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May 18, 2017 / diannegray

Cowboys and bikers

Just over a year ago I wrote about a calf I saw in the paddock of a property close by. Here’s the picture of the little cutie.

Calf2

I put that picture in this post because something weird happened here on Saturday night – something to do with cows (and I didn’t get pictures).

I need to set the scene:

It was Saturday afternoon.  A cattle truck drove down our road to the left. That road goes nowhere, there are another two sugar cane farms and then nothing but mountains, and behind those mountains is the blue Pacific. Hubby and I thought the driver must have been lost because the farm with the cattle on it (as per the picture above) is in the other direction.

Then all our power went off.  I checked the electricity provider’s mobile site. Unknown fault, Unknown timeframe. Blackout. Great.

We sat on the front porch watching the sunset (our regular end-of-day routine). Then several cowboys on quad bikes and a few cars we didn’t recognize drove by. That was odd – but it was Saturday Night Wine Time, so we didn’t take much notice, until…

ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

Some newly delivered cattle had run through a break in the fence on the other farm, taken to the mountains, and ended up at the dead-end of our road.

There were cattle running around the road and in and out of the sugar cane paddocks. The cowboys on quad bikes were trying to round them up.  Cattle ran through the yard and the dogs went ballistic. The fact that there are so many farm dogs around here made the cowboys job difficult. All our dogs are fenced, but that doesn’t stop them from barking.

Due to the blackout we couldn’t turn any of our house spotlights on to assist in finding the poor cows, so the evening was full of flashlights and torches and car lights trying in vain to find them.

The problem was (and still is) that the sugar cane is taller than the cattle, so as soon as they get in they can’t be seen.

Sneaky little cows…

So the most part of the night was spent searching for cattle and then watching others search for cattle while we finished off our bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

They didn’t find them all so we’re still searching – don’t be surprised if I post a picture of me riding a cow home after dog walk.

Then on Sunday my neighbour, Joey, took me for a ride on his Harley. I was a bit tentative at first because I was sure we’d get half way down the road and hit a stray cow. Luckily that didn’t happen!

We went for a ride to Cairns down the long open road that leads to the city from our farms. A favourite scene of mine from Let Sleeping Gods Lie kept popping into my head – “She clung to him as he opened the throttle. The road lay out in front of them like a party streamer.” 

It was an amazing experience. I’ve only been on a motorbike twice before (many years ago) and I’ve never been on a Harley.

I’ve decided it was so good I’m going to do it again some day.

Harley Davidson1

I think we look pretty tough 😀

***Have a great week!***

moooooooooo

May 8, 2017 / diannegray

Somewhere over the rainbow

I spotted this magnificent rainbow during the dog walk around the farm on Thursday. I captured it with my iPhone (which I hate because the pictures aren’t nearly as good as my old Samsung). I’ve written about this in my blog posts before and can’t wait for my iPhone contract to expire next February so I can get my hands on another Samsung. The colours of the rainbow didn’t come out as well as I thought they would. Also, the rainbow was so wide I couldn’t get it all in one shot.

Rainbow

It was all going swimmingly until the cloud beneath that rainbow decided to dump on our heads! Needless to say we had to make a run for it to escape the tropical storm. You’ll be pleased to know we survived and I took a nice warm shower when I got home.

I regularly visit one of my neighbours for morning coffee, so the following day I took a photo of a beautiful tree in her yard. Again, the iPhone doesn’t do it justice, but you can probably understand why I found this tree so mesmerizing.

Tree

***Have a great week!!!***

May 1, 2017 / diannegray

Dianne and the Pumpkin Vine

One of hubby’s friends from work gave us a pumpkin from his garden a few months back. It was so yummy I kept the seeds and planted them at the front of the RUC.
Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of Jack and the Beanstalk – we now have Dianne and the Pumpkin Vine.

Pumpkin Vine

This baby has decided it just wants to cuddle the front of the RUC. It’s trying to make it’s way to the first floor!

There are biggish pumpkins

Big Pumpkin

And littlish pumpkins

Baby pumpkin.jpg

and flowers…

Pumpkin Flower

…some with native bees on them
(can you see that cute little native bee? They don’t sting and they make the BEST honey)

Flower and native bee

And to add colour to the garden, the hibiscus are blooming in orange, and…

Hibiscus

…red

Hibiscus 2

It’s almost winter here and I’m loving the cooler weather.

I’ve only got one question – how do I know when a pumpkin is ripe enough to pick?

***Have a great week!***

April 23, 2017 / diannegray

Pulling cobwebs from dragonfly wings

Sympetrum_flaveolum_-_side_(aka)

Photo by Aka 

I had a strange experience the other night. I noticed a dragonfly on my front porch that was struggling to get to its feet so I grabbed some cling wrap and wrapped it loosely so I could pick it up and take a better look. I could see its feet were wrapped in cobwebs so I made a hole in the plastic and carefully removed the web until its feet were free. I unwrapped it from the plastic and (you’d think that would be the end of this story and the dragonfly would fly away, etc… but not so) something odd happened.

