Send us your updates at, we’d love to hear how you’re doing!

Dear all,


Merry Christmas and wonderful happiness into 2013 from us at Walden Woods Farm...


Well 2012 is nearly over and we really have no idea where it went!  Each day has just flown by, even though we keep attempting to do ‘slow life’ (think Italian ‘slow food’). We did have a wonderful BIG holiday trip to Europe in Jan-Feb to visit with Doug’s daughter Sherry and Ray in Belgium; this included the four of us having about two weeks of driving around south eastern Belgium and then into Germany on our way to, where else, Reims and Champagne  wines!  As we drove through a corner of Germany we stopped at Bernkastel along the Mosel River and while looking for a lunchtime restaurant in the back streets, Doug  discovered the world famous and historic 4 hectares of vines of the Doktor Thanisch Vineyard (see photo of cellar doors and of his wine being tasted in a restaurant later; this wine from Doktor Thanisch was the first Riesling that Doug ever tasted while being trained as a wine steward in Hawaii some 45 years ago!!! What at memory and find... )


Doug’s farm-list of ‘to-do’ just gets longer – fencing the property (clearing fence line/removing trees/creating fence posts), improving the soils, being with Mister, checking our water supplies, planting and caring for some veggies for us to eat, collecting eggs from chooks in orchard,  welding frames for new raised garden beds, using the backhoe for clearing old and creating new road-paths around the property, removing key trees, mainly dead, for cutting our annual firewood (I help with this), etc, etc,  etc...   He also goes to town at least three days a week – twice with Greg our neighbour to the UNE gym and once as an ‘official volunteer’ sitting with a local man (aged 93) at his home while another  volunteer takes his wife for weekly shopping, with this also being our shopping and errand day. He also does some woodworking in the workshop at times and has a new ‘toy’ that is bigger than my car and cost more than it too – a commercial chipper for producing lots of mulch for everywhere on the farm as well as continuing to fire-safety-clear all around the house and outwards behind the house dam, north to water tanks, etc.  Although Doug is still on the New England Wine Show Committee of Management at Glen Innes , he doesn’t attend meetings now but just emails ideas and comments to Secretary and in October we did drive up for a day of stewarding for the judging of wines.  We do still have our grapes – two small vineyards budded over to Chambourcin three years ago; early in Spring (September) we cut the heads out of vines in Millies Vineyard getting ready to pull them out, but all the original Pinot grigio trunks then re-sprouted so we will let then grow and in Winter (June 2013) Scott who made our wines will come down from Glencoe and we will dig out lots of the 12 year old vines with the backhoe for him to take home and fill in gaps in his Pinot gris plot.


Nadine’s 2012 days have included: 1) still working at University of New England four days – Mon to Thu (from mid-February 2013 I will work three days – Tue to Thu only) – for the first half of the year I continued as Course Coordinator of our 4th year Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) upgrade course; and, I was an interim Course Coordinator for creating and leading the development of  a new course – four years undergraduate Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) which will begin in 2013. It will be available fulltime or part-time and on-campus or off-campus [distance learning]; 2) I did lots of ‘being greener’ events [think International Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, refer to UNESCO website] during the year, such as ---a] initiated and lead what I called the ‘New England Children’s Services Eco-mentoring Project/Network’ with three learning and sharing symposia events [a March weekend, a July Saturday, a November Saturday], frequent emails to a list of 90+ centres with e-resources attached, designed logo ‘I’m a New England ECE Eco-mentor’ for a recycled bamboo USB/memory stick and loaded 100 ‘being greener’ articles, documents, website resources, etc; b] Doug and I flew to Tasmania in early May where I worked with Julie (from QUT in Brisbane) and Di (former QUT, now Uni of Tas at Launceston) to plan and then Julie and I presented ‘eco-early childhood ideas’  in three sites around the State over three days plus did a UTAS staff research seminar – we each did 11 presentations over the three days! c] in August/September I presented twice in four weeks at conferences over at Coffs Harbour – one a Teacher Education Innovation Dialogues where Ros and I co-presented ideas for creating ‘greener’ early childhood teacher education courses at universities and secondly I did an interactive workshop on ‘Packing a case of Eco BIG ideas’ for the NSW Mobile Meet annual event of all the ‘mobile’ children’s services across the State – there are about 400+; d] of course I taught by distance my usual Early Education Leadership Theory and Practice unit of study in Trimester 1 and 2 [yes, we started doing trimesters rather than semesters this year = shorter teaching/learning period and for us academics less time between for all our preparing and finalising units, online sites, grades, etc] but I also taught a new elective unit called ‘Education for Sustainability’ for Bachelor, Master or Graduate Diploma students studying primary or Secondary teacher education, plus I had three postgraduates graduate [PhD and 2 EdDs] and continued to co-supervise 4/5 postgrads. For 2013, I will teaching T2 [starting 1 July] and new T3 [that is late October to early Feb] and so from now I will not teach until the beginning of July except for one Special Topic (individual study) BEd(EC) local student/colleague and unit revisions for our Rhonda to teach ‘leadership’ in T1 in my place. e] I did some research and writing and plan to do more writing next year – I want to design a booklet that documents the year of Eco-mentoring project and last week I submitted an ‘invited’ book proposal to Cambridge University Press, their Australian office in Melbourne, plus there is a final-edit to do article that Ros and I wrote last year to finish and submit. f] lots of time with emails and such.


As ‘they’ say that is our ‘potted history’ for the last year...


Sorry again for our slow and infrequent contact with you; as we indicated above the days just fly by and sitting at the computer is not our most fun experience...

Our love, Nadine and Doug

Page    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20    21    22    23