Friday, 28 February 2014

Cobb Cooker: Apple cinnamon pudding cake

Before coming away, we cleaned out and chest freezer and fridge.  The last of our frozen stewed apple came with us. 

I used a small portion tonight and improvised an apple cinnamon cake for dessert. 

Although I thought to bring cake tins they were left at home, so I used one of my small thermal cooker pots.  Both Cobbs had left-over heat beads from our roast chicken dinner, so the cake was placed on a rack above the basic cooking tray of one cooker.  It was baked for around an hour and a half.  While it was cooking, I made custard using powdered milk - and dessert was quite well received.

The cake batter was basic:  1 cup SR flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1 large Hamby Home(in)stead egg and approx. 3 tablespoons melted butter.  I couldn't find my vanilla but used about a teaspoon of cinnamon in lieu (given the stewed apple component).

Cobb Cooker: Roast chicken dinner

We lit both Cobb Cookers this evening and roasted some chicken drumsticks with vegetables.

The drumsticks were lightly sprayed with olive oil and then sprinkled with dried mixed herbs, before cooking on the basic Cobb Cooker plate.

I cut the potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato into roughly equal pieces and drizzled them with olive oil.  They were tipped onto the solid BBQ plate.  After about an hour I turned everything.  The meal probably had a further half hour of cooking time before it was served - and declared delicious!

Cobb Cooker: Cheese and ham focaccia

When we last stayed in Louie's shack, he had a gas oven in the kitchen.  Nick used it to cook a very fine Christmas lunch and it was again put into action by Nissa and Vaughan when making the bore's birthday cake!

Louie has made some changes since our last visit.  The gas oven has been removed and the kitchen now has electric hotplates. The only oven is an outside fuel stove. I'm working up to using that. When when my family had a shack at Yowah, all cooking was done on a fuel stove - and a similar one was purchased for our early days in Dooralong, before the power was connected. Of course, it would be more comfortable to use the fuel stove in cooler weather but all the wood is wet!

I decided to make focaccia for our lunch today. I often make it at home. It goes together quickly because the dough is proved in the microwave while the oven heats.

The process was slower today but a fairly successful experiment - after Nick and I exchanged a few terse words, before swapping Cobb cooking trays!  Consequently the ham and cheese was cooked into the focaccia, rather than remaining a top layer (as is my usual method).  After about 20 minutes the bread was flipped over, pancake-style, so as to brown both sides.  The baking time was around 40 minutes in total, a little longer than when using the electric oven at home.

It wasn't my best-looking focaccia but tasted fine and I'm sure the method can be fine-tuned with practice. 

They're doing it!

Vaughan's been keeping a weather chart.  He started on Wednesday, the same day as we set up our seed sprouter - and the rain began.

The temperature has stayed around 25 degrees, which is cooler than we expected but obviously working well for our seeds. 

The alfalfa (in the top tray) are showing the beginnings of activity whereas the larger seeds in our second tray are already moving along nicely - not bad for two days!  (Our watercress in the saucer of water haven't done anything yet but we remain hopeful). 

I'm thinking we should organise our microgreens next, which could be a good rainy day activity.  Stay tuned!

Rain on the roof ...

It's been raining since Wednesday, not continuously but fairly consistently.

The rain became heavier last night and continues steadily now. It's pleasant listening to it, drumming on the tin roof and splashing on the ground.

(Vaughan is reading aloud and needs to speak up so we can hear him)!

I stood outside earlier (under cover) and snapped a few quick pics.

A small group of zebra finches had taken shelter under our trailer!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Stacks of fun ...

We like the rock stacks at Yowah and have made quite a few of our own during our other visits.

Erin and Vaughan made more rock stacks this evening when we spent an hour at the Bluff after dumping some rubbish at the tip. 

It was pleasant to wander about in the early evening, looking at the neatly camouflaged grasshoppers and admiring various flowers (as well as interesting wasp-like insects buzzing among the bushes).

Glorious mud?!

