Monday, February 28, 2011

Air-Conditioners



'Before', 'During' and 'After' shots of the old and new air-conditioners in each of the three bungalows.  Our builder did a great job of blocking the through-wall holes - now the patches have been painted and you wouldn't know they were there.


The old ones were very noisy and didn't have a de-humidifying cycle - always a problem keeping homes smelling fresh during our rainy season.  And it is turning out to be a really wet season this year!



Now we're delighted with the new machines which are whisper-quiet and the 'Dry' function is working really well - no more musty smells!

The Wettest Wet


Such a lovely wet season!  And it HAS been wet with over 1.6 meters (65 inches) this month alone.  We love it - nothing to do but curl up with a book and do ... nothing!  Today the rain has stopped and wow! the butterflies have emerged in droves!  I took these clips about an hour ago as dozens of Ulysses, Swallowtails (shown) and others which were too quick for the camera included Green Triangles, Cruisers and others unknown, fluttered through the Pagoda flowers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lest we forget

Today we are all 'with' the people of Christchurch and Canterbury as their terrible ordeal is brought to us live on the news channels.  Who knows if next week, Heaven forbid, another unfolding natural disaster may take over the headlines.  But let's not forget ALL the victims still enduring the devastations caused by "yesterday's" news - Queensland's floods, West Australia's bushfires, Cyclones Yasi and Carlos, and now NZ's earthquake ... and these are just in Australasia alone.  Sadly with news coming to us so instantly we seem to have such short attention-spans.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Butterflies galore

The gardens are really alive with butterflies today - Ulysses, Birdwings, Swallowtails, Cruisers and some new ones we've never seen before - all notoriously fast-moving!  This Ulysses was just outside the kitchen window - and a beautiful Golden Orb Spider is building it's web outside one of the front windows - this is it's 'underside' view.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baby Kingfishers

A beautiful day today after the rain and the birds are happy!   I finally managed to snap one of the two 'baby' Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers which are always flying round the driveway.  This little fellow is just starting to develop it's colours but is yet to start growing the distinctive long thin white tail plumes.  You can see the start of the blue head feathers and it's breast will eventually be a deep rufous colour and the beak will turn bright red - you may like to check my archive of these beautiful birds.

They usually stay around until March/April and when the juveniles are fully-fledged they will migrate back to Papua New Guinea.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We love the rainy season!

And boy has it rained in the past 10 days since Cyclone Yasi (thankfully!) missed us!  280mm - over 11 inches - in the past 24 hours alone.

And how we love the rainy season, the rain thundering on the roof and overflowing the gutters, that oh so distinctive smell of warm tropical rain and then the vibrant colours when the sun comes out again, the birds singing and within hours the gardens are alive with butterflies.

I took this shot of the front of the house this morning.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thank you Ergon Energy!

Happiness is - the power coming on half an hour ago after 5 days!  Hot showers again - whoopee!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

All's well in the Daintree (appearing on Blog and Facebook!)

An 'interesting' week to say the least.  Increasing fear for us all with the approach of Cyclone Yasi and then, for most of us folks north of Cairns an enormous sigh of relief - but profound horror at the utter devastation of communities further south.  Almost unbelievable that Queensland could suffer two natural events of such magnitude within a space of weeks - so many folks who supported the flood victims further south now in dire need themselves.
Our preparations started early in the week with everything moveable being shifted, locked-up or tied down.  Our home is a very open tropical house with few windows in the living area, mostly floor-to-ceiling (except we don't actually have a ceiling!) insect screens so all the furniture was stacked in the one corner of the living-area which does have windows, which we taped for safety.

Severe tropical cyclone Yasi was forecast to cross the coast on Wednesday night but right up until about 9pm we had still not had a breath of wind.  It picked up then and it was a wild and woolly night outside and the power went off about 10pm.  Peter and I spent the evening in the office - our walls are solid besser-block and this is the safest roon - with the battery radio to hear what was happening everywhere and a couple of bottles of red wine! (as you do!).

Next morning we looked out expecting a scene of devastation but all we saw was like this - lots of small branches and leaves and only a couple of trees down on our 30 acres!  We were SOOOOO lucky!  Only minor vegetation damage throughout the whole region - very little structural damage and, thank goodness, no casualties.

We only had 3mm - not even half an inch - of rain when Yasi crossed!  However since then it's made up for it and in the past 24 hours we've had 240mm, about 10 inches!

Now, three days later, there are still about 140,000 houses without power throughout Queensland - we thank heaven for our generator which is hooked up to the house for emergencies.  Now all the phones north of Mossman are out.

Luckily yesterday morning we decided to drive in to Mossman to stock up on petrol for the genny and a few supplies as by the time we came home the water was just under our brand new bridge - and I took this photo this morning, about 10 minutes ago!  Earlier it was much higher but as usual it's going down quite quickly so by this afternoon it should be passable.

So we really are grateful for (a) generator, (b) satellite broadband, (c) Skype ... plus (d) a good sense of humour!

Of course our refurbishment-schedule is now behind-hand.  Builder and electrician had been arranged for this week to replace the air-conditioners in the cabins - and our lovely new Sealy beds are still in Brisbane!   Luckily no guests booked in - in fact we are always reluctant to take bookings in February anyway as the weather is so unpredictable.

But all very, very minor inconveniences compared to so many other Queenslanders ........