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.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Let's take a walk through the garden......

The first thing that you will notice in our garden are the colours purple/lilac/pink/white  They are my favourite colours. We have balanced the pastels with some big spashes of colour but I think it is working.  

So lets's begin that walk.



 We dug up all the agapanthas earlier this year and divided them.  They must have loved it because we now have a glorious display of huge blooms. In the photo above you can see splashes of colour from the hippeastrums and day lilies.

The next find in my garden is this little purple beauty.  It's going to give me the most amazing flower in a couple of days.  I'll keep you posted.
The lovely pink ground orchids (well, that's what I call them) are along the path that leads to the palm garden.  They started flowering in September and will flower right through until autumn.

This is the little waterfall in our fish pond.  



The day lilies have been flowering for many weeks.  This one has a gorgeous lilac and yellow bloom.  Can you see the little insects humming around the stamen?


Last but not least are the hydrangeas that are just starting to flower.  This is the blue and we also have a magnificent white.

The garden gives DH and I an immense amount of joy.  It is now an established garden but we still put a lot of time into mulching, composting, fertilizing and the endless pruning!  However by putting in the hard yards our garden has repaid us a thousand fold.



Sunday, 18 November 2012

Fishing

I would love to go reef fishing, in fact take me anyway where I can actually catch a fish. My only experience with fishing was when we were younger and we made the annual trip to Ballina for Christmas holidays.  My Uncle Darcy had a "tinny" that he used for fishing on the river.  It would (and should) only hold two adults safely but somehow we would squeeze two adult men (dad and uncle) and four kids!  No lifejackets in those days.  We, or should I say, everyone except me, would catch flathead but I never seemed to be able to land anything. And then there were the times that we took the boys to the waterhole at the back of our place at Julia Creek.  We (once again, everyone but me) did catch a few catfish and the occasional barramundi but sadly not me.
I love to watch fishermen.  They seem to be so contented.  Our late son loved fishing and DH fondly recalls the last fishing expedition he had with our son.   They didn't catch a thing but DH will remember that day for the rest of his life.
I took this photo of a couple of fisherman just on sunset and I often wonder if they caught anything.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Solar Eclipse 2012

We were dead centre of the path of the lunar eclipse today.  That in itself is remarkable.  What was not so remarkable was the cloud cover that we had this morning.  It spoilt it for us somewhat, particularly as we looked towards Mt. Molloy and saw sunshine!  Anyway, our next door neighbours, their three children and DH and I made our way to the highest point on our farm.  We took bacon, eggs, sausages, bread - all the makings for a bbq breakfast - and cooked it while we waited.  We arrived nice and early at 5.30 am.  It started to rain lightly at 6.00 am and continued through most of the eclipse.  Occasionally the clouds broke and we caught glimpses of the eclipse but when the moon completely blocked the sun at 6.38 am and day turned into night, well,  that was  an experience that we will never forget.  It was so eerie.  These are the photos that I managed to get.
6.33 am

6.57 am
7.00 am
7.02 am
7.08 am
7.14 am
7.17 am
7.32 am

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Vale Myra Scott Beach 24.5.1919 - 3.11.2012

Yesterday we attended the funeral of one of the most gracious ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Mrs. Beach lived on the neighbouring property at Julia Creek.  DH's parents moved to Julia Creek in 1958.  DH was two years old and his brother was a babe in arms.  They had moved from southern Queensland to the north west and it was a HUGE move for them.  They were instantly welcomed into the area by their neighbours, Jack and Myra and there two sons.   DH has recalled a wealth of memories of the two families enjoying picnics, bush race meets, Christmas's, New Years, birthdays, anniversaries....all spent together.
My mother and DH's mother lived thousands of kilometres away from us so when our boys came along Mrs. Beach "adopted" them as her own grandchildren.  Such a selfless, and beautiful thing to do.  She never forgot a birthday and the boys loved visiting her.  She always had little treats for them whether it was lollies or her famous snowballs.
I remember fondly her wonderful contagious laugh.  She would laugh so easily and and that was just one of a hundred things that I loved about her.
She was passionate about her tennis and encouraged all of us "girls" to attend Ladies Day tennis in Julia Creek.  I loved those Friday mornings.  It gave my boys a chance to play with other kids and it was great to have a gossip with the other girls!
And who could ever forget the cocktail parties that Mr and Mrs Beach hosted at the Sedan Dip Picnic race meeting.  Mrs Beach would cook for months beforehand and only enlisted the help of a select few.  She was quite particular about the way things should be done.  I learnt so much about catering from Mrs. Beach.  The cocktail parties were by invitation but Mrs Beach would make sure that EVERYBODY that attended the race meeting got an invitation!
Mrs Beach has not been well for a long time and I guess some would say that it was for the best that she has now "moved to the room next door" to be with the love of her life, Jack.  For me personally it feels like the end of an era and I will miss her greatly.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pineapple Bromeliad

