JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

I am fifty something and I love my family and the life I live. I'm an optimistic person by nature and I try to find a positive for every negative. I'm not a vegetarian, but the animal I eat is. I enjoy cooking, photography and scrapbooking. Since living here I have become a gardener and take immense joy in the beauty of my garden. My husband and I feel that we are the caretakers of the land rather than land owners. We run a grass fed Droughtmaster Stud on our little piece of Paradise and the cattle are a never ending supply of photo opportunities.

Saturday, 20 January 2018


Yesterday we sent the last of our cattle (except two steers that will be for the freezer) to our son at Gundiah.  It is with both sadness and happiness that we did this.  Sadness because we love our cattle but happiness that they are going to a good place and that we will get to see them again.  Can't say that about any other cattle that we have sold.
I freely admit that I dislike working with cattle in the yards and Philip only called upon me as a last resort.  However, the "last resort" was happening more often so I am happy that is now finished.  What I will miss though is the morning walk when I could say hello to the cows and their caves, and get to know their individual traits.  Some of our cattle are "pat quiet" others look at you with disdain. One thing is for sure though that they are all quiet cattle and by that I mean that there is no vice in any of them.  You can walk through them in the cattle yards and they just quietly move out of the way.
So, yesterday our morning started at 5.30 am. when Philip mustered the cattle into the yards and we drafted off the calves from the cows.  By 7.00 am our "cross loading" body truck had arrived and by 7.30 am we had our first load ready for the the B-Doubles waiting on the bitumen pad 100 metres from our gate.
For those of you that don't know what cross loading is I will try to explain.
The B-Double trucks cannot enter our property because they are too long so we get the truck drivers to wait at the bitumen pad while we load a body truck that then transports the cattle to the waiting trucks.  The body truck reverses up to the B-Double and the cattle then move, via a ramp, from one truck to another.  As we had six decks of cattle to be loaded it was twelve trips for the body truck that carried a half deck.
It poured rain yesterday while we were loading the cattle, that seemed like a fitting way to say goodbye to the cattle.  They now have a journey of almost 1600 km that will take about 36 hours to complete.  We gave the cattle plenty of room to move around on the trucks so that when the truck drivers have to stop for a log book break the cattle will be able to lie down.  It's the best we could do.

Cross Loading

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The week that was.....

We've had a busy week catching up with friends.  First at Palm Cove where our great friends and hosts cooked up a delicious meal for the seven of us.  Love, love, loved the salads that Kate made to compliment the bbq lamp chops, sausages and chicken.  And lets not forget that curry.  To die for.  It was such a beautiful balmy night sitting on the verandah at our friends Palm Cove apartment.  As usual, the conversation (and drinks) flowed easily. We stayed the night and next morning......ham and eggs.  What else!  Thanks guys!

The three amigos

Anyone for a bbq?

Sunday evening we were invited to our gardeners house.  Her parents were coming for a visit and she really wanted us to meet them as they are ex westerners (from the Hughenden area).  Boy, did we hit it off.  We had so many friends in common, it was quite amazing.  Trude's husband was home after doing a four week stint at his FIFO job in PNG.  He didn't get to have christmas with his family so Trudi cooked up a beautiful ham with all the vegetables and trimmings.  It was another fantastic meal.  After dinner we took our chairs downstairs and sat around the bonfire that the kids had built. Another memorable night.
Dinner at Trudi's place

There is nothing more relaxing than sitting around a bonfire.

