We went to The Farm (as we do) yesterday and I had a glorious time basking in the sun, taking photos and reading. Matthew cooked a veal roast, which was quite a treat. Grandad has two pecan nut trees planted in the lawn and currently they are in season so to speak. Each week I methodically work the lawn picking up the nuts. Yesterday I made a heart with what I had collected.
Whilst I was collecting the pecans though I got a little side tracked though taking photos. These are the photos I took.
This is the Fried Egg tree otherwise known as Gordonia. It is named as such because when the flowers fall to the ground they look like eggs sunny side up.
Aren’t they so pretty?
Then these balloons caught my eye. They are from Christmas Day, when the trees were full of streamers and balloons. This trio had long lost their air but had stayed hanging on a branch, fused together in the sun, swinging in the wind. Then I pulled the branch down.
Between the two pecan trees is an African Tulip tree, it is also flowering at the moment.
This is my hand and the sky. My fingers look quite slim and long for some reason in this photo.
I know Mum will hate this photo when she sees it when she returns from Africa. I was laying on the grass looking at the world upside down and out of focus and took this photo. I strangely like it.
One plant that I closely link to The Farm is crucifix orchids. A large mass of them grows on a tree stump outside the kitchen window.
This is Matthew, yes that is true, a photo of Matthew. He was on the lawn finding the strongest wireless signal. He didn’t know I took this picture. 🙂 He is in his final year of uni this year and had dived into this honours year.
This little frog gave me a scare as I was putting stuff into the car, he jumped from the tree, over the top of me and onto the bonnet. He was such a little darling of a frog.
This photo is from the week before but I will share it today. The passion fruit vine at the farm, is not just on some joe average trellis or fence, but it runs wild over the avocado trees, a gum tree and some other trees in the same patch of land. These passion fruit grow high in the canopy, metres off the ground. When they are ripe or a wind has gone through, they fall to the ground below, finding little homes in the leaf litter till they are collected.
I’m moving house in a week today and one of the things I hope to have done by then is to have finished blogging about Christmas 2008. So here is another post to bring me a little step closer to the end of the 2008 Christmas Extravaganza.
I have wanted to make chocolate truffles for quite a while now and on more than one occasion I have brought cream with the intention of making truffles but ended up using it for something else.
For Christmas I made two types, the first where Peppermint Dark Chocolate and the second where White Rum, White Chocolate. They were rolled in a mixture of toppings, crushed Candy Canes (any idea how hard that is?), coconut, cocoa and sprinkles. I was not 100% happy with how they turned out so I won’t be sharing a recipe but here is a link to a search on FoodBlogSearch where I got my basic recipe from. My main problem was getting the consistency right and looking back now, I can also tell you that the Brisbane weather might have a little bit to do with it as well.
The truffles were rolled over two sessions. The night that I made the mixtures Karl and Matthew came over for a little gathering. We tasted one of Karl’s beers that he brought with him. By far the best tasting beer I have ever had, if I could get a case of it I would. We sampled different liqueurs and port with ice-cream and then we rolled truffles and we rolled till the mixture warmed up too much and the table warmed up as well.
The next truffle rolling session was the day that we picked Erica and Ash up from the airport. Having learnt our lessons we knew how to roll them now and Mum’s house has air-con which made it a bit easier to roll them 😀
The following photos were taken by Mum.
and this is how we roll
They were a lot of hard work but oh my they were pretty tasty and they do look pretty!
FYI for the future though. Crushed candy canes absorb moisture from anything and turn into liquid candy canes. Eat them shortly after making them.
I’m thinking that this year truffles will be made for winter celebrations not Christmas!
And speaking of Candy Canes, here are photos of the girls with candy canes they were given by the Station Master at Albion train station. Anna, the girls and I went into the city before Christmas to do some shopping and check out my office – the idea was to look at the view but I think they had more fun having their height and weight measured by one of the nurses who is my work mum #1 (I have two work mums at work :D) and listening to everyone gush at how cute they were. 😀
The Friday after Iceland arrived, Mum, Karl, Matthew and I headed off to what used to be our playground (the Girraween area) to do a little bit of a walk. We would be walking into South Bald Rock, where we would camp for two nights and spend the days climbing South Bald Rock, Middle Rock and West Bald Rock. On our way up to Bald Rock, we stopped at The Bramble Patch for some jam tasting, waffle eating and berry picking.
