Quality time.

I always try and pass on the things I have learnt, important skills, and other things that might come in handy through life’s journey. Today, Jack and I painted the front of the shed. I taught him the right way, to get the paint even, no drips, nice and neat. And he did a fantastic job. We Also did some more sealing work around the back of the shed, getting it ready to paint as well, and some gardening. He just loved seeing how to do all theses things.

For a reward for his hard work, and bloody great work too, it turned out really good, I took him down to Babinda Boulders for a swim this afternoon. Mum was tired, so it was just me and Jack. We had a good drive down there, and spent about an hour and a half in the icy cool water, and it was so refreshing after sweating our backsides off in the morning.

We stopped in at the local supermarket for a treat after the swim, and then did a bit of back road driving on the way home, checking out some of the side roads on the way back. It was worthwhile, as we think we have found another great swimming hole a lot closer to home !!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I am going to try and get one of the sides of the shed ready to paint, and if lucky, get it painted too. I am trying to get it sorted, especially the sealing it up to stop the leaks bit, because I am going to line the inside with insulation and boards, and turn it into my art studio. I have so wanted a specific space just for painting for so long, and now the opportunity is here. It may not be ready until mid May, as the shed dad is getting built is delayed, yet again, and I can’t do the lining work until his stuff is out of the old shed and in the new one. I can almost see it now, but not quite yet.

I am also looking at some windows, I need to replace the window in the back of the shed with a decent one, as the current one is just a perspex one with plastic frame, and is very crazed and stained, so a bit bigger, glass and aluminium framed one, is really what I want to put in. I have been looking at them at the Recycle Shop, and they are a real good price, but really don’t want to get one just yet until I can virtually just put it straight in, as I don’t want a glass window just sitting around on the off chance that it might get broken before it gets put in. I need a decent window, not only for light, but airflow, it is just a shed, so I need to be able to get it cool enough to sit and work in.

Last night, my one remaining cherry tomato plant was destroyed by the neighbours cats, they snapped it clean off in a fight, and knocked over several pots which have small desert roses in them. Luckily they survived, but unfortunately, the tomato plant is beyond saving. It really sucks, because of the 4 I had growing, 3 succumbed to wet weather and crushing heat early on, it survived, then went really ill as it first flowered, so I did a bit of work on it and managed to resurrect it, carefully cutting it back to help it get strength, and it came back really beautifully, started flowering  again a couple of days ago, and was doing very well, and then the cats snap it off.

I am actually pretty pissed off about it. It is actually illegal for people to leave their cats out at night around here, and our neighbour has three of them that they feed outside, never let inside, and just let them kill everything in sight. I am getting some plants to get rid of them from our yard, apparently they don’t like Coleus plants, so we are going to underplant all the trees around the boundary of our property with them. Plus, we are keeping all the citrus rinds and grating them up to scatter around, as apparently cats hate that too. If it doesn’t work, I will be getting a trap, and if they stray into it, they will be going to the pound. I really don’t like animals that obliterate native wildlife, like cats do, and the fact they are coming in and wrecking the garden irks me as well.

Anyhow, I must get off to bed, it’s late once again, and I really need to get some rest, I have been over doing it for days, and it is really taking it’s toll.

Andy.

 

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School Holidays and other adventures

It seems the craziness of life just wants to keep me hurtling forward. No rest for the wicked they say, but surely I haven’t been that wicked.

Nothing ever stops. There just doesn’t seem to be a moment where I am just in a zone of peace and quiet, without a care in the world. There is always something going on.

So, this first week of the school holidays has flown by. I just don’t know where it has gone. It’s just full on crazy. We had plans for 2 outings a week during the holidays, but this week it’s been one. We had a really wonderful day trip to Lake Barrine, which is just up the road on the Atherton Tablelands. It was really quite a remarkable place. It is a crater lake, ie, a lake in the crater of a former volcanic vent. It is surrounded by the most amazing rainforest, full on tropical rainforest, heck, it even rained when we were there, even though it wasn’t forecast. The sounds of the Eastern Whip birds rang through the trees, amazing curtain figs went from high in the sky to the cool, crystal clear waters of the lake below. A multitude of fungi and strangler vines, huge towering giants of the forest reaching to the sky. It was really beautiful. Mum and Jack even spotted some of the very rare musky rat kangaroo, a small rodent sized kangaroo which live in the very specific habitats surrounding these crater lakes.

