Ashley, Lish and the kids visit Koramba.

Ashley phoned up last Friday morning to see if we were going to be home as they’d decided to take the drive out to the farm to visit for the weekend.

After the dinner was cooked, served and cleared away we drove into Goondiwindi to meet them at the motel were they staying.
This was easier for them than trying to set up for the kids and themselves in a room on the farm.

It was great to see them and after a brief stay giving them directions to the farm we left them to settle down after the long drive and we drove the 110km back home.

Driving these distances, 220km after dinner, doesn’t bother us any more and we often remind ourselves how, in Brisbane, we thought travelling from the North side to the South side was a long way.

Now we drive 220km return trip for a good cup of coffee.

I think the distance was a bit of a shock for Ashley but luckily the kids travelled really well and slept most of the time.

They arrived at the farm Saturday morning and after a coffee Chris took Ashley, Lish and Riley around the farm while I looked after Charlotte.

Little Riley was fascinated with everything, T Bone the steer, the workshop with all the tractors and sitting in the big John Deere. Shannon was working over at the workshop and even he commented on how Riley didn’t want to leave and kept squatting down to look at things more closely.

Chris Took Riley and Ashley for a drive in one of the John Deeres and as the engine roared into life Riley was overwhelmed by the rumble and roar and for the fist and last time was unsure if he liked farm life.

Riley loved being in the Tractor but wasn't to happy when it was started up.

Riley loved being in the Tractor but wasn’t to happy when it was started up.

Somehow I don't think this little boy will be happy in a desk job when he grows up. Something with wheels might be good.

Somehow I don’t think this little boy will be happy in a desk job when he grows up. Something with wheels might be good.

Charlotte was such a good little girl and happily played, had a bottle and then went to sleep.

This little darling smiles all the time.

This little darling smiles all the time.

All too quickly the day was over and we had to go and prepare dinner. Ash and Lish went back to Goondiwindi where they would get an early start Sunday for the long drive home. Hopefully, with Riley being so busy all day he slept really well at night. I think Ashley would have too.

How wonderful it was to see them!

Hugs, new places and way too much food.

That’s the best way to describe our holiday. With the camp in the capable hands of Merlin and Ingrid, Chris and I took off for 11 days. It was our last chance to have a long break as pre-irrigation starts next week then it’s on to planting.

We took the van this time as it needed a few things done on it.

1. A new awning. The old one was damaged with a hail storm that went through Boomi a couple of months ago.

2. A service. We had a noise in the air conditioner that sounded like a stick caught in there. And when the weather gets into the high 30’s + we need it running at 100%. It also pays to have everything checked and greased for when we do get back on the road.

Now add doctors appointments, podiatrists, specialists, accountants, pysio’s, tyres for the Nissan and to get around to see everyone, everything had to be booked in on a tight schedule.

So Wednesday came and it was a real thrill to see the van behind us. We were in no rush as our first point of call was to park the van outside Aussie traveller for the awning to be repaired the next day. We pulled into Pelican park at Redcliffe to watch the sun set over the water first.

The moon coming up, a glass of wine what else do you need.

The moon coming up, a glass of wine what else do you need.

We love the country but both Chris and myself are drawn to the water and every time we come home we try and get enough of it to satisfy our hunger.  After the sun had gone down we parked outside Aussie traveller, it’s in an industrial site and very quite through the night. We forgot how easy it is with the van, dinner was cooked, we had water for a shower and watched TV…simple.

So after the first wake up call at 4.30am from cars driving into a business (not sure which was as we didn’t get up) we slept in until 7.30am. Then it was off to the first of our appointments, we arrived back at 4.00pm to race the van over to Sandgate where it was going in for a service the next day. We then went and stayed with Barry and Christine for the night. We were glad to stop and rest as the next day was just as hectic. 300km in two days driving around Brisbane. Traffic lights, stop and start traffic and idiots who think they need to be in front no matter how much distance is between you and the car in front, man we don’t miss that.

We found out what the noise in the air conditioner was…4 dead frogs. When they get hard they bounce around which sounded like a stick. Have since found out this is a common problem out here for air conditioners in the houses.

We stayed at the Big4 at Aspley  Friday and Saturday night, we find this easier as I went out with the girls Friday night and we had little Chris’s surprise belated birthday gathering at Scarbough on Saturday. This was a great afternoon catching up with June and Nikki and their kids, Natalie and her family, Ben and Alecia, Lacey and Elliana. This was our first cuddle with Elliana for 3 months, my has she grown, and I believe gotten even cuter. 

 

Natalie with Shianne, Tegan, Chloe and Cayden.

Natalie with Shianne, Tegan, Chloe and Cayden.

Chris in deep discussing with Noel.

Chris in deep discussing with Noel.

Wayne, June, Alecia and Chris

Wayne, June, Alecia and Chris

Elliana with Uncle Chris

Elliana with Uncle Chris.

