My gypsy feet were getting restless and wanted to go exploring, after all it is now 4 months since my last trip. So yesterday it was time for a day’s outing into the country side. Discovering a new and delightful place for lunch. (more on this in another post) On to Murwillumbah art gallery to be immersed in art. Then sit on the deck of the gallery café with a cup of coffee as the sun went down.
It is dusk and, thinking the sunset was finished, it is time to head home along the highway. The sugar cane fields on one side and the Tweed River on the other. Suddenly the sun illuminates the sky with a final burst of iridescent red, it is breathtaking and I had to stop and try to capture this pure moment of nature’s glory. I am oblivious of the vehicles rushing by, people encased in their metallic shells. Are they even aware of the beauty around them. The place is a perfect spot for photographs as the cirrus clouds reflect in a pool of blood in the river.
Steam train “Special 1079” (numbers) Is a very special heritage train and has been puffing along for 150 years (more numbers) and is now used for special excursions and, in March, I had booked for an excursion to the Glasshouse Mountains in search of the “blues”. (If you are a train buff and would like more information go here)
The passengers milled around, the excitement was palpable. The train guard kept us all behind the yellow line till it was time to board.
Do you remember these old trains? Shiny, hard leather seats, racks for the luggage, room to move around and windows that opened to let in the fresh air tinged with smoke,smut and cinders!!!
Time to settle down, get to know the passengers around you and take a photo or two.
One complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink was included with the price. After this first drink there was plenty more at a price $9 per, small, glass of wine or beer…
So with the windows open, wind in the hair and wine in hand the journey began.
With 6 carriages and over 150 people (more numbers) it would be a fun journey. Blues musicians entertained in each carriage. The train was rocking and rolling along.
This lovely lady and her backing guitarist belted out the blues in our carriage, she was good, a strong husky, blues voice and sang all popular songs. Really set the atmosphere. And look at that figure…
The joint is jumping…
The scenery swished by lit by the late afternoon sun and for a while I stood on the open deck, outside the carriage, watching the world go by
Then the unusual shaped Glasshouse Mountains, glowing in the late afternoon golden light, came into view. We are almost there.
The Glasshouse Mountains Tavern is next to the railway station and everyone heads for the bar.
It is a bit like the old-time six o’clock swill. (Who remembers those days?) Standing 2 and 3 deep waiting to be served, the barmaids are going as fast as they can. Then find a seat and wait for the “gourmet” bar-b-q to be served.
Here it comes…
Here it goes…
It is a beautiful balmy night and some people find a table outside.
But I heard they breed large, hungry mosquitoes around here. One of my new friends had brought her mossie repellent and I, gratefully, used it too. Then found a seat inside.
Now we had a 2 hour blues show. Just look at this blues singer, she really looked the part and she could belt out the blues.
We shared a table with Rob and his partner and made an instant connection with them. Lots in common to talk about. I went over to get another drink and when I got back to the table the music had started and Jack and our new friend could not resist the rhythm so they became part of the show…
Jack loves to dance and in New Zealand, when he followed many of the blues musicians over there, he became known as the “detonator” he would be the first one to start dancing, then every one would join in dancing. So it was this time. At the next song the floor was filled with grooving, happy people.
The Gold Coast China Town precinct has only been established for a short while, but it is expanding and now extends through 2 streets. Just in time for the celebration of the Chinese New Year the first set of traditional Han gates arrived.
“And, as befits an auspicious addition to the precinct, a consultant ensured the gate’s feng shui was appropriately adjusted. We had a feng shui master examine the gates and his analysis showed we needed to put a lucky charm in each of the gate’s towers,” Cr Crichlow said.
“So we buried a set of eight Chinese coins connected with red Chinese knots in each tower.
“Eight is the luckiest number in China and because the towers are twins we had to get two sets of eight.
“We also had to bury them at a particular lucky time and date to maximise the feng shui.” (Gold Coast Bulletin)
It was February 20th 2016, Chinese New Year,the year of the monkey. China Town was crowded, parking was at a premium, so we went there on the G:Link, the new light rail system.
The stall holders were busy preparing the food.
And the hordes of people, locals and tourists, tucked in…
On a stage traditional Chinese dancers entertained the crowd.
I even managed to get a photo of a very rare 2 headed Chinese lady…
Meanwhile round the corner a magician was enthralling both children and adults with his sleight of hand.
It is getting darker but still the food stalls are supplying dinner for the crowds.
The fairy lights are twinkling and some people find a seat.
Others squeeze on to whatever they can find to sit on…
While others have to be content with sitting in the gutter.
It is March 1st, the first day of Autumn and it is raining, really raining, not just the dribbly showers that fell occasionally during February bringing no relief to the hot, parched earth, but the steady sort of rain that soaks into the soil bringing renewed life and vigour to the plants.
