Monday, November 30, 2009

daylesford and hepburn springs

somehow we managed to wait almost 2 years from our last trip to hepburn springs but we finally made it back again. it was a good weekend of relaxing, lots of good food and a couple good walks. we stayed at the continental house (the conti) where we've stayed a couple times before.
somehow i didn't end up taking any pictures of the food (even though my camera was at my feet most of the time).
friday nite we went to jasmine thai in hepburn springs. we'd been there once before and it was good. this time when we arrived the waitress was too busy to seat us but she gave us menus and told us to head to the middle room where there was a table for 2. we went in and there was a (loud) group of 8 filling most of the small room and then our table just next to them. when we looked at the menu we had a moment of panic because under the heading "vegetarian" it said "non-vegan". that wasn't there last time. i looked down further and it stated that any item with an asterisk could be made vegan on request (and there were several items that could be made vegan). service was a bit slow (i'm assuming someone or a couple people didn't show up to work or something because you could tell the waitress was running off her feet and she actually told a guy at the next table a few minutes after he ordered a coffee that no one could make the coffee for him right now so if he wants caffeine he should just get a coke). when we did get to order i got stir-fried veggies with cashews in a sweet chilli sauce and just as zac ordered the waitress (who was vegetarian) highly recommended we should get the crispy fried tofu that was on the specials menu. zac decided to go for it. it was a great choice-- best crispy tofu i've ever had. it came mixed with stir fried vegies in some sort of red (curry?) sauce. soooo good!
the next day we went for lunch at the himalaya bakery in daylesford and both got smoked tofu pies. the filling was tasty but a bit dry. when you eat the pie there (not take away) you get a nice chutney with it so that took away the driness (it also came with a nice side salad).
unfortunately the conti banquet was cancelled on saturday nite because just us and one other couple had signed up for it (all the other guests at the completely booked up conti were there for a wedding in town on saturday nite). we ended up getting the only vegan item on the menu at the electric sitar indian cafe (a chickpea and lentil dahl which was really nice and filling and perfect for a rainy evening).
we ended up back at the himalaya bakery for lunch on sunday. zac just got a piece of garlic fried bread for lunch (and then another smoked tofu pie to go as we were leaving). i had the himalaya open faced sandwich with white bean dip, tomatoes, avocado and roasted red capsicum (bell pepper)-- really nice.
we went for a walk saturday afternoon and got caught in a thunder storm (fortunately the lightning stopped when the storm got overtop of us) but i got a couple picutres when i didn't have to hide my camera under my waterproof jacket.

arty shot of one of the many mineral water taps in hepburn springs (i didn't intend to take the picutre so i moved the camera while the shutter was open):

sunday we walked around the lake.
a duck at the lake:

i don't think i've ever seen water flowing down here before because the lake has always been too low:

lilly pads:
views on the ride home from a moving vehicle:

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

made my evening

our dog is wondering why i keep laughing while a look at the computer screen. if only she could understand pictures.....

more at faildogs
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Sunday, November 22, 2009


she looks so sad. she's not as sad as she looks though-- she's in begging position (lying near zac's feet while he eats) and watching as he's lowering the last peanut down for her to eat.
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Friday, November 20, 2009


the cool change has arrived!!it came with a few rumbles of thunder in the middle of rest time at work (for the kids, not us-- although i had a relaxing time today at rest time once the few sleepers dozed off and the others were settled quietly listening to a story on tape). now it's a nice comfortable 25C (instead of the 37C it was at lunch time) and drizzling lightly (it'd be good if this change brought a nice downpour of rain to wet hot, dry gardens). i've had a friday afternoon margarita and the house has cooled to a reasonable temp. i'm happy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


i think the temperature forgot to go down overnite (closeup below)
i did not sleep much. big cup of coffee next to me. it's gonna be a looooonnng day (the high for today is 34 or 36 C--we're pretty much there already and it's not even 7:30)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

