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#6 Campfire Cooking

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #OddSquare.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Goomburra Valley, February 2021

You can’t go camping and not have a camp fire. This fire pit, with a large tyre rim keeping the flames enclosed, does the job perfectly. But what are those strange arms sticking out on the side?

Hang your billy or cooking pot on one, swing it round over the hot coals and let the fire do its job. Dinner coming right up!

#5 On the Lookout

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #OddSquare.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Goomburra Valley, February 2021

One cheeky kookaburra decided his new favourite spot was the end of our caravan awning. He came every morning, perhaps in search of a tasty morsel or two at the camp breakfast table. If that’s what he was thinking, he would have been disappointed!

#4 Waterfront Views

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #OddSquare.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Goomburra Valley QLD, February 2021

Camping is always better with a waterfront site and, at Goomburra Valley Campground, every site has a stunning view of Dalrymple Creek.

We camped here for five days in February and Dalrymple Creek lived up to our expectations.

It was beautiful early in the morning,

later in the afternoon

and especially in the evenings, when the creek mirrored the sky at sunset.

Wildflowers and History #6

Gurulmundi State Forest

We saw many different trees on our drive through the forest – none more striking than the grass trees. At almost all of our stops we found them growing in clusters by the side of the road.

It wasn’t surprising to see grass trees flourishing in this environment, as they prefer dry conditions and poor quality soil. We were surprised though, and excited, to see one grass tree in flower.

Grass trees are very slow growing. They can live for centuries and take up to 20 years to produce their first flower spike. They do not flower every year and often need the stimulation of a bush fire to encourage growth and flowering. While there was no evidence of a recent fire around this grass tree, its flower spike had matured beautifully.

The tiny flowers of the grass tree grow up the spike in a spiral pattern and, laden with rich sweet nectar, they’re a tasty treat for native birds and insects.

Indigenous peoples also knew the value of the flowers, harvesting them to make a sweet refreshing drink. We weren’t tempted to copy them – we were happy to leave this amazing flower spike to the butterflies.

Wildflowers and History #5

Gurulmundi State Forest

After driving for 47 kilometres, we finally arrived at the turn off to Wildflower Road. We’d already found plenty of wildflowers and were hoping to see more.

At first the road passed through open eucalypt forest. In the days before this area was a state forest, timber mills processed cypress pine, ironbark and spotted gum for use on railways and bridges. With the timber cutters long gone the trees now grow undisturbed, surrounded by Mauve Kunzia and Firebush shrubs.

A few kilometres further on the landscape changed, with the forest giving way to a vast expanse of leptospermum bushes, commonly known as tea tree. Although most of the plants had finished flowering, a few bushes were still covered in clusters of waxy white blooms.

For several kilometres we drove beside the Dingo Fence. Built in the 1880s, the 5,614 km fence still protects livestock from wild dog attacks.

A gate marked the boundary of the state forest and the end of Wildflower Road. As always, we made sure to close the gate behind us. We wouldn’t see any more flowers on this day, but there were a few historical sites still to come.

Wildflowers and History #4

Gurulmundi State Forest

I have a namesake – a baby girl born many years ago whose parents liked me and my name. Until we did the Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour, I never knew I also have a floral namesake.

At several sites along the track we came across these information boards, identifying the most common wildflowers.

Even though the signs had suffered from harsh weather conditions the words were still legible.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this plant on the board.

We didn’t have to search long to find the correct tree.

Up close, the long golden flower spikes were beautiful.

I wonder how many people have a person and a plant named for them.

Do you have a namesake?

Wildflowers and History #3

Gurulmundi State Forest

At the 42 km mark of our day trip we came across rusted relics of the past on the side of the road.

The Conloi No. 1 bore and the tank used for storing crude oil pumped from the Surat/Bowen Basin were long ago abandoned, left to decay by the side of the road.

At first glance it seemed there were no wildflowers growing in this parched landscape. But a closer inspection revealed more beautiful blooms growing in the stony soil.

Some were tiny – no bigger than a thumbnail.

The clear blue sky made the perfect backdrop for these scarlet grevilleas.

And way overhead, tufted white blossoms in the highest branches of the gum trees glittered in the glaring midday sun.

Wildflowers and History #2

Gurulmundi State Forest

If there hadn’t been an information sign we would have passed by Gurulmundi without even realising it was there.

A section of disused track and a raised bank where the platform once stood are all that remain of the railway siding on the line between Miles and Wandoan. Nothing is left to show where the tennis courts and state school, which closed in 1965, were located.

The hall looked derelict, although the sign told us it’s still used for country dances.

It was fortunate that we spotted the sign and stopped to look. There may not have been much left of Gurulmundi but we did find more pretty wildflowers by the side of the road.

Wildflowers and History #1

Gurulmundi State Forest

The self drive trail through Gurulmundi State Forest was described as a wildflower tour but, according to the brochure, there were historic sites along the route as well. We added plans for a day trip through the forest to our Miles itinerary; after plentiful rainfall in spring the native flowering plants would surely be in bloom and a history lesson is always interesting.

We headed out of town on the bridge over Dogwood Creek and turned north onto the Leichhardt Highway. We passed the site of the old Dalwogan railway siding, now in the Miles Historical Village, and crossed, for the first of several times, the Dingo Barrier Fence.

The sign at the Gurulmundi turnoff pointed the way ahead.

After 30 kilometres we stopped at L Tree Creek, named after the trees marked by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844. We couldn’t find any of Leichhardt’s trees but we did spot some bright red flowers along the creek bank – our first wildflower sighting!

Up the hill away from the creek we found more. The crimson blooms of hundreds of kalanchoe plants dotted the landscape, from the edge of the road far off into the bush.

A little further on crimson was replaced by gold. Spiky shrubs, their branches crowned with clusters of tiny yellow flowers, flourished in the stony soil on both sides of the road.

We hadn’t yet entered the state forest and already we’d found some beauties and our first historic site. With 13,000 hectares of forest still to explore we were confident there would be more.

31 ln the Bush

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Gurulmundi State Forest

We’re back where we started, joining the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition in 1844.

L-Tree Creek is named for the markings left on some of the trees by the expedition party when they camped here. We looked for marked trees without success. We didn’t put in too much effort – it was a hot day and we didn’t want to walk through the bush and risk coming across a snake.

The explorer’s life is not for me!