The last newsletter we sent was over 12 months ago, and since then,
the web site which processed our newsletter memberships has folded
and we have had to find a new home. Cape Trib is now a `group' at
Yahoo, and your membership of our newsletter has been transferred
across to this group. There are more than 100 people signed up to
receive our news.
World Travellers Return Home
2000 saw us crossing the Pacific again for Digby to complete his
last 3 months of the Samoan contract with the UN. Alison left Samoa
in March and went to northern Spain and walked the Camino de Santiago
– 800 kms in 27 days. It was a wonderful experience interacting
with Spanish people in remote villages all the way across the country
speaking survival Spanish.
We joined up in France at the end of April and hired bicycles and
cycled from Blois to the Atlantic coast, taking 3 weeks and staying
in chamber d'hotes, the French version of
the bed and breakfast. Our plans to spend a month walking in Scotland
were cancelled due to the foot and mouth outbreak – we went
to Corsica instead and walked for 2 weeks in the mountains –
we were surprised how rugged they were. By the end of May we were
home, and glad to be here, vowing we would never leave again (until
We had evicted the caretakers from hell the previous Christmas
and left the farm in the hands of a property manager who rented
the house out to people and then used the funds to pay for farm
work to be completed. It worked well. Jessie, our older Rottweiler
had died during our absence in June 2000 aged 11, and the guard
dog in training Mia had spent the last 3 months of our absence up
on a farm on the Atherton Tablelands, and was pleased to see us.
A month at home and we had 20 new day old chickens to restock the
chicken house and a new Rottweiler puppy which we named Kim Beasley
leader of the opposition in the Australian Parliament) Both of them
had very fat jowls though Kimmy seems to have lost hers now, at
6 months old.
Re-establishing the Fruit Tasting
There had been no fruit tasting at Cape Trib for more than 18 months,
and within 2 weeks of being home Digby was back into it, and its
popularity grew rapidly. Within a few weeks it was as if we had
never been away – but now we had much more fruit available
as new trees started producing for the first time.
Starting up the Bed and Breakfast
When we left for Samoa 18 months earlier we had left behind a half
completed B&B cottage – it had the roof, the outside walls
and a floor, but no windows, no bathroom, no plumbing, no interior
walls. We worked flat out to complete it, and finally at the beginning
of October we had a big celebration to open it, invited all the
locals, and put the sign out at the front gate. We have now been
open 3 and ½ months, and been very busy looking after our
guests and thoroughly enjoying the interactions. Most of our bookings
come through our web site at www.capetrib.com.au and there is now
a detailed section about the Bed and Breakfast on the web site,
so go and have a look at the photos of the cottage if you are interested.
It appears that we have been discovered. A Sydney documentary company
filmed Digby doing a fruit tasting for a TV series called `Secrets
of Australia' which will be shown on the Discovery channel. They
tell is it will be seen in North America, South America and Europe
with an audience of billions. We are part of the episode in Tropical
North Queensland. It was great fun watching the filming –
we have yet to see the finished product.
Digby was interviewed by a journalist for the Weekend Australian
Magazine, and this article will be published the first week of February,
in the Food and Lifestyle column, with a photo. So who knows what
this exposure will bring.
We also had an independent video documentary producer making a
program about different lifestyles around Australia spend a day
on the farm with us and recorded an interview and video footage.
If you visit our website you can play the 2 minute sequence and
hear us talk about our lifestyle. Isn't technology amazing these
Fruit and the Orchard
Six months at home has now got the orchard back under control.
The first few months we had WWOOFAs (Willing Workers on Organic
Farms)to help us and the pruning of the Salaks did not seem to be
such a daunting task when two young adults worked alongside you.
The Salak crop is quite large – we estimate about 25% of the
trees are fruiting and that we should pick approximately 300 to
500 kg. So the time has finally come when we have to think about
sending our fruit to Brisbane and use the wholesale market. This
is a completely new thing for us and a steep learning curve. We
have had to purchase
special fruit trays and they will need plastic inserts (about Apricot
size) which have to be sent up from Stanthorpe more than 2000 km
away where the main Apricots region is located. Inside the trays
we are planning to use `cerise' coloured tissue paper as a contrast
to the brown skin of the Salaks.
A Recipe for You
Now that we are running the Bed and Breakfast Digby is becoming
a very good Breakfast chef, whipping up omelettes and pancakes on
demand. One of our menu items is Banana Pancake with Mango and Ginger
Sauce, served with yoghurt. Here is the recipe we use for the sauce
– created by Mogens Bay Esbensen in his `A Taste of the Tropics'
book which is no longer available. Apparently he returned to Denmark
to retire and is living as a recluse on a little island. His sauce
is really special.
Mango and ginger sauce
2-3 ripe mangoes
½ cup of caster sugar
juice of 2 limes
2cm of young soft ginger root peeled and grated
Slice the flesh of the stone and spoon the meat from the skins
into a blender with sugar, lime juice and fresh grated ginger. Blend
until smooth and sugar has dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve
into a bowl and store in a cold place.
This is delicious served with icecream, pancakes, fresh fruit and
puddings. Will keep refrigerated for one week.