205. Sunday 7th August 2011. Finch Hatton in the midst of the Census…

Monday 1st August 2011.

It was Donnis day off so she joined me on the Census delivery around Mt.Dalrymple and Eungella. It was another long day but thankfully the sun was shining and the cool breeze only bothered us in the morning. All the people I spoke with today had a disaster story to relate about cyclone Yasi which ripped through here earlier in the year. (the cyclone crossed the coast some 500 klms north of here but the devastation was just as dramatic) Although some 80 Klms from the coast as the crow flies the area was still hit by cyclonic winds. Not just cyclone Yasi but cyclone Ului in March 2010. The rainforest was hit hardest with many trees uprooted and thrown across the main road and also the access roads to properties.

Originall Council workers bulldozed the trees to the side of the roads. Now they are in the process of clumping many trees togehter and burning off. Not the girth of the tree trunk held by the crane. So far council workers have travelled about 7 klms of 28 klms of the Dalrymple Road.

People were trapped for days and even weeks inside their homes. We saw many buildings flattened or shredded while beside them was another building looking completely unscathed.

Abandoned house.

Another abandoned shack in the rainforest and gradually being reclaimed by the jungle.

Of course along with the cyclonic winds came a rain deluge of around 11m. Creeks became flooded, access roads washed away and the red earth became impossible to drive or even walk on.

One of the better quality homes and driveways located in the midst of rainforest.

One man said he had a cheese cellar he could have used to hide from the cyclone but the wind blew off the door, the rain flooded in and all he had was a flooded access shaft and ladder which reached about 3m underground. He was also concerned something would fall over the shaft, trapping him inside so he stayed in his house in terror.

A sad tale from another lady was about a prize $15,000 bull which walked on ground covering a concrete 3,000 litre molasses tank. The top of the tank collapsed with the weight and the bull drowned in the molasses. Of course when the owner went looking for the bull it could not be found for three weeks. It was only when the tank was due for refill they found the broken top and the dead, well preserved bull.

Another property, deep in the rainforest, has the name “JUNGLE A”.

A Llama was wandering around one of the proprties.

A long drive down another rainforest track brought us to a large pottery in the jungle. The owners say they have been living and working there for 30 years and will continue making pottery as long as they are able. Some of their brick, wood fired kilns have succumbed to age and collapsed. It was easier to leave them there and build another rather than repair the collapsed kiln.

One of the roads we travelled was Snake Road. As a bit of fun somebody put a snake on the sign. The cow is a sort of communal post box. If you have a small parcel to deliver to somebody along Snake Road, leave it in the cow and the addressee will collect as he or she passes. A good system. Some residents also leave eggs or other produce in the cow for friends on nearby properties

I forgot to mention last week that we bought a TENS Device. That is, a Transcutaneoue Electrical Nerve Stimulator which is used as additional therapy to treat pain in muscles and joints. I made a decision to stop the regular doses of pain killers, before even thinking about buying the device. Therefore at night I stopped taking an anti-inflamatory tablet and two Panadol Osteo tablets with dinner. Now I hook up to the TENS for 15 minutes in the hope it will ease the discomfort of the hip bursitis. Donnis on the other hand loves the device and finds several painful muscles which require TENS treatment each night

Tuesday 2nd August

Donnis decided to stay home and do a bit of cleaning and cooking. She made some chilli meatballs and a sort of cole slaw salad using miso as a dressing ingredient. The meatballs included her own breadcrumbs which she made from rye bread. Both the meatballs and the slaw were moreish and I was a naughty boy and had seconds.

For me another day in the mountains around Eungella and Mt. Dalrymple. Very few people were at home but those I did meet were keen on a visit from anybody in order to brighten up their day. That’s my theory and I am sticking with it!

One interesting property today was built out of mud brick.

Good example of a well constructed mud brick home.

(we saw a house yesterday which had 4 walls constructed of different materials, mud brick-concrete block-corrugated iron and timber)

Not so fine example of a mud brick house.

Close up detail of mud brick workmanship.

Another was a camp of tents in the middle of the bush. Yet another was at the end of a long, winding, rocky track and stood at the very summit of a steep hill and had 360° view. Of course it was open to every wind that blows and today there was strong wind warning in place so it was very windy. I needed to engage 4WD to get in and out of this property.

View from the backyard of another deserted house.

