Saturday, June 30, 2012

back into it

Another Saturday, another banana bread. Tomorrow we race! I have done no training, I still have a phlegmy cough from a bad cold, I am old and weak and I rode way too much in the lead up to the race so I have probably peaked yesterday. Excellent! But there will be banana bread to share, and we will all suffer and laugh, and it will be good.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I had a free day today, and so I had a big ride, food, a nap... the best sort of day. I headed out for a ride, and traveled some new roads, with mixed reviews. I like a 50km loop, and this ride was that, but the 4km bike lane beside the highway that I hadn't ridden before disappointed at the end:
Yes we have maintenance issues

As you can see in the photo the sun only shone in fits and starts, but it was a lovely 2 and a quarter hour ride for 60 kms and there were things that made me smile:
  • I saw a proper farm turkey take flight, and I always believed they couldn't fly, so that was cool
  • there were Shetland ponies
  • a fence with brightly painted helmets on every post
  • pelicans in flight against a perfect patch of blue
  • every bike and skate park full of kids doing their thing
  • an orange gummy candy on the road where I was thinking "nobody cycles this way"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Toorak tractor

I wasn't getting my road bike dirty today. It started raining softly from about 6:45 and that was it. A second cup of coffee and read the news, then roll out a bike that likes dirt. In Australia a Toorak tractor is a snide reference to a too expensive, too over engineered, too big 4WD driven by rich people in urban environments. Take out the rich reference, and that sums up me on my Specialised Myka dual suspension MTN bike riding to work. It is just wrong on so many levels. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

a little break

It didn't even last until the turnaround at the dam, but the sky broke and the sun shone and it was sweet for a little while, and it lifted my heart. I have been moved to clean my bike again (since Sunday), and Scott took the chain off and soaked it while I got the gears and fly wheels spotless. If it rains tomorrow I will take a different bike, but oh my this morning was a magic ride with the sun on my face.

Monday, June 25, 2012

rain on the chard

my leafy greens are loving this unusual wet winter.
 It was pleasantly misty coming home, and way less windy than this morning. It was a fabulous sufferfest to the dam to start my week

Coloured chard is just so much more fun than plain green!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I really love good produce, I would have made a good farmers wife if that was the way it turned out. Of course not knowing any farmers sons in my early years was a barrier. Anyway, things turned out very well and we are urban gardeners instead. We always have the pumpkins in the left of the photo because we buy them and eat them and the seeds sprout out of the compost and scramble around making fruit. They are called Jap pumpkins, which is probably a political correctness issue for reasons I cannot know, but that is what they are called. The QB pumpkin is a Queensland Blue, there is just the one in the photo, the pale blue grey one. I don't usually buy them just because they are so huge. I have never seen the ironbark variety before, and I am keen to give it a try. It is also huge, but look at it! So magnificent, and the lady at the Fruit Barn tells us it is a really tasty variety. I bet it breeds true as well and will scramble all over my back yard. Hope so.

It was really cold today, never got over 20. All this cool and pumpkins has got me thinking about a trip to the Hants County Exhibition in September. The oldest agricultural exhibition in North America is well worth planning your holidays around.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

for Emma

A friend at JCU wants to try riding to work, and she didn't like the hybrid bike I loaned her a couple of years ago. Lucky for her my favorite LBS (Top Brand Cycles!!) GAVE me this Giant comfort bike to help out the BUG. I figure the primary role of the BUG is getting people on bikes, so I will use this as a loaner for visiting scholars, new riders wanting to try different geometry bikes, and for riding myself sometimes because it is fun!

the other immigrants

People are a bit of an infestation in places, like this new farmers market on the edge of town. Honestly, we have nice markets already where you can buy produce from the farmer, so this was a bit of a surprise. We beat a hasty retreat out of there, and will stick with the closer and more cycling fun markets in the city.
Then when we got home we decided to cut some of our own produce and bring it upstairs. Scott always cuts the stalk of bananas when it starts to ripen and hangs it under the house so the bats and possums don't eat them all. But hey! who is that! Another creature who is not originally from these shores, but who follows people where ever they go. Dear old ratus ratus, I am quite fond of him actually.

What a cosy bed for a well fed rat. He is very reluctant to leave, in fact he is still in there even though I have been pottering around near the bunch. If we still had our fox terrier there would be high excitement indeed, and one less rat.

Friday, June 22, 2012

meh Friday

No perfect blue sky today, it is raining, but at least the temps are in the teens. I have decided I would rather be warm than dry. The commute today was surprisingly pleasant thanks to a Specialised rain jacket that actually keeps you dry while preventing sweaty buildup. Of course my 'lower half' got soaked, but it is surprising how well stuff dries on the wee clothes line in my office.

I had a REALLY BIG DAY at work, but it is all done now, and do to my amazing talents I don't have to go in over the weekend after all. Yay!

It was too rainy to expose my phone to the elements for a photo, which is a shame, because it was very pretty today. Instead, I give you comfort food.

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables and spags. Basic, bursting with flavor, hot and good with red wine. Life is sweet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


We always tend to see the nice in nature, but it isn't always nice at all. These little parrots were in a fight to the death I recon. Feathers were flying and the screaming was quite something. I had to literally stick the boot in and nudge around with my toe to break them up. Hopefully one of them will seek out new territory and that will be that for now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

photo assignment

I need some photos for reports and publicity for the BUG, so I came home a different way today to get these. I figured the sky was about as perfect a blue today as it would every be. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday chores

I love a quiet day at home to pfaff around. After coffee and all that we went shopping to buy a scale so I could get a lemon cake right. I made it and took it to a friends last night, but it was pretty flat and I knew I needed to get my weights correct, so I finally graduated from using cups to grams today.
The recipe promises to use 3 lemons, but it is a BBC Good food recipe (, and they don't grow em like we do here in Queensland! 

