While we were still staying a Woodoo’s house, David scouted the Eatonsville area and — unencumbered by small followers — trekked for miles across the paddocks and through the river forests. At one place, he discovered a crop of wild pumpkins, and it was his talk of pumpkins and a desire for pumpkin soup that set us on a pumpkin hunt.

In the morning, we started off late. Breakfast was an easy affair — baked beans in a tortilla wrap. No cooking or washing-up required! (I like easy camp foods.)

To reach the pumpkin patch, we had to cross many paddocks — some populated with cows and others punctuated with scotch thistle and stinging nettles. With the girls accompanying us, it was a slow walk, so we decided to deliberately let them explore their surroundings instead of making our way directly to the site.

Exploring the Eatonsville area, October 2010
We loved the shady river groves. As the girls picked flowers and climbed trees, I looked for somewhere to sit and rest.

Exploring the Eatonsville area, October 2010
When we found the perfect climbing tree (with neat hand-holds in the form of vertical branches), we couldn't entice the girls to climb it without David first showing them how it was done.

Exploring the Eatonsville area, October 2010
Then they were up!

At the pumpkin patch, David chose two pumpkins for our dinner and then we started the slow march home.

Exploring the Eatonsville area, October 2010
Lush cow paddocks alternated with the forest groves along the river's edge, providing interest and variety to our walk.

Exploring the Eatonsville area, October 2010
For a time, a small herd of cattle stalked us as we passed through their paddock. I don't know if they were curious or thought we might feed them!

Considering we were out all day with only some dried fruit as sustenance, the girls held up marvellously well. It’s wonderful to see that they’re growing into intrepid adventurers like David (and like how I want to be too)!

Back at camp, David used his machete to cut up the pumpkins. He put it all into a pressure cooker on the fire, and it was ready very quickly. Pressure cooker on a campfire? Yes, now that I’ve experienced it, I wouldn’t leave home without it!

Exploring the Eatonsville area, October 2010
After our long trek, I was happy to just sit (and write a little bit) and let David make the pumpkin soup for dinner.

After a quick blend and a bit of spice, the soup was ready to serve to our hungry mob.

At the Eatonsville camp, October 2010
Yum, yum. So fresh. So free. Delicious!

I really like the idea of eating bush foods — it’s an extension of our dream of greater self-sufficiency. Thanks, David, for finding the pumpkins (twice), and for your delicious soup!