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.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Winter Flowers

We are right in the middle of winter and the garden is still giving.  The bromeliads have started flowering and will continue now for sometime.  The little impatiens that we planted along the pathway as cuttings are showing signs of full recovery and flowering.  They will flower almost all year round.  The dahlia and cornflower seeds that were sown a month ago have now poked there head out to the sun and will be a beautiful show in spring.  The orange and mandarin trees have been cleared of all fruit but we continue to have an abundance of lemons, grapefruit and limes.  Fortunately for me I love lemons and grapefruit and squeeze one each morning.  Lemons in particular are extremely good for us and during my cancer journey I was encouraged to have a lemon juice  each morning.  The juice helps to cleanse the blood and, believe me, after all the chemo drugs that were pumped through my veins I needed all the help I could get!
The Bismark Palm is really taking off as are the mast trees in the foreground.









Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Roasted Tomato Soup

I haven't shared a recipe with you for a little while and after cooking Roasted Tomato Soup through the week I thought I should share.  It is very easy to make and the taste is wonderful.  It comes again from the Everyday Gourmet, Justine Schofield, who is fast becoming my favourite TV chef.  The addition of the chorizo sausage and a drizzle of olive at the end is magical.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients:

1 kg ripe Roma Tomatoes (I used field tomatoes as the roma in Coles were not ripe)
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces
1/2 bulb garlic, left in skin
1/4 bunch thyme
2 tabsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 litre chicken stock
salt, pepper
1 chorizo, sliced into rounds

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a tray cut side up. Add the sweet potato and garlic cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 mins.
In a large pot add the oil and onions and sweat for 5-10 minutes until soft.  Now add the baked vegetables along with the stock.  Bring to the boil and cook for a further 15 minutes.  Once the soup is cooked blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Fry the chorizo in a pan until very crispy.  Arrange pieces of chorizo in bowl and pour over the soup.  Lastly drizzle with olive oil.
Enjoy on a chilly day!



Monday, 28 July 2014

Wine Tasting

Back in May, Hubby and I and our Kuranda friends visited the Home and Camping Expo in Cairns.  At one of the stalls inside the pavilion we found a gentleman selling wine tasting vouchers for $25 so of course we purchased one.  We were assured that the wines from Pieroth where as close to preservative free as you can get.   Now, I really enjoy a good glass of wine but lately I have been plagued by headaches after just one glass.  I have been putting it down to the massive amounts of preservatives that are added to the wine these days.  In fact the gentleman from Pieroth explained to us that grapes are harvested by machines that not only removes the grapes and leaves but also any little bugs that might be hidden amongst the grapes so that when they come into the winery to be processed  many chemicals have to be added to the grapes to kill off the bacteria.  It is depressing to know this. The grapes from the Pieroth Wineries, around the world, are hand picked to avoid contamination therefore eliminating the use of lots of chemicals.  We also noted that the Pieroth wines are lower in alcohol (about 8%) because of the better handling of the grapes.  That is a big win. Most wines we are buying off the shelf in Australia are around the 12% mark.
So, on Saturday I invited our friends to join us for the wine tasting (with the obligatory cheese platter) followed by a traditional "Sunday" Roast.  The wines were superb and Tim, from Pieroth, was very knowledgeable.  He answered any questions we posed and his love of wine was quite obvious.  Altogether we sampled six whites, six reds and six various liqueurs.  I found it surprising that as a lover of white wine I had actually scored the reds higher marks so in two weeks time we will have a couple of cartons of good wine delivered to our door.





Sunday, 27 July 2014

Daintree River

A couple of the photographers from the club drive to the Daintree River each afternoon to photograph the sunset.  Hubby and I tagged along for one of the shoots.  I have to tell you the sunset is quite spectacular.  An added bonus is the ingrets flying  in waves over the river, very low, to make their way further upstream to roost each night.  The crocs think it is a bit of sport to jump up and try to catch them but the birds are way to smart for that and make a wide arc around any lurking crocodiles.  I tried to photograph the crocs but they are very fast!  I am determined to get a photo of the croc jumping out of the water so I will go back to this spot again in the near future.

A passing boat made some nice ripples in the water



The ingrets fly very close to the water

You can just make out the crocodile in the top right.  He was about 3 metres.

The croc was a long way downstream and even with the 300mm lens I could only just make out the outline

The last of the birds coming in to roost.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Mossman Show

So....the Mossman Show is now a distant memory.  It was a very busy week-end for the camera club. We took umpteen dozen photographs at the portrait studio and the 2015 calendars sold like hot cakes. This is one of our biggest fundraisers for the year so it is important to put everything into it and all the members that helped out need a big pat on the back.  My job was photo editing and printing.  I had the very capable Michelle to help me out on both days so I did get an opportunity to walk around the arena and take a few photos of things other than portraits. Hubby came down for the show on Monday and stayed right through until we packed up that evening.
In the main arena on Monday afternoon we watched the "Anything Goes" competition.  It is an obstacle course where teams compete against each other to do things like filling a 200 litre drum by bucket, walking the plank with wine glasses full of water and filling a jug, throwing a football through a hole in the wall and, finally, completing a jig-saw puzzle. I think I missed a couple of obstacles but needless to say it is very entertaining and we enjoy watching it every year.
The photo club "studio"

This was my corner

Really?  Would you ride this?  Not I!

