Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Lunch with the Neighbours
Last weekend we came home from a visit with family in Melbourne to find a note tucked into the front door from our neighbours inviting us over for lunch next weekend. We called the number they had left and found out they were the ones in the house on the opposite valley hidden behind some trees. We could tell from a distance that they had a grove of Olive trees, a horse and a large newly constructed greenhouse. On the Saturday we nervously drove up their road and were welcomed by a great big golden retriever, called Phoebe who guided us up to the house where some of the guests were gathered in the middle of introductions between each other. Our neighbours are a couple with a young daughter who seem to have moved out to this acreage some 5 years ago for many of the same reasons we have made the move. They value the natural setting, quiet, community and abundance of the country lifestyle. We sat down to lunch with some friends of our hosts who had travelled up for the day. One old Italian man had brought a plate full of home made salami and prosciutto as well as a large glass jar of home-brewed red wine. After lunch we were shown to the glasshouse, which evidently was the pride of our host and hostess and contained an array of hydroponically grown vegetables and fruit. The system he uses is Autopot, which is almost zero maintenance gravity fed growing. Great big melons, pumpkins, and tomatoes hung from overhead. We helped ourselves to a bag of food before walking through the orchard, where we filled another bag of fresh fruit off the trees. After more wine and some delicious cheesecake we said our goodbyes and returned to our home on the opposite hill fascinated by our experience. It had been 6 months since we moved to the farm and for the first time we felt like we were home here in this small community.