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, 18 November 2017

Day 5 - Evergreen

Today Philip and I headed in different directions.  Philip was going to help Marco cut up a killer and Suzie and I were headed to Maleny for a bit of relaxation in the form of a 1.5hour facial.  This was my birthday present from M & S and I was very much looking forward to it.
Suzie and I left at 8.30 to take the 2hour drive to Maleny.  Our facials were at Spicers Day Spa and what a lovely place it was.  

My beautician, Sarah, pampered me and had my face tingling with freshness and vitality.  I think I may have even snored at one stage. That is a sure sign of complete relaxation.
After our facials were headed to downtown Maleny to have a lovely lunch and then shop some cheeses in the little Fromagerie adjoining the cafĂ© where we lunched.  I even picked up a bottle “A Fu@#ng Good Port” for my son to enjoy.
We arrived home at 4.00 pm to find the men still cutting up meat!  I remember those days like they were yesterday.  I never did like the smell of fresh meat but I knew the cutting up would never get done by itself so it was all hands on deck.
Before dinner Marco and I took a drive to feed the chooks and the Maremmas.  I really love these white dogs even though they are huge and their size can be very scary.  However these whities are very calm and sociable.

The chook house

Tonight Marco cooked us a meal on the BBQ using some of the fresh rump steak and I reckon it might have been the best steak I have ever eaten.  Suzie and I made a couple of salads to go with the steak and it was oh so delicious. The Maremmas paid us a visit after dinner whilst they were doing their rounds of the property. They are nocturnal dogs and keep a very good job and keeping away the dingos and foxes.

It was another lovely day at “Evergreen” and tomorrow we will pack up and head over to Toowoomba to visit my mum.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Day Four - Evergreen

We had a lovely relaxing morning even though we woke quite early.  We went for a long walk after coffee and then came back for breakfast and housekeeping.  Even though we have only been on the road for a few days the washing was building so it was a spot of hand washing before showering and reading ourselves for lunch at Herveys Bay.
Suzie had made a lunch reservation at “Eat” restaurant.  This restaurant is run by the 2013 MKR winners, Dan & Steph.  The meal was fantastic as their focus is on fresh “in season” products sourced locally.  My choice was crispy skinned barramundi with zucchini “spaghetti”, fresh salad and a spicy tomato sauce.  We didn’t leave the lunch table until well after 2.00pm and after a quick shop in Maryborough it was home sweet home. 
When we arrived back to Evergreen Marco took us for a drive to the rivers edge to show us another perfect camping spot for next time.  There are so many great spots to camp on their property that we can come back here for many years and never stay in the same spot twice!

None of us felt like dinner tonight so after a couple of drinks we said our goodnights and we were in bed for an early night.  It is quite cool again tonight so I have pulled out the extra blanket.  Is this really November?

A neighbour of Marco's has set up his bee hives on Evergreen.  We have purchased 2kg of this delicious honey!

Can you see see our camper amongst the trees?

Looking towards the Evergreen house

A unique water feature

Perhaps our next camping spot

I can't wait to see this again in twelve months time when all the plants grow

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Day 3 Yeppoon to Gundiah

We left the Beachside Caravan Park at around 8.00 am and at the first roundabout we passed another Active Camper.  We both gave each other a big wave and later on the facebook page we acquainted ourselves with each other.  The Active Camper group is such a great community and it is the only group that I follow on Facebook.  We get heads up information about the best places to stay and camp across the whole of Australia.
Our first port of call as we headed into Rockhampton was to purchase a Broadband USB stick for my laptop.  I have been using my mobile phone as a “hotspot” but it is very slow and if I want to continue to update the blog it was a necessary purchase.  So far it is great.
Today our destination is “Evergreen” at Gundiah.  Our son and DIL have a magnificent property here.  As we left Rockhampton the sky was quite gloomy but a beautiful temperature to be driving.  We stopped at the Calliope River Rest Area for lunch and found a lovely shady tree to park under.  We took our time over lunch eventually hitting the road again around 1.30 pm.
The gloomy skies darkened and just north of Maryborough we ran into some very heavy rain.  I was driving at the time and slowed right down to 60kmh as visibility on the busy A1 was extremely low.  Everyone did exactly the same thing so it made it safer for everybody.

