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, 31 August 2013

Port Douglas Yacht Club

Port Douglas is so very busy at the moment which is great for the retail, hospitality and accommodation businesses.  God knows they certainly need it.  Port Douglas was hit hard by the GFC, as were most places reliant on the tourist trade.
I do my grocery shopping in Port Douglas and most times we incorporate lunch at one of the local restaurants.  There are many to choose from but this week we tried the Port Douglas Yacht Club.  It's a little bit out of the way and therefore quieter than other restaurants, but it's situation beats hands down most other restaurants.  It is right on the inlet and the view to the right was this.....

I never moved from my seat to take this photo.

and to the left was this view.....

or moved for this one!

The clubhouse is airy, comfortable and certainly child-friendly.  A very important issue for a lot of families.  The menu is "pub grub"  but at an excellent price.  DH had a seafood basket and I had a chicken parmy for a little over $30! 



The Port Douglas Yacht Club is certainly worth a visit but a few years ago I might not have said so because (below) this was the original PD Yacht Clubhouse.................

The "Original" Port Douglas Yacht Clubhouse






Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tropical Nectarine

We planted a tropical nectarine in our garden last year and it surprised us by giving us three delicious little nectarines.  The tree was only a few months old!
This year it is covered in buds turning into flowers that should turn into nectarines.  People have told us that the fruit fly will be our enemy so I will make sure that I hang a few sticky baits in the tree when it starts to fruit.  I can't wait to have so many nectarines that I have to stew them coz I love stewed fruit!



Wednesday, 28 August 2013

My birthday

Cairns from the Dome
Sunday was my birthday.  DH wanted to do something special so we booked a night at the Pullman in Cairns.  The Pullman have a locals special whereby they include a bottle of Champagne on arrival, breakfast, and a ten dollar gaming chip to be used in the adjacent casino all at no additional cost.  We have stayed at the Pullman before and I think it is one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed in.  Adjacent to the Pullman is the Casino and above the casino is the Cairns Wildlife Zoo.

Not as scary as we though it might be!
At the Wildlife Zoo, apart from checking out the birds and animals, you can also do a dome walk that takes you right around the top of the dome.  We decided to be courageous and do this.  I wasn't sure how I would be with the height (and neither was DH!) but it was a breeze.  You step into a harness that has a rope attached  that is latched to a cable that runs around the dome.  It is very safe.  We had an excellent tour guide who was able to give us a lot of information about Cairns that we did not previously know, so that was a bonus.
After our time at the zoo we made our way back to our room where our chilled bottle of Champers was waiting.  We sat on the verandah overlooking Trinity Inlet and took in the amazing view.  Cairns Regional Council is doing a lot of work along the waterfront on the inlet and we were amazed at the number of people simply strolling along the pathway and utilizing the BBQ's.
After we finished our champagne we made our way down to the Tamarind Restaurant for a very memorable and delicious three course meal.  We have eaten here before and it does not disappoint.  Following dinner we headed to the casino to play our $10 but alas not jackpot for us.  As we made our way back to our room we passed one of the bars were they were having a Karaoke night.  We decided to have a night cap and listen to the good, and not so good, singers.  We crawled into bed at




Looking downat the zoo from the inside of the dome.



The view from our hotel balcony

Champagne on Ice!
midnight and I declared it to be one of the best birthdays....ever!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Soup Maker

I'm easily taken in by those advertisements on TV, that go on for about a half hour, telling you how good the item is that they are trying to sell.  I couldn't count how many of those items I have purchased only to bin them a few months later.  You would think I would learn!
But the advertisement running at the moment for the Soup Maker really got me in.  Both DH and I love soup and we can eat it at any time of the year.  The TV presenter also told me how much weight that I could lose by living on soup for seven days!  After all the lovely hearty stews throughout the winter months that alone was enough reason to have me on the phone and purchasing the Soup Maker.
Well, I've had it for a week now and I have to tell you that it is the best thing that I've ever brought into my kitchen (apart from my pressure cooker :-)
I've made Mushroom Soup, Broccoli and Stilton Soup,  Chunky Vegetable Soup and tonight Chicken Noodle Soup.  Everyone of those soups have been WOW!  They have been very tasty and the best part is that the soup maker does all the hard work for me.  I just put all the ingredients into the jug and select whether I want Chunky or Smooth soup and that's it.  Twenty minutes later we are eating.  How good is that!

