Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stoked! Then eats, roots & leaves

Melanie at Creating Nunde has awarded me The Tree of Happiness, for "continuous eye candy and inspiration", isnt that just the coolest? Thank you Melanie!


Now, here is a sight that is not unfamiliar to Aussies, its a wombat hole. Look at it! Its so perfectly round, and what? About two feet or more across? This one is cut into a bank, but I can see where the ones that are cut into a flat patch of earth could be really really dangerous, shudder!



We hoped to spot its inhabitant, but typical Wombat! He was asleep deep inside his den and couldnt be bothered to greet his visitors. Never fear, we will find a photogenic wombat for you. One of these days we are bound to while on one of our drives, keep your fingers crossed!

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Wombats are said to only do the following: Eats, Roots & Leaves. Therefore, calling someone a 'Wombat' is considered an insult. I should now take this opportunity to explain to my little sister: When you were just a little parcel and I nicknamed you "Wombat", I had no idea of its connotations! Id just seen them in National Geographic or something and thought they were cute! Really and truly!!!

I chose this photo today, because all my time is missing. I cant find it anywhere! I thought it might have disappeared down Alice's Rabbit Hole, but remembering Im an Aussie now - thought perhaps now its Lavender's Wombat Hole. Where else could it be?

Friday, January 30, 2009

And the other half


A SECOND HALF TO MAKE 13) ...'Sugarbeet' and 'Bell Peppers'. Ah, I love it when they ask me easy stuff! "No worries! Thats beetroot and capsicum."
"Oh! Isnt that funny!" she exclaimed, "Now if I could just work out fahrenheit to celsius, Id be right." And so with a promise to drop a copy of my conversion chart in her mailbox later, all was well again in American-Australian diplomacy.

14) 544 pictures of honey on a plate in the sun. What the heck is that about? How many poses/angles/sunsparkle close ups/etc does the average professional photographer take? Assuming a similar subject, of course.

15) I collect glass, vases mostly. These days it is very hard to get good collectible glass without selling ones organs. My collection here in Australia is puny compared to my previous one. When we get overseas for a visit, I will probably need to pay excess baggage fees on the return.

16) Speaking of glass, all of a sudden I like carnival glass. Not too many years ago I would have told you it was ugly and cheap. How'd that happen? Why? Does the iridescence trigger some sort of flashback?

17) If my hands could be restored to working order, I would immediately go back to working glass - in a heartbeat.

18) Im really struggling here...writing this in bites between other tasks and looking around the house for clues as to what to say next!

19) Ok now, is this wierd? When I find one of my cats whiskers, I save it. I have a small collection of cats whiskers, standing up in a bead, in my curio. Why? Why not? Might be useful sometime. Bet most people just keep theirs inside the vacuum cleaner.

20) I live on coffee, broccoli, cheese and 70% cocoa chocolate. The Most DH shares my appreciation for two of these things. You may speculate which.

21) I think everything should make sense. Otherwise, I cant be bothered with it.
22) I am making Burritos for dinner tonight! Thats right! Im that talented.

23) Groan! Only 23 so far. So close, so close!

24) A remembered poem of mine, circa 1991? I miss Joe, he was a good friend who tried to warn me.

Jimi's wail echoes, across the silent city night
disturbs the crickets song then
rouses me from restless sleep.

On waking, I wearily ponder...
would Joe remember the words?


25) They are Chicken Burritos. They are going to be so yummy.

Whoo hoo!! Ive done it, Happy Dance!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twelve and a half things about me


I owe Ces Twenty Five Things about Me, and Ive been meaning to do it for a couple days now. But after I got robbed of a few hours on Tuesday - I havent been able to catch up! So here is Twelve and a Half Things about Me:

1) I abhor the telephone. I would rather Taser myself than answer or make a phone call. Text messaging is the best thing since the discovery of fire, I swear.

2) I love to write letters, and consider a good letter an art form. Sadly, everyone I know who shared this passion has either died, or disappeared!

3) I am supposed to be out doing the grocery shopping right now.

4) This is actually quite hard, coming up with so many things about oneself...

5) I very rarely wear anything besides black below my waist.

6) See how hard this is?

7) I thought I knew what love was, and that it pretty much sucked sweaty ones. Then I met The Most DH, and found out what love really is. Entirely different.

8) Ummmmm, lets see. Oh yeah! But, oh, wait. No. No, No, NO!!