We finally arrived at Evergreen at 4.30 pm and after greeting the family we made our way to the lake to set up camp.  It is such a pretty spot and just teeming with birdlife.  It is a photographers dream and I am very pleased that I brought the SLR with me. 

We went back up to the house to meet Marco and Suzie who then drove us the short distance to where the chooks were camping so that we could put them into the old caravan for the night.  We were once again introduced to the Maremmas (guardian dogs) but they seemed to remember us from last time as they came right up to us for a pat.
It is always lovely to catch up with family and we sat outside and talked the night away over some delicious nibblies.  We eventually headed back to our camp as the air had turned rather chilly and us north Queenslanders are not used to that. 
As soon as our heads hit the pillow we were asleep.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Day 2 Alva Beach to Yeppoon

We left Alva Beach at around 8.00 am, promising ourselves that we would return.  It is such a lovely spot and if you are a fisherman, this is the place to be.
Our drive today took us through Home Hill, Proserpine and rather than heading through the centre of Mackay we took the alternate route through the canefields.  It certainly wasn’t a shorter route, but much prettier.  Cane harvesting season is almost at an end so we have only passed the odd cane train.

We stopped at Sarina for lunch (toasted rye topped with beetroot pesto, sardines and a squeeze of lemon……yummm!) before starting down the long boring drive to Rockhampton. As we passed Clareview we looked longingly at the caravan park that we had stayed at last year, but we pushed on. Perhaps we will get to stay there on our way home.
Smoko stop
About 60km out of Rockhampton we decided to head out to Yeppoon rather than stay in Rocky.  I looked up WikiCamps and found the perfect spot - Beachside Caravan Park.  Now, when they say beachside they really mean it.  There was nothing between our site and the beach.  It was perfect.  We arrived at around about 5.30 pm and were once again set up in about 10 minutes.  It was actually quite windy and cold so no sitting outside to take in the view instead we settled inside the camper.  I started preparing dinner almost straight away (tonight it was Rogan Josh) while Philip chatted away to me.
Dusk.  Looking to Emu Park at Yeppoon
Our site is right on the beach
We were once again in bed quite early but as we are both reading great books it was not a big deal.  The biggest problem I have when we travel along the east coast is the sun rising so early.  I was wide awake at 4.30 am but one look out the window had me scrambling for my camera.  The sunrise was absolutely spectacular.
 After my impromptu photo shoot I did mange to get a little more sleep but at 6.30 am we decided to go for a walk along the beautiful beach.  We walked a few kilometres before heading back to the camper for breakfast, shower and quick pack-up.  We were on the road again by 8.30 am.  Gundiah tomorrow!

Road Trip Day 1

Finally, after having to postpone our road trip, we were on our way. Yippee!  We love road trips and plan them many months out.  This trip takes us to visit our son and DIL in Gundiah, my mum in Toowoomba, my sister in Beaudesert, Woolgoolga for a couple of changes to our camper and finally to Fraser Island for a few days.  Along the way we hope to drop in on several friends.
Today we set sail from home at 7.30 am.  We had some stops to make in Cairns as we passed through and also a drop off in Townsville.  These couple of jobs delayed us more than we thought and after stopping in Innisfail for an early lunch, we didn’t arrive at our destination, Alva Beach – east of Ayr - until after 5.00 pm. 
We are staying at the Alva Beach Tourist Park and it is incredibly clean and well loved.  We drove past a very inviting swimming pool on the way to our spot but it was really too late to go for as swim.  We quickly set up the camper, that takes us no time at all, and we were sitting back and enjoying a cool drink by 5.30 pm. 
In an effort to continue our healthy eating habits I have packed more food than usual and hope to cook the majority of meals while we are away.
Today for lunch we had salad sandwiches on rye sourdough with a healthy cake (that I had made before we left) as our sweet treat.  For dinner I cooked Jamie Olivers Shakin’ Ginger Beef with Bok Choy.  This has become a firm favourite.  We were in bed by 8.30 pm as we have a big travel day tomorrow.

