A busy weekend

24 July 2012
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.


  1. What a lovely family get together and the event looks fantastic as well. What on earth is a chicken-wing lollipop? I'll have to look that one up. And though I'm a soap maker it was only recently that I realised that standard laundry detergent is made of petrochemicals! I'd have been taking some serious notes on your recipe. Is it the same one you posted back in 2007? In that recipe you call for 4 cups of grated laundry soap - will handmade soap do?

  2. Oh I truly love your last line it is so true you are a very wise woman. This looks like a family affair that will have everlasting memories for all.
    I am sure I would enjoy this show with my family. When my girls were small and even into their teens we would head to the Farm Shows and they still have very fond memories and someday we all hope to go again soon even though we live far from one another. I do not have any Grandchildren "yet" but look forward to sharing special family times with them too. Great happy post Rhonda. B

  3. Happy birthday Alex! The community fair looks fabulous....I always joint my own chicken and even with my family of 6 we have two meals and then 5liters of stock for soup from the carcass.

  4. Hello everyone.

    Tanya, it's the same recipe and grated homemade soap will work well.

  5. Love your comments about the family...so true

  6. Family time is so important - I just adore time with my children and grandchildren - looks like you do, too - love your posts -

  7. How fortunate you are that both your son's wives must feel as you do about family!! Thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your fun days!!
    Elizabeth in NC

  8. Lovely photographs of a happy family day. Happy Birthday Alex.

  9. My family is in the shrinking phase at the moment - only our two boys on either side. We still do the family events though especially on my side. My brothers-in-law and sister-in-law have mostly opted out which I think is a shame but my side still does the Christmas etc thing and I would hate for that to disappear.

    viv in nz

  10. What a cute cake she made!

  11. Beautiful photos of your family :) 1st birthdays are always such special and great milestones, wonderful seeing everyone happy :) The expo sounds like it would have been a very valuable experience, and I would have loved to have seen your demonstrations. You've got me thinking about a whole chicken and carving it up myself...think I may go hit google and you tube. Thanks for sharing Rhonda. Regards, Ruth xx

  12. Oh Alex and Jamie are absolutely adorable. Alex looks the double of Hanno sitting beside each other. What a wonderful family day.

  13. What a weekend! Happy birthday to the beautiful boy :) Such a lovely milestone to celebrate with family present. Those wee lads are sure handsome! I'd love to see pictures of your sons when they were one to compare the resemblances... hint, hint! XO

  14. So agree with your last sentence and would like to add that families come in all shapes and sizes, not always blood related, and that families are the glue that helps hold communities together. Families like all relationships bring joy and require some work. A slightly disjointed comment but keep holding up that light of yours Rhonda, so many need it.

  15. Thank you for such a life affirming and enhancing post. Happy Birthday to little Alex - such a special milestone birthday. Both your little grandsons are gorgeous, you and Hanno must feel so proud. So happy you and your family had such a wonderful celebration.

    The expo you exhibited at sounded 'just up my street' ...unfortunatley, my street is on the other side of the world near London. I would love to have been there to see your demonstration. Keep up the good work x

  16. Congratulations to the birthday boy and the whole family. What a lovely celebration. I love that type of fair, it´s wonderful to see that there are so many people willing to share their knowledge to help others save on their budget.

  17. Chicken Wing Lollipops are what we used to call Chicken Drumettes. A Chicken Drumstick made out of a Chicken Wing :o)


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