Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

I want to wish all my readers and their families a very Happy Christmas!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New computer arrived today so now I can resume all my normal internet activities .. stayed tuned ....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Forced hiatus

My computer met an untimely death last weekend :( My work computer won't let me access blogs :( Therefore, until the budget can stretch to a new computer I'm not going to be able to blog or join you guys on gbc.

Play nice while I'm gone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Forget the guns, tell me about the horse

From today's news:

Boy, 13, with arsenal of weapons found in clapped out ute towing dead donkey, say police

AN armed 13-year-old boy has been caught driving with high-powered weapons in his clapped-out ute while towing a dead donkey.

NT Police may have not immediately noticed the loaded firearm allegedly sitting beside the boy when they pulled him over for a breath test, nor the shotgun, high-powered rifle or 100 rounds of ammo allegedly lying on the back seat.

The ute was towing behind it in the dust a noticeably deceased donkey.

The boy's 52-year-old father is now facing a slew of charges for allegedly allowing his son to drive unlicensed and possess firearms, reports Northern Territory News.

Sergeant Conan Robertson, of the Southern Traffic Operations Unit, said they were doing a rural patrol on Thursday.

He said they pulled over a Toyota Hilux Dualcab for a roadside breath test on Coniston Rd, about 160km northwest of Alice Springs.

"Police found a 13-year-old boy driving the unroadworthy vehicle with a loaded .22 bolt action rifle in the front seat,'' Sgt Robertson said.

"The rifle had nine rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber.''

"There was also a 20 gauge shotgun and a high powered .243 rifle laying across the back seat with more than 100 rounds of ammunition.''

Sgt Robertson said the ute was unroadworthy and had ``severe damage'' to the front end and the bonnet was held down with a tie-down strap.

It also had a damaged windscreen.

Sgt Robertson said the boy was the only person in the car when they pulled it over.

He was allegedly driving from a nearby station towards the Stuart Highway at the time.

The police took the boy back to the station and spoke to his dad. They say he knew his son was driving the car with the firearms.

Sgt Robertson said the man would be summonsed for offences including delivering a firearm to an unlicensed person, failing to secure a firearm and permitting an unlicensed shooter to possess a firearm.

Meanwhile, the firearms have been seized and the boy will be considered for youth diversion for traffic and firearms offences.

Sgt Robertson expressed concern.

"It is very disappointing to find the child was out there armed with firearms and driving an unsafe vehicle with the full knowledge of his father," he said.

"We certainly hope that the fact the father will now face court will make others consider their actions before engaging in such reckless behaviour."


What do you do when ...

A new fruit & vegie shop opens up not too far away with potatoes, onions & carrot selling for 29c a kg? You go there, of course, brave 2000000 other people (okay that might be a slight exaggeration), and make soup!

They also had 2 heads of broccoli for 99c; cauliflower heads at 99c each and 500gm of garlic for 99c. The Japanese pumpkin at 1.99/kg also turned out to be DELICIOUS.

When we got back home with our haul all four of us got busy in the kitchen and quickly turned about half the ingredients (and a large handful of home grown parsley) into three soups. Two consisted of the fresh vegetables; with roasted garlic while the third was a roasted vegetable one (roasted cauliflower, pumpkin, onions, garlic, capsicum and carrot).

Tomorrow I'll attack the remaining ingredients and make more soup! Hope there's room in the freezer.

BTW Miss 10 likes roasted cauliflower:

My first car meme

OldNFO tagged me for this one, so I'll play along - but remember I'm a GAL not a GUY therefore cars to me are objects designed to get one from A to B, sometimes (depending on whose driving) via C - so don't expect too many details.

My first car was a Holden Gemini. I bought it second hand - no idea what year I got it (must have been around 1984/5 though) - I think I paid about $2000 andd it was in good condition. After a couple of years I had it resprayed (it was a light brownish colour) and I took that car everywhere - even bush! Never had many problems with it except once when the timing chain went. My brother arranged to get it fixed for me, which he did, and when he was driving it back to my place another driver ran into the side of it :( This wasn't long after I had it resprayed so I wasn't that impressed!

