How green is my valley!

View of 'Euralie' and Black Range beyond, via Yass, New South Wales, Australia

Drought broken!

How would you like to wake up to this view? Or sit with a cuppa and watch the sun sink in crimson streaks across these hills?

We drive here quite often and sit and watch, with a steaming coffee in hand.

After weeks and weeks of rain, the dead grass is gone and the hills and creek valley are green felted. The dams are full and the causeway gushing.

The black polka dots of cows across the creek are still, until the farmer’s ute turns up, then watch them gallop!

View across to 'Euralie' from Shearsby Crescent, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

50 shades of green

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Off the bench!

Benchseat up the back near the water tank facing the setting sunToday is a big day for me…it’s my 2nd anniversary since What The?! Day. *

Two years ago, something went bung in my brain! I stood frozen still, couldn’t move anything, couldn’t speak. But I could hear everything, although from far away, in a fog of time. They thought I’d had a stroke.

I was very, very lucky, all the scans were clear.

After about two hours my speech was normal, though laboured, and I could walk with support. Huh?!

Now repeat many times. Add alternating wheelchair, wheelie-walker, and walking stick.

Fast forward 2 years…

I’m getting back to normal, only a bit to go. I choose to think of all the gains I’ve made, even the small ones. I’ve learned to adapt and still be me, even if I have to think around obstacles. And I haven’t lost my sense of humour!

But…I’m getting back out there! Yay! You can’t keep a good day tripper down!!

So I’ve put my gumboots near the back door for my goal to bushwalk again. And I have my khaki jacket with pockets for stuff…rocks, camera gear, rubbish, binoculars.

So this afternoon, on the 2nd anniversary, I put on my coat again and we went for a drive as the sun was going down.

Taemas Bridge, Wee Jasper Road, near Yass, New south Wales, Australia

Taemas bridge over the Murrumbidgee

We parked at Taemas Bridge on Wee Jasper Road, with a coffee and a sandwich.

The bridge of steel and concrete crosses mostly a sandy bed and exposed tree trunks. Red clay gullies slash the impossible near-vertical hillside. Wire fences straddle the climb in mid-air. (How did they build those fences?)

In the hazy shadows at the water’s edge, we spotted a white crane wading. It jumped up on a rock ledge to join a blue crane.

Yep, it’s beautiful out there guys, that’s what really counts!  *18 May 2016. I wasn’t able to take new photos so I’ve recycled one that shows how it looked.

For more information on neurological symptom disorders like mine, these are great resources and support and have helped me so much:

http://www.neurosymptoms.org    and   http://www.fndhope.org

Home among the gum trees

I was born on an acre bush block in a sea of gum trees.River gum (detail), fallen into Murrumbidgee River, Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

Our little green fibro* cottage was at the end of a long, steep, dirt driveway. The bush surrounded our house to the front, back and left side.

We were only 10 minutes from town by car but we had only one neighbour and an outside pan toilet.

We had bee hives and native birds on the block. Our neighbour had goats, chickens and a horse or two.

As kids, we stayed outdoors most of the time and could walk to the local park at the end of the street to fish from the jetty with hand lines.

Kilaben Bay Park, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia

The jetty

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After all the places I’ve lived – in country towns and villages, the bright lights of Sydney, and in Canberra suburbia – the bush has always been my home.

When I lived in the towns and cities we spent many, many hours driving in the country, and camping and walking in the bush.

Now I’m back to my roots – a new home among the gum trees.

Ironbark tree sapling planted 2014

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We live on a 2 and a bit acre block ringed by gum trees and a native garden. We have rosellas, owls and magpies nesting in our trees. Galahs, cockatoos and kookaburras visit to feed. We have an occasional possum growling in the night. Cows and sometimes kangaroos come up to our back fence.

It’s a short walk to the river at the end of our road and a short drive to the town shops.

Again my house is at the end of a long, steep driveway. But thankfully now we have an indoor toilet!  ♦

Our new ironbark tree with views to the ranges

Ironbark with a view

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* fibro – fibrous cement sheeting or cladding boards

To mark Australia Day on Monday 26th January

Lazy bend in the river (Yass river)

View of Yass River bend beyond Joe O'Connor Park, Laidlaw Street, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

La rivière?

On a sparkling afternoon in September we went for one of our ambles along the Yass River at Joe O’Connor Park.

I was in a snap-happy camera daze of ‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahs’.

Another afternoon walker was also entranced by the green pasture on the banks after a rare, good fall of rain. Cows grazed on the far hill, wandering placidly. Willows trailed their leaves in the water, teasing the fish. The fish jumped occasionally, splashing circles across the mirrored surface.

In her admiration of the enchanting view, the lady said wistfully, “It looks just like France.”

That’s a very big call to make! I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never been there.

I’ll leave it to you to decide.  ♦

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‘One Shot Wonders’ series

One of my favourite photos, from the post of 8 January 2014. Photo taken 29 September 2013.

Riverside giant (Photo Challenge: Angular)

Giant eucalypt at Jugiong Creek Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Giant eucalypt at Jugiong Creek Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

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It was a cooler afternoon in late Spring, after so many hot days, so we hit the road!

We had a vague idea to run along the Murrumbidgee River from the village of Jugiong to wherever the end of daylight left us.

