Showing posts from October, 2007

Weekend stuff

Frances and I spent some of this weekend out in the bush (about 1200m above sea level) on birding duties. There has been a very dry spell for about 3 months, but we re now getting some rain.

To recycle a cliche there is good news and bad news.
The bad news first. Australia is the home of the bush fly. What is known as "the great Aussie salute" is a constant motion in which the hand is swept across in front of the face to fan away the flies. We have been told this weekend that as a result of the drought (last 5 years, not the last few months) the population of beetles that bury cattle poop has dropped drastically: thus more poop = more flies. Here is a shot of Frances supporting this research finding. The good news (well the photogenic news at least) is that the rains have led the marsupials to start continued foetal development. (When things get dry the foeti just get put into suspended animation until food and water become available again. Don't ask me how this happens, bu…

Garden situation, late October

We have inherited a good lot of irises from the previous owners, of which these are the lairiest,

These pale ones also have a subtle charm!

We were kindly given some yellow flags by a friend and despite most of the water exiting the pond in which we placed them we now have some beautiful flowers to look at across the lawn.

In the vegie department we have a good crop of onions beginning to appear as well as several varieties of garlic. Needless to say there are also weeds which Frances removes!

This is an overview of the legume area. It was under the yellow box shown in is really a remarkable recovery. Notice that the supervisor is still on the job!

We have several varieties of peas and they are all producing heavily. This is far and away the best we have ever done with them, despite their pounding from the fallen tree. This section are snow peas. The potatoes are really hitting their straps. They are growing faster than w…

Various recent birds

The image below is of a great egret. I had hoped to get one of it sitting in a dead willow, but it flew as the shutter went, giving a much better shot!

This is an image of the Bar-tailed Godwit seen in and near Kelly's Swamp on 25 October 2007

On 24 October I was unsuccesfully searching the Australian National Botanic Garden for an alleged Spangled Drongo. Instead I found some flowering grass trees (Xanthorrhea sp) which were being thoroughly investigated by Red Wattlebirds. I don't know if this was a search for nectar or insects but the images are OK.

Interesting things to do with yeast

I am sure there are a very wide range of things to do with yeast. The two main uses I make of this product are baking bread (basic simple stuff in a bread machine) and brewing beer. However for the sake of completeness this post will also note some other people's efforts in the latter direction.

Vey little more will be said about the former. I use one of Lauke's mixes (usually the German grains one) for the bread and do not muck about adding fruit etc. As we live some 22kms from the nearest shop it is really good to have a fresh loaf available in the kitchen whenever we want one (and remember to fire the machine up the previous night). Although I am not greatly into 'sensory' things the smell of the baking bread is also quite pleasant on a cold winter morning.

Beer making
There are a couple of ways of beer making. The first is to delegate the task to someone else and just drink the stuff. This will be covered by commentary on various ales I have purchased and sampled. For…

Marathon trip

This is essentially recording some stuff around our trip to Melbourne which had the purpose of me running the marathon. The sub-text of that is that I had found that the time I ran in New York (10 months earlier) would have put me at #15 in the ACT Vets 60 – 65 age group. As I turned 60 (or as Frances put it, depressingly, entered my 7th decade) 2 days before the race this seemed to be my best chance of additional fame.

Day 1 was a drive from Carwoola to Marlo on the East Coast of Victoria. This started by confirming that the shortcut through Captains Flat and Jerangle actually cut 20 minutes (as well as 50km) off the trip. The highlight of the drive was seeing a lot of echidnas wandering around. We have seen them in the past but this year they seem to be everywhere.

We started touristing at the Bemm River rainforest walk where there were a lot of birds calling, but as usual in rainforest, none were visible. We moved on to Cape Conran, taking a photo of a young person boogie-boarding an…

Brickbats (and the occasional bouquet)

This post will showcase events in which we have received spectacular client service. To be fair it will include the good and the ugly (the merely bad isn't worth wasting your time with).

I have decided that in this post I will add more recent stuff near the top.

My initial blast was for Microsoft, because my posts appeared to have the wrong time etc on them and, with any computing problem, the default is to blame Bill Gates. Sorry for the sexism, but I don't usually give Melinda a serve. However it turned out that the issue was not with XXXXsoft but with Google, since there is an obscure setting in Blogger which defaults to all bloggers being on pacific Time. Thus Google get a brickbat. However they also get a bouquet because I was able to find the solution intheir help pages: a difference to XXXXsoft products.

Lets get positive: includes some sideswipes - not quite brickbats - but also some large b…