We have permission to fossick on one of the mining claims, so went for a look today.  

Some of the claim has been open-cut and it was quite interesting to see how this was done. 

Open-cut mining was not common when I lived at Yowah as a child.  Back then most of the mining was done underground, with shaft access via long ladders.  (My brother and I were allowed underground but only with adult supervision).

After two days of rain, the road to the mines was quite slippery. The ground was sticky to walk upon too. Our boots were quickly caked in heavy mud!

Nick has since cleaned his boots by hosing them off but I still need to work on mine.

We'll have a better look around the mine when the rain stops and the ground dries a little.  Even then, as far as Vaughan is concerned there'll be rules and no-go areas - for safety reasons.

Vaughan's view: The gecko

Photo credit:  Vaughan Hamby
On Thursday I caught a five centimetre long gecko.  He was very fast.  We think he is a Prickly Gecko but he wasn't prickly.

Gorgeous geckoes ...

Nick caught a gecko in some leaf litter yesterday and we spotted another one at home, after returning from our night-time frogging adventure. 

Vaughan's find today was the best though - a tiny, delicate fellow who moved incredibly quickly!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Hopping mad?!

Vaughan had fond memories of our night-time frogging efforts on our last visit to Yowah.  He was keen for us to go out "like old times"!

There had been steady rain through the day so we went for a drive after dinner - to see if any frogs were out and about.

There was much laughter as both Vaughan and Erin leapt out of the car to capture various frogs on the road.

Some proved more elusive than others and taking photos was a challenge! 

Vaughan brought one to see me and it jumped onto my knee and then onto the door frame en route to Elmer's roof-rack.  It moved very quickly and eluded several attempts at recapture, causing considerable amusement! 

Just before heading home for the night, we stopped in front of our neighbour's house and set his dogs barking, causing Fred to investigate all the noise - in case we were opal buyers!  


Vaughan found a tree skink and caught him/her for us to have a closer look.  As you can see, the skink put up a struggle! 

We enjoyed the antics of both the stove and fridge lizards on our last visit and wondered whether this one might be a relative.

Bottoms up!

After rain is a good time for fossicking - even better when the sun is out. 

Call us keen cos we went during the rain while the sky was still overcast!

How does one fossick?  It's not hard.  Just walk around staring at the many rocks on the ground, hoping to spot one with "colour"!  Nick thought ahead this trip and brought his older "close-up" glasses because they focus a bit further away than his current pair, so work better for fossicking. 

I found a couple of small opal pieces then wandered off to take photos until the rain got too hard and my would-be rock-lickers came back to the car, so we could head home for lunch!

Fingers cressed?!

We set up our seed sprouter.  It was a group effort.  Erin is a big fan of alfalfa and keen for those seeds to grow, hence her input.  Vaughan doesn't eat anything green but is still interested in the sprouting process.

Fingers cressed for our success!

Saving rain ...

Although Yowah's bore water is far superior to ours at home, we were still pleased to learn that Louie had installed a tank, to collect rain water for drinking.

It rained overnight and was still raining steadily when we got up.  Louie had given instructions for the tank, so Nick checked to see that the water was running as it should - and it was.  We're very much enjoying having so much water on tap!  The lack of rain at home means we often pump bore water for our washing and household needs - though we gave up trying to drink it!  In contrast, there is no shortage of water here and now there is rain water for drinking too!

Frog blogging ...

We started relocated frogs from Louie's bathroom soon after arrival!

Vaughan spotted another one this morning, hopping across the fake grass carpet. 

He/she was quickly scooped up and moved into the jade bush.

We're not sure why the frog has a bubble on his skin.  We saw one like this just before leaving on our last visit.  At that time we thought it may have been a disease but perhaps it is a result of the frog soaking in the loo. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Twice bitten ...

One of the highlights of our last visit was watching the daily antics of the sandswimmers and other lizards in Louie's shack. 

On our second night here I heard a noise outside, behind the air-conditioner unit.

