Friday, October 5, 2012

Camping with Kangaroos

Spring has just been the busiest time for me and my family. I have had little time to update my blog as I have been busy doing other stuff... spring cleaning, planting gardens, harvesting coffee beans and attempting to process them at home, making cake stands, selling cake stands, buying china, attending a dinner, a bush dance and camping with kangaroos!

Let's start with the camping trip. We returned to a campsite which we stayed at a few years ago. It is in a National Park and close to the river. The only facility is a long drop toilet but firewood is provided. We set up our tents, our gazebo and spent several days off- grid. There was no mobile coverage so no texting, no phone calls, no blogging, no facebook. The children went swimming in the rock pools during the day and in the evening when the sun went down and it became rather chilly, we sat around a campfire and toasted marshmallows. Each evening the kangaroos would join us. It was as if they were drawn to our family! A mother brought over her joey and they sat and stared at us. As much as I don't relish all the preparations for camping and attempting to roll up sleeping bags and fit them back into their tiny bags causes me no end of frustration, I have to say I rather enjoyed this trip  - no rain, no mosquitoes either and I had time to read a wonderful book called 'Almost Amish' by Nancy Sleeth which is the story of one woman's quest for a simpler, more sustainable life. Very convicting and the chapter on technology made me feel less and less guilty about not updating this blog!

We did leave the campsite to go and do other activities. We enjoyed our second trip to Australia's best theme park (in the opinion of my younger children) and it is nowhere near the Gold Coast. All the rides are made from metal pipe! It is a 'fair dinkum' adventure playground that still allows adventure unlike most of the 'ultra safe, low to the ground' playgrounds you come across today. Even has an animal park with 'fair dinkum' Australian animals. Forgot the camera on that day so these pictures were taken on our first trip there. This slide is actually quite high but there is a much bigger waterslide and it was open for the first time this year. Even I ventured up the steps and found out at the bottom how cold the water was!

It even has a roller coaster!

This guy was still there to greet us!

As was the friendly dingo!

The next day we introduced our youngest to the more sedate thrill of fossicking for sapphires. We didn't go out into the bush this time. Just went to a local caravan park that has onsite fossicking. He was soon absorbed in this activity which is so much fun for children - a real treasure hunt. They did find some small sapphires but nothing which was worth having cut.

Which was a shame because on Sunday I discovered that the sapphire my son found on our first ever fossicking trip had fallen out of my ring. On Saturday night we had attended a 'fair dinkum' Aussie bushdance. (Always wanted an excuse to use that description 'fair dinkum' in a blog post and now I have 3 times!) It was the best night with an amazing bluegrass band playing and we had so much fun. I'm just guessing that all the exuberant bush dancing, hand clapping and knee slapping caused my gem to become dislodged. This means one thing -we will have to go fossicking for sapphires again soon! And pray one of my children finds one!

I did find some other treasures on our camping trip. We stopped at some little antique shops that were crammed with lots of lovely china at very reasonable prices. I bought some plates to make into cake stands, silver teaspoons and other tea time accessories for the collection we are putting together for a vintage china/high tea hire service.

This little business is keeping me so busy. I have been attending markets and events around my local region. This is my stall at a conference for women that was held at a resort. I did very well on that day and had so many conversations about china and the joys of taking time for tea. So many people are thrilled to see that high tea is back in fashion and my stall brings back so many memories for people! My daughter loves working alongside me. We wear our vintage dresses to really look the part and dressing up the stall is so much fun. We are meeting people from lots of different places - from all over Australia and other countries during the tourist season. Have met a girl who does catering for high teas. We have done one event together and plan to do more - she brings the food, I bring the china. She also has a daughter who loves vintage style and she is the friend that my daughter has longed to meet! They both love the same things. I am so happy for her.

This is the recent addition to my china collection. It is one of nine antique and vintage china tea sets I purchased recently with some of the money the business has earned. We had the pleasure of visiting a home in the country to view and purchase the china. The couple we bought it from were so lovely and so hospitable. We were given a tour of their home. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Wrought iron balconies, antique furniture, four poster beds, dressers and hutches full of beautiful china. I had to rearrange a few cupboards at home to house the china we purchased. And now I have to catalogue it all and turn the plates into cake stands.

