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.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The vegetable garden

We are going to demolish our old vegetable/herb garden.  It is well past it's used by date and if we leave it any longer it will demolish itself.



The raised vegetable garden bed was also not a good idea.  We just could not keep it moist no matter how much mulch we put on and the worms just didn't seem to like it at all.  So it's going to good use as a compost bin.....a large compost bin!

I have been busy transplanting vegetables and herbs into the garden bed at the back of the house. It is only a temporary arrangement as this vegetable garden will be a chook pen at a later stage.  We have plans for a potager garden on the southern side of the house.  It will be large, very large, and I will  have enough vegetables to feed a tribe but we can always take our excess fruit and vegetables to friends or Meals on Wheels who are always appreciative.


These are some of the vegetables and herbs that we have growing in the vege patch.  Parsley (both), baby spinach, cucumber, mint, rhubarb, chives (garlic and plain), chilli, eggplant, tomato, corn, cabbage (two kinds), lettuce, turmeric, ginger, zucchini, passionfruit, lemongrass, pumpkin, choko, sweet potato, asparagus, sage, coriander, silverbeet, pineapple, strawberries and to give shade....a mulberry tree!
My gardener has given me invaluable advice on how to improve the soil in the garden.  And it is so simple.  Just these two things,


Cow Manure


and Mulch....in this case sugar cane

We have also started a worm farm and the castings from it are a wonderful soil conditioner.




Saturday, 28 September 2013

Lemon Risotto

Who doesn't love a good risotto.  It is not something that I have every day because as we all know, it is calorie laden!  But when Nigella Lawson tweeted this recipe I just had to try it.  To quote Nigella, it is comfort food at it's finest.  It was, surprisingly, not over creamy and therefore you could have a decent size helping without feeling that you couldn't move afterwards.
I like my risotto to be al-dente and almost soup like, just like the Italians enjoy it.  I still recall the risotto that I ordered in a little "tucked away" restaurant in Rome.  It was the first time that I had seen risotto served in a soup bowl rather than on a plate.  To this day I still recall the smell and texture of that risotto.  It was divine and so unlike the stodgy risotto's that restaurants tend to serve over here, although, I must say they are improving.
There is something quite therapeutic about making risotto.  Just standing there for twenty minutes and stirring away.  You can't walk away from it, not even for a minute, so no multi-tasking allowed.



I even made my own vegetable stock for this recipe.  It is so much nicer than the packet stuff and so very easy to make, particularly in the pressure cooker.  Twenty minutes and it's ready to go and a great way to use up those vegetables in the crisper that are past their used by date.


If you like risotto (and really, who doesn't) try this recipe.  I swear you will love it.


Friday, 27 September 2013

Wonga Beach

I had some time to kill before the last photography group meeting so I wandered down to Wonga Beach.  This photo was taken looking to the south.  Wonga Beach is a lovely spot and many people have moved there to take advantage of the peace and tranquility.  It is only a 15 minute drive south to Mossman and not much further to Daintree Village.
The weather has been so beautiful here in the tropics over the past few weeks but we are praying for early rain for the whole of north and west Queensland.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Hudson

Hudson is my dog.  My labrador.  We bought him when we moved here in December 2006 so he is almost eight years old.  The first couple of years were hard.....very hard.  Labrador's are incredibly smart but they take awhile to mature.  Hudson is my mate.  He walks with me every morning and watches my every move.  If I stop to take a photo he immediately comes to me to make sure that everything is OK.  Labradors are "people" dogs.  They want to be with you as much as they can.  Hudson is an outside dog so he only gets our company when we come outside.  We could never let him  come inside because he is always wet!  We have two troughs and a dam within a few metres of the house and he is in and out of them all day long!  I took this photo of him on our walk a couple of days ago.  I like this photo because it is so "Hudson".....wet.....after a swim in one of the dams.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Mustang

We flew to Brisbane last weekend.  We were to go to my niece's wedding but the wedding was postponed.  We decided not to cancel the trip and simply make a holiday of it.  Why not. On Sunday we travelled by train to Beenleigh where we were met by our friend in his 1976 Mustang.





Wow!  What a car.  They sure don't make them like that anymore!  It was a beautiful day with the sun shining down on us so we drove along in the convertible with the top down.  Our friends took us to see their new home and then we made our way down to the bay for fish and chips.


 It was lovely to catch up on each others news. They dropped us back to the Sofitel in time for us to go and see GREASE (the musical) that was on at the Lyric theatre at Southbank.  What a great show and one that I would recommend if you are on Brisbane.  No cameras allowed so no photos unfortunately.

The next day we invited my family to lunch with us at Matt Morans Aria restaurant on the Edward Street Pier. The food was to die for and the dessert.....well....we just had to get a photo of the perfect soufflé.


The weekend was wonderful and it was terrific to catch up with so many of our family and friends.  Thank you everyone for making the effort!













Monday, 9 September 2013

All in a days work.

