Droving on a Sunday morning

The plan for the day was set on Saturday when the bloke down the road rang Kim and said the “boys” were locked up in his holding yard after they decided to take a wander to discover what was on the other side of the fence.

So we set off to walk them up the road to the home paddock. The neighbour said he would help, so I stayed at the home paddock gate to make sure they didn’t keep going and head off down the road.

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They should be coming any minute……..

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Here they come.

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“Blimey,” Badger said “its a long way to walk especially uphill!!!”

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Of course they didn’t want to go in the right direction…..the garden next door looks like it may need a bit of a trim.

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But being the good lads, they kept on walking up the road. At one point it looked like they were going to veer left and try to get past me, but a stern look and a wave of a stick, they trotted in through the gate. Home at last.

Spicy couscous with char grilled vegetable

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Zucchini sliced
  • 1 Capsicum sliced
  • 1 Brown Onion sliced
  • Roast pumpkin chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Bring stock to the boil in a small saucepan over high heat.Image
  2. Place couscous, cumin, coriander and currants in a large, heatproof bowl. Image
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Mix ingredients. Pour over boiling stock. Stir with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and stand for 5 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Image
  4. Remove plastic wrap, stir couscous gently with a fork to separate grains.
  5. Slice the zucchini, capsicum chilli and onion. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini, capsicum, chilli and onion. Cook until vegetables are soft.Image
  6. Roughly chop roast pumpkin.Image
  7. Spoon couscous onto plate.
  8. Add char grilled vegetables and pumpkin.
  9. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Serve.Image

More Birds

I really like it when birds just seem to be in the right place and look as though they have posed for the camera.

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This Tawny Frogmouth is a good subject as it just sits on the nest, a nest of loosely thrown together sticks and leaves, sitting so still trying to be part of the tree. I do think she has a bit of a smile don’t you?

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Darters just standing on the rocks, often looking left then right, swivelling about but not moving their big webbed feet.

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Sometimes I have been in the thick of the action. The Terns and Seagulls were just sitting on the beach when all of a sudden, whoosh, they all took to the air in a flurry of wings.

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One late afternoon, driving home from town, I spotted this Black Necked Stork ( much prefer Jabiru) prowling around this inundated farm paddock looking for a bit of tea. He did get lucky as the paddock, which was dry until the landowner decided to block the drain to turn the land back into a wetland, mainly for water couch to feed his cattle, had quite a few frogs which were calling for mates, not as an advertisement that a meal can be found here!!

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A banksia makes a fine viewing platform for a Wattlebird (I think). There were many birds calling this day but not many seen, so this was a lucky shot.

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Framed among the leaves and branches of a Poinsettia, the Pacific Baza sat and watched and made sure I got its good side

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The Pelican was having a bit of a nap on top of a light pole before being awoken by me sneaking up to get some photos, although I do think that Pelicans have a rather permanent startled look anyway.

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Love Kookaburras even when they set off at the crack of dawn. They also don’t mind posing so you get their best angle even if their “hair” is a bit messy!!

The Seeker Part 1

…..was many an age ago when the world was new, I emerged from the primal ooze……gazing about the landscape……..looking for the outside as I was still inside even in a world so vast so full, I was still inside.

Days past and the wanderings upon the earth had seen me dry, and wet, as the sun sometimes hid behind thunderous black clouds………the silver rain pelted upon my naked body leaving streaks down my body as the now dry and almost baked on ooze slowly washed away…….and now I shall emerge once again, sun glistening on my skin………washed clean during the storms.

Gathering sticks, I constructed as shelter and a place to hold a fire as the nights were becoming chill and I longed for the warmth.

What manner of a world where I can walk all day, the horizon is further away and I am still inside?

….again……….where I came from is a blur……….I dream at night when I think of there…….a way away.

Sitting on the rock at the mouth of the cave I found………warmth and safety and also dry……..my skin feels well healed after the mud was washed, now skin, with a light dusting from the cave floor, a reddish colour.

