Easter at Budawang

We spent a glorious Easter weekend with the Bosler’s on their property on Budawang Rd near Braidwood, an historic farming town south-east of Canberra. Angela Bosler is Kristina’s cousin (their fathers – Bouris’ – were first cousins) and she, John and their daughter Danae were once again stupendous host. 

They have co-owned this small cattle farm for a few decades with their friends. It is nestled in the hills, and includes spectacular eucalyptus forests, gorgeous views of the rainforest hills above and lovely little creek – home to platypus and it looked like, based on the number of burrows, hundreds of wombats along its banks. No luck spotting either but there were dozens of kangaroos that would bound away as we came along them during our walks or runs. 

  

As a typical Bouris gathering there were many fabulous meals – snapper, chicken curry (a la Marvin), spannokapita, marinated octopus, lovely cheeses, hot cross buns galore, home made granola, home made muesli, and topped off by an Easter luncheon with slow barbecued goat. We also were treated to Alexis’s (Angela’s niece, Amos and Naeva’s second or third cousin) fine desserts over the weekend – home made strawberry ice cream , home made sponge cake and pims and ginger ale jelly and for an encore the next day lime pavlova with passion fruit mango mess and fresh fruit and cream. 

 

It was of course with all family gatherings made possible with contributions by everyone, including a fresh baked loaf a la Ian (for the Bouri relatives check out the instructions here for the no knead recipe – http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread). The goat expertly slow roasted by John over a eucalyptus fire. We were joined by John and Angela’s neighbours – who as potters and in small world fashion had visited Gary and Bonnie (Peggy’s relatives) in Nanaimo – and Maggie from nearby Mungarlow who was at one point the Labour opposition leader in Darwin Northern Territory. It was fun to listen to her stories and provide advice to Danae who is hoping to earn a spot on the local Melbourne Council – don’t go in for tea, it is likely a non-supporter trying to waste your time.    

       
 And what Australian Easter weekend would not be complete without a game of cricket. We were all properly introduced to this great pastime / game. Amos and Naeva perfected their bowling (not balling) technique and everyone batted well on a difficult pitch. We were playing backyard rules including not outs first ball, using a chair as a wicket, “six and your out” and you could be out with a catch one handed off a bounce. Despite the favourable rules Alexis finished the weekend without a catch … much to her chagrin and our entertainment … But her batting technique is pretty good don’t you think? Honestly we all dropped many glorious chances and we all held our breaths as Gia whipped round for a throw at the stumps and was undone by her long skirt and took a big tumble. Luckily she bounced back up and the only legacy from our cricket games were a few sore shoulders and one eight year old completely obsessed. First words from Amos on Easter Monday upon looking out at a misty, raining morning were “no cricket!”.

   

 

Part of the Easter weekend included a visit to Braidwood, a small town settled in about 1840.It included an impressive array of historic buildings. We stopped for a delicious coffee and loaded up on meat pies and hot cross buns at the famous Dojos bakery. Yumm!   

An 1855 church with a different life now.

 Thanks again to our wonderful hosts. We are being spoiled.

Jervis Bay

Having dinner Chinamans Beach, sorry not PC, tonight. Enjoying the white sand and view. Naeva and Amos are wrestling. Now they are bickering. Generally they are friends …

Kristina supervising a swim. Beer in hand.

We spent a great morning on seven mile beach and now … of course … staying at another Bouris retreat, Bream Beach cabin. Thanks Gia and Angela!!

Fall is here.

Happy autumn/spring, depending where you are! We welcomed in the first day of fall with overnight rain and a misty goodbye to Woodenbong and Lowell, Alicia, Charlie and Hudson. Lowell had checked the forecast for us and it said RAIN everywhere along the northern coast of NSW for the next while, so we abandoned plans to head to Byron Bay and went south instead, in search of sun. We drove for 7 hours the first day, through beautiful farmland and wind-y roads to the main twinned highway along the coast that links Brisbane with Sydney. Our overnight in Harrington, picked out specially for the amazing-looking campground and fantastic beach turned out to be a bust; 1) the campground photos looked nothing like reality (including lots of warnings of bad sand fleas and a brownish swimming pool) and 2) there was about 6 hours of consistent, cats and dogs, heavens have opened, puking, sideways pouring rain overnight. Being from Vancouver Island, this even put a good day in Tofino to the test. We dodged the puddles, packed up the wet clothes and put out a last minute call to the Bouris Network…onto The Oaks, 5 hours south, where Georgia and Marvin were waiting with a delicious meal delicious meal, indoor beds and a promise of a clearing forecast!  

   
    

After lots of talk about Australian and US politics, and a beautiful morning run through the rolling hills around The Oaks, and fortified by Marvin’s coffee, we went south to the coast through the hairpin turns of the Macquarie National Park rainforest and popped out at jaw-dropping coastline. 

Now snuggled into my down jacket (yes, it is fall), typing outside the closed registration office where the wifi signal is strong enough (see my dedication to this blog?) and, most importantly, waiting long enough so that Amos and Naeva have fallen asleep. Life in the camper is going well, and quite comfortable most of the time except around bedtime when Naeva reminds us consistently and loudly about the indignity of having to share a bed with her wriggling (often), smelly (sometimes), sweaty (always) 7 year old brother. I tried to make the case that 100 years ago she would have been sharing a bed with 7 people; she replied that 100 years ago she wouldn’t have had to be dragged halfway around the world away from her friends to live in a camper.  

Secretly, I think she’s having fun.

A giant cockroach just missed my foot. Time for bed.

K.

Bombo Beach north of Kiama. Can you spot Naeva and Amos? 

  

Don’t put your hands where you can’t see them

A quick hello from the parking lot of the Woodenbong Pool, where we have cell access for a few minutes. We’ve been visiting my (Kristina’s) third cousins Lowell and his wife ALicia and kids Charlie and Hudson for the last few days. We have been hosted oh-so well! It is gorgeous up here, prosperous farm country just on the border of QUeensland, up in the hills. Alicia has taken us all around and cooked feasts for our crews. Lowell works for National Parks here and has been a great guide and storyteller (“Don’t put your hands were you can’t see them” is the common warning to the kids, thanks to spiders, snakes, leeches, jumping ants and many other creatures that live in and around the house!). 
More later, but here are a few photos from the last few days.
Charlie and Amos in the camper:
  

This is the farm where they live. Gorgeous farmland up here, in an old volcanic crater:

   

  

Lowell, Charlie and Amos in a giant strangler fig on a hike in the rainforest this morning:
  

On a break on the hike…can’t sit too long or the leeches find you (they live in the leaf litter…and yes we were pulling them off our legs!).

  

Saying a big goodbye tomorrow and heading back for the coast.

K.