I'm not even sure when or why I got rid of the car ... it could have been before I went travelling in Europe for a couple of years - sorry folks, details like this don't stick in my mind!

Anyway, let's see who I can tag to play ... JayG from MArooned, Christina from Lucrative Pain and PDB.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sweet Impossible Pie with Fruit - Take 1

Regular readers will know that I've been experiementing with "Impossible Pies" and have worked out a recipe for savoury ones that seems to work each time. I've not had the same level of success with sweet ones. The other day I was in the supermarket and spied some blueberries at slightly less than exhorbitant prices so I bought a punnet and went on an internet hunt for an Impossible Pie recipe with fruit.

(Hey who pinched the spellchecker from blogger's toolbar?)

I found this recipe and decided to give it a go.

My version (as I'm totally incapable of actually following a recipe) is below:

Impossible Pie with Fruit
Fills 23 cm pie dish

80 g butter melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 cups fat-reduced milk
4 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup diced fruit of choice - blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Place everything other than fruit in a large bowl, whisk until combined.
Pour into a greased pie dish. Add fruit.
Bake at 180C degrees for 30-40mins until the top is golden and crusty.

The finished product:

Now I've said "Take 1" in the title, that's because even before I eat it I'm not happy with it. I mean it looks lovely from the top, but doesn't have the 'body' that I'm looking for in a pie. So there will be a Take 2 (at least).

[Update] The girls and I have just had a piece. Miss 10 reckons it tastes like eating eggs. Miss 8 reckons it needs to be cooked longer at a lower temperature.

I actually agree with both of these opinions. It is a bit low on taste - not sure whether more vanilla essence or lemon juice would be the best option. And yes, the top was brown and crusty but it wasn't cooked enough in the middle. So definitely a Take 2 planned.[/Update]

PS This is my first attempt too at a 'scheduled post' so I hope it actually appears!

Heard in the kitchen

Miss 10: "We have a possum"

Me: "Yes, I know"

Miss 10: "In the roof, it was running above my head in bed last night"

Me: "I know, I heard it when I was on the phone to [Shooting Buddy]. He suggested a 22lr."

{brief pause}

Miss 10: "Yum, possum pie"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just got back from 'up north'

The family, Shooting Buddy and I spent 5 nights "up north" doing a range of fun things. It's a pretty nice time to visit the region as it's not too hot and the wildflowers were still out (however, so were the flies which weren't quite as nice). We did get some hunting in but there weren't as many rabbits around as I had hoped and we didn't see a single fox.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Found around the farm

A Bush Turkey - first time I've ever seen one

Miss 8 hiding in the Wheat

And Miss 10 checking it out

Miss 10 driving my car (automatic) for the first time, all survived

Miss 8 obviously enjoyed her turn at the wheel

And over at the "other" farm Miss 8's favourite animal

Seen while Out and About
This area is near the farm and is known as 'The Salmons'

Termite Mounds - seen on a detour to Coalstream Park

Still some water around at Coalstream, yes they did get muddy

Pink & Grey Galah - Sitting in a nest - seen at Coalstream

Budgies - again seen at Coalstream

There are lots of salt lakes in the area ...

We found some caves to explore

Can't get away from those *(&*(^ phones


All in all a great trip. Check out my previous posts if you want to know more about the area here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I guess there's limitations to stock photo archives

Well that's the only reason (other than ignorance) that I can think of as to why this photo is used for this story:

Story here:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Presented without comment


Impossible Pies ... again ...

Well I've been cooking and modifying the recipies for a couple of attempts now and I think I've "nailed" the savoury one and almost there with the sweet one.

Savoury Impossible Pie
* 1 cup self raising flour
* 1.5 cups milk
* 3 eggs
* 60gms butter (melted)
* 1 cup grated cheese
* 1 cup (drained) canned peas & corn
* 1 cup (drained) canned tuna
* Black pepper
* Salt
* 1 tbsp chopped Spring Onion
* 1 tbsp chopped Parsley
* Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Spray a pie dish lightly with oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.

Pour mixture into greased pie dish and place in oven.