What is near the horizon…………as I climb, the horizon seems to get further away.  What drives me to seek what is out there? Why is whatever I am looking for, never seem to be close?

As I stay at this cave hoping that the water that falls from those clouds…..dark smudges on an orange and yellow sky, will one day cease in that I may continue my journey.

Looking each day, scanning the landscape for a sign of difference that may become the familiar………….if what I seek exists of course!!

….strange spaces………..they appear. Shapes of what I don’t know. Just above the horizon when the sun is at angle and light seems to bounce.

I keep walking to the horizon and to what I believe to be outside. My renewed body is once again streaked with ash and dust. Water is always near but not enough to be able to wash the dust of the past………….the clouds have seemed to have gone…….except for the occasional white fluffy ones that travel far too fast for what I am used to…..I wish they would stop and give some shelter from the sun.

I am not looking at the spaces that appear any more. I believe that they will distract me and I may end up walking over the same ground…………..not getting to the distance that is a way away.

……the landscape is changing…..the dry dusty plains, where the stunted trees and sparsely leafed shrubs grew on whatever moisture became available.

I moved slowly…….going from shaded patch to shaded patch……resting as my body grew weary and thirst demanded a drink.

Looking upward……the dome glistened but the sun was relentless….hot…dry almost baking the ground on which I walked……..my eyes, tracking down the surface of the dome, saw, in the distance, a reflection of deep green…but still there wasn’t a join when I looked to the horizon.

Noting the landscape where I was, I started to head towards the patch of deep green……..hoping I would find solace from the drying heat.

Again, clouds swept across the sky, not staying to give relief…..I noted that the clouds always seemed to travel in the one direction……..now I moved with the clouds, being mindful of the markers in the landscape when I first saw the deep green reflection on the dome.

The first marker, a dark shadow, looked not far away…….I could make it there before the sun lowered in the sky and changed the identity of the marker. As I walked I thought of what the shadow might be……would I find anything that may be something that would be for my benefit.

The flat hard stony ground began to slightly slope upwards with the dark shadow becoming bigger……I now could see the land had risen but not like the hills I left behind, more of a gentle slope with a mound like shape with the dark shadow smudged across its face.

Birds around the place

This set of photos are a mix of my place and others that I have photographed on my roaming around the north coast of NSW.

I’ll start with some of the birds of prey. It is always a treat to see the soaring in the sky but when I come across some just sitting, it gives me a chance to see them up close and hopefully to get a good photo or two.

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This Wedged Tailed Eagle is one of a pair that have been living near my place for quite some time….it is a real treat to see two or sometimes three wheeling about on the currents, although the chooks are rather sceptical about that comment. I am always amazed when I am outside and I hear the rooster give a special call which sends his ladies scurrying under the bushes near the fence or into the chook house. I look about and look skyward and way away in the sky is a Wedged Tailed Eagle. How on earth did the rooster see the eagle!!

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One morning I was heading to town and sitting on the side of the road was the Wedged Tailed Eagle snacking on a bit of road kill. By the time I had my camera out and had quietly opened the door of the car, he had sensed paparazzi and had started to take flight…a few big steps and flaps of those huge wings he was airborne and behind the trees.

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Along the Clarence River, the elctricity company has built some nesting platforms to stop the Ospreys building their nests on the power poles. Usually you can see a head popping up over the nest’s edge but, if lucky, they are out fishing, especially in the late afternoon.

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Also fishing along the Clarence River are Sqaretailed Kites. This one lives in the trees near to Grafton and is quite often cruising the river for snacks.

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Kestrals also fly around the river in Grafton. This one caught a Water Dragon and was having lunch on top of a power pole.

Birds in my garden

One subject of my photos are the birds I come across, whether in my garden, in the bush of my place or the ones I discover while driving around the north coast of New South Wales.

Here is a selection of the ones from my garden.