Once the legs were free it flew awkwardly at my face, so I put my hand up and it landed on my hand with its wings shivering.  That’s when I noticed its wings were also covered in webs. I gently pinched the end of one web hanging from its wing and began to pull. The dragonfly stuck tight to my hand and shook only that wing as I pulled harder to remove the web.  Once that was clear I started on the other wings until all four were clear of webs. This entire time the dragonfly clung tight to my skin and only shook the wing I was working on at the time to help rid itself of every speck of web.  This process took about twenty minutes. When I’d finished, it tested each wing and then flapped them all at once. It then sat there for a moment looking at me before flying off into the night.

I know I tell you that I love animals and they seem to be attracted to me (I wish the snakes weren’t), but this experience took things to a whole new level and gave me a feeling I’ve never had before.  My hubby and my neighbour were watching all this so intently that neither of them thought to film it! Hubby said, “I knew you were Snow White, but this is ridiculous.”

 I had the distinct impression that this dragonfly knew I was helping it.
But it’s an insect – how could it possibly know?

Have you ever experienced a strange animal or insect look at you as if they understand what you’re doing – or am I just turning into a crazy dragonfly lady? 😀

 

April 10, 2017 / diannegray

The Thoughtful Present

Last week I mentioned to my neighbour (Joey) that I’d been looking for an old tractor disc so I could convert it into a bird bath.  He said he’d search around his shed and let me know.

Much to my surprise he arrived on Thursday afternoon and presented me with a tractor disc he had welded to some old iron legs – and not only that, he’d found some chain left over from the horse and cart days that he attached to a piece of wood he chiselled out so I could place bird seed underneath!

I often talk about thoughtful presents and have been asked a few times what this actually means. The thoughtful present is precious because of the personal value, the care and attention that’s gone into it, the symbolic meaning, and the practicality.

I’ve known Joey and his mother for about 30 years. He now runs the family farm as well as working another job and caring for his mother in her old age. I often visit her, help out where I can and take her to lunch and shopping. He tells me how much he appreciates this, but it’s no trouble at all – I know he’s under a lot of pressure and I love his mother very much. I believe that everyone deserves dignity, respect and assistance as they age and can no longer do the things they were once able to do with ease.

I love my new bird bath and can’t wait to put it to the test!

Let me know what you think of it
and if you have ever received a thoughtful present.

Bird bath

***Have a great week***

March 26, 2017 / diannegray

Shopping, house approval, and a gold star (sorry, ‘star’ should read ‘spider’)

I went shopping today and I don’t know who wrote/approved the sign at Woolworths, but it certainly had me confused (and a few of the staff). So I got two avocados and they cost me nothing because the signage was wrong. Don’t you just love a freebie?

Avocado price

But the big news this week is that the RUC is now fully approved and signed off. I know I’ve been a stranger here lately, but there’s been a lot to organise. There’s still work to do on the incidentals (like painting) but the long hard road of getting the place up to scratch and officially signed off has been worth it.

Glasses of champagne all round!

Champagne

Before the final inspection of the house I saw this beautiful gold spider (I wonder if it bought me luck). It’s tiny (about half the size of my little fingernail) so don’t let the close-up picture scare you. The photo doesn’t really do it justice because it looked like solid gold.

Gold Spider1

And for all those people (including family and friends) who live not far to the south of me I hope you stay safe as Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie approaches the coastline.

Sending love and strength to you xxxxx

Cyclone Debbie

CRIKEY!!!

 

February 21, 2017 / diannegray

Fjord Blue

I’ve had a busy and rather eventful break over the holidays – yes I know I’m a little late returning back to the fold but life got in the way. In early February I got some kind of hideous allergy and my eyes went red and bulged like a goldfish – and if that wasn’t bad enough, hubby got an infection on his knee and spent the first half of the month laid up in hospital. He likes to think he’s super so when they told me he had an antibiotic-resistant superbug in his leg I knew he’d gone just a little too far this time.  I couldn’t drive in to visit him because of my eyes, but my neighbour graciously took up the cause and acted as my chauffeur (thanks Joey).

After a load of antihistamines for me and a good team of doctors working around the clock for hubby, we’re both back to normal and getting on with things. All that nearly came to an end on our first dog walk after hubby came out of the hospital when he accidentally trod on a black snake – luckily it slithered off into the bushes as soon as he lifted his foot off its back. I’m sure he has nine lives!

I was really happy to receive a wonderful review from Jacqui Murray for my novel Wolf Pear. Jacqui is the author of To Hunt a Sub and Building a Midshipman and she gives awesome tips on writing, as well as sharing great descriptions and quotes on her blog WordDreams.

I’ve now got a balustrade on my ‘under-house’ stairs so there’ll be no more gripping onto walls for me as I run down to hang the clothes on the line. The fjord blue colour features a lot on the rails and doors on the outside of the RUC and is in keeping with the original Queenslander design of the house.

 

I hope everyone out there is well and got off to a better start to 2017 than we did.

***Have a great week***