Year’s End in Candelo

It is amazing to think that we have been here almost a full year! Candelo is such a beautiful little village, full of history and charm, and we are so happy that we live here! We arrived just after the re-opening of the General Store, which has been a major boost to the life and energy of the town. The first general store opened in the early 1860s and was soon followed by a Post Office (1st and 2nd photos), school and churches, until the town took over the role of Kameruka as the main provider to the local population. The first town blocks were surveyed and sold in 1865.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-22 11.53.04BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_1508St Peter’s Anglican Church was also designed by the Blacket brothers (sons of Edmund, who designed the church at Kameruka- see previous post) and built in 1906.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.59.25BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.58.54There was also a hospital (1888), a lovely pink Catholic Church (St. Josephs) at the top of the hill (naturally!) and an old convent. The old hospital and convent are now private residences.

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The old hospital
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St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
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The old convent
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The old convent has a beautiful garden

We always enjoy our walk up the opposite hill to our house, as it provides a wonderful birds’ eye view of the village, especially in Winter when all the deciduous trees have lost their leaves. Just about every house in Candelo has a stunning view of the mountains. These photos show the view of the mountains to the north; Candelo in Winter and Summer, looking back to our side of the valley and ‘a horse with a view’!BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_2752BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-09-06 16.33.39BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 12.40.56BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 12.47.30In its heyday, Candelo had 3 hotels; 3 blacksmiths- all along Sharpe Street, which is why we are constantly digging up old ironware!; a bakery; 3 butchers; a chemist and its own doctor; a hospital built in 1888;  a tailor, a hardware store; banks; a School of Arts and Literary Institute; a newspaper and 3 general stores. The first newspaper ‘The Candelo & Eden Union’ began publication in May 1882. In the early 1900s, ‘The Candelo Guardian’ also operated for 6 years and eventually, the two newspapers amalgamated into ‘The Southern Record’ and continued until 1938. Here are some more photos of the old buildings, now mostly residences, along Sharpe St on our side of the creek : the old general store, which stood to the right of the blacksmiths; an old beauty salon; Candelo Pub; more old stores on our corner; The Crossing Gallery, reopening in February 2016; my neighbour’s house (2 photos); her walking bridge across the gully between her house and garden; and finally, another rustic wooden bridge across the gully on the other side of the street.BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_3023BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_3025BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_3024BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-22 11.38.43BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-22 11.38.29BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-22 12.17.15BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-22 10.52.23BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-11 09.21.20BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-22 11.39.44We were fortunate to be able to view an album of historic photographs of the village, mostly taken by Robert Hayson :

Looking across Candelo Creek from the main street to our neighbour’s blue house and the old storesBlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0592
Dated 1908, this photo shows our neighbour’s house marked ‘Commercial Bank’ and the hill behind. I’m glad the road has improved!BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0598
Our neighbour’s house, marked as ‘Board of Residence’ in this photoBlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0593
Looking back across the bridge from our side of the creek to William St and the old School of Arts building 1881, which burnt down and was replaced by the Town Hall in 1930.BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0594
A 1910 postcard of William St with a closeup of DH Clark’s Royal Hotel and the footbridge, which had been washed away. A little cynicism with the Greetings message perhaps?!BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0597
Main St with Royal HotelBlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0599
William St : a grocery store in the background, the hotel and then a store owned by Mr Collins, where the General Store now standsBlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_0600
Abraham Levy started the Candelo General Store in 1879, site unknown, then built in the current location in 1882. A fire destroyed the building in 1903 and a new store in its current form was built on the same site in 1904. It has changed hands many times in its 110 year old history and is now owned and run by the Moffitt Family. It is open for breakfasts, lunches and the odd Friday night dinner, as well as providing very well-priced groceries and garden supplies. We feel so lucky to have such a great store so nearby.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.21.39BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.21.50BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_2758And we love Barry’s old cars!!! Especially his truck advertising that ‘cosy local wives would fire!!!’BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-22 11.58.27BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 14.28.00BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 13.06.27BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-28 11.10.41Unfortunately,  the advent of the motor car and better roads saw the demise of the town as the predominant shopping venue, but ‘progress’ is often a two-edged sword! Perhaps, it is also the reason that so many historic buildings  are still intact and have not been demolished to make way for modern shopping complexes – horror of horrors!!! Candelo is an urban conservation area and has a  charming atmosphere, which has attracted many artists and musicians to the area. Here are some photos of William St today…

From left down the street  : Town Hall, Eric’s Garage, Leanne’s parlour, the old hotel, the General Store and the Post Office. The bridge is on the right of this photo.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.54.57Eric’s paraphenalia! Eric is the go-to man if ever there is a problem or you need information.

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Closeup of Town HallBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.54.29Looking down William St from the shade of the old plane treeBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.55.50The old bank, still with its vault intact, across from the Town HallBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.54.50BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-30 03.12.48Bridge across Candelo Creek to our side. Eden St goes straight up the hill. You can just see our laneway on the right.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 16.13.22We have a wonderful organization called the Candelo Arts Society (http://www.candelovillagefestival.org/), which holds great  performances at least once or twice a month in the Town Hall or St. Peter’s Anglican Church, as well as the wonderful Candelo Village Festival every two years. The first one was in 2008. Here are some photos from the 2015 Candelo Village Festival :

From left to right : Scott Cook (Canada); Frank Yamma (Australia); Melanie Horsnell (local) in the foreground, backed by Azadoota.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 11.25.13Talented duos, from left to right : Sweet Jean (Victoria); Kate and Ruth (local) and Elegant Aliens (local)BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 12.45.50Leanne’s Ragtime Parlour. She often opens her front door and plays on market days. It sounds wonderful!BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.20.46BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.20.33We felt very proud of ourselves, erecting this stage on the back of Barry Moffitt’s old truck!BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.23.26Kids’ artwork on the streetBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.21.02Queen Porter StompBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.33.54Jordan C Thomas BandBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 13.44.11Nighttime marketsBlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 19.06.21BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 19.05.56The Tricksters’ Caravan of Wonders : there are some wonderful talented young performers out there!BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 19.07.21The Festival entrance was flanked by creative bamboo cane structures, covered with greenery and lit from within, to create a magical nighttime atmosphere!BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-03-28 19.07.43Proceeds from the organization are fed back into community projects like the wonderful full length swimming pool. The water laps the edge of the lawn and the view over grazing cattle and green paddocks is sublime! Often, we get it totally to ourselves if we swim in the early afternoon on a week-day.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 12.55.02BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 15.07.41BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 15.20.37BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 15.07.57It’s a very active community with lots happening from flamenco to Spanish lessons (1st photo); a Beginner’s Orchestra, where the only rule is that you haven’t played the instrument before!; an active Land Care group; Social Tennis every Friday morning with  Tuesday night comps (2nd photo); a Kindergarten and school (see 5th and 6th photos); a bowls club (7th photo); a police station and fire station; another cafe and deli (Two Blokes’ Food Cafe); a wonderful wood-fired sourdough bakery ‘Wheatley Lane’, just around the corner from us;  a very well-known large market on the 1st Sunday of every month (3rd and 4th photo) and a cute Agricultural Show in January, which has been held since 1883. I will be writing a post about the 2016 Candelo Show in mid-January.

BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-22 12.13.51BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 16.19.00BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-30 11.41.55BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-30 11.42.08BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.59.51BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 13.00.18BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-15 13.00.07It’s such a beautiful area , backed by the South East Forests National Park and scenic beauty spots like Six Mile Creek, rolling lush green paddocks and dairy farms and a stunningly beautiful coastline, only 20 minutes away. We lie half way between the old agricultural service centre Bega and touristy coastal Merimbula, so have easy access to both. We always enjoy our drives to either town. I will finish with some photos of Candelo Creek and Bega River en route to Bega, then the country drive to Merimbula.

Here  are the photos of the drive to Bega :BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-10 12.14.00BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-10 12.10.38BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-07 08.25.43BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.08.03BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-07 08.33.24BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-07 08.37.38BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-10-10 12.10.31BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-07 08.35.58BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-07 11.41.14BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-28 16.44.45BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-03 16.11.12BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-02-07 08.33.28BlogyearEndCandelo50%ReszdIMG_2530.jpgAnd photos of the drive to Merimbula. I will describe the wonderful Potoroo Palace in more detail in my post on local wildlife venues later in the year.BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-28 16.47.01BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-10 12.57.10BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_2620BlogyearEndCandelo20%ReszdIMG_2616BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-01-27 12.18.24

We feel so privileged to live in this very special area!BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-04-26 17.12.26BlogyearEndCandelo20%Reszd2015-07-11 16.17.31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Festive Season

Seasons Greetings! We hope you all had a wonderful relaxing Christmas and are now gearing up for New Year. We had a lovely first Christmas here in Candelo with perfect weather in the mid-twenties.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 10.21.17 My daughter was up early and not because she couldn’t wait! She has been babysitting our neighbour’s beautiful black Labradors and they were very impatient for the day to begin! Caro took the following photos:

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Photogenic Dougal in Black-and-White
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Everything a girl could want: a guitar, computer, mobile phone and a friend staying over!
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Dougal and Jamie with their Christmas toys
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Do you have to go up for Christmas?

We started the day in a very civilized fashion with delicious fruit, sourdough toast and lime marmalade and tea before sitting down to open our gifts.

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Christmas 2015
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The youngest always distributes the presents!
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A reminder of Caro’s field study on moulting Fairy Penguins
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Christmas breakfast

My daughter has rediscovered water colour painting and has been busy this past week making beautiful cards for all her family and friends.

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Watercolour cards for Christmas
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A kookaburra for Ross and a hedgehog for me
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More cute watercolour cards
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A Christmas card for sister Jen and her boyfriend
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The fox and the butterfly

We organized Christmas lunch, then I popped down to the neighbour’s house for a Christmas photo shoot with the dogs! They are such characters!! It was quite a saga getting them to wear their antlers at the same time and long enough to be photographed!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.25.10BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.23.51BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.28.17I love Dougal’s eyes! He is such a handsome fellow, but a bit of a rogue!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.28.41BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.29.08Caro has a real soft spot for Jamie!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.26.44Lunch was delicious! Roast turkey with fig, orange and cranberry stuffing, ham, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin with rosemary, little onions roasted in thyme and balsalmic vinegar, green beans and a delicious home-grown, red cabbage dish. We crashed for a much-needed sleep, forgetting that we had left the pudding on to boil! Luckily, Ross topped up the water and even though it boiled for an extra hour than it should have, it didn’t affect it and I think it was the best Christmas Pudding ever! Thank you Syd for the tip about Gladwrap – a perfect seal (see my late November post: Christmas Pudding Wishes : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/26/christmas-pudding-wishes/) . We were also very impressed with the Christmas Cake this year- lovely and moist and not burnt for once!!!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 15.21.47BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 17.42.47BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 17.40.09The festive season has also definitely begun in the bird world! The Little Corellas (white) and Pink Galahs are loving the ripe Duranta berries.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.13.25BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 20.27.54BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.07.44BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 20.28.02Some of their more rogueish elements have also started on the plums and apples!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 20.59.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.08.24BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.13.59I am always amazed at the pink plumage of Galahs and Little Corellas are such endearing clowns with their blue eye patches and engaging antics!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 20.27.20BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 20.28.28BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.08.51We are still treated nightly to their aerial manouevres and mass flock spectacles, occasionally livened up with a blur of pink from the galahs joining in!

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A blur of pink!
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Mixed flock of Little Corellas with the odd Galah!
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The density of the flocks always amazes me!
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A tree decked in pink!
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Night-time companions

It is lovely having the Eastern Spinebills back in the garden and the verandah is an ideal spot to watch them sucking the nectar from the agapanthus.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-24 12.37.58The latter are now in full bloom and absolutely stunning!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.35.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.29.53BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.03.26BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.30.44The hydrangeas are forming giant flower heads of soft mauve, blue and pink.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.06.29BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.06.22BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.10.44BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.06.41We were thrilled to discover a Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata) in the Soho Bed. ‘Cingulata’ comes from the Latin ‘Cingulum’ (belt), referring to the bands. Apparently, the males have 5 stripes and the females 4 stripes on their abdomen. These beautiful Australian native bees are quite solitary, unlike their Honey Bee cousins. The males cling to the plant stems overnight, while the females live in burrows in the soil or soft stone and have a limited foraging range within 300 m of their nest, so they must be resident in the garden! Perhaps they nest in between the old bricks of the Soho Bed path. Apparently, they love blue flowers, so they should feel very at home in our garden with all the lavender, blue salvia, agapanthus and hydrangeas! Photo 1 shows a Blue-banded Bee on a Lavender stalk. The 2nd photo is a close-up, in case you could not find it! BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 11.58.47BlogFestiveSeason30%Reszd2015-12-21 11.58.47 (2)Here is a Honey Bee on a rose leaf.

