Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-dyeing.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Early morning in the wheatbelt, Western Australia

Last week I took you on a camping trip at Kwolyin to the central Western Australian wheatbelt. You can click here if you missed it - Camping in the WA wheatbelt

 The first night of our trip we parked our caravan at my nephew's farm for the night. We could see lightening in the far north east where a storm was raging. We only had a few spits of rain but the power went out on Friday about 5pm and didn't come back on till Sunday evening. 
 Here is a pic I took looking across their front paddock. I didn't have a tripod so I think I did rather well to get some shots. I used a long exposure which luckily caught sheet and fork lightening in the one frame.



The next morning I was up early and still in my pyjamas I put my boots on and went out to the front paddock to take some photos.  The storms had passed us by. 



 I love going to the wheatbelt. My mother and father were both born in the wheatbelt and lived there before moving to Perth early in their marriage. My sister married a wheatbelt farmer who she met during her first teaching posting. Although I have never lived there, when we go to the wheatbelt I feel like I have come home. Is there anywhere that makes you feel like that? 

I know the reality of making a living on the land is more difficult than my romantic views of it, but the peace I feel is wonderful. 





Those are green Mulla Mulla wildflowers you can see below left, and the bark of wheatbelt trees on the right. The land was dry and the farmers are waiting for rain to start their seeding. 

   
These are pink and grey galahs. I post about Red tailed black cockatoos a couple of weeks ago.



You might also like -
Peace in a country church

Thank you so much for stopping by. Do you have a favourite place you like to return to? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. 
I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

If you are a blogger you can also link up to Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global right here....





Monday, 9 April 2018

Camping out in the Western Australian wheatbelt - Kwolyin free camp

The Western Australian Wheatbelt has very few opportunities for bush camping, but one I can recommend is the Kwolyin campground located on the Bruce Rock-Quairading Road, only seven kilometres west of Shackleton, and 229kms (about 3 hours) east of Perth. And the added bonus is that it is FREE to camp here!

We camped at Kwolyin over the Easter weekend with our family and thoroughly enjoyed being away from the hustle and bustle of Easter in the city.  We hadn't camped here before, but it is a favourite with our son and grandsons as it is close to the rock climbs of Kokerbin Rock.

 The Kwolyin campground was created by the Shire of Bruce Rock on the site of the old Kwolyin townsite in the last few years to replace the former Kokerbin Rock campsite, nine kilometres to the north, which, as locals put it, had been “loved to death”. Since then it has become a very popular campsite particularly on long weekends and school holidays. 

The town was originally named Koarin, but being similar to the pronunciation of another town, Kauring, the name was changed to Kwolyin. Wheat farming began in the area in 1908, the first store in Kwolyin was opened by JB Harris in 1912, and the first town lots were sold in 1913. Lack of water caused growth problems for the town. Its demise was sealed in 1992 when the Kwolyin Hotel was destroyed by fire.  All that remains today is the Catholic Church opened in 1955.

The campsites are scattered through the scrubby bushland on the site of the old football and cricket grounds, and are suitable for tents, caravans and camper trailers. 


There is a large picnic shelter with gas BBQ adjacent to a camp kitchen which is closed in on three sides sheltering gas hotplates, benches and sink with water. The flushing toilets have hand basins and are wheelchair friendly.

The tent area has a picnic shelter, tables, and a wood fired BBQ built by the Bruce Rock Men’s Shed.  Please be aware there are fire bans October to March.  

LOL - just realised this sign below here has the wrong spelling! Should be Kwolyin - yes I checked to be sure! 


 There are also areas suitable for group camping scattered under salmon gums over the former townsite. This is where we chose to camp when we visited at Easter as we were camping with three families, and although we were further away from the facilities, we were very happy with our quiet camp away from the crowded main campsite. 

I love these wheatbelt trees you can see below here - they are a mixture of tall Salmon Gums and the shorter Gimlets. 

 
 There are four relatively easy loop walks accessible from the campsite:
  • 1.2km Granite Garden walk (allow 1 hour), 
  • 2km Cathedral Rocks walk (allow 2 hours), 
  • 2.2km Railway walk (allow 2 hours) which includes a walk along the old railway line and across nearby Coarin Rock. 
  • You can also take a stroll around the old town site and learn more of its history from the interpretive signage. Make sure you check out the remains of the old 1930s cricket pitch.
 Please refer to signage about the walks, wear sturdy boots, a hat and sunscreen and carry water with you.  Depending on when you visit, insect repellent and a fly net could be a must!
Walkers are asked to keep to the marked trails to protect the fragile plant communities. An excellent photo board identifying 99 local wildflowers, including orchids, is located at the main BBQ area - a fantastic inclusion for those wanting to identify local wildflowers. During spring you may see fruiting Sandalwood and Quandong trees which were an important food source to early inhabitants. 

