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. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 16 September 2013

Lucky me - new outfit through Lifestyle Fifty!

I was recently the very lucky winner of an new outfit from WLane and Betts through Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty Blog - take a look and tell me what you think! - and then go into WLane in Bunbury Centrepoint Shopping Centre and see for yourself what a fabulous new outfit can do for you - their clothes are fantastic for the more mature lady who still loves to look good -  and a pair of Airlfex shoes from Betts have to be the most comfortable shoes out there for our mature and not so mature feet.

seriously you should take a look at Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty website - subscribe, comment, read, and you could be a winner one day just like me! You will love Jo's Lifestyle Fifty blog.


PicMonkey Collage 1

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, What's It Wednesday. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday

Sunday 8 September 2013

Dehydrating food for camping saves space and weight

I told a friend the other day that I was dehydrating food in preparation for a camping trip and she wanted to know what it was all about. 

 I was first introduced to dehydrated food when I went walking on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia with a two friends a few years ago.  Berndard walked the whole track (nearly 1,000kms in total), and knew just about everything that one would want to know about dehydrating food. When you are walking for a week at a time and carrying all your food with you, you need to keep weight to a minimum.  Here is a great blog site that Bernard told me about (although I notice it hasn't been added to lately) - Dehydrated bushwalking food

 Dehydrating food for a hiking or camping trip is great for both space saving and weight saving and extends the life of the food in comparison the taking fresh food.The drying process only minimally affects its nutritional value. 

Check out some facts at -  Greensmoothie - dehydrating facts - who says:
 Drying food only minimally affects its nutritional value. Most research has been on foods that were commercially dried. When you dry foods at home under gentle conditions (correct temperature and a reasonable drying period) you produce a high-quality nutrient-rich food.
Compared with canning, freezing and baking, all of which involve extreme temperatures, food drying is the least damaging form of food preservation. 

Dehydrated potatoes
 We always taking fresh fruit and vegetables with us, but I also dry vegetables such as carrots, corn and potatoes to use when the fresh variety run out.  You can also dry fresh fruit in season, like apples, apricots etc or make fruit leathers. From my experience the fruit leathers require no sugar and are naturally sweet and delicious. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of them here.

Follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of your dehydrator for preparation. For these carrots I peel, slice thinly, then steam for 5 minutes, rinse under cold water, and then lay out the circles on the trays as you can see here.  The processing of the dehydrating usually takes all day (depending on what you are dehydrating), so start first thing in the morning to be completed by early evening.

 I also dry mince and make a few meals like curry, spaghetti bolognaise and chilli con carne and dry them as well. But these I keep in the freezer as they contain meat and I want to be sure they are not going to spoil.  Here I am dehydrating Chilli Con Carne. Can you believe that is 400 grams of meat, plus vegetables in each of those two small zip lock bags?

Lay out your cooked meal or vegetables, pop on the lid of the dehydrator, and turn it on to the recommended temperature. An important tip here is to either put the dehydrator in the shed or in the laundry with the door through to the house closed and the outside door and window open, otherwise the smell of the drying will invade your house!

It is also not a good idea to mix flavours in the same drying batch - for instance I wouldn't dry mince on one tray and apple slices on another.  But carrots, corn and potatoes can happily be dried together in the same batch. 

 When you are on your camping trip, the morning you want to use one of the dehydrated meals or dried mince, just take out the packet, put it in a box with a sealable lid and cover with water. At this point also add any dried vegetables you intend using. By the end of the day the food will be re-hydrated and ready to reheat or cook into what ever meal you are making. Easy! 

I have just read on the Dehydrated bushwalking food  site that when they get to their campsite they boil some water, empty their snaplock bag of food into the pot, add the boiling water, stir, pop on the lid and leave for half to one hour. Then boil the rehdryrated ingredients, add a packet sauce mix, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add rice, pasta, cous cous or noodles, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Easy! 

Another camp food my son always asks for is fish rolls.  They are made from a tin of fish, grated carrot, potato, onion, and a curry sauce mixture, rolled into pastry and cooked in the oven. They can be eaten hot or cold. For camping trips I freeze and take out on the day how many we need. They are a delicious on the road lunch time food.

Just remember to take them out of the freezer in time to thaw out by lunch time, or you will be trying to defrost them on the dashboard! Is this what they call dashboard dining?

There are quite a few sites on the net about dehydrating food. As well as the ones I have already mentioned  are a couple that might be of interest -
Back packing chef
The Camp Gal

And my previous post about camp food - 
Camp food - touring the Western Australian northern wheatbelt

Thanks for stopping by. 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

Monday 2 September 2013

Rock building blocks - water catchments, sheep yards and bridges, Australia

Going back to ancient times rocks have been the building blocks used by civilisations around the world. Since then man has continued to make use of rocks to build castles, fortifications, fences, wells, dams, buildings, churches, bridges, roads. Wherever you go you will see evidence of building with rocks. 

Australia is no exception. We saw this old coach house on the Perth to Albany road in Arthur River in Western Australia. I love the way the different size rocks have been fitted together. No doubt the thickness of the walls helped keep the inside of the building cool.

Sometimes when you travel about you see a slightly unusual use of rocks as building blocks.


The ingenuity of the early Aussie settler and farmer is clearly demonstrated at the Pergandes Sheep Yards only ten kilometres south east of Bencubbin in Western Australia’s north eastern Wheatbelt.
On a trip last year through this area our curiosity got the better of us when I read about Pergandes on the guide map, so we took the short side trip to take a look.
The Pergandes family settled in the Mt Marshall district in 1910. The family homestead and sheep yards were constructed in the early 1920s entirely from granite slabs taken from a granite rock outcrop on the property.  You can see the slab walls of the sheep yards below with the granite rock from which they were taken in the background.