I looked cautiously to ensure I could see legs before calling Vaughan to show him a sandswimmer.   Of course, our boy wasn't happy until the lizard was caught - or rather till he had been caught by the lizard!  Vaughan has been caught again since then - but isn't likely to shy off more captures!

You can view a short video of the sandswimmer (narrated by Vaughan), here.


It's fair to say not many people know where Yowah is. 

In fact there are some that struggle with the concept of south-west Queensland. 

Just prior to leaving Erin mentioned our destination. Her companion then recommended we visit the Daintree while we were in the area?!  In a similar vein, Nick has a reputation among his work colleagues of holidaying in places that don't feature on Google maps - so it was extra funny when he spoke of Yowah to another work acquaintance and was immediately asked if he was a "rock-licker"!  (By way of explanation, opal "colour" shows best in a wet stone. I introduced Erin to the concept during our July 2010 Yowah visit.  She's used water since)!

Vaughan found this stone in the fossicking area on our first day.  Our neighbour has since looked at it and declared it "good", worthy of being polished! 


Since arrival Vaughan has been hanging out to check "our mine"

When we did so, he was disappointed to see that someone else had been digging in it!  Of course, it's not really a mine but a patch in the public-access fossicking area

Given it's been just over three years since our last visit, we weren't surprised that Nick's excavation had been expanded.  On the bright side, it's not flooded - yet!

Why is four?!

On our first morning, Vaughan came in to see me with a huge grin and eyes sparkling, saying "we're in Yowah"!

Yep, we are!  For ten whole weeks!  Let the yahoo-ing begin!  Yippee!

How now, brown cow?!

At home, we are often woken by Tea rummaging through whatever takes her fancy near our front door. Even so, we were surprised to have this brown cow visit on our first morning at Yowah! 

It seems the stock are hungry and have been coming into town to graze.

We've seen this girl and her companions a few times lately, though not in our yard.  (Fortunately we haven't seen any wild pigs either)!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Shacking up!

We arrived at Louie's shack around 5:00pm (Queensland time). 

In between bouts of unpacking Nick chatted to one of our neighbours, who commented that wild pigs had been breaking into the local gardens overnight. 

Not surprisingly Erin elected to bunk in the cabin with us rather than stay outside in her tent!  Louie has made quite a few improvements to the shack since our last visit.  We are all particularly taken with his new fake grass carpeting, which is surprisingly comfy underfoot!

Greener than home ...

We crossed the Warrego River as we left Cunnamulla, heading toward Eulo (and other loo stop). 

There'd been rain recently so the Paroo River was flowing and the country was looking green (much greener than home, in spite of us being in the outback)! 

As we left Eulo, our anticipation and excitement grew. 

Vaughan nearly forgot to request his hourly lucky-dips in the count-down to our Yowah arrival!

We slowed at various points for cattle crossing the road - and had a giggle at these emus!

Comfort stop ...

You remember the 250km no fuel sign as we were leaving Bourke?  Well, there aren't many loos along that long stretch to Cunnamulla either - and the roadworks had slowed our progress quite considerably. 

We were all very happy to spot this basic toilet on the outskirts of Cunnamulla, before driving further into town and setting up a late picnic lunch at a shady park. After lunch we did some grocery shopping and refuelled Elmer - again.

During the refuelling process we realised our fuel cap was still at Cobar.  Drat!  We were lucky to get another at the local spare parts store, the only one in stock!

Flying kites!

One of the sights we enjoyed while driving along were the clouds of kites which flew up from the road from time to time.

We saw quite a few wedge-tailed eagles also, some on the ground and others in the air - all of them camera-shy!

Piloting the roadworks ...

We crossed into Queensland at Barrigun - where a sign advised of roadwork for the next 110km.

As it happened there were long stretches of roadwork and we needed to wait to be escorted along them by a pilot vehicle. It was definitely novel!

Leaping after lizards ...

After leaving Bourke, we encountered another no fuel sign, though this time the distance was even further between service stations. 

