geraldton through wilde eyes

Well it’s been nearly 3 weeks since the sprogs and I joined Bean here in Geraldton so I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the place (subject to change with time and experience of course!).

I’ll get the rants out of the way first so we can end on a happy note eh?

Geraldton does not do waste well at all. There is no council recycling collection which seems so last century. We can deliver our tin and aluminium cans and our cardboard/paper to a depot but plastic and glass can’t be recycled here. To that I say,

“WOW!”

We don’t seem to use products in cans (other than the occasional can of tuna which Bean takes to work and doesn’t cart home again) and our paper/card is added to our compost heap as the carbon component to balance out the nitrogen rich food scraps. Glass and plastic are the recyclable wastes we generate most of, and we can’t recycle them here! I suppose the positive of that is that it gives us an opportunity to further reduce the packaging waste we bring in to our house in the first place. It’s been rather a rude shock to be producing so much waste at all after our time in Albany where our milk bottles were returned for reuse, the mesh bags and paper bags our vegies came home from the farmer’s market in were returned for reuse and our honey jars were returned for reuse as well. We produced much less household waste then.

I suppose it might take time to get to know where to buy the food we’re used to eating, it did take time in Albany. The farmer’s market here is a fairy average affair, especially when compared to the Albany farmer’s market. They are really trying though, and I hope it takes off. There are likely a lot less fresh produce growers around here than there are around Albany, the climate here isn’t the greatest for growing thirsty crops, so I imagine it’d be tough to find the selection of growers there are on the south coast. Luckily I’ve already found a green grocer who sells a fabulous selection of organic fruit and veg. They have agreed to take a weekly order from us and pack it all loose into cardboard boxes since they otherwise individually wrap their organic produce so they can tell the difference between it and the conventional stuff at the check out. They also stock Margaret River Organic milk (pastuerised but not homogenised) which is a reasonable compromise when raw milk is not available. Short of having our own cow or living within cooee of my dairy farming sister nothing can ever come close to the milk supply we had in Albany. Really, how can you beat reusable glass bottles filled with fresh, unprocessed milk delivered with a smile and a genuine enquiry after your wellbeing? In short, you just can’t.

The weather has been quite lovely, real “holiday” weather. Yesterday it rained for the first time since we arrived and it was a really rather dismal effort at rain, more like a sprinkle really. We’ve been at the beach most days and at the playgrounds every day since getting here. Mornings and evenings call for long sleeves but during the day we’re wearing short sleeves very comfortably, and today is the first official day of Winter. I have a strong suspicion Summer here would melt me into Ms Cranky Pants because Autumn has been about as Summery as I can handle. Thankfully we’ll be out of here early Spring so I won’t get to test that hypothesis.

I’m really glad for the outdoor friendly weather though because the playgrounds here are AWESOME! The best I’ve seen anywhere.

At the town beach there is a fabulous playground with two main sections, one aimed at younger children and one aimed at older children. The equipment over both sections caters to children ranging in age from pre-walking to teenagers. Next to the playground is a water playground that can be turned on by anyone with the press of a button between 9am-6pm each day, yeah… even now that it’s officially Winter.

The sprogs have had hours of fun at the water playground already, it really is fantastic and unlike any other free playground I’ve seen.

And that’s just the town beach playground, the rest of the playgrounds we’ve seen around Geraldton have been fabulous too. The only thing that could make the parks here any better is a play in the park program like the one the wonderful Jamie (the Clown) and his YMCA crew ran in Albany.

Our house is not bad, not a place I’d want to settle for longer that the four months we plan to be here, but it’s not bad. We had some issues with dirty carpets to begin with and in honestly I can’t understand how on earth we’re paying so much for it because it just doesn’t seem worth it (totally foreign rental market up here) but it’s close to the beach which I’ve taken advantage of a few times when I’ve gone for a sunset walk by the ocean all alone once Bean has come home from work. It’s been nice to snatch those moments of solitude because we’re back to having no friends nearby and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task of parenting the sprogs on my own for such extended hours while Bean’s at work.

Thankfully a south coast friend has put us in touch with a mid west friend and I’ll have to make contact now we’ve landed and settled, so the lonely days can be over real soon…

So far I’m liking Geraldton enough, there’s a lot about it that is awesome and it’s nice to have a change of scenery after a really tough year in Albany.

 

 

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switch off & reconnect – waterfall beach

We went to Two People’s Bay for a BBQ lunch Saturday just gone. We went to the picnic area and cooked up some fresh organic beef steaks and made steak sandwiches with ingredients that all came from the morning’s Farmer’s Market haul. The meat, the eggs, the bread, the salad… fantastic.

After lunch we went to Little Beach where there were a few other groups of people, walked across it and over the headland to Waterfall Beach which we had to ourselves.