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The Soho Bed is the home of the Blue-banded Bee.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 11.28.50Perhaps, the female has her nest in between the old bricks of the path, shown in Photo 5, with the Pink Verbena.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.52The insect world and its ingenious defensive mechanisms and camouflage never ceases to amaze me! If I was a bird, I wouldn’t want to eat this spiky spider with its yellow dots.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 16.12.49 Nor this spider with the scary face on its bottom!!! BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 16.44.26This spiky furry caterpillar would be quite a mouthful! (Caro’s photo)BlogFestiveSeason70%Reszd2015-12-20 06.38.27

I love all their patterns and dots.BlogFestiveSeason40%Reszd2015-12-19 16.36.19 (2)BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.11.19BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 11.55.48BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 10.51.59BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.30.22We felt pretty special finding this Christmas Beetle down in the vegie garden on Christmas Day.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.27.23Another very exciting discovery on the day after Boxing Day was the opening of the sunflower blooms, all ready for the New Year!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.05.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.10.42BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.11.04The pumpkin flowers are prolific and their parent plants and the zucchini plants continue their relentless march across the garden, consuming everything in their path!

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A pumpkin flower
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Heading for the Moon (Bed)!
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Pumpkin Attack!

I love all the warm colours in the garden too : the Dahlias, the Red Hot Pokers, the Calla Lily seeds and all the ripening fruit and vegies.

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Bright sunny Dahlias
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Our very own Red Hot Poker
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Calla Lily seeds
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A tiny pumpkin forming!
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Golden Heritage Cherry tomatoes
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Tom Thumb cherry tomatoes
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Rouge de Marmande tomatoes
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Within the day, the above tomatoes had turned red!
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Parrot delight!
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Purple plums
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Almost ripe!
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Maybe this is a Golden Hornet Crab Apple after all!

For Christmas, we decided to buy the hardwood posts and cross-beams for the Main Pergola. The steel posts in Photo 1 show the position of the uprights. Adam (Photo 2) and the other climbing roses are growing so quickly, they urgently need support.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 12.01.13BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.07.12Here are the other beautiful blooms this week: In order, Penelope; Blanc Double de Coubert; Troilus; Eglantyne; The Children’s Rose and LD Braithwaite.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.08.50BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.21.09BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.29.36BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.14BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.20BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.28And my Christmas vases: Agapanthus; Orange Calendula and Blue Cornflowers; LD Braithwaite (red), Eglantyne (pale pink), Children’s Rose (globular pink), Feverfew and Catmint; A vase of Troilus with Buddleia, white and purple Stock, Feverfew, Catmint and Blue Salvia complements the beautiful Simplicity calendar, which our son gave us; Close-up of the same vase; Stunning red dahlias and finally, cheery orange dahlias for Christmas!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.06.19BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 10.04.11BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.24.29BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.33.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.35.11BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 10.05.48BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 10.06.44Finally, some photos of our beautiful Full Moon over Christmas. If you look at the 4th photo carefully, it looks like there is a 2nd very faint moon above the real moon! I loved the cloud effects! The last photo was taken on the full zoom of the camera, but has not been further enlarged. It is an amazing little camera and really comes into its own with long-distance shots!!!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.13.13BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.10.36BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.11.16BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 20.04.57BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.15.08BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.17.40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Christmas!

Christmas has always been a very special time in our house, especially the lead up in the month beforehand, with all the food preparation, gift making and present wrapping!

I have already written posts about :

  • Desserts for Pre-Christmas work parties : The Sweet Spot (October)
  • Christmas Cake and Pudding (November)
  • Christmas Drinks and Nibbles (December)

I much prefer to think about Christmas gifts well in advance, so there is no panic closer to the day, when the shops get so busy and crowded and choosing gifts becomes very stressful!!! If time allows, it is a wonderful opportunity to use all those craft skills and, at the same time, make so many people very happy! Home-made presents are THE BEST and are appreciated long after their store-bought equivalents. The recipient not only appreciates the originality and sometimes quirkiness of your gift, but also the talent and skill involved and the sheer amount of time devoted to their production, while thinking about their recipient during the whole process! My family adore my embroidered cushion covers and I get much joy out of planning and executing their design, as well as admiring the finished product, and then seeing the joy and love they bring to their recipient!

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I made this cute Christmas bag for my daughter from a pattern in ‘Scandinavian Stitches‘ by Kajsa Wikman. See her blog on : http://syko.typepad.com/.

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I embroidered this cushion cover with rainforest birds for my husband’s birthday this year.BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-29 16.34.36A Christmas tablemat for 2000!

I have loved all my children’s home-made gifts over the years and our house and lives have been enriched by all their wonderful creations! It is also a great way for children to develop their creative skills. Here are some great books with gift ideas :

‘The Good Gift Guide : Creative Gift Giving For All Occasions’ by Alison Pearl

‘The Good Gift Book : Ideal Presents For Every Occasion’ by Judy Hubbard

‘A Touch of Christmas : Easy To Make Stockings and Gifts’ by Pamela Allardice

‘Christmas Treats To Make and Give’ by Linda Collister

‘Homemade’ by Kay Fairfax

‘Creating Gourmet Gifts’ by Barbara Beckett

‘Aromatic Gifts : Scented Ideas From Kitchen and Garden’ by Stephanie Donaldson        and

‘Beautiful Homemade Presents’ by Juliet Bawden.

Gifts can be more intangible too : a massage, a song, a performance, an IOU promise. My daughters made this hand-painted Monopoly board and these delightful wooden coasters for past Christmas gifts. A friend made this delicious Christmas cookie decoration one year.BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.25.37BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.12.40BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.32.04I really enjoy making Christmas cards and Advent Calendars in late November, the latter to be opened from the 1st December on. The last few years, I have used folded blank card, stamps and ink pads to create much more personal (and far cheaper) cards! Alas, this year, because I worked right up until the last week, I had to resort to using commercial Christmas cards!

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There are so many different patterns for advent calendars from felt pockets with little treasures and sweets to this wonderful paper pocket Christmas Tree, which I made for our 2013 Christmas. Each pocket held a small gift or a rhyming clue to a treasure hunt for larger items, which could not fit in the pocket. The pattern came from ‘Folded Secrets : Paper Folding Projects: Book 4’ by Ruth Smith and is based on the old Chinese Needle Thread Pockets. You can order all 4 books from the author by emailing her at : eruthsmith@btinternet.com. For a quick view of them, see : http://purplemissus.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/happy-families.html

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It is also fun making Christmas decorations throughout December, then finally decorating the Christmas tree in the last 2 weeks! Some people do it in early December, especially if they own an artificial tree, but I much prefer fresh trees, which do not last the whole month well.

I love the scent and colour of traditional fir trees, which are often sold on the side of the road in the weeks up until Christmas. After the 1967 Tasmanian bush fires, which devastated the native forests, my parents planted a large number of these quick-growing evergreens along the fence line of our property, only to spend every future Christmas chasing off would-be Christmas Tree thieves as the trees grew to maturity!!!

