Monthly Archives: February 2014

Flashback Friday – Cars

This is really such a random Flashback Friday post.  I think I’m very tired or maybe it’s the heat, or baby brain, or I don’t know, maybe I’m just a bit nutty, but tonight I’m having a trip back down memory lane to remember all the different cars we have had in our life to date.  It’s actually quite interesting to see how our family has evolved through our vehicle choices, and also to see that there are all kinds of ways to get away camping!  So, without further ado, here is the Fealy Family history in cars over the last 15ish years.

Lets start with Matt’s first hot rod ……………………………. ‘Little Red Car’.  Matt’s older brother did say “are you serious??” (with a few expletives in there) when a 19yr old Matt took him to check out his first car purchase.  It didn’t have much of a cool factor but Matt loved this car!!

My first car was ‘Stevie’ the Festiva.  Matt helped me buy her when I got my first full time graduate job and Matt finally got out of having to taxi me to netball 3 nights a week!!

Stevie Festiva

Stevie Festiva

Then a baby came along so we decided we needed a ‘family’ car.  Introducing ‘Tezza’ Terios.

Then, another baby and another baby, and we thought we might have some more babies, so it was time for a people mover and we found ‘Graham’ Grandis.

Graham Grandis all packed up for a camping trip

Graham Grandis all packed up for a camping trip

With 3 kids and both of us working, it also meant we needed a second vehicle and this is where the second love (after me of course!) came into Matt’s life.

The motorbike

The Motorbike

Much as Matt loved his motorbike, when Jack started going to school we realised that it was not very useful for picking kids up on!  So after much angst, Matt decided it was time to say goodbye to the bike and hello to ‘Sammy’ Sirion.

Sammy Sirion

Sammy Sirion

Unfortunately ‘Sammy’ turned out to be a bit of a lemon and her engine died after only 2 years in the family so she was turfed out and we welcomed ‘Harris’ the Yaris, who you might remember we sold just last year to help fund our trip around Oz!

Harris the Yaris

Harris the Yaris

Graham the Grandis was of course sold to purchase our trusty stead, Peter Prado who we think will be with us for many more years yet!

Peter Prado

Peter Prado

So there you have it, a family history in cars!  Goes to show that you can still camp without a 4wd, although you probably won’t make it into any 4wd action magazines!

Do you remember your first car?  Do you have a car ‘love’?

It will be interesting to see what our kids think of these cars in 20 years time!

Categories: About Us, Camping, Flashback Friday | 2 Comments

King Ash Bay/Borroloola

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I’m really eeking out the remainder of these trip posts aren’t I!  Ok, so after a last swim and overnight stop at Mataranka we set our sights for a stopover at King Ash Bay in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  We had the tip to camp at King Ash Bay from the resident family Grey Nomads, Aunty Nerida and Uncle Garth, and it was a great little overnight stop!  King Ash Bay is all about the Barramundi fishing!  The campground is huge and there are lots of lovely shady sites right on the river bank.  BUT, there are saltwater crocodiles everywhere so it is very dangerous for kids to go anywhere near the water’s edge, such a bummer as it would be the perfect spot if you could only swim!

King Ash Bay

King Ash Bay

The shop at King Ash Bay fishing club where you purchase your camping permit

The shop at King Ash Bay fishing club where you purchase your camping permit

Our setup on the bank of the MacArthur River, King Ash Bay

Our setup on the bank of the MacArthur River, King Ash Bay

King Ash Bay gets very, very heavy overnight fog and dew which doesn't lift until nearly 9am!!  Makes it very difficult to have a dry pack up and get away early!

King Ash Bay gets very, very heavy overnight fog and dew which doesn’t lift until nearly 9am!! Makes it very difficult to have a dry pack up and get away early!

Delicious fish and chips at 'Gropers Bar & Beer Garden'

Delicious fish and chips at ‘Gropers Bar & Beer Garden

We had a pretty slow getaway in the morning from King Ash Bay due to the heavy dew, and then after driving only 40km’s down the road we came upon the little township of Borroloola, and what do you know?  The annual rodeo just happens to be on!  None of us had ever been to a rodeo before so we made the unanimous and very spontaneous decision to stop and check it out.  It was an awesome morning!

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There was just so much action and excitement and you could tell that it was a major event for the small community!  Have a look at this short video clip and you will get an idea of some of the atmosphere!

There wasn’t really a side show alley as such but the kids did talk us into letting them buy a couple of show bags to share as we realised that they hadn’t yet experienced that ‘rite of passage’.  They thought their show bags were just awesome!

