Christmas Countdown

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It’s that time of year when things have to get more hectic before the slow wind down to Christmas can begin. I’ve been back and forth to Joburg twice in the past week and in between there has been much socializing, cooking, baking, gardening, etcetera! When I drove home on Thursday my mother came back to the farm with me for a few days of well-deserved relaxation. She had not been to Vastrap since February and hadn’t seen the end result of our renovation. Happily she brought some rain with her! Not enough to break the drought, but at this stage we are grateful for every drop.

With my mom at cooking club.

My mom came along to our cooking club meeting on Saturday. For our year-end meeting we decided to bake biscuits and package them in boxes as gifts for the Ladybrand old-age home. I am not a big baker, but I tried really hard to get it right this time. With a little more practice hopefully there will be full cookie tins around the house for Christmas!

We had a great assortment of biscuits, unfortunately not all of them home made because time is in such short supply at this time of year. I made scrumptious Lemon Ginger cookies from the Hot Polka Dot blog. There are some really delicious cookie recipes on that site and she makes it seem so simple. I also made Marachino Cherry Chocolate biscuits using the Marachino cherries I bought at the cherry festival. They were real death by chocolate! We packaged 50 boxes of biscuits, which were happily received at the home this morning.

An assortment of biscuits.

Hard at work boxing biscuits.

Heidi and Adri.

Ready to go.

Heidi’s meringue roulade – our reward for hard work!

While we were busy over-indulging in lunch, Heidi’s husband Charles stopped by on his long Saturday ride around the district. This didn’t make us feel guilty about our lunch at all. Neither did the fact that we could not walk it off later because of the rain!

Charles and Heidi.

Too soon it was time to pack up and drive my mom back to Joburg. After the rain on Saturday I woke up early on Sunday for a thorough garden inspection. Getting into the Christmas spirit I could not resist picking some flowers and gathering some herbs, lemons and zucchini to bring back as gifts to the city. The hydrangeas are in full bloom now, a sure sign that December is near. In Afrikaans they are known as “Krismisrose” or “Christmas Roses” and they always make me think of summer holidays at the coast in Natures’ Valley. I also picked my very first Dahlia flowers. I can’t wait to see how they turn out this year, because I planted another whole patch of Dahlia’s in different colours, which are starting to come up. There should be no shortage of flowers for the house by Christmas. A very happy thought indeed!

Krismisrose.

The first Dahlia bush to flower.

Dahlia’s for my sister – the more you pick them the more they flower!

Gifts from the Vastrap garden.

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