Monthly Archives: January 2014

Karen Camper is for Sale (sob, sob)

20130706-205458.jpgSniffle, sniffle, sob.

We have come to the very tough decision that we are selling our faithful ‘home away from home’ Karen Camper’.

It was always a given that when we ended our trip we would have to sell ‘Karen’ and down size back to our tent set up or maybe purchase a camper trailer.  We drew down on our home loan to purchase Karen and know now that our trip is over that we should sell her and put some $$$ back on our home loan – financially that is the smartest thing to do.

We just won’t get the time off to do another big trip like that again any time soon.  Our camping trips now will be weekends and hopefully a few extended week or 2 week adventures.  Added to that 4 children would be a very tight squeeze in Karen.

So, big sigh, she is up for reluctant sale.  Here are the details as per Matt’s ad on Gumtree;

“Meet Karen the Kamper

Karen has safely and very comfortably carried our Family of 5 most of the way around Australia for the last 4 months.

If you are looking for the “Hardly used” or “Never been offroad” camper Karen is NOT it.

If you want a camper that has canvas and vinyl that is perishing, hardened tyres that have flat spots and shockies seals that have cracked all due to lack of use, Karen is NOT it.

If you want a camper for your ‘Round Oz trip, that has already been round the block 3 times and had all the little modifications made to it to prepare it for some real adventure then Karen IS it.

We are the third owners of this camper, each owner has taken her around Australia and she is still rock solid. Some people say poor Karen has never had a break and had a chance to sit in a shed under a tarp and get rusty, dusty and lonely. I say she has probably seen more of Australia then Burke and Wills.

She has all the things needed for full on long term camping, for example:

1. 180L of water on board
2. Gas hot water system
3. External shower
4. Dual water/fuel Jerry can holders
5. Dual 9kg gas bottles
6. Dual spare tyre carrier
7. Purpose built Generator Box
8. Upgraded wind up mechanism (heaver grade cable, pulleys and casing)
9. Genuine Vehicle Componants DO35v2 off road hitch.
10. Fully independant, low manitainence and easy to source leaf sprung and shock absorber suspension.
11. 4 x Quality Maxxiss Bravo 771 off road tyres (all less then 6 months old)
11. 3-Way Fridge (with 2 Gas bottles you’re talking almost 2 months of cold beer before having to find civilisation)
12. 120Ah deep cycle battery (With the 3 way fridge on gas the only thing the battery runs is the water pump and the lights. We never got below 70% on the battery and that was during 9 days of rain so no solar)
13. Anderson Plug for charging Battery from the car or solar panels
14. Dual Exhaust fans fitted to the rear of the Fridge to help remove excess heat.

Thousands and Thousands of dollars of modifications have been made that really are required if you are serious about going bush for extended periods.

Of course there is the standard features:

1. Queen bed one end and Double bed at the other, table drops down to a bed and the design of the lounge means that one side of the lounge is even another bed (child)
2. Full Size Oven (used, used a lot in fact, why do people always say their ovens are never used?? How do you know if it works?)
3. Griller and 4 burner stove
4. Microwave (actually that was never used because we we very rarely plugged into 240V)
5. Bagged and zipped bed end flys both ends
6. Fiama F45s wind out awning (if anyone tells you you need an full sized annex ask them how many times they actually got the 48 poles and pegs and ropes out to set it up? 20 seconds and the Fiama is out, you are in the shade and your cold beer is open)
7. Fold down table (perfect for road side lunch stops)
8. Pull out external BBQ (perfect for road side lunch stops)

I could go on forever. Simply put, if you are in the planing phase of quitting your jobs and thowing the kids in the car and heading out around Australia then Karen will get you there and back comfortably and with ease.

If maybe you are just after a serious long term camper, for the yearly Xmas/Easter trips but have a nice clean, dry garage Karen can sleep in in the mean time, I’m sure should would love the rest.