Kids super happy with their first ever show bags!

Kids super happy with their first ever show bags!

And we all thought the bull riding was amazing!!DSC_0859 DSC_0861 DSC_0867 DSC_0868 DSC_0870 DSC_0871 DSC_0874

You will be glad to know that the rider in the photos above managed to walk away unscathed after this – it was so hard to watch but the rodeo clown and other helpers were in there very quickly to distract the bull!

The young kids all got in on the action too, attempting to ride some super bucky little ponies!DSC_0996 DSC_0945 DSC_0957 DSC_0962 DSC_0964 DSC_0988

We honestly could have stayed and watched all day, but for the fact it was stinking hot and the Savannah Way home to Far North Queensland was calling!  They were playing some very fine music throughout the day too – Zac Brown Band all day long at the Borroloola Rodeo – wahooooo!!

Categories: Camping, NT Camping, Zac Brown Band | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Take Five Photo Safari

Tonight’s post is the overdue (eek!) assignment for Week 3 of my Blog With Pip course.  It seems nothing has changed since my uni days, I’m still an over thinking, procrastinator who always does the last minute/all-nighter cramming sessions or consistently has to grovel for extensions on assignments!  Anywho, I do always get there in the end, albeit late – story of my life!

So, our task was to take at least five photos over the weekend and write a post about them. Hmmmm, well our weekend was made up of working in the packing shed, netball, working in the packing shed, a playdate for Jack, working in the packing shed, the hockey sign on, working in the packing shed, Sunday lunch at Grandma’s (the highlight!) for the kids and I but not Matt, because, yep, you guessed it, he was working in the packing shed.

As you can see, there was not a lot of material in there for exciting photo opportunities.  So, my dear blog readers, you are going to be taken on a photo safari of ……………………………… wait for it ………………………………. it’s an adventure …………………………. Saturday Mango Packing – Blue Sky Produce shed style!  Wahooooooo – don’t get too excited now!

Seriously though, come and check it out.  Although not as adventurous as my classmate Julie’s weekend at Phillip Island or as giggle-worthy as this post by ‘Gloves Off” , you might find it a little interesting and learn something all the same!  Here we go!

Morning commences at 6.30am with 30 pallets of Keitts mangoes ready and waiting for packing!

Morning commences at 6.30am with 30 pallets of Keitts mangoes ready and waiting for packing!

Murphy's Law - of course all four trucks that are due to arrive at Blue Sky, manage to all turn up on the driveway at the same time, right on shed start up time!

Murphy’s Law – of course all four trucks that are due to arrive on Saturday at Blue Sky, manage to all turn up on the driveway at the same time, right on shed start up time!

Desapping work crew of five boys gets started dipping, snapping mango stems off and loading mangoes on to desapper.

De-sapping work crew of five boys gets started dipping, snapping mango stems off and loading mangoes on to the de-sapper.

Mangoes having a wash with citrus soap which breaks down the sap.

Mangoes having a wash with citrus soap which breaks down the sap.

View of mangoes from the top of the desapper

Bath Time!  View of mangoes from the top of the de-sapper

Mangoes getting a polish with the brushes.

Mangoes getting a polish with the brushes.

The Blue Sky Produce shed hard at work!

The Blue Sky Produce shed hard at work!

Mangoes getting weighed and sorted by size on the grading line.

Mangoes getting weighed and sorted by size on the grading line.

The quiet that is a break for lunch.

The quiet that is a break for lunch.

Blue Sky Produce Mangoes ready for market!

6pm Knock Off time – hooray!  Blue Sky Produce Mangoes ready for market!

Ooopsy, a little over the five photo limit, but I am always too wordy!  So what did you think?  Ready to come and be mango farmers/packing shed workers yet?

Categories: Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

Sunday Snapshot – Afternoon Walks

Our Sunday Snapshot this week is of our afternoon walk today.  We are big fans of the afternoon family walk.

We don’t go far at the moment, with me waddling along.  When the kids were babies we walked a lot, sometimes just around the block, sometimes just up the road to take the wheelie bins out, and some days for long jaunts exploring somewhere new.  It was a way to fill in time in the afternoons when we were all tired and cranky, but it was too early for baths and dinner!

Now I love it as just a way to get us all out of the house and enjoy the best time of the afternoon here when it cools off enough to be pleasant outside.  Matt has been doing some long days in the packing shed at the moment so we love when he finishes early enough to come for a stroll with us all and tell us about his day.

What about you?  How was your weekend?  Do you like afternoon walks?

