An early adventure

The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Meet….

I was on my first foray into the world outside of Australia. After realising what I wanted was rather expensive I settled for a bus tour. I flew with Korean Air and I was amazed at the service and food. There were a group of people going to one of the Korean Air Hotels and waited for the bus to take us. As we got into the elevator something funny happened to someone and I looked at this woman and we both could hardly contain laughing.

The next day a bus took people back to the airport. Boarded a plane to Madrid and it had a stop over in Amsterdam to refuel. I over heard a conversation about going on a tour. Once in Madrid I introduced myself and said I am on the same tour. We headed off to get the bus to the hotel to wait for the tour to start. More smiles as we sat in what we called, the Nana Bus.

Meet Kerri and Joerg

WE roamed the streets of Madrid with no special plan and headed off to explore what we could find. Didn’t go into the Prada, I went there next time, we just enjoyed what we found sometimes the same thing twice! Hence we were Chaos Tours.

There was always laughs and fun in the bus as there were lots more under thirties than oldies. I wasn’t cool enough for the back seat or fuddy duddy enough for up front.

There were really helpful for me to get my head around another world as we went from Madrid to Granda, along the Mediterranean – Southern France, Nice, Avignon up to Northern Italy, Florence, Venice – everyone on the tour went on guided tours in Pisa. Kerri, Joerg and I found a great little place and had a pizza in Pisa, one of the best I have had. Then Croatia, Rovinj in a resort and Split was amazing, a quick overnight in Ljubljana, Slovenia and onto Vienna.

Kerri and Joerg left the tour in Rome. I am so glad we clicked and are really special to me. We still email and FB message, the occasional phone call. I have used Kerri and Joerg in a previous challenges.

Why I am here

The Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Home

I wrote this in March 2012, one of my first posts

It is a question that gets asked a bit…..why do I live so far from town?

So far from town is about 35 kms and takes me around 20 – 25 minutes…..so I wonder what they say to people who live further than that from town!!!

My place is in there somewhere….

The silence of the bush is great, which can be broken by the occasional doff doff from the kids across the way or racing up and down the road on their motorbikes.

I love the animals and birds that hang around the garden

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Red necked wallabies love the grass around the house and I think they feel safe

A variety of honeyeaters hang around from time to time…scarlet honeyeaters are always around somewhere.

The numbers of birds are on the rise and there are the occasional ones who tend to piss me off. At the moment the Australian Ravens have taken to eating the chooks eggs. When the winter cold starts to bite in the mountains, the Currawongs come down to here and they just hang around the chook house eating food out of the hopper. Also the Satin Bower Birds arrive as well but for the first time this year, they have stayed. So a few Bower Birds also hang around the chook yard. I have a new rooster, after a few months without a bloke around to look out for the chooks, so I think he may sort out the Ravens.

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The Ravens just wander about

I guess my biggest challenge is the weeds. Luckily they aren’t too bad to control. Lantana is easy to knock down but it is in many of the gullies and Fireweed is along the power line clearings. There is a bit of Parramatta Grass and Cotton weed in patches. I found a small patch of Balloon Vine yesterday and will have to remove that as it is flowering.

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One of my favourite spots. This waterhole has never dried even in the north coast drought of 2000 – 2002

I love living in the bush maybe that’s why I am bushboy

It’s a Splendor

The Ragtag Daily Prompt Monday: Splendour

A short story about my Splendor guitar.

The Splendor, semi-acoustic guitar, is the first guitar I bought with my hard earned money.

I worked in a factory on weekends while I was at school basically making toasters and electric jugs. After a while I was doing everything from unloading and the goods in dock in the rear lane, to loading the truck at the front loading dock. The worse job was in Summer, working on the top floor with just a tin roof above, doing the powder coating of the toaster bases and other stuff.

It was a huge oven over 3+ metres tall with rods attached at the side to a wheel and chain that rotated the rods up and into the burners. I had racks with magnets and I attached 6 bases to the rack, walk INTO THE OVEN a short way and hang the rack. Then take the next hot one out returning it over to cooling racks. Rinse and repeat for 8hrs. I used to work with my arms and torso out of my overalls. It was probably 40C up there. Wasn’t too bad on a frosty morning. There was always the company of the person putting indoor spiral TV aerials together. They looked similar to this one.

Hi-Q Aerials
http://www.hiqaerials.com.au/product/A23/INDOOR%20SPIRAL%20ANTENNA

By the end of my time there I was earning $20 a day. Pretty rich for a school kid. Back then petrol was probably about 30c a gallon, a pack of smoke was less than a dollar and a glass of beer in the pub was 20c for a schooner.

