Christmas at Home

 

We’d promised ourselves that we’d spend Christmas at home this year as we’ve been away for the last three .

With the grand kids now old enough to enjoy it we weren’t going to miss it.
But first, let me recap the last couple of months as we’ve not written up the blog for a while.

We’re still out at the farm at Belah Park cooking for the men from Gore Earthmoving.

Our contract was to be for eight weeks but as sometimes happens, that’s been extended due to other jobs being added to the original contract work.
They’re a great bunch of guys but everyone was looking forward to the two weeks off during Christmas and New Year.During the last thirteen weeks Chris and I have had only four days off. This was while the job shut down while the boys went to the Gore Christmas party.

We took this time to go back to the coast and stay at our favourite unit (#46) at Maroochydore. It was great to see the ocean and green grass. We’d told everybody we weren’t doing the run around Brisbane to visit everyone this time, if they wanted to see us to come on up.
Jennie and Emily stayed the night while Ashley, Lish and the kids came up for a swim for a day and of course David, Lacey and Elliana visited most of the time. We loved it.

Elliana24-11-14

Elliana is growing up so fast

As usual, out of the four days off, two are spent travelling and two are spent relaxing, so the time went too quickly.

The owners of Gore Earthmoving have commented that it’s very unusual not to have days off due to rain, but in the thirteen weeks we’ve been here there’s only been four days off due to the weather. That was just one heavy shower overnight but enough to stop the machinery from operating  and then four days to let the ground dry out.
The farm is in desperate need of water and as we all watch the BOM radar it seems storms appear and then divide as soon as they come near this farm. We seem to be on the sides of the rain clouds but only get the wind and of course the red dust.

The storms go around us but we get the wind and dust.

The storms go around us but we get the wind and dust.

The earthmovers have now completed the original task of extending the reservoir and I got to ride in the laser leveller with Simon while they finished off the last of the wall.
The pictures don’t show the extent of the work as well as I’d hoped as it’s all the same colour but believe me it’s an impressive sight.

Original Reservoir

This is the reservoir when we first arrived with the extra wall that would come down.

This is the finished reservoir.

This is the finished reservoir.

This is another job, before and after of building a head ditch, adding drainage pipes and laser levelling the fields.

The before and after shots with the head ditches dug and pipes laid for the water.

The before and after shots with the head ditches dug and pipes laid for the water.

The main drain pipe in the Reservoir has been replaced with concrete surrounds. This is where all the water will drain to, then be moved around the farm using a complex array of channels, sluice gates and pumps.

The new drainage for the reservoir.

The new drainage for the reservoir.

Size

Here I’m trying to give a sense of the size of this reservoir. I’ve walked half way down the wall and taken a photo back up the hill to the Nissan.

We hope one day we get to see if full of water.

The guys out here often joke about coming back to fish in the reservoir when it’s full as they know all the good spots.
We’ll be returning to Belah Park after Christmas as there is another 2-3 month’s work here. Airstrip, new irrigated fields, a lot more pipe laying and other bits and pieces.

Chris and I are still building the Farm Management program!

We’ve purchased another development licence for the program we use to build the front end section. This enables me to help Chris with all the fiddley parts like formatting, leaving him to do the larger coding jobs. As Chris is in the caravan, I set up in the mess room in the kitchen donger once the guys have gone to work and pack up before they get home.

One big negative about our job here is that we don’t do as much walking as we did at Koramba.

There’s only one toilet and shower to clean, no garden to weed and no yard to mow, so we’re sitting more working on the program and this hasn’t  helped the waist line or my diabetes.

I had a blood test a while back and the count is back into triple figures! The doctor has doubled my medication and David and Lacey have given me the spiel of not seeing (literally) my grandchildren grow up or be able to take them for walks or swimming.

Seriously, David sounded just like me when I used to give him those lectures as he was growing up.
So while I was home it was lots of walks, no desserts and plenty of interesting salads. Not hard to do at home as Roxy, David and Lacey’s dog, was always up for a walk. Roxy would come running as soon she heard the “W” word, her very expressive face questioning “Did I hear right? Did you say WALK!” then she would not leave my side until I took her for her walk.

We bought Elliana an annual pass to Australian Zoo for Christmas as well as purchasing ones for both Chris and myself. This way when we come back home we can take all the grand kids to the zoo. The best part is with the annual pass we only need to stay for an hour or two and not spend all day there. There’s so much to see and Terri, Bindi and Robert have continued to fulfil Steve Irwin’s dream. The place is beautifully kept and very interactive between visitors and the animal’s without stress to the wildlife.

We ended up going three times and I would have happily gone more.

Zoo 3Zoo 2

I also had the pleasure of going Christmas shopping with Lacey.

Night shopping, day shopping, loved every minute of it. The crowds, the people, the whole mad circus. We even did the Christmas lights visits.

Chris of course stayed home unable to handle the madness of shopping.

I happily wrapped presents just to have the paper ripped off again so soon by the excited grand kids.

Christmas morning was spent with David, Lacey and Elliana watching Elli open up her gifts. The funny thing was David had thrown in a plastic toy fishing rod with magnetic fish to catch and this was the toy she loved most. The girl knows how to cast and now an excited father is already thinking of her next Christmas with a real rod.

Christmas 3

The colours of the ocean are amazing.

The colours of the ocean are amazing.

David and Lacey then went off to Lacey’s mothers for lunch and dinner while Chris, myself and the dogs went to the beach.

I love the colours of the ocean!

That aqua and green and as the surf rolls in the mix of white froth. We literately can’t get enough of the view.

The best part about staying at Wurtulla is only the locals use that part of the beach, so on Christmas morning we were crowded with 20 people 150m each way on the beach, completely different to further up at Mooloolaba as shown in the below photo taken by Nikki and James while staying there.

This was taken by James and Nikki at Mooloolaba. Hate fighting for a spot.

This was taken by James and Nikki at Mooloolaba. Hate fighting for a spot.

It was then off to Jennie’s place for Christmas dinner with the Jones family. It was great to catch up with everybody. Of course we ate too much.

Christmas 4

The rest of the time off was spent swimming, walking and enjoying the sound of rain on the caravan roof when the occasional storm came through, something we don’t hear very much of out west here.