The weather has warmed up and the flowers are blooming! Finally!!
Springtime in the Clare Valley is beautiful. The canola fields have just lost their yellow tinge, the buds on the trees are all out, the succulents & cactus flowers are blooming – it’s the best time of year!
We finished the reno on the Mintaro cottage and have returned to a friends farm north of Clare to organise a few things before moving on. We’ve been back in the Clare Valley since end of April this year. Now we have lived through the full four seasons! Yes, and this winter in Mintaro had to be the coldest we’ve experienced living in the van. Autumn & Spring the best.
I have posted some photos of the blooms around the farm area, the day out at the local Clare Show & general farm stuff! We also enjoyed Celebrating the 175th for Bungaree Station a couple of weeks ago (next post).
Clare Show – yard dogs
Clare Show – ute muster
Wisteria canopy (g8 for hayfever!)
Flowers on succulents
Jeda & mate smell sheep!
Moving the sheep up the driveway
Beautiful Wisteria flowers
Clare Show – jumping dogs
Don’t know, but it’s interesting!
Flowering cactus near our van
Pigface & resident bee
Citrus trees in flower
Clare Show – Shearing demo
Winter has definitely set in people!! Windy, cold & frosty. Whilst we were on our friends farm we did enjoy being surrounded by the new lambs and the changing colours of the trees.
Daily walking the dogs (hail, wind or shine) and watching the crops spring up, if ever so slowly due to lack of sufficient rain. Lots of kangaroos unfortunately eating those crops does not a happy farmer make!
Now we have moved ‘house’ and enjoying the difference in not just scenery but weather (only 1/2 hr away mind you) of Historic Mintaro…..
Dropping hay for hungry sheep & lambs
Some of the new lambs
Feeding the sheep & lambs
Spreading out hay bale
Jeda trying desperately to get through the gate
My stick not yours!
When you hear the words “experiencing the coldest start to winter since 1889” you tend to feel torn. ‘Wow, aren’t we lucky!?’ And, ‘no wonder I’ve got no feeling in my fingers & toes!’. Yep it’s been frosty for a week or so now. -3 degrees has been the worst so far….it was after 10am before the frost & fog lifted that day.
Our poor old Ford sits out in the frost each day wondering what hit it. Our tinnie is iced up (at least it might kill the mice). Living in a caravan in cold weather isn’t the greatest. Condensation is the main enemy. We have a diesel heater running mostly as well as the roof air heater. Our cattle dog Jeda loves it, she gets to sleep inside at the doorway, way better than outside.
We are staying on a friend’s farm near Clare. B is working nearby as well as helping out when needed here. I am the Domestic Goddess of Dog Whispering (at the moment), chook feeder & weeder/leaf sweeper! Those autumn leaves don’t pick themselves up!!
So a few more photos to show how our area of Southern Australia is enjoying? this winter….
In the paddock….
More frosty webs
Jeda gives stink eye cause she’s in the back of a ute!
Frost on the paddock weeds
Ice in the dog water bowl
John Horrocks Cottage circa 1839 first stone building north of Gawler
Succulents in the garden
Farm work in the paddock
Sunset on afternoon dog walk
Poor tinnie frosted up
Vineyard at Reilly’s @ Mintaro
Been a bit busy since last post so I apologise for that. We continued around the Eyre Peninsula visiting our favourite sites and campgrounds.
Haslam is one – south of Ceduna. A small fishing village where oysters are the main industry. There is a small campground with a nearby toilet, picnic area & water tap. A boat ramp too leads to a very rocky and weedy beach, but the jetty is great for fishermen.
Easter was approaching so we headed inland to Murphy’s Haystacks, a group of rock formations on private land and also a camp site. As luck would have it we had overcast days so the colours I was hoping for on the rocks didn’t happen. But we caught up with the property’s owner and had a good yak. He now sells local honey from the area.
Then on to the Minnipa area, to Tcharkuldu & Pildappa Rocks. Both have camping areas with drop toilets and picnic tables. A good workout to walk around and over! Quiet too, even on a long weekend!
Bad weather was looming so we decided to head to a Recreation Ground at Kimba to wait it out. Good thing too as we had heaps of rain and flash flooding. Kimba really goes all out to accommodate Travellers with camp areas at low-cost ($15 per night, no power but full amenities, honour system) and incentives to spend and enjoy their town. Kimba is halfway across Australia geographically.