Categories: About Us, Sunday Snapshot | Leave a comment

Flashback Friday – The Hanstede Family Visit

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This week’s Flashback Friday post is about a visit we had only a bit over a month ago now.  I didn’t get a chance to write a post about it at the time and really want to share it tonight because I have just realised we haven’t shown you much of the beautiful places we have to see up here on the Tablelands!

The Hanstede Family are friends of ours who made the long drive up from Brisbane to Cairns in early January.  Connor and Jack were the best of friends back at school in Samford, so Jack was just sooooooo excited to have the Hanstede’s come and stay with us for a weekend before they headed home!  It was amazing to see how easily the boys just picked up again as mates – right where they had left off!  We took the opportunity while we had some visitors, to do a little bit of a sight-seeing day out on the Tabelands with them and here is just a tiny bit of what is on offer in our pretty special part of the world!

Our first stop was the Curtain Fig Tree, located just outside a lovely little town called Yungaburra.  The tree stands 50 metres tall and spreads to 39 metres wide at the base and is believed to be over 800 years old!

Curtain Fig Tree

Curtain Fig Tree

Impossible to get it all in one photo!

Impossible to get it all in one photo!

Hanstede & Fealy kids

Hanstede & Fealy kids

From here it was only a short, but compulsory drive to my all time favourite place on the Tablelands, Lake Eacham.  If you are ever up this way you MUST make the time for a swim here – the water is so refreshing, just do it!  Lake Eacham is a volcanic crater lake fed by underground springs, so it retains a constant water level and is unaffected by drought.  There is a great 4km walking track around the lake and if you are brave and keep your eyes out, you will spot a couple of tall trees which you can jump out of into the Lake – fun!  It was a bit rainy on our visit but we still enjoyed a swim and a picnic lunch out there.

I'm putting it out there to say, Lake Eacham is the best swimming spot in all of Australia!

I’m putting it out there to say, Lake Eacham is the best swimming spot in all of Australia!

Nowhere better!

Nowhere better!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Enjoying a swim!

Enjoying a swim!

Hello Carole and Gerrard!

Hello Carole and Gerrard!

From Lake Eacham we had a very quick stop at the Malanda Dairy Centre to see if we could spot Grandma and Grunda’s photos on the wall in the museum showcasing some of the local dairy industry history!  The kids scored two free milkshakes to share as the centre was just closing and had the milkshakes left over so the kids thought that was fantastic!  The Dairy Centre is really well done – definitely worth a look for the gold coin donation!Our last little bit of sight-seeing for the weekend was much closer to home here in Mareeba and that was a trip just around the corner from our place to visit the Skybury Australian Coffee Centre.  I had never been here before and I thought it was just a beautiful spot!  The coffee drinkers said the coffee was pretty good too!  You can take a tour of the coffee and tropical fruit plantation or just relax like we did having something to eat and drink at the cafe.  I would definitely like go back for breakfast sometime!!  Oh, and I even spotted the young farmer who works the farm and who featured on the tv show ‘Farmer Wants A Wife’ a few years ago!!  Definitely on our ‘must take all visitors here’ list as it is only five minutes from our place (we think we could even see our shed from the cafe!) and a really lovely spot.

Skybury Coffee Centre Cafe

Skybury Coffee Centre Cafe

Pretty good coffee, we even bought some home to try in the stove top coffee maker.

Pretty good coffee, we even bought some home to try in the stove top coffee maker.

Cheers!

Cheers!

It was so nice to have some familiar faces visiting from Brisbane, thanks so much for coming Hanstede family!  We’re open for bookings now for our ‘hopefully’ quiet winter off season, surely there’s some takers after seeing these pictures!!  We have ‘rustic worker’s accommodation’ or the 5 star (not) homestead accommodation, and even free kids club/babysitting – come and visit okay!!

Mates!

Mates!

Categories: Atherton Tablelands, Flashback Friday, Travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Ballet Girl

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This term Lexi started ballet.  This world of dance is so very new for us.  I have never danced.  In fact I am the world’s worst dancer!  I am a netball or a swimming club kinda girl!  I feel so out of place waiting outside the dance studio with all the other dance mums.  I have no idea how to do Lexi’s hair into a nice ballet bun, I don’t know how to braid hair, or do makeup, or even sew costumes, and we had to get the lady at the dance wear shop to find everything we needed for her ballet class!

