Rain, Rain go away:

Friday May 1st saw us back in Brisbane.

Rain had once again washed out earthmoving operations at South Callandoon farm.

Geoff, the Gore Earthmoving supervisor, called it too wet at 10.am and we were on the road by 11.30am. We cleaned up the kitchen, washed the floors and tidied up after the guys had all packed up and left and then we packed up ourselves, booked the unit up the coast for the weekend, and away we went.

Our plan was for Chris to drop me off at Karen’s place as it just happened to be the girl’s night out. I would stay there the night and Chris would go over and stay at Barry’s place and catch up with him.
We had the wipers on all the way from Goondiwindi and from Warwick the wipers were on full. It poured non stop.

We managed to hit Brisbane at the same time as the massive, slow moving storm hindering and even stopping, our plans.
It just proved impossible to get through the north side to stay at Karen’s.

Road closures, rapidly running creeks, swollen rivers and drains were all overflowing causing massive traffic delays. Sadly a lot of cars went under water and there were a number of fatalities as people tried to drive through overflowing water courses.

After three hours trying to get across Brisbane we ended up doing an about face and driving back to the south side to Barry’s place where we stayed the night. There were some road closures on the south side as well but they didn’t receive as much rain as the north side so things weren’t as bad.

Photo: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

Photo: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

Goondiwindi got 35mm of rain for the day on the Friday but Caboolture got 233mm in a few hours.

Saturday morning was cloud free. What a difference a few hours make.
Chris and I left early to drive up the coast to the unit hoping to beat the traffic and hopefully avoid any road closures.
Apart from the south bound traffic still using the north bound lane on the Bruce Highway at Morayfield our trip up the coast was uneventful.

For the next couple of days the weather was perfect, warm enough to go swimming everyday with amazing sunrises and sunsets.

The sunrises were spectacular every morning.

The sunrises were spectacular every morning.

Unit49

The view from the unit always takes our breath away.

We got to attend Lish’s 30th Birthday party where Ashley gave a lovely speech and even managed to get Lish a surprise birthday present that she didn’t know about.

Ashley giving a speech at Lish's 30th Birthday Party.

Ashley giving a speech at Lish’s 30th Birthday Party.

A few pictures of the evening. The cake was done especially for her by one of her friends.

A few pictures of the evening. The cake was done especially for her by one of her friends.

Grandpa an Charlotte doing "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor"

Grandpa an Charlotte doing “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor”

Emily came up and stayed a couple of nights at the unit where we were able to catch up with her before she sets off back to New York to meet up with Rodney again.
Kealy, Emily’s oldest and most faithful friend from school spent a night with us also.
We love having her visit us and it’s always a pleasure catching up with her.
Amidst all the laughter and jokes it’s hard to see these girls as grown women, drinking, talking marriage, working and buying their own homes. Where does the time go? It probably doesn’t help that Kealy is 5ft and still wears kids clothes? At 22yrs old she still has to show ID to get water at the bar!

A bed with a view for Emily. Really was the best bed in the unit.

A bed with a view for Emily. Really was the best bed in the unit.

We got a phone call from Geoff, the supervisor, that the Earthmovers wouldn’t start back at work until Friday so we added another couple of days on at the unit so we could catch up with David.

I took Elliana to the Australian Zoo where we went and saw the Lemurs at Bindi’s Island. Elliana has great eyesight and usually spots the animals quicker than I do. Of course we had to stop at the Kangaroos and Koalas for a pat. Elli is getting more and more adventurous with the animals everytime we go there. This time she was checking out the kangaroos ears and has no fear of going up to them.

"Look out Nanna"

“Look out Nanna”

More adventurous every time. What does his ears do?

More adventurous every time. What does his ears do?

I ended up going again with David and Lacey to see the Tiger show. Next time we’ll go a bit earlier as we now know where the best seats are to see the show easily. You gotta LOVE those annual passes.

We ended up coming back to South Callandoon on Wednesday.

The Earthmovers started work Friday after having a week off.
It never rained much while we were at Belah Park but here we seem to have 4-7 days off every 10 days at the moment.
In the 6 ½ Weeks we’ve been here we’ve only had I full weeks wage.
This doesn’t bother us as we are getting a lot of work done.

It’s raining again as I’m writing this blog, two weeks after coming back from the coast. The boys will be off again until Monday at this stage (unless it doesn’t stop raining). We’re not going home this time but might drive up to see Shannon at Emmaville over the weekend.

Our first couple of weeks at South Callandoon:

Well it’s been just over two weeks since arriving at South Callandoon – the time is flying by.

Unfortunately it’s just rained again and the earth movers have packed up and gone home for a few days until the land dries out. Out of the 16 days we’ve been here the boys have worked 9 of them.
The area needs the rain so badly but as usual there is always someone (like us) who want it on another day, week or month. You can never please everyone.

So what have we been doing for the last fortnight, (once we finally got the caravan and office sorted out)?
Working.
Nothing new about that.

Chris has started back on the Operations Management programme and I’ve been promoting the Stop Money Worries Budget application.
Both are going really well and we’re happy with our office set up which makes work very pleasant.
Even when it rained most of the day the annexe, flooring and our computers stayed dry. It was cosy working in our “office” while outside was wet and muddy.