9) When I was eight years old, I wrote my first dissertation. I titled it "A Comparative Analysis of Fairy Tales". My source material was a complete collection of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books (wiki), which Id found on a very high shelf in my Great Grandmother's library. They were first editions, and gorgeous.
The dissertation was lost over the years as were the original books. Years later I bought the entire series of Lang's books to revist them. Paperbacks, but still very nice. Then, unexpectedly I migrated to Australia. My friend Mary 'inherited' the collection. Cant find copies here. Boo Hoo!

10) Doesnt that make you wonder about how the world has changed for children, and perhaps wonder too, at what a curious and unusual child I was. I guess I was. Its a long story. Ive been threatening an autobiography. Im just waiting for one more person to die, then I can tell the whole infernal, sordid story.

11) Geeze, that sounds very Oculus Sinister, doesnt it. Isnt there something a little 'lighter' I can share...

12) Um, Im having surgery next tuesday to remove a painful, but supposed benign, lump from my right breast. Is that lighter? Is that Too Much Information (TMI)? Im happy about it, because it hurts whenever it is touched or even brushed against something, FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. About six months ago I plucked up the courage to make a stink. I told my GP that I would aspirate a sample from it myself, and bring it to her to send to the lab. THEN she agreed to refer me to a surgeon, and now finally next tuesday I will be free of this nuisance!
Now because the hospital I am going to has a bad reputation, I will be circling the area of the lump with a magic marker in case they put me under before I can talk to the surgeon. Thier Gods better be ready to help them if I wake up with the wrong thing missing. Mark my words.

AND A HALF: A lady from down the street caught me in the garden yesterday morning. She asked if it was true that I was an American. I gave her my now standard reply, that I prefer to pretend Im Canadian - at least till we see what Obama does. She then said she had been given an American cookbook, and could not figure out what it meant by ......


To be continued???

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Future Food: Cucumber


Cucumber flowers! We grew these 'apple' cukes this year. Not sure why they are called 'apple', the resemblance to a green apple isnt that strong. But The Most DH says he prefers them, so what the heck! They dont taste any different to the long green variety, to me anyway.

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Ces, I will have to try again later today! Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You flatter me, I like that in a person!

Ces, of Ces And Her Dishes has undertaken to spread the love in a big way! Ive come away with four awards! They couldnt have come at a better time to give me a shot in the arm, just when Im needing it, so THANK YOU CES!!!

And Im going to share them too! Now, those of you who are either a bit shy, or a bloke - well, you dont have to do anything with them....but if you fancy having a bit of a go - please do! Your names wouldnt appear below if I didnt appreciate something, or several things, about you and your blogs. Consider yourselves all Hugged! So there!



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One Sweet Blog Award


Ces, KJ, Melanie, Merlin Princesse

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A Perfect Blend of Friendship Award


Areeiro, Barkfoot, BetteJo, Ces, KJ, Young Werther

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I Love Your Blog Award


Areeiro, Barkfoot, BetteJo, Ces, KJ, Melanie,
Merlin Princesse,
Sandy, Young Werther

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Blogger Award for Amazing Friendship


Ces, KJ,
and even in absentia: Bird Anonymous

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Be sure to visit Ces's blog, her illustrations will inspire you!

Monday, January 26, 2009

One way ticket to Australia


It was Australia Day yesterday*, and I didnt get a post written ahead. So Im very late today.

Australia Day is the day we all celebrate the arrival of the "First Fleet", or the official beginning of the colonization of Australia. Frankly speaking, I had to look that up on Wiki. As looking at it from the ground, it seemed to me just another piss up.

This clip art is interesting, there was a period of time where Britian actively encouraged Brits to go to the colonies. One incentive was exceptionally cheap fares. I havent heard many stories where people were pleased with what they found when they got here, but talking to you about that could take all day...and its late already.

On the bright side, the 'school holidays' are over now. That means Im up early tommorrow morning, about 5 should do. I will walk up and down the street and around the block. A large tin kettle in one hand, and a large metal ladle in the other. As I walk I will bang on the kettle shouting..."Wake up all you bastards! Its time to go back to school you rotten little snots!" And etc.

Trust me, they deserve it.

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* Actually, it was Australia Day today, the 26th. When I wrote this post earlier today, I suffered from an attack of 'wishful thinking'. Wishful that the excessively loud neighborhood party held yesterday (the 25th) was going to be enough for the mongrels around here.

