Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lorriendale Orchard Apple Day

The sunny weather brought hoards of people (including us) to the 22nd Annual Apple Day at Lorriendale Orchard a short drive from Hall, just north of Canberra.

The orchard grows some 120 varieties of apples and they were available to try in a tasting tent (they were a bit stingy with the amounts they gave you) and also from stalls offering assorted pies, crepes and delicious freshly pressed apple juice squeezed from an old fashioned wooden press.

The kids enjoyed it and we took home an apple pie along with two big bags of Cox's Orange Pippin and a litre of delicious apple juice. We made short work of the apple pie when we got home.

Pressing the apples

A tasty drink


A sunny day in the orchard's garden

What looked like an old fashioned tractor (but turned out to be a working tractor - Audrey got the engine turning over!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ta Ann write back!

A couple of weeks ago I helped Audrey write her first protest letter to Ta Ann in Tasmania to protest about the logging going on there. Here's her original letter. We weren't expecting to hear again, but got this 3 pager from the company. It's a really nice letter and Audrey listened while I read it to her. We probably need to get to the bottom of the situation and if nothing else let Mr Hickey know that we appreciate the time he'd taken to write to us! Ta Ann

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Not fussy then

It's sometimes fairly frustrating helping to get Audrey dressed. Not so much with the actual getting on/off of clothes (which she has now mastered fairly well), but more with her colour choices which tend to be strictly purple or pink. I was questioning her about this this morning at breakfast time...

"No Daddy, I'm not fussy, I like pink and rose, purple and lilac and violet!"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Audrey met Quentin

On Sunday, together with Audrey and Eli's friends Tommy and Chloe, and their Mum, Gill, we went to the annual opening of Government House.

It was a lovely day and we were amazed by the hoards of people drawn to see the historic building (especially as it was $25 per family to look round!). We didn't actually get to go into the house as the queues tailed round the house and the prospect of inching our way up a two hour queue to look round an old house accompanied by 4 children didn't seem either possible or much fun for anyone.

Instead we enjoyed a picnic on the pristine lawns. At this point I must experience of grass in Australia is that it's typically tough and resilient. In warmer/wetter parts of Australia it's more lush but still hard wearing. At Government House it's just beautiful without a weed in sight, it's clearly someone's pride and joy and was soft and lush underfoot.

Anyway, back to Government House there was a bouncy/jumping castle for the kids and a mobile library(!?) as well as a story time and other bits and pieces scattered round.

Highlight was running into Quentin Bryce (almost literally) who was keen to pose with Audrey and her toy elephant (Marshmallow). She's Australia's 25th Governor General and seemed a nice lady - unaffected by my "Oi" when trying to get her to stand for a picture.

on the bouncy castle
A nice picnic

Audrey at Government House
Making a bridge
Tommy, Quentin, Marshmallow and Audrey

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Marshmallow the Elephant

We've had Marshmallow the elephant staying with us this week. Marshmallow is a toy elephant from Audrey's pre-school and we've taken her on assorted adventures. Accompanying Marshmallow is a photo book giving updates of where she's been. If you want to read our submission then it's linked below... Marshmallow and Audrey

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trevor's Birthday

Amy, Audrey and Eli made me a rather splendid birthday cake in the design of a football pitch - complete with players. I enjoyed an excellent day at the National Gallery (the Italian Renaissance exhibition) followed by lunch at the Water's Edge and an evening at Canberra Theatre watching Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Here's a couple of pics of the kids helping me blow out my candles!

Monday, March 12, 2012

National Arboretum

A short drive from where we live a monumental project is underway to build a National Arboretum. It's high on a hill looking down over Canberra, with beautiful views. At the moment the Arboretum is only open one day a month, but I've no doubt this will extend as the development grows.

The 250 hectare area is being planted where much of the bush fires burnt during 2005 and the plan is for the place to have a 100 forests. The National Arboretum incorporates plantings of rare or endangered Australian trees as well as a patchwork of others and will also incorporate a pavillion and cafe.

We'd tried to visit last month, but an impending rain storm had meant that we turned our car around, but Sunday's sunny weather allowed us to have another look.

Currently there's not a huge amount there - a huge number of saplings, a really interesting 'water-wise' garden and a temporary visitor centre, but even driving round you can see that the place is going to be beautiful as it develops. We took a short walk up to the top of a hill to see a sculpture (which is named and spells out) "Wide Brown Land" taken from a line of a Dorothea Mackellar poem. Here's a rather good 3D picture of our view (not taken by me but worth playing with)
National Arboretum Canberra - "Wide Brown Land" in Australia

Here's some pics of our visit
The Water wise gardenEnjoying the sunshine
The wide brown land for me

Hot Air Balloon Festival

During the Canberra Festival, Canberra plays host to a balloon festival, it claims to rank as one of the four biggest in the world. The only catch to it being that you have to be there before 7am to see the action. It runs for 8 days and is one of my personal favourite things in the Canberra calendar.


We had a rather untidy and overgrown corner to our front garden. I think it had been gravelled at one point but the pea gravel had long since sunk and the cursed cooch grass which grows with unparallelled invasiveness had taken hold, which when combined with the branches of the trees had made it a bit of a no-go area.

Helped by Phil our neighbour I spent much of Saturday digging out the scruffy corner and filling it with mulch. Under the surface are 40-50 daffodils which should make a nice display in the Spring.

Here's a picture of Audrey and Eli enjoying their rock 'thrones' (discovered while digging) after we had finished.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Crown making Craft-ernoon

Amy spent an afternoon making crowns with the kids. Here's the results!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Enlighten Canberra

For the last couple of years Canberra has hosted the 'Enlighten' festival, it's part of the Canberra Festival held in Autumn.

Enlighten is a series of events, over 11 attractions, designed to allow vistors to see exhibitions and performances at night. Most of the things laid on seem to be both interesting (and free!).

The weather here hasn't been great recently which I'm sure would have kept numbers down, but hopefully the festival continues to grow and develop in future years. If you want to see the programme - it's here

Tonight's weather was warm with a light breeze so after work/school we had a quick bite to eat then went along to the Museum of Australian Democracy. As well as hosting a really interesting children's play (about arches being built in Australia to celebrate Federation in 1901) there was free lantern making and the outside of the building was lit up with a range of stunning projections. As we headed home we heard a band playing in the Old Parliament House rose gardens and glimpsed a free outdoor cinema showing a series of short films

lantern making
projections on old parliament house

Monday, March 5, 2012

End Logging of Native Forest in Tasmania!

We found a postcard the other day protesting about the destruction of habitat in Malaysia and Tasmania by a Sarawak based company called Ta Ann.

If you want to know more about the damage they're causing then click here

Audrey got quite interested in the campaign and so I helped her write a letter of protest (she dictated I wrote, and then she embellished with some pictures and a bit more writing)Not sure if it'll have any effect, but I thought it was a good go for a 1st letter of protest. Let's see if we get a reply...