Cook for 30-40mins

NOTE: I use these for making a dozen muffin sized pies (using silicon pie cases) and a dozen mini-muffins. Cook the mini-muffins for about 17mins and the muffin sized ones for about 25-30.

Sweet Impossible Pie
* 2 cups self raising flour
* 1.5 cups milk
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup lemon juice
* 60gms butter (melted)
* 1 cup castor sugar
* 1 cup dessicated coconut
* Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Spray a pie dish lightly with oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.

Pour mixture into greased pie dish and place in oven.

Cook for 30-40mins

Not 100% sure that I've finalised the sweet one, we'll see.

Well I'm making that Ricotta again

We had some of the Ricotta that we drained for breakfast today (with a sprinkling of black pepper). I had to restrain Misses 8 & 10 from eating the whole thing.

It's very, very, very creamy and everyone (Hubby, Shooting Buddy & girls) said they preferred the drained version to the fresher version last night. I'm not so sure. I think they were both delicious.

It's a very similar process to the Paneer, but with a bit more care and attention and the leaving of the curds to rest before draining them. This seems to make it more creamy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Artisan Cheese and other stuff

Thanks to Dr Grumpy I had problems last night with not shouting "bingo" each time the presenter said "Artisan".

Yes I was at a Cheese making demo (with Miss 10) for a company called Mad Millie. As part of the cost of the demo you got an "Italian Cheese Making Kit".

So today Miss 10 and I attempted the Fresh Milk Ricotta. Apart from the fact that it didn't separate initially (we forgot to increase the citric acid in line with the extra milk we used), however we ended up with a very, very, very creamy cheese. We put some in the ricotta basket to drain (which went perfectly with the fresh parsley bread rolls gifted to us by a neighbour), and since that was full, we also drained some in muslin. That's still draining so we'll see how that tastes later.

Apparently there's enough Cheese salt, rennet, citric acid in the kit to make 15 batches of cheese. So we're looking forward to more cheese making in the future.

Additionally, I used this recipe for a quick lunch:

Thai Chicken & Pineapple Fried Rice

1 cup pineapple, canned, cut into pieces
1 cup chicken, boneless, cubed
5 cups cooked rice
4 tbsp oil for stir-frying
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili
3 tbsp chicken or vegetable stock
3 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp curry powder

Start by preparing the rice. Add a little oil to the rice (up to 1 tbsp.) and work through with your fingers. You want to separate the grains of rice, so that they don't stick together.

Put 3 tbsp. oil around a wok over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and chili, stir-frying for one minute, or until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until it tender.

Mix together the chicken or vegetable stock, soy sauce and curry powder. Stir well, and then add to wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Now add the prepared rice to the wok. Stir-fry until all the rice has mixed with the sauce and is a uniform color. Break up any lumps with your utensil or a fork.

Stir-fry Tip: Continually lift/scoop up rice from the bottom of the pan, tossing rather than stirring it.

Add pineapple. Stir-fry to mix in. Continue stir frying until everything is integrated (1-2 more minutes).

I also make this slice (in my never-ending quest to find a nice peanut butter slice/cookie suitable for the girl's lunches);

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
4 tbsp. cocoa
3 c. quick oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa and boil for 1 minute. Stir in oats, peanut butter, and vanilla. Spread onto greased jelly roll pan. Cool. Cut into squares.

We had a piece each to try it. The general consensus was that it was very rich but a bit dry.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Green jobs ....

green jobs (n.): A category of employment properly viewed as belonging to the realm of mythology or fantasy, like the chimera, leprechaun, or centaur; jobs not tangibly observable in the real world but existing in the dreams of ‘progressives’.

(Appropriated from Adaptive Curmudgeon)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Country Agricultural Show

My hubby grew up on a farm in the wheatbelt. I've been there once or twice but we've never taken the girls (it's 2hrs from home and seriously there's not much reason to go there). However, I discovered on Friday that yesterday was the town's Show Day.

So hoping that the rain will hold off we decided to head out.

Apart from quite a few "when will we get theres" it was a nice drive, with Miss 10 reading a book all the way and Miss 8 playing on a DS or counting horses.

What amazed me was how green it was. The rain we've had lately has really made a difference - most of the soaks were full and the crops were looking good.

