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.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Mossman State High Movie Musical

Our photography group was asked to attend the premier of the movie "Divided" that the students of the Mossman State High wrote, produced and acted in…..an ambitious task that took them all year to make.
The photography group were asked to come along dressed as paparazzi and to take photos of the actors as they walked the red carpet.  Six photographers from our group turned up to have a lot of fun while taking photos.  We dressed for the occasion with most of us donning a pork pie hat complete with our press tags.


On sale before the show were the usual popcorn, chips and drinks.  


Everyone involved in the movie walked the red carpet to the cheers and whistles from the audience.


The movie tells the tale of a pair of star-crossed lovers, their love thwarted by their feuding family and friends.  The movie is set in the small rural Shire of Douglas and the lovers themselves belong to the waring Mulloy and Douglas families.  One family lives in Port Douglas and the other in Julatten!

The movie was a musical and the talented singers brought tears to my eyes.  It was a lovely night and I was so pleased to be part of it.









Monday, 25 November 2013

Potager Garden

The back of our house has been a little neglected in the way of garden.  The original owners had planted a few alexander palms, native trees and shrubs and one enormous umbrella tree.  Now, we all know how invasive the roots of the umbrella tree can be.  Even though it is some distance from the house the roots have been reaching closer and closer to the house.  After a talk with my gardener we drew up a plan for a potager garden…..in other words, an ornamental vegetable/fruit garden.

Our Potager Plan
The first thing we did was poison all the lawn and then it was a call to the tree-loppers to remove the trees.  They are a fantastic team.  We have had them come here several times to trim up wayward and unwanted trees.  They work extremely fast and in no time at all the garden was cleared to make way for the new garden.  The added bonus is that they also left us with a mountain of green mulch that we will leave to break down over several months.





I love that we now have a clear view to Black Mountain….when it's not covered in cloud!  We would also like to build another rotunda on this side of the house to take in the views.  That is in the ten year plan!





Sunday, 24 November 2013

From one extreme to another.

I told hubby that I would bring the rain with me.  I had a feeling in my bones, but alas, after three days of looking at almost cloudless skies, I admitted defeat.  It was on my last day at Julia Creek at 3am that we were woken by the sound of rain, not just light rain, but serious rain.  At first we both just lay in the bed listening and thinking it will probably just pass.  By 6am it was still raining and we were out of bed and drinking our third cup of coffee!  Beautiful, wonderful, earth-soaking, RAIN!  We measured 75mm.  It is not quite drought breaking but boy it's a start!

The view from the house went from looking like this:


To this:





Saturday, 23 November 2013

Drought Feeding

I haven't seen my husband for six weeks so I decided to make the trip out to Julia Creek to see him.  He had been sounding down so it was the right decision.  Drought is never easy but, we in the west, take it in our stride.  God knows we have had plenty of experience at it.  Drought is cyclic and seems to hit us with a really good one every ten years.  The last one in 2005 was, however, nowhere near as bad as this one.  What has made this one so bad is the price we have been receiving for our commodity, i.e., grass feed beef.  And, you know what, we wouldn't mind if the average household could benefit from the glut of beef and the extremely low prices we received (well below a dollar a kilogram), but I visit the supermarket, over here on the coast, each week and I never ONCE saw the price of beef drop.  WHY, is the big question and more importantly, WHO, is raking in the profit.  The answer is of course the processor and the supermarkets.
I followed hubby around with the camera to try and record just how difficult drought feeding is.  It is just so damn relentless.  We have almost 4000 hungry mouths to feed and that means tonnes of feed but as we also have a lot of the very invasive weed, prickly acacia, we have been using it as our protein source for the cattle.  The men go out each day and cut down the trees.  Once they cut the trees they then spread poison (Graslan) to kill any trees that will undoubtably pop their ugly heads up when it rains. It is a dreadful weed, but, it is keeping our cattle alive.
Here are a selection of the photos that I took at Baroona.

As soon as the cattle hear the chainsaw they come

First tree of about thirty that are cut for this mob

A young prickly acacia is full of thorns but as it gets bigger the thorns get a little less

Hubby decked out with gloves, chaps, steel capped boots and a well greased chain-saw! 

It's dangerous work amongst all those thorns.

The cattle not only eat the leaves but strip back the bark of the tree to get their protein

The poison is spread around the trees once cut.  It is activated with water so when it rains it starts working.


Looking to where the trees were cut the day before.

The cattle seem to enjoy the feed and the thorns don't seem to worry them at all.

