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

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cooking with the kids

Earlier today Miss 9 and I cooked some peanut butter cookies. I don't know what it is with Miss 9, me and cookie recipes.

We've tried a few and found that they're either too moist or too dry. This is even when I follow the recipe religiously :( The peanut ones today were too dry. We knew this while mixing the dough, but we decided to "behave" ourselves and "follow the recipe" ... it turned out tasty but crumbly :(

SO does anyone have a fool-proof recipe for cookies. Just simple, plain every-day cookies that you can "add" things to (like choc chips, nuts, dried fruit etc).

Later on, Miss 7 and I made this:

Amber’s Lemon Impossible Pie

Cooking Oil Spray
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
1 cup Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 cup Desiccated Coconut
1/2 cup Plain Flour
1 2/3 cup Milk

Preheat your oven to 180C. Lightly spray a pie dish with the cooking oil spray. Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Whisk together the ingredients

Pour into a prepared dish and bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until set.

It's still in the oven but smells delicious. I'll let you know what it tastes like in about 30mins :)

This is what it looks like ...

And tastes great!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How it was

Found a link over at Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated, to where college journalists at Florida Atlantic University were asked to publish a newspaper with no computers.

It's an interesting read and a good 'look back'.

Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

And I'm certainly glad I don't have to do my current job with 20 year old technology!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm glad we have a boring life

just filled in the Census form - nothing really surprising asked, although I did want to answer "none of your business" to most questions.

I did it online this year. Resisted the urge to ask for a new form for each child. Resisted the urge to actually think about the questions, i.e. "How many bedrooms does the dwelling have?" - Does this mean "how many rooms are currently used as bedrooms?" or "how many rooms could be utilised as bedrooms?". <>.

Decided that I was happy to have the information made public in 99 years - just in case there's anyone around who is actually interested and can read whatever media these are archived on!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Well on July 20 I promised you an update on what happened the previous day, needless to say I've been a bit slack on getting this written.

However, on that day Miss 9 was one of the contenstants in a coooking competition sponsored by Brownes.

The way it worked was that each contestant had to submit an original recipe along with a photo of the dish and themselves. From these entries 10 kids were chosen to cook-off.

Miss 9 submitted her Pesto Pasta with Cheese Twists recipe and was invited to cook-off against 9 other kids between 8 & 14.

We arrived at the high school that the cook-off was being held at about 15 mins before the starting time. We met up with another mother and child and wandered around a bit until we found someone who knew what was going on. We were directed to the Home Economics area and met the organisers and the other contestants.

There were people everywhere. The show was going to be recorded for showing on tv at a future date. I think there were three tv cameras and a guy with a digital camera. The cooking area was very small especially as Miss 9 had her pasta maker set up.

The advertised format was 1hr preparation time and 1hr cooking time. Miss 9 had practised her recipe using this format a couple of times before the competition and had managed to get everything done in this time, even though it was pretty tight. The reality of the competition was a bit different as a number of contestants had items that needed an hour or so of time in the fridge etc. So they basically blended the prep time and cooking time together.

However, with a bit of assistance by one of the judges (Chef Emmanuel) she managed to get everything done and plated in the timeframe.

During the cooking we (the parents) were barred from the kitchen however we did get to sneak looks around the corner now and then. All the kids were working hard and surprisingly there weren't too many disasters. The team organising / judging were great with the kids and helped out where necessary.

She didn't win - they awarded first and second place and then gave the other kids a runner up certificate and prize money ($200).

Last night the tv show aired. It was interesting to see. The peeks around the corner hadn't really shown me the variety of things that were going on in the kitchen and the range of food cooked.

Today her picture and recipe appeared in the paper (along with all of the other contestants):

We're very proud of her!