Wasnt.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Self portrait, macro


Its scary at full size, let me tell you.

Well folks, Ive been under the weather again, and perhaps thats all it is. But Ive been wondering what the heck this whole blog thing is about. Even with two blogs, I dont feel that I am really being myself in either one. If I wanted to be more true to me here, is that wise?

And there is the whole 'free milk and the cow' thingo.

Oh, I could just put up a pretty picture everyday, but Im wondering if that has any real value. Seems to me that I should be capable of something more...meaningful? And if so, what?

Either way Friends, the immediate future may involve some stumbling around in the dark, looking for answers. Better bring a torch.

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torch = flashlight

Saturday, January 24, 2009

400 pixels at full size from the other day



Compressing, and the resolution of 72 for web, kinda ruins it.

Eh, close enough for horse shoes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

honey on a plate in the sun


One of 544 shots of honey - still in comb - on a plate in the sun.

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You thought she was joking, didnt you?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seed on the wind: Mexican Butterfly Weed, Asclepias Curassavica


Ok, Ok, alright, I confess. Yesterday's blog post was a ruse. A stratagem. Some might say an artifice. Even other others: a feint. Whatever you call it, it was a deliberate attempt to delude you all into thinking that that was a fresh photo.

Why should I worry? Ive made no 'Phresh Photo Pledge' or such (yet).

I dont know, I dont know! Perhaps I am just Demented with the Power of Plausibility? After all, how would you know if I was lying to you?

Well, how? Smarty-pants.

So now that you are cooking me over an open flame to distill the essence of truth: yesterdays shot was taken on December 21st. Todays shot was taken on January 11th...but the plant is still setting seed pods and opening them as well. Ive collected a bunch of seed, and let some free to do thier thing in a bare patch nearby.

I wasnt feeling too crash hot yesterday, so I pulled a swift one on you, and then when I wasnt feeling at all better today, I realized that the jig was up and I still needed a post for today, and since I was feeling like crap on a clamshell, I just wasnt terribly inspired, so I looked at hundreds of photos waiting to be shared, and this one is the only one that speaks to me, my word, thats saying alot, there are other road trips to cover, and dont ask about the macro lens project....

Oh...well....since youre curious! I shot some honey on a plate one day - 544 pictures of honey on a plate in the sun!! Oh, Dear Reading Several, you have so much to look forward to!!!! I cant wait to ...

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Lavender has a toothache and is not reacting well to a related prescription. She will be her old blogging self again in a few days. Posts may or may not appear during this time, but if they do, she may appear taciturn in an effort to not appear surly, or insane.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gundagai, then home

The Most DH let me take the wheel out of Tumut for the short hop up to Gundagai. The plan was to stop at Dog on Tuckerbox and have a bite of lunch and a cuppa there. But when we arrived, it was crawling with people! Which was surprising as it was Christmas day, what the heck were all these people doing sitting around here?

Lucky for me, the ferocity of the sun forced the great throng of them to cling to the shade of nearby trees. So I hopped out of the Rover to take the obligatory snapshots. As you can see, they arent very inspired shots. I was really feeling acutely unhappy about being back amongst people again.

But all that aside, this is a wierd monument based on a fictional dog.Im sorry to say, I just dont get it. More info can be found on Wiki's Dog on Tuckerbox page.




We decided to push on to the next rest area to have that lunch, and The Most DH let me drive all the rest of the way back home to Sydney. He knew I would enjoy driving and thereby be too busy to be sad our adventure was over.

So this concludes our Christmas Refugee Escape 2008. Thanks for coming along with us!

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Additional Trip Trivia:
We were gone 33 hours, 1,231 Kilometres! Our 11 year old Land Rover averaged 9.3 litres of diesel fuel per 100 kilometres. Thats pretty good considering her age, the terrain, alot of engine breaking, a fair bit of air con, etc etc. Blog posts generated by this trip: 16 ??!?!?! Thats Epic! LOL

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crimson Rosella, Platycercus elegans


We stopped for the facilities in Tumut. Just as I exited the Rover, this Crimson Rosella came screaming through all a-blur with a very angry Red Wattle Bird on its tail. They very nearly slammed into me.

Now you must suffer a bit of back story, I know! I know! It sucks to be you. But here it is.