Before we left Alva Beach we took a walk along the foreshore.  The council are to be congratulated on the area.  The picnic area with its manicured lawns would be the perfect spot to be on a hot day.  We walked back along the beach that was very narrow because of the high tide.  We could hear the pounding of surf in the distance and it seems that where we were walking was not actually the beach but Alva Creek.  The surf was the other side of a rather large sandbar.  If you had a boat it would have been interesting to go there.  Anyway, we only have a kayak so that trip was not going to happen. 

Alva Creek (not the Pacific Ocean!)

A good man!

Hitting the sand dunes

Storm brewing as we headed along the beach

Alva Beach foreshore area.  So lovely.

You can just see the waves breaking past the sand bar

Friday, 3 November 2017

A Healthy Life

Ever since I can remember I have been on one diet or another.  From Atkins to Paleo to fasting.  You name it I've done it.  The worst diet I have ever tried is the Leek Soup Diet.  Oh my god!  Even today I struggle with leeks.  And you know, the strange thing is that I have never really struggled with my weight. Sure I have put on a couple of kilos over the years but at age 60 I think I can come to terms with that.  What really set me on a course of dieting was reading somewhere that you should be the same weight as you are at 21.  Why did I believe that?  Okay it might be true and if you lived in Ethiopia it might happen but I'm sure that whoever wrote that did not take into account childbirth and what it does to your body.  You see at age 21, I had a 6 month old baby and I was breastfeeding.  I was the smallest I have ever been in my whole life.  I was 8 stone (51kg).  On a BMI scale that would be almost malnourished.
So I have tossed all those silly diets away and now just concentrating on a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and small helpings of protein.  As we are beef producers with a freezer full of good quality grass fed beef, this is our main protein.  I have also introduced more oily fish into our diet.  We don't drink any alcohol during the week but on weekends we may have a glass or two.  I have found that I am enjoying red wine and port!
Of course exercise is still very important.  I walk for half an hour at least five times and week, take two yoga classes and stay active around the house.  On the days that I do my morning yoga I forgo breakfast.....not because I think it is healthy, just because it makes my yoga practice so much easier.  (Downward Dog with a belly full of food is not a great feeling!)
I have been a member of Maggie Beers Club for awhile now and was very interested in her latest cookbook that she calls Recipe for Life.  The recipes in this book help provide the nutrients we need for optimum brain health and to reduce our chances of Alzheimers.  No guarantees of course because many factors contribute to AD but the recipes are delicious, tasty and simple.  The first 65 pages of the book are devoted to nutrition and I learnt a lot of new things.
To quote Maggie.....
"My recipe for life is to have a healthy attitude to eating - it's all about balance, variety and choosing foods that give you the best chance of being in good health now and into your future.  This is not a diet book - it's a way of Life"

So here is a sample of what we have been eating....

Scrambled Eggs, Asparagus and hot smoked salmon

Old Fashioned oats with banana and sultanas

This was from Jamie Oliver - Shakin Ginger Beef with Bok Choy

Sweet Potato Fritters with Avocado and Salmon

Bircher Muesli

Stay healthy my friends!

Monday, 30 October 2017

October in a nutshell

You would have gathered from my last post that October has been a very stressful and sad month for us.  We admitted Dallas into hospital on the 5th October and she was released into our care on the 10th October.  We drove the 160 km round trip everyday to visit her in hospital.  It was very tiring but the plus was that we ate at a lot of nice restaurants during that period.  (Dallas was re-admitted into hospital on the 20th October and died the same day.)
Our very favourite at the moment is Coco Mojo at Clifton Beach.  We have eaten there four times now and each time is as good as the last.  They have an extensive menu from Small Plates through to more traditional size.  Every time we go there it is well patronised so maybe we were the last to know about this little place.