Once we got to the Bald Rock NP car park, we finished packing our packs and headed off up the track, trying to ignore those rain clouds looming above us. We couldn’t ignore those clouds for too long as we ended up with a decent shower as we walked. Though as Mum says she much prefers for it rain when you have already started walking as you keep going but starting to walk when it is raining is another matter. On the walk in, Karl was very lucky and managed to see a Lyre Bird on one of the granite slabs we walked over! After a couple of hours of ups, downs, arounds and over granite slabs (with a food break) we arrived at our camp site. I managed to get a leech attack with in about ohh 30 seconds of arriving at our campsite (more on that later). Mum pretty quickly scrambled up onto South Bald Rock for a play. Matthew, Karl and I started looking at which patch of ground would be the most suitable to camp on. M & K picked their spot on a nice clean leafless piece of grass and put up their fly. Mum eventually came down off the rock and then we cleared leaves away and put up our fly.
By this stage food was pretty high up on our list of wants and that meant it was time to break out the Optimus and cook the spag bol and take some photos.
With storm clouds on the horizon and a mysterious boom noise sounding in a regular pattern, it was time for bed. Thankfully the rain never came and when we woke up in the morning, it was pleasantly cloudy. Once breakfast was had and bags packed for the day walk we marched off down the road and onwards to West Bald Rock.
Along the way we found a birds nest with a little silver dew drop in.
Some Rock Orchids
Two men walking in front of us
A ground orchid
Some wattle, that smelt like heaven
Some very pretty ballet skirt flowers
Lots of cassurinas
an interesting twig
After scrambling up some granite slabs we found ourself on the top of West Bald Rock.
Then it was back down and around the track a little bit to the entry point to Middle Rock. Matthew stayed on the road minding the packs and the rest of us went up. We didn’t get to the top but had a great time as far as we did get.
Looking back at West Bald Rock
Now on Middle.
We then got some water from the nicest creek, the water was soo clear and fresh. Then back up the road to the nice looking rock for lunch.
Matthew at this time discovered he had a Leech on him, that was quickly removed and he set about cremating the Leech….
When we returned to camp, we had a little break before going up South Bald Rock – total peak baggers we are, 1 attempt and 2 mountains in a day. In this little break, I gummed on a yummy piece of Voodooo Mint Rocky Road, mmm and Karl took a series of photos.
Then we started up South Bald Rock, with an email from a friend of Mum’s telling us how to get to the cave. However we didn’t make it to the cave as when we first started we mixed up the directions with what we saw. We did eventually find the entrance to the caves but due to the lighting and thunder on the horizon we thought we better play it safe and save exploring the cave system till next time.
Once we got back down to camp, we had cous cous for dinner and then after the washing up was done, we all crawled into bed.
Shortly before 0200, Mum and I woke to rain drops coming in the top of the end fly, my response was to crawl closer to the middle of the fly and try to go back to sleep. A few minutes later, my feet started to get wet and the bottom half of my therma-rest was floating in about 10cm of water….. We quickly started piling our sleeping bags on the therma-rest in the middle of the fly and stuffing anything that was loose into our packs. We then put our raincoats on and got out to survey the storm. Matthew and Karl were on slightly lower ground and were totally flooded.
Wit raincoats and headlights on we worked to get stuff on to higher ground and in a little bit of shelter. There was then not much else we could do but wait out the storm. We walked up towards the slab and watched the water gushing off South Bald Rock in a flow of white. There was water everywhere. Along the road we found a whole heap of dark red yabbies ranging to about 15cm in length having a ball in all the water. When we first walked along the road, the water was easily 20cm in depth however the water quickly receded and we were left with wet gear, gentle rain and a hour or two before it was light. We took down the flies and rigged Karl and Matthew’s fly up on higher ground to give us space to put the packs and space out of the rain. Mum and Karl repacked the packs and just as the first bit of light appeared we got changed, had breakfast and started the walk out. The rain had brought all sorts of things out of the bush and one of the coolest things was these slugs that we found all over the place.
The bush just looked so green after the rain.
Just as I got near the end of a track a rock wallaby hopped across the track which was pretty cool and then when I got to the car park another wallaby hopped across the road.
When we were all changed and the car was packed with our belongings we started the trip home. We stopped at a few places along the way and the highlight would had to have been the Suttonâ€™s Juice Factory & Cidery, where I picked up Sun Downer Apple juice and Apple and Mandarin Juice – both very yummy. Matthew picked up a bottle of their cider and loved it so much that when Mum was back up in Stanthorpe the week before Christmas we got him a case of it.
The leech bite that I got on the first day managed to get infected and about 12 days later I got very sick, with swelling round the bite, hot and cold fevers, swollen glands and very tender spots in my leg. I went home very sick from work and after a nap, I called Mum who came and picked me up and took me to their house to look after me. I started to get better a day or two later but still had a very swollen gland in the leg that the leech bite had been on and tender spots all up my leg. It was then that I went to the doctor and got a nice course of Amoxicillin Clavulanate to clear the infection. All that is left now is a little bit of a scar!