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August 31, 2015 / diannegray

Visitors – YAY!

I’ve been a bit of an online hermit for the past week. Visitors have a way of taking me away from my Writer’s Nook and into the big wide world of Adventure Tourism.

I was so thrilled when my son and his girlfriend stopped in at the RUC for four days on their way to Japan. We hit Port Douglas, Trinity Inlet, Cairns Wildlife Dome and ate Yum Cha at the Casino as well as the normal farm stuff including the daily dog walk.

Are you feeling tired yet?

It’s not a great time for crabbing at the moment (too cold) but the crab gods smiled upon us.
Below is a picture of Anna with the Catch Of The Day.

Anna and crab

 We have a lot of these fig trees near where we live, but I saw this one in Port Douglas and thought I’d snap it.Fig tree

 We saw this magnificent (and very cheeky) Black Cockatoo at the Wildlife DomeBlack cockatoo

We saw a koala chewing on some eucalyptus leavesKoala

We stopped at the Port Douglas LookoutLookout

Luckily I didn’t trip over this naval mine before lunchNaval mine

Now I’m back to my regular routine and working hard at relaxing (I’m good at that).

Have a great week! 

August 17, 2015 / diannegray

Oops – My Bad…

Hubby and I were relaxing on the Writer’s Nook on Saturday enjoying a hearty bacon and egg breakfast when he said, “I wonder how those sunflowers got into the sugar cane.”

“What sunflowers?” I asked dubiously.

“Those ones,” he said, pointing his fork out and down.

I looked over the edge and there, to my complete horror, were sunflowers growing in the sugar cane.

You may remember last year I planted sunflowers along the side of the house in the hope that the seeds would drop and I’d get a new crop. This wasn’t to be – all the seeds disappeared and I thought the birds had eaten them.

I thought wrong.

They had blown into the sugar cane field.

I found it ironic that my previous post was about weeds just being flowers that grew in places they weren’t welcome. Now I find my beautiful sunflowers have become those very weeds.

Here’s a reminder from last year (I even caught a shot of a bee buzzing around the top of the flower)

SunflowerIn the background you’ll see young sugar cane.

This is what it looks like now

Sunflowers in cane

and here is a big one (note the thickness of the stem)

Sunflowers in cane2Needless to say I pulled these babies out. You’ll be happy to know I finished my breakfast first (I knew you’d be worried about that).

They don’t transplant well so I’ll keep you updated on their survival/demise.

If you’re ever having a nice cup of tea with sugar and find a sunflower seed in it, think of me :D

Have a great week!

 

August 10, 2015 / diannegray

Croc Shock

We have some of the best plants and birds where I live. We have the deadliest snakes in the world, deadly crocodiles and huge spiders. But we also win on another count – our weeds are pretty awesome as well.

If I moved to a cooler climate I’d probably take some of these weeds with me (and get arrested at the border). Just kidding, mum :)

First on the list is convolvulus (Wikipedia tells me that some species of convolvulus are globally threatened – not in my neck of the woods!)

Convolvulus

It looks pretty, until…
…the farmer sees it in the paddock strangling the sugar cane

Convolvulus2

Blue Mist (below) has not been declared a pest here, yet – but it’s on it’s way up the charts.

Blue Mist

The next one is completely unknown to me. It looks like a Singapore Daisy, but it doesn’t carry the same characteristics. It’s a mystery…

Yellow weed

Then we have Lantana. Very pretty, but very destructive.

Lantana1

And the next one is completely unknown to me. Red waxy leaves and a weird green nose. At first I thought it could be a Micky Mouse plant, but I was wrong because I found one of those a few minutes later…

Weed1

Here is the Micky Mouse plant

Mickey Mouse2

And last but not least, one of the worst weeds in Australia – the awesome Blackberry

Blackberry

Some of our weeds are very pretty. Unfortunately they’ve chosen the wrong place to grow.

I continued happily on my way after taking these pics and then I saw this.
I nearly stepped on it!

Tree root crocodile

For a second I thought it was a crocodile head – luckily it was only a tree root :D

Have a great week! 

 

 

 

July 27, 2015 / diannegray

Holy Smoke

I hate fire. It’s on the top of my Things to Avoid list, like cyclones, earthquakes and having to punch a shark to stop it from eating me.

Due to the ongoing fight to save our environment the sugar cane in Australia is rarely burned these days. Gone are the evenings you could drive around here and spot cane fires igniting the landscape (literally).

One regular occurrence however is the burning of the ‘trash blanket’ – the leftovers from cutting (dead leaves, etc).

Normally I would scream and run if I saw someone with matches trying to torch the fields, but last week this was totally under control so I got some pictures from the safety of my Writer’s Nook.

