We're in the final stages of planning our return to Texas. After years of planning and working on the property in small bursts and slowly through contractors and others via remote control, I will be in Texas from early February for the foreseeable future. While I'm really happy to be "going home" and essentially going from being involved in the IT industry on a daily basis to working on the homestead and doing projects I've only dreamt of for years, there will be some sadness on leaving Australia. After all, we've been here ten years this year and that constitutes over half of Julie's and my life together. We have some wonderful friends here and have an exceptional number of memories of fun places, lovely people and business and personal growth and adventures. We will truly miss Australia but at the same time are incredibly excited about the future and the opportunity to be close to family and friends again in the USA.
As we have evolved our plans and aspirations for the homestead and projects in TX, it has become more and more clear that food is going to be a central theme - learning more about food, growing food, canning and preserving food, and encouraging our friends and family to become more aware of the implications of food and the food chain on our health and well-being. While here in Australia, one of the people we have come to appreciate (and final meet and know) is Matthew Evans, aka "The Gourmet Farmer" a wonderful program here in Australia on the SBS. Here's a bit about the Gourmet Farmer and Matthew:
From there, we went on down to Cygnet (an hour or so) to stay at the Old Bank B&B. Not only was this a very nice place to stay, but the long table dinner to be held in a day or two would be at the Orangery connected to the Old Bank B&B so getting home after the event would be easy. Here's the B&B and Orangery:
Shortly after we checked in and got settled, Matthew Evans himself came by the B&B to check out various things about the setup and to bring in a fair amount of provisions and items to be used at the dinner the following day. This gave us a great chance to meet Matthew and talk with him for awhile. Even better, since pork from his farm was on the menu (along with many other seasonal produce products like swedes, turnips, parsnips, etc - remember August is winter here), he was really happy to get our recently produced apple sauce (the jar he's holding) as an additional item to serve with the pork.
This was a nice treat for us and we got to spend a lot more time with Matthew and his wife Sadie not only the evening of the dinner (Matthew was pretty busy cooking and serving) but for breakfast the following morning. The only caveat was that I had to help Matthew carry the tables a few doors down to the community centre the morning after the dinner. Fortunately everything in Cygnet is pretty close by so we didn't have to carry things very far.
Next time I blog, it'll be from Chateau Christie in Texas. Julie will be still in Australia (in all probability) wrapping things up (it takes quite a bit of effort to unwind ten years of activity and "stuff") and I will be busy getting Chateau Christie livable. And since it will be February in South Texas, I need to get cracking on things like gardens (the property has never had anything cultivated on it), chicken coops and other things that need to be done before we're into Spring.
Good bye Australia. Hello Texas.