The cattle are not fat, but still strong.

After all the trees are cut, loose lick mix is then given to to the cattle as a supplement.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Vale Dugall Bell

Today I found out that a good friend of ours had passed away tragically in a house fire.  You can read about it here.  I first meet Dugall and his wife Elma when they lived on "Arizona" Station north of Julia Creek.  They had migrated from Scotland a few years prior and after spending some time living in Townsville they decided that they wanted to live on the land and become cattle producers, hence the move to "Arizona".
We got to know them through my in-laws and we spent many a night as guests in their home.  They were wonderful hosts and we had many "fine-dining" experiences with them over the years.  Elma had been a student of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and was an extremely talented cook.
Their son Jamie came to work for us as a jackaroo and stayed with us for quite a few years.  He was a "hard as nails" worker and we enjoyed the time that he worked for us.
Elma and Dugall eventually sold "Arizona" and bought "Jackton" at Kynuna.  They immediately changed the name of the property to "Angus Downs"….a very scottish name!  They stayed there for quite a few years before age caught up with them and they decided to move to a milder climate at Mulgowie.  We purchased "Angus Downs" from them.
 I will always remember the "boozy" lunches that we had at "Angus Downs" and then the long nap in the afternoon before starting all over again that evening.  Dugall always awoke after his nap and because it was usually so damned hot he donned a sarong…... and nothing else!  I remember feeling so embarrassed the first time I saw him in this attire,  but I have to tell you he wore it so well!
I have so many fond memories of Elma and Dugall.  It is hard to believe that they have now both passed on and my deepest sympathies are with their children Victoria and Jamie.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Transporting the kids around.

I was just reading a post about babies crying in the car.  We were fortunate that our boys were extremely good travellers in the car.  Perhaps it's because we lived so far away, but we always started our journey very early in the morning,  sometimes as early as 3am, so for the first few hours of our journey the boys slept.  By the time they woke up we were usually somewhere interesting so they had plenty of things to see.  No DVD's to keep them entertained back then.  Just a few toys or books and there was always "I spy".  That was good for at least an hour!
I remember taking my boys home from hospital in a bassinet strapped haphazardly in the back seat.  No capsules back then either.  In fact that was how the boys travelled in the car until they could sit in a "car-seat".  Now, they were "state of the art" with their sheepskin lining.  The seatbelt looped through the back to hold the seat in place and I still question how safe they were, but they were all that was on offer.
My youngest in his car seat 32 years ago.  He looks like he's enjoying it!
Once the boys outgrew their car-seat they graduated to a booster seat.  When I think about those seats now, I wonder why the boys never complained.  They were hard (seriously hard) plastic with a thin sheepskin cushion (if you could call it that!) but the boys were happy that they could see quite easily out of the window as we were driving along.
So we have come a long way in transporting kids in the family car, and I' m sure baby capsules are a much safer form of transport than a bassinet but, boy oh boy, the babies were comfortable in them!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

An active social life!

This week has been unusually social.  It started with Tai Chi on Tuesday followed by our christmas break-up morning tea.  It was there that I was invited to Ladies Lunch at the Julatten Tavern the following day.  This is a new initiative to get the ladies in the area together for a bit of a chit chat.  It was well attended and will be a monthly occurrence.  At the lunch I ran into an old friend who now lives in Julatten but is ex Julia Creek.  She told me that she was having some mutual friends from Julia Creek coming to visit her the next day.  Of course I asked that she invite them to drop in here on there way past, which they did.  It was terrific to catch up on all the news.  Unfortunately most of the news is about the continuing drought and how everybody is handling it.  Lets pray that we get some substantial rain soon.  Hubby has now been at Julia Creek for five weeks and will stay until it rains.....lets hope that is soon.
On Friday some friends from Cassowary rang to invite me to join them for dinner on Friday night at the Julatten Tavern (yes, I'm becoming a regular and they now know me by name!)  Once again it was a lovely night.  I clicked with Di the moment I meet her at photo club and her husband is a real darling.  I'm sure the four of us will enjoy lots more dinners next year.
Saturday was election day for us.  We are one of the four shires across Queensland that is de-amalgamating.   Last week I went to Mt. Molloy to hear the council candidates talk about the ideas for the future of the shire so I had a good idea where my votes were going.
Last night was the Julatten Theatre Group night of "One-Act" plays.  What a great night it was and I really wish that I had the courage to get up in front of a group of people and act.  Sadly that is not going to happen!  Mount Molloy State School put on a fantastic supper with all food grown in and prepared from their Stephanie Alexander garden and kitchen.  What a wonderful scheme that is. I had the privilege to photograph their delicious produce for a competition that they were entering.  I will tell you about that in another post.
Back to the plays.  The first play was "12 Angry Pigs"and it was a spoof of the award winning movie "12 angry Men".  The difference being that the jury are pigs and the accused is the "Big Bad Wolf"