The village of Jugiong has been by-passed by the Hume Highway and is a riverside oasis of ancient eucalypts, a traditional veranda-ed pub and one of the best RV camping spots in the region.

It was a birthday and we wanted no fancy restaurants or silver service. The treat for the day was to sit, with a coffee and muffin for afternoon tea, by the banks of the majestic Murrumbidgee River.

We dreamed of another day when we would come back to fish under the pines and paddle the kayak in the gentle ripples – but today we had dirt roads to explore! We hitched the wagon and nosed across the bridge to the paddocks and river banks waiting on the other side.  ♦

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Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Angular’

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/angular/

Photo taken 17 November 2014 with my old Canon Powershot A550

Jugiong, on the Hume Highway and on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, in southeast New South Wales, Australia

The Long Track Pantry, Riverside Dr, Jugiong  http://www.longtrackpantry.com.au/

Moo river (Photo Challenge: Dreamy)

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Cows drinking at Yass River, 'Cliftonwood', Yass, New South Wales, Australia

Unexpected guests for tea!

On Sunday we took some friends down to a favourite spot on Yass River. We sat back in camping chairs circled round the esky*, sipped coffee and ginger beer, and talked fishing and other things.

It was a lazy afternoon to sit in the shade and chew the fat*. Some young boys were swimming in the river and swinging from the tree rope to crash into the water. 

Two black ducks waddled up the bank to inspect our campsite and bathe in a puddle. We could hear many peeping ducklings but they didn’t brave the steep bank.

As the afternoon got late we walked around the park to view the Clydesdale horses, on ‘Cliftonwood’ property, on the other side of the river.

Back at our ‘camp’, we found a great herd of black poll cows had meandered down to the water’s edge across the river.

What a dreamy way to while away a Sunday afternoon!  ♦

Yass River at Joe O’Connor Park, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/dreamy/

Photo taken 12 October 2014, with my old Canon PowerShot A550

* ‘esky’ – portable cooler for food or drink; chilly bin (NZ)

‘chew the fat’ – have a chat, having a lengthy conversation

A weekend of Aussie wonders

Last weekend was a most amazingly diverse kaleidoscope of a few of my very favourite things – from ancient maps and antique ships at two museums…to a light show festival…to the waters of Sydney Harbour…to coffee by a fountain and brunch by a lake!

Ok, they were not all off the beaten track – but sometimes you’ve got to play ‘tourist’ in your own backyard too!

Here is a smattering of the pics I took (although I didn’t take the new camera or tripod, being ‘on the hoof’ and à la backpack).

It was the most wondrous weekend and it looked something like this:

Friday night: Night session at the ‘Mapping Our World’ exhibition at the National Library of Australia in Canberra

Friday night was one of the special event openings of this exhibition. It was great to be able to wander through after hours.

Many of the maps have never been seen in Australia, some have never been out of their home country. They included:

* the maps made by Captain Cook, who charted the east coast of Australia, paving the way for the penal colony of New South Wales * Matthew Flinders’ instruments and charts * Medieval maps of the ‘known world’ and a few guesses at the unknown * Maps from the 9th to 11th centuries, including a reproduction of the work of Ptolemy from the 2nd century AD.

It was so engrossing, two hours flew by. I was awestruck to see artifacts that are so old and to gain insight into how people viewed the world then.

ENLIGHTEN Festival, Canberra

We then wandered outside in the Parliamentary Triangle to see the national buildings illuminated with intricate slides and patterns. There was a food fair, music and performances in the gardens and parks between the monumental buildings of Canberra. Just magical!

Saturday: Lake Burrinjuck picnic via Good Hope Rd, Yass NSW

Cows grazing on Burrinjuck lakebed, Good Hope Road via Yass, NSW, Australia

Just our little old picnic spot down the road!

After the late night we decided on a lazy picnic at one of our favourite spots. Cue meandering cows, a flock of pelicans soaring and landing on the dwindled lake, a sea eagle overhead, (the only faint hum of) wave jumpers and water skiers, all with a backdrop of an ancient rock wall and a purple, swelling storm front.

Sunday: Drive to Sydney via the Southern Highlands detour, to stay at Ultimo

A great Wotif.com discovery of a large double room with balcony, 2 blocks from the Powerhouse Museum and a nice easy walk past terraced houses and converted historic warehouses to Darling Harbour. All for only AUD $130 per night!

Monday: (Canberra long weekend)

Lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour, wander around Darling Harbour

Sydney Harbour on Fusion lunch cruise

Stunning Sydney Harbour

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With some time before our harbour cruise we wandered through the beautiful Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney

Then after the cruise we strolled around Darling Harbour some more, having coffee at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe by the brolga fountain, browsed the shops at Harbourside, and pottered around the antique ships moored at the National Maritime Museum.

We’ll be back to Darling Harbour some time as I want to explore inside the Onslow submarine and the replica of the ‘Endeavour’, the ship that Captain Cook sailed to Australia and the Pacific in 1770.

Oh and we bought the obligatory tacky souvenir magnet for the fridge!  ♦

The next few posts will feature these destinations with more photos.

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Photos taken with my old Canon Powershot A550, 8-10 March 2014