Prepare the ingredients - Diced Chicken, chopped Dill,  Carrots, Celery, Onion, Egg Noodles and chicken stock

Put all the ingredients into the Soup Mate and turn it on.

20 minutes later - VIOLA!  A very delicious Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Foggy Smoky Morning

There has been a fire burning on the ranges behind Wangetti and the prevailing winds are sending the smoke right over us.  I don't like the smell of smoke but I've had to get used to it.  There are cane farms around us and the farmers still use fire as the best way to manage the trash after the cane has been cut.  People around here seem to love fire.  They burn anything from there garden rubbish (apparently they don't know what compost means!) to parts of their acreage where the grass is out of control.
After years of living in the west, where fire was treated as a very serious threat, I find fires very frightening.  We had one burn up to 100 metres of our house when I first moved to Julia Creek in the 70's.  That was very scary.  All the men where out fighting more than 50 fires that night and there was only me and another female friend left at home.  We turned on every hose around the house and just started wetting everything down.  Fortunately for us the wind turned and the fire burned back on itself.  I thanked God that night.
Here are some photos taken on our foggy/smoky morning walk.






Monday, 19 August 2013

Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

Breakfast with the Birds
The Douglas Photographic Society had an outing to the Habitat on Saturday.  We received a locals rate to have breakfast with the birds and then unlimited photographic opportunities within the Wildlife Habitat.
The Habitat is set out in three zones.....Wetlands, Rainforest, and Grasslands.....and each area depicts the animals and birds that you would find in these areas in the wild.
This was the third time that we had visited the Habitat.  It is one of our favourite spots.  It would be quite easy to spend the whole day there and many do. If you are in the area I highly recommend it.
Tawny Frogmouths

Black Necked Jabiru (also known as Stork)  nesting on two eggs.

Such beautiful colours!

Remarkable camouflage.  Hard to tell the crocs head from the rock behind him.

Who wouldn't love the Koalas

Don't call them a bear however, as you will soon be told that they are not bears!

DH and I love ducks.  These were so cute to watch.  One minute they were all looking forward and the next.......

.........it was like someone said "Look Right!"  They moved in unison. First to the right and then back to the left.






Sunday, 18 August 2013

Geo-Caching

Robbins Creek
Geo-caching is like an old fashioned treasure hunt but the "hunt" is now helped by using 21st century technology, that is, a GPS and co-ordinates.  It still doesn't make it any easier however!
We went to Robbins Creek, along the bump track, a couple of months ago (you can read about it here) to try and find the "cache" but we didn't have a GPS so it was near on impossible to find.  Today DH and I and our friends Colin and Maree,  went fully equipped with a "state of the art" GPS.  After a few dead ends, and finally working out how to use the GPS we found the hidden cache.  It was very well hidden in a tree trunk and was quite weather worn but we were very pleased to finally find it.
We found it!
After finding the cache we decided to walk the track to the Mowbray Falls.  According to the sign it was only a one kilometre walk.  We found out later that the one kilometre was "as the crow flies" and in fact was more like five kilometres of very tough going!  Steep slopes, some could only be navigated by sitting and sliding,  and a track that was barely visible finally took us to the falls.  I must admit that I did not go all the way.  The final section of the downwards track was very steep and I bailed out.  As it turned out I was only 300 metres from the falls, so next time I will go all the way.
Not a lot of photos to show of the walk.  My camera battery died after the first couple of photographs (I was certain I put the spare in the back-pack) so we were restricted to using our I-phones.  The scenery was spectacular.  We had ocean views at some points and the creek crossings enclosed by rainforest trees and ferns were simply beautiful.  We meet some other walkers along the way and one couple returning from the falls said that it was wonderful to visit something so magnificent without signs and fences restricting you.  Well said.


Mowbray Falls

Mowbray Falls

The track was barely visible and quite steep

A view of the Coral Sea through the trees


Back at the vehicles for lunch and a well earned beer!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Some things are too good not to share.....

