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 May 2014

Time for a recipe......

This one is out of Pete Evans "Healthy Every Day" cookbook.  Well worth purchasing.  Don't be put off by the number of ingredients or steps to cooking.  It is, actually, very easy and well worth cooking.  The aroma that comes out of the kitchen as the ribs are baking is a feast to the senses and this is one of the tastiest dishes I've tasted. The flavour combinations dance on the tongue.  And, the bonus....it's also healthy!



CINNAMON-BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH PUMPKIN

2 tabsps coconut oil (the new olive oil!)
1kg beef short ribs, bone in
100g spring onion roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g can chopped tomatoes
5 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
zest of 1/2 orange, peeled off in long strips with a vegetable peeler
1 bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks (I only had one and it still tasted of cinnamon)
1 star anise
2 tsps licorice root powder (I didn't have this so left it out)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
300g butternut pumpkin (I used Jap), cut into 2.5cm cubes
100g silverbeet
3 tabsps toasted, chopped hazlenuts

GREMOLATA
2 tabsps roughly chopped parsley
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
Place a large, heavy-based, flameproof casserole dish over high heat and add the oil.  When this is smoking hot, add the ribs in small batches and sear on all sides, browning well for about 4 mins.  Transfer the ribs to a paper towel lined plate to drain off excess fat.
Remove most of the fat from the dish and add the spring onion, carrot and garlic.  Place over medium-high heat and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 10 mins or until the vegetables are golden brown.  Stir in the tomatoes.  Tie the thyme and rosemary sprigs together with kitchen string and drop in as well then add the orange zest, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, star anise, liquorice root powder, pepper and some salt.
Place the ribs on the sauce in one layer.  Cover first with a sheet of baking paper that has been rinsed under a tap, then with two layers of alfoil.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 2-3 hours.  Remove from the oven and lift the ribs from the sauce, and set aside.  
Add the pumpkin and 300ml water to the sauce and bring to the boil on the stovetop.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes.  (I had a to add a little more water as the sauce reduced too quickly).  Stir through the silverbeet and hazelnuts and cook for about 5 mins or until the silver beet is just tender.  Return the ribs to the sauce for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.  Season.
To make the gremolata, simply mix the parsley, lemon zest and garlic together.  Transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving bowl and scatter a little gremolata on top. 


Friday, 30 May 2014

Cattle Muster

We had a load of bulls to take west and we also had to clean the house of the property that we sold so we made our way out to Julia Creek last week.  It's a long day towing the gooseneck.  What normally takes us 9 hours took us 12 hours.  Needless to say we were stiff and tired by the end of the journey.  While we were out there we helped our son muster cattle.  We needed to draft out bulls that we were selling and move the cows to a different paddock.  I haven't been mustering with the men for a long while and enjoyed being in the Rhino

that is a jump up from the quad bike.  It does it least have two seats a roll bar, and lots of "jesus" bars.  I tell you, I was hanging on to those bars when we went flat out into the river channels turn back some wayward bulls!
It was pleasing to see the cows and calves in such good condition.  These cows should have been sold last year as they did not fall in our calving window.  Unfortunately we couldn't find a buyer for them and it doesn't look much better this year.

Here are some photos I took whilst mustering.

Good body of grass in this paddock.


Cows and Calves are in really good condition.



"Shootin the Breeze"


The dogs work very hard and cover a lot of hot miles so we take them for a swim in the trough.

The command for this is "Bogie-Up"


The command is "block em up"

These are the working dogs at their best - blocking a break-away cow.

Cattle mustered, now to the drafting......







Thursday, 29 May 2014

Port Douglas Carnivale 2014

What a great surprise it was to receive an invitation to the opening of Carnivale 2014 as VIP guests.  The invitation came via the Photography Group who held an exhibition during the ten days of Carnivale.  We had a "birds eye" view of all the floats and street entertainers from our vantage point in the old Mango Jam restaurant. The passing procession made their way down Macrossan Street to finish in Rex Smeal Park for a magnificent fireworks display.  Who doesn't love fireworks!
Here are a few photos of the procession that I took after a few too many glasses of wine!













Wednesday, 28 May 2014

So...what's been happening in my life.....

What a crazy roller-coaster of a ride we have had over the past few months.  The biggest decision we have ever made as a family was deciding to sell our western properties.  We still love our cattle...very much...and hubby and I will continue to run our Droughtmaster Stud.  Son and DIL would like to move a bit closer to the coast.  Rising costs in cattle freight have made that decision quite easy.  So, the three properties went to auction on the 1st May.  One of the places sold and we are still in discussions regarding the remaining two but it is looking like we will be hanging on to them for this year at least.
The 2014 wet season in the west was not what we were hoping for with most graziers saying that they have only had about 80% of a season.  We would agree with that.  We have been trying to sell young females so that we will have enough grass for our breeding herd, but once again prices are ridiculous, that is, if you can find a buyer.  Cows last week at Mareeba sold for 50c kg and store steers at Charters Towers made just 20c kg.  Of course you still can't buy a kilo of meat at the butcher for under $8 kg.  Once again we are being screwed over by the middle man.
 Over the past couple of months a Senate Enquiry into the livestock industry has been travelling all over Australia to talk to graziers about the state of the industry and what can be done about it.  One of the graziers from Hughenden told the enquiry that he (and everybody else) is receiving the same price  for his cattle that he received in 1990.  The enquiry asked how he was surviving.  He said it's like this.  In 1990 he employed a number of ringers to help with the cattle work, I think he said 6, and today they are all gone and he runs his property with just family members.  He now has one (1) man per 2000 head of cattle.  We are in exactly the same boat.
We can't do much about the price we receive for our cattle....price takers, not price makers....so we have to reduce our overheads and unfortunately increase the overdraft.  Average farm debt in Australia at the moment is $2m.
We can, to a certain degree, increase profits by working on herd fertility.   Gone are the days when a cow gave us a calf every two years and we were happy.  She now has to give us a calf every year or she is out the back door.  Indeed, she has to give us a calf in a 6 week window or she is out the back door!
But all is not doom and gloom.  We, as a family are happy and healthy.  We love the love we live and will meet any new challenge front on.





Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Welcome Baby Madeline

Just over a week ago I was asked by a young expectant couple to take some photos of mum's baby belly.  I was happy to do so, albeit a little nervous.  But expectant mum, dad and I had a lot of fun taking these photos on what was quite a miserable day but perfect for outside photos.  Obviously I cannot show you all the photos. They are very private.  But I can show you these.  I am also happy to advise that baby Madeline was born on the 5th May a very healthy happy little girl by all accounts.  I hope to get to meet her very soon and post some photos.