Now.  This is what I could ride!

Contestants getting the brief on the "Anything Goes" obstacle course

I think it's full!

Such a delicate job to fill the jug from the wine glass

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Echidna

Lately, we have been leaving our border collie, Lily, out of her kennel each night.  Something has been digging in our garden and we suspected bandicoots.  She is very good and chases them well away from the garden.  But one night about a week ago Lily started barking, and barking, and barking.  It was most unusual for her and we thought that it was probably an echidna.  I also found evidence in the garden with one of the stepping stones overturned.  They are heavy and it could only be an echidna that would have the strength to turn one over.
Today Philip found the little devil,  holed up in amongst the bales of hay.  After a battle of strength Philip finally got it out of the hay and into a bucket.  We then drove up to Mt. Lewis to re-locate it.
I was fascinated with how fast they bury themselves.  From when we tipped it on to the ground to when it was half buried took about three minutes.  They are incredibly strong.

Tucked up into a ball in the bucket ready for relocation

The digging begins


Almost fully buried



Thursday, 17 July 2014

Calendars become Placemats

With the Mossman Show on this weekend I have been busy turning some of the 2014 photography club calendars into placemats.  It does seem ironic that these calendars are no longer a saleable item but the club has already produced it's 2015 calendar and they will be on sale at the show.
So it's out with the laminator, trimmer and glue and the laborious job of pulling apart the calendars.  When I first started it was taking me an hour to do two sets of placemats but I have sped up somewhat and it is now taking me an hour to do four sets!
The placemats have turned out remarkably well and we will be selling a set of 6 for $10.  Cheap by any standard!  I myself think they will be great on the outside table when we have guests for a bbq and will be a bit of a talking point.

First they need to be trimmed

Then laminated.

Clean up the mess from the work area,

And then bundle them up and tie with raffia.

So calendars become placemats.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Selling Cull Cows and Vaccinating

We join the females to the bulls in October each year for three months.  We have shortened the joining to make it easier to manage our breeders and also to maintain a high fertility herd.  If the female we join in October is not pregnant at the end of three months she is destined for the meat works.  With profit margins extremely small in the beef industry we have to be as productive as we possibly can and keep a good eye on our "cost of carry". So selling the non-productive female not only provides us with cash-flow but also gives us more grass that means we can run more productive cattle.
For the last couple of weeks we have been taking cows, that were not pregnant at preg-testing, over to the Mareeba Sale.  We take 6 or 7 at a time in the goose-neck trailer.  Anyone in the beef industry knows that cattle prices are at an all time low at present, barely reaching a $1 a kilo live weight, so we put a reserve price on these cows.  Fortunately they have reached slightly better than reserve so we have not had to bring them home.
Today we not only drafted out the sale cows but we also needled our maiden heifers with Pestivirus and Vibromax vaccines.
Vibriosis is a cause of infertility and abortion in the herd. The disease is venereal and the bulls are the carriers if they have been joined to an infected cow. We have not had Vibrio in our herd but we inoculate as a safe-guard measure. Pestivirus (also known as BVDV) causes abortion, ill thrift in young animals, diarrhoea and respiratory disease. We do have Pestivirus in our herd and we have now tracked down the carrier, so she will be sold once she has calved out.

 
We needle all the maidens twice before joining and every year after they get a booster shot.

The notepad is never far away!  

We call 261 "Patch"  she is extremely quiet and she has had a calf every year but age has beaten her.

Cow 292 wanted to "eat" us in the yard this morning so I'm glad she's going!

We will load these girls late this afternoon.  Curfew is 7.00 pm the night before the sale.


Monday, 7 July 2014

A twilight photo shoot at Port Douglas Marina.

To me, being part of a photography group, is the wonderful outings that we participate in as a group.  Not only do you go to places that you might normally not visit but you learn so much more by talking to other photographers and getting some terrific tips.
Last night we arrived at the Port Douglas Marina for twilight photography.  The night was balmy, the atmosphere calming and the photography opportunities abounded.  There were quite a few people eating at the numerous outdoor cafes along the marina boardwalk or just simply strolling along the jetty.  It really is a lovely place to be.  The worst part of the shoot was wondering where to be!  The sun setting over Dickson Inlet creates some beautiful skies but the sun setting over the marina also has some great reflections.  I chose the marina and was well rewarded.




After all that photography we were starving so we headed to Hogs Breath Cafe for a delicious meal.  It really was a lovely night made even more so by being with good friends.