My new little helper made a much plumper cake

It should be fabulous. I add zest and some fruit to the sauce, and I boil it for awhile to cook everything up and get it a bit thick. 

Then time to plant Mae's coriander seeds, lettuce and dill. Harvest greens for dinner.

Except for two spuds we grew all this. Gardening is great.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

new sign

Near the end of my street! Cool! We haven't ever had one of these in the 13 years we have lived here. Mind you, I doubt a croc is going to climb the high steep bank of this side when he/she can just amble up the gentle slope of the opposite bank. Besides, that is where everyone stands up to their knees in the river to fish. Free lunch all laid out along the riverside.

Friday, June 15, 2012


In case you missed it, I live in Australia. It is winter, which in the dry tropics means it is perfect, as long as you don't have to get up early and have a weepy, snotty ride to work. It was 10 degrees this morning, and as there is no central heating in my house it was very hard to get out from under the doona and get moving. This afternoon I had to go to the building next door, which is attached to my building by a walkway.

There was a cheeky fellow on the rail both ways, so I grabbed the phone and came back for a photo.

A perfect shot for the dry tropics, with livistonia palms and poplar gums in the background. It is nice to get up close to wildlife, but a bit scary when you are confronted with those shiny eyes and that massive beak!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

home again

Down the highway on a perfect clear day to home.
Leaving the green wet tropics behind, we head for the cooler dry tropics. We don't see green like this in Townsville. 
It is also WAY colder down here, almost 10 degrees colder this morning than when I went for my Monday ride. I didn't take a photo today, my ride was awash with tears and mucus and I dreaded going outside all day. I am so not a winter person.

Monday, June 11, 2012

just hangin' out

40 km bike ride, nice breakfast, laying around with the kindle. Admiring my sisters cordyline collection in the afternoon sun. Brisk 40 minute walk, dog cuddles, wine o'clock. Happy diamond jubilee Mrs. Windsor. I feel like I was Queen for a day myself. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

still tourists

OMG I have to lift my game when I make a flower arrangement on the weekend. I have all these plants, but none of the talent and vision to do this. Stunning. Port Douglas is serious tourist territory. There is no need for normal people to come here, except perhaps to eat at Salsa Bar and Grill, which is fantastic. 
 There was a local market today, and it was really lovely. I got local organic vanilla beans and extract, and talked to some wonderful dogs. We will be back soon.  I really like "market people" they are such enthusiasts! I saw some mind bending opals, but they are expensive and I need to think about them before I jump. I am a slow shopper...
The beauty and quality of local produce and plants. So wonderful. We do live in paradise.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


We are getting out and about with family. These two are family. 
 Visited a conservation wetland, which was lovely. This is not a tame emu, it is a resident emu. I am a bit wary of birds taller than me.
 Big birds, big termite mounds.
Big lotus
What a lovely day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

pretty city

Morning in Cairns. It is a very lovely place.

transit of Venus

A conference for mapping and surveying nerds is always great fun if you are one. We even had a special solar scope available for watching the transit of Venus. These were made and given out to Schools by my Professional body, the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute. Way Cool!
 This is about as deep onto the face Venus got, since it transcribed a bit of a U in one corner through the course of the day. We had really perfect conditions after a very dark week, lucky.
After a long but interesting day, sunset over Cairns, with lots of bats (all those dark blurs)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm off

One bag of conference clothes to do me till Friday, bigger bag with weekend clothes and cycling kit (including helmet, shoes etc.) for the long weekend. Off to Cairns, hope it is warmer than Townsville!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Looking good! The grey is diatomaceous earth, because we have a ton of soft bodied grubs who would chew this stuff, except now it is all scratchy and unpleasant. Beats poisons. I love greens. Growing veggies is deeply satisfying. SSoon heading into the backyard to pick supper will be just magic. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday noodle

A soft afternoon ride to catch up with a friend, and the wallabies were out. Now I know this is not a great shot, but urban wildlife is very wary, and I did well to get this close. The dear thing, they are very sweet.
The new bike is slowly getting dialed in. The seat was ridiculously high, and angled down. The handle bars were swiveled very low for an aggressive race set up. Big surprise that the novice cyclist hubby bought it for was not impressed and has quit riding. I have the seat too low (although it measures the same as my other bike) but I still really enjoyed a ride along the river getting to know a different bike. It is fun to ride, and eager to please, with an easy and responsive gearing. It will be hard giving it up in a few weeks.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Eco Fiesta

Come to my city, where we celebrate the EcoFiesta - Greenie heaven, every year...
Delve deep into the Queen's Gardens
Where you will find the booth for the Townsville BUG, promoting the strange notion of riding a bike instead of driving a car! We are so weird! I actually got a drive to the venue, because the CBD is a no go zone at midday for me, and I would have needed to cross it to get to this venue. Ironic really, and an clear example of the work to be done to make a flat, perfect, tropical city a cycling paradise. I will keep the dream alive, it is possible.

Friday, June 1, 2012

new bike!

My bike is really dirty
 so I got a clean one
Just kidding! I love my bike very much, and I am going to wash it tomorrow. I have a friend who is smaller than me (!) who has had me on the lookout for a cheap road bike. This one came up in an email alert from a site called "Gumtree", like an Aussie Craigslist I suppose. Little bikes are quite rare, and this is a tad smaller than mine. I just went ahead and bought it because it is really lovely and was very cheap. It looks like someone may have run into/over the front wheel, but the bike is fine. New wheel has been ordered, and soon I will have a new riding companion! It is always so exciting to test ride and buy a new bike, even if you know it isn't for you to keep. I'll take it to work a few times next week for fun though, that is my cut on the deal.