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October 12, 2015 / diannegray

On the homefront

I had a great week last week. My daughter’s visit was just what I needed to get out and about, see the sights and eat loads of great food. She showed me how to poach perfect eggs and make hollandaise sauce. We also made Bacon and Egg Breakfast Dumplings. She is the food photographer extraordinaire so you can drool over the pictures of the dumplings on her Little Food Blog.

(…but I’m sure she won’t mind if I steal borrow one…)

Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Dumplings

And yes – they tasted as good as they look!

After the excitement of the week, hubby and I were sitting around watching TV on Saturday and he said he had an itch on his head. When I checked the suspicious itch I found he had picked up a little passenger in the field – a tick. Luckily (for him) I had watched an ABC documentary a few months back about the newest and most effective way to remove a tick. This amazing product is actually a wart remover (yes, I was a little suspicious as well). In Australia it is sold as Wart-Off and is a spray that freezes an area.

I was pretty excited because I had bought some after watching the show just in case of an event like this. I grabbed him, dragged him outside for better light, promptly pushed him to his knees, grappled his head and snap-froze his little passenger (I have a great bed-side manner).

It worked! The little blighter froze so fast it had no time to pump poison into the area or dig it’s little legs in deeper. It was stiff as a board and dropped off beautifully.

Hubby survived the tick, but I’m not sure if his pride is still in tact.

I also created a few more pictures for my ***Arty Bits*** this week.

The first one was taken during the dog walk on Friday. It had been raining and the leaves were full of beautiful, plump water droplets. I noticed after I had taken it that there were two green ants waiving at me from the unopened buds.

I called it After the Storm

After the Storm

The second one is a beautiful Wild Flower.
I called it Wild 

Wild Flower

Have a great week! xxx

October 4, 2015 / diannegray

Little Shop of Pictures

I take lots of photos of the ‘farm dog’, Tammy, on my daily dog walk. The reason behind this is that her parents, (my mother and father-in-law) can’t join in on this daily ritual. So, (as they say in the corporate world) I like to keep them in the loop.

This is one of their favourites. They have it laminated and stuck on the fridge with pictures of the grandchildren and great grandchild. I would have taken similar shots of my dogs but they don’t know the meaning of sit and stay when they’re playing in the fields.


My work has been going well. I landed a job a few months back writing content for a Government website and I love it. I work in my pajamas from home and the Writer’s Nook is the perfect office :D

I’ve been obsessed with digital art lately and my hubby is now calling the RUC the Little Shop of Pictures. I took a photo of a passion-fruit flower several weeks ago and wanted to do something special with it. But passion-fruit flowers are so awesome and beautiful that I was stumped. Nothing I could do could make it look better than the real thing.

Then hubby saw the photo and said, “I’d love to see the inside of that flower the way the bees see it.”
I thought, “Okay, why don’t you make it a little harder for me, dude!” Sheesh! Some people are so fussy creative.

Anyway, I played around with it for a while and came up with the first of my two ***Arty Bits*** for this week.

I call it A Bees-Eye View

Passionfruit Flower1

 The second piece I’ve been working on is a bunch of flowers with the illusion that they are in a glass bowl.

So far this one doesn’t have a name


My daughter is arriving from Melbourne on Sunday night for a four day visit and I’m scrambling through the joint trying to get everything ready for her. She has a blog – Little Food Blog – so I’m looking forward to trying some of her tasty treats when she gives the RUC kitchen a good working over! Don’t worry – there will be pictures :D

Have a great week! xxxxx

September 21, 2015 / diannegray

Image change

I like to tell people I’m on a ‘writing vacation’. Truth is – I have been doing some writing, but my muse has been railroading pushing me ever so gently in a completely different direction. This didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a process that I didn’t really see coming until I turned around last week and it was here.

I look back over the last three years of my life and notice that my frame of reference has slowly been shifting from the macro to the micro.

I have such magnificent views here at the RUC and have taken hundreds of photos – the sweeping landscape, green hills, fires, tractors, birds, insects (notice how things are getting smaller?)

Last week when I was on the dog walk I thought I’d get a close-up shot of one of the millions of weeds on the ground. I knelt down and took a few shots – meanwhile the dogs were waiting patiently (yawning, tapping their paws, howling at me to c’mon!) It wasn’t until I looked at the photo afterwards that I noticed I’d captured something awesome – a spider catching a fly on the tiny leaf.

Okay, you might not think this is awesome (and I wouldn’t blame you) but the chances of me choosing that weed at that moment (out of the millions of weeds I’d been treading on for the last half-hour) when the spider actually caught the fly, is a one in a million or billion or whatever chance (let’s just agree at this point that statistics isn’t my strong suit).

I’m digressing from my main theme, but here’s the photo. Notice how tiny the weed is by the size of the fly. It’s still flapping it’s wings – the poor dear…

Spider and fly2

So I’ve been taking these micro close-ups…and while I’m here I’ll digress again – can anyone tell me (maybe Pauline) what this flower is? It’s got me beat. It had fallen from a tree, but I’m not sure which tree it was so I can’t give a leaf description. It looks like something out of an alien movie.

Odd flower

Mystery flowery alien thing

Anyway, back on track – over the past few years I’ve felt myself becoming more focused on the visual side of creativity rather than the written word. I start to write and then my mind wanders off to any small thing that comes my way and I feel I have to take a photo. Some of my photos are nice, but there came a point where I wanted to do more with them. I wasn’t sure what, so I started redefining them into (what I think are) works of art.

So here are the first two of my efforts (I’ve done about ten so far) and to satisfy my urges I’ll start putting them in a new section called …

*********************Arty Bits*******************

The first one is a photo I took of a piece of red fungi off a tree. I had to do something artistic with it so I turned it into a weird kind of flower thingy..

I named it Beyond Terracotta

Beyond TerracottaW

Then I found a photo I had taken of a mango flower. These things are everywhere at the moment and it’s features are something you don’t notice until you get up close and personal and do a micro shot. I found all the flowers have, what looks like, a little face on them – so I placed the cute little dude in a bubble and called it Mango Flower in Bubble (hey that’s original!) :D

Mango flower in bubbleW

Now I’m by no means calling myself an artist, but there is definitely an urge that I need to get out of my system.

I’ve read about people who have been knocked on the head and suddenly become concert pianists, but I haven’t been knocked on the head (that I remember) so I’m not sure why this change has come over me.

Have you ever had an urge to do something completely different?
Am I turning into an eccentric old cat lady?

I’d like to know your thoughts.

In the meantime – have a great week! xxx

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!)


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


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.


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…


Here is the Micky Mouse plant

Mickey Mouse2

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


Have a great week!


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