Just look at it, can you see the plants smiling? In the past 12 hours we have had 70mm of rain and it is still raining…
How do I feel? What is my state of mind as I stand under the deck awning and watch the rain soaking into the garden? I feel I am coming back to life. The listless, constant stickiness of the hot, humid summer is over (well I hope so!) I love Autumn, March is my favourite month of the year. I feel revitalised and ready to do things I have been putting off.
Over at WordPress Ben Huberman asks us to share an image where you see a particularly strong connection between what we see and what you felt as you pressed that shutter button on your camera or phone. What was our “state of mind”…
This sort of follows on, or really came before, when I went round the garden to see what was still in flower. I was in a reflective state of mind thinking and hoping for the cooler weather to come.
On the weekend it was very hot, I did a photo essay of what is flowering in the garden at the end of summer.
Grevillia flowers all year round
The main work during summer is pruning and the compost bin is almost full again.
My favourite flower is the gorgeous Fruit salad Frangipani. I’ve put this in for Jude “earth laughs in flowers” She is a passionate gardener and hosts a weekly “garden photography” challenge, I hope you will go over and have a look.
How are you feeling? I hope these smiling flowers have put you in a happy state of mind.
It is summer in the Land Down Under. The temperatures hover around 30c degrees and it is humid.
The place to be is the beach…
Hundreds flock here. The ocean can be dangerous and people are urged to swim between the flags, under the watchful eye of the Lifeguards. You can just see the red and yellow flags in the top left hand side of the photo. So that is why so many people crowd into this small area when there is over 40 kilometers of beach to choose from.
In the background, to the south, is Burleigh Heads National Park with the hi-rise apartments and exclusive restaurants nestled between the ocean and the bush.
Further north along the beach it is not so crowded, no lifeguards to rescue you if you swim here. In the distance the jagged, hi-rise outline of Surfers Paradise rises through the heat haze.
Being born in the UK I go into a heat hibernation through January and February. Summer is the season of sweating, I search out places with air-conditioning, library, shopping centres, cinemas or even the cool shade beneath a tree with the sea breezes to cool me down, and dream of the cooler weather to come in March.
Not many are flowering at the moment in mid summer as they are, mainly, a spring-flowering plant. So I searched through the archives to find some of the vibrant images I have of the Bromeliad in glorious flower.
Also they carry these amazing and diverse forms of flowers for many weeks, sometimes months. When they do eventually fade the Bromeliad will slowly die, but not before it has produced a number of pups (small replicas of itself) around the base of the plant to carry on the easy care tradition.
But as I write it, as I think it, it has gone and the next now is here…
We are urged to live in the now. But how can I record it? How can I show you now?
Well I have thousands of “now moments” recorded on my computer’s hard drive. Photography is the medium of “now”. A moment in time captured forever, making it possible, even years from now, to recall those fleeting moments, bringing back memories.
Jack has caught me, in a very inelegant pose, as I take a photo of these pretty native flowers in the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens in Sydney.
What a vivid splash of colour this Scaevola aemula (Fairy Fan-flower or Common Fan-flower) makes. Behind it is the paper daisy, another Australian native, and one of my favourites.
Now looking at these photos brings back the detail of that day. Spending time with our son and his wife, wandering around enjoying a pleasant day spent together and sharing a meal at the gardens restaurant. All caught and recorded in the moment in time, however fleeting it may be.
As I write this it is the last day of 2015, 9-10pm, the night is still and warm and the chirping sound of cicadas fill the air, but in the distance I can, faintly, hear the children’s display of fireworks being let off in one of the townships. The now moments are slipping by and soon (3 hours and 45 minutes at this precise moment, but of course it is getting less as I type) it will be the BIG moment when 2015 becomes 2016, and the crescendo of fireworks reverberates around the world.
Time to think of the year that has passed so quickly and the unknown of the year ahead.
Best wishes to all my blogging buddies it has been an absolute pleasure to be part of this world-wide community. Thank you for dropping by to my part of the world and especially thank you for leaving comments and sharing your life with me. I look forward to the coming year and all it holds for us.
Every morning I walk around the farm checking the animals and just generally enjoying the walk with the dog.
I can hear the cows calling me. The bales are behind this machinery shed.
This is one of the 2 cows
This is baby bull, about a year old
Tuck in girls…
Now to check the sheep…
How the lambs have grown. (remember this? The day one was born) They follow me into the shed for their morning feed. The lambs are eating the pellets now.
Through to the next paddock to check on the old ram and his 6 girl friends.
A favourite place on a hot day is under this old shelter. It used to be used for milling the logs many years ago, but all the machinery has gone now. Can you see the sheep? Come over and look closer.
Seldon leads the way as I walk toward the dam.
He sits and waits for me as I take photos.