I seem to be a bit obsessed with food lately but last night I made Individual Shepherds Pies - you can find the recipe HERE - and they were so good that I just had to share.  The filling was delicious with the addition of lentils and vegemite!  Who would have thought that these two ingredients could lift an old fashioned recipe to new heights.  You just have to try them!

PS
The recipe says 1 tin lentils.  Do not drain them.






Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Apple versus Choko

Our vine is laden with chokos.
Everyone knows that you can substitute the humble choko for apples, right?  There was a lot of talk about this subject some years ago when MacDonalds introduced their hot apple slice .....how yummy were they! I wonder if they still make them? Anyway, back to the subject, there was a lot of talk about  chokos being used instead of apple in the little slices of delight.
I have substituted choko many times in my apple pies, apple crumble, apple/rhubarb compote, in fact anytime a recipe says apple I think choko.  This is of course when I have them growing in abundance as I do at the moment.
The humble choko
I stumbled across this recipe on a blog hop and I decided to try it.  It sounded very, very easy and I am here to tell you that it is also extremely delicious!

Apple Slice

Ingredients:
3 Apples (substitute choko) peeled and cut into 1cm dice
125g butter, melted
2 cups SR Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 egg
Cinnamon Sugar 

Method:
Combine the chopped apples (choko), SR flour and sugar and combine well.  Add the melted butter and egg and stir to combine very well.
Put into a lined slice tray and push down firmly.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

How easy is that!

The mixed ingredients before baking

The end result!





Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Townsville

I have been in Townsville for the last couple of days on a business trip.  DIL and I have upgraded our accounting software and have had private tutoring to bring us up to speed with the new programme.  It is an exciting new programme that will undoubtably be a powerful tool for our business.
Each morning I have been taking an early morning walk along the beautiful Townsville Strand.  I'm amazed at the number of people that walk/run the 2.2km from the Tobruk Pool to the Rock pool.  My accommodation was about halfway along the Strand so one morning I walked to the Rock Pool and the next morning I took the longer walk to the Entertainment Centre.
I took my camera (the little Olympus OMD EM5) and snapped a few photos of the sunrise.  Unfortunately the sunrises where not "glorious" but still pretty.  I found the Marina area easy to photograph with all its lovely reflections.





I will be leaving Townsville tomorrow after a quick trip to say hello to our Accountant and I am not relishing the drive home.  There are so very many road work stops along the way and because of the amount of caravans on the road, the trip down took me nearly an hour longer than usual.  Ah well.  Patience is a virtue.

Monday, 5 August 2013

A farm visit

We try and go to the Northern Zone Droughtmaster meetings whenever and wherever they are held.  Last week the meeting was held at a members farm near Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands.  Our meetings start with a farm walk followed by lunch and then we get down to the nitty gritty of the meeting.
The farm walk was enjoyable, not only because it was a lovely property but also because DH and I were reminiscing about the farm that we looked at, vey close to this farm, before we bought our place at Julatten.  The farm we looked at back in 2001 was lovely but vey hilly.  The sort of hills that you only traverse up and down never across!  As you can imagine, we, being from open downs country with no hills, found this intimidating.
I'm very pleased that we waited and purchased our dream place at Julatten with it's undulating hills and beauty.
This photo, at the farm we visited,  was taken at the edge of a very steep hill....about 100 degree! None of us opted to walk down the hill!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Best friends

What defines a best friend?  We have lots of friends, some going back many years and some that we have only known for a short period of time.  A best friend, in my mind, is someone that you enjoy being with.  It is also the person that if you don't see for awhile you simply pick up where you left off.  It is the people that we dined with last night.

Of course I'm talking about you.....Linda....Tony......Kate......Mike!

We haven't caught up with each other for ages!  Linda not since her birthday last year.  Read about it here.  Tony since Tufi ...and Kate and Mike a couple of months ago.  This year has been crazy busy and we have not had a lot of time to catch up with friends but we swear we are going to make the time because it is just so great to have a night out with friends.

Linda and Tony have a beautiful home on the water at Trinity Park in Cairns.  They invited us down for a BBQ (a bit of an understatement) and it was very easy to accept the invitation.  What a great night to catch up with best friends.

View to the left from the house

View to the right from the house

A beautiful liveable home

Mike cooking up a storm.  He's telling me to hurry up and take the photo coz his face is burning!

The food laden table

A closer look at dinner!