Saturday, 25 October 2014

129 years of the North Coast National

Every year the North Coast celebrates its agricultural roots with a series of shows across the region.  The largest of them is the North Coast National, or the ‘Lismore Show’, as it’s better known to the locals. 

The shows are steeped in history, and were originally established to promote the local district and the agriculture industries operating there.  They were an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate the successes of the season, socialise and connect.  
Most of the North Coast shows have been running for over a hundred years, with the North Coast National celebrating its 129th birthday this year. 

To think how much our region has changed since 1865!  Agriculture is still the main contributor to the local economy, but much more diverse than the traditional beef, sheep, wheat and cotton.  Our communities are more diverse as well, but still share a common love of the country life.
And that was the theme of this year’s North Coast National, “Celebrating Country Life”.

We attended the Lismore Show last Friday and had a wonderful time.  A great mix of traditional show displays and exhibitions and features that celebrate the region today. 

Our first stop was the poultry pavilion.
 
We said hello to all the chickens and ducks, and checked out the crowned Champions.

 We really enjoyed walking up and down the aisles looking at all the different breeds.
 
 
At one point Bella and l may have got down on our knees and begged Dan for some ducklings. We're subtle l know!
 
 

And it wouldn't be the Northern Rivers without some anti coal seam gas action.  This display is from my favourite group the Knitting Nannas ! They go to protests and sit around and knit, love it. 

And then we headed straight to the baby farm animals.
 
We then asked Dan for a baby goat or sheep, we didn't mind which one.  I may have even asked the lady in charge "how much for number 25". 
 
She was in her element.  Was so calm and gentle with each animal, and they loved her back in return. 
 
She's developing such an amazing connection with animals, it will be interesting to see what comes of this.
 
And there were cows and milking displays. 

And of course, because we're in Australia at our show you'll also find a crocodile.
 
 Which you can touch, if you want to.
 
And snakes, again touching is optional. The snakes and crocodile were part of a reptile show.
 
 And then a stroll through side show alley.
 
 
"Every child's a winner"
 
 Couldn't go past the clowns, love the clowns.
 
 
 And then on to the rodeo. This was my first time to ever watch a rodeo, l was surprised at how fun it was.
 
First up were the juniors on the poddy calves. 
 
 
To me the stars of the show were the clowns, especially this one.  Oh my word, do they earn their money!
 

No show experience is complete without a showbag, but which one to pick? 



As the sun went down, the show came alive with bright lights and noise. 
 
 And was capped off with a fireworks display.
 
 Till next year North Coast National.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.


The Silky Oaks (Grevillia robusta) have blossomed

It's been a little hard to miss all the Silky Oaks lately. They've blossomed en masse across the landscape, so the horizon is dotted with these glorious yellow trees.

 
Although commonly called an oak, it's not closely related to true oaks but is in fact the largest species of Grevillia in Australia.  Grevillia's are a really common plant in Australia, and are sold commercially as garden plants.  They're really well known, and typically have bottlebrush type blooms which are made up of individual flowers along a long stem.

Here on the North Coast, the Silky Oak is a remnant species from when most of the landscape was covered with wet and dry rainforest.  There they stand on the hillsides and along waterways, almost like historical markers of what once was.  I guess for me, that's why l feel like they have real spirit.  Like the trees in Narnia, that are alive and can see and feel.  They remind me of old men who can retell tales of yesterday.

 
 
We're lucky enough to have four Silky Oaks on our new property, and it's been a real joy watching them shed their leaves and burst into colour.
 
Apart from being a beautiful tree, they are also a really important food source for our nectar and pollen feeders. So during the day our trees are full of lorikeets and at night we're visited by beautiful flying foxes.  Nothing could say 'North Coast' more than this.
 
Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.  

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

15 on the 15th - October, 2014

15 photos of my day on the 15th of the month

 
On the 15th of every month l share 15 photos of my day. It's a great, easy-to-achieve memory keeping/photography prompt, which encourages you to take a fresh look at everyday life.  At first you might wonder what on earth you will photograph, but as you snap away something really marvellous happens. 
 
The process of recording, reflecting and sharing moments of your day is a an opportunity to see your everyday life in a new light. You see the beauty and the goodness and all that you have to be grateful for.     
 
I first started taking 15 on the 15th mid-last year and like most projects that elevate the everyday, have found it really rewarding.  You can see  my photos from previous months here.
 
The 15th of October was a Wednesday, another normal weekday where Dan and l went to work and Bella went to school.  So a day filled with everyday activities, nothing out of the ordinary, but plenty to be thankful for.     



