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October 1, 2014 / diannegray

Somebody stop me!

It all started when I had to plant my avocado tree. It had been sitting in a pot for 12 months and even though I have a huge block with plenty of room I decided it needed to be planted out the back of the old shed near the mulberry tree in the dense mess that used to be the chook yard and pig pen.

Just like me to choose the hardest space to clear, just to plant one tree.

So I dived into the jungle and fought off snakes and spiders for my love of avocadoes (or maybe hubby helped with the tractor). Yes, I could have just gone to the shops and bought an avocado to have with my morning toast, but that would have been far too easy.

Last time I cleared a garden at the farm I forgot to take before shots (kicking myself because the change was dramatic). So this time I took some before and after shots.

Enjoy!

Garden1_before

In case you didn’t notice – this is a ‘before’ shot ;)

 

Garden1_after

I discovered an old toilet and septic from the original house before the main house was built. Handy in the garden! :D The large tree to the left is a ‘Five Corner’ (or Star Fruit) tree. The one on the right is a Mulberry.

 

Garden5_before

Another before shot from a different angle…

 

Garden4_after

…and from the same angle after

 

The good news is I can now get to the mulberry tree!

And I ate that cute little sucker after taking this pic!

And I ate that cute little sucker after taking this pic!

 

The Cooktown Orchids are in bloom so I just had to get a shot of them!

The Cooktown Orchids are in bloom so I just had to get a shot of them!

My father-in-law was so impressed he bought another avocado tree so I planted that as well. 

Okay – enough of the gardening already! Time to get back to writing

Have a great week!

xxxxx

September 23, 2014 / diannegray

This is not the Tour de France (part two)

In July I wrote a post about groups of cyclists conducting races on our country roads. When I looked into this problem it appeared the cyclists had (apparently) gained police approval.

I must admit the area where I live is beautiful and I would love to cycle around here all day, but there is a time and place for safe cycling and this isn’t it.

I just had to add one of my favourite photos here

I just had to add one of my favourite photos here

As I stated in the original This is Not the Tour De France post, there were several incidents where cyclists caused havoc for tractor drivers and cars and these incidents were becoming a little too regular and too close for comfort. As a representative of the local farmers I reported the issues to police and questioned the safety aspects of these races and trial races.

Strangely enough, the police advised me that cycle racing in the area was NOT permitted during sugar cane harvesting season. They contacted the cycling group and advised them they were going to look into all the issues raised by the farmers.

The problems that were uncovered during this investigation were interesting indeed.

  1. In April 2014 the Queensland road rules for cyclists were changed to make it safer for cyclists to ride on our roads. A car passing a cyclists is now required to give 1 metre passing distance if the speed limit is below 6o km/h. If the speed limit is over 6o km/h the car must give 1.5 metres. Even though our road is scenic and winding, it’s only single lane and the speed limit is 80 km/h. This means if I need to overtake cyclists legally (using the 1.5 metre rule) I usually end up in a sugar cane field.
  2. This is a farming area. We have two rails crossings (without warning lights), harvesters, tractors, trucks, trains and cars all sharing the road. We have many blind corners and being confronted by a pelaton of cyclists while traveling at 80 km/h is not for the feint-hearted. Because the edge of the road is stony and road racing tyres puncture easily, the cyclists cannot leave the road to let others pass.
  3. Riding single file is not an option when cyclists are racing or training for a race.

The cyclists didn’t appreciate being told they couldn’t race as they had organised several major bike races for the coming months – so they put in a request for a special racing permit for our road. This request worked very much in our favour as it pushed the entire racing discussion into the limelight and decisions had to be made.

Two weeks ago the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Cairns Regional Council and the Queensland Police met with the cycling club to discuss the permit and the racing. This meeting resulted in a stoppage of all cycle racing in our area (whether it is harvesting season or not!) due to the cyclists own rules regarding motorists legally having to give the 1.5 metre leeway.

Therefore, it’s now illegal for cyclists to race on our roads at any time of the year unless they close the road (which isn’t going to happen in this area due to the disruption of a major industry).

 This is a fantastic result.

Thumbs up

Thumbs up to the Police, Council, and Dept. of Transport  who have let sanity prevail and made a very smart decision concerning road safety.

….Now, I’d better get back to writing my latest novel that was lost when my laptop broke…

September 10, 2014 / diannegray

Wedding bliss

I’ve been offline for about a week for a very good reason. My daughter was married in Melbourne on Saturday and it was the wedding of the century (I’m not being bias! LOL). My daughter is one of the most organized people I know and the amount of planning and preparation that went into this wedding really showed on the day. Everything was absolutely perfect.
I haven’t received the ‘official’ photographs yet, but in the meantime check these out. We had an absolute ball!

The first few pics were taken in the photo booth that was set up during the reception.

Me and my friend Harriet

Me and my friend Harriet

Me and Harriet again

Me and Harriet again

Me and my son Nick and his girlfriend Hannah

My son Nick, his girlfriend Hannah and me (Hannah had her head down and all you can see is the hat!)

Nick, Hannah and me again

Nick, Hannah and me again

Nick thought the photos had finished so Hannah and I were trying to get him back

Nick thought the photos had finished so Hannah and I were trying to get him back

Oh well, just us left!

Oh well, just us left!

