Monday, May 30, 2011
There is a place, an old tin shed, just up the road from here. Mysteriously called the Tender Shed. It is my favourite place.
Sale now on - said the banner on a country road. But this was more than just a sale. Inside this huge dusty cavern is a treasure trove of peoples past loves, treasures and junk. When we first stumbled into this Auction house my heart started beating faster as you do when you can feel a love affair beginning. The possibilities were endless. There in front of us were mountains of stuff, literally stacked to the ceiling. With no fixed price!
I can now pronounce I have fallen completely in love with a tin shed in Doonan. It's not a holiday romance either. Each week I visit my now old friend - enjoying the possibilities hidden inside.
It's definitely a romantic visit. There is an element of fate added to the equation as soon as you enter the doors. Almost like what is waiting in the dark dusty cavern has just been waiting hidden in a corner just for you.
The Tender Shed is a beautiful concept involving suprise, instant gratification and bargain hunting. What is not to love?
It is an Auction that runs all the time. Each item has a lot number, you look up that number on a big board in the middle of the shed or folder on the front desk. A game my 9 year old son enjoys. Then if you decide to bid, the lovely lady behind the counter telephones the owner of the goods. If the Gods are on your side and the cheeky offer is accepted - out you walk with the treasure you didn't even know you needed or were about to find.
In our case - we had a half empty house on a nearby hill and were looking for answers. If we hadn't moved here, I wouldn't have found the furniture that I will treasure in our family for the rest of our lives. Beautiful pieces that come together in our room like long lost friends. Rescued for a ridiculous price.
So this magical barn can be a love affair for others too. I'd like to share the joy. You never know what might have turned up this week. It might be just what you were looking for. Whether it is a retro neon desk for a studious 9 yr old scholar or a vintage suitcase to be reborn as the home of Fairy Princess daughter's dress up collection.
My love affair has spiralled into a loving obsession. When I walk around my new lounge room enjoying the carvings of my rescued antique Indian coffee table or put flowers from the garden on the elegantly beautiful English Oak dresser, I think lovingly of that wonderful shed of untold treasure and wonder when I might pay another visit....
The Tender Shed can be found at 677 Eumundi-Noosa Road, Doonan, QLD
Monday, May 23, 2011
There are Wild Deer in Noosa. Am I the only one astonished by this fact?
Wild Deer are just not something we take for granted in this part of the globe. Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, echidna’s, platypus. These may seem strange to foreigners but what is strange for me is - wild deer. But yes - I am in Queensland and there are deer. What could possibly happen next?
I discovered this mind blowing news in the local property paper. A story of a Tinbeerwah, Noosa Valley local who, recalling her favourite moments on her property, shared a tale of a Christmas lunch.
Can you imagine this moment? A table of relaxed and overstuffed visitors, enjoying the tropical heat on a very Australian Christmas Day. Taking in the view over wine and conversation when magically on cue, Deer stroll across the lawn. I am sure their first thought was wine/heat.. am I experiencing some kind of Christmas hallucination? Then shock and joy at the unbelievable in front of their eyes. This must have been one of those magic moments which will stay in their minds forever and oft be remembered on every Christmas day to come. A very successful festive meal! I am sure this tale will help get her a premium price for her property. I wonder why on earth she wants to move from such a magic spot. How much does one pay to enjoy a gorgeous alfresco lunch with a view of rolling hills, mystical Mount Tinbeerwah and deer grazing on Christmas Day? Oh and did I mention 15 minutes to Noosa beach?
Climbing Mount Tinbeerwah at sunset yesterday, we were enthralled by 360 degree views of Noosa and her gorgeous valleys and hinterland. The volcanic mountains and lush greenery gave it a Lord of the Rings otherworldly magic and I once again thought of those deer. It was breathtaking looking over our new home. A place so rich in nature and unspoilt. A place I knew was full of kangaroos, Koala’s and snakes. A view that also contained the hidden mystical wild deer!
I am surprised to learn that like those Toady invaders – the Cane Toad, the Deer are now not a completely loved and treasured addition to the landscape. What was a gift to the people from Queen Victoria and actually features on the Queensland Coat of Arms are now numbering up to 20,000 and declared a pest!