For the last few years in the city, we bought our trees from the same supplier, who harvested them from their country property then sold them in their suburban driveway. We’d select a small, well-balanced tree, then place it in a tub of water within an old rusty family cream can (from dairying days), decorated with Christmas wrapping paper and a large red bow. I love this old photo from the early 1900s of my husband’s grandparents’ Christmas tree with all the toy animals underneath.BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-29 16.33.46Back in the country, we would cut our own tree – maybe a feral cypress or a native she-oak (Casuarina) or even a gum tree (Eucalyptus). This year, we had hoped to purchase a Wollemi Pine in a pot, which we would keep outside during the year, then bring inside for Christmas until it grew too large. Wollemi pines are incredibly ancient and very special, as they were thought to be extinct until a small stand was discovered in 1994. See : http://www.wollemipine.com.

Alas, they were too exorbitant for us this year at $ 169 for a 150mm pot ( plus $14 for shipping and handling). I know we would probably recuperate the price after 3 to 5 years of buying ordinary cut Christmas trees, but you would have to be certain that the plant survived!!! Maybe when we’re rich and famous…!!! For those with disposable income, see : http://www.wollemipine.com/order.php

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It is always such fun decorating the Christmas tree with friends and family with all the old Christmas favourites, as well as a new purchase/ creation each year. After the baubles and ornaments, we drape the tree with tinsel, then last of all, the Christmas lights – so magical!!! Here are some photos of hand-made Christmas decorations: a simple, bright felt star for my eldest daughter’s first Christmas tree of her own; Christmas angels being made by my daughters : I made the middle angel, Caro the blonde angel and Jen, the angel with the dreadlocks!; I also made a beaded/ sequined and embroidered Christmas angel and pear one year.BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 004BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.59.48 - CopyBloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.31.53BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.34.34We were a bit late putting up our ‘tree’ this year, but it was just as well as the weekend before Christmas we experienced 40 degree days! We now live on a corner block fringed with very old Cypress trees, so we cut 5 branches, which were extending into the lane way, then bound them together and put them in the old family cream can. I think it looks great and it’s hard to detect that it is not a complete tree! My daughter made a beautiful wreath with the trimmed branches as well (bottom photo).BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 20.26.16BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 21.38.59BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 19.28.22BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 18.26.23And finally, Christmas Eve has arrived! When we lived in the ‘Big Smoke’, we always use to enjoy making a special visit into the city to see the Christmas decorations.

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I loved the illumination of the Geelong Town Hall last year.BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2014-12-18 22.19.05And on the night of Christmas Eve, it was always worth doing the rounds of the neighbourhood to view all those outrageous Christmas decorations and lights. Some streets specialize in it!!!BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 22.51.01BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 22.22.36There were even still a few here in country Candelo! While the 3rd photo took the prize for effect, I must admit that I much prefer the simpler more discrete ones like the hammock shot (4th photo). Someone had even draped a large fir tee in their front yard with lights, which changed from green-and-blue to red-and-gold (5th and 6th photo)! A local farmer tied a big red bow round each of his fence posts, which looked really effective, though perhaps not so good at night-time! (1st and 2nd photo)BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-24 11.46.22BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-24 11.46.10BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.52.22BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.42.27BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.44.14BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.44.05It is always fun seeing everyone get into the Christmas spirit, including our old postman last year! We had a hilarious Christmas Eve a few years ago, when we came across a long line of ‘Father Christmases’,  university students on their way to the pub, who then very good-naturedly, carjacked us for a lift to said hotel!!! I think my daughter thought all her Christmases had come at once! We caught up to their companions and dropped them off, little realizing that one of them had lost his mobile phone in our car! Two suburbs later, we received a very sheepish phone call, asking us very politely if we would mind dropping their phone round to the hotel! So funny, though it did highlight how quickly a car can be hijacked!!!

BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 10.20.48BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 22.18.59This year here in Candelo, we were hijacked in a different fashion! I saw 3 Santas walking up the hill, only to have a large group of them materialize on our doorstep to sing us Christmas Carols, then we were bundled up and absorbed into the group, as we wended our way back up the hill to accost other suitable benefactors! My daughter grabbed her Santa hat and reindeer antlers, which she had bought for my neighbour’s handsome black labradors, whom she was to babysit over Christmas, but unfortunately not her camera, otherwise you would have had some classic shots of me in her  antlers with multicoloured flashing lights. It took me a while to realize that the faint Christmas jingle I kept hearing was also actually coming from  those same antlers!!! It probably would have been a bit dark for a decent photo anyway. We found it increasingly difficult to read the words by candlelight, so ‘Deck the Halls’ was very dodgy and thin in the verse singing, but voices swelled considerably in the ‘Fa-La-La, Fa-La-La, Fa-La-La’ chorus! We finished at the local bakery, where we were kindly given a fresh, warm sourdough loaf straight out of the oven and a lovely moist Christmas Cake, which we quickly wolfed down with French Champagne and tea back at my neighbour’s house. It was such a fun night and a great way to meet all the locals!

Father Christmas certainly gets around, as can be seen by these eye witness accounts on our drives to visit family interstate over the Christmas period!BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 013BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 043BloghappyXmas40%Reszddec 2010 073BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 072BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 071BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2014-12-14 08.13.18He is such a busy fellow and must get so exhausted with all his travels! We have a family tradition of writing Father Christmas notes to attach to our stockings. He would then have to reply in the wee wee hours of the morning in an increasingly illegible scrawl! Funny how he always knew what had transpired during the year! When the kids were little, we always used to visit him in the shopping mall, resulting in a wonderful family photographic record of the childhood years.

Every Christmas Eve, we would leave him a slice of Christmas, a beer and a carrot for his reindeer and in the morning, we would discover cake crumbs, the bottle drained and little bite-sized bits of carrot all over the garden.

The kids would be up so early on Christmas morning, excitedly opening their Christmas stockings or, in later years, sacks! After the stocking opening and a much-needed cup of tea, we took it in turns to open the gifts, which had accumulated under the tree in the previous 2 weeks and had suddenly swelled in number dramatically overnight. The youngest often had the job of finding each person’s gift, while Mum (usually) kept a note of ‘who gave what’ for later thank you correspondence.

After the last gift had been opened, the kids all gathered around the open window to yell at the top of their voices ‘Thank You Very Much, Father Christmas!’, a tradition carried through from my childhood!

