JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

"Those awkward days.........

...........between christmas and new year when you don't know what day of the week it is"
Christmas already feels like a zillion years ago and yet we have not even started 2016!  Anyway it is the perfect time to catch up with friends over a leisurely lunch and that is exactly what we did yesterday.
We have Philips mum staying with us for a few days and she mentioned that she would like to see our Kuranda friends.
These friends have been almost lifelong friends as Philip went to boarding school with both Michael and Tony.  We have always stayed in contact, even if it was a simple card at christmas and we always enjoy their company.
A simple phone call on Monday had us organised to have lunch at our little tavern here at Julatten and then back to our house for coffee and afternoon tea.  We didn't leave the lunch table until after 3.00pm. The conversation was just so easy.  We drank copious amounts of wine and beer with our meal and by the time we made our way back home we were all very cheerful.  As we sat outside on the verandah drinking our coffee and eating our cake, the rain bucketed down.  Really, really heavy rain with the occasional rumble of thunder.  Glorious rain.  We said goodbye to our friends before the sun went down and promised to do it again soon.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Mustering at Caleewa

As I mentioned in my earlier post, we mustered cattle while we were at Caleewa.  The move of the 1000 head was a nice easy one from the middle paddock at "Cathan" to the bottom end of "Cathan".  Marco had us out of bed at 5.00am to beat the heat.  Most of the breeders have baby calves at foot and it is not fair to walk them in soaring heat, besides that, they won't  walk when it's hot.
Much to our absolute surprise and pleasure as we were driving to the paddock we came across some very wet country.  There had been a good storm pass over this country.  We think around 60-70mm!  It was almost too wet to muster but we persevered along with the help of Marco's excellent working dogs and we were finished mustering by 9.00am.  We couldn't help ourselves. We had to go for a drive to see how far the rain went and we were pleased that the storm covered about 50% of "Caleewa".  In a few weeks time it will look very lush.

Philip wondering whether to turn back or not (we didn't)

Had to wear helmet, glasses, long sleeves to avoid getting slammed by the giant grasshoppers!

Cattle are looking pretty good after three years of poor wet seasons.

So many calves!

It ain't clean work....

......for me and the dog!

This is Eastern Creek that has just started to flow from waters downstream.

Monday, 28 December 2015

It's been a while since my last post.....

......but gee we've been busy.  Earlier in December we travelled to Magnetic Island for Dallas's (Philip's mum) 80th birthday.  Quite a milestone.  We took Dallas and four of her friends to lunch at a lovely little french bistro at Nelly Bay.  We talked and laughed our way through a lovely lunch and as we were practically the only customers in the restaurant we were waited on hand and foot.

The following week I went along to the Julatten Ladies Christmas lunch at the Highlander Tavern.  I haven't been able to attend many of these this year.  They always seem to clash with something else that I'm doing so it was lovely to catch up with friends.

Christmas parties were next on the agenda.  Our friends Doug and Di invited us along to their lovely home for a get together.  Doug and Di have sold their home and moving to the Sunshine Coast in March so this will be their last Julatten get together.  We will really miss them.

Christmas came around so fast.  We had decided some months ago to drive out to "Caleewa" for christmas because a few months ago we really thought we would be hand feeding our cattle.  Thank goodness we have had enough rain to grow enough grass to sustain the cattle so that feeding is not necessary. We drove out on Tuesday prior to Christmas so that we could help Marco move a mob of cattle before christmas.  

Christmas at "Caleewa" was fabulous.  Marco cooked us blueberry pancakes with ricotta and honey for breakfast and we washed this down with Passionfruit Champers.  It was so delicious.  

After breakfast we cleaned up and then opened the mountain of presents.....always seem to have too many!  We then cleared away the debris and began the lunch preparation.  Must admit I did not do much in the kitchen because my daughter in law is extremely efficient in the kitchen.  Marco and Suzie had invited Joe and Desley (caretakers that we had employed previously) to join us for christmas lunch and they were a lovely addition to our little quartet.  
Christmas lunch was a magnificent feast of Pork Belly (braised in fennel, apple and white sambucca) pureed cauliflower, roast pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato and broccoli with almonds.  It was delicious and filling so we waited a while before Suzie presented us with a Berry Pavlova with salted caramel sauce.  My mouth is salivating just thinking about it.  I made Suzie give me the recipe so watch out friends.  It will be on the menu.
We didn't leave the lunch table until 3.00pm and then we just all lazed around digesting our lunch and shooting the breeze.  No dinner for any of us that night.  The perfect christmas day.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

At long last!

I bought a plant from the markets in Mossman almost nine years ago and the lady that sold it to me said that it had a most beautiful flower.  She had me at the word flower.  We had not long moved to the coast from outback Queensland and all I wanted in my garden was flowers, preferably perfumed, with lots of colour.
So we planted out this shrub and waited.  And waited. And waited.  The "shrub" grew into a very large shrub and became too big for my front garden but alas, not a single flower.  Two years ago I gave up on it every flowering and transplanted it to a spot in the garden that I rarely visit, after all it was not a particularly attractive shrub (tree!)
This morning Trudi let out a very excited yell. Philip went to see what was up and then excitedly called me to "come quick"!  The shrub had finally flowered!  And, oh my goodness, it was worth the wait.  The delicate pale pink flowers are about 6cm across and the darker pink centre is almost pleated. There is a slight perfume that smells of soap.  I do not know the name of the plant but stay tuned as I will contact the lady that sold me the plant to ask her.