Residents in Brisbane's outer western suburbs regularly see deer wandering on roads. They say they cause accidents, wreck their gardens and fences and damage native vegetation.
I’ll guess I’ll be a real native Queenslander when I am heard to say.. hmm..those pesky deer have ruined my garden!
Monday, May 16, 2011
Wednesday morning means foraging.
The definition of foraging as defined by Wikipedia; 'Foraging is the act of searching for food in response to the environment in which the animal lives, in reference to the payoff that an animal obtains from different foraging options.'
In this case the animal is me. The environment in which moi, the animal, lives is postcode 4562..a surreally beautiful destination that spans bush, rainforest and green rolling hills into Eumundi. The option at hand is vibrant, delicious and indulgent. The payoff is always huge.
A short drive through rolling hills and green fields along the aptly named Sunrise Road delivers me to the foraging destination. A bustling temporary metropolis of food in the heart of the sleepy country town of Eumundi. The 500 residents of this small hinterland town welcome the largest gathering of visitors on the sunshine coast twice weekly. The energy of stall holders, locals and tourists from across the land and globe create an atmosphere filled to the brim with life of another era. People enjoying the pastime of foraging, mixing and conversing in a marketplace as was done in a simpler time.
Market days buzz with creative energy and can seem like a modern day medieval fair, with the feeling everyone has come out from the surrounding hills and countryside to show their wares. What started as an idea of some likeminded creative locals has blossomed into the largest art & craft market in Australia. Eumundi is famous around the world now and there is nothing like wandering the tree lined stalls in the tropical heat. Local musicians playing a soundtrack to complete the laidback Eumundi vibe.
The community in this place is magic. It stems from the town's openness, sense of community and attraction of a simpler way of life. Its creative hub is awesome and the beauty around as inspiring as the locals who started this artisans & farmers market. The word has spread. An idea or dream that started with 3 stalls and 8 visitors has gathered momentum and life to grow into this celebrated event.
Mingling with international tourists in these sleepy hills reminds you, that our local market is an island of creativity which welcomes over 1.5 million visitors each year.
It’s the farmer's market which brings the locals. The top tier of stalls delivering nature’s bounty ready for collecting in the most satisfying way.
This is where my Wednesday foraging takes place. It's so much more delicious and inspiring than fluorescent aisles of any mega market. Each Wednesday I thank that flash of an idea that uprooted me here to my new home and therefore fatefully brought me on a Wednesday morning to be gazing adoringly at the most gorgeously ravishing Eumundi grown tomato. Seriously! Seduced by vine ripened tomatoes on a table. This is shopping lust that is good for you and anyone can afford.
The joy of buying a bag of just picked lemons for $1 as the stall holder,‘just has too many of them at home' thrills me. I always end my journey at the French goat cheese stall where Princess Fairy Abbey needs reminding to not just eat the farm fresh butter taster without the accompanying bread supplied. Did I just mention the bread? Fresh sourdough for the tomato and goats cheese is always lovingly placed in the canvas bag fittingly emblazoned with the word ‘Lovely’ in which I gather my foraging treasure.
This is an inspired way of shopping. One that makes you want to eat as well as cook. No benign and monotonous lists needed. It’s a choose your own adventure way of shopping, meandering and chatting. Ooh, there is the orchid lady - lets admire and have a little chat about possible future adoption of one of her stunning babies and how I might not kill its rapturous beauty. Or there is the fruit tree lady - I must discuss what she thinks that citrus tree is that is in the far comer of the lawn.
All this wonder is deliciously heaped together at the top of the marketplace. It’s worth a foraging delve though southward to find the lime & fig lady. Taste the beautiful pineapple chunks on her table and grab some more bounty. I absolutely now believe after tasting just picked pineapple - Pineapples are truly reason enough to move to QLD.
