18th April 2011
Last night a storm came in off the ocean. The front was heralded by strong winds followed by some heavy rain but we had already double tied down the awning and taken in all the mats. No problems during the night.
We left Carmilla Beach just after 10am with a threatening sky and some rain did fall whilst on our way along the Bruce Hwy to Mackay.
The black water cassette will last about four days with some public toilet use.
Fresh water tanks last at least four days possibly even as much as six days with careful usage. We had showers and washed our hair twice in the four days we were there. Although the pump would not pump water to the shower it continued to pump water to the toilet, vanity basin and the kitchen sink for another two days despite the gauge showing we were on empty. A full tank takes 150 litres.
Donnis had an interview at Good Shepherd Lodge at 1pm so we stopped at nearby Town Beach in Mackay for lunch. Donnis phone rang with a call to say come in for an appointment at Homefield Nursing Home.
While Donnis was at her appointment I parked WWWGO down the street and brought the blog up to date.
Hmmm. At 3pm there was still no sign of Donnis so I went for a walk. Eventually she arrived at 3.45pm and announced she started work at 6.45am tomorrow and has a shift on Wednesday as well.
Congratulations! Well done!
During this time I also received a phone call to set up an interview for a seven week survey in and around the Mackay district. The interview was at 5.30pm. We decided not to drive back to Finch Hatton tonight. Instead we camped at Averyl’s house at North Mackay so I could drive Donnis to work in WWWGO and go back to Averyls for the day, have some sleep and spend some time with grandchildren Shelby-Rose and Anakin.
Tuesday 19th April.
So it came to pass that I did drive Donnis to work, go back to Averyl’s and spend time with the grandchildren. However it was still not yet daylight and I was exhausted from lack of sleep Monday night. Probably a combination of anticipation about the alarm so Donnis could get to work on time, back pain and thoughts about my job application. So… I pulled up in the street and went straight back to bed and slept for another two hours.
The survey job interviewer told me they were desperate to find staff. They need 40 survey people but have only found 15 and need another 25. If there are no more applicants the job may not happen.
After waking I paid some bills on line and went shopping with Averyl and the grandchildren. Then it was time to collect Donnis from the Good Shepherd Lodge and we were on our way to Finch Hatton by 4pm. After arriving and some unpacking it was time to feed the horses, feed the chooks and put them away for the night and the same with the dogs. It was a strange feeling having the chooks fall into line and walk beside me on the way to the chook pen. The rooster and the duck followed discretely two paces behind.
The afternoon was overcast and it was evident there had been recent heavy rain by the puddles and small ponds beside the road which were not there last week. On arrival at the stud it was evident there as well. The ground was still wet. In fact there had been 57mm of rain fall in the last 24 hours alone. Combined with the two metres of rain already this year and you can tell that is a significant drop of rain.
Last week when Steve was mowing some of the acres there appeared an invasion of Earwigs.
These creatures are now found in every room in blankets and clothes, bathrooms and bedding. They also ended up in WWWGO. We are learning to live with them as this excerpt from Wikipeadia will explain.
“Earwigs are fairly abundant and found in many areas of the world. There is no evidence that they transmit diseases to humans or other animals. Their pincers are commonly believed to be dangerous, but in reality even the curved pincers of males cause little harm to humans. It is a common urban legend that earwigs crawl into the human ear and lay eggs in the brain.Finding earwigs in the human ear is rare, as most species do not fly and prefer dark and damp areas (such as basements) rather than typical bedrooms.
Further reading can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwig
Incidentally, the earwigs invading OUR space ARE the flying type.
Wednesday 20th April
Slept right through the night and woke at 4am, too early for dawn light to show in the east and too early for the Rooster to start crowing although he did when Donnis alarm went off at 4.45am. She was on her way to work by 5.30 am.
I spent the day with a bit of a tidy up, clean and dry some items from WWWGO and pulled apart the rear view camera and monitor. Although the monitor turns on when the ignition is on, it no longer produces a picture. The camera itself has moisture inside the case on the lens cover. I left the case, including a wired in silica gel bag, in the sunlight to dry out.
Next, I tackled the monitor, successfully turning one item into six pieces. The main case with the wiring attached has a limited amount of cable so it just has enough to be fitted to the dash mount. I tried tracing the cable under the dash as I believe there is a control box there. Removing some of the dash reveals a lot more dash to be removed to gain access to the expected spaghetti of wires and control box.
I did however manage to sit and twist and lay in uncomfortable positions on the cab floor long enough to get unhappy signals from my back so ended the work for the day with the monitor hanging by wires until I next get back to it.
Donnis arrived home, tired from her second day of work and announced she has three shifts next week. Although it would be easier to stay at a caravan park so she only has a short drive to work, the cost would not justify doing that. Although the drive to Mackay is close to an hour each way the fuel costs is only $10 a day so we will continue to stay where we are and put up with a long daily drive.
Donnis also had time for an appointment with CQ Nursing, an agency that supplies nursing staff for various needs throughout Queensland. Mostly they supply staff for in home applications but also to nursing homes and hospitals in rural communities.
By the time she arrived home I had fed the chooks and put them away for the night, ditto for the dogs and fed two horses, one still feeding a colt and the other, Tractor, who has free reign of the farm property. The colt who is a lot on the frisky side was impatient with me opening the gate to bring his mother some food, gave me a nip on the arm. It was probably more of a shock to me than painful and there are no marks left to show where he bit me. I was ready to punch him but his flying hooves convinced me to let him be. He is going to be a handful to train and will take many sessions to show him who is boss but he will be an excellent and powerful mount.