Thought you would like to see one more picture of my collection of teacups and bone china trios. I now have close to 100 teacups and hope to double that in order to cater for weddings and larger events. It also means anytime we have a tea party at home every person gets to choose a pretty cup. No more chunky mugs and definitely no paper cups at this house!

So pleased to have finally updated my blog but I'm still not sure when the next post will be up. I'm learning that you should never promise blog posts. If we have any success this year in drying and roasting our coffee beans I might share about that but I have one more weekend before the last term of the school year begins. We have someone coming to stay next month and my daughter is traveling to New Zealand arriving home a couple of days before her eighteenth birthday for which she has planned a celebration - at home of course!

Looks like I'm going to be busier than ever. Please continue to pray for rain - there has been no rain for months apart from an occasional sprinkling. There is smoke in the air from a bushfire caused by lightening strikes further up our valley. The worst bushfire season in 40 years is predicted for this summer.

I pray your spring or fall season is as productive and satisfying as mine. Never feel guilty about not updating your blog. Spending time with the people that matter most in your life is far more important!

Until next time


Unknown said...

Where is this playground/themepark?

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Hi Megan,
It's called Green Valley Farm and it is about 1/2 hour drive from Inverell. Well worth a visit if you have kids and ever visit that region. Very reasonable admission prices too. They have a website. Hope this helps!

Camille said...

Dear Friend ~ How lovely it is to *catch up* with you! Thank you for this post. :) What a blessing that you are enjoying your business and it is going so well for you...such good news!! How wonderful to have had that special time away as a family and *Yaaay* for being *off grid*...SO important!! I couldn't agree with you more on the need for engaging those in our family and in our community and church must remain in its proper place. Please never feel the pressure to blog...I completely understand! Do enjoy these precious, precious days!

Love to you!

Unknown said...

Thank you! We are doing a driving holiday down to NSW at Easter next year. We will definately stop in there.
I am new to your blog, thank you for all the posts you have written I have found them very helpful as I start my homeschooling journey with my boy.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello Ann, I just sat back and read a ton of your older post and so enjoyed your words. The love of the Father and family is so refreshing. I was so amazed with your beautiful plate stands, I was wondering where I would find the rod in the middle that holds them together. I would love to make one as I am a tea lover and a good scone really goes togther :) You could just e-mail me if and when you find time.

Pam said...

Its so nice to get your update Anne. I am still thinking about the kangaroos on your camping trip. What an adventure. I am loving the picture in my mind. Are they friendly and are they safe? I love the Lord's animal kingdom. The sapphire hunt sounds delightful. We have garnets in our stream here on our land. Our son Luke is often out hunting them. We haven't found any big enough to cut either, but many, many little ones.

I love your new green set of China and the cake stand you made for it. It is beautiful. I can picture that couple's home, and can imagine the fun you had. Your collection is a delight...after my own heart.

I love what you said about blogging, and keeping our priorities in the right place... it is always good to keep reminding ourselves of them. Love the idea of the camping trip with no technology.. delightful.
Blessings to your daughter who is turning 18, and to all.

Love and Blessings,

africanaussie said...

Lovely update. I just had my tea for Habitat for Humanity and it was such fun. You have some beautiful china - I wonder how you keep it all. I pack my set away with bubble wrap between teas.

Renata said...

Hi Ann
I remember your first post about that adventure park & it seems wonderful ( & I bet it was cheaper than the gold coast parks as well). I just have to say that I wish you were closer to Brisbane. I want to give my sister a high tea kitchen tea before her wedding & your hire business would be perfect for it! I'm going to have to go through some old shops down here & try to get old teacups & plates. I love your teacup collection ~just beautiful!
Have a lovely evening~ I'm off to bed now!

American Home said...

Ann, it is good to read your blog again. I can not even imagine growing my own coffee. I have never seen a coffee tree in person. How much fun it must have been to try your first cup. Your family is beautiful and I have enjoyed catching up.

God Bless,


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