Anyway, eventually we got to the show grounds and had a look around - some of the highlights:

We had a go of the defib machine at the St John's display. Apparently there are three defib machines around the town and they're trying to educate the local people in their use.

Miss 8 trying chest compressions:

The trick riding demonstration was pretty neat too:

And the little train ride was a hit:

The girls really liked the vintage farm machinery and car display. Miss 8 trying one of the tractors on for size:

Miss 10 enjoyed mainly walking around looking at all the different displays and crafts. The girls found a heap of second hand books they wanted at one of the bric brac stores. And we lunched on roo burgers (well Miss 10 and I did anyway, Miss 8 stuck to a normal sausage sizzle and hubby went for the kebabs). The kids free activity tent was also a hit - with the girls getting about 8 temporary tattoos each!

After wandering around and having a good look (we were there for about 5 hours), we decided not to stay for the fireworks but to have a drive around the town instead - here the girls are standing on a street named after hubby's family:

We then drove out to the old farm - it's still currently in the family, but is up for sale. Hubby's relative was home and he was happy to show us around magnificant house. I wish hubby had got a few more pictures of the place. I was amazed at the height of the ceilings (18ft). Here are the girls standing at the front door:

By now it was getting dark so we headed home after promising to get back in touch and visit again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A quick trip away

I've just got back from a quick work-based trip to Melbourne.

I must saying flying domestic is so EASY these days. I did an online checkin and only had carry on luggage, so basically only had to get to the airport 20mins before my flight. Then you go through security - bags go on the conveyor for screening, you walk through the metal detector ... I did get stopped for the explosives check on the way over to Melb .. but that only took a min or so. Next thing you're boarding the plane for the flight.

On the flight over I had no one sitting next to me ... and it was only 3.5hrs. However, on the way back I did have someone next to me (harmless enough but couldn't spread out) and the flight was about 4.5hrs (headwinds).

This was my first trip to Melbourne for work with this company and I was pleased that one of the other guys from my office was travelling with me. We stayed at the Rydges on Bell along with another colleague from South Australia.

We met the other people who have been working on this project for dinner on the Tuesday night at the Waterfront restaurant. Stunning, absolutely stunning - in situation, food and company.

After a lovely evening we returned to the hotel for a "not-to-late-night" as we were starting work at 8.30am the next day.

After a day of meetings and workshops we headed back to Perth. In many ways it was a shame that the trip was so short. It seems however that for the next couple of months it will be a regular trip.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years on ...

I haven't checked out other blogs today, I guess there are a number who have commented on the 10th anniversary of "9/11".

For me it's an interesting anniversary. You see, Miss 10 was born at 10.31pm on Sept 10th 2001. Therefore my memories of 9/11 are viewed through the eyes of a very tired new-mum.

The overriding memories of that time are "disbelief". I saw a video of the plane hitting the first tower with the sound off on the TV. I had no idea of what I was watching and it wasn't until I saw one of our news reporters, sans makeup, come on that I turned the sound on.

Many people died that day, some basically just going about their normal days work. Others there trying to help. Others standing up against hijackers preventing probably more deaths. Some of those who died were the perpetrators of the horror.

Many also have died since - fighting the threat at the source so that their country can be safe.

Many are still fighting to preserve the safety of those "back home".

Let's hope that their fighting and sacrifice isn't in vain and that we never see another "9/11" ever again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

$2000 and 2 years warranty

Went to a Thermomix demo last night.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, a Thermomix is a very versitile kitchen appliance.

It seems to do most things you'll want a kitchen appliance to do in a very short space of time (well except roasting or grilling).

During the demo we had berry ice-cream; pizza; chickpea soup (mmm that was nice); sundried tomato and capsicum dip; steamed chicken with couscous and lemon pudding! (All in under 2 hours).

The demo was interspersed between discussion on guns and hunting - no the demonstrator wasn't a gun nut, but one of the other participants was. I'm actually not sure what the demonstrator thought - but she was raving on about raw, natural, unprocessed foods so hopefully she wasn't too shocked!