Saturday morning I rose quite early to get down to the Mossman Farmers Markets to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.  I made a resolution at the start of the year that I would do this and also to eat from the freezer more often.  By that I mean eating some of the frozen meals that I religiously place in the freezer to eat when we are short of time.  Of course, they don't get eaten!  I have enough frozen meals to feed us for at least a month.....
This lady was selling "red avocados" that I googled and they are in fact Mamey Sapote.  I bought two and will make them into a healthy dessert. 
A lot of the produce comes from the Atherton Tablelands at this time of the year.  
Last night we were back in Cairns for dinner at our friend Jane's home to check out her renovation.  What a great job the builders have done and kudos to Jane for her fantastic taste in furnishings.  It is a lovely home with a "heart".  We all took along a food contribution and started with a cheese ball, and crackers followed by garlic prawns with crusty bread.  For the main meal we feasted on Stuffed Mushrooms, Asparagus Spears with soft friend Egg, Potato Bake, Steak and Sausages.  To round out the meal Jane had made a lovely lemon tart.  We were as "full as googs" as we said goodnight to our friends.

Dressed to kill

Today we are watering the garden.  It is very dry for this time of the year, but then again January can be a horrible month as we await the start of the monsoon season.  I went around the garden and picked a few flowers before we started watering.  The garden is looking lovely at this time of the year.

Next week we are going to be extremely busy as we send all our cattle to our son at Gundiah.  We are starting to "wind down" as we head towards retirement.  Bring it on!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Vale John Edward O'Neil

On Thursday we sad our last goodbyes to my mothers partner for the past 19 years.  He had just celebrated his 80th birthday.
John came into Mum's life shortly after my dad passed away but had been a family friend for many, many years.  John worked in Main Roads in those days and passed on a lot of work to my plumber father.  They were great mates.
I can't say that it was easy to accept John into mum's life, but it really didn't take very long for his charm to rub off and for us to see that he was good for mum.
They both built lovely houses on Ogilvie Road in Warwick but it wasn't long before Toowoomba called and they found the perfect place in Hume Street.......identical town houses side by side.
Every morning John would deliver the paper to Mum after he had read it. That was their way of checking on each other.  They also shared their evening meals in front of the TV.  Mum would make up her tray and walk the six or so steps to John's place where he would also have his tray made up.
They enjoyed wonderful holidays together seeing much of Australia until mum's health restricted her from traveling too far, so it was either the Gold or Sunshine Coasts along with the yearly visit to us her at Julatten.
John could be very opinionated and we did not see eye to eye on lots of things but he was also one of the kindest, generous big-hearted people I know.  I am going to miss him greatly.

RIP Johno.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017....A year in review

Here we are on New Years Eve and once again I am grateful for reaching this point.  Looking back through all my photos from 2017 I sometimes wonder whether we are ever home!  It has been a busy year.
New Year 2017 saw us on the Sunshine Coast celebrating with friends and family.  We always enjoy that and it is a great way to see in the New Year. This year we are in Toowoomba and sadly we are here for John's funeral.  John and Mum were together for 18 years so he has been like a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.
Now onto the year in review.
January we are usually sitting around waiting for the wet season to commence but we did make our way to Rex Smeal Park in Port Douglas to watch the "new Australians" become part of our community on Australia Day.

February was, for us, a relatively quiet month but a trip  to Tinnaroo Dam for a spot of Kayaking is always fun.

March was a great time to have my two sisters come for a visit.  It was wonderful to spend the time with each other even if it was only a short visit.

April is the Dirt and Dust Triathlon and my husband has competed in almost all of them.  This year we were joined by friends from Cairns.

April also saw my mother turn 80.  We celebrated with a "Girls Only" lunch and afternoon tea.

May.  It may not seem such a big deal to many folks, but we finally laid bitumen on our access road.  Why didn't we do this years ago!

June saw us travelling to PNG and Singapore with our wonderful friends.  It was a fabulous trip and memories that we will enjoy looking back on for a long time.

July saw us having friends visit and it is always a time for me to test my culinary skills.  I love good food and enjoy trying out new recipes but I am actually enjoying the cooking side less and less.  I guess it is an age thing.  These days I try to keep it simple, but there is nothing like a good cheese platter to impress the guests!

August is my birth month and this year, being my 60th, was quite a big month.  My dear friend surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake, made with her own hands.