 
We awoke this morning to discover a letter from the tooth fairy.

 
And here she can sit for up to an hour in the morning, ever so slowly eating her breakfast!
 
 
Meanwhile l'm downstairs feeding the animals and notice the light hitting my flower garden.  


And the early morning light in the trees.
 
 
And here are our chicks, four weeks old and definitely going through that awkward looking stage. 
 
 
These guys are always ready for breakfast. 
 


When Bella does finally finish her breakfast there is usually a little bit of time to watch tv before getting dressed. 
 


It always feels like a minor miracle to get out the door on time, but here we are in our school uniform with our bag packed.
 


After dropping Bella at school, l head here, my office.  This is where l spend the next seven hours.
 
 
And it's been a big day, check out all that highlighter.  That's what it looks like when you smash your to do list!
 

 
When l get home Bella was keen to fill me in on the latest with Secret Sisters. Secret Sisters is a little club the girls in Kindergarten have created.  Apparently they hold meetings in a quiet part of the school garden, and today they welcomed a new member.  So cool.  
 


Did l mention my husband is a butcher? 


Bella is almost six and a half, so that makes it time to create a new mark on the wall.
 

 
At the end of a busy day l get to put my feet up and watch some tv.  You can't go past David Attenborough.  
 
 
And because it's Wednesday, before l go to bed l check that this week's Reconnect with Nature post has gone live with no problems.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.
 
 
Bella's first school excursion

Last Friday was a very exciting day.  It was Bella’s first school excursion and they went somewhere very special.  Bella and her classmates were lucky enough to visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is just over an hour’s drive away to the north.  
Over the years, the Wildlife Sanctuary has become a special place for us.
It’s a zoo or park that contains only Australian native animals, and is the closest attraction of that type to us here on the North Coast.  So as a family we’ve visited it many times. I remember visiting there with Mum when Bella was just a toddler, and more recently we took my Aunt from Canada there so she could have her photo taken with a koala.
But more than a tourist attraction, Currumbin has cemented its place in our hearts for the work it does with sick and injured wildlife.  Many years ago the Sanctuary established a wildlife hospital, which would take in wild native animals that needed veterinary assistance.  The hospital does this at no charge to the people who bring sick or injured animals there, and their aim is to rehabilitate animals so they can return to the wild. 
Wildlife hospitals like this are few and far between in Australia, but they pave the way for the professional treatment and rehabilitation of native animals.
For me personally l have seen the advances that has occurred as a direct result of the hospital with our echidnas.  We started driving many of our injured echidnas up to Currumbin for specialist treatment around ten years ago.  How far we have come in that time is staggering.
So when Bella’s teacher called for parent volunteers, l immediately signed up.
To be able to visit Currumbin with Bella and her classmates, and share a little bit of how special this place is was a wonderful experience.  For many of the children there, the excursion was an opportunity to interact with animals they had never seen before.  Unlike one little girl, whose knowledge and passion for wildlife shone through, and made her mother proud.
 
 

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.  

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

River Cottage garden diary - improving the cottage flower bed

Things have progressed well with my cottage flower bed.

The first task was to decide what was going to stay, and what was headed to the compost heap. In the end l decided to keep the three clumps of yellow flowers (still not sure what they are), the three small native flower bushes (again, no idea) the five roses, and what l think is a type of lavender

Everything else went.

I read that late winter is the best time for pruning roses, so they all got a really good prune.  It was interesting pruning, l don't think l've ever done anything like it before. Everything l read suggested you could prune really hard, but l was still a little nervous.  Find an outward facing bud and cut! After the first couple of bushes l got the swing of it.

Once l had culled and pruned, it was time to get stuck into improving the soil. 

I did this gradually, probably over a 2-3 week period.

All up l added 4 bags of commercial compost and one bag of cow manure. And there was that 200 odd millimetres of rain that also fell during that period, l'm sure that helped!

But good gosh was it hard work incorporating it all.  The existing soil was hard and compacted, and this is where l think Dan enjoyed that l previously said l wanted to do this garden myself..... He was gracious enough to watch for a while, before lending a hand which by that stage l didn't say no to!

Think shovels, forks, even a large garden hoe.  Look at one stage l was on my hands and knees breaking clods with my hands, and working the compost in with a small garden trowel.  Hard work, but l really enjoyed getting my hands dirty.

By the end of the process you could notice an improvement in the soil.  What was hard and dry and compacted, was starting to give a little, and resembled a sort of crumbly chocolate cake mix.

Here's what the bed looked like at the end of August, about a month after l took these photos here. All ready for some new plants, and just in time for Spring.