Just starting

Just starting

Getting bigger

Getting bigger

I'm glad the wind is blowing a southerly

I’m glad the wind is blowing a southerly

Don't you just love the Rural Fire brigade

Don’t you just love the Rural Fire Brigade

The next day I did my regular dog walk to Scary Gully. The sugar cane has been cut there as well and the dogs loved rolling around in the trash blanket.

I couldn’t find the farm dog, Tammy. I call her the farm dog because she belongs to my parents-in-law and was here before my dogs came. She is a rescue dog, but still has some very bad habits (like chasing cars). I don’t want my dogs to follow her paw-prints example so this is one of the main reasons I have put up the fence.

I figured she must have gone back to the creek for a dip, but then I spotted her.

Can you spot Tammy? I’ve given you a not-so-subtle clue with the arrow ;)

Tammy3

Have a great week!

July 20, 2015 / diannegray

The harvest has begun

The sugar cane harvesting season has started. This makes the dog walk even more interesting. They think they’re being taken to a brand new place because some of the sugar cane is gone and the landscape has changed.

We need to get them to the creek without having to walk down the road. So they now get a ride as well!
We converted the old trailer to a travelling dog cage to keep them safe.

trailer2

They love the ride as much as they love the walk

With machines like this around there is no room for puppies on the road

Harvester

 

Now that some of the sugar cane has been cut there are new smells and things buried underground that they never knew existed before.

I watched my dog Casey get very excited about a new find on Saturday. She knew there was something hiding in the newly cut cane field, but she couldn’t find it – no matter how far she dug.

Casey digging2

If I hadn’t called her off she may have dug all the way to China.

Casey digging1

Her sheer determination reminded me of myself when it comes to work and writing. Once I get a sniff of an idea or a story I’m like the proverbial dog with a bone.

Something we don’t often see in the tropics is the cool temperatures. The children bought me a weather station for Mother’s Day and this gave me the opportunity to capture a rare event last week.

Temperature

5.9 degrees in the tropics – unheard of!
Brrrrrr

In truth I’m absolutely loving this cool weather. In a few months I’ll be wishing for the relief!

In case you’re interested – this is what the weather station looks like outside. You never have to empty the rain gauge and the wind spinny thing can get up to about 240kph (hope I never see that!)

Weather station2

Have a great week!!!

July 13, 2015 / diannegray

Scary Gully

I was walking the dogs around Scary Gully on Saturday when my hubby decided to take a rear shot of me. He says I’m a serious walker.

Serious1

Scary Gully is to my left and curls around in front of me. I’ve never been down there because, well – it’s scary…

It’s a fifteen metre (50 foot) drop into a gully that looks like Jurassic Park. One day I’ll take it on and get some pics for you (just joking mum)…

The dogs have ventured down there – only once which tells you something because they’re pretty stupid brave

Do you like my boots? They’re purple with green polka dots.

I carry refreshments in my backpack (beer, water, biscuits).

I carry weapons in my side pack (machete, secateurs, small spade, nail file) – don’t mess with me.

Note to mum: I’m not wearing a hat because our walks take place late afternoon.

BootsThese boots may be old, but they’ve still got that razzle-dazzle.

The laces may come in handy one day if I have to lasso my way out of Scary Gully.

I’m sending out a big thank you today to Carrie Rubin (do you follow her blog? if not, you should) for her review of my novel Let Sleeping Gods Lie.

Have a great week!

<3 <3 <3

July 6, 2015 / diannegray

Building fences

Because our dog Casey thinks she’s half kangaroo we’ve had to build a higher fence around the RUC. It’s not that she wants to escape (I’m sure she could do that in an instant) it’s just that sometimes creatures run by and she wants to chase and play with them (bandicoots, wild cats, pigs). She just can’t help herself.  This concerns me because there is a danger she may inadvertently knock over my mother or father-in-law in her excited state (and they’re not very steady on their feet).

Hence the fence:

Fence1

It’s very straight (that’s probably important when it comes to fences)

Fence2

We didn’t have enough wood so we inserted some of the iron that was left over after we put on the new roof.
I think it looks kind of trendy.

My daughter has also been putting up fences around her house because she has just welcomed a new pack family member.

He’s huge.

He’s ferocious.

His name is Boris.

Here he is with my daughter, Chrissy (from Little Food Blog).

Chrissy & Boris2

 

Boris is a Toy Cavoodle. He Skyped us the day he arrived at his new home with my daughter and her hubby. He wasn’t very talkative, but I’m sure he’ll be yapping at us through the screen soon.

He’ll love going on our daily dog walk (in my back pack) when he comes to visit.

I don’t have a picture of Boris’ fence because it’s not as HUGE as the one I had to build.

Welcome to the pack family , Boris!

 

 

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