Anyway getting back to the post title. The cost of this little machine was $1939 ... but they only give a 2 year warranty. This worries me. Seriously. I mean you can tell me as often as you like about the reliability of your product BUT if you're only offering a 2 year warranty with no possibility of extension, I do tend to be more than sceptical.

Anyway, as a comparison, I've booked spot of a demo of the Thermochef - it still only comes with a 2 year warranty - but at under $800 that is slightly less worrying.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thrill Seeker's Bucket List

While perusing CNN I came across an article (and some very nice pics) of 50 ways to kill yourself as you're crossing them off your bucket list.

Well actually most of the 50 probably won't end in death but I'm convinced there's a few that would.

The 50 are:
1. Be a jet fighter pilot for a day (sounds fun and I think it would be basically safe);
2. Go volcano boarding, Nicaragua (80kms on your butt down the side of a volcano - um, no thanks);
3. Enter the Cage of Death, Australia (that's swimming with crocodiles folks!);
4. Cling to a cliff, China (and I quote "At one point one kilometer above the ground, you have to traverse a slim wooden plank stuck to the face of a vertical cliff.", enough said)
5. Ride Insanity, United States (yep, sure off the side of the 350-meter Stratosphere Tower, however being the US I think this is safer than #4);
6. Go Zapcat powerboating, United Kingdom (mmm, UK could be okay);
7. Climb the outside of CN Tower, Canada (nope!);
8. Perform an Everest skydive, Nepal (I'm thinking I might like to try this - but never having skydived before could be an issue);
9. Jump the Nevis Bungy, New Zealand (no, just no!);
10. Free dive at Dean's Blue Hole, Bahamas;
11. Ride the world's steepest roller coaster, Japan ("The world’s steepest steel roller coaster opened at the Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park in Tamanash, Japan this year" - opened this year, not sure if that's good - as in it's all new - or bad - as in it's not had much time to iron out the wrinkles!);
12. Go Zorbing, worldwide (this one strikes me as inane rather than dangerous or thrilling);
13. Go water buffalo racing, Indonesia (as you're not allowed to race only watch, that sounds fine!);
14. Run with the bulls, Spain (don't see the appeal in this one);
15. Take part in an Office Chair Race, Germany (inane again);
16. Kayak over a waterfall, United States (nope!);
17. Take a motorcycle cab ride, Thailand (nope, again, nope!);
18. Run (or limp) the Marathon des Sables, Morocco (this one and the one above are two ways to quickly terminate progress on the bucket list);
19. Ride around the Nurburgring, Germany (this one sounds fun);
20. Go hot air ballooning, Turkey (again fun, but I'm not sure I'ld choose Turkey as the place to do it);
21. Go whitewater rafting, Zambia (I've heard that this is actually a lot of fun);
22. Dine in the sky, worldwide.. (Can't see the point of this one);
23. Climb Harbour Bridge, Australia (DONE this one - good fun, but it was windy up there);
24. Swim with great white sharks, South Africa (This is one I'ld like to try);
25. Ride the London Eye, United Kingdom (Another relatively safe one ... did a similar thing in Sydney);
26. Run the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, Chile (Sounds challenging and fun);
27. Wingsuit Fly, Switzerland (No thanks!);
28. Go ice swimming, Finland (Sounds fun!);
29. Run the Spoelana Naturist Race, Spain (no, just no);
30. Paraglide over Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany (mmm, could be fun - however when I was last there you couldn't see anything at all due to fog);
31. Play bossaball, worldwide (yer, sounds fun - bet it kills your legs);
32. Ride the world’s longest zip line, South Africa (NO, seriously NO);
33. Go cheese rolling, United Kingdom (hehehe, I'll watch thanks);
34. Hang glide, United States (#30 sounds more fun);
35. Take part in a Rickshaw Run, India (now as long as you don't have to pass through any of the major Indian cities this could be enjoyable);
36. Go sea kayaking, Antarctica (YES PLEASE ... this, I would like);
37. Go dog-sled racing, United States (this would be fun too);
38. Dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (probably should get around to this sometime);
39. Do the Death Drop, Zambia (NO, NO, NO, NO and DOUBLE NO!);
40. Swim in the Dead Sea, Israel (funnily enough this has never appealed to me, probably explains why in my four trips to Israel I never did it);
41. Rally drive, Sydney (sounds fun, not sure why you'ld do it in Sydney though);
42. Cycle the Death Road, Bolivia (this is another one that falls in the "no thanks" category);
43. Walk a wing, United Kingdom (I'ld give this a go);
44. Drive the Himalayas, India (Another one I'ld like to try);
45. Surf Shipstern Bluff, Australia (Surfing has never appealed to me either);
46. Go cliff diving, Mexico (NO, NO, NO, NO, NO and NO!!!);
47. Rescue a hostage, United Kingdom (this is probably my #1 to do from this list - sounds fun);
48. Go snowmobiling, Canada (could be okay);
49. Climb some ice, United States (mmm ... yer, I'ld do it);
50. Take part in a rodeo, United States (nope!);

