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, 30 July 2013

Jade Vine

Last year I posted photos of our Jade Vine with it's one and only most beautiful flower.  This year it has outdone itself.  It is flowering over and over.  The pendulous flowers are over a metre long and are absolutely beautiful.  Some of the flowers are on the ground which is strange but then again, I don't know too much about this wonderful vine.  All I know is that it gives me a great amount of pleasure when I see the blooms.

Here are some photos I took today.

The pendulous blooms just about ready to open

Spent blooms on the ground

Monday, 29 July 2013

Cooking under Pressure Part 2

Tonight I cooked up Hoisin Pork with Salted Crackling, and it was both healthy and delicious!


HOISIN PORK WITH SALTED CRACKLING

Ingedients:
1.2kg boneless pork belly, rind on and scored
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise (I only used 1)
1/3 cup Hoisin Sauce
5cm strip orange rind
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fine cooking salt
500g choy sum, trimmed (I used a packet of Coles Brand Asian Stir Fry plus a few snow peas)

Method:
1.  Combine cinnamon, star anise, sauce, rind, juice and the water in a 6 litre pressure cooker.  Place pork, rind-side up, on oiled wire rack in cooker, secure lid.  Bring cooker to high pressure.  Reduce heat to stabilise pressure, cook 30 minutes.
2.  Release pressure using the quick release method.  Remove lid.  Remove pork from cooker, strain cooking liquid into small saucepan.
3.  Preheat grill.  Place pork, rind-side up on wire rack over large shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle rind with salt.  Grill pork about 10 minutes or until crackling is browned lightly and crisp.
4.  Meanwhile, bring reserved cooking liquid to the boil.  Boil, uncovered about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.  Add choy sum, cook until wilted.
5.  Cut pork into six pieces.  Serve pork with sauce and choy sum.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Birds in the Garden

My gardener, Trudi, and I,  love flowers in the garden so we have been busy filling the front garden beds with lots of them.  Salvias, Petunias, Cosmos, Gerbera, Lavender are all looking pretty and Trudi has also bought packet of seeds that she has planted here and there.   They will be our surprise package!
With all these lovely flowers has come the birds.  Little Yellow Breasted Sunbirds (Nectarinia jugularis) are in abundance and the Forest Kingfisher also pop in occasionally.  And of course The Laughing Kookaburra is never very far away.  They
The Winter Garden.  I'm so luck that I can have colour in winter.

came with the house!
Since living in the tropics and joining the photography group I am much more aware of the birds that are around me.  There chirping is a most welcome sound and I always stop and see if I can identify them.
I find birds difficult to photograph.  They are sooooo fast and you really need a tripod with a long lens to get great shots.  These are my hand-held shots that are taken "at the spur of the moment".
We don't have frosts that would normally burn off these flowers.

The Laughing Kookabura

Yellow Breasted Sunbird

Forest Kingfisher

Friday, 26 July 2013

Mossman Show

Last week-end was HUGE!  The Douglas Photographic Society - my photography group - decided to set up a portrait studio at the Mossman Show.  We had space in one of the pavilions, albiet not a big space, but space enough to create some great portraits.  We set up our area the day before the show and it looked pretty good.



I didn't think that we would be rushed off our feet, but how wrong I was.  We were really busy.  Our process was to take the portrait, then with the camera tethered to a laptop we were able to download straight to Lightroom.  We then asked the client to choose the photo/s that they would like printed.  They could choose either 5 x 7 or A4.  They could also have A3 as an ordered print.  From Lightroom we made slight adjustments to the photo and then it was printed. The whole process from beginning to end took about a half hour.  
We opened the studio at 9am and closed at 9pm.  As I was the only in our photography group that had a knowledge of Lightroom I was there for both 12 hour days.  However, on the second day I taught another one of our photography group ladies the Lightroom basics....enough to at least allow me toilet breaks!!
We are only a new group and as such have not much in the way of funds so it was pleasing that we made over $2000 for the two days.  Wow!  A good start for the club!
On the evening of the second day were the fireworks.  I LOVE fireworks.  They really set my heart racing.  I tried to get some good photos but fireworks are notoriously hard to photograph.  Here are some of the better shots.





DH and I took a stroll through Side-Show-Alley and it was pleasing that all the rides seemed to be popular.  The crowds appeared to be up on last year.  It is very hard to keep people attracted to the small regional shows and the organisers do a tremendous job.  I, for one, will always support the regional shows, and in particular the Mossman Show.

Sideshow Alley at night.



Friday, 19 July 2013

A weekend in Julia Creek.

My DIL organised a photography course in Julia Creek and I was one of the first to put up my hand.  I always get so much from these courses, and have a lot of "light bulb" moments.
The presenter of this course was a gentleman called Rowan Bestmann.  I think he would be one of the best course presenters I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Some people have the knack of presenting and others can simply bore you to tears.  Believe me, I've been to plenty of those courses! Rowan's photographic skills are unquestionable and if you want to have a look at some of his work, go here.
We travelled to Julia Creek on the Thursday before the course and went via Townsville as we were in the car.  Leaving Townsville and heading west the country gradually got worse and worse.  The drought is really biting in now.  The most extraordinary thing was not seeing any stock in paddocks west of Hughenden and those that were still there were doing it hard.  By the time we got to Julia Creek  I was getting quite depressed but remarkably once I saw our stock I was heartened.  They were still strong and although they are certainly not fat, they were in reasonable condition.
We stayed at one of our other properties for the weekend as son and DIL had quite a houseful staying there.  On Friday I visited my friend Karen and Friday evening we drove to Nelia for the opening of the Julia Creek Photographers exhibition.  The owners of the gallery provided us with a delicious three course dinner.