Philip declared this the best Calamari he had even eaten!

Another restaurant that we always enjoy is Tha Fish at the Pier.  I ordered tempura Coral Trout with a delicious little seaweed salad.  It was so yummy and I can't wait to return and order the same thing again!

When we brought Dallas home from hospital she was very under nourished so I tried very hard to cook dishes that I knew she would like.  Breakfast was the only meal that she really enjoyed so I made a bit of an effort.  One morning I cooked poached eggs on a tomato salsa,

I have finally learnt the art of poaching an egg
And another morning I cooked up porridge and added banana and macadamia nuts.  It was very delicious and we all licked our plates clean.....

On the 18th October we had one of the heaviest falls of rain that we have ever experienced.  The thunder and lightening was frightening and we spent most of the night just lying in bed and waiting for the next bolt.  Just after midnight I took this screen shot of the radar.  The yellow/orange mass is us.  The system stayed in one place and it rained for many hours.  The next day we went to measure the rain but the 250mm (10 inch) rain gauge had overflowed!  We are guessing that we had about 300mm (12 inches).  We have had quite a bit of damage done to our new bitumen road but nothing that can't be repaired.

And lastly.  Would you look at the Jade Vine....it just won't stop flowering!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Last Goodbye

We sadly said our goodbyes to Philip's mum, Dallas, on Friday.  She would have been 82 in December. Thankfully, she had a short illness finally succumbing to Emphysema and heart disease.  We were fortunate enough to have her stay with us for a week before she was admitted into hospital even though we of course didn't realise it would be her last stay.
Dallas never wanted any fuss so we decided to have a private funeral ceremony for immediate family.  I picked flowers from our garden to lay across her coffin.  She loved the garden so it was fitting that they should be the flowers we used.
As there were only seven of us we had our chairs placed in a semi circle around the coffin and we all took turns to speak.  It was beautiful and touching and Philip and I have said that we also want to do the same thing when our turn comes.
After the funeral we went back to Dallas's apartment where we had laid out her personal belongings for the family to chose what they wanted.  We then took our drinks and nibbles outside to the pool area and sat around and chatted.  Dallas would have loved it.
I will miss Dallas, even though we didn't always see eye to eye, but we had a great deal of respect for each other and at the end of the day that is the most important thing.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A week in the life of us....

It's been a busy but exciting week.  We have Marco visiting us for a week so we have been lining up the jobs that Philip finds difficult to do by himself.  First job was branding the calves.

We had some friends visit us for the branding as the daughter would like to become a jillaroo so it was good experience for her.   I think at the end of the visit we had talked her into becoming a governess/jillaroo that would probably suit her better and if she really loved the jillaroo side she could then pursue that course.  Jillarooing in the outback is extremely difficult and extremely long days with a punishing climate.

Before Marco arrived, Trudi and Philip were busy collecting manure from the paddock and spreading it around the garden.  It is a cheap fertiliser and so beneficial for the garden.

The garden is looking lovely at the moment and we have been surprised at how long the snapdragons have hung on.  They flowered all through the winter months but have been even better during spring. The colour of this one is amazing and I have filled many vases with them.

And check out the size of this sweet potato.  It is huge and would not be good eating so I will let it sprout and replant it for the next crop.

It is cane season from May through till December and from all accounts it is going to be a bumper harvest.  It means very little to me except that I always have to add fifteen minutes on to my drive down the range because it is inevitable that I will get caught behind a truck hauling cane or a cane train crossing the highway.

Philip and I enjoyed a delicious brunch at Hi-Tide Restaurant in Port Douglas last weekend.  I ordered the Croque Madame and Philip ordered the specialty omelet.  They were delicious and we intend returning to try more of the meals from their extensive menu.

That's a wrap for this week.  Take care xx.