I would recommend buying a divine arincini ball and aioli from the arancini lady to munch on whilst strolling. Depending on the time of day or desire though, the French crepes or pastries are rather tempting. My children have renamed the paella man - the yummy man. Maybe a Japanese omelette? I have even witnessed a woman dressed as an ancient roman selling authentic pizza slices and traditional roman fare. Did I say stepped back in time?
So back to lunch idea...mmm Zucchini flowers! Friend of my fresh goat cheese - you'll be going in the bag. I get so lost in the moment here and as a mother of 3, turning that shopping mission into a foraging adventure set to music on a tropically beautiful morning is such an achievement.
Driving back home through the green lush hills with my treasure I thank those canny ladies who brought me to this magical place. Their tiny seed of an idea blossomed into this massive celebration of art, people and food under the fig trees. This is how we are meant not just to forage for lunch - but to gather together as a community. Sharing our knowledge and art and bounty. Taking the time to wander around a farmers market is one of life's simple and greatest treasures. Find one now. Your stomach and sanity will thank you for it. If you're in the neighbourhood one day, you're welcome to share mine. How I love calling it mine! Priceless! I do not remember ever having this love for that huge building of super convenenience.
Do you think the word convenient was meant to quash the word inspiring or beautiful? If you hear yourself saying it too often - maybe change direction.
Eumundi Markets can be found at 73 Memorial Drive, Eumundi, QLD
Open Wednesday 8.30am – 1.00pm & Saturday 6.30am – 2.00pm
Monday, May 9, 2011
It's wilder over the border. Our new home in Queensland has meant we keep company with new friends. Not just of the two legged variety either.
We are surrounded by nature and have become used to sharing our garden with a colourful sea of butterflies and dragonflies. Exotic Green tree frogs remind us we live in a tropical paradise and tiny translucent alien like gecko's visit our home regularly.
I have embraced all this nature. You have to go with it. You just feel a part of the natural order of the world and see all these things have their place. I don't know what I will come across next and when I do chances are I will never have come across it before. The fact that I am discovering insects that I never knew existed makes me feel a childlike wonder. I love that I have found that again. It all seems somewhat mystical and not about man-made and me. Conversations take bizarre directions and my new found nonchalance at the neon crawling insect crossing our deck or twig like spider outside astound me. I am different. I notice the intricate beauty of the spider web with amazement. The amazing colours of the crawling bug inspire me like a fashion designer taking inspiration for a new creative collection.. I've slowed down and noticed the details. It's not so out of place so my first reaction isn't to flinch. We have all embraced it and accepted that we are in unchartered territory for us Sydneysiders. That's why we are here.
With wildness comes care though. Advice of locals is priceless, their opinions and dealings with their surroundings can shock. We have been scared by snake stories. I do not want one in my house, but apparently the handyman says I do...'I wouldn't leave all your doors open like that, or you'll get a snake in the house for sure.’
He then rattles off which snakes to avoid (how do you avoid a snake, I won’t be actively seeking one out?) and which snakes are friendly. This is a priceless snake lesson and I now appreciate the security of mowed grass, rather than just appreciate it for its manicured appearance. I am also thankful I chose a house on a hill with a clearing around it. Tree snake anyone? There are snakes in trees - of course!
I was starting to find the conversation wild and beautiful and images of myself a modern day female explorer in the jungle of my surrounds were appearing in my head when, snap, brought back to focus on this tropically sweltering day with the words...
"What you do want though is a python in your roof. Eats the mice and rats. Every home should have one.' Speechless. I want a python in my roof? It’s a harmless python, mind you. Will keep to itself. Do Queenslanders have pythons in their roofs?
And his advice on cane toads. Ours are small ugly Zen like creatures that can decorate the grass at night like small military soldiers standing sentinel. The sound they make is like a motor engine starting up and their poisonous glands in their toady skin made Princess Abbey quiver. But after the initial shock of sharing a lawn with toads at night, you realise that they don't really do much but sit there. They eat bugs. Ours aren’t the scary big monsters I had worried to encounter. But Queenslanders hate them. Introduced from Hawaii to protect the cane crops from being ravaged by pests the Cane toad failed in its mission and bred with alarming velocity taking over the state. I would not want to be the man/woman responsible for that brilliant idea.
