With winter fast approaching & the large amounts of moisture in the air, we decided Monday night was the perfect time to have our first official bonfire of the season! One of the fun things about winter is the chance to get together with others around a sizzling, warm bonfire - it really has a double bonus because not only do you get to enjoy spending time with with friends, family or neighbours in a relaxed environment while the children happily cook you marshmallows, but you also get to clean up a whole pile of rubbish (wood rubbish - not household rubbish - save that for the incinerator as it's stinky) that's been sitting around the farm for a while. In fact during winter time there's rarely a social time around here without a bonfire.
Dave always spends time during the year making bonfires out of rubbish laying around the property - generally tree limbs that have come down. We do allow some friends to come & cut wood for their home fireplaces here, however since we ourselves haven't yet a functioning fireplace (we do have a wood-fired oven in pieces that we are slowly doing up - can't wait to show you all!) we find we have excessively large amounts of waste wood laying around. We also have about 20 acres of forest on the land, so you can imagine how much wood there is. These bonfires sit around & keep on drying out until after April through to September when we are allowed to freely light fires (the rest of the year is too dry so fires are not allowed without a permit).
A bonfire really is our winter excuse for a BBQ - we always cook meat over the coals (& just a hint if you're having one -make a separate much smaller fire as the cooking fire & get the coals from that - it's much too hot close to the fire to get them). We have an old weber BBQ that we use the coals in & the meat always has the most delicious smoky flavour about it -other friends have an old circular blade (about 1m wide) on legs that they made up just for bonfires - this works wonderfully too! You can make your bonfire as simple or elaborate as you want - sometimes it's just a sausage sizzle, while sometimes we cook potatoes or damper in the coals. Sometimes I make a salad & dessert, but always we try to keep it simple. Marshmallows however are an essential & all good farm wives keep a supply of them in the pantry over winter for those unplanned bonfires. I've even been told you can freeze them & will give that a try this year.
There is something magical about sitting around a fire - your eyes are drawn to it's depth & the myriad of shapes & sounds coming from within it are amazing. I love the popping & spluttering as the wood cooks - the glow of the logs from within as the coals keep the original shape of the wood for oh so long. We had such fun on Monday night as Dave's parents & grandmother were here to share it with us. Our fire was only about a hundred meters off the highway that borders our front boundary & we had so many people beeping as as they passed by! We were amazed to find out that in all of Dave's grandmothers 85 years this was her first real bonfire experience - she had so much fun!!
So should you come & visit Sunnyside over the next few months don't be surprised if we pile you onto the back of the ute & head down to one of the paddocks for a bonfire - great fun for the whole family & such an easy way to entertain!
Have a wonderful day,