Sailing into Autumn

Can you believe that it has taken me over two months to do this post? Shame on me!

We went on holiday with some friends a few weeks back … sailing in the Whitsunday Islands, something that I have longed to do for years. For those that don’t know, the Whitsunday Islands are located in tropical Northern Queensland, Australia.

Do you enjoy snorkelling? I used to enjoy it lot more than I do now, truth is I have become a wuss! Admittedly there are a few nasties lurking in those tepid Queensland waters  … and as we just happened to be swimming at the end of ‘stinger season’ (box jellyfish), it was advised that one should wear a stinger suit. I had done my research on these, although I had no idea that the full length, black, spandex suit, is not only particularly hard to haul on but is hot and feels much like being in a sauna! As it happens, I had bare skin showing down by my flippers, couldn’t see as the water was murky, and was sure that something unknown had me on its radar. What did I do?  I spent that particular snorkel watching others from the safety of the rubber dinghy.

The good news is I didn’t see any jellyfish (thank heavens), although while on an excursion to view an old aboriginal cave dwelling, I had the misfortune to see a snake at close range. Did I holler? Of course I did!

Although only a brief sojourn, it was spent with some super friends aboard a Leopard Catamaran. We savoured some delicious cuisine (thanks Christian), some nice Aussie vino and while the sailing was limited due to the weather, we enjoyed beautiful scenery, some snorkelling and walks on pristine beaches. I even got used to the no ‘hairdryer’ and limited shower status … LOL

Whitehaven beach

Back at Frog Pond Farm we now have a new resident. I would never have dreamed that a 5 yr old sheep called Mookie complete with tail, attitude and a penchant for being hand fed sheep nuts, could be so much fun.

Mookie …

I loathe talking bad weather, but I have to say that last week we experienced a particularly bad storm which surprised us with its severity. So when it slammed into Frog Pond Farm with ferocious winds and heavy rain, we knew it was going to be a storm to remember.

Hubby had just managed to finish cooking his roast chook (no not one of ours) when the power flickered and went out, leaving us suddenly in darkness. At the time I was surprised to hear him berate the fact that we were devoid of gravy, I couldn’t help but wonder at the significance of this as the wind slammed into the house, sounding much like it was endeavouring to prise off our roof.

The next morning roof intact, we ventured outdoors to access the damage. The chook paddock was littered with branches and leaves, we were now minus several pine trees, but thankfully the chickens and our three sheep were all ok!

My summer veg garden which is in dire need of removing and replanting didn’t fare too badly considering. Cosmos and zinnias are now sporting some interesting new hair dos, beans are hanging forlornly from the trellis – I won’t mention the state of the few remaining corn plants.

We were incredibly lucky as it happened, only losing power for 30 hours, given others weren’t so lucky, many being without power for days. Then there were those, that lost roofs and had trees that smashed into buildings and fences. Nature can be so destructive.

Muriwai beach – iPhone

Did I mention I am still preserving? Well dear readers … it’s time to fill the kitchen with those wondrous chilli fumes, enough of holidays, storms and garden mayhem.

And of course, you do know my sign off – Happy Gardening

96 thoughts

  1. Stunning… such beautiful landscape! Hi, glad you enjoyed your holidays and great to share your lovely photos and write, Julie! Welcome back… nice to be pampered too 😉 😃

  2. Hi Julie and Andrew. Well My knowledge of Queensland this time of the year hasn’t been very good for years. Anyway photos very much up to the usual standard. Love sea shots , lucky the brown snake didn’t bite you. As it would have been its last bite!! Just kidding! A new sheep at last. So now maybe we can have home reared lamb at last? Anyway keep the preserving going. I must say me not being there this year has realy motivated you.the pair of you have done very well. I think summer has finally arrived in the U K . But I have missed spring. Haven’t seen my garden for three months now. So missed seeing the daffs and blue bells at this time of the year. Lots of love to you both. Bill xxxxx
    PS to all my friends who read the reply’s I’m progressing now and getting about without any aid. Thank you all for your good wishes. Bill.

