2015 has been disaster time for this happy blogger - hackers galore, plus a measure of inertia, have all interrupted the flow. What to do - start again, or simply drop it.??  Time for a GOOD think about it all.


                         It always seems impossible


 Thoughts 1.  What do I enjoy about blogging ?

I do like it that having a blog, or reading blogs, reminds you that life can change all the time. That you can be interested and inspired by different things on different days. That the search for things that excite or inform or impress or motivate, can be undertaken on a regular basis. That looking for things that pique your interest is a perfectly valuable thing to do. That today's view doesn't have to be tomorrow's.


Thoughts 2  Why I specially like some blogs. 

They remind you that you can keep shifting, be better. You can be creative or make more delicious food or savour special moments if you choose. That you can train your eye to see shapes, colours, languages, light, moods that you might not normally spot. That you can negotiate life with a curious hopeful attitude, ready to be surprised by the things you see or do, or the people you meet.


Thoughts 3

Finally, blogging for me, is a reminder that life is an exploration . . an adventure. That it unfolds like a lovely board game fresh out of the box, with twists and turns and bits and bobs that I didn't expect, but that I love or at the very least - NOTICE.

SO, watch this space - I'm jumping on board again.


                         sun 3

 . . . . . .  and finally, I bought a small bunch of sunflowers this week at my local fruit shop. At least, they look like sunflowers, but even bigger and better. This is just one of them - they are SO magnificent. Heads are so heavy, they need propping up - but when you do, the beauty of these flowers is explosive.



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Before you eat that wonderful fruit you so enjoy, spare a thought for just how it grows.

1. Cacao -  which of course is daddy to that yummy chocolate we can't ever ever have too much of -

        cacao 23

  It grows in tropical regions of South America, and looks like this on the tree. Actually was a well known beverage amongst the Inca people. Christopher Columbus brought some cacao powder back from a voyage, but it was overlooked at first. 

        cacao 1


2. Almonds

  a almond

I might eat them by the handful, but they grow 1 by 1 on their tree -

 a almond 2


and we all love almond blossom.


3. Artichoke

  a artichokes

Looks like a thistle !! We actually eat the stiff petals of a beautiful flower.


4. Kiwi fruit.

a kiwi a kiwi 23

Grows on a woody vine similarly to grapes. Called the "chinese gooseberry" it is now considered a super -food.


5. Capers

 a caapers a capers 23

Both the flower buds, and the fruits (caper berries)of the caper vine, are edible, and are usually eaten pickled.


6. Avocado

a avocado

The word avocado come from the Aztec word ahuácatl”.

It is thought the reference is either due to the shape of the avocado, or the fact it was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities by the Aztecs. Over time this has become avogato- Spanish, and avocado in English. Whichever, they taste just fine, and are surely a true super -food.

7. Mango

a mango

Now the mango I would wish was a super food - my excuse for pigging out in mango season. Alas, some people, such as my acupuncturist, consider they are too rich to digest properly !!


8. Peanuts

a peanutshow fruits and vegetables grow 3 1 peanuts  a peanuts 2

Peanuts grow under the ground as a cluster on the roots of a small bushy plant. Also called ground nuts.


9. Cashew nuts

Whereas cashews grow like this on a tall tree in the tropics -

a cashew  

Firstly, they are considered a fruit, not a nut (no hard shell). The pendulous thing at the top is called a cashew fruit, and the nuts are harvested by hand, peeled and roasted. 

  a cashew 2


10. Persimmon

a persimmon

To the Ancient Greeks, the persimmon was known as "the divine fruit"


11. Brussels Sprouts.

a brussels sprouts

(Notice the snow !!) Packed full of nutritious stuff, this vegie was known to have been cultivated by the Romans in Italy. I guess also in Belgium ??


12. Pineapples

a pineapple

Grows on a spiky bromeliad in plantations.

    a pineapple 2

  Native to Brazil, Christopher Columbus brought pineapples back from the "New World", and it was used symbolically by Napolean as a symbol of extravagance. In Charleston, South Carolina, it is used as a symbol of hospitality, and you can find it on gates, bed posts, napkins, tablecloths and door knockers. When the pineapple was taken down from the mantelpiece, was time to go home !!



13. Tea

a tea

Written records of tea brewed from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, date way way back to the Shang Dynasty in China, 3rd Century AD. It is likely, however, that tea drinking would date from long before that - before written records.


14. Pistachio

a pistachio

These nuts grow on a small tree, originally from central Asia. They are related to the cashew family.


15. Coffee

a coffee 2 a coffee

Where would we be without the coffee bean ? Originally from Ethiopia, with records back to the 10th Century.


