Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Unusual Nesting Animals

With all the hot weather lately we have discovered some new nesting spots where animals are keeping cool.
This is in our shade house under the birds nest ferns so it is nice and cool, the ground stays damp and there is plenty of overhead shade.

Can you guess who owns these nests?

Yep this is a Jessie nest.  And she was none too pleased to be woken up for a photo.

Jessie has made two little cool nesting spots and she can often be found asleep there during the day.

How are your animals coping with the heat?

Monday, 27 January 2014

A Quiet Long Weekend

Here in Australia we have just had a long weekend to celebrate Australia Day.  I really needed some down time and Hubby has an injured knee (he is off for and MRI tomorrow) and needs to take it easy.  So we planned to get our jobs done early each morning and then spend the day just chilling out without any guilt.

We watched DVD's, read, had a few nanna naps, did a bit of of house work and a bit of baking.

We also made another batch of pickled jalapen'os.  This time I got Hubby involved since he is the one who eats 99% of them.

How did you spend your weekend long or otherwise?

Friday, 24 January 2014

Do You Make New Years Resolutions?


Do You Make New Years Resolutions?

I generally don't but I do set myself a few general goals at the start of the year which is possibly exactly the same thing.

This year I have decided to be more selfish and do more things for me and look after me.  This thinking is in part due to the fact I am having an operation in February and there will be a quite a bit of down time afterwards where I need to take it easy.

Over the past few years as well as working full time, I have dedicated a lot of time volunteering (about 10-15 hours a week) and this year I am scaling that back.  I will still be volunteering but only about 3 hours a week
I am also going to try and read a book a week.  So far so good with 3 books down already.
I am also going to go back to doing yoga and meditating.  I feel like my body is all knotted up and my mind is too noisy.  So I will be seeking to unwind and quite my mind.
The yoga portion will be on hold until well after my surgery so will probably not be something I start until April or May.

So what about you?
Any plans for this year?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Call To Protect The Great Barrier Reef

Please sign the petition if you believe our reef should be protected.

The countdown is on. In just two weeks, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will make the final call on whether to allow millions of tonnes of toxic dredge spoil to be dumped in Reef waters. 

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has already given his approval, and now the Reef Authority is the last group who can stand up to the mining industry and protect our Reef from this dangerous project. 

This Friday, GetUp members will be hand-delivering a giant petition to the Reef Authority in Townsville, urging them to reject the proposal for good. Click here to add your name and make sure your voice is heard on Friday: 


We already know what dredging can do to our Reef. Just this week, Minister Hunt ordered an inquiry into the dredging project at Gladstone Harbour. As The Australian reported, it "coincided with mass deaths of fish, turtles, dolphins and dugongs inside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area."

This project would make way for the world's largest coal port at Abbot Point, turning our Reef into a coal shipping superhighway. To help imagine the sheer scale of it, the dredge spoil they plan to dump in Reef waters could fill 150,000 dump trucks, enough to line up bumper to bumper from Brisbane to Melbourne.

Under immense community pressure, the Reef Authority has already delayed their decision once - but Federal legislation means they can't delay it again. With exactly one week until the decision deadline, this Friday's event will be a timely reminder that the world is closely watching their next move. The more people who add their name to the petition, the more pressure decision-makers will be under to stand up for our Reef. 

Click here to sign your name in support of protecting the Reef, and we'll hand-deliver it straight to the Reef Authority: http://www.getup.org.au/reject-this-project 

Our iconic Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world, and it's up to us to protect it for future generations. 

Thanks for everything, 

the GetUp team. 

[1] Greg Hunt orders inquiry into reef dredging project. The Australian. 20th January 2014. 
[2] Has the Great Barrier Reef just been approved for destruction by the Australian government? The Guardian, 19th December 2013.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Beef Stock

We are still working our way through the first cow we had killed way back in December 2012.  It takes a long time to eat a whole cow even when it is not a very big one.  We have also shared the meat out with family and friends
Most of the bones we had cut up as dog bones but some I kept for stock.

Over the weekend I used up the last of the bones to make beef stock.
I like to make my stock after roasting the bones in the oven first until they are very dark.  Only then to I put them in a stockpot with carrots, onions, celery and herbs.
I usually have my stock on the stove top for the entire day so that I can get a nice concentrated batch.
This time I ended up with 5 litres which I packed in to takeaway containers and froze.  It joins the chicken stock in the freezer and will last us quite a while as we do not use beef stock that often.

How do you use beef stock?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

New Years Eve At The Woodford Folk Festival

As our time at the festival was coming to an end we were running on our energy reserves.  So we decided that we would take it a bit easy and not try to rush from venue to venue filling the day with one thing after another.
The weather was cooler and it was a bit overcast so it was quite nice to just wander through the festival.

