Sorry for the radio silence. Since my last entry, my computer's power plug adapter died and I refused to pay $100+ to Mac to buy another one. (We tried to buy a cheaper one on ebay but the seller sent us the wrong version, leading to a messy to and fro about refunding us the money, and sending us the right version. In the end, the seller refused to send us the correct product, but agreed to refund us our money.) So my laptop is still dead because we still don't have a power plug adapter and I still refuse to pay $100+ to buy one from Mac's Epicentre at Wheelock Place. But now, I've downloaded all my pics onto Husband's desktop and have booted him off to the couch while I blog my first entry in a month.
Sigh--it's been a while.
The biggest thing that has happened to us is our family trip to Western Australia--6 glory days Down Under where, I believe, the tallest buildings we saw were a mere 3 storeys. Our first 3 days were spent on Sunflowers Animal Farm, a totally recommendable place to stay. They have 4 "chalets" available for overnight stays. Our chalet had 2 bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, living area with DVD player and even, a BBQ pit outside! It was super!
The kids' room had bunk beds plus a single bed. And they could see goats from their window, which was a pleasant surprise when they woke up. My mum insisted that a farm stay would be SMELLY and MUDDY and DIRTY. But I am pleased to categorically confirm that this farm stay was none of the above. There were over 200 animals ranging from goats, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, llamas, alpacas, horses, kangaroos, pigs, hogs, lambs and guinea pigs. As part of the farm stay deal, we were given free buckets of food to feed the animals throughout the day--as many times as we wanted! This was great for the kids, especially Dan who really took to feeding the kangaroos, who were really gentle and sweet to feed. While Dan enjoyed letting the animals feed off his hand, Ben sort of just grabbed bunches of grain and thrust them into the faces of the animals, with a 'rwwoar'. Husband took to feeding the llamas and the emu. I really enjoyed feeding Stormy, a huge legend-like horse who looked like he had just emerged from a storybook. Feeding the animals became a daily routine we all looked forward to. We were allowed to enter the rabbit enclosure and guinea pig enclosure, giving us a closer look at their "habitats". That was really neat too.
Another highlight of the farm stay was the free pony rides every morning! Once again, Dan really took to it--he was the first to volunteer for the pony ride on Day 1, while Ben took a whole 2 days to warm up before agreeing to sit on Basil, the cute little pony. We also got to go on an hour long tractor ride into the open grasslands and fields in the farm--the tractor pulled us along in a wooden trailer. That was super fun for the kids. And finally, we got to pick out eggs freshly-laid by the farm's chickens and have them for breakfast, all for free! Amazing!
This picture shows Ben enamoured by the chicks--he really has a budding maternal instinct in him. He absolutely loved patting and holding them and "taking care of them". So cute.
One thing that bothered us a bit was that food in Margaret River is a tad expensive. While we cooked our own breakfast (farm fresh eggs and toast!), and while lunch was usually a picnic lunch somewhere (sandwiches, ham, cheese, apple juice, all from the local supermarket), dinners were difficult to settle. We had planned to find a restaurant or even treat ourselves to a winery dinner...but all the wineries closed at 5pm! And all the restaurants at Margaret River served decent but expensive food. We ended up eating Chinese one night, pizza the next, and a rather expensive and not so yummy dinner at a supposedly great restaurant the last day. Sigh.
If we were to do it all over again, we would definitely eat dinners IN--fire up the BBQ outside our chalet and cook steak, make spaghetti and stuff like that. It somehow didn't occur to us to do this until the 2nd leg of our trip, in Dunsborough. But I'll come to that in the next few entries. Oh well....
I would totally recommend Sunflowers Animal Farm to everybody. Oh, did I mention it's got a nice playground? And, the owners are really nice. When we visited them (in their "house" which is next to our chalet), they were sitting in their front lawn eating abalone with a fork!! "What's this?" we said. "It's abalone! We just picked it up from the beach this morning." they said. "From the beach? You mean... how?" we said. "Oh ya know, just picked them up with our hands. They're everywhere. Really yummy! Wanna try?" they said. "Er... sure! Did you have to pay for them?" we said, taking a bite into the yummiest abalone ever. "No need to pay. You just go down every other day and pick a few. It's really easy!"
We proceeded to tell them that abalone is a Chinese delicacy that is very expensive. They didn't look very impressed. Haha.
Sunflowers is a good base to visit the wineries, Hamelin Bay and Pemberton. I can see our family returning there year after year--it was a great start to the holiday!