16. Pomegranate

a pomegranite 2

This one originated in Iran, and has been cultivated since ancient times.

   a pomegranite



17. Star Fruit

a starfruit

Once only seen in Asian markets, the star fruit is being used more and more extensively.


18. Sesame Seeds

a sesame seeds

Originally from India, sesame seeds are now harvested mechanically without the use of chemicals.

   a sesame seeds 2




19. Black Pepper 

 black pepper

Originally from India, was known as "black gold" by the traders in ancient times.


20. Vanilla

a vanilla 2

Such an interesting one. The beautiful orchid flower has to be fertilised by hand when it is grown commercially. The flower opens early in the morning, then closes that night - so pollination during the day is crucial From this the bean is harvested, and dried. Again, back to Aztec times - "vaina" was used for flavouring.

  a vanilla

Is now being grown in North Queensland, near Tully, very succesfully.


21. Saffron

a saffron

Originally cultivated in Greece, this spice is from the stamen of the Crocus flower.

 a saffron 2


22. and finally Cinnamon 

which we all know comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree.

a cinnamon




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Been 2 yrs, but we're b-a-a-ckkkkkk. 

    cottage 2

Back to our cottage snuggled into a nice bit of Oz countryside at Ballandean, near Stanthorpe.

First job - light the fire, and relax on the verandah with the red bubbly Mischa has brought, while the sun goes down in a blaze (almost) of red.

      settling in best 2

Crackling fire inside, much more bubbly to come, kangas nibbling grass just outside our verandah for entertainment - I CAN cope.

aasettling in fire   aa kanga

And gradually we all relax -

      aasettling in malkie  aasettling in desi  aasettling in micha

So tired. Nighty night all.


SO, dear reader, why Stanthorpe, you ask ????   We say, why not.

1. It's high up on the granite belt, so is cold.

    snow 1

     OOPS, sorry - that was last week !! (We are SO jealous Ellen Jenkins)

     a sunshine

              This was our reality - and it was pretty damn nice.

2. The Bramble Patch.

    aabranble 2  aa bramble photo

We need our year's supply of raspberry liqueur, eggplant kassundi, tomato acher,Queen garnet plum paste, and talk to the friendly natives. Lovely people.

3. See the train.

    a malkie praying  Malkie was hoping - but fairly sure - trains don't come to Stanthorpe.

Wrong - heard the whistle - Mischa said let's go find it - and we did !!     train use this one            

                        How about that !! Pops up from Warwick every now and then.

3. Check out the birdies - feathered kind i.e.

     aa birdie galah   aa crimson one


      aa birdies apostle 2    aa birdies apostle         

An apostle bird (pictured) normally looks a dull black, but catch him in sunlight, as Malkie did - and the detail in his feathers is glorious.


4. The scenery -


    a scenery 2


5. The Sunsets

    a sunset 2 


6. The Winter White Grasses.

   aa better grassP1260618   aa grasses good

    grasses 1

 Endlessly fascinating - the winter grasses are. And yes, the last piccy is slightly enhanced, but still glorious.

Well, I reckon that's enough reason to go trekking once a year to Stanthorpe. Did I miss anything ? OMG, I did. Probably the most most MOST important ones -

7. The wonderful company of the Rahmels;  

     aam and d 2

the food - need I mention the big brekkies by Mischa, and the scrumptious dinner out at Ballendean winery ?


 wine (we are in the wine belt, so had to do it justice);


 the peacefulness of our cottage;

aa cottage 

the noisy fun of yahtzee  or crazy rummy at night; 

the crackling of the log fire; and the general ambience of the whole area  - CAN I GO BACK NOW ????????


    grape zines

One last pic - my view of the vineyards surrounding us in Ballandean.


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My beloved Grandies are coming out to Oz for a visit.

                       new drone 2

Photos of them are guaranteed to have me smiling like an idjut, so I got to thinking - which other photos are sure to make us all smile ??

Have a look at these - I call them my parenting shots.

 parenting 1 sq      parenting 30

    aaa parenting 30       aaa parenting 26   

                          aaa parenting 33

aaa parenting 31  aaa parenting 32

                                   aaa parenting 5 rect

     aaa parenting 29         aaa parenting sq 13

                                                aaa parenting 14 rect

      aaa parenting 21      aaa parenting 11  

                               aaa parenting sq 20         aaa parenting square 9

           aaa parenting rect 7 aaa parenting 27

                                                        aaa parenting rect 4


Are you smiling yet ?? Come on, break out into a big happy grin !! Does you good, gets your endorphins flowing - or something. But it does feel good. 

I'll be grinning like a cheshire cat for the next wee while, and hopefully store up some magical memories till I go to the states in September, and see them all over again.                                                 

                                          computer 2 boys

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 aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa   aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

                                                 aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAnimal Parents 19

                                                     That's all, folks.


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