Sunday, December 26, 2010


The ritual we have always followed on Boxing Day is for Jim to watch the test cricket at the MCG. Flick over to the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, then back to the cricket.
So the ritual was followed this year.
We have enough fuel for the generator for about 10 days so Jim was able to kick back like he always does.
I used to opportunity of extended generated power to break out the breadmaker and we have fresh crusty bread!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Bush Christmas

Christmas Tree 
Well its more like a Christmas Twig. A very sad bare little twig, but we had to have somewhere for Santa to leave the pressies if he made it through.

The Festive Table
I laid the table with my best Laminex tablecloth.
 Next I laid out the lovingly polished cutlery which was reputedly to have been passed down from Great Grandma K-Mart

 Next the exquisitely crafted dinner plates flown in from Corelle by Corning at great expense.
 The plates are graced by some hand woven and hand dyed table napkins. Or maybe they were crocheted from green plastic garbage bags.
Either way they are artisan made.

I was lucky enough to get the very last frozen chicken in the supermarket freezer case. I made stuffing with a delicious rice mixture. (Last night's tea) and roasted it in the tiny gas oven in the caravan. Although the oven has a thermostat, I think it 
only has 2 settings - flat out and off.
The roast came out a treat!
As well as pot roasted potatoes the feast also included freshly picked dehydrated peas with butter sauce.
You will note the golden gravy lovingly cradled in the exquisite ancient glass jug we got at an archaeological dig in Pyrex.

We sat down to the luxurious spread and supped wine from finely crafted goblets that had once belonged to a fearless sea captain.
The wine we chose was a cheeky little white from Chateau Sprite.
To finish this creative and wonderous repast, we had fruit cake bursting with artificial flavours, yellow custard with artificual colours and low fat/calorie/taste cream and . . .


no fair!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Singers of the Rain

With all the heavy rain, the local tree frogs have all gone into breeding mode. The night is filled with 'braaks', 'pips' and 'moans' and a few days ago we looked into a bucket filled with fresh rain water and there they were - Taddies!
They are growing as we watch and as there are so many of them, we are concerned if there is enough food for all of them.
And that, dear reader, leads nicely to my Vegetable Garden.

The vegies have not fared well with all the rain.
Firstly the cucumbers have powdery mildew, and the leaves are turning yellow and dying. In spite of this they still harbour plans for world domination.

I have ONE capsicum

The beans have fared better and are currently eyeing the gutter on the shed as the next place to wrap their stems
The lettuces have bolted and are developing flowers. So why haven't I pulled them out. I'm not sure why but I think the universe told me to keep them.
Of course! The lettuce leaves will be used to provide food for the tadpoles.
Every few days we boil a few leaves and the little taddies get stuck into them. 
So soon we will have smiling green children of the damp places, singers of the rain.

Last night in bed, with fireflies winking and frogs calling Jim said "you realise that if all those tadpoles change. . .'
'Yes' said I foolishly. . .
Jim - 'we will probably end up 'nee-deep' in frogs!'

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vale Mr Q

Mr Q was an Australian magpie. 
He came into care after a member of the public, in an effort to assist took him to a vet for treatment of throat worm. Unfortunately by the time he was delivered to us, his neck was twisted until his head was almost upside down. Another veterinary opinion was that he was given an overdose of possibly Ivermec, and it had damaged the nerves in one side of the neck. Treatment was started along with physio in the hope that the situation could be resolved. With one eye on the ground and the other watching the sky, the literal cock-eyed optimist. He was naturally named Quasimodo.
At the same time a young female was rescued. She was badly bruised, feathers damaged and torn out and she was very traumatised. She refused both food and water of her own accord.
Mr Q cage was placed along side her in an attempt to provide some stimulation. He sat next to her and softly sang. The next day she began to eat and drink.
When she was placed in the aviary, Mr Q went too as he had  clearly met the love of his life.
In the aviary he blossomed. Mastered scaling perches and even with his disability, he flew.
He played with his lady and should a tasty insect come his way, he always offered it to her and both of them developed their special song.
As all who have rehabilitated magpies know only too well, the difficulty of finding a niche in the wild for them that does not intrude on another magpies territory. Clearly Mr Q could never be released in a high density area as he could not hold his place against other healthy males. And so Mr & Mrs Q came to St Agnes.
After several weeks we made the decision to open the door.
They were both delighted, exploring their new area by day and always at dusk return to the safety of the aviary and sat side by side wings touching.
With all the open space Mr Q began to polish his flying skills. At first he was like a Harrier Jump Jet - all vertical lift and not much forward motion. But he kept trying and eventually could fly to about 6 metres up into a tree and from one side of the house pad to the other. With his cock-eyed view of the world, landing was a challenge. He solved this by performing a 180 degree spin and landed with easy (mostly).