Dams are a necessity in this area as it is very low rainfall. Notice the windmill?
Seldon has found a shady spot to wait for me. “Come on” I can hear him saying…
I carefully skirt around this big ants nest. Millions of them busy scurrying about. They can give a very nasty bite.
I can hear you saying, “but what about snakes?” Believe me I keep a wary eye open for them. Suddenly along this track there was a flash of black and before I could point my camera a snake disappeared into the undergrowth. He had seen me before I saw him and was not going to hang around. Most snakes will slither away so they are not a real danger.
Past the second dam, and yes that is water under the weed. It is Salvinia a very noxious weed and hard to control. It spread from the neighbours property and Kim is trialling an insect that eats it. I think it may be working as the centre of the dam looks quite brown compared with the outside area.
In the paddock next to this dam is the last flock of 9 sheep. These are the hoggets and destined to be going into the freezer. Maybe I could call this a “gathering” of sheep…
Time to head back for morning tea. Next time I will walk around the native flower plantation.
Maybe I will bring my cuppa out here.
Or sit and smell the roses…
Or best of all as the weather gets hotter, and today it is forecast to be 39c (102f), go for a swim later on…
Well Jo here is some sunshine for you. I hope your winter is not too cold.
House sitting on a farm is quite different to house sitting in suburbia. It is peaceful, no traffic noise, only the sounds of nature. A background hum of insects, calls of the birds, wind rustling through the trees.
Then there is the garden…
No tiny veggie patch here. It is almost the size of a Market Garden…
Looking back towards the house. I have pulled out soooo many weeds, but still they keep coming to haunt me…
Looking in the opposite direction across part of the potatoe patch down to the tomatoes flourishing on their stakes. Notice the plant on the left?
It is producing an embarrassing number of these marrows. Help, anyone out there have any marrow recipes?
To the right of the potatoes is the sweet corn plantation. They are not quite ready yet, but when they are there are hundreds of them…
Did you notice the beans? Well already I have frozen so many and still they keep coming.
We had an “Oops” moment with them last weekend. After a stormy and windy evening, when I checked the garden next morning, I found the middle structure of beans blown over flat…
Can you see that gap and the sad mound of leaves?
Fortunately we had our son staying for the weekend and he helped Jack haul it up and re-stake it.
So they live to produce another day…
Here are more and more…
This is a very dry area as it is situated in the rain shadow of the Blue Mountains. There are 2 large dams on the property to supply abundant water every where. Kim has an ingenious watering system covering all the main areas, worked by timers, and all day they turn sprinklers on different areas in rotation.
The veggie garden has 3 sprinklers that I move around to a different part each night and turn on the timer to water the areas for 5-6 hours during the evening.
I have never tasted such crunchy and delicious vegetables. We are living on the fruits of our labour and feeling so healthy.
I will end this post with the other member of our animal family. Hippy is very ancient in cat years. I think she is in her late teens and spends all her days lazing in shady spots around the garden.
On our recent road trip to the farm we are presently looking after, we stayed 2 days in Dubbo. A township in the western outback of New South Wales. Miles from anywhere but a bustling and busy centre where 5 main road systems bisect. It is linked by national highways north to Brisbane, south to Melbourne, east to Sydney and Newcastle, and west to Broken Hill and Adelaide. Trucks far outnumbered cars on the road.
It also had a Botanic Gardens, always a magnet for me.
Within the gardens was a Japanese Garden.
“Shoyoen” is the name of the Garden. ‘Shoyoen’ means ‘strolling and refreshing garden’. Shoyoen is recognised as being one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens in Australia. It was gifted to Dubbo by our Sister City Minokamo, Japan.
I was entranced by the beauty of this garden and spent hours wandering around absorbing the perfection and tranquillity.
Every where the attention to detail and the love of gardening was evident and I stopped to talk to this gardener.
He told me that a team of gardeners came from The Japanese sister city, Minokamo, each year to prune and train the Japanese Black Pine into large forms of Bonsai and supervise the training of the local gardeners in Japanese methods.
As I strolled around I thought of Jude and her love of gardens and passion for benches. Look how many I found here.
It was a morning filled with pure sensory delight. The shapes, the textures, the gentle perfume from the many
gardenia, the play of shadows across rock, the ripples across the pond, the sound of the waterfall as it cascaded over the rocks.
This is the best Japanese Garden I have seen in Australia…
On the way out past the sensory garden look what “EYE” saw…
60 something female, ( now 70 I have been doing this blog 3 years) fit and active, loves travel, reading, walking. Born in Yorkshire, UK. Moved to New Zealand, love the country. Became a "Kiwi" lived there 37 years, son and daughter still live there. Moved to Australia because I now live with and love an Australian that I met in NZ and am now an Aussie citizen.