If you tackle the rocks you will be rewarded with views like you see below over the surrounding grain paddocks.

From Kwolyin it is an easy day trip to Kokerbin Rock, only nine kilometres to the north. Covering nine hectares, Kokerbin Rock is the third largest monolith in Australia and was described in 1863 by early explorer Henry Maxwell Lefroy during his search for agricultural land east of York. Bush walkers will enjoy exploring this 122 metre high rock, caves, woodland and historic sites. A track skirts the base of the rock and it is worth walking to the top to enjoy the 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding grain and sheep country. 

 Granite outcrops, like Kokerbin, are a feature of the central Wheatbelt. Kokerbin and nearby Mt Sterling and Mt Caroline were important cultural traditional sites for the Noongar aboriginal people both ceremonially and as a resource for food, water and stone. They believe that the granite outcrops in this area were created by the coils of the great serpent, Moulack. Granite outcrops were used by early explorers, surveyors and sandalwood cutters to camp, take their bearings and water their horses.  Granite from the rocks provided building materials and the rocks were often the site of social events. A community annual Boxing Day picnic commencing in 1911 was held at Kokerbin Rock. These rocks are still popular for picnics and rock exploring. 

Kokerbin Rock
 With less than 10% of the Wheatbelt’s original native vegetation remaining, nature reserves and granite outcrops like Kokerbin and Coarin Rock provide a valuable habitat for wildlife and flora.  Their boulder formations, sheoak, sandalwood and eucalypt woodlands are home to a rich diversity of plant species and wildlife including echidnas and the threatened black-flanked rock wallaby - Petrogale lateralis
The sixty kilometre Granite Way drive trail makes a good day trip from Kwolyin and includes Kokerbin Rock, Mt Stirling and Mt Caroline, all of which have picnic areas. Mt Stirling and Mt Caroline were named by explorer Ensign Dale in 1830. 

There was time also on our long weekend for a little bush cricket and an Easter egg hunt.


 Basic supplies can be purchased at Shackleton, where you can see Australia’s smallest bank. Operating between the 1930s and 1997, this three by four metre weatherboard building was used as an aircraft observation post during World War 2.  For a great meal at reasonable prices visit the Shackleton District Club, open Tuesday to Sunday 5pm till 8pm. 



Free camping at Kwolyin makes this a great spot to stop if you are travelling through the central Wheatbelt. Kwolyin is a part of the Granite Way self drive tour - you can click here for a brochure - Australia's Golden Outback

Where is it?: 7kms west of Shackleton on the Bruce Rock-Quairading Road, 39km east of Quairading, 33km south of Kellerberrin and the Great Eastern Highway, and 229kms east of Perth.
Facilities: Flushing toilet with wash basin (recommend you bring your own toilet paper), camp kitchen with gas hotplates and sink, picnic tables and shelter, gas BBQ, rubbish bins, information shelter.
Rates: Free
Pets: Dogs allowed on leash.
Campfires: Prohibited October to March. Please bring your own firewood.
Best time to visit: Autumn, winter and spring.

Walks: Please refer to the information board for distances, estimated walk times and degree of difficulty. 
For more information on the area:  www.brucerock.wa.gov.au


Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.  

You might also like:
Western Australian central wheatbelt 
Camp food - camping at WA's granite outcrops 
Exploring the Western Australian wheatbelt 
Bruce Rock Caravan Park 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Acorn Banksia
   
All Seasons
Mosaic Monday 
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

If you are a blogger you can also link your blog to Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global.





Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos

I am having a little break from blogging this week as we have been away camping with family in the Western Australian wheatbelt over the four-day Easter break, and I'm still catching up. But I thought I might just share these few images of red-tailed black cockatoos on my family's farm in the wheatbelt.

I have found it is rather difficult to capture a pic showing the red tail, which you can only see when they are flying, so I was reasonably happy with these pics. 



and a little video


 These photos below I took in a bird park last year. Unfortunately caged birds, but you can see the detail of the red-tailed black cockatoo more closely.


 You can find out more about red-tailed black cockatoos here - Australian Museum

 What did you do over Easter. I hope it was a peaceful happy time for you and your family. Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

If you are a blogger you can also link your blog to Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global. 




