Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween!

Tomorrow is November already. The weather is magnificent, still cool (if a high of 32 is cool) and blue skies. I am sorry I didn't get more kms in, but it is too late now.

Not much happens here for halloween. It is the wrong time of year anyway, although it is harvest time in the garden, and there are fall like things is spring (like falling leaves) which confound the ex-pat Canadian. Anyway, if we had a trick-or-treater I would be shocked, we never have before.

To help me celebrate my roots, the produce suppliers have decided to sell cabbage for the cheapest price I have ever seen. Remember that this is the tropics, so a cabbage probably has to make a bit of a journey to our stores. We got a huge one, a real prize winner, for less than 3 bucks last week, and I have really enjoyed it. Coleslaw, a shredded cabbage casserole that is the lazy cooks answer to cabbage rolls, tonight I am baking coriander crusted pork with cabbage, tomorrow I want cabbage and chick pea/vegetable soup, and then I will need another cabbage! I still want creamy Irish mashed spuds with cabbage, and Vietnamese cabbage salad, and Chinese cabbage wontons.... and don't forget corned beef and cabbage with onion sauce!! Hope they are still on sale!

Cabbage doesn't seem like a treat back home, but I have paid $7 for a small one, so excuse me while I go completely nuts with cabbage dishes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday holiday

I know i said I was going to ride this morning, but when I got up BoaB gave me the choice of a ride, or a trip north to Ingham to visit a wetland I have been keen to see. So we reverted back to a former life when we were birdwatchers, not cyclists, and off we took.
Road trip! It is green like I have never seen in October. Unbelievable.
The Tyto wetlands are in a town about 100kms north, where it is alway green and the heritage is very Italian. After the hike and breakfast we cruised the back blocks, and check out this old Italian private hospital (now looking like a very huge private residence). Nice to have the info on the sign out front.

We saw 4 or 5 birds we have never seen before today, which is pretty thrilling. There was an interesting tree which seems to have very different male and female blooms:

Sorry that the red one is not quite open, but it was the only one low enough for little me. They were very different though, the red bloom being very heavy and fleshy, and looking like the "female" fruit bearer.
A wetland in a coastal area in the tropics would be naked without one of these signs. Yes we get a lot of Germans tourists.
I just send some bait ahead ; )
Beautiful blue skies and favorite plants. A Pandanus in fruit. In theory it is edible, if you know what to do with it...
Pretty faced wallaby, not at all shy. There were full sized kangaroos too, but you couldn't get near them, which is just as well since they are bigger than I am.
Really bad crop of a crimson finch. They are so pretty but they move around a lot and don't come close! Anyway, we had such a nice outing, and bought some groceries from the Italian deli (the best flours for pasta, and so many olives to choose from!). I want to go again soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

red sky at night

...sailors delight. Tomorrow we ride!

Saturday at home

Hurry up and blog! I want my dinner!
I love being home. I don't want to go anywhere, cycling excepted.
Last night it bucketed rain, and around midnight the wind picked up and the palms lashed all night. Usually I ride at 5:20 am Saturday morning, but by 5am we were up to 50kmh+ gusts and sustained 35kmh winds. I have had a half assed health week (Academics suffer more than most from 'presenteeism', and then they all come to my office) so I stayed in bed while BoaB rolled out.

The result is that I am in fine fettle for a Saturday. It is great to go for a big morning ride, but I am in a stupor the rest of the day. Today however I have done some serious pre-wet season gardening, under house tidying and slow cooking ( a cajun bean dish that needs to simmer for hours). I haven't even napped!
In the garden. I have just planted the former eggplant bed with lettuce seeds and marigolds. Now it had big holes, and I saw a female rhino beetle extricating herself from the soil. What to do? So I looked up rhinos on the interwebs, and it looks like she was being born, not laying eggs. I often find the big rhino larvae in the garden, but it seems they are my friends. The female lays eggs in the rotting vegetation parts of the yard, where the larvae do good work chomping the dead wood and leaves. Then they hunker down and pupate and emerge as adults, so they are not interested in my living crops, and are assisting in the recycling of my slash piles.

Now for some flowers.