My beautiful daughter before the wedding

My beautiful daughter before the wedding

My daughter and two sons after the wedding

My daughter and my two sons after the wedding

 

I’m SO proud. My first experience as Mother of the Bride was one of the most amazing and loving experiences ever.

More pics to come when the ‘official’ photos come through!

 

August 23, 2014 / diannegray

Back on line

I’m back on-line thanks to my darling children who chipped in and bought me a new laptop after my other one was broken. What sweethearts they are! I would also like to thank El Guapo who gave me brilliant advice on how to retrieve the information from my old hard drive without spending a fortune. He also took me step-by-step through the entire process. What an amazing and thoughtful man he is. The good news is I was able to retrieve all my photos stored on the Data side of my old hard drive.

All my stories on the OS side of the hard drive were corrupted but I have them backed-up on disk. The only back-ups I didn’t have were recent edits to my current stories. This has put me back a couple of months in my work, but I’m a true believer in everything happens for a reason and, who knows, reworking my current stories may be just what they need!

So at the moment I’m trying to fight my way through the most confusing maze of all time – Windows 8.1. Who developed this madness?

Have you seen the picture of the baby wombat who was saved after its mother was killed on the road? A ranger in Victoria, Australia (Kim Hunter) is nursing this cute little darling back to health. I’m sure this picture will put a smile on your face!

Photo courtesy Parks Victoria Facebook

Photo courtesy: Parks Victoria Facebook

On Tuesday I had a visit from a baby kookaburra who scared the life out of me when it laughed loudly out of the blue while I was focusing on finding things on Windows 8.1. As soon as I picked up my video camera to film it laughing it stopped. Isn’t that always the way :D

Kookaburra1

I took a video the other day of the sugar cane harvesting. The scene was ideal. I captured the hauling tractor dumping sugar cane into the bins for the train to pick up, while another tractor in the distance was collecting the cane from the harvester. The white birds are egrets who love chasing the harvester around to catch insects thrown up by the activity. The large dark birds you may see in the sky are eagles looking for rats and mice.  If you like watching big machinery in action take a look at the clip.

 

Have a great weekend!

August 4, 2014 / diannegray

e-purgatory

My laptop was dropped and broken on Friday night and I’m looking for a hard drive guru (or suggestions) to get all my information back.

Until I can scrounge another laptop from somewhere I’m offline. I can read emails and posts on my phone, but it’s a little slow so bear with me.

Fingers crossed I’ll be up and running again soon.

July 31, 2014 / diannegray

The birds and the bees

As you know I am surrounded by a menagerie of wildlife on the farm in Tropical North Queensland. Some of it can be pretty scary, but most of it is magnificent.

I was on the porch the other day when blue flashes in the sky caught my eye (it was before wine o’clock so I knew it wasn’t my imagination).

In the mango tree out the front I saw some cute little birds paying me a visit. When they’re flying you can see the bright blue under their wings. Once they land on a branch they’re perfectly camouflaged.

They are Rainbow Bee-eaters.

You probably can’t see them in the picture below unless you look really closely.

Tree

I’ve saved you the trouble of zooming in with the picture below.

Two Rainbow Bee-eaters3

These two weren’t talking to each other, and then….

 

….a third one joined in to say hello, but they still didn’t want to talk

Three Rainbow Bea-eaters4

…and then I spotted this one sitting all by itself watching the three ignoring each other

One Rainbow Bee-eater1

I don’t know what was going on in the bird world that day, but it would make a pretty cool story!

Have a great week!

July 28, 2014 / diannegray

This is not the Tour de France

Signs

Rant warning

Have you ever seen a cyclist hit by sugar-cane train? No? Neither have I and I don’t want to.

Who do you think would come out unscathed if a cyclist and a tractor hauling 10 ton of sugar-cane collided on a blind corner? Hmmm, the cyclist would come out unscathed said no sane person ever.

For some reason, unknown to anyone with common sense, a cycling club from Cairns has decided it’s a great idea to hold races on our country road. This would be fine if not for the fact that there are harvesters, sugar-cane trains, tractors and cars also competing for this SINGLE LANE road.

I don’t know about you – but I wouldn’t like to be hit by any of these beauties 

Large farming machinery

 

I love cycling, but this is NOT the Tour de France. It’s a fully operational farming area.

After my builder was nearly wiped out a few weeks back when a tractor hauling sugar-cane travelling at about 80 km/h had to swerve off our road to avoid hitting a peloton* of bicycles, I contacted the local city council and the police. Guess what? Bicycle racing on farming roads during the sugar-cane harvesting season is not a legally approved activity. The police have advised the club of this fact, but they have chosen to ignore it.

Am I the only one who can see something wrong with the picture below?

Signs

*Peloton – a group of riders racing (because they’re racing they don’t have to follow the single-file rule). The photo below is an example of this taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Peloton

Because the cyclists ride in a peloton, even I (in my trusty little non-off road vehicle) have to leave the road (yes you heard me – leave the road) and drive on the pot-holed shoulder to pass them. If it’s raining, my car slides on the slick red dirt.

So if any cyclists (into this kind of stupidity) are reading this – please think twice about racing on country roads that are used by heavy farming machinery. Our farmers and their contractors are just trying do an honest days work without the fear of killing someone in the process.

Any kind of collision aint gonna be pretty.

I have begun taking pictures and videos for police of all offenders on my road.

End of rant.

Have a great week all and stay safe!

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