I paid $115.00 It still sounds so good and has so many variables, look at all the knobs and switches. I know nothing about the origins other than it was made in Japan in the 1970’s. I can’t find anything despite searching or maybe I’m not a good searcher.

Oh should add a colour photo as well

Also for Terri’s Sunday Stills: #Sports and #Hobbies

For Amanda

The Friday Friendly Blog Challenge: Looking Back to the Future

If I go way back things are so far back that this brain has trouble getting around the concept. One thing that Amanda wrote stuck in my brain as I read her wonderful post of childhood, the pitfalls of eating – luckily my mother was a wonderful cook even if it was the standard meat and three veg and I are it all. Once home sometimes I would be in the kitchen shelling peas or peeling potatoes or just playing outside with my imaginary friends lol. I did get a bit of a yell at if I even thought about a swing on the Hills Hoist,

I was a constant in the local library and read everything I could get my hands on. I read all of the Dr Doolittle book as much of Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov, Micael Moorcock and other sci-fi as I could find. All of the unusual titles also drew my attention like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas, The Phantom Tollbooth, The World According to Garp, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy The Gulag Archipelago, Catch 22 and the list goes on.

But mainly from Amanda’s post, the thing that made me laugh and remember a photo I have is the “I am young, walking home from school down a very steep road, partly finished with asphalt, wearing an outdated, unfashionable, yellow raincoat. It is a garment made from the kind of thick rubbery plastic that makes one sweat profusely, but fails to thoroughly keep the skin dry – (its sole purpose!).”

Well Amanda you can look cool in a yellow raincoat

Remembering Benny

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Pets or stuffed animals

Benny the cat, also known as the Jackadgery Panther was quite a formidable character. He has been seen chasing dogs up the driveway off the property. Not small dogs a German Shepherd, a Cattle Dog as well as smaller ones have all felt the sting of a claw.

Old Geoff my neighbour would come visiting and his dog, Callum,who went everywhere with Geoff, would walk with him as far as the front gate and then would turn around and go home. If Geoff drove, Callum would stay in the car.

I came home from work one day and found Benny asleep on the chair with his stuffed dog which he would move around the house as he felt. Yes fierce Benny did have a soft side. Benny has been gone for a few years now. So this fits both prompts, pets and stuffed animals.

What’s in a name

The Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Magnificent

My besties small property is surrounded by a cattle farm. Many of my cattle photos are of the farmer next doors cattle. We were always in awe of a large black bull who sauntered around the paddocks, the other bull never seemed to mind or want to have anything to with him.

His ear tags have a lot of information coded into them. The numbers may mean the year of birth, a farm number some are herd identifiers as well as regulation ear tags. Well this big black bull has an ear tag with MM on it on one side. We wondered what name this magnificent creature had; that’s it! Mr Magnificent.

Here is Mr Magnificent just chilling in the warm sunshine on top of the hill. The MM is on the other side of the 2

One day the farmer was out walking the paddocks with a dog or two just checking on fences and going to move the temporary electric fence so the cows had a new pasture before calving. Of course we had a good old chat with Julie and I mentioned the big black bull as he was waiting first in line to get onto the fresh grass. I said we called him Mr Magnificent. Julie told us that he had been castrated because she fell in love with him and wanted to keep him but he was surplus to the herd. It was then she told us of his name. The big black bull’s name is Moo Moo.

I’ll just leave that there…..OK?

The cupboard’s journey

OK due to popular demand here is a bit more about the cupboard that featured on my Last on the Card post. My bestie used to like on an old property which had under gone a few changes over the hundred plus years of its existence. Like many farms back then they did everything on farm. Having a dig around the place there were old remnants of the farm. The old dairy bails were converted into a guest house.

The cupboard was made from the scraps of wood that was lying around and was in a bad condition. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos before I dismantled it almost a year ago. I wasn’t going to make it any different than it was so I just basically put it back together again.

So this is a bit about what I did. The drawers didn’t work at all and I was told they never did.. A new bit for the drawers was made. You can see the damage to the wood but being old timber, it was surprisingly sound.

The new section for the drawers glued and clamped

The drawers are in good condition. The crack doesn’t go all the way through, it’s just on the surface of the drawers bottom.

Putting the top back on with some of the tools used to restore the cupboard.

Doors back on. My part of the history of the cupboard is the new hinges and barrel bolt. Even among the shelves, jars and boxes of old stuff I couldn’t find the right hinges or door closer that looked old.

The photo that started it all.

