this afternoon’s showers…

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Baba Ganoush Dip Recipe – Easy!

One of the things I love about living on a farm is being able to walk out into the garden, take a few ingredients, and turn them into fresh fast food. Today I’m making Baba Ganoush – a garlicky middle eastern eggplant dip, from today’s harvest.

There is an eggplant bush hidden at the back of my compost area.  It must have sprung up from some withered seedlings that I didn’t think would make it, so I’d donated them back to the compost where this one happily took root and grew.  I plucked three fat fruit from it on my morning walk.

The bush lemon down by the dam is also covered in fruit, so I picked a few of those too.  I love the sweetness of these lumpy looking lemons, and it’s like harvesting golden treasure as I duck the big thorns on its branches.

There’s the garlic I harvested a few weeks ago still hanging up to dry near the laundry, and plenty of parsley growing by the bathroom door. With a little effort I can make some baba ganoush to enjoy this week. It’s so easy – maybe you’d like to try it too.  This is a totally adjustable recipe , depending on how much you want to make, and how strong you like your flavours.

Baba Ganoush Recipe

Ingredients: Two big fat eggplants, or several smaller ones.  Lemon ( I used the juice of one).  Garlic (I used four cloves, but you may find that excessive).  Parsley (about half a cup).  Cumin (teaspoon). Tahini (3 tablespoons).  Salt and Pepper.

Drop the whole eggplant onto a grill or over a gas flame until the skin chars.  You could also cut them in half and place under a hot grill for the same effect.  This imparts a lovely smoky flavour.  Then cut eggplant in half, if you haven’t yet, place cut side down on some baking paper on a flat tray, and pop into a moderate (180 degree) oven for about 30 minutes until the fruit is baked and soft.  Let it cool a little.

(You can mash all of this by hand for a chunky texture, but I’m in a hurry so I’m going to whizz it up in my food processor.)

Scoop flesh into processor, and add some parsley and a clove of garlic. If you don’t like a lot of garlic go gently here.  I’m mad on it so I bunged in 3 big cloves.  Pulse until roughly combined.  Add some lemon juice (start with half a lemon and adjust to taste) and a few big tablespoons of tahini.  Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper, and a small quantity of cumin.  Whizz to combine, and then taste.  Add extra of anything you think it might need.

My bush lemon was quite sweet so I adjusted this with a dash of white balsalmic vinegar.

Serve this with a  drizzle of olive oil over it if you’re being traditional.  It’s terrific with pita bread or sourdough, crackers or crudites. Enjoy!

PS.  29 Jan 2012 – have just made a modified version of this, substituting macadamia paste for the tahini, coriander (cilantro) for the parsley, and adding a sprinkle of chilli flakes.  Result: scrummo!