The earth movers had started arriving on Friday after Easter.
Blue and Chris, from the Belah Park job, are here for a week while Belah Park dries out.
Belah Park, the place that rain would literally “Go around” ended up receiving 110mm the other day. That’s great for them as the water tanks are refilled and hopefully some of the rain managed to land in the new reservoir.

We also met two new chaps, Baden and Todd. Both are really nice guys.
Geoff and Reece turned up Monday and as usually Geoff is giving me cheek while Chris is picking on Geoff.
Geoff is the only one to notice my hair and comments regularly that it’s looking a bit grey!
I’ve now booked into the hair dressers to address that issue. He’s a right charmer isn’t he?

The ones from Belah Park like to tease me about not doing anything. Sleeping in (which I do) not cooking (try to avoid) and letting Chris do EVERYTHING. They wait for me to bite. I always think if they’re picking on me they’re not picking on anybody else.

I would like to point out that Chris doesn’t do EVERYTHING.
At the moment he does get up and work the breakfast shift (yes I do sleep in) but in my defence, Chris is usually awake or even in the office working. So why would any sane person get out of bed when he’s already up I ask?

Once everyone has gone to work (Earth movers 5.30am) and Andrew (farm hand at 6.45am), I get up and start the wonderful job of cleaning up. The first job is to give Andrew’s dogs, Ollie and Lola, the scraps and leftovers.
Let me tell you about these dogs.
Ollie the male, Lola the female. They carry on like pork chops when anyone comes around. Seriously I would not like to be on the receiving end if they’re not happy.

So while Andrew was here the first couple of days he would let them off and they got to know us and like most dogs are great big softies when they know you. They love their pats and love their food.

Ollie, I swear has A.D.D., O.C.D. or something when it comes to food. He’s totally obsessed with it.
He’ll start to salivate and run around in circles howling while you walk over with food.
Now because he eats so fast he has a muffin tin for a food bowl so it sort of slows him down while he eats out of every muffin space.
He eats everything – lettuce mandarins – though I’m particular with what they get, no onions or chocolate.
Lola on the other hand is a lady but still gets excited when it’s breakfast time.

We know when Andrew is on his way home as the dogs start howling and jumping around before we even hear his car a couple of kilometres away.

We’ve started to let the dogs off their leads before Andrew gets home and they happily hang around the caravan and don’t wander away. They’re usually back on their leads before the earth movers get home as we wouldn’t like to see them bale these guys up.
Lola got off her lead the other night and Geoff got baled up.
Andrew was quick to fix the problem after wondering what the dog was barking at. Geoff likes to tell the story that Lola almost ripped his throat out, (he likes to exaggerate).

Now back to what I do for the day:

I then clean the bathrooms, dust and sweep the lounge room and kitchen, sweep and mop the breeze way. Restock the crib lunches, bake morning tea and occasionally cook dessert.
Then I head back to the van to start on our work.

The kitchen and the serving area. Andrew had these benches that have come in very handy for crib lunch areas.

The kitchen and the serving area. Andrew had these benches that have come in very handy for crib lunch areas.

The breeze way where they eat.

The breeze way where they eat.

The breeze way between the bedrooms (the rooms to the right) and the kitchen/Lounge and bathrooms on the left.

The breeze way between the bedrooms (the rooms to the right) and the kitchen/Lounge and bathrooms on the left.

The lounge room with a TV. That's something new for these guys.

The lounge room with a TV. That’s something new for these guys.

In the afternoon when Chris has gone in to start dinner I’ve found a new fitness routine.
I’m trying to get serious about getting my glucose count down and the best way is to exercise. Going for a walk sounds OK but I’d rather do something constructive. So I rake the yard of stones.

Why?

Well we told you that Andrew had freshly laid grass seed over the yard and had top dressed it with dirt but it was still covered in stones, small ones, large ones and bits of tree branches. We had a laugh with Martyn saying we’d borrow his brand new ride-on to mow the place and that would get rid of the stones. Can’t really repeat what he said to us about that.

So I started to rake the stones and rubbish into piles and Andrew gets the job of removing them. I do about half to an hour a day while Ollie runs around. Lola will sit right beside me which can prove difficult at times to rake under her. I think it’s coming up rather well, even the grass is growing. I know it’s getting a bit late to grow grass but hopefully it will survive winter.

This is the ground before I rake it over.

This is the ground before I rake it over.

My ever growing stone piles.

My ever growing stone piles.

The green tinge of grass growing.

The green tinge of grass growing.

And didn’t autumn hit with a vengeance?
Last week it was still a warm 22 deg at night, but after the rain I had to get out the jeans and jumpers. I even put the electric blanket on the bed! I went into Target to pick up a set of Flannelette sheets and they didn’t have any yet. I think this change in the weather has taken everyone by surprise. I always remember Mum saying “Once Easter is over the weather gets cool, be prepared.”

We’re really loving, living so close to town.
We’ve made the trip into Gundy a few times, sometimes even twice in one day!
The car just gets warmed up and we’ve arrived.
It’s also a great saving on diesel, we’ve only just gone through a half a tank, compared to living at Koramba or Mungindi were we had to fill up every time we went into town to make sure we would be able to get back again.

Andrew has said he’ll take us for a tour of the farm soon, which will be interesting.
The whole place has its own history as Callandoon was one of three huge farms and it was where the boundaries of these farms met that the town of Goondiwindi was founded.
This farm contained a small settlement that was the mail stop before Gundy was a town. Little is left of the original settlement except a tiny graveyard which still survives on the property.