Interesting reading through a list like this and thinking about which ones you'ld do, or not as the case may be.

So what about you? Done any? Want to do any?

The full article and photos can be found here,3&hpt=hp_bn10#ixzz1XFoIBL3F

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Impossible Pie - Take 2

Recently I blogged about an Impossible Pie that Miss 8 and I tried. Today, while working from home (with a sick daughter) I decided to whip up one for lunch.

I used the savoury recipe from the site that I found the sweet one at.

(We also made another sweet one - well I had lots of eggs that needed to be used and a couple of lemons AND some mini ones for school lunches at the request of Miss 9).

The main issue I have with these pies is that the base is extremely thin to the point of almost not being there. While reading a couple of other Impossible Pie recipes on the web and the associated comments I discovered that some people use Self Raising Flour (rather than Plain) AND butter.

So the recipe I ended up with (for the family to eat for dinner) was:

My Impossible Pie
* 1 cup self raising flour
* 1.5 cups milk
* 3 eggs
* 60gms butter
* 1 cup grated cheese
* 1 cup (drained) canned peas (they were in the fridge)
* 1 cup (drained) canned tuna
* Parsley
* Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Spray a pie dish lightly with oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Don't worry too much if the butter doesn't mix in - it will be okay.

Pour mixture into greased pie dish and place in oven.

Cook for 30-40mins

The base seems much crispier ... here's what it looks like:

[UPDATE]I much preferred the crustiness of this version. I will use this as a base in the future.[/UPDATE]

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birthday Month

Miss 7's birthday was today, so she's now Miss 8:

Yes, that is a FANTASTIC birthday cake made by Shooting Buddy!

She had a bowling party yesterday with 6 friends. It went well and lots of fun was had.

Miss 9's birthday is next Saturday. However she's already had her "party" - a camping trip with 5 of her friends. She received a very special pressent:

It was a really nice campsite - here's a picture of it in the morning mist:

We had her party early as she really wanted to go camping but the campsite was booked out in September. Luckily we did, because next weekend she's been invited to a Scout camp (she's a cub).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A weekend away

Shooting Buddy needed to drive his son back to Geraldton and he asked me to go with him as a co-driver. After discussing it with hubby, and him being willing to do the "mum's taxi" for the girls this weekend I agreed to go along.

Plans evolved and we decided to drive up to Geraldton to drop his son off on the Friday and then spend the weekend in Dongara where we have some good friends and drive back on Sunday. As it turned out our Dongara friends weren't there :( But we decided to stay anyway.

The drive to Geraldton was long - it's apparently 450kms north of Perth - I'm not sure what part of Perth they're measuring from as we left at 10am and arrived about 4pm and only stopped once.

However, after dropping Shooting Buddy's son off we did a bit of shopping and headed to Tides for dinner. We sat on the balcony and sipped sparkling wine while watching the sun set. The tasting plate went down a treat followed by entree sized serves of the main course. I had the Prawn Tagliatelle and SB had the Mini Surf and Turf without the Surf. They were amazingly accommodating (see Surf & Turf minus Surf) even though the restaurant was full. We also got a Sicilian Salad (Pumpkin, Red Onion, Tomato, Crumbled Feta, Lebanese Cucumber & Roasted Capsicum) which we struggled to finish.