After a 5 kilometre hike through the rainforest, we headed on to Atherton, and lunch. At Atherton, they have an amazing IGA supermarket, where you can get all sorts of stuff, it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of food. After lunch, we did a bit of Op Shopping, and stopped in at a place called Crystal Cave, a shop which has, you guessed it, lot’s of crystals, as well as a good range of fossils and other geological wares.¬† On the roof of this place, in the main street of Atherton, is a Triceratops, and on the footpath at the front door is a velociraptor like those in Jurassic Park. So, obviously, the little dinosaur mad nut was in his element. He even got to hold rocks from outer space, thanks to the sales assistant.

The rest of the week has been filled with lots of jobs around the house, and the usual weekly stuff like shopping. It’s seemed like we haven’t stopped, although, apart from the one outing, we have been at home.

Last Saturday, I did a huge job in the back garden, it was the first rain free day for weeks, and so I got out and did a heap of work in the vege garden. I have planted cucumber, radish, lettuce, spring onion, spinach and some sunflower seeds, and all of them, apart from the sunflowers, have sprouted today. Yes, amazingly, everything apart from the flowers wasn’t there yesterday afternoon when I watered them, and this morning, nice neat rows of seedlings are now poking out of the worked over soil, only 1 week later.

A few of the other plantings have been suffering a little due to the prolonged overcast and wet days, but now, for the past week, it has been sunnier, and we are seeing a good recovery in them all. We even had a small harvest of beans in our stir fry tonight from the garden.

One of the grape vines is now fully trained onto the lower trellis wire, as well as the Passionfruit, and the Passionfruit has a couple of nice leaders just about ready to go up to the top wire of the trellis. The citrus plants are going well, and our birds eye chilli bush is producing well, supplying some nice zing in our pasta’s and other cooking. The food production is really starting to happen.

Our little lean to out the back of the shed is being rebuilt, I completely dismantled it, and am now rebuilding it, the main frame is completed, and now all bolted together rather than just screwed, making it more safe in the event of a cyclone. I have one section of roof back on it, and hopefully, all going well tomorrow, the roof will be complete. It is a bit taller than before, as it was so low that I was leaning over every time I was inside it, and 2 of the main beams of the frame were very weak and half rotted, so it really had to be fixed.

I also cleaned up the front of the shed, and have sealed it all up properly to stop it leaking, and hopefully, weather permitting, Jack and I will paint it in the next day or two. We have some old paint from the exterior of the house, and seeing we won’t be using it on the house again, it’s a waste not, want not scenario, so instead of wasting the paint, we will paint the shed, thus making the shed last longer too. Dad also got a big tin of paving paint, as the concrete steps leading up to the shed are not made well, the concrete is fairly fragile, not enough cement was put in the mix, so it is all pressure washed now, and to stop it deteriorating further, it will be protected by the paving paint. There is enough paint for that, as well as under the entertainment area of the verandah, so once that is sorted a bit more, it will get freshened up too.

Well, it’s just ticked over to midnight, so I must get some sleep, and until next time, smile.

Andy.

Weirdness

I haven’t been bombarding the airwaves for the past couple of days, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of days. Last week ended as it does, on a Friday, hahahaha, yes I know I’m funny, well dad joke style, and then on Saturday we had a day off. Well, sort of.

I managed to sleep in a bit, although 8 to 8.30 am is about the best I can do these days, even though I still wake like a zombie, and feeling like I need 3 years sleep. It’s just the way it is all the time now. We had breakfast, Jack actually made himself an omelette all by himself, with a little guidance from Mum, and he was really chuffed. I had a bowl of my usual cereal, one of those full of grain things with dried cranberries and tropical fruits. I don’t always eat breakfast now, like I never did before, but because I was trying to set an example for Jack, I started again for a while. I just don’t seem to feel like eating until around 10am, and if I don’t eat until then, I lose weight.