There was a lot of emptiness along this stretch but we did spot a bearded dragon a bit over half-way along, about 150km south of Cunnamulla. Vaughan called eagerly for Nick to turn around - and we did.  We had barely stopped when Vaughan sprinted from the car and chased down the lizard, much to our surprise! 

This bearded dragon was particularly dark and had some loose patches of skin.  We all had a turn of holding him/her before Erin was given the honour of releasing our captive back into the scrub - and we got back onto the road.

Breaking camp at daybreak ...

We were very pleased with the success of our first night as touring campers.  Set-up and pack-up were both achieved quickly and easily. 

(As usual the ensuite presented the most challenge)!

Nick's alarm went off at 6:00am and most of us started working soon after.  Vaughan stayed in bed - till we began packing up his bed around him!  He dressed and then sat in the car but the rest of us continued to work steadily.  Although a bus and camper-trailer left the caravan park before us, we were ready to leave by 8:30am - and had eaten an unhurried breakfast, a step the other travellers seemed to have missed.

We still had petrol but Nick thought it would only be enough to reach Bourke - just.  There was a service station beside the caravan park and we refuelled, feeling happier to be travelling 160km with both tanks full.  (On the way out of town we passed a sign advising no fuel was available for 159km)!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Cobar Cat Camp!

It was around 4pm when we rolled in to Cobar - pretty much 12 hours since we'd set off from home. 

Oscar has never been camping, so he was very intrigued by our gear - and the rest of us were amused watching his antics.  He was allowed to explore (under close supervision) for a little while and then enjoyed a snack on top of the trailer - safe from harm and happy keeping an eye on us and his new surroundings.  We put up our larger tent quite quickly. It took a lot longer to set up the ensuite for Oscar!

Our site was only a short distance from the camp kitchen.  While we were fine-tuning the tents, Erin cooked our Aldi chicken kebabs and assembled the crunchy salad. 

I'd also purchased long-life sachets of microwaveable flavoured rice.  Let's say they were an "interesting" addition to the meal!  Although the sachets don't require refrigeration and only take a couple of minutes in the microwave, the contents were not particularly appealing so I doubt we'd bother buying them again!

Fruit-break ...

We took another break before reaching Cobar - just on the side of the road, in the shade of some trees. 

I remembered a plastic container of watermelon in the fridge. Erin and I wrestled it out and we all munched on cold watermelon while stretching.

It's always interesting what we see when we stop along these long stretches.  Nick spotted a mistletoe bird in one of the nearby trees.  It was quite comfortable with us standing close and admiring him/her.

Refuelling ...

It was just under 300km from Deniliquin to Hillston, our planned lunch-stop.  Oscar's roadside wander was taken early along that stretch.

We were interested to see a ballast train at Goolgowi (sorry, too busy looking to take pics!) - and there were many trucks piggy-backing their trailers also.  Further along, we called in to Merriwagga along for a quick glimpse of the memorial to pioneering women.  The small park also had very clean toilets, so we took advantage of those - and Oscar was given another break from the cage.

It took less than half an hour to get to Hillston, where we parked beside a shady table for lunch.  Vaughan was bothered by the many flies and Erin was frazzled by some sim-card issues, so it wasn't one of our more pleasant stops - even though we were watched over by many a number of corellas roosting in the trees beside us.

As you can see, Nick used our jerry-cans to give Elmer a much-appreciated drink!

Oscar un-leashed!

In all the confusion of our last-minute packing, various items were either forgotten or left-behind. 

We realised that Oscar's lead was among those items, so chose a rest area as far off the road as possible when allowing Oscar some time out of his cage/the car.  He didn't seem greatly concerned to be wandering about so far from home - and Keegan enjoyed a glimpse of the wider world also.  It was only a short stop but it didn't take Vaughan long to catch his first lizard of the trip!

Break-fast ...

One of the best things about such an early start is watching the sun rise as we are travelling.  We enjoy seeing the sky lighten and the paddocks start to look pink in the early morning light. 