 

The Friar Birds claim the Honey Gem in Autumn

The Eastern Spinebills are always on the lookout

The Rainbow Lorikeets dont let anything disturb them from a snack

The Choughs just wander around constantly chattering as the flick over sticks and leaves

and the Currawongs sing away in the trees. Always know when Winter is on the way when the Currawongs come down from the mountains

The little birds like the Scarlet Honeyeater are always flitting about

As are the Blue Wrens

Hope you enjoyed my garden as much as I do

Cauliflower, pancetta and pangrattato pasta

Another favourite recipe I have modified/combined to my own liking. Hope you like it as well

CAULIFLOWER, PANCETTA AND PANGRATTATO PASTA

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

400g cauliflower florets (steamed 5 mins)

400g small pasta – rigatoni, shells, penne

250g pancetta

150g pecorino cheese, finely grated

PANGRATTATO Ingredients

1 cup Breadcrumbs – coarse

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

6 anchovies chopped

Fresh red chilli chopped or dried chilli diced

1 bunch thyme, leaves chopped

METHOD

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. When the water is bubbling madly drop in your pasta. Add a cup of cold water and stir. (This will stop the pasta sticking). Return to the boil and then drop the temperature down to a gentle simmer. Cook the pasta to packet instructions.

Cut the florets off the cauliflower so they look like 5cm little trees. Then cut in half. Steam cauliflower for around 5 mins or until the stems are soft

In a separate pan, quickly fry the pancetta. Remove to a plate covered with kitchen towel.

In the same pan, make the pangrattato as per recipe below.

Drain the pasta and cauliflower and combine and toss with the pancetta. Sprinkle with the finely grated pecorino cheese and the pangrattato.

PANGRATTATO

Ingredients

1 cup Breadcrumbs – coarse

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

6 anchovies chopped

Fresh red chilli chopped or dried chilli diced

1 bunch thyme, leaves chopped

METHOD

1 Heat frypan and splash in about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat.

2. Throw in the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crisp – adding more olive oil if required.

3. Toss in the finely chopped garlic, anchovies and chilies and cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until aromatic.

4. Mix the thyme through the pangrattato stirring for 1 minute. when this is done the pangrattato will be a lovely golden nutty colour.

Tips

Use fresh coarse grated bread to make the crumbs as it is not as good with fine bread crumbs.

Experiment with the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.

If you don’t like anchovies, salt to taste but not too much salt.

Always use fresh thyme as it is softer.

If you like it hotter, use 2 chilies fresh or dried.

Roast Pumpkin

I thought it was about time I started to put in some of my favourite recipes. I won’t claim it as all my own work but a modification/combination of other recipes that I have tried.
Hope you give it a go and tell me what you think

ROAST PUMPKIN

Ingredients
Pumpkin
Olive oil
Fresh sage leaves
Pepper
Sea salt
Garlic
Olives
Soft cheese – ricotta, even a brie (remove skin) or bocconcini may work.

Quantities are up to you but don’t over crowd the baking tray with olives or sage leaves. – 8 to 10 sage leaves, a couple of handful of olives.

Cut pumpkin and garlic and place in baking tray with olive oil. Cover with cracked black pepper or peppercorn(s) of choice (I use a four peppercorn mix) and a bit of sea salt. Place in oven – 200 degrees, bake for 10/15 mins, remove from oven and place sage leaves and olives in baking tray, sprinkle a bit more olive oil and return to oven for a further 10/15 mins..

The next bit.

Pasta
Baby spinach
Roasted pine nuts

Cook pasta of choice (I used penne) in plenty of boiling (salted if you do normally) water and when al dente, drain and place the cooked pasta back in the pot, add the baby spinach and toss to wilt, drizzle with olive oil, then add half the roasted pumpkin and mix through.

When you serve, top the pasta with the rest of the pumpkin, the roasted pine nuts, fresh soft cheese chunks and serve immediately.