It was great catching up with everyone.

It was great catching up with everyone.

 Saturday night it was over to Ashley and Lish’s place where we got to see Riley and Charlotte. We had bought Riley a John Deere peddle tractor and trailer. It has a motor button that sounds just like a tractor.  Riley loves wheels and we watched as he found a screw driver and proceeded to “fix the tyres”.

It has two buttons, a horn and the sound of a motor.

It has two buttons, a horn and the sound of a motor.

Maybe he can give Charlotte a ride in the trailer when she is older.

Maybe he can give Charlotte a ride in the trailer when she is older.

Charlotte of course, is beautiful and already sleeps through the night at 8 weeks.  Ashley and Lish took us out for Chinese to celebrate Father’s Day. 

Chris and Charlotte.

Chris and Charlotte.

Eat, eat, eat we ate way too much. From yum cha to Tapas, nibbles to take away. Why do we do it is always the question.

Sunday to Tuesday was spent up the coast staying with Lacey. We ended up staying Tuesday so we could catch up with David. It was lovely to see more of Elliana and to be able to take her for a walk to the park.

 

Elliana likes to have a swing in the park.

Elliana likes the swing in the park.

Elliana showing Grandpa how to play his Ukulele

Elliana showing Grandpa how to play his Ukulele.

The rest of the holiday Chris will write about. We enjoyed our time off even though the first couple of days were very rushed.

Barry and Christine visit:

Last weekend Barry and Christine came out to see us.

Barry had been out to the farm before but this was Christine’s first visit.

The weather was perfect and the visit coincided with a weekend off for the back packers which was great for us because we don’t need to get up at 4.30am to cook breakfast as everyone sleeps in.

Barry and Christine arrived Friday night and after dinner we sat around a campfire.

Why don’t we do this more often? The stars were beautiful, the fire hypnotic and with the addition of good company and it was a wonderful evening.

Nothing beats a good camp fire.

Nothing beats a good camp fire.

Barry cooked us breakfast over the open fire next morning and after sorting out the residents we took Christine and Barry around the farm.

At the moment not much is happening. Pre irrigation will be starting at the beginning of September so all the head ditches and tail drains are having last minute finishing touches in readiness to receive the water that will be poured on to the cotton. The dispatching of pipes that will syphon the water from the head ditches onto the rows of cotton has started and there’s a feeling of anticipation as planting for another year has draws closer.

Shannon and Steve are servicing all 24 pumps around the farm in preparation for the huge workload they’ll be under moving mega litres of water around the farm over the next few months..

 

The best view is from the reservoirs

The best view is from the reservoirs.

 

We stopped by the weighbridge to see if we could take Barry and Christine for a tour of the gin. After a phone call and donning our regulation safety gear it was over to the gin. The gin will be finished processing by the beginning of September until the next harvest around March next year. This will enable Shannon and Steve to start the massive gin maintenance program that’s necessary to get ready for next year.

We were given a informative tour of the Gin with Duncan

We were given a informative tour of the Gin with Duncan.

This was our second visit and we still learnt more.

This was our second visit and we still learnt more.

After the gin tour we headed down to Boomi for a late lunch then back home to prepare dinner for the residents.

The weekend was finished off around the camp fire again, with Renee (a contractor) joining us.

We hope Barry and Christine enjoyed their visit as much as we loved having them here.

Our days off in luxury:

With the camp in the capable hands of Ingrid and Merlin we again took off for a few days in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Chris stayed with Barry on the Saturday night and watched the Lions v Wallaby’s game while I went out with the girls. We went to Des Alps at Mitchelton and as usual found the food to be delicious. I always look forwards to escargots when we go to this restaurant.
The next day it was off to the coast, this time we treated ourselves to the penthouse at the Elloura Towers. This is the 5th time we have stayed at this complex but the first time we have booked the penthouse.

The windows were all the way around so you never missed out on the view. Even at night the view was stunning with all the lights.

The windows were all the way around so you never missed out on the view. Even at night the view was stunning with all the lights

Wow…we had our own swimming pool on the roof and our own sauna and spa in the ensuite.

Our own private pool on the roof of the penthouse.

Our own private pool on the roof of the penthouse.

Yes I braved the pool and swam the length (in the middle of winter.)

It was the fastest swim but I just had to go in.

It was the fastest swim but I just had to go in.

The glass around the walls kept the wind out. You could sit up there and sunbake.

The glass around the walls kept the wind out. You could sit up there and sunbake.

Emily, Ashley, Lish, Riley and Charlotte came up for lunch and stayed for dinner. It’s always great to catch up with the family and this was the first time we had met Charlotte.