My friend visiting from Sydney who shall be nameless, laughingly recounts stories from her visits up North with her Nan & Pop. 'Come on Kids – they’re out tonight, grab your clubs" calls Pop and takes his teenage grandkids out to play golf with the unsuspecting slow blobs parked on his grass. I am shocked! My horror at my friends’ admission brings admonishment that I am on the wrong side of the fence. I think..those poor little things and then think - I had better harden up!
The Handyman must realise I am a bit new at this and after similarly bringing up his golf club solution to the cane toad invasion, looks me in the eye and says, 'Well if you would like to handle things in a more humane way, you could always pick up the toad in a plastic bag and just put it in your freezer.' Oh my Lordy! Do people in country Queensland have cane toads in their freezers?
The cane toads are still happily sitting Zen - like in my flower beds at night. Fairy princess Abbey doesn't quiver at the idea of them and is a happy member of The Tree Frog room at Kindy.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I just harvested the fruit from our Feijoa tree... .well mainly collected its abundant offering from all over the ground....a successful garden foraging mission that meant squeals of delight from Ruby two-shoes and her fairy sister..Abbey Sarlat.....I have a gorgeous basket load of fruit! This sentence a few months ago would mean nothing to me....I would think this maybe were a dream?
This opening sentence completely describes why we left our city life in Sydney and headed North to a new existence. Where each day would be an adventure and the world would be brimming with life and unexpected suprises. Where the words.. 'I have never in my life seen that before'...would be a common occurrence and our children would walk to the house with baskets brimming with unknown gastronomic delights that grew from their garden..straight from the earth..... Each moment here can capture so much life and suprise..it's impossible to not be living in the present and be appreciative of the wonder of the world around you and the blessing of each day.
The Feijoa tree adventure began during an alfresco lunch enjoyed with our first visitors from Sydney..Katja & Greg..A beautiful lunch of Figs, Goats Cheese, Grapes, Tomatoes, Olives, Pesto and Sourdough bread all collected from the weekly Eumundi Markets shopping run. We sat outside with our old friends rejoicing reunions and slightly incredulously describing our new life on a hilltop in Noosa...marvelling that we had really done it. That a spontaneous thought six months earlier, dreaming of an idyllic tropical life, had led us here to this house on a countryside hill. We had done it. Really done it. Decided to just do it and live the dream. Destiny, adventure, romantic living..weren’t going to be just dreams or pages in an inspiringly beautiful article in Country Style magazine. We had brought those pages to life...
And so we sat, enjoying the sunshine and our new creative freedom and a glass of Rose, just drinking it all in. Drinking life in. Suddenly, excited exclamations from Native New Zealander Greg -"You have a Feijoa tree! My favourite fruit as a kid! I don't believe it!"
What is a Feijoa? I have a Feijoa tree? Has this gorgeous garden of earthly delights been hiding yet another secret and would I have even know about the world of Feijoa had not Greg and Katja explored my lawns?
The idea there are fruits I have never heard of inspires and excites me. The joy of finding that this new wonder is growing on my lawn astounds me! A fruit native to the highlands of Brazil, Columbia & Uruguay (and luckily also very popular in New Zealand!) prospers and hums with life on my lawn. Now a couple of months since that surprising discovery, it is harvest time and my introduction to the Feijoa has culminated in a basketful of bounty! My education has continued as I read about Feijoa season in the Eumundi Green newspaper and am offered tastings at the local Farmers Markets. I am excited to learn what to do with this new gastronomic visitor to our table. I am learning it can be used deliciously in fruit smoothies or enticingly as a mixer with vodka...sundowner anyone? It can be baked in pies or used as a chutney. Apparently the pulp is even used in some natural cosmetics as an exfoliant-who knew? And who knew I would be sitting here now on a hill in Noosa sharing my thoughts on Feijoa's?
My dream was to write and live a beautiful inspired life and here I am watching the sunrise over the hills on a beautiful new day - writing....and that, like the Feijoa tree is one of life's delicious surprises.