Weekend at Cottage Creek Farm

For the long weekend, we desperately needed to get out and have some time in nature, detuning from the world around us and seeking peace in the simple things in life. We don’t have a huge income at the moment (which of course has contributed to our stress) so we’ve found a place that’s a bit off the beaten track within our budget. We look for homely, tasteful, rustic places for two that have everything we need without being in any way flashy. 

Looking through Airbnb over a busy holiday weekend wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but with a bit of poking and prying beyond the normal coastal haunts, we found “The Honey House”. A renovated dairy and apiarists (a honey keeper) home fitted out with a log fire, small well stocked kitchen, beautifully redone bathroom and simple bedroom. The pictures made it look cute enough but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised that it was even more gorgeous that the pictures made out (always a nice thing hey?). 

Sinking low into our holiday mode with delicious nosh and some movies about food. We devoured the part in Eat, Pray, Love where she goes to Italy we watched about four times and Julie/Julia satisfied our need for escapism and food fantasies perfectly. But that wasn’t all, to our even greater excitement, we discovered that the place we’re staying is a working organic farm! Looking more closely at the surrounding trees we realise that every second one is a productive tree, everything from avocados to macadamias, lemons, persimmons, pomegranate, oranges, mandarins, and possibly even loquats. Our weekend of food just got more real. 

We wondered down to the creek which has some spectacular spots to swim in summer and perfectly babbling sections to quieten the mind and send you into some other galaxy as thought and body relax into the sounds of the tumbling river. Ruby the resident sheep dog (border collie) comes with us wherever we go, somehow knowing that were about to go out of the Honey House for a walk, gander, wonder, investigate of the rest of the property and this mornings visit to the verge patch, chicken tractors and orchard were no different. Such a gorgeous companion, she would make even the crankiest of people want to smile at her joyful innocence but very smart activity of the creek and farm. 

I know as well as anyone that works the land and probably much less than any farmer that making a living off growing and raising things is tough work. As we stroll through the property we see run down pits and pieces, an old ute rusting away in the paddock, disused chicken tractors standing next to each other and here and there piles of stuff that haven’t been cleared away. Farming isn’t the easiest thing to do whilst keeping the whole property looking like it’s just come out of Home and Garden. We’ve got an acre to look after and that’s certainly enough work with a full time job to keep up with. 

But looking more closely at the market garden we can see it teeming with life and edible things. Our hosts, Meaghan and Paul encouraged us to pick some lettuce so on our way down I found the lettuce section and started to pick leaves gently off the mother plant. As I did so I began to realise that there were at least a dozen different types of lettuce, purple, many shades of green, a variety of fancy lettuces, long pointy ones, small tightly curled ones and by the look of the purply green gray ones some varieties of heirloom as well. What a lunch they will make! 

Trundling further along we find Paul tending to the netting they’ve been putting up over the orchard for the last 6 months. Huge pieces of black netting along the top and green to fill the sides, probably in the order of 60m wide and 300m long, that’s a bloody lot of netting. What is more, Paul is having to literally sow on the wire top to the green sides to ensure there are no holes big enough for birds to sneak in an devour their crop which had been happening since the last two persimmon reasons. What a job! We chat for 20mins or so and Meaghan joins us whilst feed the chickens which are about 60 in number all living in a chicken tractor surrounded by an electrified fox fence and bursting with choke happiness. 

It’s been such an inspiring time staying on a working farm, watching the hard work but also enjoying the fruits of the labour, Megahn and Paul have given us a stock pile of delicious breakfast treats while were staying here which fill the mouth with a wonderful fresh fullness each time we snack on them or make our meals. I’ve loved seeing the hard work they’re putting in because it reminds me to not be so hard on myself for not having a working market garden while having a full time career, knowing how much effort it takes to making it productive. but i have been totally inspired to get back and at least plant some of my heirloom lettuce seeds and start to prepare the vege garden bed for spring when things really go crazy for the warm weather and extra rain. 

Thanks to the our wonderful hosts, the beautiful nature, the creek, the wood fire and of course the excellent cuisine that has made our weekend lushful, relaxed but also energising. The sun is shining today and I feel hopeful and at peace with my self (which honestly is something i don’t feel very often at all). 

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend, where ever you are spending it. 

April Crawford-Smith