The natural vegetation of the area is dense rainforest. Somewhere around 100 years ago, early settlers cleared the land to make pasture for their dairy cattle. Driving along the roads you pass between areas of dense jungle into an open area of pasture then perhaps a lightly wooded area followed by rainforest. Where the land is no longer being used for dairy, the jungle is slowly reclaiming lost territory. One of the houses I visited on Sunday is, in my opinion, in the process of becoming jungle again.

View of Eungella Chalet at the top of the range from Netherdale at the bottom of the range.

Commemorative plaque at the site of Plane Creek Mill at Finch Hatton.

Wednesday 3rd August

I delivered all of my Census papers to those houses which I could find. All I have to deliver now are the campgrounds, caravan park, cabins and chalet. I will do those on Friday. Today therefore became a rest day. I did not realise I needed a rest until today.

The road to Eungella is very steep and has lots of bends. The 20kph corner is typical of the pass.

There are several waterfalls like this beside the road. The water passes under the road but metal grids are in place to allow for extraordinary rainfall and creek flooding.

VIRAGO would not start again today so I have arranged to ride it to Bullet Bikes in Mackay so they can repair it.

Thursday 4th August

The morning started out fine and sunny so rode VIRAGO to Mackay with Donnis following in TERIOS.

While shopping, the weather deteriorated and became overcast and windy. Rain started as we were on our way home.

Canefield harvested then ploughed ready for re-planting.

The temperature dropped and the wind got umm err windier. By the time we arrived home the awning on WWWGO was flapping. As discretion is the better part of valour, we pulled the awning in. Not without a bit of difficulty. The wind has pushed the arms out of alignment which meant I climbed on the step ladder to push them back into place.

Donnis made pea and ham soup for dinner and I bought a big baguette to dunk in it. Yummo!

Friday 5th August

Woke to rain. In fact woke a few time during the night to the sound of rain. Driving up the pass to Eungella it got darker and darker until found myself in clouds once again and the rain was heavier. Visibility was down to a few metres. By midday the clouds lifted for a short while and the sun even made an appearance.

Briefly.

The wind has been driving all day and the temp in Eungella was low enough for my hands to turn blue.

Tonight I shallow fried little Whiting fillets in lemon pepper crumbs teamed with potato and sweet potato wedges cooked in the turbo oven and completed by a crispy salad.

Saturday 6th August

Another quiet day. Donnis went to work. I stayed home.

It was not an entirely unproductive day.

I cooked a batch of ANZAC Biscuits. Note they are ANZAC Biscuits. Not cookies, not cakes, not slices, not wafers as per these interesting comments from Wikipedia.

“ANZAC biscuits are a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.

It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. Today, ANZAC biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale.

Biscuits issued to soldiers by the Army, referred to as “Anzac tiles” or “Anzac wafers”, differ from the popular Anzac biscuit. Anzac tiles and wafers were hard tack, a bread substitute, which had a long shelf life and was very hard.

Legal issues

The term ANZAC is protected under Australian law and therefore the word should not be used without permission from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs; misuse can be legally enforced particularly for commercial purposes. Likewise similar restrictions on naming are enshrined in New Zealand law where the Governor General can elect to enforce naming legislation. There is a general exemption granted for ANZAC Biscuits, as long as these biscuits remain basically true to the original recipe and are both referred to and sold as ANZAC Biscuits and never as cookies.

This restriction resulted in the Subway chain of restaurants dropping the biscuit from their menu in September, 2008. After being ordered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to bake the biscuits according to the original recipe, Subway decided not to continue to offer the biscuit, as they found that their supplier was unable to develop a cost-effective means of duplicating the recipe.“

Besides all that, the ANZAC Biscuits turned out quite well and Donnis has a hard time not eating them.

While the biscuits were baking I mixed and kneaded and rested and kneaded and rested a loaf of rye bread. Once the biscuits left the oven, in went the bread and the result was 95% successful.

Sunday 8th August.

A day of rest.

At least for some of us.

I spoke with old school mate, George C, via Skype. Also set up a three way conversation with his daughter Codie who has just bought a laptop and set up Skype. George asked me to give her a little on-line help and encouragement. I also asked George for a little help and encouragement baking rye bread and I will try his tips next time I bake.

Melissa training Azarlia ready for the next competetive ride later in August.

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