After breakfast, we headed down to Babinda Boulders, a really neat swimming hole, on Babinda Creek, a few kilometres from the little town of Babinda. I had been there before, and funnily enough, so had Jack, although in his mothers womb at the time, it was one of the places we went when she was suffering from the pregnancy. The swimming hole is at the joining of Babinda Creek with a small side branch waterway, and the water is mountain cold, and crystal clear. It is surrounded by rainforest, the bed of the waterhole being course sand and smooth rocks with no silt, so really nice on the feet. Green Birdwing and Ulysses Blue Butterflies float around without a care in the world. Mum came too, and she has fallen in love with the place as much as I have been, since the first time I went there over 9 years ago.

After about an hour of just floating around in the beautioful cool water, we got out and changed, and then went back into Babinda for a little walk around to see what was about, before we headed up to Belenden Ker Cafe, a non-descript little cafe in a 2 storey house next to the highway. We had heard about the amazing pies they make, so after finally finding it (it just has a sandwich board sign out the front advertising coffee and cake, with no other signage to even indicate it is even a business), we stopped in for lunch. All the talk about the pies was spot on. They were the best I have had for years.

After that, we took a drive down a side road, to Behana Gorge, just to see where the road went. It is not far from home, so it will certainly be another adventure soon. Apparently there is a waterfall there, although you need to walk to it. Then, we decided that going home was not an option just yet, so we headed out to Yarrabah, Mum hadn’t been out there yet, and took in the wonderful paradise once again that is this beautiful Aboriginal Community. After that, we were thoroughly tired, so a slap together meal was all we could manage to make and eat, before drifting off to sleep.

Sunday, we were out again, this time earlier, as we had heard about another fruit and vege market that is in Cairns city, Rusty’s Market. We hadn’t been in before, but after our Sunday morning visit, we have unanimously decided it will be where any fruit and veges we need will come from. It is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is great as we need to buy fruit and veges weekly. As our vege garden gets into production, we won’t need so much from the shops, but we will not be growing everything, we just don’t have the space, so we will still need to go there.

The rest of Sunday was a blur, even though it was only yesterday, I can’t remember much else we did, I was suffering pretty badly with fibromyalgia, so that is probably why I don’t remember. Getting to sleep was an ordeal last night too.

Today my body has been a rollercoaster ride, Jack has been back to school, and I just pushed on, mulching the vege plants, doing a bit of weeding, some cleaning, fixing some of Mums furniture that got broken by the removalists, and what ever else happened. Yes, today was bit like yesterday as well.

I started this post with the title, weirdness, and this is the part where I explain it. With everything that’s been happening, and the fact that since just after Christmas the main living areas of the house have been some form of construction zone, I have not felt settled.

Right now, we don’t have a functional kitchen, it’s nearly there, but we are having to use the laundry tub as our kitchen sink, and the BBQ, which fortunately has a gas ring burner as well, is our stove and everything else. The great big 8 seater table I made years ago is inside, currently being used as our kitchen bench. It really is too big to use as a kitchen table inside, that is why, up until the kitchen benches were removed last week, it was outside. It will go back out there once the bench tops are ready to pick up and I’ve installed them. Thankfully all the tiling is now finished and we have our house a little more normal. But it’s not quite there yet.

When I came up the street on Saturday after our day out, and saw the house, I had this sudden feeling that I wasn’t coming home just yet. It doesn’t quite feel like home. I am not sure what it is, I put it down to the fact that things haven’t settled down yet because of the renovations, but yeah, I don’t know, it’s just not quite home yet. How long does it take for a new place to feel like home?

I spoke to Mum about it today, and she agreed, she feels the same way. That is just how things go. As we make more of our own mark on the place, as the gardens get fuller, and everything settles down, it will feel more like home. I get these feelings sometimes, at absolutely random moments in time, that I almost have to pinch myself that we are actually living here now. Only last Friday, when I was stopped at the traffic lights on the way to pick up Jack from school, this wave of disbelief that we are really here rolled over me. It’s just so random when it happens, but so unreal. I guess once life returns to normal routine again, it will be alright.

Thursday, I will be seeing a new doctor, for the first time here. I am getting low on medications I need to stay mainly okay, and don’t want to run out. I have been procrastinating over it, but now with only about 8 days worth of Tramadol left, I really need to just get on with it. I really hope the new doctor is as good as my old one. I will find out on Thursday I guess.