Because everyone tends to nibble stocking fruit and sweets and are a bit exhausted by this stage, we often have a rest till mid-afternoon, then prepare for Christmas Dinner : a roast turkey with stuffing, a clove-studded ham, roast vegetables and the finale, the flaming Christmas Pudding! One year, when we had just moved over into a cottage built to lockup with no electricity, water or stove, the thought of preparing the traditional Christmas dinner overwhelmed me and it was so wonderful when my ‘kids’ (late teens by this stage) took over and bought 2 barbecued chickens and boiled up vegies over the camping gas stove – the most relaxing Christmas dinner we have ever had!BloghappyXmas40%ReszdIMG_9113BloghappyXmas40%Reszddecember2011 200

I love setting the Christmas table and organizing the flowers ! For a few years, we even made our own Christmas Crackers, complete with corny jokes!!! We will miss our dear Scampie this year!BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-25 11.00.35BloghappyXmas20%ReszdJens Xmas 2013 055

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Our old dog Scamp used to love Christmas!

I will leave you with a few photos of our iconic native flora and fauna. Happy Christmas and All our Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2016!!!

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A koala sitting in an old gum tree!
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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
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Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
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A pair of Pink Galahs
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A Pretty-faced Wallaby browsing a friend’s Bauhinias
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Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)
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Native Frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum)
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Rainbow Lorikeets at home for Christmas!
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Oliver, our resident King Parrot, also at home for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Splendours

This week started with a bang! Last Tuesday was a momentous day weatherwise with a meteorite shower from 1.30am to 4am, then a huge electrical storm out to sea between 10pm and 4am on Wednesday morning. Here in Candelo valley, we are nestled between two steep hills, but as we face east, we were able to sit protected on our verandah and watch both events safely. Unfortunately, the meteorite shower was a bit of a fizzer (Ross’s description), though we did see a shooting star every two minutes, even though it wasn’t very bright or for very long! It was still worth getting up in the wee hours of the morning for the beautiful starry night sky and the sound of the flap of bat wings from the neighbour’s apple trees and the melodic trill of the reed warbler down in the creek.BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.25.51BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.22.36And the electrical performance at the end of the day more than compensated for the earlier event and was totally unexpected! I drifted in and out of sleep for the first two hours, before I decided that I had better get up and see why the street light kept flickering on and off, only to discover that it wasn’t the culprit at all. Hughie was having a party upstairs and flicking all the light switches in the night sky! Because we are just over 20 km from the coast, we could not hear any thunder rumbles, but the chain lightning was spectacular and well worth capturing on film (though I had to use a Sports setting and the majority of the shots were black)!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.22.32BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.28.51My butterfly obsession has now been replaced by birds in flight and the mass movement of Corellas! Every evening, we are treated to these spectacular shows- primarily Little Corellas, but sometimes Galahs as well.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2586BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2569BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2574BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2594BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2547BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2542It is always interesting seeing which tree they decide to settle in for the night! When we first arrived almost a year ago, it was their cousins, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, who dominated the bird scene, and we do not remember such a huge population of Little Corellas. Perhaps, by the time we arrived, they had finished marauding Candelo and moved on to fresher, fruitier pastures!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2597BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2620BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2629BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2636So far, we still have our plums, apples and pears, touch wood! I do hope we get to sample some of the fruit once it ripens!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.08.37BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2486BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2479BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2469BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2503BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2492The insects are also enjoying all the fresh Summer growth!

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Our house wasp has a mate
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One of the many lady beetles on the potato foliage
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Three Cabbage Whites sucking nectar from Verbena blooms
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Cabbage White Butterfly on Rocket flowers
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Closeup of Cabbage White
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The start of the Butterfly Life Cycle : a hungry caterpillar on a sunflower leaf!
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The end of the Butterfly Life Cycle : a dead butterfly on a Zucchini leaf
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Adult Orange Stink Bug- one of the survivors- on the Cumquat tree
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Interesting spider on Alnwick rose
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Tiny grasshopper on Ice Girl rose
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More spotted beetles- still unidentified- on Lucetta bloom

Roses of note this week include the following:

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Alister Stella Gray
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This photo shows why Alister Stella Gray is also known as Golden Rambler
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Mutabilis
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Autumn Delight
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Eglantyne
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Alnwick
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Lucetta buds
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Lucetta blooms
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Frau Dagmar Hastrup
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Evelyn after rain

I just adore arranging them into beautiful bouquets!

Photo 1 : EglantyneBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 09.37.49Photo 2 : Childrens’ Rose in centre; Eglantyne (soft pink) and Alnwick (warm pink); Troilus (cream) and Jude the Obscure (cream globular at back)BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.22.00Photo 3 : The above bouquet with stock, blue salvia, lavender and catmint addedBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.37.57Photo 4 : Close-Up of finished bouquetBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.39.27Photo 5 : Beautiful AgapanthusBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.08.48The Agapanthus are so elegant and perfect, both in the house and the garden.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2514BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.00.06

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Mullein in the foreground of our bank of Agapanthus
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The Agapanthus Bank

BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.12.29BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.12.17The Agapanthus are so elegant and perfect, both in the house and the garden!The Eastern Spinebill is delighted that the Agapanthus season has started, while his cousin, the Yellow-faced Honeyeater was more interested in the old tank!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-18 19.00.21BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-18 18.59.53The orange of the Canna Lilies complements the blue of the Agapanthus so well!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.00.43BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.00.39The bromeliads and agapanthus have continued the blue theme!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2520BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2515I really like the lime-green Bupleurium in the cutting garden. Unfortunately, only 3 plants grew from seed, but hopefully next year’s crop will be more successful!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2478BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2477

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Bupleureum after rain

The feverfew has also come into its own!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-19 10.08.10The dahlias are still a real show and the tree dahlia has now eclipsed the shed window!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2490BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2507The growth of the Burgundy Spray Sunflowers is equally aggressive and they now sport stunning bold flower heads, contrasting dramatically with those of the coriander, which are white, delicate and feathery.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2444BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2461The scorching temperatures later in the week really browned off the Peony Poppy pods, so very soon, my impatient gardener will be able to pull out the scruffy plants and clean up the Soho Bed!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-17 18.30.01BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-17 18.30.21We also harvested the Tulip seed. I didn’t know that you could propagate tulips from seed, nor that camellias could produce seed pods.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2524BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2521In the vegie patch, the tomatoes are flourishing, though have yet to ripen. Meantime, we enjoy our carrots and onions.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2456BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2468BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2523The raspberries continue to tantalizingly produce fruit one at a time and the strawberries are sending out fresh runners.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2474BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2465The zucchinis and pumpkins engulf everything in their path! The first two photos show their progress from one day to the next. I love their spiral tendrils and bright golden flowers!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2470BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-17 18.33.22BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-19 10.11.28BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2455BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2457BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.13.27Finally, I shall leave you with some cheery Christmas shots and the future promise of Monbretia buds. You know it’s truly Summer, when these beautiful bulbs are in full flower!