We also spent a week in Bali for my birthday week and were joined by friends.  It was a special time with lots of eating, drinking and lots of laughs.

September our son came to visit us.  It was an opportunity to set him to work and help us with the branding.

October we sadly said our last goodbyes to Philips mother.  She would have been 82 in December and lived a very full, exciting life and always made the most of every situation.  We will miss her enthusiasm for life.

November saw us on another road trip.  Gosh I love these trips.  Everything is just so easy and I have repeatedly told Philip that I could easily live in our Camper for an extended amount of time.

November we saw John for the last time, although we did not know it at the time.  John sadly passed away on Christmas Eve.

December, with all the Christmas hype, passed very quickly.  It was the first time in our forty years of marriage that we spent Christmas alone and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, that's a wrap for 2017.  I wish you all peace and happiness for 2018 and god willing I will be sitting here again at the end of 2018 writing another post just like this one.  Namaste.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Thai Beef Salad

I haven't posted a recipe for quite awhile and today, while we were eating our Thai Beef Salad for lunch,  I thought I should share this truly delicious and healthy recipe.

(sourced from Paleopriness.com.au)
Beef Ingredients:
500g rump steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce or amino seasoning
2-3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 long red chilli, sliced thinly - seeds removed for a milder flavour
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
Salad Ingredients:
1 long lebanese cucumber, cut lengthways, then sliced into thin half moon shapes
1 red capsicum, sliced into 3cm thin strips
Soba noodles, cooked until just tender, then rinsed under cool water.  Drain well.
1 large bunch of fresh coriander
3 spring onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
Handful of fresh mint leaves, torn in half
1 carrot shaved into strips
Toasted Crushed Peanuts to serve

Mix the garlic with the olive oil.  Cut the steak into bite size pieces and mix with the garlicky oil.  Heat a frying pan until very hot and toss in the steak.  Cook to your liking and set aside.

Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, basil leaves, chilli, coconut sugar, soy sauce (or amino seasoning) in a bowl.  Combine the steak with the sauce and and place in the fridge to marinate at least 10 minutes.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, cover and place in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, pour the beef and marinade on top of the salad mixture and toss together.  Sprinkle with the peanuts.


Monday, 11 December 2017

The Festive Season begins

Our first christmas party for the season was on the weekend at the Combined Club, or more affectionately known as the "Tin Shed".  The club shuts for the night so that members can enjoy canapés and half price drinks all evening.  How good is that!
Earlier I had booked us a room at Mantra Heritage right in the centre of Port Douglas because it is so much nicer if we can both enjoy a beverage or two without having to worry about the drive home.
We had never stayed at Mantra Heritage before (how did we miss this place!) and after an easy check-in process we quickly settled into our swim-out room.  The one-bedroom apartment was beautifully placed in the resort and just three rooms shared the private pool.

There was no one else in the other two swim out rooms so we had the pool to ourselves.
There is another larger pool, that was not quite in our view, and as we were sunning by the pool a young mother and her three year old daughter asked if they could swim in this pool as there was music playing in the larger pool area and the songs they were playing were never meant for young ears.  Gee people are thoughtless.  We, of course welcomed them to our private pool.  They were from Geelong and were here in Port for a week's holiday.  We talked for quite awhile before we excused ourselves to go and shower for our christmas party.
We walked the short distance to the Combined Club and made our way upstairs and made ourselves very comfortable in an outside sitting area.
The Tin Shed 

 The area was set up for four people and it wasn't long before another couple joined us.  They were from Cairns and we settled into an easy conversation.  The canapés kept coming all night and we enjoyed fish and chips (including sweet potato chips), grilled chicken and kimchee, beetroot risotto arancini balls, bruschetta and prawn balls.  There were also sweets laid out but we didn't go near them as we were content with what we had indulged in.
It wasn't a late night and we were in bed by 10.30 pm.  The room was beautifully dark and I didn't wake until 8.00 am Sunday morning!  That is a real sleep in for me.
We showered and re-packed our overnight bag and checked out of our room because we wanted to wander through the markets and then head to Hi-Tide by the Sea for breakfast.
We haven't been to the markets for many years and it was pleasing to see so many new stalls.  We stopped at the stall selling magnesium and topped up our supplies.  This lady makes all her own products and we know that they are good.