Anyhow, I should get myself off to bed, I need sleep as always, and I have to be up early for the usual school day stuff. Goodnight.

Andy.

Lighten up.

Although I am not much different to recent previous days, I just wanted to lighten up things, as reading what I have written in the past week or so must be full on. It’s raw and true, and really how things are. But I just wanted show you some photo’s I have taken recently.

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This was a shot from a couple of nights ago, straight out the front of our place. I took about 10 shots, this the only one that lit up from the lightning going on deep inside the storm. These storms are mammoth, those “hills” at the bottom are actually 1km tall mountains. Gives you a bit of perspective as to how high into the sky those storms go.

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This is from yesterday, beautiful and sunny, this is the Palmerston Gorge, west of Innisfail.

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This was our little haul from yesterdays outing. Tomatoes and tomato plants, Cucumelon plants, sweet potato, capsicum, avocado, Pawpaw, Pineapple and Spanish Onions.

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And just one last one, from about 2 weeks ago, the male Cassowary and his chick at Etty Bay. Not the best of shots, we pulled over and I had to shoot across the car from the drivers side. The males raise the chicks, and these birds are pretty dangerous if they get upset with you. Absolutely stunning animals though.

Cheers for now.

Andy.

Going to the markets tomorrow.

Today I gave myself a kick in the backside to try and snap out of the funk I have been in for days. It seems it worked to some extent, I still feel no different on the pain and fatigue front, it is really shitty to be honest still. However, I pushed myself through the day, determined to achieve something other than just surviving another day. I managed to vacuum and mop the whole place, did the washing, and even did a bit of work on one of my headlights, as it had become yellowed, as these plastic headlights tend to these days. It’s not perfect yet, but it is a lot clearer, and not yellow any more.

Tonight I have an arthritis glove on my right hand, as it is helping a little with pain relief, and I also have some ankle braces on both ankles for the same reason. Maybe, as these have been the 3 parts of my body that have been hurting in the middle of the night when I wake up, it will help me sleep better tonight.

Tomorrow, as a glutton for punishment, I am getting up at 6am to get ready to go to the markets at Atherton at 7am. We are hoping to get some bargains on fresh produce to stock up the pantry, and also, well I am anyhow, hoping to get some more food plants for the garden. A lemon, lime, mandarin, and a Pawpaw would be good. Chillies also.

Talking about the food plants, we’ve lost a few that we bought as seedlings, now we only have 2 lettuce and 3 rocket surviving, the rest just haven’t dealt with the recent climate well. The Passionfruit is going crazy, every night it seems to grow another 2 to 3 inches. I have beans that have germinated and are like the ones in the fairy tale. Yes, Jack and the Beanstalk, ironically. This afternoon I also saw that 2 of my corn seeds have germinated, along with quite a few of the spring onion seeds I sewed during the week. I didn’t check the peas, but yesterday they hadn’t surfaced yet. Our carrots seem to be chugging along well, and the only tomato that survived the weather, the cherry one, is doing well also. It seems that we will have to direct plant seeds, instead of seedlings, as they seem to cope better.

I also had a little win, I bought some shirts for Jack at an Op Shop before Christmas, not realising one of them was for one of the School Sports Houses, and I didn’t know which one Jack was going to be in at the time, but by happy fluke, nothing else, the one I got is the Sports House he is in !!! Incredible.

Anyhow, I have a big day tomorrow, it will start too early, and we will be going for a bit of an explore around the southern Tablelands after the market before coming home, so another 150km of driving, and the hard bit, thankfully, is first thing in the morning, going up the steep, narrow and windy Gillies Range. I don’t mind windy mountain roads, but it is a long climb, and you have to look out for twits that drive like loons.

I must retire to my sheets now, and snuggle for a good sleep, hopefully.

Goodnight.

Andy.

 

Another adventure.

Today, at 8.30am, Jack, Mum and I loaded ourselves into the car for a well deserved day out. We headed on down to Innisfail, a town about 80km south of Cairns. It’s where Jack was conceived, so I showed him where he was made !!!

