Two days before Christmas the girls has the chance to pick blackberries on a friend of a friend of a friend's blackberry farm. I'm not sure what usually happens to these blackberries - it isn't a 'pick your own' farm, but this year they were going begging. The kids came home with 15 kilos of them. Kim took half, but even so that was more than 7 kgs of berries to do something with. We made a heap of jam - I gave all my family jam for Christmas (and rocky road and shortbread and gingerbread) and froze a number of bags full.
On New Years Day we visited Kim in Warbuton for scones with (surprise surprise) blackberry jam. She had also been dealing with 7 kilos of blackberries.
Our flowering gum sounds like a bee hive. Every bud has a bee or three. The vine over our deck is also flowering, dropping pollen onto the deck, attracting bees who wander around the deck collecting it and sometimes getting stood on by a small child. Poor Lil copped two bee stings within a week (worse for the bees though). I figure it's a rite of passage - the annual summer bee sting.
My brother's family came to visit and as usual his boys and my girls shot hoops for hours on end. We tested out our new dining room table and it seated twelve comfortably, and when my sister's two kids came for dinner as well, it accommodated fourteen without too much trouble. Having that lovely long expanse of table and a new sideboard for storage of sewing stuff has, so far at least, meant that I do actually keep the room pretty functional as a dining room. I've been sewing a lot this past week and the set up is working.
Tomorrow we leave for two weeks in Japan. I am excited, after a very long and stressful few weeks. My sister is in hospital but she is doing as well as we can possibly hope, so I feel that I can finally exhale and enjoy the break.