Open seven days 10am-4pm during the NSW winter school holidays July 6-21, and always online.
April 22, 2024

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Doing the wedding flowers

‘You can do it’ and ‘Start early’ are two phrases from Annabelle Hickson’s ‘A Tree in the House’ DIY flower book that replayed in my mind as my daughter Isabelle, her groom Ben, family, friends, and I arranged their wedding flowers.

I have witnessed Annabelle transform a shearing shed with clouds of cotton, and chandeliers of gum leaves, as well as a convent with explosions of autumn leaves. Annabelle even worked her floral magic on our shop verandah for a Book Lunch among the launch events for ‘A Tree in the House.’

When Isabelle and Ben announced their engagement and started planning a wedding at our village of Nundle in north west NSW I was confident we could wrangle zip ties, chicken wire, flowers and foliage into joyful displays of seasonal colour.

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March 24, 2024

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Mediterranean cooking with Nundle produce

Duncan has declared that we do not need any more cook books, which is a fair call considering our vast collection from more than 30 years of adult cooking, and many timeless classics inherited from our relatives. Yet 'Rick Stein from Venice to Istanbul' arrived in the mail, ordered by Duncan, as a present for me! We love a Rick Stein program and enjoyed the Rick Stein from Venice to Istanbul series on SBS On Demand. Although we do not live in a Mediterranean climate, the dishes cooked in the series featured many of the ingredients we grow on our small farm; lamb, pork, honey, eggs, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, potatoes, silverbeet, and beans, and the herbs basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, and parsley.

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March 12, 2024

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Autumn mushrooming at Nundle State Forest

Autumn mushrooming Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

“You look like a mushroomer,” is how my friend Alena greets me as I arrive at her place for a mushrooming expedition in the state forest near our homes in north west NSW. Without any prior discussion we are twinning in long sleeved checked shirts, long pants, boots, and hats. “Do you have a knife?” Yes. “Do you have a bucket?” I have a wire basket and timber trug. ‘Uniform’ and gear sorted we make the short car journey to Nundle State Forest at Hanging Rock to look for Pine Mushrooms, also known as Saffron Milk Caps.

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November 24, 2023

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Community Garden mural storytelling of Nundle food culture

Nundle Community Garden Mural by Natasha Soonchild

What began as an admiration of the botanical artworks of Chef Sean Moran through social media and in Galah magazine led Upper Peel Landcare Group to propose a Nundle Community Garden mural by Natasha Soonchild celebrating the homegrown food and gardening culture of Nundle and Hanging Rock.

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July 30, 2023

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Porkucopia of smallgoods and fresh cuts

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores bacon

Over the years we have helped friends with their pig growing efforts, processing, and were well aware of just how good home grown pork could be, but had never tackled the challenge on our own place. Now in the midst of a porkucopia of bacon, pancetta, guanciale, English ham, pulled pork shoulder and fresh cuts that will last us for the year ahead, it’s difficult to understand why we hesitated so long. Our first experience of raising our first weaner pigs was watching them head toward Nundle on the main road after they had breached the portable electric fence on the evening of their arrival. We gently coaxed them back in, and although they would test the tape every day from then on, they never repeated that first glorious dash.

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July 25, 2023

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The gift - Ivan Inman, Water Diviner

Ivan Inman Water Diviner

Dressed in an Akubra hat, long-sleeved shirt, and jeans, 92-year-old Ivan Inman walks in a paddock, a length of metal rod rotating quickly in his hand, a crop duster aerial forcefully flicking through the air, or a steel bolt circling from a short length of frayed baling twine.

Ivan is demonstrating the skill of divining, looking for underground water, to give a drilling team a better idea of where to drill a bore or well, and at what depth.

The term water divining might conjure ‘The Water Diviner’ film directed by and starring Russell Crowe. When his character Joshua Connor is asked how he finds water that seeps through cracks in the earth underground he explains, ‘…well there’s the trick, you have to feel it…’

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June 09, 2023

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We walked a marathon

Timor to Nundle Trek 2023

It started as a joke. One of our walking group members, Tash, sharing a social media post back in March about a trek crossing the mountain range between our town of Nundle, and Timor in the Upper Hunter Valley with the comment, "This looks interesting." Tash wasn't expecting actual positive responses ranging from, "I have to check dates" to "I am KEEN!!!!" and "Let's register a team."

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October 27, 2022

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Honey Jumbles made with our first honey harvest

Honey Jumbles made with our first honey harvest

It is an incredible sense of satisfaction to watch honey flowing out of your extractor, into a strainer, and marvelling at the effort that has gone into your own bees gathering pollen and nectar within five kilometres of your home to make it. You may know that we received a split hive from my beekeeper dad, Don, just over a year ago. Since then the hive population has grown and thrived, and last week we harvested our first honey. Even though I have seen this process many times at my parents' places over the past 40 years, it was different doing it ourselves. It was Duncan and I in the white suits lifting the frames out of the hive, rushing them into the shed to uncap the cells, and splattering the golden liquid on the walls of the extractor. With about six kilograms of honey extracted from three frames, I was very keen to cook with our very own honey. One of the first recipes that came to mind was the biscuit classic Honey Jumbles.
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August 04, 2022

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June 06, 2022

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A Taste of Nundle for Tamworth Regional Heritage Week

A Taste of Nundle for Tamworth Regional Heritage Week

For the 2022 Tamworth Regional Heritage Week I explored A Taste of Nundle, researching Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores' collection of handwritten and typed invoices and purchase documents to understand some of the ingredients stocked in the store from its earliest surviving records. Among the documents in our collection is a handwritten sales journal from 1909, giving us a snapshot of what ingredients people living in and around Nundle bought, and prompting ideas of what they may have cooked with them. Consider the contrast in the range of choice of ingredients available in 1909 to 2022. We had previously been part of an Heirloom Recipe project with Sydney Living Museum Colonial Gastronomer Jacqui Newling who visited Nundle in 2014. This uncovered evocatively named Nundle biscuit recipes including Poorman’s Cakes, Waddie's Saddlebags, and Dunkers. These and other local favourite recipes are collected in Lost Delights: Heirloom Recipes and Old Country Favourites.

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