Tuesday Mr Q went missing. We searched all the places he used to perch but nothing, not a sign. Mrs Q sat in the trees in one corner of the house area and called and called. This must have been the last place she saw him. That night she did not return to the aviary.
Yesterday she spent half the day flying around the boundary of their little world calling. Eventually, with only half a song, she stopped.
Today she is much more as she used to be, caroling and chasing the king parrots and bar-shouldered doves. She still goes to that corner from time to time, but now is silent.

We always knew when we opened the door that there was a chance a predator would eventually take him, but we hoped later rather than sooner, and had he been asked, I'm sure Mr Q would have chosen Life, for life is not about being safe in an aviary. Life is about living, taking chances, doing the best you possibly can with what you have. Feeling the sun on your back, the wind in your face, rain and above all loving your mate.

We will miss you Mr Q. Your funny song embellished with notes stolen from a butcher bird, your funny cock-eyed black and white shape running with wings out to catch up with Mrs Q. 
We honour your courage, perseverance and your lust for life

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How High's the Water Momma?

Six Feet High and Rising. . . .
That's the Johnny Cash song we have been singing this weekend.

About 10pm Saturday night the rain started. We knew it was going to rain, but not what ensued.
All night long a very steady drumming of rain on the tin roof continued. Daybreak dawned grey and very wet and still the rain fell sometimes very heavy and other times not so heavy. 
During a visit to the "small room with a view" I could hear this noise like wind through the trees and suddenly realised it was the sound of the creek at the bottom of our property. 
We drove down the road towards the creek and found water where we had not seen it before as water crossed the road from the bush.
 When we climbed the hill that runs down to the causeway we found that our lovely creek that wandered through rainforest patches with shafts of sunlight gleaming on the waters, and chuckled over rocky bars and glided over pale cream gravel with little leaf boats floating softly on the surface had become a raging torrent.

 The crossing is normally a small concrete apron about 10 metres wide and here it is fast flowing water about 200 metres wide and we estimated 5-6 metres deep.

 It will probably take 4-5 days to drop to a level that can safely be crossed as this is the only road out!
Good job we did a big food stock up on Saturday. All the same we will have to go easy. I mean, the though of running out of chocolate it too much to bear!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lettuce Eat!

Harvested enough lettuce for an egg salad, along with parsley and chives. The tomato is not home grown unfortunately.
One serving with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, the other with Caesar salad dressing.
A yummy lunch

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Finally the last building of our grow trio has been completed
Scavenging and assembly was done by moi all on my pat-malone with no male supervision interferance or assistance.

I have a sink outside and inside shelves for seeds, pots and bins for soil mixes.
Come autumn will be busy taking and striking cuttings for all the landscaping plants we need and there are HEAPS of them!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Went to take my sunhat off the hook that hangs just inside the door of 'Ourgunyah' and this is what I found
A Green tree frog. They are in one of the original water tanks, the shower, the rain gauge, anywhere it is damp.
 Needless to say, I went without my hat!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If Ya Ain't Got a Landy Ute. . . .

You're Just Not Really Country

Around here a Toyota Landcruiser Ute is almost compulsory. 
The uniform consists of Akubra hat, check shirt, moleskins or jeans and boots. To complete this uniform is the Landy.
For extra points you need:-
1.  A bullbar
2.  An antenna farm mounted on said bullbar
3.  A snorkle
4.  R M Williams mud flaps
5.  Gympie Muster stickers
for extra pizzaz
6.  A large hound of doubtful parentage who threatens to 'rip ya arm orf' if you get any closer that a metre to the Ute.
We have a Landy Ute.
The "bullbar' is a piece of gate.
The only antenna we have is for the radio
Snorkle are for Jacques Cousteau
Mudflaps were an optional extra
The stickers on the back are too faded to read and
Our dogs will lick you to death.