Monday, 26 March 2018

Chocca lotta

It's beginning to feel a bit like Easter around here with Easter eggs and Hot Cross Buns in the shops (well actually they have been in the shops for weeks!), so today I decided to share with you a Chocolate Tart recipe I made a few years ago, and have just searched for again. I haven't made them since, but I think I will have to as they were delicious!


 The recipe says only 20 minutes prep time, but it took me longer than this. So allow 1 hour preparation, 30 minutes chilling, and 35 minutes to cook. 

Here's the recipe: (from Woolworths Fresh magazine, July 2012)
Chocolate Tarts

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
125g butter, chopped
2 eggs
2 pears, peeled, cored, thinly sliced 
2/3 cup cream
200g dark cooking chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts

 Process flour and cocoa in a food processor for 30 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1 egg and process until mixture comes together.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide dough into 6 even portions and form into balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 6 individual loose bottom fluted flan tins (approx 8cm x 2.5cm deep). 

On a lightly floured surface roll each piece of dough out until 3mm thick. Press into pans and trim off any excess dough. Place plans onto a large baking tray. Line each with baking paper and fill with baking beans or dried beans (not that I bother to do this). Bake tart shells for 10 minutes. Remove beads and paper. Bake for 5 minutes more or until pastry is just cooked. Set tarts aside to cool.

Arrange pear slices into each pastry shell. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until small bubbles form around edge. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining egg. 

Pour mixture over pears and sprinkle nuts on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until mixture is just set. Stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cold. 

Sit back and enjoy the compliments. 


If that sounds just a little bit like too much work when you are trying to have a relaxing Easter too, try this recipe instead. 

I've often made a quick chocolate self saucing pudding in winter, but this one is cooked in individual dishes. Have you ever made the one made in a mug in the microwave? I haven't. 

Quick Chocolate Self-Saucing Puddings (recipe from Woolworths Fresh magazine, June 2011)

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Makes 4-8 depending on the size of your pots. 

125g margarine, melted
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 cup milk
3/4 cup caster sugar, extra
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons icing sugar
thick cream or ice cream to serve 

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 8 x 1 1/4 cup capacity ramekins or ovenproof dishes. Stand dishes in a large roasting pan. Whisk melted butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Sift flour and half the cocoa over mixture. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Divided evenly between prepared dishes.

Place remaining cocoa and extra sugar in a bowl. Slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly until well combined. Pour cocoa mixture gently over each pudding. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan until water comes half way up the sides of the pudding dishes. 

Bake for 30 minute or until puddings are cooked when tested in the centre with a skewer. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of thick cream or ice cream. 

Here is a pic - they shrunk back from the sides of the dishes when they came out of the oven and started to cool. 


 PS - I had a question about caster sugar which is readily available in Australia, but might not be in your country, or might be called something else. Here is an explanation I found - What is caster sugar and does it make a difference in baking?

Thank you so much for stopping by. If you celebrate Easter I wish you a safe and happy one. Do you have a favourite chocolate recipe? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.  

You might also like:
Winter days and an energy bar recipe 
Making and photographing blueberry pancakes
Melting moments and hydrangeas in my garden

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

If you are a blogger you can also link your blog to Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global.








Wednesday, 21 March 2018

World Down Syndrome Day - 21 March

I don't usually post twice a week, but it is World Down Syndrome Day today 21 March, and I just had to share this very special video with you. 


 A carpool karaoke lip sync video in support of World Down Syndrome Day features 50 mums and their children singing along to Christina Perri's multi-platinum selling track, "A Thousand Years".

The mums are all part of a Facebook group known as "Designer Genes" created for parents who have a child with Down’s Syndrome born in 2013/14. They got together to show the world just how ordinary and fun life with the condition is and how they "Wouldn't Change a Thing".

The video was originally inspired by Singing Hands - a UK organisation whose videos have helped many in the group learn Makaton for supporting their children’s communication development.
Makaton is designed to help hearing people with learning or communication difficulties using signs, symbols alongside speech.
With thanks to the artist Christina Perri for her support and Singing Hands for the original concept.


