Friday, July 20, 2012

10 out of 10 coffee: Mitchell Outback Qld

A new coffee shop has opened in Mitchell, to the delight of everyone who appreciates excellent coffee. Lemon Pie Gift Shop is the venue, located alongside the Mitchell Pharmacy.  This morning we enjoyed coffee and conversation with friends in the delightful setting of this shop, located in the main street of Mitchell.   Well done Krystal and Lauren, and what a great way to begin the weekend!

This past week has seen Doug's leg more of a problem, with increased pain.  However, the doctor has reassured Doug that it'll take time to heal, with antibiotics to control infection.  As you can see in the photos, his leg and foot are not pretty sights.

The installation of solar panels on our roof --  here at Riverside -- was carried out over two half days, this past week.  It's a 3.5 kW system with 15 panels on the roof.  We plan to increase it to 5 kW by adding 8 more panels from our other house.  At present, we love watching the existing electricity meter running backwards!

The medical services here in Mitchell are excellent.  Our GP bulk bills and a wide range of health professionals visit the Mitchell Hospital, on a regular basis.  This week I have benefited with both physio and dietician appointments.

Tomorrow we leave for a 14 day holiday to the Queensland coast, north of Rockhampton.  Our accommodation is pet-friendly, so we're taking our two German shepherds and our 15-year-old Siamese cat.

My next blog will be written on the weekend of the 11 August, when I'll let you know the highlights of our adventure up north.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pleasure (and pain): Mitchell outback QLD

After the injury to my back one month ago, I'm hugely grateful that it's healed enough for me to be able to enjoy a daily walk with my German Shepherd Major -- along the river and back.

Every evening I discover something of beauty, while at the same time enjoying routine land and river sights. Every walk I say hello to Snow White the egret and to my friendly Willie wagtail, as well as enjoy reflections of river red gums cast into the water.

Yesterday I picked a branch of peach blossom growing alongside the river.  There used to be a peach tree growing over the road from our home; however, the flood waters of February this year uprooted the tree and swept it away.  Therefore, the discovery of another tree was pleasurable, and now, with the blossom in a vase in the kitchen, I can continue to enjoy it.  I plan to sketch the blossom today.

The day before, I found the first doolan blossom of the season.  This tree (Acacia salicina) is native to this region of outback Queensland, and is renowned for dropping branches.  But it can be an attractive tree and is very hardy.  Its wattle-like blossoms are pale gold and are not as showy as many other acacias.  Its pods are dramatic, however, especially when they split open to reveal jet black seeds, each with a curl of red material surrounding them.  

Doug's back ramp and our new verandah are now complete and make an excellent improvement to our 'new' home.  Unfortunately he tripped in the dark (amongst tools and timber lying on the verandah) and badly hurt his leg and ankle.  There's nothing broken or cracked, but the bruising and swelling are proving very painful.

In one weeks time we leave for a holiday at the coast, so hopefully Doug's injury will have healed by then and we'll be able to leave without any more dramas.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A name, ramp, Book Club, trees down and mistletoe birds

Our new home has a name: RIVERSIDE.  Nothing flash or mysterious, simply a statement of the truth.  Brian made the sign for us, using a piece of local beefwood (Grevillea striata).

From our front verandah we've been noticing lots of different birds feasting on the red berries and the insects living within the dense branches of the red pepper tree.  Yesterday a pair of mistletoe birds delighted us with their presence.  While they uttered short high-pitched sounds as they flitted from branch to branch, we admired their red chests and blue/black backs.  These small birds have a digestive system that's supplemented by a duct enabling  the bird to pass large quantities of berries in a short time, and so further spread the seeds of the berries on which the species mainly relies.

Variegated fairy wrens and superb fairy wrens are also living in and around this tree.  So what with red berries and red and blue birds, it's a colourful sight.

When Doug, Cecil and Marlene chopped down the three trees that were blocking the sun from our sun room, a family of 12 apostle birds complained noisily, clearly showing their displeasure.  Sorry about that, apostle birds, but we'll plant lots of medium-sized nectar-producing shrubs to replace the trees.

On Thursday evening six of us met at the Courthouse for our monthly Book Club meeting.  A spirited conversation and discussion -- centred around the books 'The Reader' and 'Norwegian Wood' -- was enjoyed by all.

Doug's back ramp construction is progressing steadily, but it's cold there in the mornings, especially as the temperature has dropped as low as -6°C on some mornings.  Warm sunny days follow though, so I'm not complaining.