On the plus side it has the lowest k's on the clock of all our vehicles and we have the original owners service manual.
She's a bit rough and rusty, and like all Landys is built like a brick out house. Suspension as hard as a rock, no power assisted anything, spartan minimalist interior.
The old girl has sat here for about 6 years, unstarted, so we bled the brakes, then the clutch, replaced some fuel lines and finally coaxed her into life. She'd idled but wouldn't rev. 
Our virtual mechanic - phone-a-friend Jim Harris, said to dump the fuel which was no longer fuel after all that time. He also suggested a clean and new gaskets for the carby. Jim was going the Helensvale to collect some aviaries and dropped carby off.
Mr H came through like a beauty and had the carby ready the next day.
With a clean carby she starts and runs smoothly - thanks Mr H

Although we own a Landy Ute no one will ever know we are real country. The old bus is not and never will be registered, so will never be driven into town.
When the locals look suspiciously at us sitting in the Landrover Discovery, we just smile because we know we are real country

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow

The silver bells and cockle shells are a no-show and the pretty maid went to seed years ago!
The tomatoes are powering ahead.
In fact they have flowers in little furry hats developing.
The chives and parsley are quickly filling the pot

We are growing Cos lettuces because our favourite Iceberg, go not do well in the hot weather and bolt to seed. They also need to be harvested in one go and we do not have the refrigeration space, so we will be able to take just as many leaves as we need.
My little patch of corn. It will only yield us a few ears, but fresh corn is too good to not to plant.
Behind the corn are some purple carrots. will have to see how I feel about eating purple carrots when they are ready to harvest.
Finally the cucumbers are starting to grow the coiled tendrils and will soon begin their voyage up the lattice.
All this incredible growth has taken place in just 4 weeks

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A New Camera

Finally received my new second hand camera. Got the same model as the one that packed in it's pixels. Will dismantle said camera and see if it's fixable. That is highly unlikely after I've finished with it.
Ok so what have we been doing?
Assembled the propagation and shade houses. The shade house originally housed young flying foxes in it's last life.
The interior of the propagation house, furnished with state-of-the-art racking.

We now have a small vegie garden. This all came about due to:-
1. The weather warming up and the desire for cold crispy lettuce
2. Not enough fridge space to store a whole Iceberg lettuce.
Now we are . . .
Patiently waiting for the tomatoes to grow and produce fruit.
Lettuces just planted, carrots and corn. The other bed has beans, capsicum, cucumber and more corn.
Will be interesting to see what wildlife this will flush out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Camera Gap #2

A Four-Bar Sword-tail Butterfly. The caterpillars feed on the Zig Zag vine shown in the last scintillating post.
 A lovely moth with a loooooooong latin name

A Bearded Dragon telling me to back orf! 
She dug a hole and laid her eggs right in the middle of where the solar panels are to be installed, so we had to move them.  They will take about 60 days to hatch.
A Frilled-Necked Lizard catching the afternoon sun.
And finally another flower piccie.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Until I Get a New Camera

My trusty Fuji camera refuses to switch on.
Yes I have made sure the batteries are correctly inserted and yes I have tested the batteries and they are ok, so it looks as though it has expired.
So the bad news is no more fantastic, exciting ,scintilating posts. The good news is that I won't be able to bore you spitless with trivial drivle either!
So I will now show you some arty-farty flora/fauna shots.

Little golden flowered Hibbertia that spring up everywhere with all the rain.

This is a native hibiscus. Grows to about 2.5 metres high. The leaves are furry and the flowers are a beautiful pink and last for one day. They however, have prickly stems.

A little bush with daisy-like flowers

 This is a zig-zag vine. It starts out as a bush, then turns into a scrambling vine that climbs over other plants.

The pattern of the trunk of a Spotted Gum

The beautiful pattern of bark on another tree.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Small Room - with a View

I have a theory, that all civilised advances are due to the weather. It was the weather that made our ancestors come down from the trees and take up the relative comfort of caves. It was the weather that resulted in them clustering around the warmth of  fire and it was the weather that induced them to cloth themselves in soft skins.
So the weather has caused us to make another civilised advance.
For the last few days we have had rain. Now we are quite snug in our little abode but calls of nature became water torture. Sitting on the 'dunny stump' in the rain and wind struggling with a unruly umbrella that exposed more than it covered then to find that the toilet roll melted in your hand because you had left it hanging on the toilet roll tree brought about a swift response.
A quick shuffle through our tin stash and we had enough for 3 walls and a roof. A little carpentry, some paint and a deep hole and we now have the 'Littlest Room" complete with a view.
 Aaaaah bliss. No more rain where you least want it, no more damp derrieres and no more soggy amorphous paper masses.
Then there is the view. Gazing off to the distant mountains beats a magazine any day. And at night the new moon in the western sky shines directly through the door.
It's almost as good as indoor plumbing - almost.