Monday, 30 November 2015

A weekend with friends

As everyone that reads my blog knows, we love walking at Mt. Lewis National Park and we head up there whenever we get the chance.  The last time that we got together with our friends we talked about heading up there for a hike and then coming back to our place for dinner.  It was my PNG friend's birthday and our Kuranda friend's wedding anniversary so perfect for a celebration dinner.
Everyone arrived at our place by 8.30 on Saturday morning and after packing a picnic lunch we were on our way by 9.00.  It's fortunate that since we have owned the camper we now have things like folding tables and chairs so they were also packed for the picnic.  Our plan was to drive straight to the top of Mt. Lewis, which we did,  and walk the short distance out to the escarpment.  As we are at almost 900 metres the views here are spectacular.

Our wonderful friends.

When we arrived back at our vehicles we had a very welcome cup of tea and biscuit.  The boys preferred a beer!

Smoko at the "hut"

After smoko we headed back down the mountain to Mary Creek where we waded a short distance through the beautifully cool waters of the shallow creek bed.  This is a "no shoes" walk and I'm afraid my friends found the barefoot experience fairly difficult.

These feet are not meant for "barefooting" it
They are rarely without shoes in their respective jobs so their feet are super soft.  Philip and I are bogans and walk around without shoes most of the day so our feet are very tough!
After our creek walk we made our way to Ferny Creek for our picnic lunch.  It is a beautiful spot right beside the tree-fern lined creek and the spot we lunch in is completely shaded. We lunched on chicken, coleslaw and bread rolls that went down a treat.

Philip's photo - love this macro shot of one of the many flowering shrubs at Mt. Lewis
Everyone was keen for a longer walk after lunch so it was back to the Ho Chi Min trail.  This trail can be as long or as short as you want.  If you walk the whole track through to Mt. Carbine it is about 40km.  We walked a few kilometres along the track and then made the return journey.  It was after 3.00 pm by this time so we decided to make our way home where I had a three course dinner waiting.
First course preparation......smoked salmon pate 

Cheesecake cups for dessert
We enjoyed a balmy night with plenty of flowing wine and food.  The conversation around the dinner table was stimulating, as it always is with friends and the night passed quickly.  However we were all very sensible (tired!!) and were in bed well before midnight.
The next morning we all woke early and enjoyed breakfast together before everyone headed their separate ways.  It was a lovely weekend with friends and one I hope we repeat soon.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Davies Creek National Park

Because we had taken our camper to the party at Kuranda it seemed a waste not to have at least one night camping somewhere.  A quick google had us looking at Davies Creek (Dinden) National Park.  Everything that I read about the place seemed favourable so I went to the National Park website and booked us in for a night.  
Davies Creek Road

We arrived around noon at our designated campsite only to find a mob of young folks already set up.  I went over to them with our permit in my hand and it didn't take long for me to realise that they did not have a permit.  They had just taken pot luck that there would be an available campsite. I pointed out to them that they should have vacated the camp by 11am so they said that they would be packed up within half an hour.  That was fine by us because we wanted to go to the end of Davies Creek Road and wander along the Kahlpahlim Track.
Kahlpahlim Track

Spot the leech?
This track is 12kms and we knew that we wouldn't be walking the whole distance as it was close to midday. It was drizzling on and off and the leeches were prolific.  Whenever we stopped to take a photo they were all over us.
We photographed lots of different fungi that are everywhere in tropical rainforests (Philip is loving the super macro on his new camera!)

After we had walked a few kilometres we thought we should probably head back to the car and on to the camping spot.  The young ones had vacated the spot and had kindly (???) left the campfire burning.  It astounds me that National Parks allow people to light fires when it is so dry.  We quickly setup, had a bite of lunch and then a nanny nap. Philip had only managed four hours of sleep after watching the rugby so we slept for a good hour.  After we woke we decided to explore our camping area.  We wandered downstream and came across this Willy Wagtail nest with a chick!
Tiny Willy Wagtail
The creek at the campsite was a lovely spot with shallow sandy bottom swimming holes and crystal clear water.  The sound of water tumbling over the rocks is a most beautiful sound.

Our campsite
The stream by the camp
We arrived back at our camp in time for sundowners and as the temperature was dropping we stoked the fire and moved our chairs closer to the warmth.  Is there anything more relaxing than watching dancing flames?
Sleep came easily to us with the sound of the water lulling us into dreamland and we were surprised the next morning when we looked at the clock and it showed 7.30 am. That is a sleep in for us.  We cooked up eggs for breakfast and then started to pack up the camp.  

We had talked the previous night of heading back to Davies Creek Falls and doing the short circuit track before heading home.  As it was Monday morning there was absolutely no one around.  Davies Creek seems to be a weekend retreat for most people.  
Looking down the gorge from the falls lookout.....rather a misty day...

Davies Creek Falls

Davies Creek Falls are spectacular, tumbling at least a hundred metres over the granite rocks.  There was a lot of water in the falls which was surprising given the dryness of the area.
After photographing the falls we continued along the circuit walk. We wandered through a typical Australian bush with blackboys and gumtrees.  

Australia is truly a remarkable country.  We have visited three National Parks in the past few months, from one end of Queensland to the other and every photo I took could have been taken at anyone of them. The scenery is almost identical even though the temperature differences have been vast.
As we headed back to the car we both commented on how invigorated we both felt.  It turns out that we love "glamping" more than either of us really expected.  Our little camper is a joy to stay in and just makes camping so easy.  We said goodbye to Davies Creek National Park and made our way back to the highway.

Anthill Lane on the way into Jacques Coffee
On our way home we saw the signs for Jacques Coffee.  This is another place that we said we would visit "one day" and as it was mid morning this was "the day" to have one of the best coffees I've ever had.  A wonderful way to end our long weekend.