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.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

A day with the kids

My friend Joan asked me to join her in a trip to Mt. Lewis along with her two lovely grandchildren who she was babysitting for the day.  The plan was for Joan to pick me up at 8am and we would make our way to the top of Mt. Lewis where we would have smoko and then back to Pretty Creek for lunch.  Well.....you know the story.....best laid plans.  We got as far as the Ho Chi Min Trail and found the road to the top had been closed.  National Parks and Wildlife close and lock the gate across the road when the wet season starts and usually re-open it after Easter, but as we have not had a wet season to speak of, the gate being shut was a real surprise.  Anyway we made the most of it and walked a short distance past the shut gate before Joan decided that we should walk down to the creek a few metres below the road. What a beautiful spot!  A little babbling brook, gentle falling waterfalls, moss covered rocks, abundant tree ferns and shallow ponds for the kids to splash around in.  It was perfect.  We spent quite a bit of time here enjoying the tranquility before we decided to walk a bit further along the main road.  We have driven this road dozens of times but there is nothing like walking the road.  You get to see the tiny fungi, orchids, colourful bark on trees that you just don't see when driving not matter how slow you drive.  We walked quite a few kilometres before the hunger pains started to jab so we did an about turn back to the car.  For lunch we decided to go back to another little creek where the old tin miners had built a weir across the creek.  It's quite beautiful here and we enjoyed sitting there and eating our lunch.  After lunch and a short walk around the area we headed back to Teacup Falls so the kids could have another swim in the rock pools above the falls.  This is another beautiful spot and after dipping my toes in the lovely cool water I layed myself down on the cool rocks and had a short nap.  The kids were happy to splash around in the cool water while Grandma took plenty of photos.
Mt. Lewis never ceases to surprise and amaze me.  It is one of the most beautiful spots I have ever visited and we are so lucky that it is right on our doorstep.







Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A mini cyclone.

While we away in Brisbane we received a phone call from our caretaker to tell us that we had a very wild windstorm rip through our place.  She said that two trees were down and the largest one had fallen across the cattle yards.  Damn.....we had the vet coming to preg test the cows on Monday!  So when we arrived home on Saturday night we were expecting the worst.  It probably wasn't as bad as our imagination had led us to believe but still quite a mess.  
Sunday morning Philip got out of bed early and began to clear the tree away from the cattle yards with his little chainsaw.  This was the most important thing to do with the vet arriving the next day.   It was a slow and tedious job and when hubby announced that he was going to remove the whole tree himself I suggested that it might be a better idea to get a tree removalist in to do the job.  They have a huge wood chipper that will make mince meat of this tree and the gardener will love the mulch.

One half of the tree is still left standing.  The tree made a bit of a mess of the roof over the drafting race!


The tree that we lost in the front garden was probably a blessing in disguise as we had been thinking of getting rid of it.  It just really didn't fit in with our cottage garden theme.  It was only a small tree and it had fallen across the road so it was a very easy job to hook it on to the back of the tractor and drag it away.
We were lucky that this tree fell in the right direction and we never lost a single plant in the garden!


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Hectic....

Philips birthday party seems like a zillion years ago as so much has happened in the last week.
On Wednesday we flew to Brisbane and then picked up a hire car and drove to Toowoomba to visit my mum.  Mum has had a "mini" stroke, and although she appears to be okay, I wanted to see for myself that all is well.  Stroke is a pretty scary thing as Mum can attest.  Getting her words out is a struggle at the moment but is improving.  She will be having a head scan tomorrow so we hope that there is no damage and that it will be a one off situation.
We stayed with Mum for a couple of days because she had asked me to clean out her pantry for her.  Its something I don't mind doing and now that it is once again in order Mum should be able to see what she has so that she can avoid having 8 rolls of cling wrap, 3 rolls of Foil, 5 rolls of baking paper, 9 rolls of paper towel and 3 packets (100) of serviettes!


My sister was also staying with Mum as her mother-in-law was in ICU at St. Vincents Hospital. She was admitted with severe headaches and extremely low blood pressure.  After tests it was ascertained that she had a severe salt deficiency that the doctors put down to taking Nurofen.  Panadol my friends not Nurofen for headaches. My youngest sister is a very caring person and went to the hospital every day just to sit and talk with her MIL.
On Friday my sister, mum hubby and I then drove to Beaudesert where little sis lives. We had lunch with my niece who has a new baby.  Little Lucas was born 4 weeks premature in January but is now  six weeks old.  He suffers from severe Colic so it has not been an easy time for my niece who also has a four year old.
Baby Lucas

