So this week I go back to work after two weeks of catching up on sleep and relaxing and baking. While I definitely love my job, i’m not looking forward to all the exam marking and report writing that Term 4 entails. I’ve decided that the best way to cope with the shock of being back at work is to remember a better time. And what better time than the epic European holiday that hubs and I took way back in July? I will be spending the next few weeks serving up posts about the amazing things we ate and places we saw. They will be pretty photo heavy but I think that my photography skills are improving so hopefully there are a few winners in there!
Sometimes the only thing that makes things bearable is knowing that you have an escape route. Hubs and I planned this trip to Europe knowing that we would soon both be needing a change of scenery. I love this city and I love my job but I was getting some seriously itchy feet. So no sooner had I finished teaching my last class for Term 2 then we were off to the airport jetting to Europe. Hooray! While my first love is English, I was also a keen History student at school and uni so deeply historical Berlin was the first stop on our trip. And of course, a trip to Germany means two things:
As we hurtle headlong into the final weeks of Term 2, i’m going to use this Friday Favourite to slow things down and share with you the lovely day I spent with hubs, picking pecans and generally relaxing.
Up in Kurrajong past Windsor, the land is different. Everything is greener and you can, wait for it,
feel the serenity!
But in all seriousness, there is something quite lovely about this part of the world. We always seem to go to the family farm in Kurrajong during Autumn, as the air is turning crisp. This is the best time to harvest pecans as many will have naturally dropped from the tree and all you have to do is wander through the orchard with a basket, collecting the nuts. Its quiet, its peaceful, its such a lovely break from the bustle and business of the city and reporting season (teachers, am I right?). In fact, a trip to the farm is so refreshing that I have been known to frolic among the trees…
I like to think that even as I edge towards 30, i’m still young at heart.
There’s not much else at the farm other than the pecan trees so I guess i’m using the term ‘farm’ pretty loosely. The orchard is lined with trees that have been pretty much left to their own devices after planting. Pappi drives around on the tractor a bit to flatten the grass and i’m pretty sure he does some basic maintenance like burning dead wood etc. The trees closer to the creek are much bigger and yield more nuts than those on the other side of the orchard. The pecans also seem a little fatter and the shells are much easier to crack from these nuts. There are no pesticides or chemicals used here so I think that unwittingly its all organic!
The nuts grow in little green pods which, when they are almost ripe, split and turn brown. This allows the pecan to drop to the ground when it is fully ripe. You can pick the pecans out of the pods when they are still on the tree but you will have to leave them in a dish for a month or so to properly ripen before you eat them.
This is a sneaky little sucker that is trying to hide from me. You can see the green pod that houses the nut inside. I’m not quite sure why the pecan has so many layers protecting the nut.
They are tricky tricky tricky!
But they are definitely worth the hassle.
So now I have a bunch of pecans that i’m using for a whole raft of new and delicious recipes. There is more to come about this lovely trip to the pecan farm but i’ll save that for next week. For the moment, I hope that you all enjoy your weekend! And if you have any recommendations for what I should be baking with this bounty, please comment below.
So this year has started off pretty crazy for me. Could you tell? Did the six months without peep on this blog give you a little clue? Actually… if you’ve been reading this for a while it probably didn’t seem like that big a deal to you seeing as frequent unexplained absences are becoming my calling card in the blogosphere. But really, can you blame me this time? Yes? Maybe you won’t be so harsh after I tell you a little story? It all started in January, when Mr Love and I went on a mega road trip up and down the NSW/QLD coastline. And a little bit inland.
We began by driving down the South Coast, with our first stop being Ulladulla. After a few days there drinking all the chocolate milkshakes and visiting all the beaches, we drove down through Batemans Bay, stopping in Canberra for the night. If you cast your mind back to January you will remember that it was ridiculously hot. So when we kept driving up inland through Parkes, Coonabarrabran, Tamworth etc, we found ourselves outrunning the awful fires that were happening. At times it was a little bit like this…
But don’t worry, they were mostly little fires that were springing up in our wake. That we had NOTHING to do with!
After about a week of driving and motel hopping, we ended up spending a few nights in an apartment in Coffs Harbour. We had driven through there the previous year and Mr Love remembered the beautiful secluded beaches that he had visited as a child, so we decided that this year we would try to visit them all. We had been quite spontaneous throughout the trip, choosing our route on the fly and booking accommodation as we went so it wasn’t really a surprise to me when he said “hey, lets go to Red Rock tomorrow to watch the sun rise”. As the Mr is less of a morning person than even I am, this should have been my first clue that something was up.
I LOVE the beach so I was very excited and made a picnic so that we could spend the day there and just chill out in the sun. We looked up the time that the sun was supposed to rise and set our alarms accordingly. Now, I don’t know if you already knew this, but I was quite surprised to see that the sky is pretty much light BEFORE the sun actually rises. So, driving to the beach in the half light, we thought that we must have read the time wrong and were going to arrive after sunrise. “Don’t worry” I said “We can try again tomorrow.”
Was the resounding answer. “We will make it!” Ok. Clue #2. (That I only saw in hindsight by the way). His faith was rewarded and we arrived at sleepy Red Rock minutes before the sun peeked up over the horizon to bring us this special sunrise.
As the sun rose, we walked down to the waves, wondered at the lovely colours, took a few photos then went to sit back down in the sand. At which point the Mr held out this little baby…
and asked me to marry him!
Say whaaaat? To say that I was totally blindsided is an understatement. It was absolutely the LAST thing that I was expecting to happen. But the most special things seem to happen when they are least expected. Particularly impressive is the time and effort that he went to in designing a ring that I will wear and love forever. He spent a full year selecting the perfect pink sapphire and must have visited every jeweller in sydney until he found the lovely people at Drakakis Mosman who made Pinky.
He spent ages trying to find an un-heat-treated sapphire which are a naturally lighter pink than heat-treated ones. As you can see, Pinky has quite the personality and changes shades depending on the light. In this picture she is almost lilac in colour, while in other lights she becomes a delicious frosty pink.
Everything about this ring is special, from the part where he agonised over the width of the band and the size of the diamonds to make sure that it would be perfect on my stumpy little fingers, to the part where he had the two little love hearts incorporated into the ring below the sapphire 1. because its cute and special and 2. so that the wedding band will fit beneath it. Can you also believe that he told absolutely NO ONE during that year what he was doing? Not a soul, other than he and the jeweller had any inkling. And to think that only weeks earlier I had been berating my friends for asking me when I was going to be getting married. Oops!
It was the trip of chocolate milkshakes and amazing proposals. Now i’m engaged and trying to plan a wedding. Yikes!
As clearly i’m the least organised person ever, if you know anything about planning a wedding could you please send a little love my way? And if you see Mr Love, give him a handshake and a pat on the back for being spectacularly amazing. <3<3