Eitherway, if you are even looking at this ad, you know that the older (pre-blue colour scheme) Goldstreams where the ones “made like they used to” so you already know just how rock solid and amazing these campers are and know that she will serve you very very well. Karen is a 2003 model, the last of the Maroon colour scheme.

Oh, almost forgot, She just had her bearings and brakes done. And dont worry, she does look a bit dirty in all these pictures, but she has had a shampoo, wash and blow dry and she is looking schmick-o again.”

There are plenty of photos of Karen Camper all over our blog, but these posts in particular “The House on Wheels” and “Our Home” give you a good look at the Karen Camper specifics.

This is the link to our ad on GumTree – please feel free to pass on the link or our blog to anyone who is looking for a great camper!

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/mareeba/camper-trailers/round-oz-special-off-road-goldstream-gold-star-camper/1037615506

We can honestly say, hand on heart, that she was the perfect camper for our trip.  Very easy to set up and pack down and oh so comfortable.  We never felt crowded or even like we were ever really roughing it!!  And we are happy to report that after we gave her a very good clean and finally removed the several layers of dust she had been wearing, she is still in very good condition after all her Fealy Family Adventuring!

We will definitely be so, so sad the day someone else drives Karen Camper out the driveway, but we know she could bring lots of enjoyment to another family just like ours!20130716-205720.jpg 20130716-205834.jpg

Categories: About Us, Camping, Modifications, Planning | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Fealy Family Farmer’s First Quarter

598504_10151905301918171_601835493_nI have so many blog posts I want to write at the moment that I really don’t know which one to start with!!  Now that we have all three kids at school (holy moly – how did that happen!?!?!)

Fealy kids first day of school 2014.  Lexi in Prep, Toby Grade 1, Jack Grade 3

Fealy kids first day of school 2014. Lexi in Prep, Toby Grade 1, Jack Grade 3, with ‘Patches’ the farm dog – the newest member of the family

and I have a full school term until Fealy Bub No 4 arrives – I am really hoping to dedicate some time to blogging (and I guess I really should get our nursery and some things ready for Bub No 4!).  I’m even thinking about signing up for an online blogging course – I need to make a decision on that today, but decided to do an actual blog post first before I spent any money on a course!!

So, I’m starting with a bit of a summary of what life has been like as farmers for the last few months.  It is soooooo hard to believe that we have been here at Blue Sky Produce for five months now.  We are currently three quarters of the way through our first mango season, the Kensington Pride and R2E2 varieties have all been picked and packed and we are now just waiting for the Keitts and Brooks mangoes to ripen (who knew there were so many varieties of mangoes!). We are not far off from commencing our first avocado season and we have 17 workers living on site.  These last few months have been the most enormous learning curve ever for us all, but especially Matt!  He has gone from googling You Tube videos on ‘how to drive a tractor’ on the way here from our trip, to driving tractors, forklifts, operating mulching, spraying and fertilising machines, fixing all sorts of things from pumps to chainsaws and learning about all kinds of orchard insects, diseases and soils!!!

View from the tractor!

View from the tractor!

Fixing the foot valve on the pump in the dam - kids were on snake watch as legend has it a massive water python lives in the dam!

Matt fixing the foot valve on the pump in the dam – kids were on snake watch as legend has it a massive water python lives in the dam – kayak still comes in handy!

Getting to know the place!

Getting to know the place!

Plenty of beautiful sunsets!

Plenty of beautiful sunsets!

And sunrises!

And sunrises!

The first quarter on the farm was spent trying to do half a year’s worth of ‘off season’ orchard work in three months!  With the help of our full time farm hand Charlie (and his dog Captain!), 4 German Backpackers – Sarah, Malte, Sebastian and Julian, we pruned avocado trees, mulched avocado trees, commenced a spraying and fertigation program for the whole orchard, as well as a whole lot of slashing, weed and pest control work!

Mulching

Mulching – very dusty work!