We had seen many rabbits close to home and then lots of roos grazing by the roadside.  There was much excitement closer to sunrise when we spotted groups of kites rise from the road - and wedge-tailed eagles also!  Deniliquin was our planned breakfast stop and although we had made a couple of quick stops prior to then, we were all very pleased of a longer break - and breakfast!

Early/late start!

The last few days leading up to our departure were fairly full-on. Nick was working, we had lots of appointments - and the packing was only being done in dribs and drabs.

It wasn't till Saturday afternoon that Nick and I started packing the trailer.  That is, I hurriedly packed boxes for Nick to arrange into the trailer.  Our proposed 2-3am Sunday morning start was looking rather doubtful but we kept working away and eventually Elmer and the trailer started to fill, then over-fill!

I stayed up far later than Nick because I wasn't driving.  We both were up early on Sunday morning, finalising last-minute missions.  We were finally ready to depart a few minutes after 4am - later than anticipated but still well before sunrise!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Leading into departure ...

We weren't really expecting to take Oscar to Yowah.  He has looked so frail at various points that Nick suggested I prepare his obituary at the same time as I wrote Sunny's!

Our departure is looming now and Oscar is looking fairly healthy - albeit rather odd with his almost fully clipped appearance.  Last time we enquired about cat-boarding, the cost per week was more than double our rent for Louie's shack.  There were extra charges to administer medication.  Our budget is fairly tight and the cheapest option was to bring Oscar with us (after gaining Louie's OK). 

We tested some cage configurations today.  When we relocated to Victoria, our various animals travelled in the "menagerie car"

This time Oscar and Keegan will be back-seat passengers, along with Erin and Vaughan.  (When chatting with Nissa, she was relieved not to be coming on this trip and having to share seating with our animal companions)!   In the interests of comfort, I bought some vanilla air freshener while shopping - just in case!  I also gave some thought to seat protection and remembered some rubber-backed curtaining in the storage container.  It's not pristine but perfectly suitable for use under/behind the cages.  I was able to cut two large pieces (and later cut slits for the seat belts).

We found Oscar's harness today.  He doesn't really like it but won't have to wear it much.  It's more a safety measure.  (The actual lead is missing, so Erin offered the use of Keegan's leash instead - cos Keegan definitely didn't respond well to being on a lead)!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Afternoon delight?!

We've thought about buying a rocket for a long time.

It was on the wish-list for our last Yowah visit but didn't eventuate, so was given a higher priority this trip. 

There's a lot of nothing at Yowah, so it is the perfect environment for aspiring rocketeers.  How so?  Well, there are less obstacles and greater visibility, which hopefully means a higher chance of retrieving launched rockets.  Fingers crossed!

Nick was in charge of research and found some great YouTube instructions.  We planned to purchase our rocket after Vaughan's dental appointment yesterday.  Our first-choice rocket shop was a long drive from the dentist, so fortunately Nick read quite a few reviews prior to heading over.  The feedback was so poor that we decided to shop elsewhere.  We found a hobby shop a short distance from the surgery.  Once there we were impressed by the available range - and the helpfulness of the staff member who assisted us. 

After much discussion and comparison of kits, we now have two rockets and all the necessary equipment for six launches.  You could say we're just about ready for blast-off?!

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Vaughan and I made something this afternoon.  It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. 

During our Sydney Distance Education Primary School stint, we had access to a commercially-made geo-board.  I don't remember using it for maths but it was something that provided a lot of amusement - and it was a great travel activity.  All the DIY versions I've seen rely on someone who can wield a hammer.  Properly! I am definitely not that person.  I struggle to hammer a nail straight and the thought of having to line up so many nails rendered the project far too hard! 

I had a random thought earlier today as I glanced at some push-pins.  We had plenty of cardboard boxes on hand and so our geo-cardboard was started.  There are five layers of cardboard, sandwiched together with craft glue.  Although I initially marked 1cm intervals onto the top of the cardboard stack, a 2cm grid seemed a better distance for the pins.  Vaughan assisted to put them in place and then did some preliminary testing.