For literally hundreds of kilometres we kept seeing pairs of these birds, but only as they shot up skyward and out of sight. We 'saw' at least sixty of these birds and NONE of them would do me the very small courtesy of allowing a decent photo to be taken. The cheek! And I had special seed mix. Snobs!

This photo is a crummy shot, and the bird knew it would be! You can see that the blast furnace we call 'the sun' was fiercely illuminating the tree's canopy, but not penetrating it. And add to exposure issues, some social ones.

See, I had just boldly walked up to the base of this tree, seemingly talking to myself (in actuality, I was talking to this bird), and the couple who were picnicking at the table just two feet away from my backside were tensely patient. Probably fervently hoping I would bugger off straight away if they tried very hard to pretend they hadnt noticed me.

Well, between the birds' outright scorn, and the growing apprehension from my own species, I made my retreat to the Rover with great reluctance. Snobby birds. Frightened people. Honestly....

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We had a Crimson Rosella in the backyard, back in June 2007
They havent been back, what did I do to offend them?

For more info:
Crimson Rosella at Birds in Backyards
Crimson Rosella at Wikipedia

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, where?

The Most DH pulled the Rover to the side of the road, abruptly. Clutching my chest I gasped "Whats wrong?". "Emu." He said.


Peering through the camera's viewfinder with the lens out to 300mm, "Uh, no, I dont see anybody out there. You feeling alright? Maybe I should drive for awhile...Oh! Wait a minute, Yeah! Geeze, how'd you see him?"


I got this close before calling off the stalk.



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Another first time wild sighting!

For more info on the Emu:

Emu's at Birds in Backyards
Emu's at Wikipedia

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Long drink of water - Talbingo Reservoir

The Snowy Mountains Highway takes us past the Talbingo Reservoir. It is very, very long, but I cant find info on how long. Strange, as it is a manmade lake, Id have thought some one would have wanted to crow about it...


I love the colours as the reservior just keeps going on kilometre after kilometre...


....kilometre after kilometre after....


...Oh look! Theres campers down there, cool.


Oh alright already with the reservior - whats on the other side of the road? Whoa! Random Modern Art, groovy.


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Our map shows that the Talbingo Reservior is entirely within the boundaries of the Kosciuszko National Park...but the far side of the reservior looks to me suspiciously like a pine plantation - how does that work?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snowfields of the Eucumbene River

After Adaminaby, the road takes us back into the Kosciuszko National Park. At first the terrain is again much like yesterday. We stopped by the side of the road for a few moments to stretch and enjoy the regenerating bushland.





But as we continued, the land began to level off again. And became strangely empty. Snowfields! Millennia of winters snows melting, and running off in great torrents come spring, have scoured the area clean. Bar the grass.


This is the Eucumbene River. Its not much to look at in mid-summer, but I wouldnt want to try to cross it in the spring.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boulderfields to Adaminaby



This length of the Snowy Mountains Highway is fairly flat and very boulder-strewn. But the horizon tells us another climb is ahead before we escape the Great Dividing Range.


After a few short hours, we find ourselves in Adaminaby, and here at thier Big Trout we found a lovely place to set up the camp stove. A sign at the base of the trout reads that it was erected in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the moving of the town of Adaminaby.


Seems Old Adaminaby was in the way of the new Lake Eucumbene, which was formed as part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme.

Now the new town does a fair trade with trout fishermen during the summer, and the ski set all winter. Locals told us that with the drought of the last few years, the water level is low enough that you can still see the old town. Can you imagine it? We would have gone to see ourselves, but time urged us onwards.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Echidna - Tachyglossus, well most of one anyway.


How did The Most DH spot this from the Rover at 100 Kph?



At the sound of us skidding in the gravel at the roads shoulder, this Echidna made for what cover was closest to hand. Now, I dont expect anyone outside of Australia to believe me when I say this is an actual animal. So here is a link to Wikipedia's Echidna page, that will sort you out.

Tis a pity this one wouldnt show his face for us, we waited as long as we could to see if he would pull his head out. But he stayed put, and I am not one to force the issue. They are actually very sweet with thier small eyes and charming beak. Yes, really. A charming beak. Im telling you, you really want to click Wiki's Echidna page link.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Boulderfields

Out of Jindabyne, pick up the Snowy Mountains Highway. Fabulous boulderfields as you go. Ive been pretty verbose lately, so nuff said today, Cheers!