The other part of this shed project was the shelves. At one stage there was a set of shelves that sat on top of the cupboard. These shelves are now going to be stand alone shelves. This is the before

I knocked them apart, resized them, made a new bottom shelf from the wood of an old door

Gave the top a clean up and put it on.

Cut the timbers at the back and nailed them back on.

Various views

Apparently the doors never closed properly

Looking up at the Laughing Kookaburras

I was listening to the world outside. I heard a sound like someone gargling. Knowing I was the only one home at the time, I went to investigate. Yes as walking outside at my place could always be a photo opportunity, I had my camera.

On a branch was a young Laughing Kookaburra making the “I really am a Kookaburra….listen to this” absolutely weird sound. Not a moment later came the sounds of a real Laughing Kookaburra. Here let me tell you what I was told happened.

“Hey, is anyone here?”
“I’ve got lunch.”
“Have you seen how fast these blokes go?”

“Hello…..”
“I thought you were hungry?”
“Look what I caught.”

“I know you’re here somewhere.”
“Did you fly over there?”
“These taste real juicy.”

“Is that you?”
“I’m sure I heard something”
“I bet he’s playing a game with me.”

“Here….have a look at this;”
“It is so wonderful tasting.”
I am just going to have to eat it ALL myself!”

“No Dad….don’t do that.”
“I’m here.”
“I’ll have some dinner please.”

“Well then……..you better get over here as quick as you can.”
OK Dad….here I come.”

and that is the story of the Laughing Kookaburras on a tree just off my verandah

I am sure some would have noticed that the photos are also square for Becky’s Square Photo Challenge #SquareUp (sorry Becky, no music with this one)

Tales of a Distant Farm – a bit of history

Debbie’s One Word Sunday: History  

So the theme/prompt is History. I thought I would delve back into my history and re-post one of my first posts, some 2,790 posts ago in May 2012.

On my recent travels, I managed to visit a farm in the mountains behind Verona, Italy, in the Valpolicella Valley a well known wine growing region in Italy.

No, it wasn’t a winery I visited but a dairy. The dairy was very old and when I asked the owner how long the family had owned the farm (me in English/Italian – her in Italian/English – most comical conversation!!!) she shook her head and just said many many many grandfathers…..and perhaps it did look that way as well…..

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Behind those doors are many a good thing but more of that later.

Can you imagine running a dairy where your herd is kept in barns for 7 to 8 months of the year? The only time they get out onto pasture is in late Spring and Summer and the pasture they go to is quite well grassed.

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The yellow are a sort of Dandelion. Lake Garda is in the distance.

The conditions that the part of the herd I saw was rather boggy, but they weren’t all the milkers, just the calves and a few of the milkers. A shed nearby was still stacked with hay and covered.

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The milking bales were rather old but worked and it would take a while even though the herd was around sixty cows

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But the product that came from the milk – cheese – was some of the best cheese I have ever tasted. They make ten different types of cheese – all unpasteurised – which means they can only sell from the farm gate or at some markets, but what cheese!!! Of the eight I sampled there was only two that I didn’t really enjoy. The two year old mature cheese was so good as were the softer cheeses, some with added flavours…the chilli one was divine!!!

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The fresh cheese just made that morning

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The cheese room complete with mould.

The food produced from the farm was always value added and not much went to waste. Remember that doorway

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Yes THIS door.

Behind that door was an array of salami, some of which had also been haging for a number of years. The smell was surprisingly pleasant and the taste…juicy and tender, full of flavour.

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Just hangin’ ’round

Everyone on the farm just hung around together outside as well

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I did like to see that chooks are the same all around the world in how they view that anywhere you want to is where you can sit and lay an egg!!!!

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No I didn’t check to see if she had laid or was sitting on a clutch!!!

I hope you enjoyed my dairy farm visit as much as I did

Fun in the tree

Late one afternoon a while ago a screeching could be heard, the unmistakable sound of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. Soon the Cockatoos were circling around and they then headed off to some distant trees.

I was watching where they were and in particular the Black Cockatoo closest who was doing a bit of moving around on the branch he was sitting on. It was very low light and the telephoto function on my Canon camera was at full stretch. The quality of the photos isn’t the best but I thought I should share a bit of our native birds sense of fun. You have already seen what the King Parrots do around my place having fun.

Enjoy the next sequence of photos. Just two settled on this side of the tree

Suddenly this Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo leant forward.

Then it was head down a bit further, wings spread a bit for balance and the tail feathers flared.

A little bit further, head well tucked and body all on the other side of the branch.

Then it was right over, wings open, tail upright and his head where his tail was seconds ago.

Back upright, wings and tail ready for the final balance on the branch.

Steady and settling back down.

and carry on as though nothing happened