    • Hi Bill, I don’t know you personally but have heard so many good things about you. So glad you’re feeling better, hope you’ll be back to your old self soon and back to the garden. There’ll be daffs and bluebells again next spring 🙂

    • Mr Bonner lovely to hear from you! And pleased that you enjoyed the pics. Ha ha .. that snake wouldn’t have been able to catch me. Trust me I had my running shoes on! No no, we raised Mookie if you recall .. but she lived at Vicks. So lovely having her here, she has sparked up the old girls. Yep still going with the preserving, just chillies now and some huge quince (must take a pic). I bet you have missed your garden. Hope you read Annette’s comment .. so lovely 😀 Hugs

      • Shame about the gravy! But Andrew get some ice cube bags make up a batch of gravy and freeze. Then when you have power cut put some cubes into a saucepan,light up the barbecue! Then instant gravy!! About my garden the neighbours have said they will look after it. I still think it’s about time we had home grown lamb?? You grow enough mint to disguise the age of the sheep?
        Well with the storm you will have firewood for a few years to come? Once again love to you both. And give my love to the Bourke’s.Bill. xxxx

  3. Hi Julie, you know I’ve been meaning to ask about that trip! No wonder it has been so quiet here. You’ve brought back some glorious images, bravo. I’d love to visit those islands and Australia in general for that matter but probably not on board a boat. 😉 Rather with a small plane, Monsieur would love that no doubt. Those beaches look fab. Wonder if there are sharks too? Sorry to learn about the storm damage but as you say it could have been worse. We’re no strangers to storms having lived in the West of Ireland where we often lay awake at night, mentally holding on to our roof! A warm welcome to Mookie. Wishing you gentle, sunny autumn days! We seem to haven fallen straight into summer after a long winter. Big hug, Annette

    • Hello Miss always love hearing from you. Oh dear sounds like you don’t like sailing? Mind you, the small plane with Monsieur sounds like fun. One beach in particular was absolutely stunning .. I did see a reef shark at night with a torch (can you believe that!) I was so pleased that I wasn’t in the water at the time, although I have been told they are harmless. Ah storms! That one was a nasty … surprised I slept at all I can imagine you are no stranger to them either – oh dear I can imagine mentally holding on the roof too! Gentle spring days with colour and cheer to you lovely lady .. Hugs

      • I was swimming with reef and lemon sharks in the Seychelles, Julie, still amazed about it 😉 but they didn’t eat me, thankfully, strange feeling when they rush past you!

  4. Hi Julie and Andrew, Sorry to hear you had damage to the property. Does that mean plenty of firewood for the winter? Your property, garden and animals are amazing not to mention Andrew’s famous chicken and lack of power! I seem to remember s similar scenario – Maybe it’s his cooking causing it🤣. Keep up the amazing photography. You certainly live in paradise! xxx

    • Hey Claire .. trust me waking up in the morning and seeing the debris everywhere was a tad distressing! And yes, more firewood … Ha ha ha, his cooking causing it – shame on you! LOL Thanks so much for your comment, I think we live in paradise too!

  5. You definitely scored better weather in North Queensland than I did on my 3 visits to Cairns this year. But, then again, nothing I experienced in Cairns was as awful as what hit you in the North Island. Hope everything is coming right now. Mookie looks very content with life.

    • Hello Miss … oh yes, we copped it last week! Worst storm yet here, but all safe and sound … Sorry to hear you had bad weather in Cairns, I haven’t been there in years. We were fortunate with most of the weather in the Whitsundays (I didn’t take any pics of the rain .. 🙂 ) Mookie is absolutely gorgeous! Great to see you at Frog Pond

  6. Oh how these pictures had me sighing and just yearning. Gorgeous, Julie! I wouldn’t have come back from that adventure. Don’t you think you have enough critters? LOL A sheep now? And I thought I was the only one who has a big “herd”. You’ve been missed and I am glad to see you back! Happy canning and all that! And thank you for these wondrous pictures that I just stared at and then some. Ahhhhhhhhh …… 🌹

    • Hi Amy thanks for stopping by 😀 It was an adventure indeed, lovely way to spend a few days. Yes a new sheep! We helped raise her as a lamb and as my neighbour was relocating to Australia, she moved over the fence to Frog Pond. She has given the older 2 sheep a new lease on life! Oh how nice to be missed, thank you. It’s great being back!

  7. Beautiful pictures as always. I’m looking forward to joining those slothful feet on the beach in North Qld in a couple of days. Sheep are greatly underestimated. Their facial recognition skills are not too far behind ours. Perhaps one day they can be trained to replace immigration officials or their software, although it could be a race between them and the digital platforms at Facebook and Google.

    • Ah sounds like a holiday! Perfect … I’m looking forward to seeing your photos. Sheep sure are greatly underestimated … I had no idea about their facial recognition all I know is they will baa when I call their names! LOL

  8. Well, dear girl, it was about time you posted. I nearly sent out an all-points bulletin, in search of you!
    First, sorry about the scary storm — Nature is grand, and sometimes ferocious — and I’m glad you two and the menagerie are all well, despite the loss of the trees.
    And thanks for the lovely photos of the vacation spots.
    And of Mookie! Welcome, Mookie!