I picked up David that night from the Maroochydore airport as he, Lacey and Elliana had been to Sydney to see Lacey’s sister. Unfortunately Lacey and Elliana stayed down at Sydney for the week so I didn’t get to catch up with them. Lucky for us they send us plenty of photos and movies of the tricks Elliana is up to.

Little Chris was off for a week so he came up on the Monday. He was in the lift with the manager when he pressed level 15 so the manager asked him if he was visiting the elderly couple in the penthouse. ELDERLY…we never feel elderly. Chris said,” Noooo, just Mum to see what she’s going on about this unit.” Hopefully the kids don’t think of us as elderly just yet.

The rest of the time was relaxing, and enjoying the view. But as usual after a couple of days we are looking forward to getting back to the farm and the comfort of the Aussie wide.

Meet Charlotte Eden Jones:

 

Grandpa and Charlotte

Grandpa and Charlotte

 

Charlotte is Ashley and Lish’s new daughter and sister to Riley. She was born 2 weeks ago on the 24th June but we didn’t get to meet her until we came back to Brisbane.

She is the spitting image of Lish.
Riley and Charlotte are 15 months apart but already Riley is playing his part of big brother, when Charlotte cries he brings her his teddy to comfort her. So far she is a great baby, eats and sleeps. You forget how tiny they start because they grow so quickly.
Watching the grand kids grow and play is very special but watching Ashley love, protect and care for his children is something of a true blessing to everyone who went through the rough years with Ashley. We never thought he would survive let alone be the man he has grown into. Riley adores his Dad and follows him every where. Ashley also adores Lish and we believe it’s entirely due to her and God that has brought him to this place in his life, so thank you Lish for accomplishing the impossible, we thank God for you everyday.

 

 

Charlotte is a little Lish

Charlotte is a little Lish

 

On one of our trips into Goondiwindi we went into John Deere and Chris got excited about the John Deere toys.

He had to buy a little whipper sniper and circular saw for Riley. The assistant in the shop did comment on the noise of the toys but I just laughed and said that was the best part of being a grandparent, they go home with the noise.

Catching up with family:

Yes, we got to go home for 11 days and yes, I got to jump out of a plane but we did do a lot of other things as well.

Catching up with family was one of them.

First we caught up with Barry and Christine. Barry had finally bought his new car, a Toyota Land Cruiser. He loves it, and being a V8 can tow anything. It will tow his beloved Trayon Camper with ease.

Then it was off to see Emily. We had coffee with her at Logan during her break and organised to go out to a vegan restaurant for dinner with her and Jennie.
Chris also borrowed her Myers card to go, wait for it… SHOPPING.

Off we went to Carindale where Chris wanted to look at R. M. Williams jeans. Well you are aware Chris’ “Clothes Shopping Patience” lasts approximately 10 minutes. Even the shop assistant knew to stay out of the way except to get correct sizes for me. Well he ended up with shirts, jeans, boots and a jacket and he was done shopping for the week.

We were going to stay with David and Lacey for a night but they had borrowed Wayne’s Caravan and gone to visit Lacey’s grandmother in Tamworth. So we stayed an extra night at the Unit.

We never get tired of this view, it's always changing.

We never get tired of this view, it’s always changing.

This is something we had been looking forward to, the ocean.

It happened to be a clear winters day in Queensland and apparently something of a rarity with all the rain they’ve been having.

It also was a super moon. So the view from the unit was spectacular. Chris of course started working, even on days off the computer is the first thing he packs.

The moon lit up everything.

The moon lit up everything.

Chris hard at work even on his days off.

Chris hard at work even on his days off.

With the sound of the ocean in the background we slept like babies. We even left the doors open so we could hear the surf. The manager told us they have people complain that the ocean is too noisy and they can’t sleep. Guess you can’t please everybody all the time.

Having photos sent of your grandchildren is nothing like being able to hold them, so it was wonderful to catch up with Elliana and Riley. They are both growing so fast. Riley will have a baby sister in a couple of weeks so we will see her next visit.

Play time with Dad.

Play time with Dad.

Riley always has a smile on his face.

Riley always has a smile on his face.

We went to see Elliana at her swimming lesson. She is definitely David’s daughter and loves the water.

Elliana is a water baby.

Elliana is a water baby.

 

The video is 7min long but hey I’m her Nanna – what do you expect! The music is “Me and my daughter” from JewelBeat.com

 

Other big news is Little Chris and Natalie are engaged.
Congratulations guys. They haven’t made any dates yet but I guess Natalie and her sisters are in full swing on the wedding planning.

We caught up with Ben on the day we were going to jump. He is loving his new job out on the mines. It’s so nice to hear him speak about work enthusiastically.

He has a new nic name “Melon” as in Big Fruity and Little Fruity (Chris). Well with a surname of Freudenberg Melon isn’t too bad.

So our days off flew by and it was soon time to head back to Koramba. As usual we spent too much and ate too much, but hay that’s what holidays are for.