What a weekend we had here! We went to Farm Fantastic on Saturday. It's a huge farming expo, the largest outdoor expo in Australia. We were in the Food for Thought tent where I talked about simple life, did demonstrations on how to make laundry detergent and five minute bread and we made two 'from scratch' meals from leftover lamb. Hanno set himself up at the front of the tent, sold books, chatted to the passers-by and kept himself warm with hot coffee. It wasn't a big crowd but those who came along looked interested. A few knew me, most didn't, still, there seemed to be a genuine interest in our life way of living and the demonstrations.
Annette Long organised the tent and what a great job she did. Annette has a radio program, every Tuesday morning at 10am, on 101.5FM community radio in the Moreton Bay region. If you're a local, tune in. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Two Old Ducks - Annette and Jenn - showed how easy it is to make five meals from one whole chicken.
Craig from Be Raw Honey brought along honey to sell and a see-into hive so everyone could watch the the bees. The honey is delicious so I bought two jars to bring home.
There was also a wonderful demonstration of how to make Italian sausages and breaking down a chicken by Josh from the Longyard Beef Company. I loved this demonstration because it showed the wise economy of buying a whole chicken and cutting it into portions yourself. Josh showed how to make small chicken roasts, chicken Kiev, how to bone a thigh and leg and how to "lollypop" the wings. He made it look easy, it IS easy and it showed me that people are out there sharing their knowledge. This is how active and healthy communities operate.
In the same tent were the Caboolture Cake Decorators with several examples of their fine work. The day before the local CWA did a cooking demonstration.
The next day there was a big Hetzel family celebration for the first birthday of Shane and Sarndra's son, Alex. We all came from far and wide to celebrate this milestone and to reconnect with family and friends. Sarndra was worried the party might be rained out because we've had so much rain recently, so she booked us all into a little children's playground venue, complete with pirate house and princess castle. Sarndra made a delicious cake, from scratch, with farmyard animals on the top, the rest of the party fare was supplied by the venue. Sandwiches, fruit, lollies and drinks for the little people and hot finger food and salad for the oldies. The food and drinks were served by princesses, fairies and pirates. There were balloons and streamers everywhere. It was a great place.
The main thing I liked about this place was that it was zoned for toddlers and older children, and there was no way any littlies could escape. Mums and dads relaxed and could easily see their children while they played with the others so the party was enjoyed by all of us, not just the kids. And there was no washing up.
Here are Sarndra and Shane with Alex about to light the one year candle.
The kids came from everywhere when they knew the cake was about to be cut.
Here is the little farm yard on top of the cake.
Of course, Opa was there to help Alex with the fruit, and to eat some crackers.
Aunty Cathy and Uncle Jens.
Shane with Alex, making sure he had enough to eat.
One of the fruit platters provided.
My son Kerry with his son Jamie.
Sunny and Jamie. When Kerry was a very little boy, he used to walk around with a little Donald Duck figure in his hand. I've noticed Jamie often has something in his hand that he likes to walk around with too.
Days like this one are such an important part of family life. They give us an opportunity to celebrate important family milestones, they help us show we love each other enough to put that day aside for the family, they give us wonderful days that will help balance out the bad days and they help us form memories that we look back on later. Strong families don't just happen, they need work, time, the expression of love and a commitment to being part of a tight unit. Days like this, and the memories of it, are the glue that help us stick together.