Monday, January 12, 2009

A 'spa bath' is not a 'hot tub'

After the Gang Gang sighting, we continued to wind our way gently back down into Jindabyne. After a quick shower, we hoofed it off to the pub for some dinner. Being Christmas eve, we weren't expecting them to offer much other than standard pub-grub. Which didnt fuss us. We were aiming to keep things simple, and as a back up plan had packed the esky (cooler) with a sufficiency of comestibles in contingency*.

Lo! We were pleasantly surprised to find the pub doing a rather brisk trade, with a full menu on offer. Bonus! Details of the meal itself are sketchy (The Most DH had prawns, and I a rare rump steak), but also irrelavant...

It was very interesting to look around the dining room, and attempt to discern everyones story. A few tables were obviously visiting family, just gathering for a dinner out. Other tables seemed to be occupied by overseas travellers. A few tables may just have been people giving up the road for the day, to push on fresh tommorrow for thier final destinations. To me, it felt a bit like we were all Christmas Refugees, one way or another. I so dislike Christmas.

But we did enjoy ourselves. Had a walk down to the shore of Lake Jindabyne. Then back to the pub for some 'afters'. Eventually ending up back in the room, where we admitted to each other that we had both mistaken 'spa bath' for a 'hot tub'. The latter being what we were imagining when we booked the room.

Ah well, open the peach sparkling wine! Time to play human tetris...hmmm, also irrelavant. For this blog anyway.

But we did enjoy ourselves!

In the morning, we were up before the sun. From the balcony we sipped some instant coffee (ptfftt!) while watching this young Galah give his parent some cheek.


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* = Caution!
Iam uncertain as to whether "in contingency" is grammatically correct.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gang Gang Cockatoo, Callocephalon fimbriatum

...another of Australia's colourful characters by the side of the road. As we pulled over to the shoulder, such as it was, I slid from the Rover in stealth mode. But Ack! He's off!



On the road there is no where to hide from prey that has a better vantage point, and escape method, than you. So it was time to deploy some of my Trademark Stalking Techniques.



I'd share them with you, but you wouldn't want to actually do them. They all involve looking totally ridiculous, which Ive noticed most people tend to avoid doing when given the chance. And they dont always work.


But in this case, I successfully amused Mr Gang Gang. So much so, he even gives us a smile. Thanks Mate!

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This is the first one Ive seen live in the wild, Im stoked!

For more information:
Gang Gang at Wiki
Gang Gang at Birds in Backyards

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Descent from Olsen's Lookout, Yipes!


A lovely flowering shrub at Olsen's Lookout.



And a last shot through some trees at the top of the trail down.


Well they say, what comes up, must come down. But you will notice, they never make mention of the manner in which it will!

As I mentioned yesterday, the "visitor facilities map" shows this road to Olsen's Lookout as an unsealed road, but we think a designation of 4WD track would better suit it. So we knew the 10Kms back down to the main (sealed) road was going to be a bit of work, but with no other way down, we were off.

However, you really can not plan for all eventualities. In this case, the lay of the land required more brake use than one would normally expect to need, and quickly our brake fluid boiled.

If this has never happened to you, you are not missing anything! The brakes go very spongy (USELESS!!!) very quickly - and brake failure becomes imminent! This is not good whilst descending mountainous terrain. Just take my word for it.

Now, obviously, we made it, so thats the end of the suspense, Drats!

The Most DH knew how to nurse the Rover down. Hooray! Despite the many long, tense, minutes wondering if we would make it alive or intact. My Hero! Probably some out there would think this was the most exciting part of the whole journey. Nutjobs!

When finally we re-joined the main (sealed) road, we pointed the Rover back in the direction of Jindy with a sigh of relief. We continued gently along the less challenging terrain to give the brakes more time to cool, when suddenly we spied....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Olsen's Lookout, spectacular




The photos do it no justice, no justice at all. I do need a wide angle lens, but even that I dont think could have helped me here. Well, a polarizing filter would have gone a long way, but enough of that!

It was a spectacular view, and this gives you just a tiny taste of it. The visitors facilities map has the road up to Olsen's Lookout labeled as an 'unsealed road', but we really think it deserves the designation of '4WD trail'. Lucky for us, we are in our Land Rover, and have suitable recovery gear on board, in case of emergency.


After a (surprise!) challenging drive up, we discovered that it was after 4:30pm, and we had this gorgeous view to contemplate. So we set up the camp stove to enjoy a nice cuppa and snack before tackling the descent.