    • Hello Cynthia, how nice to be missed 😀 Yes we could have done without that storm. I recall at the time, praying for it to stop .. Nature sure is grand but can be so ferocious, especially living on a hill. Glad you enjoyed the pics .. You would adore Mookie!

  9. Your photos are so wonderful. Made me wish I were walking on white sand beaches again. Feeling the sun on my skin and the water at my toes. I love your new sheep, sheep are ever the clever company. I grew up raising sheep and adore them. As for that storm….I am SO glad your buildings made it through and all your animals. That is very good.

    • Hey Miss Linda … thank you. It was fun and so relaxing getting away. Oh you would adore Mookie – she is such a character. She is incredibly clever and bounces around the paddock like a youngster. This make me laugh like mad! We were so lucky with the storm, others certainly didn’t fare as well, a neighbour lost the roof of her barn, while numerous trees flattened fences. Today the sun is shining! yay ..

    • Hi Anne, the Whitsundays were fabulous – hot! And yes that storm was a nasty, super destructive, caught us unawares. You are so right, I’m behind with my planting otherwise my winter veg would have been in trouble!

  10. The diversity of blues… I’m sure great painters (specially with watercolors) have to be in that intense Australian beach. Congratulations to the new resident, I think we your whole readership would want to be in the place of Mookie. Thank you, Julie. ^-^

  11. After Irwin, I don’t blame you for being cautious of entering the waters; lots of stingy things swimming around! Glad the storm passed you by with minimal damage. 🙂

  12. What a beautiful place for sailing! I would love the snorkeling. I used to do a lot of skin and scuba diving when I lived on the Atlantic coast and I do miss the ocean..

    • Oh it was such a great place for sailing! You would no doubt enjoy the snorkelling – I couldn’t imagine doing the scuba diving (I’m such a wuss), but it must have been loads of fun. Thanks for stopping by …

  13. Seriously, if I’d been chilling and sunning on a catamaran on the Whitsundays, I think it would be several months before I started posting again. I’d be too relaxed to care. 🙂
    You didn’t go snorkelling because you had bare ankles? No words. But it sounds like you had a great time anyway.
    I think I heard your snake scream here in Sydney. 🙂 I hope someone rescued you.
    It sounds like your garden needs some serious work. But of course, you’re still chilled from that holiday. You should hire someone to do the work. 🙂
    No gravy for the chicken, during a blackout in the middle of a severe storm? I think your hubby has his priorities correct.
    Great to see you “active” again. I hope all’s well.

    • Hey Mr Draco … ha ha I read your comment about the bare ankles and had a really good laugh! Sounds ridiculous .. but so true! LOL I sure did scream, squeal whatever it was. It never ceases to amaze me what is meant to be accomplished by these noises! The garden is out of control – truly! Much to do, always is. Great to see you at Frog Pond … 😀

  14. Stunning images, Julie. What a fantastic trip. I like sailing so much. Now since we have the lake just outside our door… may be. Like the first image most. But the images of the boat are awesome too. What a great lunch time. It is warm outside, sunshine, I sit on my balcony enjoying the view and reading your post. Happy days and a wonderful weekend to you. Smiles. Reinhold

    • Hi Reinhold .. It was a great trip, balmy weather. I had a feeling that you would like sailing 🙂 Something to do with that lake in such close proximity .. That image you like was taken with my iPhone and processed in Snapseed. Those phones never cease to amaze me. How lovely to be on that balcony Reinhold. Wonderful! Big smiles right back at you, always super seeing you here.

  15. My goodness. . . what a beautiful getaway! It looks stunning. I am glad to hear the storm blew through without too much damage (lack of gravy aside). Mookie looks happy with the run of the yard. Fall is a wonderful time of year. Here, I’m looking at the little spindly plants I’ve started indoors and wondering if they will amount to anything. Keep up the preserving. Nothing tastes better in winter. All the best to you and Andrew.
    PS Check out I needed a new place to announce the coming Spring and record Bishop’s drunken belligerency.

    • Bob! I’m so pleased you are back in the blogging world again. Fantastic! I missed you … Looking forward to catching up on your posts 🙂 Yes the getaway was beautiful – the sunsets were out of this world. The storm was a horror – but I did laugh at Andrew’s gravy comment. Fall is such a pretty time of year, but this one is so different – at times it feels like winter. Shame … Those spindly plants will come good for sure .. I still haven’t planted my winter veg! Way behind. You are so right, nothing tastes better in winter than home preserves. Happy gardening!