As the weather wasn’t getting any better we decided to head straight to the Mid North region, to Port Augusta (for supplies) through Horrocks Pass and Melrose – beautiful areas. Along the way we stopped overnight at Goyder Line RA and Yacka Picnic Ground. Yacka is also a lovely town but seems to be dying since the pub closed. Volunteers and residents do their best to make the picnic grounds a lovely spot to stop for a night. Only $15 per night with power.
Now we are helping out on a farm in the Clare Valley that was our very first House Sit many years ago. It’s Autumn and the colours are just magnificent. Will post photos of the Valley in my next blog.
Sunrise over jetty at Haslam
Low tide at Haslam Jetty
Edward John Eyres sculptures at Kimba White Knob Lookout
Seen better days! Accommodation in Melrose
Unusual accommodation at Melrose
The North Star Hotel in Melrose
Rock formations at Murphy’s Haystacks
Rock formations, Murphy’s Haystacks
Aerial of Murphy’s Haystacks
Sunrise – Murphy’s Haystacks
Kimba – AH&F Society Mural near Rec Ground
Aerial of Pildappa Rock
Jeda on wander over Pildappa Rock
Early morning cardio workout over Pildappa Rock
View from Pildappa Rock picnic area
SA’s version of Wave Rock
North side of Pildappa Rock
Entering Horrock’s Pass (note the embellishments on sign)
Having a wander of Tcharkulu Rock, very windy
One of many rocks forming Tcharkuldu Rock
Hut has graffiti inside, used by campers, Tcharkuldu Rock
The ingenius water collection idea used throughout SA
Watch out, Wide Load! near Wirrabara
We arrived back in Clare early November and it felt like we’d never left. Jeda remembered the Kelpie Boys and the Lab and they were like old friends. It was straight into harvest – ‘B’ drove the ‘Chaser’ – collecting the grain from the Harvester as they go then depositing in silos in the paddocks. I did Domestic Diva type stuff as before, but the majority of the cooking was left up to the ‘Farmerette’ thank goodness. Whilst we were there friends visited who enjoy metal detecting as they travel so I had a go around the farm. Quite addictive once you find something! The thrill of finding an old relic, coin or piece of history is a bit of fun. I know a good number of Grey Nomads do gold detecting – that gold coin can help pay for your trip!
We house sat whilst the farm owners had Christmas with their family. We had a quiet festive day but didn’t forget to indulge in the prawns! We progressed to checking stock and water troughs so had fun on the quad bikes! Whilst there I was lavished with South Australian hospitality when I turned 50. Very spoilt with a flash dinner in the good dining room! NYE was a bust as ‘B’ came down with a man cold…need I say more!?
I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last blog! Time just flies when you’re enjoying the road. Haven’t been doing a lot of photography this year (must be having a block) just ‘happy snapping’ our travels.
I left off when we were in Whyalla SA getting repairs done after doing ‘the tracks’ and Birdsville. We then went to Arno Bay on the Eyre Peninsula for a week of fishing. Met up with some friends and enjoyed a week of squiding and fishing off the jetty. Then on to a free camp we’ve been to before, Cowley’s Beach with our friends. Only October but it got so cold, happy hour started early and finished late in front of a warming fire. Enjoyed Calamari in panko crumbs for lunch a few days (life can be tough!) and too soon it was time for us to return to Whyalla as ‘B’ was to have an op at the local hospital. I must say South Australia has brilliant medical services compared to Queensland. Within 2 weeks of fronting up to Whyalla Hospital ‘B’ had seen a specialist and was booked in for a non-major operation. In Queensland he’s still on the waiting list!!
After two weeks of recovery in Whyalla we were chomping at the bit to head off. We decided to meet same friends for a week at Haslam, on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula. We had already agreed to return to Clare Valley for ‘B’ to work Harvest for the same farm as he did seeding, so we had time to fill in. Only took 5 hours drive straight across and we arrived, set up and ready for Happy Hour!
We enjoyed big seafood cook ups in that week. Our friends had some Redclaw they shared, then we had calamari in garlic butter then flathead crumbed. Whilst at Haslam we heard from a lead for a house sitting job near Ceduna and because we weren’t that far away we decided to drive up to meet the prospective home owners. They live at Laura Bay, 20klms south of Ceduna. We met and loved the place as soon as we drove up the dirt track. It is in a Conservation Park, which was my only hesitation. But this will test our training with our Bluey, to keep her from wandering or eating baits.
Melbourne Cup fell whilst we were in Haslam and we had a BIG day. We invited surrounding caravanner’s for a BYO beverage and snacks lunch whilst watching the big race. The days got hot so we found the best place to cool off was under the jetty with a bev and good friends! Too soon it was time to head east back to the Clare Valley for that four letter word…. ‘work’!