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Our neighbour’s Red Hot Pokers- another quintessential Summer bloom
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Our own Christmas trees, complete with fairy lights and cone baubles
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New South Wales Christmas Bush- just in time!
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Duranta berries, beloved by birds
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Grevillea ‘Lady O’
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Monbretia bud
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The first Monbretia flower of the season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our neighbour’s Red Hot Pokers, another quintessential Summer bloom
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Our own Christmas trees, complete with fairy light flowers and cone baubles
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New South Wales Christmas Bush – just in time!
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Duranta berries, beloved by birds
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Grevillea ‘Lady O’
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Monbretia bud
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The first Monbretia flower of the Season

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Eve Drinks and Nibbles!

It’s so exciting! Christmas is just round the corner, so it is time to think about those drinks and nibbles!!! The first 4 festive drinks come from a lovely book called ‘Cooking for Christmas : Timeless Recipes for the Festive Season‘, Murdoch Books, 2009, which I always consult at Christmas. They are very simple recipes, but excellent value and delicious to boot!

Mulled Wine (6)

Stud 1 orange with 5 cloves and place in a pot with 1.5 litres red wine, 1 cinammon stick, 1 nutmeg, 200 g caster sugar and 200 ml brandy.

Add 250 ml water and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Do NOT boil, as the wine will evaporate.

Strain into a jug and serve warm.

Pear and Ginger Champagne Cocktail (6)

Place 230 g caster sugar, 6 cm piece of peeled, diced fresh ginger and 250 ml water into a pot and cook over a low heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat and simmer for 30 minutes till syrup and reduced by half.

Remove from heat, strain and cool. Cover and refrigerate to chill.

When ready to serve, place 185 ml pear juice (100 per cent) and 80 ml ginger syrup in a jug and stir to combine. Share out into 6 cocktail glasses. Top up with Champagne or sparkling white wine (you will need 750 ml) and serve.

Left over syrup can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Pomegranate and Rose Water Martini

Cut 1 pomegranate in half, remove seeds to a bowl and squeeze the juice into a jug.

Place 8 pomegranate seeds and 1 tsp pomegranate juice into each of 6 chilled martini glasses.

Combine 280 ml chilled vodka, 1 tbsp rose water and 135 g crushed ice (1 cup) in a jug or cocktail shaker and stir. Pour over the pomegranate seeds and juice.

Blood Orange Cocktail (4)

Divide 125 ml Campari and 125 ml orange juice between 4 cocktail glasses and top up with Champagne or sparkling white wine and serve.

Now some nibbles before all that drink goes to your heads!!!

Firstly, a delicious pesto recipe from Jamie Oliver : http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/pesto/#A4OjfLKTRFIu7AG9.97BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 13.58.09If ever there was a recipe to stimulate your appetite, this one is perfect! I couldn’t wait for lunchtime to spread it thickly on warm wholemeal bread fresh from the oven! It can also be used as a pasta topping or on rice crackers or Jatz biscuits for a delicious accompaniment to drinks.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.47.35We have masses of Basil growing in the garden, just starting to flower, so it was an ideal time to try out this recipe. I will definitely be making a second batch for Christmas! Pick 3 good handfuls of fresh Basil and chop finely.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.31.22Grind half a clove of garlic with a pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pestle. Lightly toast a handful of pine nuts under the griller, but be careful not to burn them!!!BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.31.18BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.39.01By this stage, I had decided to switch from the mortar and pestle to the Bamix (or you can use a food processor if you own one – I don’t!). Grind the garlic, salt, basil and pine nuts together.

BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.43.31Grate a good handful of parmesan cheese. This is where we depart from Jamie’s gentle staged method. We just put all the cheese and a slurp of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil into the mixture and whizzed it up with the Bamix! Because we took this approach , it is not necessary to grate the cheese finally. Season with freshly ground pepper. Scoop into a bowl and top with basil if serving with crackers for Christmas drinks. As I said, it’s divine!!!BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.48.18Our standbys for sweet nibbles every Christmas are Rum Balls and Apricot Balls from my Mum’s old recipe book.  I always double the recipe and often make 2 batches- one lot for Christmas gifts, then a 2nd batch just before Christmas for us! It  is always very useful to have some help with this recipe. My kids used to love making them when they were younger!

Rum Balls

Soak 500 g mixed fruit and 60 g  walnut pieces in 1/2 cup rum or port overnight.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_2441BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_2442Mix in 6 tbsp cocoa, 500 g icing sugar and 250 g melted butter.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.10.41BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.11.36BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.13.00Roll in chocolate decorettes. Always buy at least 2 packets of chocolate decorettes at the time, as they disappear quickly over Christmas. If you cannot source decorettes, roll in dessicated coconut instead.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.17.36BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.38.03Apricot Balls

Mince 500 g dried apricots. It is so much easier if you can buy them already diced!!BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.06.44BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.41.57Add a 395 g tin sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups desiccated coconut, 1 cup chopped almonds. Again using slivered almonds is so much quicker! And 3 dsp brandy or apricot nip (if you can get it- I never have!!!).BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.44.58BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.47.15Roll in desiccated coconut.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.49.43BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 17.55.57Notes

  1. I store these rum balls and apricot balls in the freezer, as I think they taste better if eaten cold.

2. If giving these as gifts, allow 2 of each per person and wrap in red or green (or both!) coloured cellophane, tied at the neck with gold or green metallic curling ribbon.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.34.57BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.36.28BlogXmasEvedrinks20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.39.17And finally my much celebrated and delicious Lime Cordial, whose recipe comes from Sally Wise’s book ‘A Year in a Bottle’. This recipe makes 3 x 750 ml bottles and only takes 30 minutes to make, so excellent value, except when the limes are expensive that is!!!  It is much more economical if you have your own tree or access to one!!!BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1388BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1389Finely grate the zest of 6 large or 8 medium limes and 1 lemon and set aside, then juice all the fruit.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1390Place zest in a large jug with 1 tbsp citric or tartaric acid, 1 kg sugar (Sally uses 1.5 kg, but I think you can get away with less!) and 4 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve sugar.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1391BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1393BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1394Add juice of the limes and lemon to the syrup and stir to combine.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1395Leave to stand overnight or till cool, then strain through a fine sieve.BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1396Pour into sterilized bottles and seal. The cordial can be used at once. Because there are only 3 bottles, I tend to keep them in the fridge. Dilute the cordial 1:4 with chilled water or soda water. That’s 50 ml cordial and 200 ml water for you mathematicians!!! Enjoy all Summer long! All year really, when it comes down to it!!!BlogXmasEvedrinks20%ReszdIMG_1449Have a great Pre-Christmas Party!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bugs and Butterflies, Birds and Bees!