We had come through in November, when we moved here, but it was at the end of a 3500km journey, and we were all worn out by that stage, so we didn’t hang around there then. It’s taken until now to actually have the time to head down there again.

Innisfail is a town of Banana’s and Sugar Cane, and has one of the most amazing collection of authentic Art Deco buildings in the world. This was a result of a destructive cyclone in the same period that Art Deco style was all the rage. So, when the town was rebuilt, it was done in the style of the day, and also because it is a place that doesn’t tear old buildings down in the blink of an eye, it has this amazing range of Art Deco architecture for all the world to see. If you ever get the chance, and love Art Deco, as I do, go there and see it for yourself.

We had a bit of a lap around the town to the Op Shops when we were there, and I managed to pick up a chocolate mould to make Easter Eggs at home, as well as a set of car seat covers for my car, which, cost the princely sum of……$4. Considering the last set of brand new ones, which I bought in October, cost over $50, and they fell apart within a month, this was a complete bargain. I have washed them, and seeing they survived that, I think they will be good for a few years.

After our little trip, well, my little trip down memory lane, we headed down to my favourite beach in Australia, Etty Bay. The rainforest goes right to the sand on the beach, it is amazing. I sort of had an ulterior motive to go, as Jack hadn’t seen a Southern Cassowary in the wild, he’d seen one in a zoo last year, but not in the wild. He got the chance to see 2 today. Etty Bay’s little secret is that there are Cassowaries that wander right down to the beach. The 2 we saw today, were a male and a chick. Male Cassowaries, like me, are the ones that actually look after the chicks, the mother just lays the eggs and that’s that, wanders off and leaves the male to do the rest and raise the kids. They are truly amazing to see in the wild. Jack couldn’t contain his excitement.

On the return home, we took a drive out to South Johnstone, and had a look at the big sugar mill there, then headed towards Bramston Beach and had our home made lunch of salad rolls, which I made up before we left this morning, and put in the esky.

We got back home around 3pm, it was a great day out, nice to have a break from all the stuff we have been doing for weeks now. Mum made Tacos for dinner, I have done a crap load of washing, and now, I am just about ready to hit the hay. It’s been a good day.

Andy.

Outing to Yarrabah

Today, we went off on a pure “just drive and see where we end up” outing. Just Jack and myself. My Mum is unwell, so I figured that if we went out for a little bit, she could have some peace and quiet to rest.

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed off to Yarrabah, an Indigenous Community to the East of Cairns, on the other side of Trinity Inlet. It is a bit of a drive, I thought it was closer, but was so well worth it. The drive had us meandering through the sugarcane fields, and after the downpour we had yesterday from Tropical Cyclone Owen, a lot of the streams were flowing. This was the first time we went to Yarrabah, so didn’t know what to expect, and it was also Jack’s first time going to an Indigenous Community. There are certain things you need to observe when entering Indigenous communities, and you must have the utmost respect for the place and it’s people.

The drive took us up over the mountains, which was quite a climb up and over the range, but the whole thing was worth it. Below, is a photo overlooking the bay that fringes Yarrabah, who wouldn’t want to live in this slice of paradise ??

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We wandered on down from this amazing vantage point into the community below, and as we pulled up at the beachside, a lovely old Aboriginal lady in a wheelchair was having her morning wander around, and we had a little chat. She was an amazingly friendly and warm woman.

We then wandered onto the beach, where we discovered that 2 shipwrecks also inhabited the waters just off the beach. It was a popular photographic subject with both myself and Jack.

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Jack was trying to get the best angle.

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The western headland of the bay also was quite interesting and picturesque.

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We then decided to head back home, but took a detour before getting home to have lunch, which included a feast of Lychees we got at a roadside stall on our travels. Below, is the Western flank of Walsh’s Pyramid, with water streaming down some ephemeral waterfalls due to the heavy rain yesterday.

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We also happened across this colony of Fruit Bats, or Flying Foxes, which just so happens to be not far from our new home. I have been itching for a bit of an explore, but due to all the work we have needed to do, this has been the first proper opportunity.

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All the usual crap with fibromyalgia is happening still, and we still have tonnes more work to do, but it was nice to just kick back for a few hours, and start to explore our new home.

Andy.