But, the girl in our family wants to give it a shot and I want to try to let go a little!  To let Lexi do something that maybe neither of us will be great at, but it will be just for pure and simple enjoyment and perhaps that is enough. Maybe we’ll only do it for a term, or maybe a year, or maybe it will turn out to be something she loves for the rest of her life.  I’m trying not to over think it.

Plus, there’s still plenty of time for her to be an olympic swimmer or netballer yet, right? 🙂

Categories: About Us | 3 Comments

Farewell To WA

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I think I have been subconscioulsly delaying finishing off the posts about our trip because I really don’t want to believe that it is all over.  I love looking back at our trip photos, it truly was the most amazing time of our lives!!  This post will I think be the third last post recounting our adventures, nooooooooooo!

Anyway, ‘get on with it’, I hear you say!

We left Emma Gorge after a well earned ice-cream from the resort shop and a sandwich in the car park.  The kids slept off the exhaustion of our morning’s walk into the gorge and Matt and I nervously counted the kilometres in to Kununurra as we were seriously in need of fuel (being frugal and not wanting to spend the $2.10 per litre to fill up at El Questro Station!).IMG_2411

At this point in our trip we only had 7 days left in order to get back to Cairns for Matt to catch a plane to the Gold Coast for his cousin’s wedding, so our plan for the next week was just to drive, drive and drive.  After arriving in Kununurra and immediately filling up the car and getting a new tyre to replace the one we blew on the Gibb River Road, we decided to have a quick stop at ‘The Hoochery’ rum distillery.  Matt did the taste tasting and we choose a bottle to take home for my Dad to try – the consensus being that the rum was not bad, but not in the same league as the favourite Bundaberg Rum.

Taste testing at 'The Hoochery' rum distillery in Kununurra

Taste testing at ‘The Hoochery’ rum distillery in Kununurra

Just a cute pic of Tobes in Dad's hat at the distillery

Just a cute pic of Tobes in Dad’s hat at the distillery

From here I took a stint at the wheel while Matt snoozed off the afternoon’s taste tests and drove us back across the border into the Northern Territory!  I did make several stops along the way though, still trying to get that elusive ‘sunset boab tree’ shot.  Matt did pretty well with this one I think!

Farewell WA!

Farewell WA!

That night we pulled up stumps at Timber Creek.  We had a quick overnight stop in what was a really lovely and cheap caravan park!  Nice shady sites, old but clean amenities and they do free crocodile feedings at the creek behind the campground in the afternoons (we arrived too late unfortunately).

Lovely caravan park at Timber Creek

Lovely caravan park at Timber Creek

Our overnight set up

Our overnight set up

Great little kids playground and pool at the caravan park too

Great little kids playground and pool at the caravan park too

After a very slow pack up the next morning (yes we definitely dragged the feet towards home!) we arrived in to Katherine for lunch, a grocery supply stock up and to pick up a belated birthday parcel which was waiting at the Post Office for Toby.

Tobes very excited to open his birthday parcel - thanks Grandma and Grandad Bill!

Tobes very excited to open his birthday parcel – thanks Grandma and Grandad Bill!

Lunch in Katherine.  We also videoed our 'Time Capsule' messages here!

Lunch in Katherine. We also videoed our ‘Time Capsule’ messages here!

The other amazing thing that happened in Katherine was that we had our first ‘blog spotting’ moment!  The kids and I were in Woolies getting some supplies when a voice politely asked ‘are you Jess, from Are We There Yet?’.  I was so surprised it took me a second to answer, but it was so lovely to meet Simone and her family who were also travelling and had been following our blog!  You can check out the Laing Family Road trip adventures here – there are some great photos of their time in Western Australia!

From Katherine we put a few more kilometres under our belts and decided to have a night at Mataranka, this time staying at the Territory Manor Caravan Park so we were close enough for one last swim at Bitter Springs.

We loved Bitter Springs!

We loved Bitter Springs!

Jack amusing himself in the campground.

Jack amusing himself in the campground – Mataranka

Last swim in the lovely warm Bitter Springs.

Last swim in the lovely warm Bitter Springs.

Next post, the Savannah Way – probably the roughest road on our whole trip, but the best free camp spot along the way, can’t wait to show you the rodeo photos too!

Categories: WA Camping | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The International Year of Family Farming

I’m a bit behind the eight ball this year, only finalising my New Year’s Resolutions in mid February and this week finally embracing the fact that 2014 is well and truly here!!  Which means, in case you didn’t already know, welcome to the ‘International Year of Family Farming’ (IYFF) as designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  ALRIGHT!  2014 sounds like our kind of year!!