We have hundreds of elastic bands and the plastic case was once used to hold Vaughan's kindergarten reading books.  The board is a smidge too high for the case but the lid still shuts with gentle assistance.  Not bad for items that were otherwise unused, eh?!

Kitting out the kit!

My friend Naomi has just bought a camper trailer - and it's a great one!  She's currently scheming for her first adventure a bit later in the year.  We email often and last night she asked about first-aid kits which prompted me to check ours, such as it is!

It's a good thing the kit has a list of inclusions.  I ticked off what was there, rounded up some replacement safety pins and added a few items leftover from another kit.  It's now safely stowed back under the driver's seat, along with a first-aid manual (though there are a couple of quick-reference leaflets inside the kit).

As I was re-packing our small kit, I was reminded of another friend and her partner who also enjoy camping.  She is an ambulance officer and he a registered nurse.  From her description I envisaged their first-aid kit as a magnificent two-door cupboard installation in their 4WD with provisions to cover every conceivable emergency!


Elmer has quite a deep compartment between the front seats.  I re-packed it this morning, to check all was as it should be for our on-the-road adventuring.

Motion sickness medication has a high-priority as most of us suffer to some degree.  I'm OK as long as I don't read in the car, which was always interesting in the pre-GPS days!  Erin generally takes the ginger tablets prior to travel and occasionally Vaughan will ask for one of the homeopathic lollypops.  (If Nissa is with us, she prefers Kwells which is what I was always given as a child, smashed up in a teaspoon of honey)!

The quality of rest-stop facilities varies widely and we always carry loo paper, soap and hand sanitiser with us.  Used soaps are stored in a small plastic container that my hair-ties were packaged in.  I've very recently remembered to include a small hand-towel (once owned by my Granny)!

I was thinking about toilet paper this morning.  As you do.  I remembered Mum sending me a couple of printed squares in one of her letters, while I was an exchange student in Kenya.  My first host family already considered me an oddity because I used loo paper but my reputation for oddness increased after that letter.  I'm not sure which aspect caused the most amusement - the fact that my mother had sent toilet paper or that we would buy it printed with little yellow ducks! 

Ant-icipated reference book?!

My reference library didn't have an insect book - until now! 

As part of her captive animal studies, Erin volunteers at Museum Victoria.  (Yes, the museum does keep live animals)!  We met some of her lovely work colleagues at the end-of-year Christmas party but didn't think to ask about bug-books. 

On Wednesday Erin sought advice from one of the entomologists - who is also a fine BBQ-chef and maker of eggnog - and he recommended the field guide at right. (He made a second recommendation also but I haven't yet been able to source the two-volume set).

Always keen for a bargain, I sourced the best price online.  eBay had a listing for $30.99 (including postage) but the delivery time didn't leave much margin for delay.  However, I could buy directly from the seller's website, for $26.99, with guaranteed fast delivery.  (Hah!  I've checked just now and in the space of five days, the price has increased to $27.89)!

I ordered the book well after business hours on Wednesday night and received the parcel pick-up notice on Friday - so was well pleased with the prompt service and despatch.  I collected my new bug-book yesterday, with Erin and Vaughan in tow. Vaughan very quickly claimed our latest guide and was happily flicking through pages on the way home, commenting about which insects we had seen and what we might see while in Yowah this trip. 

Erin's museum colleagues have asked us to photograph anything "cool" - and we might be asked to post some specimens back to them! 

Saturday, 15 February 2014


I've been gathering quite a collection of activities for our trip. It occurred to me this afternoon that I should test how it would all fit (and be accessible) during the journey.

We sometimes use these magazine holders to organise our library books.  The system isn't all that effective so I've recruited them as book-holders for the car.  They wedge nicely between the seat and the door and the books can be easily retrieved, even when the doors are shut. 

Vaughan's Kindle has been found and is again housed in the custom-cover my mum made.  I've loaded quite a few free titles onto the reader - and organised them into "collections" that should make browsing easier.  (The Kindle will sit comfortably in with a few of Vaughan's "real" books).

