Monday, April 18, 2011
The bulk of last week was spent at a country property with friends and a pile of our kids. Roaring fires and marshmallow toasting by night, swims in the river by day and visits by a local kelpie puppy at all hours who just wanted to hang out with the children made this, our second visit to the property, just as great as the first.
When we visited last year, the Husband and an army of children picked bucket loads of oranges that grow wild along the Patterson River. Well, he shook the trees while kids gathered the fallen ones and took an occasional tonk on the head if they didn't get out of the way quickly enough. This resulted in my first attempt at marmalade - and I was smitten. This time round, the oranges weren't ready, of course, so we reluctantly left them on the trees.
There's a dairy farm next door and the farmer welcomes visitors with open arms to the milking sessions, lets the kids feed the calves with bottles and the two piglets with any scraps we bring. The whole experience is a bit like indoor camping in an Enid Blyton story set in Australia. There was even steamed golden syrup pudding one night. Lashings of it. Someone had also brought marmalade she made from last trip's oranges, which was smeared over buttery toast on the mornings we weren't doing bacon and eggs.
When I went to upload the photos on our return, I realised there weren't any. I had been too busy in the moment to think of picking up the camera. What I hadn't been too busy to do was stop in Morpeth on the way home and pick up some blood orange marmalade from the Morpeth Sourdough Bakery.
My only regret is I didn't buy 15 jars of the stuff because, being only Monday morning, our second morning back, the jar is already half empty. That's how good it is. Just like the country break itself.