I grew up on a family dairy farm, Matt’s family own a few family farms, and our little ‘Fealy Family’ now works and relies on a family owned farm to sustain us, so you get the picture that ‘Family Farming’ is a big part of our lives.  We believe Family Farm’s should be celebrated and we’d like to do our small bit to raise awareness about the importance of supporting family farming.

So, a few statistics for you first (c’mon – I am an accountant!!).  According to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF),  “99 percent of Australian farms are family owned and operated. Australia’s 157,000 farmers not only produce 93 percent of Australia’s daily domestic food supply – the clean, healthy, fresh food that Australian families enjoy – they also contribute $38 billion in export income to the economy and manage some 59 percent of Australia’s land”.  That’s a pretty substantial contribution to Australian society I say!!

The United Nation’s says the “2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming, not just in Australia, but by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.”  If you’d like to know more you can go to this website or watch the video below which has been produced by the United Nations.

I’m not sure how best to celebrate and support the 2014 International Year of Family Farming just yet, more to come on this topic – stay tuned! In the meantime, here are a few ways you might like to get involved;

1. The IYFF-2014 photo competition is calling for photos that represent the motto: Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth.  You can enter here.

2. Check out these great 2014 Food Resolutions – maybe you can make your own list?

3. Buy Australian Grown

I’d love to hear how others are celebrating 2014, International Year of Family Farming!  Don’t be shy, let us know!!!

Categories: Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Sunday Snapshot – S … S …. S ……..

SNAKE!!This week’s Sunday Snapshot is of the surprise visitor in the packing shed today!  Imagine reaching into a red crate full of mangoes, looking to grab your next Keitt mango to load on to the de-sapping machine – something you have been doing for nearly 8 hours already today – and all day yesterday – only to pull out a snake!!  We shouldn’t laugh, but Matt said the five workers doing the de-sapping did a lot of yelling and shouting and jumping up on to benches when this snake came out of the mango crate!!!

Can you spot him?  The red crates on the bench are where he came from!

Can you spot him? The red crates on the bench are where he came from!

We're pretty sure he was just a little tree snake.

We’re pretty sure he was just a little tree snake.

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He was pretty cranky though!

He was pretty cranky though!

Matt managed to catch him with the shovel and relocate him to the tree outside so everybody could go back to work!

Matt managed to catch him with the shovel and relocate him to the tree outside so everybody could go back to work!

Nothing like a bit of excitement after lunch to wake everybody up for the afternoon shift in the shed!  How was your Sunday?  See any snakes today???

Categories: Sunday Snapshot | 2 Comments

Flashback Friday – Baby No 1’s arrival.

The Fealy Family Nov 26 2005I’m pinching an idea my Uncle Murray started among our family on Facebook, and bringing in a ‘Flashback Friday’ post to the blog.  This will be a chance for me to share and record for posterity something that happened in the Fealy Family past.

With all the work that has been done to renovate the nursery over the last week and some sorting of baby things happening, I’m starting to think about the arrival of baby No 4 in only nine-ish weeks time – eeeek!!!  That in turn lead to me thinking about the craziness of becoming a mum for the first time with Jack’s birth and I realised that I hadn’t yet posted the email Matt wrote when Jack was born (you can read Toby and Lexi’s arrival emails here and here), so that is what we will kick off ‘Flashback Friday’ with!  Seems like it was only yesterday – not eight and a half years ago!Jack's Arrival - bit scary!“Hi Everyone,
Just a super quick group email (sorry!) to let you all know that at
3:07pm today the 26th of November 2005, Jack Thomas Fealy made his way into
this world! Mum and bub are doing well after a few little concerns that had
us a bit worried. Jess woke me up at 4am after about an hour of contractions
that she though were just “pretty normal”. From there things got interesting
fairly quickly so we made our way to the hospital by about 7am-ish (Thanks
to Jamie who chose the wrong night to stay over!)

Anyway save the details, Jack was born. He was a bit naughty to begin with
because he did not want to breathe for about 2 mins after delivery but once
he started crying he didn’t stop. I have attached a few photos from just a
few hours ago when Jess was feeling well enough to give him his first feed.
He is in “special care” right now which is not like intensive care just
special, and it is only for precautionary measures due to the fairly
difficult birth. Hopefully he will be out of special care in 48hrs or so.

They had to use a bit of suction so please excuse his head shape (it is
already lots better then it was )

Love,

Matt, Jess, Jack and Jerry Fealy (yes Jerry has not been forgotten just
yet!)”

Categories: About Us | Leave a comment

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