Next stall was to chose property numbers for our front gate.  Philip will attach these to a piece of perspex before attaching to our block gate.

We finally sat down to breakfast/brunch at 10.00 am at Hi-Tide.  This place has become a favourite as the food is always healthy and fresh.  I chose the seasonal greens with house smoked salmon, poached eggs and hummus washed down with a refreshing Ginger, Lime & Mint Slushy.

Philip chose the pork belly with poached eggs however he said that the pork was slightly on the dry side.

It was a lovely 24 hours and as usual we promise ourselves to do it again soon.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Have we really been on holidays?

We have been home for a week now and it feels like we have never been away.  It is amazing how we slip back into the same routines so easily.  For me, the first two days home were washing clothes and linen, cleaning the camper, more washing, more cleaning.  In between all that we made a trip to Port to shop some groceries as the cupboard was bare.  We decided to splurge on lunch as there was nothing much to eat in the fridge.  We chose Paddy Malone's as it was a terribly muggy day and it is air-conditioned.   We both chose seafood - Philip the seafood platter and I chose the fish and chips with mushy peas.  Would you check out the size of Philip's meal!  And he ate all of it!

It is very unusual for us not to have a feed of fish and chips when we are on holidays but this time, in our effort to make healthier food choices, we did not indulge even once.  After eating our meals at Paddy's we both had queasy bellies and we think that it was eating deep fried food.

This week was cattle work.  We arrived home to find our cattle being eaten alive with buffalo fly so it was a trip to Mareeba to purchase ear tags and the following day, with the help of our gardeners daughter, we tagged every single beast on the property.  It is so very satisfying to see, after just a couple of hours, that the cattle are far more contented without the flies chewing them.

I did manage to get two yoga practices in this week as well as a couple of morning walks.  Would you look at what I woke to this morning.

We had rain yesterday so it was inevitable that we would have fog this morning.

I am still trying to cook and eat healthy meals.  I made a huge batch of Broccoli, Kale, Couscous and Chickpea soup using a recipe that I had seen on TV, so that has been our lunch for most of this week. I serve it with a spoonful of yoghurt, parsley and a squeeze of lemon.  It is very delicious and even though soup is typically a winter meal, this one is so light and yummy that it can be made for any season of the year.  I did shake up our healthy choices (not) and made quesadilla's for a snack one night.  I had a lot of leftover bits of cheeses and some delicious homemade cucumber pickles so that is what went on the quesadilla and they were delicious with a capital "D".

Another day I made Jamie Olivers Sweet Potato Salad.  I was going to serve it is a side to some corned meat fritters but it was a meal in itself.

We have so many eggs at the moment.  My DIL loaded us up and our gardener's chooks are laying more than she can handle so I have many dozens in my fridge.  Poached eggs with avocado and Dukkah are always a good way to use a couple.  Talking about Avocado's, what is going on with them this year.  Everyone I open seems to be mostly brown on the inside.  I have tried leaving them on the bench for just 24 hours and then popping them into the fridge but nothing seems to help.  I can't wait for my own to ripen.

We had to go to Cairns yesterday to pick up some fuel and oil filters for the various machinery.  Just before we left, my phone decided to die.  I eventually got it working again, albeit - S L O W - so I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a new IphoneX.  Boy, aren't they expensive!  I hope that this will be my last phone for a long long time.  My last one lasted four years so I hope I get at least that out of this new one.  I played with it last night as it is a steep learning curve.  I love the camera and Philip was my portrait subject.  I intend to do a lot more practicing so friends.....be warned!

That's a wrap for this week.....