Bale buster with Zetor tractor behind with spear on it to lift hay bale onto bale buster

Bale buster with Zetor tractor behind with spear on it to lift hay bale onto bale buster

Loading hay

Loading hay

Rolling hay bales out

Rolling hay bales out

Malte hard at work pulling the string off the bales

Malte hard at work pulling the string off the bales

Julian spreading hay

Julian spreading hay

Sarah clearing room around the trees for irrigation to come out

Sarah clearing room around the trees for irrigation to come out

Sarah & Malte after a hard day of mulching - not the most fun job!

Sarah & Malte after a hard day of mulching – not the most fun job!

The kids have taken to farm life like ducks to water!

The ducklings have grown!

The ducklings have grown!

They love going out on the four wheeler with Matt before school to turn the irrigation on, or after school on the tractor if Matt is not too busy.  It is amazing how much they have learnt about orchard farming already just from the bits and pieces Matt has told them or they overhear us talking about!  All three are pro’s at fixing sprinklers and spotting the different varieties of trees around the orchard.

Jack out late one afternoon helping Matt - one of my favourite photos!

Jack out late one afternoon helping Matt – one of my favourite photos!

 

Toby out on a morning water run - there are always hot air balloons out in the mornings!

Toby out on a morning water run – there are always hot air balloons out in the mornings!

This girl probably loves it the most!

This girl probably loves it the most!

Jerry racing the four wheeler - he loves the farm life!

Jerry racing the four wheeler – he loves the farm life!

Hard not to love it some days!

Hard not to love it some days!

It hasn’t just been all hard work.  We did have a few afternoons of quiet family walks around the farm and even squeezed in a lunch with all the workers for the Melbourne Cup in November – we were most disgusted that the electrician who was here working that day cleaned out our inaugural Blue Sky Melbourne Cup sweep!

Afternoon walk around the orchard with the dogs.

Afternoon walk around the orchard with the dogs.

Melbourne Cup Lunch

Melbourne Cup Lunch

German Backpapers tasting the first ever Blue Sky Produce passion fruit wine!

German Backpapers tasting the first ever Blue Sky Produce passion fruit wine!

Matt even found time to build us a chook pen - love getting our fresh eggs!

Matt even found time to build us a chook pen – love getting our fresh eggs!

Oh and nearly forgot!  We also planted 210 new lime trees during this time and did some pretty rigorous disease control on the avocado trees!  Matt is particularly proud of how straight our lime tree lines are – a little obsessive compulsive for a farmer I say!

Getting the ground ready for the new lime trees.

Getting the ground ready for the new lime trees.

Matt surveying their handiwork

Matt surveying their handiwork

Injecting the avocado trees to kill disease

Injecting the avocado trees to kill disease

Farmer boy after a hard day!

Farmer boy after a hard day!

So that was our first 3-ish months of farm life.  Not too bad at all.  I have been enjoying just being a stay at home mum, making breakfasts, lunches and dinners, baking and doing a bit of office work.  Matt does take me out with him from time to time to learn a little about the pump and how all the taps in the orchard work, but with a big pregnant belly growing I am not terribly useful for much more than that at present!  The next post on farm life will be all about Mango Madness 2013/2014 with lots of details of what our first mango season was like – it has been full on that is for sure!!IMG_3015

Categories: About Us, Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Happy Belated Christmas and New Year!

img-140107121822-001Well, this is quite a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our Blog followers!!  Welcome to 2014, may it be a great year for us all!  One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to make the time to blog at least once a week, so, given that it is already the 7th of January, 2014, I had better get a post done today or else I am off to a very rough start!!

I think most of you have heard through the grapevine – aka via Facebook – that the Fealy Family had a very different Christmas this year!  The festive season for us started out with so much promise, of being a great period filled with family time and aspirations for all sorts of Christmas craft, baking, decorating and celebrating …………………………………

On Dec 1, we got a kick start to our Chrissy spirit with some pine cone decorating

On Dec 1, we got a kick start to our Chrissy spirit with some pine cone decorating

Fealy & Johnson kids decorating pine cones

Fealy & Johnson kids decorating pine cones

The gorgeous agent stockings Grammy made went up

The gorgeous avent stockings Grammy made, went up

Christmas baking got underway with Chrissy cupcakes and reindeer brownies and yum yum balls for the kids class break up parties

Christmas baking got underway with Chrissy cupcakes and reindeer brownies and yum yum balls for the kids class break up parties

Cousin time with the Johnson cousies

Cousin time with the Johnson cousies

And the Campbell cousies came to stay for a week (yes - that is 6 boys and 1 lonesome little girl!)

