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, 22 August 2014

Shadow

My labrador - "Hudson" is a real people dog.  As soon as he hears the back door open he is waiting at the bottom of the steps to greet us and he greets strangers with a bark and then a lick.  He just loves being around people.  So when the gardener is here on Thursday and Friday mornings he becomes her shadow.  It's a good thing really.  I re-located a snake out of the garden a couple of days ago and the dogs give us warning if there is one around.  Hudson would certainly warn the gardener if there is a snake nearby.  Hudson is a great dog and I just love him to death.  He will be eight years old this christmas so he is certainly middle-aged....just like me! I hope he will be around for a long time to come.

The dogs are not allowed in the garden so Hudson is sitting on the edge!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Jade Spectacular

I take photos of the Jade Vine and each year, and as I photograph it I think how spectacular it is.  It has now been in the garden three years and it is spreading further along the pergola, albeit, slowly!    Philip says, to him, it screams "tropical" and I have to agree.
It has been a cold (for here) winter and we haven't seen much sun over the past three months.  All the flower seeds that were planted will burst out of the ground as winter slowly draws to an end and we look forward to Spring.  I can't wait!

I will try to get a photograph of someone standing beside these flowers.  They are well over 1500mm.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Magical Mystery Tour

Every now and then the photo club has a mystery tour.  We are told to be at a certain place at a certain time and that's it.  The rest is a mystery.  Yesterday our mystery tour was a Daintree River Cruise.  Win!  I love being on the water as I find it incredibly relaxing plus throw in the beautiful serenity of the Daintree River and the day is made!
There was twelve of us so we were given a boat all to ourselves and a somewhat extended tour.  Another win! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and because a number of our members are also members of the Orchid Society he also pointed out some lovely displays.
We, of course, had plenty of opportunity to see the Crocodiles….in same cases very "up close and personal". The crocs were a variety of ages from the eldest "Lizzy", to another that was just a few months old.  The mangroves to me are fascinating and beautiful to photograph.  In fact the whole Daintree region is a photographers dream.
After the cruise we made our way to the Daintree Village for a delicious meal at the Daintree Cafe.
Such a great day.
Leisurely cruising

Mummy "Lizzy"

I have to tell you we were VERY close to this big girl and believe me….she was watching us!

The mangroves are incredible!

Cathy pointing out some of the birdlife

Another cruise…this one was very crowded compared to ours where we all had a "window" seat!
One of Lizzy's babies.

Just one of the beautiful orchids high in the tree canopy.
  
The smallest croc that we saw.

This one was about 4 years old.

Some of the bird life.

Crabbing is popular.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

August Super Moon

When I was at Julia Creek last week I was lucky enough to get a photo of the super moon.  The photo was taken just after daybreak as the moon was slowly sinking in the west.  It was quite spectacular.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ho Chi Min Trail

Last week we drove to Mt. Lewis and together with Joan and Phil, we hiked along the Ho Chi Min Trail.  The trail runs all the way down to Mt. Carbine but we stopped at the top of the escarpment.  Joan is a member of the orchid society and was searching for flowering orchids.  I am becoming more and more interested in them also.  Joan was able to show me all the little nooks and crannies where the smallest orchids live.  I don't know that the men were that interested in looking for orchids but they never showed boredom!  We hiked for four hours and I loved every minute of it.  The trail itself is well marked and it is a very easy hike....at least the part that we walked.  On the way back to the car we detoured to the lake....a home for red-bellied black snakes....but we were lucky enough not to run into any.  It is winter so they are still in hibernation but it won't be long before they start coming out to sun themselves.  I marvelled at the changing landscape.  The beginning of the walk is through lush rainforest but where we turned around it is much drier and is gum tree country with a scattering of pines.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable hike and the cup of tea and sandwich after went down a treat!

Phil reading the information on Mt. Lewis

I liked the water droplets clinging to a spider web on this little flower

A rusting axle to remind us that this area was once mined

Beautiful colour and texture in the gum tree


Little orchids that will flower in the next couple of weeks

This tree is hollow but still manages to throw out branches and leaves!

The two Phil's checking out the view

Joan and Philip sharing lunch

Orchids on the brink of flowering


Little orchids hiding under a log

View towards Carbine

More little orchids

Another view of the hollow tree.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Photo Club

The first Satuday of each month is the day of the month that I look forward to the most.  Photo Club Day!  
We meet at 10am at various members places and this month it was at Miallo.  The first thing we do is enter our photos for the club challenges and then vote for the photos that you like the most.  The challenges this month were "Oddest Angle", "Sunrise/Sunset", "Nights" and "Plants".  I won the "Nights"  with this photo:


and "Oddest Angle" with this one:

After the judging we wandered down to Miallo Creek for some shots and then drove on to Whynabeel Valley.  

A tranquil setting at High Falls


Giant Stands of Bamboo at Whynabeel
I always enjoy these outings.  The help you get from the other photographers with framing photos is invaluable.  Someone will always see something that everybody else has missed.
I had already decided that today was going to be a photography day for me and that I would devote the whole day to it.  Hubby is still away so it's perfect.  My plan was to walk Cooya Beach to the mouth of the Mossman River and then end my day at Hambug Bend for sunset shots of the Daintree River.  Another friend from the group said she would join me there and suggested that we head up to the Daintree Village for dinner.  It was a great idea and I have to say my choice of homemade meat pie (curried lamb) with chips and salad was perfect.  Just had to forget about the diet for today!
This is a selection of the shots of Cooya Beach and the Daintree River.

Cooya Beach at the mouth of the Mossman River looking towards Newell Beach and the Daintree

Sea Debris

Driftwood

Looking over cane fields towards the Daintree and Cape Tribulation

We were extremely luck to have a glorious sunset over the Daintree River

No crocs or birds to be seen!


Friday, 1 August 2014

Protection Donkey

Ten days ago our first calf of the season was born.  It didn't live twenty four hours because wild dogs killed it the first night of it's life.  We were devastated and horrified.  If you stomach feels queasy thinking about this, don't look at the next photo.  But believe me, whatever you feel we are feeling twice as much.
All that remained of our little fella.


So, we started looking into what sort of protection we could get for our calves.  The first thing we  looked into were guardian dogs....Maremma's.  They certainly do the job but feeding them can be a bit of problem when you go away.  They need to have dog food left for them each day.  The next thing we looked at were Llama's.  They also do a good job but there were varying opinions on whether they could successfully keep wild dogs at bay.  The last thing we looked into were guardian donkeys.  They seemed to be the answer to everything.  They eat the same food as the cattle.  They are easily moved from paddock to paddock and work well through the cattle yards.  They have a severe dislike of dogs and will become very aggressive if confronted.  Their hearing and sense of smell is beyond most other animals so they can quickly identify an intruding dog.
So, a hunt over the internet found us with the owners of a female (Jenny) donkey.  She is also 3-4 months pregnant so we get two for the price of one.  Win!  Getting her from her home at Pittsworth to us in north Queensland proved a little more difficult but we eventually found a horse carrying company that did a weekly run to our area.  They were only too pleased to transport her and she arrived at our place on Wednesday evening after more than 48 hours travel time.  
I left her in the cattle yards the first night with plenty of hay and water and early the next morning took her to the mob of cows and calves that we are hoping she will protect.
When she arrived into the paddock the cows immediately came over and started chasing her but donkeys, being what they are, showed her stubbornness and would not move!  The cows just gave up.

Here is a photo taken the first day of her arrival and another photo taken the following morning.  She has settled in very well.