Monday, July 11, 2011

For the love of mulberries ...gardening, green living, and a giveaway!

So, school holidays in Queensland have drawn to a close.

Regular readers will know we love to catch-up with family during holidays, and so it was that we found ourselves driving to the South Burnett, with our temporary foster toy poodle Zsa Zsa in tow.

When I was a kid, the South Burnett seemed a boring place to grow up. But with age and (some) wisdom, I now appreciate the benefits of a childhood spent in the country. I had the freedom to ride my bike to and from school and around the bush; to walk my sausage dogs (and there were a few over the years) to my Nana's home; and to spend summer afternoons at the council swimming pool with my siblings.

The most likely danger was a snake in the grass (seriously), a yabbie snapping off one of our fingers, or a serious case of sunburn.

So, we didn't have McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, or traffic lights, but we didn't miss them. They were usually a school holiday treat whenever we were in the Big Smoke or at the beach. (Well, the traffic lights weren't a treat, but the others were).

The worst part of country life was that whenever one of us was really sick or injured, we'd have to travel to Brisbane or Toowoomba for specialist treatment. And I used to get hideously carsick. Yuck!

I still hate the drive between Brisbane and Wondai, but travelling with kids (and a dog) helps me to forget all about being sick. Instead, I concentrate on staying sane without swerving off the road, swearing, or slapping myself in the face. (To keep myself awake! It's not some weird driving ritual.) 

And although the kids have inherited some of my dislike of a long car trip, they love to visit the country. Certainly, they moan whenever it's time to leave Wondai, my childhood home town; and the attractions of Grandma and Pa-Pa's home and garden. Not to mention my sister and brother-in-law's awesome farm and pool.

The kids love spending their pocket money at Wondai, Kingaroy, and surrounds. The shops here are magical places, where the bargains always seem so much more enticing than at Brisbane. I comfort myself that we're doing our bit to support the local economy.

Yes, we love a good weekend or longer in the country ... so here are a few snapshots from our stay.

Breakfast in bed, watching telly, from the fold-out divan at Grandma and Pa-Pa's house. And yes, those are glass windows. It's my parents' sun room which is freezing when there is no sun!
(Breakfast was vegemite toast of course. With optional toy poodle!)
Shopping at Wondai IGA. Note the uncrowded aisle.

Oh, erm, those purchases must belong to someone else's child ... am sure H. has grabbed the wrong trolley by mistake!

Helping Pa-Pa garden. Digging for potatoes. And in Miss 8's case, dancing.

'Look, there's one!' Luther, the not-so-mini daschund, (in jacket), and Zsa-Zsa the toy poodle, supervise.

'Are you sure they dug up the best ones?'
'Who cares? They had fun, and that's the main thing...'

Pa-Pa grows the best mandarins! They are the sweetest we've ever tasted.

The spoils ...

One way to get a picky young man to eat a cherry tomato is to get him to actually pick them! And that jumper was knitted by Grandma's own hands...

They're mine, all mine!
(You've got to love it when a child gets excited over a possie of produce!)

Our box of organic goodies, ready to take home. They were grown with that extra-special ingredient: Love.

We're currently renting, so don't get to do much damage to the garden. However, we have herbs, strawberries, lettuce and other goodies growing in pots. We've had pumpkins and tomatoes taking over the back yard, but we miss having fruit trees.

We do our bit to reuse and recyle. We have a compost heap, worm farm, guinea pigs, cats, and a spoiled toy poodle. (Who actually won't eat any household leftovers unless it is skin-free chicken.) Nothing is ever wasted.

When we were part of a two-parent family and lived on our own property, we also had mulberry, lemon, and lime trees. These, we lovingly planted when the kids were babies, and they grew up raiding the trees whenever the fruit was in season.

How we miss those trees! (And we really miss that home too. And do you know what? One of the first things the buyers did was to rip out the mulberry and other fruit trees. Sigh.)

Anyway, in honour of gardening goodness, Pa-Pa's Produce, and for the love of mulberries, I have double passes for 3 lucky MIA followers to attend the Organic Expo and Green Show in Sydney in August. The double passes will be valid for either Saturday August 6 or Sunday August 7. The Show will be held at Hall 3, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour. Opening times: Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.

To enter, check you're following MIA, and leave a comment below. Do you have a green thumb, have you ever tipped worm juice onto a rosebush, and/or what's your favourite organic produce?


Being Me said...

WHAT a gorgeous post! I love that photo of your H with the mandarins. They are somewhat wistful images, ahhh how I yearn for the simpler way of life of my childhood. xx

(I'm not entering your ace giveaway but wanted to comment!)

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Seems like you all had fun up there going by the pictures.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

Wanderlust said...

What a lovely post! Love all the piccies. I'm growing tomatoes and herbs right now. It's hotter than sin and I'm having to water them constantly. But how I love fresh veggies, and yes they are organic.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Haha as a child I would have loved to have breakfast in bed on a fold out. My parents were oh so formal and we didn't do anything like that!

yummy supper said...

You are so right...Love really is the best tool for growing (and cooking) great food. Pa- Pa's produce looks full of love. Great to see kids excited about garden-fresh goodies -lways makes me smile!

mamabook said...

Lovely post. I also thought I grew up in a boring place - the suburbs of Sydney. And now when I visit with my kids I understand that in many ways it was a magical place and my kids love nothing more than visiting Nana's.

Unknown said...

I want to go!
anyway now I know that it's happening! thanks, I havn't seen it advertised in sydney,