And the Campbell cousies came to stay for a week (yes – that is 6 boys and 1 lonesome little girl!)

But then, on Christmas Eve, Jack took a fall off the trampoline (yes – the new trampoline which we had decided to give the kids early so they could use it while all the cousins were visiting, but didn’t get a chance to put the sides up on it yet!) and broke his arm.  He did such a good job of the break, breaking it in two places, which meant after a trip in the ambulance and a night in the Mareeba hospital where they tried unsuccessfully to set his arm, we headed to Cairns early on Christmas morning (another ride in the Ambulance) so Jack could have surgery and some wire installed in his arm to help  it straighten and hopefully heal with no problems!!  Not quite the Christmas we had planned – aaaargh!!  Nevertheless, we made the best of it and were very grateful to our extended families who looked after Lexi and Toby for us over Christmas and made sure they were still thoroughly spoilt and filled with Christmas goodies while Matt and I were at the hospitals with Jack!

6:30pm Christmas Eve sees Jack being loaded into an Ambulance in our backyard

6:30pm Christmas Eve sees Jack being loaded into an Ambulance in our backyard

Jack & Mum head off to Mareeba hospital in the ambulance while Dad, Lexi and Toby pack a bag for Mum & Jack, have quick showers, pick up some takeaway for dinner and meet Mum & Jack at the hospital

Jack & Mum head off to Mareeba hospital in the ambulance while Dad, Lexi and Toby pack a bag for Mum & Jack, have quick showers, pick up some takeaway for dinner and meet Mum & Jack at the hospital

Christmas Eve in the Mareeba Hospital Emergency room

Christmas Eve in the Mareeba Hospital Emergency room – yep – that’s poor old Tobes asleep on the floor again and Lex asleep in my arms

Jacko, very drugged up in Emergency after the Dr's had a go at trying to set his arm - no luck!

Jacko, very drugged up in Emergency after the Dr’s had a go at trying to set his arm – no luck!

Christmas morning in Mareeba hospital and Santa has been! (Big thank you to the lovely two nurses who wrapped some donated gifts for Jack and put them at the end of his bed!)

Christmas morning in Mareeba hospital and Santa has been! (Big thank you to the lovely two nurses who wrapped some donated gifts for Jack and put them at the end of his bed!)

Meanwhile back at home Santa had been there too and Dad sent a photo of our Christmas tree to Mum & Jack in hospital

Meanwhile back at home Santa had been there too and Dad sent a photo of our Christmas tree to Mum & Jack in hospital

Then Dad, Toby & Lexi arrived at the hospital to open some pressies with Jack before he headed off to Cairns

Then Dad, Toby & Lexi arrived at the hospital to open some pressies with Jack before he headed off to Cairns

Opening presses

Opening pressies

I was so disappointed not to be able to enjoy a quiet Christmas Eve of just our little family at home as it had been a very busy few weeks of mango season craziness and visiting cousins.  We had been looking forward to cracking open our Christmas ham, listening to Carols and wrapping presents.  I was bummed not to see our first ‘real’ Christmas tree which Matt went to so much effort to get for me (the tree is a whole story in itself – but lets just say I may have gone a little ‘crazy, pregnant, hormonal mumma’ over the need to have a real tree this year!) with all the presents underneath it, and I really missed sitting at the table with all the extended family together and eating yummy food.  BUT, it wasn’t all bad.  Matt and I enjoyed the quiet time we got together at the hospital, Jack enjoyed his one on one time with both mum and dad, and we got to see first hand the kindness of others at Christmas time.  Jack received gifts in both hospitals, kindly donated to the children staying there by various community organisations.  A Santa and a group of people singing carols also visited the children’s ward on Christmas day delivering gifts, such a lovely thing to do as all the kids loved it! Matt and I were grateful to the nurses who helped track down a meal for us on Christmas day when we were starving, not having had time for breakfast and then getting to lunch time and waiting for Jack in surgery and realising there was nowhere open on Christmas day for us to buy anything to eat!  We also saw how very lucky we were that Jack ‘only had a broken arm’ when we saw how many very sick and injured children there were in the hospital over Christmas.  In the bed beside Jack was a little boy with two broken arms, so when Jack was feeling sore and sorry for himself we just had to look to the little boy in the other bed!  It was a reality check for us to realise just how lucky we really were!

