Beautiful Clare valley

February 24, 2011  
Topics: Australia

Giedre’s Abudu farm

Saturday, Jan 15. Upon ariving at Giedre’s farm Abudu (meaning “both” in Lithuanian) we feel home immediately. Her and Mark’s house is cosily furnished, decorated with Giedre’s art and a book shelf full of spiritual literature. Although they lived only for 4 months at the farm, they enjoyed already veggies from their own garden and a huge amount of free range eggs from their happy chicken.

Although daughters Dominique and Daniela (2) as well as Mark are sleeping already, Giedre invites us for a cup of tea, a yummy self-made chocolate cake, and a lovely chat around the dinner table. When we mention that we feel like helping someone out in a farm for a change, she gets the idea to get in touch with her friend Alistar.


Indian painting on Katja's palm

Sunday, Jan 16. In the morning, a mere 15 minutes after calling Alistar, it is clear that we will leave Giedre’s family in the afternoon. That was a fast forward from one to another friend, and although we are a bit sad to leave so soon, we are happy we can be a helping hand to Alistar.

The day though we dedicate to our stay at Abudu. Daniela and Dominique are a bit shy, but once I am spending time with them in the garden, little Daniela comes up to me asking, “May I give you a cuddle?” How could I ever refuse? 😉

Giedre serves a magnificent Risotto for lunch, which we share in company of friend Brooxie, who had joined us for the afternoon. From him we enjoy learning about bees. He runs his own honey company, and Augustas joins him later to visit the bee hive at Giedre’s farm. Later on we all have a walk up a nearby hill, from which we marvel at the beautiful surroundings of Clare valley. Before dinner we all share a lovely chocolate, which actually disappears mostly in the eager little mouths of Daniela and Dominique. While munching on the chocolate Giedre gifts many of us with an Indian style henna on the front or back of our hands. Fascinated by it, I decide that it won’t be the last time I ever wear one. Brooxie lives nearby Alistar’s farm, so after the Lithuanian dinner of Saltibarscai (Pink Soup) we head off together to his house.

IMG_3147 IMG_3148 IMG_3143

Brooxie and the bees

Brooxie is running his honey business for two years now. His parents had sold it to him, and he is eager to establish it successfully among the local honey producers. The honey he sells is overly delicious, and becomes even more so when we learn in detail about bees, their living in hives, their characteristics, their differences, etc. Late in the night we also visit Brooxie’s huge shed, where he manufactures the bee hives by hand, where honey and bee wax are separated, and where the honey is stored in up to 1.5 ton tanks. Overwhelmed by so much honey, we indulge in sweet dreams this night.

Before diving into his own honey business, Brooxie used to live out of his backpack for a total of 7 years. He had traveled widely, many times through the outback of Australia. For some time he even was a tourist guide, a job he says has opened his eyes for the world and life in general. His love for reptiles, especially snakes and lizards, suited him perfectly on his guiding tours. Brooxie is actually the first person who explains us the minimal danger snakes are, and in detail which behavior is required when meeting them.


Wild fruits at Blenheim farm

Monday, Jan 17. Alistar picks us up around noon. Arriving at Blenheim farm, he shows us the old wine cellar, which he is working on for a while. One of his ideas is to remove a part of the old clay walls, then dust off the stones that stick out, and finally push cement in the spaces between the stones. In exchange of a free place to stay on a beautiful farm out in the countryside, we agree to help with the walls.

Jan 17 – Jan 29. The first day goes slow, but soon we figure the method and joyfully squeeze the cement between the stones. It feels so good to us to do something good, we cannot help but smile all day long.

While we are sleeping inside that same wine cellar, we can use Alistar’s house for anything else. We enjoy the brilliant breakfast on his beautiful old veranda, which points out to a garden full of purple flowers, behind which is laying a big land patch full of fruit trees. Already during the first day we discover that the mulberries and plums are ready to eat. Nobody at the house had even payed attention to those delicious fruits. From thereon we collect each other day a big bowl full of plums, whose sweet-sour taste is like balsam for our tongues.

IMG_3219 IMG_3179 IMG_3244 IMG_3251

Meeting place at Blenheim’s

The kitchen is meeting place no. 1 for everyone at Blenheim farm. Here we cook, eat, chat, enjoy each others company, and spend many evenings in a cosy atmosphere. We get to know Alistar’s sister Emily and her boyfriend Joshua, who had just recently returned from 1,5 years abroad. They had lived in England and then traveled half year through Latin America. On top of it, Alistar’s girlfriend Helen comes back from India the day we arrive, so all in all we have lots to talk about. We are really surprised how much everyone seems to travel. Previously, we would have imagined that people living and running a farm are rather bound to their culture and country. Staying at Blenheim opens our eyes, and makes us understand their heartfelt wish to explore other places of this world.


It is one of these evenings when Alistar’s parents and Joshua’s mother Lisa are joining our round. Lisa is adorably witty, and delights us with her great humour as well as deep knowledge about other cultures. She is in love with the Aboriginals of Australia, whom she got to know closely while working in one of their communities as a teacher. Also her keen interest and fascination of the Arab countries and culture brings her close to our hearts.  Before leaving, Lisa invites us to stay at her house in Adelaide, and when we leave Blenheim farm a couple of days later, this is where we appear.


  1. nina says:

    seems your hosts were very warm and kind people, I liked the situation and evening you describe in the post, besides the environment looks like the fields of my village, i miss it 🙂