The air is full of the scent of honey, the constant flit of manic butterflies, the buzzing hum of hard-working bees and the continuous squawking of cockatoos, corellas and galahs, intermingled with that classic Summer plaintive call of the Storm Birds.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 19.02.53BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.44.01The common name of Buddleias is Butterfly Bush and it’s very appropriate! Every time I step out the back door to walk down to the garden, I am assaulted by masses of butterflies and seduced into racing straight back inside for my camera to try yet again to capture that special shot, often to no avail! It is so easy to waste time on these special little creatures. I must admit that I’ve taken to photographing them from the kitchen window, which seems to be more successful, as they are less disturbed!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 10.07.22BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.40.29BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-12 19.06.41Often I see at least 10 at a time – but it’s hopeless trying to get them all to sit still for a family portrait!!! The brown ones are the worst culprits! They are so flibberty-gibberty that I marvel that they get anything to drink at all!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 09.56.33BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 10.03.10BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 17.19.24BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 17.19.44BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 10.52.39BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.39.19The smaller black and white ones are much quieter and more stable, resting to drink long from the nectar-rich blooms. In fact, one even landed on my shoulder! The bees and even the odd bird – a Silvereye and an Eastern Spinebill- also love the flowers.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.15.41BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.16.16The Cabbage Whites prefer the vegie garden, especially the broccoli, and we discovered some interesting photogenic beetles in our roses. I don’t think either of them are possibly very good for their host plants! I did make a brief attempt to identify the beetles, but given that there are 350,000 species of beetles and I find it impossible even naming butterflies, I gave up!!!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-06 17.47.46BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 16.54.41BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 16.54.59BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 17.23.24BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 16.55.19The roses are still superb, even though the Soho Bed is looking a bit ratty with the drying brown poppy plants. I’m waiting till their pods are sufficiently dry to harvest the seed. They are still throwing out the odd bloom.

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Fair Bianca
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Alnwick
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Just Joey
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Troilus
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Lucetta
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Frau Dagmar Hastrup
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Alnwick
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L D Braithwaite
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Lolita
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Mr Lincoln

BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 16.53.06The David Austin pastels begged to be picked for this soft romantic bouquet, in stark contrast to the bold dramatic vase of roses, dahlias and deep purple buddleias.

Photo 1 and 2 : Fair Bianca (cream) and Alnwick (pink); Blue Salvia and White Stock.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 11.05.24BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 11.04.58 Photo 3 and 4: Mr Lincoln (red) and Lolita (orange); Red Dahlias and Deep Purple BuddleiasBlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 19.04.12BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 11.22.23I have resisted picking the Madonna Lilies though, because they look so beautiful on the plant with the late afternoon sun shining through their petals!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.42.37BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.42.44The Calla Lilies have formed tightly packed capsules, bursting with seed.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 17.31.57The agapanthus heads are starting to open and soon we will be swamped in a sea of Summer blues and whites.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-12 19.12.45BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-12 19.11.43BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 17.06.07The hydrangeas are following suit.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-12 19.12.07The stocks are revelling in their weeded bed and are positively romping, now they have lost their competition.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-06 17.51.15The No-Dig Bed is already awash with white and mauve potato flowers, interspersed with the golden blooms of the rampaging zucchini and pumpkin plants. Not content with filling their own bed, the latter are now sending rapacious shoots towards the other vegie bed! The sunflower is also forging ahead to the sky! I think it has almost doubled in size since last week! We have our first capsicums forming and have been savouring our exceedingly precious raspberry fruits, which are ripening one at a time. They really are a measure of trust!

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Pumpkins on the move!
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No-Dig Bed with Pumpkins, Zucchinis and Sunflower on the right
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‘Burgundy Spray’ Sunflower
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Potato flowers
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Capsicum

Equally special are the jewel-like centres of the red dahlia on the corner of the vegie garden.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 17.01.52And the surprise finds : Mullein (Verbascum rotundifolium) in the Soho Bed (admittedly a weed, but a very attractive one at that) and a Feverfew (last photo) in the cutting garden – presents perhaps from a passing bird?!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-03 10.26.12BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 16.56.22BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-08 16.57.31As for the birds! The Cockatoos have arrived for Summer Feasting! While the Duranta berries are nice, the neighbour’s apples are even nicer!!!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 20.38.13BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 20.31.49BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 20.30.03I can see that I will have to watch my crab apples! Hopefully, I will be able to identify the type of crab apple before the fruit is discovered!!! Unless the crabs suddenly turn gold in colour, I am still steering towards ‘Gorgeous’!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-12 19.11.18Its wonderful watching the huge flocks of cockatoos wheeling in the sky, just before settling down for the night!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 20.40.10BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 20.44.16BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 20.03.52BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 20.40.42They all intermingle – Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Little Corellas and Galahs- the latter forming the largest contingent of the population- and they have a great time! They are such party animals.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 20.53.10

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Pink Galahs and Little Corellas

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Little Corellas and the odd Sulphur-crested Cockatoo- see left top edge
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A pair of Little Corellas at the end of the day

They swoop and dive and career round imaginary corners like teenage hotheads doing wheelies in their souped-up cars. Either they are high on sugar-rich fruit or trying to impress or outbid each other for the girls’ attention! and the noise is incredible! It’s a veritable Cockatoo Cacophany!

Finally, a photo of my creative activity for this week- a full apron for a 5 year old! So cute and I loved making it! Izzie and Ozzie is my brand name for my childrens’ clothing, toys, cushions and aprons.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 15.07.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kameruka Capers

Now that we have been living here for almost a full year, I thought a blog post on our adoptive village was well overdue and because so much of Candelo’s history is also tied up with the nearby Kameruka Estate, I shall be describing both villages. Because this post is so long, I have divided into 2 sections. I shall describe Kameruka first, since it has the older history, as well as the fact that we have just celebrated the Kameruka Hall Centenary last weekend. The Candelo post will conclude our first year in our lovely new home.

Candelo is situated 446 km south of Sydney via the Princes Highway; 495 km via Canberra and Queanbeyan; 587 km from Melbourne and 24 km south west of Bega. Kameruka lies 3 km to the north of Candelo on the Candelo-Bega Road. Both villages are situated on the pretty Candelo Creek, which was home to the Yuin- speaking Aboriginal people for over 20,000 years. The name ‘Kameruka’ is Yuin for ‘Wait until I return’. Contrary to urban myth, Candelo was not named after the habit of placing a candle in the window, but probably took the name from Candelo House, Peter Imlay’s house a few kilometres downstream, which was named after the Italian town Candelo and was built in 1834, long before the development of our village. Here are some photos of our creek:BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.53.44BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.06.45BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.07.12European settlement of the area began with the Imlay Brothers in the 1830s. George (1794-1846), Peter (1797-1881) and Alexander (1800-1847) were born in Aberdeen to Alexander Imlay, a farmer and merchant, and his wife Agnes. All three men arrived in Australia between December 1829 and 1833 as part of the medical corps for the army and navy.

