31 May 2009

Girls' Day Out

When ever I watch a group of our hens having a dust bath together I imagine that they are on a girls' weekend.

You see so many of these groups of girls around Daylesford every weekend and I imagine them doing the same things and having the same conversations as our chooks.

They discuss their husbands, swap recipes, brag about their children and choose where to have their next meal.

I suppose they are having a sort of beauty treatment.
They are filling their feathers full of dust to rid them of mites and lice.
A kind of cut, colour and blow wave.

28 May 2009

Picking carrots

We spent this morning picking carrots to deliver to the restaurants and cafes around Daylesford.

These carrots were planted last January and endured 40°+ days over summer and a bushfire that raced through the bush less than 500 metres from where they grow.

Pulling them up out of the ground often feels like a lucky dip.

You never know what size or colour you'll get.

As a bunch they are called Heirloom Variety Four Coloured Carrots.

Individually are called Purple Dragon, Orange Chantenay, Yellow Austrian Lobbericher and Belgian White.

After we had picked the amount we needed we washed the dirt off them.

Aren't they gorgeous!

26 May 2009

Meet Bingo and Banjo

This is Bingo.

Bingo is named after that song

There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name o.

Bingo is a Maremma breed of farm dog.

Maremmas originated in Italy and were bred to guard sheep from wolves

These days they are used all around the world to protect all types of animals.

We love our Maremmas for the wonderful work they do to protect our chooks.

Bingo lives with our baby chickens and protects them from foxes.

This is Banjo.

Banjo was the name I always wanted to call the son I never had.
(And with two male dogs Bren feels a bit less outnumbered.)
Banjo lives with some of our older chooks.

I think Bingo and Banjo have a wonderful life, sleeping all day and barking all night.

And we have never lost a chook to a fox on their guard.

24 May 2009

Thank you quince tree

Whenever we get back from Melbourne I see our farm with fresh eyes.

For a little while I can overlook all the work that needs to be done and appreciate how lucky we are and how beautiful this place is.

I seem to notice the smaller details.

While gathering the eggs this afternoon I noticed that the quince tree in the top orchard was in the final stages of dropping its golden leaves.

I saw beyond the tangle of blackberry at its feet and considered the abundant and successful quince season this year.

Quinces are funny fruit and I must admit that until this year I have never appreciated them or cooked with them. They are almost inedible raw and quite time consuming to process.

But this year there have been countless batches of stewed and mashed quince pulp dripping their rose coloured and sweet perfumed juice through muslin.

All that liquid has been boiled into jelly and poured into jars and labelled.

My Mum calls it bottled Autumn.

We have been and still are enjoying eating the jelly on everything from meat to cheese to crumpets and toast.

For the next few Farmers Markets, until we sell out, Bren will have the quince jelly on his stall so you can enjoy it as much as we do.

Thank you quince tree.

20 May 2009

The Advocate

Vogue is one thing but taking up half the front page of the local newspaper is entirely something else. It took me half an hour to buy bread and milk this afternoon.

It is great to have such community support.

We made these mosaics in my 8 year old's class at Art Attack Day (like Sports Day but Art) today. They will be grouted and then hung in the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden in the school.

We made the quince/lemon/lime (below).

18 May 2009


I've had that Abba song in my head for days now...

"Honey honey how you thrill me aha honey honey..."

A few weeks ago Bren and Andy carefully removed a couple of frames from each of our bee hives being careful to leave enough for the bees to eat over the cold winter months ahead.

When the frames are removed the honey is covered in wax.
As the bees finish filling each cell in the honey comb they cover them with wax, this is called capping. They do this to protect and preserve the honey.

The first part of extracting the honey is to remove the cappings.

Using a hot, sharp knife you scrape them off.

We were lucky enough to borrow some old and beautiful equipment from a bee loving friend of ours Bria. Thanks so much Bria. XX

Two frames at a time are lowered into the spinner.

And then the handle is turned and the honey is spun out of the frames.

It flicks onto the sides of the drum, dribbles down to fill up the bottom and then out the tap ready to fill up the jars and be eaten on toast, in our porridge, on crackers, from a spoon....mmm

As for you Anonymous with the correct answer from last post.

You'll have to out yourself to claim your prize.

17 May 2009

In Vogue

It's out!

We are in Vogue!

There are photos of our produce, a little blurb about us and recipes using our eggs and vegetables by Alla Wolf Taska from The Lake House and Matt Wilkinson from Circa.

It's all very exciting.

And meanwhile, back at the farm, can you guess what we are doing today?

13 May 2009

Vogue Awards

Last Monday we flew to Sydney and stayed the night as guests of Vogue Entertaining + Travel to attend the ceremony for their Produce Awards.

When we arrived we country mice couldn't believe the view from our hotel window.

In this photo we are on our way down in the lift to have a pre party drink with Joy from DMP and Carla and Anne Marie from The Holy Goat Dairy.

We farmers scrub up alright eh?

The award ceremony was held at a Justin North's restaraunt Etch. It was a long, narrow room absolutely jam packed with hundreds of people from the glamerous side of the food industry. There were platters of food being passed around which were made from the winners' produce. Our dish was a beetroot tart with horseradish chantilly.

Matt Preston MC'ed the night and presented the awards which was a bit of a thrill as we have been watching Master Chef. He announced a few awards and their winners. Then he read out the gold medals (runners up) for the From the Earth category. He read out a whole lot of names but not ours. It all went very quickly but I think I was a bit disappointed at the time.

And then he announced the overall winner of the category. Daylesford Organics. Woohoo! What a thrill! We had won!

We went up, we kissed and posed for photos and then were whisked off for more photos.

The next award was the From the Paddock category in which we won a gold medal for our eggs.

The next hour was spent shmoozing with chefs, reviewers, PR people, Vogue people and the other producers. It was amazing that Joy won The Regional Award and the Holy Goat Girls won From the Dairy and Producer of the Year. What an amazing night for this part of the world.

Surprisingly the next day we weren't too hungover and were able to take in some of the sights with our new friend.

I had to put this photo in because my 8 year old says it's her favourite. She thinks he looks like a 'Hollywood movie Star', even a bit like Zac Efron!!

There was much excitement and show and tell when we arrived home last night. But there's nothing like three little children to ground you and get rid of any illusions of glamour and the high life.