We stayed the night with my sister who prepared a delicious meal for all nine of us.  They had bought some fillets of snapper and served them grilled with Porcupine Potatoes, tossed salad and a lovely sauce to go with the fish.  Yummmm. While we were waiting for the fish to cook we feasted on a Sourdough Cob filled with gooey cheese and bacon.  Also yummmmm!
The next day we drove to Ashgrove (Brisbane) to visit my middle sister and her gorgeous husband.  Wow.....what a lovely lunch we had.  We started with a choice of either Spinach and Cheese or Bacon and Cheese pastries that had been hand made.  Next we devoured stuffed mushrooms and for the main we had Moussaka and Greek Salad. Both my sisters are great cooks and I love the food they make.  Sisters rock!
At 2.05 pm we once again boarded our plane for the return trip to Cairns.  We settled back in our seats and I watched "The Intern".  A fantastic Robert De Niro movie and of course who doesn't love Anne Hathaway.  This De Niro movie was about 300000 times better than the one we saw him in last week.....Dirty Grandad.  I would NEVER recommend that movie.
At 4.30 we touched down and quickly collected our suitcase because we had a dinner date with some friends at Trinity Park.  We made a detour to Dans to collect some beer and wine and arrived at the designated time of 5.00pm just as the other guests also arrived.  Perfect timing.
Yesterday was a day filled with eating delicious food and our friends kept up the trend.  They had just come back from Singapore and had purchased a steamboat while they were there.  It is something I have never seen before and I am a complete convert.  It will be my next kitchen purchase.  We cooked up lobster (brought with them from PNG where they live) prawns, chicken, and tossed them into the delicious broth along with bok choy, snow peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, broccoli.  For sides we had rice, chilli, garlic and so many sauces!  Yum, yum, yum!

This steamboat has a hotplate above the broth so that you can brown the seafood before tossing them into the broth.
We were completely stuffed and waited awhile before we then devoured dessert of mini cheesecake, mini eclairs and vanilla bean ice-cream.  We left our friends at 11.00 pm and were tucked up in bed by 12.30am and I slept without moving a muscle until 8.00 am.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Another birthday party!

I have a very lucky husband who gets to celebrate his 60th birthday twice!  The first party was for our lifetime friends and this party was for our new "local" friends.  This time it was lunch at home.  I decided to do roast meats as I didn't want Philip slaving away over a hot bbq on his birthday and to tell you the truth it is a lot easier.
So the day before the party I prepared as much as I could.  The menu was:

  • Roast Beef & Mushroom Sauce
  • Roast Pork & Gravy
  • Marinated Roast Chicken with Pineapple Salad
  • Jacket Potatoes with sour cream
  • Baked Whole Pumpkin stuffed with savoury rice
  • Coleslaw
  • Sweet Potato Salad
  • We were going to serve Garlic Bread with the meal but my darling hubby tossed it into the oven still wrapped in its plastic.  Hmmmmm.....a bit of a gooey mess to clean but hubby was just trying to help :-)
It worked well as all I really had to do on the day was roast the meats and toss everything else together.  I made up this cheese platter for when the guests arrived at 11.00 am.....it looked just about the same as the photo.....and we finally sat down for lunch at 1.30 pm.  It was perfectly timed as our last guests, who had said they would be arriving late, just walked through the door as we served lunch. 
My lovely friend Kate and her daughter Jodie made a fabulous birthday cake that we devoured for dessert.  The top cake was mud cake and the bottom was fruit cake.....Philips two favourite cakes!  They were so so delicious......thank you Kate!
It was a lovely day both weather wise and friendship wise.  We sat around and chatted until the last guests departed at 8.30 pm.  Perfect.

The Birthday Cake

So many wonderful comments about this delicious cake.....thanks Kate.

Ladies first!

Nose....
Our absolutely delightful great nephew....Kit.  This little boy never stops smiling.

Time for "happy birthday" and to cut the cake.


 


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Sunset

The sunsets here at Julatten the past few days have been absolutely beautiful.  I've always said that the best sunsets are in Western Queensland where your view is not obstructed by hills but, honestly, I don't think it matters when you have gorgeous colour in the sunset.  We really do live in a beautiful spot.  Enjoy.





Monday, 8 February 2016

Am I a Twitcher?

    "The term twitcher, sometimes misapplied as a synonym for birder, is reserved for those who travel long distances to see a rare bird that would then be ticked, or counted on a list. The term originated in the 1950s, when it was used for the nervous behaviour of Howard Medhurst, a British birdwatcher."
    Our friends rang us on Friday to see if we wanted to go with them to  Mount Lewis to see if we could spot the rare Blue Faced Parrot Finch.  Apparently they had been seen feeding on grass seed in an area about half way into the Mount Lewis National Park.  Unfortunately halfway along the road we came to a road crew (bless them for working on this road!) who informed us that the road was closed but would be re-opened on the weekend.  So we turned around and postponed our trip until Sunday.
    We were excited to be invited to tag along with these two photographers.  They are a husband and wife team and extremely talented photographers.  They know every inch of Cape York from Mossman northwards and listening to their travelling stories just makes us want to visit these places.  Mind you, a lot of the places they visit are barely passable in a four wheel drive.
    The husband and wife team

    Camouflaged amongst the tree?

    We arrived at our designated spot at about 3.00pm and began the long wait for the little birds to arrive.  They are understandably nervous and it takes some time for them to feel comfortable with us.  We just waited very quietly and patiently and eventually we were rewarded with their appearance.  I did not have the camera equipment to get any great photographs but I did enjoy just watching them....very much.  So much in fact that I think I could really get into bird watching.  Julatten is known as a bird watchers paradise so it would be easy.
    The Blue Faced Parrot Finch is quite rare and only found in our area.  We were also treated to the Red Browed Finch.  These are more common finches but still as interesting.  They were feeding on the bracci grass seeds and on closer inspection you can see what they were enjoying.
    Red Browed Finch

    Blue Faced Parrot Finch


    A very hard bird to photograph as his colouring is great camouflage.