In 1832, Alexander toured the South Coast of NSW and selected a 1280 acre holding at Breadalbane Plains. The following year, Peter called in at Twofold Bay, where he was attracted by its potential for shore-based whaling and stock raising. He built his home there and was joined by George in 1835, while Alexander became responsible for the brothers’ land holdings in Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania). By 1837, the Imlay Brothers were one of the six leading producers of whale products. They had huge pastoral holdings and shipped live cattle and sheep and salted beef between their port at Twofold Bay and Hobart Town, Tasmania.

Despite the fact that they owned 3885 square kilometres of the colony’s best land, the economic depression of the 1840s and misfortune led to foreclosure by the Walker Brothers, Sydney merchants, who took over most of their land, including the 200,000 acre cattle run, on which Kameruka was situated, in 1844.

The Walkers built a four-roomed Georgian homestead on Kameruka and kept a pack of hounds to chase native dingoes. The first horses to be taken to New Zealand came from Kameruka Estate during this time. They sold the property in 1852 to the Twofold Bay Pastoral Association, which was comprised of 7 businessmen, including Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, the Manning Brothers, and 2 Tooth brothers of Tooth KB Lager Brewery fame in Sydney ( KB stood for Kent’s Best- their original family home). After numerous changes in management, the association appointed a manager, James Manning, who oversaw the estate from 1852-1860. He introduced cheese-making in 1854 and encouraged the migration of German settlers, who were heavily involved in the early production of cheese, to the area.

The estate developed dramatically over the next 10 years. The Twofold Bay Pastoral Association was disbanded in 1860 and in 1861 and the passing of the Robertson Land Act had major implications for the estate. This act gave free settlers the right to purchase the land they occupied and  dramatically reduced the size of Kameruka, as well as resulting in the growth of the new township of Candelo, which serviced not only local farmers, but also acted as a stopover for goods cartage to and from the Monaro Tablelands.

In 1861, James Manning bought Kameruka in its own right, but within 12 months, he had sold the property to Frederick Tooth, the wealthy owner of the Sydney brewery, who died 2 years later, the property then passing into the hands of his nephew Robert Lucas-Tooth in 1864. See : http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/tooth-sir-robert-lucas-lucas–4732BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 16.52.20Robert was the driving force behind the development of Kameruka into one of the oldest and finest dairy studs in Australia.  Using the best genetics from the 1880s to current times, Kameruka won the Royal Sydney Show’s Supreme Champion Dairy Cow of all breeds in 1981, 1983 and 1992.BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 15.27.02BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 15.26.55Robert appointed a manager, Henry Wren, in 1864, as well as adding extra rooms to Kameruka Homestead. He planted an avenue of oak trees leading to the main homestead, as well as conifers from Spain and Italy and other European trees amongst the native eucalypts, in the style of an English parkland, around his future village and the oriental lake. Here are some photos of the homestead and its position on the creek:BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 15.54.56BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 18.17.20BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.07.10BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 15.34.18Robert had a vision for a self-contained community modeled on the English agricultural estates and built an empire based on dairying, cheese-making and soft fruit orchards. He built 30 houses for employees from Britain, Europe and America; shops (4th photo below) including a butcher, blacksmith, carpenter, estate office (5th photo) and a village store; a clock tower; a church; a school and recreational facilities including a golf course, cricket oval and village hall (3rd photo). There were multiple share-farmed dairies, all named after villages in Kent, and 3 cheese factories, as well as a home dairy with the oldest Jersey Cattle Stud in Australia.BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 11.05.21BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.06.30BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-10 16.47.43BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 15.58.46BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-12-03 15.54.02BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 07.53.01BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 07.43.13BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 15.40.29Holy Trinity Church was built in 1869 on land donated to the Anglican Church by Robert Lucas-Tooth. It was designed by Edmund Blacket (a first cousin of the great-grandfather of my husband, Ross), who was a well-known colonial architect in Sydney and who designed a huge number of churches for the Anglican Church throughout New South Wales. There is even one of his churches in Geelong, Christ Church, 1843, the oldest Anglican Church in Victoria. He also designed St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney and the Quadrangle and Great Hall at the University of Sydney. For more information, see : http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/blacket-edmund-thomas-3005.

BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-19 12.28.48BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.30.00BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.42.04BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.35.41BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.24.35BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 07.51.12BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.27.55BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-10 17.01.51BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.33.39BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.28.59BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.33.04The Tooths and Thomas Mort were great patrons of Edmund Blacket, so it was not surprising that Edmund was asked to design the Holy Trinity Church at Kameruka for a sum of 19 Pounds and 10 shillings. It was built by Charles Galli of Wolumna, with voluntary estate labour, for the sum of 560 pounds and the bricks were made on the property. Originally, the church was built with a shingle roof. It was reroofed in 1908. Blacket also designed the pews, the communion rail, the low box pulpit and the stone font. The church was consecrated on the 24th February, 1872. It is a lovely old building with memorial plates to the Lucas-Tooth family inside and would have been well-used during the two World Wars. Today, it is is generally used for weddings, baptisms and funerals. There is one annual service in Spring- this year, it was on Sunday, 11th October, when over 120 people attended.BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.38.54BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.39.44BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-10 16.57.20BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.39.15BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.02.07BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.03.45BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.03.24BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.03.05BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-04-30 16.03.08BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.39.31BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.24.22BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 13.29.24The church is in a commanding position on the hill overlooking the estate and the aptly-named Lord’s View Cricket Oval. It was the venue for the 1888 cricket match between the touring English XI and 22 local players from the South Coast. Needless to say, England won! In 1988, a cricket match between international players and Candelo-Kameruka locals was held to commemorate the match held one century earlier.BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 11.00.12BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 11.00.18BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 11.08.45BlogKameruka20%Reszd2015-02-21 11.07.40And we have even been to a cricket match there just after we arrived. Held in honour of Jane McGrath and in support of breast cancer, all the players wore pink. Until then, I did not realize how little pink there was in my wardrobe! I quickly made a pink ribbon flower brooch for the day!!! While we did not stay for the whole match, Ross was very impressed that I lasted a whole morning. He is a cricket tragic from way back, having cut his teeth on annual visits with his dad to the Gabba (Brisbane Cricket Ground)- and this was ‘proper cricket’- none of this newfangled fancy dress three-day cricket for ‘short attention spans’!!!

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