  16. I suppose you have an excuse then Julie, since you’ve been off sailing in the whitsundays and rewarded us with your stunning photos of that lovely warm sea. It’s funny but I am with you with regard to snorkling. I use to do it all the time, especially diving for seafood but have lately lost my nerve. And hairdryer? Didn’t you know that people pay for product to look like they’ve been to the beach?
    On your home front, I hope the garden has recovered from the storm. That cosmos Daisy photo is fabulous.

    • Hello Miss. Not much of an excuse is it! LOL … It’s funny isn’t it, how we change as we get older. I’m such a wuss now … Mind you it was stinger season! Laughed when I read your comment about the hairdryer 😀 The garden is ok after the storm, gave everything a bit of a ‘shake up’. Glad you liked that pic … always super seeing you here

  17. It is amazing to read you are heading into fall. WE cannot wait for spring to start, and we had also a very bad storm which was ice storm and we had snow all April practically. This is the first day of spring, very very late this year. You will be preserving, I cannot wait to plant something. I love spring and not that much fall. Well, your winters are nothing like these here, so, you’re probably ok. Your beaches look really fantastic. I cannot imagine how wonderful it must feel over there. Take care, Julia! Such a nice place you have!

    • Hi sorry to hear about your delayed spring and the bad storm. Our autumn is nothing like it usually is … winter is certainly knocking on the door. Yes I’m still preserving .. just the chillies now. How exciting that you will be planting. I’m way behind, I haven’t planted our winter veg yet! Glad you enjoyed the beach images. Thank you! So nice to see you here

  18. Well hat a summer you’ve had, full of adventures. It’s good to know that Frog Pond Manor kept it’s hat on and all’s well. I can’t imagine why you didn’t like the ‘painted on’ black lycra number, I’m sure it was very fetching. Lovely beaches but nothing would get me swimming! Lovely to see you as always Julie

  19. “Good things come to those who wait…” so the two months it took for you to write up this post was certainly worth it 🙂 Great photos and scenes, and what an incredible high it must have been – nothing quite like sailing and all it brings. Not a better way to head into the autumn, enjoy the weekend.

  20. You impressions are breathtakingly beautiful, Julie. What a trip! Glad to see you back. I’d love to have a sheep, give Mookie a pat from me.. <3
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend. x

  21. so beautiful Julie…lovely spaces and I can feel the warmth…Happy Gardening…yes that’s what’s starting here now in etown hooray…although I know we’ll still get snow…thank you for sharing ~ smiles hedy ☺️💫☀️❤️

      • My pleasure Julie. Yes, it is probably a blessing for you guys. 🙂
        And a long way for us. 30 hours or so. Will plan a trip some day though.
        Take care

      • I know, I know. My only problem is I have a bad back, and long plane hours are murder. But then we did fly 30 hours to Asia last December, and it was bearable. So it puts the Land of Oz back on the table. 🙂
        Take care Julie.

      • Long plane rides sure are wicked .. perhaps you should consider breaking up a long journey, country hopping! Of course then you would have to visit New Zealand 😃

      • I wouldn’t mind NZ. 🙂 But from where we are (Mexico) it means hopping north to LA or Vancouver, and then Canton is 18hours away. I will have to look seriously into it.
        Cheers Julie

  22. Those Whitsunday beaches are to drool over – I can’t believe the colors of ocean and sky….so beautiful! What a wonderful trip. And you have every right to complain about that storm, as well as to be grateful it wasn’t worse. Glad everything’s OK!

  23. This is the time of the year that you must come to Delhi. The temperature will touch 43 Celsius in a week, and you will be able to bake cakes on the roof of your car!

  24. What a pleasure to read this post Julie! The last photo with the purple flowers and bokeh is beautiful. Your new animal friend sounds cute 😊🐑 I’ve been sailing in the Whitsundays once, so beautiful isn’t it?! Those jellyfish do scare me though! I remember wearing a long sleeved tshirt but I don’t know if it would’ve helped much…

  25. Lucky you with fair weather for sailing and a storm on land. My hubby is a sailor but I am a wuss on going to sea. I dread a storm! We had some pretty strong ones just recently so hope your Autumn and Winter brings you calmer if cooler weather.

    • I’m a bit of a wuss at sea too … I’m a fine weather sailor, no doubt about it! We have had some superb weather the last few days as we zoom into winter. Great to see you here … enjoy your summer

  26. Lovely photos, lovely holiday. I can say you could have done without that welcome home storm from mother nature though. Glad you didn’t receive worse damage.

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