    The seeds of the bracci grass.

    While we were waiting for the birds to arrive Trevor spotted a giant dragonfly sitting high up in a dead tree stump.  It was about 15-20 cm long.....the biggest dragonfly I have ever seen! Philip's photo gives some perception of length.

    Can you spot the dragonfly at the top of this tree stump? 

    Speaking of my husband....he is becoming quite the photographer.  I love the photos that he captured.
    Lantana

    Such a shame that lantana is a weed.  It is a really lovely flower.

    Any wonder that the March Fly bites hurt.  Look at the size of those nippers!


Saturday, 6 February 2016

This humidity is killing me!

Summer in Tropical Queensland equals humidity but this summer has been a real killer.  Day after day of 85% humidity and the sun shining simply zaps the energy.  Hubby and I just seem to be constantly tired but even a nap doesn't seem to help for long, nor does the three showers a day!
Julatten has one of the kindest climates on the planet.  National Geographic voted it the second best climate in the world!  We are usually six degrees cooler than our coastal cousins but that hasn't made us feel any better this summer.  I have never seen so much cloud without rain.....or very little rain.  Of course when it does rain it is a relief and it does cool it down a little but we are just not getting enough of it.  We don't have air conditioners in our house, just ceiling fans.  They have always been adequate but I have given a thought to a mobile air conditioner these past few weeks.
On the brighter side,  the rain that we have been getting is perfect for "grass growing".  The cows and their calves are just looking tremendous.  We can have too much rain and the ground begins to smell and the cattle do not do as well. That has not happened this wet season.
And the garden......the garden!  It is looking amazing.  All the Thai Gingers have come out of hibernation and putting on a beautiful display.  We had friends visit yesterday who are avid gardeners and they commented that they have never seen such healthy large Thai Gingers.  That must be all the love our gardener gives them!

Thai Ginger

We have another lovely little flower in the garden that only shows its beautiful head after rain.  Because we had a shower last night, they are flowering.

I call this the rain flower

The day lilies continue to give and give.  I have been busy cataloguing them this summer because they need to be dug up and divided.  This gives us a healthier plant.  The trouble is that by the time we do this in autumn we can't remember what colour flower belongs to which plant so I've been photographing them as they flower......all 80 of them!  As their name implies the flower only lasts a day so you have to be quick!

This grasshopper needs to move to somebody else's garden!



Thursday, 4 February 2016

Balance in my life.

Even since we moved to Julatten in 2006 I have been attending Tai Chi and Yoga classes.  Tai Chi has been intermittent, depending on whether there was a teacher in the area.....or not.  Yoga has been more consistent as we have a lady come to the community hall, right here at Julatten, each Thursday.  I try to attend two yoga classes a week and my body thanks me for it.   I have become far more flexible over the years and if I do say so myself, I have fairly good balance.  This will become increasingly  important as I age.
The two yoga classes that I attend could not be more different even though it is the same teacher.  The class here in Julatten is a gentle yoga class.  It is held in the community hall that has an unlined roof and a dusty timber floor. This makes it very cold in winter and very hot in summer and NOISY, as the highway is very close.
The class in Port Douglas, on the other hand is a stronger class  held in a studio right in the main street of Port Douglas. The room is air-conditioned, carpeted, and so very quiet.   Perfect for me with a hearing loss.
Which class do I prefer?  You guessed it......Julatten, because even though the hall is not perfect the ladies that I do yoga with are.  They are my friends.  Everyone stays for coffee after class and it is the perfect time to catch up on all the local news.
The Port yoga ladies are a different matter altogether.  You see it is a very transient community with only a handful of regulars. We all smile at each other but never really have a conversation that would form a friendship. Actually any interesting conversations that I do have, happen in the toilet when we are having our pre class pee.  Hahah. It's very strange.
But above all, I love yoga and tai chi.  I come away from both classes feeling relaxed, mindful, balanced and that's what it's all about. I hope I am still attending classes when I'm 80!

Class ready!




Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Alzheimers Disease

This was in our Facebook feed this morning and as I read it, it brought tears to my eyes.


Philip and I had been talking about this over breakfast a couple of mornings ago.  The fact is that one or, heaven forbid, both of us may be diagnosed with Alzheimers.  The statistics are here.......
    one person every 6 minutes. This is expected to grow to 7,400 new cases each week by 2050.
    There are 24,700 people in Australia with Younger Onset Dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65; including people as young as 30)
    Three in ten people over the age of 85 have dementia.
    Philip and I have agreed that we would look after each other until the time came to be moved to a care centre.  Neither of us have a problem with this.  We have said that the partner still living at home would move close to the nursing home so that we could visit every day.  That is why the little story above seemed so poignant.  
    I hope and pray that our conversation never happens and that we will live to a ripe old age Alzheimers free.