On the morning of her third day in Sugarbush Valley, Damara got up early, got dressed and after brushing her teeth, she went for a walk with her camera. She wasn't sure if Mona would approve but she wanted to explore on her own a bit.
She decided to take the road out of the village towards the countryside. Stopping to actually smell the flowers.
On her way she bumped into some strangers.
It turned out to be the Meadows family, neighbours of Irene and Bruno, who she met on her first day. They introduced themselves as Jack and Maisie and the two cute little babies Noah and Jess. They were on their way into the village to do the milk deliveries for the day.
After assuring Damara that this road is the most beautiful one for walking and picture taking, they waved her good bye, and both parties were on their way again.
After some more walking Damara reached Highfields farm, normally she wouldn't enter through a farm gate without permission, but she was sure the owners wouldn't mind. Everyone in Sugarbush Valley was so welcoming. And was she glad she did. The homestead was built in the Tudor style and was breathtaking.
Damara gathered all the courage she could muster and walked up to the front door. Though the door was open, no one came to answer. She would have loved to see the inside of the house as well.
Disappointed she turned away, making a mental note to ask Mona about the owners.
Not discouraged, Damara continued exploring the farm. The road let her to a small wooden cabin tucked away in what seems like one of the corners of the farm.
It was a beautiful home and again Damara wondered who were the lucky owners. What intrigued Damara the most was the outside shower bath. She dreamed of taking a bath on a hot summer night in it, with the stars twinkling above.
A mile or so farther, Damara reached a clearing, and what looked like a vegetable farm. And just beyond it a family having a breakfast picnic. 'How special is that!' Damara thought.
She went closer and carefully greeted the strangers, "Good morning, sorry to intrude, but I just have to say, you make the loveliest scene, would you mind me taking a picture?" The family looked her way, greeted her friendly and introduced themselves as the Woodbrook family.
"Do you have a breakfast picnic every morning?" Damara asked intrigued. "Oh no," replied Bethanie, the mother, "today we need to harvest some of the vegetables, we needed to start early, so I packed us some food. It is less trouble then to go home, eat and come back again." Bethanie explained. "But please, why don't you join us for breakfast?" Andy invited. "No, I can't do that." Damara answered halfheartedly. But the Woodbrooks insisted and Damara just couldn't not accept the kind invitation.
Damara had a wonderful time. She enjoyed the fresh air, the food was delicious and the company charming. She told them all about her travelling, answer many questions about the different villages and towns she have visited. Andy and Bethanie in return told her all about Sugarbush Valley, farm life and how they missed their family up north in Mystique Valley.
Too soon the Woodbrooks had to get back to work, harvesting their crops, and Damara continued her morning walk.
She couldn't get enough of the beautiful landscapes ...
... and stopped multiple time to take some photos.
Another stranger crossed her path. Damara actually got a big fright as she was so mesmerised by the scenery that she didn't notice the hedgehog, until she could almost touch Damara.
"Good morning." Damara said, trying to hide her surprise. "Do you live in the village too?" Damara asked cautiously, not sure what to expect. "Hey there, sorry for frightening you, I was lost in thought. I'm Livvy Bramble, new to Sugarbush Valley. I only arrived two days ago, but struggling to adjust. It is hard on ones own." the hedgehog replied with a wry smile.
Damara felt sorry for Livvy, but before she could say a word of encouragement, Livvy excused herself and walked off.
Damara couldn't get Livvy out of her thoughts, and absentmindedly walked on, until she reached a small market. "She must've reached the village from the other side now." Damara realised.
"The Travelling Sylvanian!" someone cried, and everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to Damara. She was sure that she turned scarlet red with embarrassment.
It turned out that the one responsible for Damara's embarrassment was the village counsellor Velvette Slydale. "Sorry for that, but I've heard form Sydney that you arrived two days ago, and I was really annoyed for not being able to meet you yet." Velvette explained friendly.
After answering many questions, and promises of a coffee date later, Velvette and her daughter Scarlet left. Giving Damara a chance to meet the proprietors of the market Bob and Betty Blackberry. Damara admired their fresh produce and complimented Bob on the wide variety on offer.
Betty explained to Damara that she offers some fresh juice and smoothies, as an addition to her husband's market. Damara commended Betty on a fantastic idea, and thought how entrepreneurial everyone in Sugarbush seems. Betty offered Damara a smoothie of her choice for free ...
... and while the Blackberries continued with their morning routine ...
... Damara enjoyed the crisp morning air while sipping her smoothie, thinking life is indeed beautiful.