We read that the granite slabs were cut from the rock by firing and rapid cooling the rock surface with water. The slabs were then transported by horse and cart down to where they built the sheep yards.  The hip to chest high granite slabs were then stood on one edge with the bottom part dug into the ground to hold them upright. No cement was used in the construction.
It must have been many hours of hard physical labour to build the sheep yards by this method and they have certainly stood the test of time.  The sheep yards gave us an interesting insight into how early settlers made use of whatever materials were readily available. I wondered for how many years they were used before conventional sheep yards were built.
Pergandes is located on private property on Bell Road. Please make sure you stay on the farm track and shut the gate.

Not far from Pergandes is Marshall Rock, where you can camp, picnic, bush walk and take in the magnificent panoramic views across the surrounding wheatbelt land.  Best time to visit is June to October.

Where is it?
Travel east of Bencubbin on the Koorda Bullfinch Rd, then turn south on Marshall Rock South Rd, and then east on Bell Road.

My article about Pergandes Sheepyards was published in the Curious Australia section of On The Road magazine, June 2013

Rock walls used to trap and divert water are quite a common sight on granite outcrops around the Western Australian wheatbelt. Some of these rock walls may be quite low as this one at McDermid Rock along the Hyden to Norseman Road shows -

Or they can be major constructions, which I talked about in my earlier posts - which you can click here to read -
Camping with heritage - Karalee and Boondi Rocks
Cave Hill, Burra Rock and the Woodlines

Tank and campsite at Beringbooding Rock.
One such major construction is the rock catchment and ten and a quarter million litre water tank at Beringbooding Rock - the largest rock water catchment tank in Australia.  
The Beringbooding catchment and tank were built by sustenance labour over two years 1937-38, providing employment for about one hundred men at a cost of 10,000 pounds. The men were brought by rail from Perth to Bonnie Rock each Friday and given one weeks work for each dependant child – for example four children equalled four weeks work. 
One wonders the impressions of these city men when they were deposited here in the far north-eastern corner of the wheatbelt beyond which lies uninhabited scrubland.
Rock walls hewn from the rock itself encircle the rock and channel the water via a concrete aqueduct into the tank. Big fires were lit on the granite and allowed to burn all night making the rock red hot. Water was then poured over the rock and the granite exploded in big layers. These slabs were sledged away and stood on their sides and cemented together to form the rock walls to channel the water into the tank.  

In the image here you can see a rock wall around a depression on the rock called a gnamma hole. The water you see is collected rainfall. The wall prevents run off from the rock into the depression, redirecting it instead into the tank which you can see in the distance.

The water in the tank is still used today for crop spraying and drinking water for stock, but is not suitable for human consumption.
An information map at the base of the tank outlines the 2.3 kilometre walking trail over the rock to various natural features and spectacular 360 degree views over grain-growing farmland to the south and west, and virgin bushland to the north and east - allow a minimum of one and a half hours. The rock cairn at the rock’s highest point was built in 1889 by surveyor HS King.

Beringbooding Rock is a great place to camp overnight and the walk is well worth the effort.
Where is it:  
Located near the intersection of Beringbooding and Cunderin Roads, about 70 kilometres north east of Mukinbudin and 13 kilometres east of the Bonnie Rock wheat bin in the Western Australian north-eastern wheatbelt. 
My article about camping at Beringbooding Rock was published in On The Road Guide to Free Campsites 2013-2014.


Another unusual construction is Spiky Bridge, located just over seven kilometres south of Swansea on Tasmania’s east coast. The bridge is a curious relic of Tasmania’s convict era and one of many convict built bridges in Tasmania.

Listed on the register of Heritage Places, Spiky Bridge was built by convicts in 1843 along the old convict-built coach road connecting Swansea to Little Swanport and the east coast road to Hobart.

The parapet was constructed using hundreds of jagged local fieldstones vertically stood on end – hence the name Spiky Bridge.

The reason why the bridge was decorated in this fashion is the subject of speculation. One theory says it was to stop cattle falling into the gully, whilst another suggests that the convicts building the bridge used it as a form of revenge.  Either way, the Spiky Bridge is now a curious stopping point for tourists.
Popular history says the bridge was built after Irishman Edward Shaw of Redbanks gave his friend Major de Gillern, Superintendent of Rocky Hills Probation Station, a ride home one night after a game of piquet.  Shaw had repeatedly requested that improvements be made to the road between Swansea and Little Swanport, particularly the steep gully south of Swansea. His requests had evidently fallen on deaf ears and to prove his point Shaw drove his gig and his passenger, the Major, through the gully at full gallop. It must have been an thoroughly unpleasant trip because the bridge was erected shortly afterwards.
Initially the bridge was called Lafarelle’s Bridge after surveyor and civil engineer Thomas Lafarelle who was Assistant Superintendent at Rocky Hills Station. Lafarelle probably supervised the building of the bridge.
Swansea is Tasmania 's oldest seaside town.  It was first settled by the Welsh in the 1820s who named it Waterloo Point.  It was renamed Swansea in 1842. 
Where is it?
Turnoff is on the western side of the Tasman Highway, 7.5 kilometres south of Swansea on Tasmania’s east coast.

You can read more about Tasmania by clicking here to go to my blog post - Great short walks in Tasmania

My article about Spiky Bridge was printed in the Curious Australia section of On The Road magazine, January 2013
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little look into rock building blocks. Do you have some unusual rock constructions in your area?

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been