Mt. Molloy Students performing "12 Angry Pigs"

The next play was "A Dollar" and it was set in the early 1900's.  It was about a troupe of stranded strolling players, tired and destitute and end up haggling over a dollar bill that they find.  





The third play was called "A Matter of Husbands" and it was my favourite.  Just two very talented  actresses took centre stage.  The story was about a young woman who suspects that her husband is having an affair with a famous and glamorous actress.  She decided to take matters into her own hands and confront her with the evidence.


The last play was called "Sandra's Shadows".  Sandra's plans for a dinner party are upset when her invited guests cancel.  How the rest of the evening develops brings some interesting revelations when she is confronted by her inner-selves. the "Bitch", the"Slut" and the"Perfectionist".

L to R "The Bitch", "The Perfectionist", "The Slut" with Sandra in background
Sandra eventually decides to toss out "The Perfectionist" and live more comfortably with the "Bitch" and "Slut"

The plays were held at Geraghty Park Hall at Julatten.  Nothing fancy about this hall.  It is all corrugated iron and no ceiling but it has a fantastic atmosphere.  This is also the hall where I go to yoga each week.













Friday, 8 November 2013

A good cup of tea!

I love a good cup of tea.  Black…..not too strong……no sugar…….sometimes with a slice of lemon.  It is most certainly best when made in a well seasoned teapot, and remembering to turn the pot three times in a clock-wise direction and once anti-clockwise.  That is something my dad taught me.  However it is not always economical to make a pot of tea when it's just tea for one.  My mum came up with the solution for me when she sent me a single cup tea infuser.  I now use it all the time.



I have given up tea-bags. I disliked seeing that white "froth" on top of my tea that I suspect is residue from the bleach that they use to make the tea bag white.  Whatever it is, it can't be good.
I have also taken to bringing out the "good" tea set.  Why should it sit in the display cabinet collecting dust.  And I have to tell you that a cup of tea somehow tastes so much nicer from a good china cup.  To accompany the tea, one must always have a sweet.  The one I am having today is sugar-free, gluten-free and soooo delicious.  HERE is the recipe.





Thursday, 7 November 2013

Waste not Want not......

I was brought up on those four words.  My dad came from a family of fourteen and my mum from seven.  Both families lived frugally.  My grandparents, on my mum's side, lived on a dairy farm near Pittsworth.  As a child growing up I would be in awe of Nanna when she was in the kitchen preserving all the fruit that she had picked off the numerous trees surrounding the house.  She worked so methodically from years of practice.  Tea that night (why did we start calling it dinner?) would always end with a bowl of those beautiful stewed fruits.  I will never forget it.
From years of living in the outback I became very good at using up leftovers.  It was a daily occurrence for me to go through the fridge and the coldroom and check on what was leftover.  Sometimes it was just a matter of decanting small amounts of food in large containers into smaller containers that would take up less room.  Leftover meat would be made into fritters (a favourite), meat pies, or a hash where leftover veges would be combined with the meat and the whole lot would be fried (using lots of butter) until it was nice and crispy on the bottom.  Leftover mashed potato would be made into a shepherds pie or tuna rissoles and leftover mashed pumpkin would be pumpkin scones for smoko.  There were endless possibilities for using leftovers.
There was always a few vegetables that were past there crisp stage and they were made into a vegetable stock.  There is nothing more delicious than a good homemade stock that tastes "hands down better" than anything you buy in a packet, plus the added advantage of no preservatives!  Chicken carcases are always made into chicken stock and beef bones make a fantastic beef stock.  My freezer is full of containers of stock.
Today I made vegetable stock.  I simply took any leftover vegetables, fried them a little bit in some olive oil, threw in some thyme, rosemary, peppercorns and pink salt, covered with water and cooked in the pressure cooker for 40 minutes.  This stock will be used to make the risotto tomorrow night (here is the recipe)
So…..waste not want not, is how I live my life.  Thanks mum for teaching me not to be wasteful.

Frying the vegetables

Adding the other ingredients to the pressure cooker.