We had been trying to get to one of the circus events all festival and finally we got to see one.  It was one of those performances where you find your self holding your breath.

Then we took some time out chilling in the Chai Tent.  It was a great place to just sit and people watch while enjoying a few hot beverages.

Then it was off the sit in the orchard for Tim Finn.  We got there early but everyone else wanted to see him too.  It was fantastic.

Then it was off to have an early drink to celebrate new years eve.  The staff at the bar we went to were also getting in the mood.

For a bit of a change of pace we decided to join in with a game show "Festival of Fortune" which was supported by the musical stylings of Barry Morgan on the organ.  Basically there are 10 teams competing in a variety of challenges and these teams do not have to be made up of people who know each other, in fact the point is to meet new people.  So you have to be early to get on a team and basically you sit your self down at a table where as a team you work out a team name (we were Pigs in Space) and a team chant and then the games begin.

It was so much fun and we spent the entire hour and a half laughing till we could hardly breathe.
We made fashion out of rubbish bags, wrote bush poetry full of cliche's and had men from our team dressed in leotards dancing on stage.

It was the fantastic start to a great night and for the first time in a couple of years we saw in the New Year.
We have lots planned for this year and it felt great to be kicking things of in such a great place.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Day 4 At The Woodford Folk Festival

By Day 4 we had seen a lot of great music so we spent a lot of the day just soaking up the atmosphere.

It is a huge festival with more than 20 performance venues, 50 food vendors, hundreds of performers and this year the visitors swelled to over 120,000.
The festival has been running for 28 years and every year lots of work is done to improve the site to cater for all the people.  There are heaps of permanent toilet blocks on the site each with at least 14 cubicles in each one so there were almost never queues.  To me this is a sign of the great planning that has been done in the past.

One of the performers we saw was Mo Kenny a fantastic performer from Nova Scotia Canada.  She has an amazing voice and I was really tempted to buy her album.

Uptown Brown was a one man bad extraordinaire and just one of the many street performers who kept us entertained.

All of the bars are dressed up for the festival.  The orchard bar comes complete with an apple orchard with giant apples.
The orchard bar

And the Pineapple bar is well shaped like a pineapple.

The pineapple bar in the background, you can just see the roof
poking up
We chilled out in the afternoon to the sweet voice of Rachel Sermanni before treking up to the amphitheater to check out a bamboo sculpture that had been built at the festival.

This sculpture was made by a group of volunteers led by Wang Wen-Chih and you can read more about it here.

The sculpture was huge and it was really quite a work of art.

Here is Hubby about to enter the Dome.

And this is looking up inside the dome.

One of the things the festival organisers are working on is re-vegetation of the property.  The festival site used to be a 500 acre farm and so every year trees are planted out after the festival.  The walkway from that car park has been planted out with lots of different types of trees that attract butterfly's and is called the butterfly walk.  And there were lots of butterfly's fluttering around our heads as we walked to the festival each day.  The trees are all sponsored by visitors to the festival and for just $5 you pay for a tree, tree guard and some fertilizer to get the tree started.  There was evidence around the festival of last years sponsored trees.

It seems the wildlife appreciate all the new trees being planted too.  I wonder if they all run for cover when the festival starts up each year or make the most of their free passes to an amazing festival.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Day 3 At The Woodford Folk Festival

Things got a bit busy here so the last of this series of posts is a bit delayed.

Day three and the prediction was for hot hot hot.  We were hoping it would not get to the 41 degree temperature predicted but we were not so lucky.  Thankfully we were able to find some shade during the middle of the day and we took the opportunity to have a nap.

The peoples band was out and about on the streets.

The traditional clans of the Pormpuraaw and Injinoo showed off traditional dances, songs and legends.

Everywhere people relaxed and soaked up the atmosphere.

Since the day was so hot we sought shade where we could, even if that meant we could only hear and not see the bands.
We really enjoyed The Basics who are a band of three brothers one of who is Gotye.  It was great music to chill out to lying on the grass in the shade.

Hubby is having a good laugh to himself here as he poked his tongue
 out in the previous photo and I didn't notice
During the festival we managed to get to a number of interesting presentations.  Like many other people we were happy to lie in the shade and listen to the presentation on the speakers on the outside of the venue.
This one was "A trip through the supermarket with a nutritionist".

After the heat of the day the burst of rain we got was a welcome relief and we were treated to a double rainbow to boot.

Then the skies cleared and the crowds flooded back into the streets.

There were lots of workshops available to participate in, including basket weaving, rag rug making, life drawing, pottery, weaving, mask making, body painting and a heap of other things.

The festival is a celebration of folk music but it is so much more than that.  There are so many interesting ways to participate and even with 6 days there we still did not have time to do everything we wanted.