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.

This is Joanne-

1 walk She is a very busy Mum of 3 beautiful children, and she lives in Bendigo, Victoria.

   The story below is by her, in her words, and she takes us to Mt Macedon, a truly beautiful bit of Victoria.


  Mt.Macedon is the green spot 64 kms n-w Melbourne.


 " I was set the task of organising my friend's birthday, and she had 3 requests -

1. Peaceful

2. Explore

3. No children. 

Not sure how we segued to cemeteries, but I found this -

One read - and I was down the rabbit hole completely hooked.


Historic & beautiful . . . . the resting place of Ellis Rowan, flower hunter and renowned artist.

This story actually begins in 2002, when I took my first child (less than ten days old!!) to the Ellis Rowan exhibition in Canberra.  On that day I got a poster which still remains in my daughters room

             i ellis r  ellis 2   ellis rowwan 1

 I had no idea Ellis Rowan's family home had been at Mt Macedon, and that the family - including Ellis herself, were buried at the Macedon Cemetery.

Ellis Rowan painted more species of Australian and International flora than any other artist of her era (1842-1922). She won many prizes, but, because she was a woman and had received no formal qualifications, her career was steeped in controversy - the artistic landscape of the late 1900's was particularly male dominated !!

             ellis 4  ellis rowan 5  ellis 61

The collection was acquired by the Commonwealth after her death in 1932 - for a fraction of what they would have cost, had they been sold individually (or if she had been a man) Her "masterly delineations", can now be located in the National Library in Canberra.

                        at mt macedonSo, skip forward to 2015 and here I am organising my friend's birthday party. . .First stop up Mt Macedon was trying to find the anti-gravity spot in Straws Lane - needless to say, we're still looking !!

Next stop was the Anzac Cross at the top. It is very impressive for sure, with views to Melbourne on a good day !!

Not the original cross - that went in the Ash Wednesday bushfires, but it is still a testament to the sacrifice.

            a general

        Next stop - food. We stopped in at the Telegraph Trading Post and ate up a storm, then checked out the nursery across the road. All adding to the birthday pleasures.

                             autumn 3

                     We gloried in the beauty of the autumn foliage - and yes, we did finally make it to the Cemetery !!

    The first sight I had was looking back towards the mountain, with the stunningly lovely "Asleep" by Peter Schipperheyn.


She was absolutely beautiful, even down to the lines on the soles of her feet. What a breathtaking resting place. The only sound was that of the black cockatoos overhead, and the murmurs of my friends as they studied the headstones trying to establish family origins, connections, and the stories the gravestones were telling us.                                                     

ellis headstone

I had purchased a book about the cemetery, and finally seeing the headstones, set amidst such beauty, was both overwhelming and humbling.

So many stories, so much beauty !! There was Ellis Rowan and the extended Rowan Family. Finally we had found the reason we simply HAD to come here.



Another story I was desperate to see was that of Rudolph (Butz) Schmidt - he had been through so much tragedy in the war - came to Australia, found peace at Mt. Macedon, only to be hit by the Ash Wednesday bushfire of 1983. His beloved wife joined him in rest with a beautiful tribute to her artistic talents, in 2012.

 Then we found the headstone of a mother and her 2  young children, all 3 passing on the same day in 1981. We knew we had found a horrific accident - and we wondered what happened to the father and the only child to survive ?


 In all, as you would expect, there were a variety of ages, races, stages, love stories, tragedy, artists, comedians, musicians, throughout the whole cemetery. Set in the most beautiful location.

                         headstone 6     togetherness 3         

If you have a spare afternoon, it is truly worth every minute spent here in quiet reflection".

 Thank you so much Jo, loved your story.  Next time we head for Melbourne, we will be taking a short trip N-W 64 kms., and visiting the Mt Macedon cemetery.

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