Back in the ambulance Christmas morning and off to Cairns Hospital

Back in the ambulance at 7am Christmas morning and off to Cairns Hospital

Waiting to be seen by the surgeon in the emergency department in Cairns - Jack loved his Christmas present from Aunty Kate which keep him amused with one hand!

Waiting to be seen by the surgeon in the emergency department in Cairns – Jack loved his Christmas present from Aunty Kate which keep him amused with one hand!

Waiting to go into the operating theatre

Waiting to go into the operating theatre

Christmas lunch 2013 for Matt and I while we waiting in the ward for Jack to be delivered back to us after his surgery

Christmas lunch 2013 for Matt and I while we waited in the ward for Jack to be delivered back to us after his surgery

Jack post surgery

Jack post surgery

Jack & Matt Christmas night playing with Jack's lego kit that was delivered by a Santa in hospital

Jack & Matt Christmas night playing with Jack’s lego kit that was delivered by a Santa in hospital

Its not Christmas until you've built some new lego!

It’s not Christmas until you’ve built some new lego!

Lexi and Toby meanwhile were having a great time!  They spent Christmas Lunch with Grammy & Grunda and the Campbells over at Ma & Pa’s house in Malanda and got to have a swim in the Johnson River to cool off after lunch.  Then, that evening Grandma and Amy came and picked them up and took them up to Ben Avon Station so they could have Christmas Dinner with all of the Johnson Clan – talk about spoilt!  They then spent the next two nights staying at the station and playing with all the cousies up there!  I don’t think they missed mum and dad at all – even though we really missed not being able to spend Christmas with them!

Lexi & Madi - Xmas 2013

Lexi & Madi – Xmas 2013

Jayde helping Toby build his new lego at the station

Jayde helping Toby build his new lego at the station

Swimming at Station Beach

Swimming at Station Beach

Girl cousins!

Girl cousins!

Feeding the horses

Feeding the horses

Jack was finally allowed out of hospital and able to go home at lunch time on Boxing Day.  He was granted his request of Chinese for lunch before we left Cairns and then we headed home for a quiet afternoon of opening pressies and an early night to bed for a good sleep in our own beds!  The next day we headed off to the Station to pick up Lexi and Toby and say a quick hello to all the family up there before they moved on, a quick stop in to Ravenshoe to see the Campbells and Grammy and Grunda, another quick stop in Atherton to deliver Uncle Jimbo’s presents and then home at last for a small amount of family time before Matt started back in to Mango Madness in the packing shed the next day.

Back home at last to open some pressies

Back home at last to open some pressies

Matt thought it was awesome that he could play with all Jack's presents without a fight!

Matt thought it was awesome that he could play with all Jack’s presents without a fight!

Guess who got a new bike for Christmas?

Guess who got a ‘gumtree’ new bike for Christmas?

Taking the new bike for a spin!

Taking the new bike for a spin!

Yep - Fealy Bub No 4 is definitely growing - no excuses of eating too much Christmas dinner this year!!

Yep – Fealy Bub No 4 is definitely growing – no excuses of eating too much Christmas dinner this year!!

So that was our Christmas for 2013.  Definitely one we won’t forget, and a crazy way to end what has been a pretty big year!

How was your Festive Season?  Hope it was a good one!

Categories: About Us | 3 Comments

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