One of the joys of living in the tropics is that I can grow almost anything.  My latest joy is the pineapple.


We planted a couple of pineapple tops (bromeliads)  in the garden some time ago.  It was so long ago that I had forgotten about them.  But to my surprise and wonder those spiky tops have now produced a fruit.  They are a very pretty fruit when they are young and I can't wait for them to mature to see how juicy they taste.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A wedding at Kingscliffe






We received an invitation to a wedding at Kingscliffe located on the Queensland New South Wales border.  Kingscliffe was a place that we visited quite often when I was young.  We spent many, many holidays with relatives that lived at Ballina and one of our Sunday drives was to the sleepy little town of Kingscliffe.  Well, I have to tell you, it is certainly not sleepy anymore.  It has grown into quite a bustling metropolis.  It is sad in some ways but hey, that's progress.  A seachange is everybodys dream and that is why the sleepy little beachside villages have grown out of all proportion.
The wedding was held at Mantra on Salt and it was a lovely setting for the garden wedding.  The day before the wedding was very blustery but mother nature kindly stepped in on the day of the wedding and turned on the sunshine.  
The grooms parents are very close and treasured friends. The grooms father lived on the neighbouring property at Julia Creek and DH and him grew up with each other.  When we married, our children continued the tradition and also became lifelong friends.  
So off to Kingscliffe we headed for the wedding.  The groom looked nervous while waiting for his bride (who was traditionally a little late) but once he saw her approaching his face lit up.
The bride looked perfect in her gown of lace and her bridesmaid (sister) in a lovely shade of blue completed the picture.
After the ceremony we adjourned to the cool comfort of the Mantra foyer for pre-dinner drinks and also to catch up with friends and family that we had not seen in quite awhile.  At 6.00pm we were called to be seated in preparation for the buffet dinner.  The food was delicious and as usual I overindulged but I made sure that DH and I hit the dance floor to dance away some of those calories!  It was a lovely wedding and I'm very pleased that we made the journey to Kingscliffe.






Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tomato Passata!

We went away for four days and in that time the tomatoes have exploded on the bushes.  We have yellow egg tomatoes and large red cherry.  The bushes came up by themselves in different areas of the garden and we just let them grow.  We have tried growing other varieties of tomatoes in the vegetable plot with very little  success.  So this morning I went out and picked these little gems.  I ended up with three kilograms!  I have already slow-roasted a large amount of tomatoes so this time I made tomato passata.  The recipe takes very little time make and the slowest part, by far, is cutting those little tomatoes in half!  Here is the end result.

The recipe came from Annabel Langbein - The Free Range Cook.

Here is the recipe (adapted for 3kg tomatoes).

TOMATO PASSATA
3kg large tomatoes (I of course used cherry tomatoes)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
18 basil leaves
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons sugar
lots of ground black pepper

If you are using large tomatoes, peel and dice them.  For cherry tomatoes, just cut in half.  Place all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer over a gentle heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool the sauce, then pass through a mouli or puree in a food processor.  Pour into clean jars.  The passata will keep in the fridge for over a week or can be frozen for later use.  Recipe makes about 9 cups.

I use this sauce for so many different recipes.  Tonight I am having guests for dinner so the lasagne I made was based on this sauce, as are my bolognese.  I make a mean eggplant parmigiana using the passata and also use it tossed with home made pasta for a very quick meal.  It is a very versatile sauce and well worth the effort of making.