My friends and family often ask me what I "do" each day.  Sometimes I can't quite answer.  All I know is that I am busy.  I know that some days I seem to go from one job to another without actually finishing any of them.  I'm putting that down to menopause!
But not all days are like that.  When hubby is away I am particularly busy doing his jobs as well as my
own. Because of the lingering and devastating drought at our Julia Creek properties he has been away a lot this year so I have to be super organised to get through all his jobs plus my own.  So I thought I would carry the camera around with me this morning to photograph the jobs that I did before lunch.
My day began at 6am when I took the dogs (any myself) for a half hour walk.
After that I moved a mob of cows that were close to the house.

Cooked up sausages and eggs for breakfast (I almost alway have protein) and flicked through Jamies latest book while drinking my cup of tea.
After breakfast, loaded up lick blocks.....
And gave them to the cows who devour them!
Opened and shut seven gates - twice!

Had a bit of a chat to the cows who come up to the quad for a pat.
Went to check on one of the stud bulls that has an infected pisel.  The vet will have to administer antibiotics.
Feed lick blocks to the next mob of cows.  This is 270.  She was the cow that had twins last year.  Sadly we found the calf that she delivered this year with the umbilical cord around its neck.
I went and picked up some cow pats........
.......and spread them around my vegetable garden
Collected the washing from the line and brought them inside for folding
Just before lunch I sat down and did the cattle rotations for this week
I have lunch about 1pm and stay inside to catch up on things in the office. I do like to watch some of the afternoon cooking shows, particularly Everyday Gourmet and Alive and Cooking.  At about 4pm I go outside and potter around in the garden, either watering, weeding or planting.  Today I have to dig out some cannas that have taken over a section of my garden.  
So, my days are busy.  That are not always like this.  When hubby is home I get to play with my camera or do some scrapbooking.  Sadly those things have been put on the back burner this year.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Happy Birthday

It would have been my eldest sons 34th birthday today.  I try not to be sad.  But it's hard.  I still daydream about what he might have been like if he was still alive.  Happy Birthday Kurt.  I miss you so very much. I love you even more.
Today I am grateful that I had you in my life for 21 years.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cane Trains

After Tai Chi yesterday I had decided that I would try and get some photos of the cane trains crossing a bridge.  It should have been easy but I can assure you it's not.  There is hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of train track criss-crossing the countryside and just as many bridges but only five locos.  I started driving around and noticed some cane-train bins full of cane so I thought if I just sit here surely a train will turn up.  Nupp!  I waited for nearly an hour, but nothing.  So I started making my way back into Mossman, and yes, you're right just as I turned a corner heading back into town, here was the train heading out!  This was the order of the day for me.  I went to a railway bridge across the South Mossman river that looked like a nice place to get a photo.  I parked right beside the track and it would have been the perfect spot, but no, silly me had to go a little further down into the creek bed didn't I, and you guessed it.  While I was driving down there a train rumbled over the bridge.  I frantically grabbed for the camera and started shooting but alas, all those photos are blurred.  The shutter speed was way too low!  I quickly jumped back into the car, threw it into gear and started following the train that was making its way to the mill.  Luckily the cane trains move VERY slow so I was able to make it back to the mill with plenty of time to set up my camera.  By this time the rain was thumping down again.
Thankfully the rain stopped long enough for me to get some shots of the train approaching the bridge.  I was getting very excited, and then, suddenly, the bloody train stopped.  Right before it got to the bridge.  It unhooked it's cane bins and then made it's way over the bridge minus it's load!  Ah well.  I will try again another day to get that perfect cane train photo.
Waiting for the train

Turned around to take a photo of the river.  Still waiting....

Kicking stones on the railway track (not really!).  Still waiting......

Finally.....A Train! 

It's a train........

......minus its load!

The Mossman Mill







Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Tai Chi on Newell Beach

Hubby left early this morning to make his way out to Julia Creek.  I couldn't get back to sleep as I was excited about today.  Tai Chi on the beach.  I've always wanted to do it so it is one I can cross off the list.
The day certainly did not start well with quite heavy rain falling and a very big wind blowing.  The rain  was consistent all the way to Newell Beach, and then an amazing thing happened.  It stopped raining, the wind stopped blowing and the sun came out!  It was like a little miracle because after we finished Tai Chi it started to rain again and the wind started blowing.  Who doesn't believe in miracles.
Our Tai Chi group is based in Julatten and each Tuesday we meet at our instructors home for lessons.  We are a happy group and don't mind chuckling at each other trying to perform the tai chi 24 Form.  We are not very good at it despite practicing it for almost two years! Our instructor is very patient and lives in hope that we will one day perfect it.
Here are some photos from this morning.
Our Tai Chi group


Posing!


Everyone brought along a contribution for a delicious morning tea.

Coffee, cake and muffins at Newell Beach


Sunday, 1 September 2013

A 70th Birthday Party

A very good friend and neighbour of ours, from our Julia Creek days, celebrated his 70th birthday this week and invited friends to Table 51 restaurant in Townsville to help him celebrate.  It really felt like a "back to Julia Creek" night as we caught up with so many of our friends who were either still living in Julia Creek or had lived there previously.
On the night, we also gave some thought to hubby's father who shared a birth day with our friend.  My father-in-law would have turned 80 this week.
Our birthday boy retired to Townsville some years ago and I have to say that he looks fantastic!  If that is what retirement does for you......please bring it on!

The birthday boy