The table set for dinner

Outside the Nelia Gallery

Saturday was day one of the two day course.  Day one was all theory.  Lots of information about camera settings and techniques.  Amazingly I did not have information overload and couldn't wait to get into the field to take some shots.  That would have to wait until day two!

Getting to know our cameras

Course participants

Saturday night son and DIL hosted a BBQ.  They are wonderful hosts and the spread that they lay on the table was incredible.  We had steak, chops and a large variety of salads.  Yummy!

Son in charge of the BBQ
Sunday, day two of the course, we were in the field and putting into practice all that we had learnt from the day before.  We went out to the picturesque RV park just out side Julia Creek for our photography.  It is a lovely spot and is filled with RV's.  The council has built a lagoon in the centre of the park and the lagoon is surrounded by BBQ's, table and chairs.  It is a very relaxing spot.
Anyway, back to the photography,  I practised Depth of Field shoots.  
A shallow depth of field gives a nice blurry background

Not quite such a shallow depth of field so the background is a little clearer. 
I would like to become a better landscape photographer and after the course I understood why my shoots were only so-so.  It is all to do with focus point.  Anyway I am going to practice my new skills so stay tuned to this blog.
It was a lovely weekend and I have to thank my DIL for inviting me to Julia Creek.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A mini scrapbook album.

I went to a Prima workshop some time ago and made this beautiful mini album.


 I didn't really know what photos to put inside the album until our 35th wedding anniversary.  Read about it here.  The photos that were taken on the night are the perfect thing for this little album.


Monday, 8 July 2013

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I've been cooking up a storm today.  We are heading out to JC next week, me for a photography course and DH for work.  My DIL asked me to bring along a contribution for smoko and these little Orange Poppy Seed Muffins are a favourite in our house.


The recipe is easy.  It is actually a cake recipe. I leave out the Syrup when I made the muffins.

ORANGE AND POPPYSEED SYRUP CAKE

1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup milk
185g butter
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1.5 cups SR flour
1/2 cup orange juice

SYRUP
1/2 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup Orange Juice
1/3 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees and grease and line a 22cm cake tin (I use a springform). 
Combine poppy seeds and milk and set aside for 20 minutes.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time while continuing to beat.
Fold in sifted flours, juice and poppy seed mixture and pour into prepared tin.
Bake for 1 hour.  Stand cake for 5 minutes.
SYRUP
Combine ingredients in saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.  Pour hot syrup over hot cake.

To make the muffins just drop the cake mixture into your lined muffin tins and bake until nice and golden - about 15 minutes.







Sunday, 7 July 2013

Walking the Bump Track



The sign said: "The Bump Track is the old mining road that runs between Mount Molloy and the Mowbray Valley. It was blazed in 1877 by Christie Palmerston and his friend William Lakeland.  The road provided an essential route for bullock and pack-horse teams hauling basic supplies from Port Douglas to the interior.  It was the lifeline for a vast territory where mines, farms, stations and townships were being formed in the bush"
After our monthly photography group meeting a few of decided to walk a little way along the Bump Track.  We thought we might try a bit of Geo-Caching as there was a Cache at Robbins Creek. Unfortunately, the GPS ran out of battery and our visual search revealed nothing so we simply soaked up the serenity of our surrounds at Robbins Creek. It was a rainy day so the leeches were everywhere and it was a continuous job trying to keep them off us.....yeeessss.....we forgot the Aeroguard!
The start of our journey


Photographing Glenda taking a photo

A little grub inside it's amazing cocoon

My fascination with Fungi lingers,
and lingers,

and lingers!


Met a friend along the way.


DH and Robyn taking a rest at Robbins Creek

The serenely beautiful Robbins Creek.

Looking towards the little waterfalls that tumble over the rocks at Robbins Creek.
"

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Guests

I have had a lovely few days with my retired Aunties and Uncles who have been travelling around north and west Queensland.  They arrived on Saturday and departed today.  It has been a time to sit over morning coffee and gossip with the Aunties and each evening to all come together for happy hour and discuss more worldly subjects.
They both came with their caravans and one was set up under the shade of a big tree and the other was set up inside our very large shed.  They have been the easiest guests.  They insisted on eating breakfast and lunch in their vans and only having the evening meal with me.
DH is at Julia Creek at the moment selling some cattle so he was not able to enjoy their company.  Last night they insisted on taking me out for dinner at the local tavern.  That was a treat and the meal was outstanding.
They have spent their time doing a bit of sightseeing.  One day they spent looking around Mossman and Port Douglas and another day they made the trip to Cape Tribulation through the Daintree National Park.  We also did a little drive around Julatten on the ring road.  Cane harvesting is in full swing at the moment and was interesting to watch.
So they have departed today and will make their way to Babinda where there is a nice camping area and they next day they will journey on to Halifax where they will set up camp with another Aunty for a week or so.
I can't wait for retirement!

Sayonara!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Lab and the Collie!

We have two dogs that I love to death......a Labrador called Hudson and a Border Collie by the name of Lily.  They are great dogs.  They are very well mannered and great company.  They also notify me when someone is at the security gate ....300 metres from the house!!!!

Each afternoon for the last half hour before they are locked in their kennels we throw the ball for them.

A.  It gives them excercise and B. They love it!

They wait eagerly for us to throw the ball.

And then the game is on!  If Hudson gets the ball first he brings it straight back to us for the next throw, but heaven help us if Lily gets its.  She becomes a "myall".  She will not bring it back to us but she also will not let Hudson bring it back until SHE is ready!  It's a bit of a power play.  Hudson waits patiently for Lily to bark .... once.....which means OK,  you can have it now!  And so the game continues.  

Hudson waits for Lily to give up the ball right under his nose!