Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Rural Bliss

HAVE YOU EVER WISHED that you could run away to the country for a couple of days to refresh the spirit? Well, that's exactly what we did last week when good friends invited us to stay at their country retreat.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? We could see the farmhouse on the tip of the hill ahead and were really keen to arrive.

At last we were there. After the usual happy greetings, it was off to the Henhouse Hilton to feed the chooks.

Now, I don't know about you, but my memory of a henhouse was a lean-to shed constructed of galvanised iron with a bit of wire around it to keep the chooks in and the cats out. Well, these chooks have certainly landed on their feet. The owners say that they lay the most expensive eggs in the world!

Take a look at their laying nests - a little different to what their poor unfortunate battery hen sisters have to put up with. The floor has a drainage system so that all the hosed-down water washes away to help keep the grass outside green.

All this was designed and constructed by the owners' son who is a landscape gardener. He has very cleverly restored an old dairy shed into something quite stunning.

Speaking of stunning, meet Reuben, the lord of all he surveys. He admits to having a favourite girlfriend and has been observed presenting her with a blueberry on one occasion. Now this could either be true love, or maybe he has simply appointed her as his chief food taster. Either way, he's something to behold.

Here are my favourites, the Spangled Hamburgs. Aren't they gorgeous? And see how the little black hens in the background look on them with envy.

There was time for a quick inspection of the garden before heading back to the homestead.

It was an extremely hot day, so what better way to cool off than sit on the back porch with a cool drink, observing the very contented cattle.

Breakfast the next day was on the back porch, where we were able to catch the cool morning breezes.

One good thing about old friends is that you can simply relax, sit around and talk all day, and that's exactly what we did. We left behind the world's dramas and concentrated on family news, movies and plays recently seen, books read, and all those really important things in life.

Meanwhile, the city cats, Oscar and Charlie, weren't overly impressed with their breakfast fare!

Good heavens - was it time for lunch already?

This time we sat on the front veranda, cracked open a bottle (or it may have been more) of cold white wine, and got stuck into the beautiful Lamb and Noodle Thai Salad. The attached recipe is pretty similar, but our lamb had been marinated overnight and it was cooked to perfection.

We took a well-earned siesta (country living can be pretty hard work, you know) until late afternoon, when we hopped into the car to take in some local scenery...

... and to watch the spectacular sunset from a mountain lookout.

Then it was back to the farmhouse for our evening meal and to feed some very anxious city cats. We sat out in the cool of the front veranda, with the garden fountain providing a delightful background.

Oscar, feeling very contented, found his favourite cushion and settled down for the evening, dreaming about whatever it is that cats dream of.

And so we are now back in the city, refreshed by all the beautiful memories of our couple of days in the country. I can thoroughly recommend it.


Chrisy said...

What a fabulous post!'ve recorded everything so well..feel as if i've been on a little holiday just reading the spangled hamburgs (sounds like a rock group)...and the fountain..and definitely the food...

Little Mary Moo said...

Oh how much I would love to be there. I'm glad you had such a great time. What a beautiful place. It must have been very hard to leave.

Hey Harriet said...

I'm so envious of your escape to the country. I'm feeling the need to head out to the country for a while. The thought of a place where you can look up at the sky & not see cranes is blissful to me. What a lovely time you had. Glad you enjoyed the break away. I'm even feeling much more relaxed after having seen this beautiful post. The Spangled Hamburgs are gorgeous. Fried & wedged between thick bread with a meat pattie (or should it be patty?) they could be called Super Special Spangled Hamburgers with the works. Sorry. That wasn't very funny. Especially if you're a vegetarian. Which I'm guessing you're not because I did see lamb in one of those yummy dishes. The photo of Oscar sleeping is funny! Hard-core cat folk believe that cats could rule the world. I'm not so sure about that. They do spend much of their time napping. What a life!

Hey Harriet said...

I really think these comment boxes need to have a max word limit for people like me ;D

Hot Fudge said...

Rave on, Tracy - I haven't laughed so much for a while!

Little Diva said...

What a beautiful country house and garden - and the food looked divine. Are you sure your friends don't run a B & B ??

Ali said...

Oh! what a lovely relax! I must admit, having grown up in the country, it doesn't hold that same appeal as an escape - but it seems like you has such a great time. Thank you for sharing your photos!

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful post. Gorgeous photography! Now that I've found my dream house. When can I move in? oh and my husband, three kids and a dog? Do you think your friends would mind?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking me away to this lovely place. I needed this respite.


Bec said...

Oh that sounds SO idyllic! I think I may have to start planning our next country getaway now. What an inspiring place :)

Bec said...

Oh that sounds SO idyllic! I think I may have to start planning our next country getaway now. What an inspiring place :)