Being full we decided to skip dessert and head back to Dongara for the evening.

On Saturday we headed up to the historic Greenough townsite, via the local rifle range - however there was no one there and no signage as to when there would be.

At the Greenough museum / shop we sat down to a delicious (and total unhealthy) breakfast of scones while enjoying the scenery.


View while eating breakfast

We then headed up the road to Geraldton to the tourist information centre as we had heard of a winery in the area that was worth a visit.

After a bit of investigation we found out that the winery was the Chapman Valley Winery. It is West Australia's northern most winery - oh and they serve lunch - so off we headed, 30kms or so north.

I haven't travelled north of Geraldton by car ever. I was totally amazed at the scenery we found once we entered the Chapman Valley. I took a number of photos but I don't think they do the scenery justice:

View from Mills Lookout

Looking to the right of the Lookout

On the way to the Winery we stopped off at the Lavender Farm, which seemed really nice but we were in the mood for "something different" - especially as there were LOTS of people there.

When we got to the winery we were pleasantly surprised to see that off the dozen tables scattered around only 3 were occupied. We entered the cellar door and got chatting to the owner while trying the wines. They had four wines on offer - two white and two red. Unusually I liked all four of them! SB likes sweet wines so wasn't keen on the reds. In the end we decided to get a bottle of the Classic White and the Classic Red (with the intent to drink the white and bring the red back). We ordered a "Grazing Platter" to go with the white and found ourselves a shady table to sit at.

About three hours and two bottles of wine, lots of water and coffee later we decided to head back to Dongara. We did stop at the Lavender Farm for another coffee (and a piece of cake) on the drive back.

- We decided to skip dinner and go for a walk in Dongara instead!

Sunday morning started out as a repeat of Saturday - with still no one at the rifle club :( We went back to the shop at the Greenough Historic village as I had seen something for Miss 7's birthday present and decided to go back to buy it.

However, this time instead of heading north we went East towards Mingenew.

The first town we drove through was Walkaway. It's a very pretty little town and is just on the edge of a HUGE windfarm. Some of the towers are right next to the road - which made me feel a touch nervous.

Rather than go directly to Mingenew we decided to take a side trip to Coalstream on the way.

I had been at Coalstream in January. This is what it looked like then:

and this is what it looks like now ...

Facing the other direction, we had this in January:

and this today

The yellow are wildflowers - here's few more pictures of wildflowers that we came across (it's the start of the wildflower season):

After the detour through Coalstream Park we drove to Mingenew then down through Three Springs, Carnamah and down to Bindoon.

The last time I was in the area was at the beginning of May before any rain had fallen in the area. It was wonderful to see green grass, healthy wheat and canola fields and water actually laying on the ground in many areas.

After we went through Bindoon we took another detour through the Chittering Valley. When I drove through there in May it was drier than dry. Now it was totally luscious - it was really amazing. I can see now why people live there.

Eventually we arrive home after a very restful weekend! Looking forward to getting back "up north" with the family in the October school holiday and hopefully camping at Coalstream for a couple of days for a really good look around.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Well done!

From today's news:

Riverton robbers chased away by shopkeeper

TWO men got more than they bargained for last night when they tried to rob a grocery store in Riverton only to be chased out of the store by the shopkeeper.

The two men wearing balaclavas - one armed with a pistol - walked into the Go Nuts shop on Riverton Drive just before 9pm.

The pair threatened the shopkeeper, who responded by chasing them from the store.

Its understood the shop owner threw a bin at the robbers, who fled empty handed.

The balaclava clad men are described as fair skinned, one is 170cm tall and the other is 180cm tall.

Full story here:


I'm impressed with the shopkeeper standing up against the would-be robbers and I'm also glad it turned out so well for him! Taking on guys with a gun when your only weapon is a rubbish bin is a big ask!

I'm also surprised and pleased that there is no "We would like to remind people that while this situation worked out with no one injured it is not worth risking your life ... etc" type statements in the article.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Can anyone identify this for me?

Apparently it's "a replica gun which had been modified to fire ammunition" found when police raided a number of homes in the northern suburbs.

Full story can be found at here