Thursday 21st April
Donnis and I worked on putting the monitor back together, managing to do so well enough to get white lines across the screen with an occasional picture. That is an improvement but I will try to pull it apart again and use a bit more finesse when re-installing, perhaps it will work. A new monitor will cost at least $160 plus fitting. The fitting is the expensive part.
We drove into Mackay so Donnis can drop off her CQ Nurse application and do a bit of grocery shopping as today is the last shopping day before Easter. On our return I offered to feed the animals while she got dinner started. No way was that offer acceptable. She considers the feeding and putting animals to their pens for the night, the highlight of the day. Just to have the chooks run along beside her, clucking, on their way to the pen,
the horses neighing with anticipation of their hay and pellets
and the dogs wagging their tails as they move to their kennels for dinner IS a delight.
Tonight we had Cookie over for dinner. She lives in the original shed on the property. It was her birthday so a nice dinner with some profiteroles for dessert was a small celebration. The girls just about finished off two bottles of red so they had a good night.
Cookie was a chef in her younger days even working overseas in New Zealand at one stage as chef for the NZ government. She had her own restaurant in Grafton but due to a series of bad luck and perhaps bad judgement that life is in the past. She has casual work at the local mango packing when in season. I am sure she has lots of interesting stories to tell us.
As night fell, the local mountains appeared as if drawn by a heavy pencil line with the darkness below and the still just light sky above from the setting sun, sharply delineated by the mountain ridges. A large bright full moon rose later and shed a pale light over the valley. If only the camera could record these moments. Maybe I should experiment with a bit of time exposure photography?
For more information about the property where we are staying have a look at http://www.pioneerarabians.com/
Good Friday 22nd April.
This morning I am seeing much the same scene as last night but in reverse. It started out with darkness at 5.30 am but with the sky gradually glowing from the east, casting light and shadow over the hills and mountains with palest of pale blue sky gradually deepening to the lovely sky blue without a cloud in sight. The wisps of fog are lifting from the valley floor and rising to the mountain tops where they disappear. The fields of near ready to harvest sugar cane are etched in separate patchwork paddocks by the play of light and shadow as I look down from our hillside location.
I love early mornings like this and believe me, I see a lot of early mornings.
Later in the morning after I spent an hour mucking out the horse stables, I had a coffee and reviewed our blog as follows;
A year ago I was at Pinevale where it was hot enough to swim in the Pioneer River. Nothing has changed. It is still hot enough for a swim. I checked out camp sites at Wintermoon and got bogged.
This week in 2009 we were still in Tasmania mainly in the north east of the state and our time there was winding down. We caught the Spirit of Tasmania back to the mainland on 29th April.
This week in 2008 I was in Balgal Beach north of Townsville where I took part in the Anzac Day Dawn Ceremony and march later in the morning, proudly wearing my medal.
In 2007 Donnis was in Canada! I spent the week around Rollingstone, Balgal Beach and Jourama Falls area. It was the first time the Coaster had been on the road that year.
In 2006 it was Easter and we went to Eungella Dam and then joined the Sugarloafers at Carmilla Beach. Our stay this year was much more comfortable in our Winnebago without me constantly checking the state of charge in our batteries and ensuring the compressor fridge was working and having to close the “plug door” as we could not fit insect screens in the doorway. Then and again this year, there was no TV signal. The following week in 2006 we went to the Wintermoon Festival.
2005 saw us at Rollingstone and Balgal Beach joining with the Tropical Coast Wanderers and observing Anzac Day Dawn Ceremony and the march later that morning. This was our first real trip away and we felt we were quite daring driving so far from home for a long weekend. It was also our first opportunity to discover our Coaster, ourselves and our abilities.
2004 we were beginning our search and testing of what we wanted.
Later in the day we pulled the rear view camera apart and put it back together.
Halleujah and Whacko the Didlio. It works! Not only does it work but we also have sound via the camera microphone. We have never had sound before!
The weather has been simply magic with clear sunny and hot days. Sure hope it continues that way.
Donnis wanted to study today so I left her to it while I just meandered around the farm, cleaning up manure and later learned how to pull the radio out of the dash. It is an old radio with cassette player and we are thinking of replacing it with a cheaper radio with a MP3 player. We do not carry CD’s but we do have external hard drives and iPods with music.
After feeding the animals we headed off to Finch Hatton Gorge (which is within the Eungella National Park) to visit Araluen Falls and Wheel of Fire Falls. With over two metres of rain this year alone the road to the gorge has several creek crossings.
Once inside the park we walked the remaining 1.2 klms to Araluen Falls.
The track became quite narrow in places as the tropical rain forest is very green and healthy.
Two metres off the track the jungle becomes impenetrable with countless species of tree, vine, creeper, fern, palm, moss
and lichen (did I miss any plant species?). Unfortunately the track to Wheel of Fire falls was closed due to unsafe conditions with parts of the track washed away and all the ground still wet and soft.
After our visit we headed back to Finch Hatton,
and Gargett to look at the local pubs. Pinnacle Pub
particularly is quite the popular watering hole for travellers going to and from Eungella. They also have meals including their award winning pies. One day when I have lost enough weight I will have one of their pies again.
Late in the day we fed the animals then fed ourselves and settled down for a quiet night.