OK, I know I need expert assistance in the art of flower arranging as well as the use of my 80 dollar bang box. Some day I hope to study Ikibana. I am saving it for when I am 60, as you have to have something to look forward to in life. In the mean time, when Scott hands me an armload of blooms from the garden, I just put them in vases.

Heliconia are a sure sign of summer coming on. I can now look forward to a fresh arrangement every weekend until ?? April? May? They just go on forever, and the more you cut the more you get. Carol, note the perfect runner for the sideboard! Thanks!

And now some link love. If you are a Canadian who grew up in the sixties this will slay you:

Can you still buy Phentex? I sure hope not!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ride to Work Day

Yesterday was national Ride to Work Day. As usual, I celebrated by getting up very early indeed and DRIVING to the Uni. with a bunch of stuff to hold the community breakfast. Normally this drives me completely nuts, but this year it was really rainy so I didn't mind having a good excuse. It never rains in Townsville in October, I swear, but yesterday was like the wet season was upon us. Despite that 30+ brave people rode in and attended the community breakfast, and I am sure many more just rode in as usual.
Here I am with the first riders of the morning. It was a pretty crappy morning and I figured this could be it, so i got a group photo.
Lots of riders turned up though (if you think 30 is lots) so it was worth all the bother. As a bonus Facilities Management let me use one of the solar powered carts they have for transporting everything to the BBQ area. It was so fun to drive!

I am really proud of the banner I designed last year. It is easy to hang anywhere because of the ropes, and it has a big plastic pocket so it can be used for any and every event. I think it looks great!
I had lots of stuff to give away, including tire repair kits and personal alarms. I thought the alarms were a bit weird, but the water bottles and stickers were popular. All thanks to TravelSmart Queensland, who sent me all this stuff without me even asking!!
The JCU BUG's presidents award for the best bike goes to Dr Alison Cottrell for her fabulous Peugeot. I swoon whenever I see it! I confess, it is a rescued bike from one of the colleges (they used to send bikes to the dump!! Imagine!!) and I had taken it home for myself. However, Alison needed a step through bike, and while you can buy cruisers, they are really heavy and have huge tires! This is a 30 year old French original with 3 speeds and a light steel frame. It is just gorgeous.

So as usual it was exhausting and a bit stressful to organise a RTW Day breakfast, but I will do it again next year because it is very fun and worthwhile in the end.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday already!

Flower of the week. A gardenia grandiflora which has lots of buds, but this is the first bloom of the season. It makes me feel like I am going to the Prom with the perfect corsage. Creamy and soft, so fragrant and perfect to look at. What a star.

Geeze I am turning into a weekly poster. Sorry. I am a bit stressed and ill, and it is rendering me kind of stupid and sleepy. Anyway, we are enjoying a time of plenty in the garden. Paw paw (or papaya if you like) are too plentiful. Tomorrow I am going to try my first ever Thai green paw paw salad. Why not? Theresa, if you are looking, please email me to arrange a visit and pick up some fresh produce. I can't cope. The little bowl of tomatoes indicates that finally, after several kilos of fruit, the plants are slowing down. I have dried a fair few and will prune and rejuvenate the plants.

The Commonwealth games has been well covered by TV. I find it all a bit cringe worthy, especially since it is in such magnificent city which is obviously detached from such an anachronistic event. But go you Aussies and Canadians and Poms, because it is all about you after all. Even the cycling fails to excite.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

cycling marathon

Phew. for someone who hardly ever watches television, I have done a marathon session. I have watched every minute of the UCI world's cycling championship. All of it. FANTASTIC.

As a result the TV room is as clean as a bean. I can't just sit and watch tele so I have washed the windows, walls and baseboards, dusted, tidied, scrubbed. I started to sand the widows so I could paint but I couldn't hear Phil Liggett.

Since I was home for days ( I hadn't intended to take Thursday off but I was sick, so began the marathon) I freecycled a bunch of stuff. If we are going to downsize we had better start shedding some stuff. So Stanley's wading pool, some deck chairs, fans, our giant fish tank - all gone. I'll be eyeing up more things to go. We arrived with almost nothing, and now we have a huge house full of STUFF!

We are so a consumer culture....