The purple bag is hanging on Vaughan's side.  It holds our two "I spy - treasure bottles".  They generally come away on our longer trips, though are usually housed in one of Vaughan's lizard bags (currently MIA).

I'm still thinking about the clip-on drink holders. They seemed a good idea at the time of purchase but not many cups/bottles actually fit!

We don't use these small drink bottles much, as we prefer our  larger 500ml stainless steel versions. Vaughan takes one of those to school, filled with long ice-cubes and chilled water. A week or so ago I discovered that a wetsuit stubbie holder fits nicely around the bottom of the metal bottle.  I was pondering how to insulate the top half when I discovered another style of stubbie holder that doesn't have a base. The two stubbie-holders work together, keeping the bottle contents cool and preventing condensation. (The top holder has been turned inside-out as I didn't think beer advertising was suitable for school)! 

Stubbie holders are something we pick up at op-shops, very cheaply.  We aren't big drinkers, so don't actually use them for canned beer or soft drink but find they are great for protecting glass bottles/jars when packing our foodstuffs for camping.

Back-tracking ...

It looks like my back stretches and gold stars will be even more important while we are away.  I was advised this morning that there is no longer a chiropractic clinic at Charleville.  As an alternative, I could go to Roma - if I was keen to travel 600+km each way!

Our health insurer, NIB, has launched a new healthcare provider search facility - I just checked and the closest chiropractors to Cunnamulla are at either Roma or Broken Hill!

Stringing out the trip ...

I mentioned that it is a long drive to Yowah. Last night Nick printed a series of maps and photo directions, breaking the journey into smaller stages. 

I put the pages into a display folder today, using tab dividers to arrange them into rest-stop sequence.  The first (yellow) tab reads:  "Day 1 - Breakfast, Home to Deniliquin".  There are two other tabs for our first day - one for lunch and the other for our overnight camp. I used the remaining two tabs for our second day, one for travel until lunch-time and the other for the afternoon trip into Yowah.

Vaughan will be the keeper of this map folder and might enjoy following the photo directions as we travel.  (Nick and I will have a more basic version of the same maps in the front with us). 

I plan to reinstate a string along the cargo barrier, so Vaughan can move a mini-Elmer to represent our progress.  (Now that Elmer has Victorian plates, I'll need to update his mini-version)!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sprouting ideas ...

On our 2010/11 visit to Yowah, we made good use of the few remaining productive plants in Louie's garden. 

Nick rang Louie last week to confirm arrangements and chat generally.  Even so, we're unsure whether there'll be a garden this visit. 

There's no shortage of water, so I'll try to get some advanced plants from Cunnamulla on the way through but have been pondering alternatives - as even advanced seedlings may not be immediately productive (and I'm not really an expert gardener)!

We purchased the seed sprouter (top right) for a few dollars from an op-shop but haven't yet used it.  I looked for sprouting seeds in Bunnings this week.  Our local store had Mr Fothergills Kitchen Seed Sprouters available for $19.95.  Interestingly the recommended Mr Fothergills sprouting seeds were not stocked!

I bought cress and watercress from the non-sprouting range.  According to the packet we should be able to grow watercress in a saucer of water, so that might be a good experiment to try with Vaughan.  In fact all the seed sprouting will be very much experimental because it seems most seeds have an optimum temperature range for sprouting. Yowah's temperatures are a lot higher, so success may be limited.

My sprouting seeds arrived today.  I ordered them from Sprout Organic on Tuesday night, so am very happy to have received them so quickly. 

While in Bunnings I found a packet of microgreens seeds.  I then looked at the branded Mr Fothergill’s Microgreens Growing Tray.  I thought two would provide a better growing area but baulked a little at paying $20.00, so instead bought a Saxon Mini Green House for $8.98.  I'll take out the seed tray and replace it with some mesh. 

At first I didn't think the lid would be necessary but later remembered the many frogs in the shack - understandably I'd be happier if they didn't take up residence in my microgreens garden, so will use the lid as a frog-fence!