This week has been full on…actually this year has been full on. So full on in fact that I’ve been run down and it’s been the sickest year for me. Colds, flu’s you name it, unmentionables I’ve had it. It’s all part of being human and rather imperfect, the latter is a talent of which I am proud to say I have in spades.

But I’m out from my lockdown. Still a bit sick, but I needed to get out and touch and connect with the real world. A few little victories to mention. Cherries, Peas, Garlic, Onion, Spuds, Lettuce, Parsnips all filling the kitchen basket. The veg garden out at Graceview has gone nuts! Especially the unwanted weeds so a little weeding and mulching has been the priority and we’ll be working on that over the next few weeks. We lost a few chooks, one chick and one hen. These things happen. But I bet most people that buy eggs or chicken meat at a supermarket wouldn’t be aware of that. Come on people! Reconnect already!

My TOTAL harvest of Stella Cherries. One difficulty with not using chemical pesticides is that when the conditions are right for insect attack your crop gets hammered. My Stella cherry is now in it’s third season and it looked like I’d get at least a kilo of cherries early on, but the tree got hammered by black aphids. So a handful will have to suffice this year. Better luck next year. Totally heartbreaking, especially after all the effort that goes into growing your own. Must persevere.

After a massive week of response from the ABC series, I celebrated with a special dish. I kinda made it up in my head and it kinda worked. A friend gave me some dried black chillis she bought from the Spanish food supply shop in Fitzroy (that can you believe I STILL have never visited…someone please send me the bloody address!). I fried the black peppers with some onions and brown sugar to give the couscous the sweet N Heat, and with Almond slithers it made the base of the meal. Another lovely friend gave me some Moroccan spice rub concoction that she and her hubbie made. I’ve been waiting to do it justice so these four quail did the job with a little dried thyme. (Thanks for the beautiful spice rub Cath and Drew!) To top it off I roasted some mushrooms in a red wine, thyme, garlic concoction thing…..amazing victory! It all just worked to be a very special dish.

And finally after a visit to the veg patch I made a vodka infused iced Elderberry cordial drink all thanks to my new mate Greg Hattan who made the cordial himself.

This is the good life people. Simple, simple and more simple pleasures.

No big fancy cars, no large new house, no shallow pointless stressful job. Good fresh food that you grow and hunt, good friends and even a little bit of waving the fly rod in the air, even if it did bucket down with rain!

The little ‘present’ at the end of a hunters meal.