Little Beach

 

We played in the waterfall stream and swam in the much warmer sea water for an hour or so before clambering up the steep path back to Little Beach and back to our car.

I’ll be sure to leave my maxi dress at home next time I go to Two People’s Bay, and I’ll be sure to ignore Bean’s assurances that we won’t be going anywhere we’ll need to scramble over rocks too! Getting to Waterfall Beach in a maxi dress is a bit of a challenge…

 

It was my first swim in the ocean this Summer season. Bean and the sprogs had already had a dip at the main beach in town the week before. It was so gloriously refreshing to dip myself in the cool, clear water of an empty beach.

We then went to the visitor centre where we learned just why Two People’s Bay is so special to conservationists. There are a few species of native fauna living in the national park that were believed to be extinct, including the Gilbert’s Potoroo which hadn’t been recorded for over 120 years!

Once again, I felt blessed to live so near to such beautiful natural places.

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What do you do to switch off & reconnect with yourself & people you love?

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farmer’s market – an invitation

This morning we were at the farmer’s market early enough to get the pick of the produce. A lot of the stalls sell out early, especially the organic stalls, so it’s good to get there as its opening.

We’re passioate about sourcing organic food, and prefer it to be local, so the farmer’s market is our best chance of finding great food in this town. Winter at the markets was a bit slow and disappointing, meaning we had to shop at the (too) expensive organic store or the (awful, awful!) supermarket to supplement what we could compensate for what we couldn’t get at the farmer’s market.

Today though, we had such a brilliant haul that we won’t need to shop anywhere else for fresh produce all week. Hurrah!

We got some more of the delicious local macadamias. I actually had a dream nightmare last night that we got to the market too late and missed out on them! We also got some lovely new season Norland potatoes, 3 bunches of carrots, some cabbage, some baby spinnach, and some broccolini from the lovely Bathgate Farm stall. From the Payneham Vale Organics stall we got delicious jumbo eggs, some sausages, gravy beef, and olive oil. From Gilgie Farm we got some leaks to make potato and leak soup with. Altogether now… YUUUUUUUMMM!

While at the market we ran in to a woman I knew in the years before we both became mothers. Her sprogs are the same age as our sprogs. We were quite pleased to find each other, both living here now, and she’s invited us to their place for a Moroccan dinner tonight.I love the farmer’s market. It’s a place to get delicious fresh food, with very low carbon miles but it’s more than just that. The farmer’s market is a place with soul, a place for the community to gather and be together. It’s so enriching to buy the food we’re currently unable to produce for ourselves from the wonderful people who produce it for us. Shopping at the supermarket is a chore, and shopping at the farmer’s market is a joy.

As the inspiring (and sadly, no longer blogging) Farmama says,

“Communities that support farms have farms that support communities!”

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living local

We went for a Sunday drive yesterday. Along the way we saw this ute parked in the driveway of a small farmlet. Of course we had to stop… Huge bags of mandarins for just $5. Pop the money in the honesty box and off you go. I love that! They weren’t the tastiest mandarins I’ve tried, in truth they tasted like the fruit of neglected trees – a little bland, but not bad, certainly not for that price either!

One of the things I’ve loved most about living on the south coast is the food. We’ve not been as spoiled for choice as we were in the city, but oh my! Most of what we’ve found down here that is locally grown or produced has been absolutely divine!

I’ve already mentioned the newest find, local macadamias, and now I’d like to share with you the snack plate Bean and I shared the other night while we played canasta.

There’s the macadamias, which I can’t rave about enough, but there’s three other local products that I want to rave about too.

The celery is locally grown & from the organic store, and on the celery are Ringwould‘s Calliot and Bathgate Farm‘s pumkin & ginger pickle.

Divine, I tell you. DIVINE!

Our eggs and meat are local too, as well as the beautiful milk we get from our friends who milk their own cows. We’re so blessed to have access to such wonderful food.

I’m really loving discovering new (to me) local produce. Living local is simply fabulous.

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local macadamias!

This morning we went to the Albany Farmer’s Market and discovered there was a new stall this week.

Image credit

Some fabulous people are growing macadamias here in the chilly Great Southern Region!

Quite honestly, these are the yummiest macadamias I’ve ever tasted and I ate a lot of macadamias in the time I lived in northern NSW and Queensland (where they grow usually).

These local macadamias are farmed by a fellow homeschooling family (yay!) in Bornholm, about 30km from Albany and roughly the same from Denmark. Their orchard is 15 years old and this is their first commercial season. The trees take a bit longer to mature and fruit down here, but the macadamias we tasted today make it clear it’s been worth the wait! The farmers use biodynamic practices on their farm and they harvest and pack by hand. Very labour intensive! I’m utterly thrilled to have discovered them. The sproggets like the macadamias too, even Moe who normally spits them out.

If you’re local, head down and check them out. Just make sure you leave enough for me to buy next week!

 

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