 
A Thousand Years - Christina Perri
 
Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt, suddenly goes away somehow
One step closer
I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything, take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this
One step closer
I have died everyday, waiting for you

Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
And all along I believed, I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
One step closer
One step closer
 
I have died everyday, waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
 
And all along I believed, I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more
 

Monday, 19 March 2018

Cape Leeuwin - meeting of the Oceans - Western Australia



Last week we managed to put aside a few days to go away in our caravan. Travelling only a couple of hours south from our home put us in the heart of the beautiful Cape to Cape region of Western Australia’s beautiful south west.  This is the area between Cape Naturalist and Cape Leeuwin, arguably one the most beautiful part of Western Australia abounding with beaches, forests, caves, wineries, restaurants, galleries, bush walks and escapes, and much more.
 
By lunchtime we had booked into the Hamelin Bay caravan park situated in the Leeuwin Naturalist National Park, and within a short walking distance – only about 500 metres, to the beach. 

But more about Hamelin Bay another day. 


 On one of our days we re-visited the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Situated just south of Augusta, Cape Leeuwin was named by Matthew Flinders on 7 December, 1801, during his circumnavigation  of Terra Australis (Australia), taking the name from the Dutch navigators, Leeuwin’s Land, when the ship the Leeuwin (The Lioness) rounded the cape in March 1622. 

Cape Leeuwin is the most south-westerly point of Australia, and according to our guide one of the world’s most notorious Capes along with Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. 



The lighthouse, which is the tallest mainland lighthouse in Australia, guards one of the busiest sea traffic routes on Australia’s coast.  The shallow rocks stretching 7 kilometres out from the Cape, diverging currents and massive swells claimed 22 ships before the lighthouse was built, and only one since then. Winds can reach 100-160 kilometres on the Cape. 
The position of the light is latitude 340 22’ south, longitude 1150 08’ east.

Here is a little video I took to show you - 


The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was officially opened by the then Premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest, on 10 December 1896. 

The lighthouse was constructed of hand-carved local tamala limestone quarried about 1.2 kilometres away at Quarry Bay, and built on a foundation of 22 feet (6.71 metres).  The walls are 7 feet thick at the base, and a spiral staircase takes you up to the light and the viewing platform. The elevation of the light is 39 metres above the ground and 56 metres above Mean Tide level. 


 Until 1982 the lens of the light was rotated by a counter weight driving a clockwork mechanism, and the beacon was a pressure kerosene mantle type. Think of the lighthouse keepers who had to carry cans of kerosene up the narrow staircase of lighthouse at least four times every day! In 1982 it was converted to hydraulics and electricity. The light was automated in 1992 and has a range of 25 nautical miles. 


 Three lighthouse keepers and their families lived at the Cape and maintained the lighthouse. They only had one day off, Sunday, every two weeks, and if they went away from the lighthouse, had to be back before dark to light the light. Supplies were delivered by ship. 
  
The lighthouse precinct is heritage listed and includes interpretive signage, boardwalks, decking and telescopes. You can go on a guided walk of the Lighthouse, but be warned there are 186 steps to negotiate to get to the top! Or you may choose to take a self-guided audio tour of the precinct which shares information about the history of the lighthouse, its keepers and the area, but this doesn’t include entering the lighthouse. 


  The other lighthouse you can visit in the Capes region is the Cape Naturalist Lighthouse at the northern point of the Capes. The Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturalist lighthouses mark the start and finish of the 135 kilometre Cape to Cape walking track.

The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse is also a great place to spot Humpback and Southern Right whales May to September as well as fur seals and many varieties of sea birds.

Tours of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse operate every half hour from 9.00-4.30pm daily, except Christmas Day.

While you are at the Cape make sure you visit the nearby waterwheel, built in 1895 to supply water during construction of the lighthouse, and later to supply water to the lighthouse keepers’ cottages. The waterwheel was built to power a hydraulic ram to pump water from a nearby natural spring. Today the wheel is encrusted with calcified lime and no longer turns, but it is a reminder of the past.

Also at the Cape is a memorial to 10 sailors aboard the HMAS NIzzan who lost their lives in 1945 when a rogue wave hit the ship. And a memorial to commemorate the contribution of "N" class destroyers in WW2 and those who served in them.

More information on the Cape’s lighthouses and the Cape to Cape Track please click here - Lighthouses - Margaret River Attractions

For information on the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse heritage value please click here – State Heritage WA

Before we go, one last look at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. I took this photo several years ago when I was taking photos with slide film for a magazine. Yes I have played around with it a bit in digital post processing, but this is wild weather on the Cape. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this look at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.  I wish they would open up their cottages for accommodation. I would love to stay there. Have you ever stayed overnight at a lighthouse? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.  

You might also like - 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

If you are a blogger you can also link your blog to Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global.