lots of food

we've had some good meals and snacks the last couple days. unfortunately i never have my camera on me so there's no photos. friday nite we ended up eating at the east brunswick club on the way home from drinks with zac's workmates. i got the philly cheese steak and i was impressed. zac had the fish and chips. i had one bite and it was good but i think i was mostly tasting tartar sauce. zac was a little worried it was actual fish (i think he's forgotten what fish tastes/looks like) but he said it was good. last nite we went to mr. natural pizza on the way home. we've been talking about trying that place since we lived on brunswick st. when i first moved here. until yesterday we'd never done it. we got the vegan-ized bezalya pizza- potato, olives, onion, capsicum (bell pepper), roasted pumpkin, tomato, parsley, lots of herbs and spices, some chilli and lots of cheezly. sounds like a big mix of flavours but they went really well together. we decided we'd go have a picnic in the park. unfortunately the cool change had hit a couple hours earlier and it was kind of cold sitting in the grass in a singlet (tank top) at dusk (when i looked up yesterday evenings temperatures it was about 18C but it felt pretty cool after the weather we've had lately). the pizza was really nice though-- we'll be getting that again (and we are in their delivery area so the 1 or 2 times a year that we order pizza i think we might have to go with them).
we've had some good snacks too. we stopped by grumpy's green for a beer yesterday afternoon. they've redone their menu. there still doesn't seem to be much for the mains that's vegan (although i think they can make a few of the items vegan on request). i got one of the small snacks-- vine leaves. the first one i had was extremely salty (and i like my salt) but the others were good. zac had some flat bread with garlic oil/balsamic vinegar and salt to dip in. looked good (although plain as flat bread looks) but i didn't try it.
last nite zac made some popcorn for us. he does it in a large pot with a lot of oil on the bottom and usually a couple cloves of garlic (he can't get enough garlic). it's always very generously sprinkled with salt. i started sprinkling nutritional yeast on mine. soooo good (and it adds something nutritional to otherwise oily, salty corn). the nutritional yeast kind of tastes like "popcorn" salt i used to use in canada (a "butter flavoured" salt).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

almost a bit cold

today only got to 29C (and only for a short period of time). it was 23C when i rode home at lunch and back to work. it almost felt cool riding my bike(and it felt a little cool riding in this morning when it was only about 19C). a bit scary that 25C feels cool. i'm sure it's not gonna stay in the 30s all summer (we're in big trouble if it does). i've even had no problems sleeping the last 2 nites with the warmth (the first few nites weren't very good at all). i'm sure i'll freeze as soon as nites start going down to the low/mid teens again.
it's supposed to be back in the 30s the next couple days. fortunately i have tomorrow off (i'm really not liking the evapourative cooler in our room at work-- it cools nicely but i just feel sticky and my hair feels big and frizzy from the humidity it creates) but i have to go in on saturday to meet next year's kids (i think we'll be heading to the beach as soon as i'm done with that).

Monday, November 09, 2009


i think summer has hit (almost a month early). it's been in the mid 30s for the past couple days and again tomorrow (and then 29-35 the rest of the week). its always a bit of a shock when the heat first arrives. i had some flexicar credit to use (some of it i won, the rest was compensation for our issues getting to my citizenship ceremony) so we decided to go to the beach for the day yesterday. we were thinking barwon heads but then we decided that maybe we could find somewhere a bit closer that we hadn't been before. we ended up going to point cook and altona. point cook was nice, i'd like to go back when it's not so hot (we tried to walk a trail near some "wetlands" but the sun felt like it was burning right through our skin). we went to the beach there briefly but there were a lot of annoying children/pre-teens that were with a large picnic group so we decided to see what altona beach is like. it was very busy with the hot weather but the water looked much cleaner than st. kilda. there were lots of large tidepools with warm water too. we may have to go back again (and try stafan's pizza which is very vegan friendly and apparently worth the trip to altona).
birds at point cook:

tree at point cook: view of the city from point cook: i was a bit worried how wombat would go with her change of routine today. this week is the first week it is definitely way too hot to walk her after work. her normal routine involves me coming home, ignoring her for several minutes then a few minutes after i say hello to her and give her belly rubs and pats we go for a walk. if i try to wait to long she starts asking and then demanding a walk. i think she realizes a walk would not be fun right now. she's settled herself by the front door just sleeping and watching the world go by. she hasn't asked or hinted that she would like to go even once.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

where's the rest of it?

for show and tell (where we only show books and nature for the most part) a child brought in the flattened head of a cockatoo. it was in a tall box that opened at the top and the main teacher actually got it out and showed a group of 25 children (she did put a latex glove on first). i had to photograph it for the child's folder (i won't be posting that photo here). i'd assume the head was flattened (and kind of disfigured) because it had been run over by a car but what happened to his body?
i do have this other cool nature photo i took at work (that is a bit much if you don't like spiders up close):
the spider actually ate the entire caterpillar (it took him/her a half hour or so). when i looked at the gum tree over the next few days the spider was always in the same spot. i gave her a bit of a nudge with a stick and she barely moved. the next day there was no movement. i don't know if the caterpillar killed it (poison or just gluttony) or if it just died. now, over the dip where the spider is sitting a web/cocoon like thing is being formed. we can't figure out if the spider is alive and doing it or if another animal is making some sort of coocoon type thing over it. there's all sorts of other interesting things happening on this gum tree too (and meanwhile kids are going unsupervised while i'm fascinated by tiny insects doing their thing on a tree).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

vegan day

sunday was perfect weather for biking the 6.5km down the creek trails to the convent for world vegan day. the only photo i took the whole day was this one of a few of the MANY bikes parked around the convent area that i took quickly as we were leaving:

(i also took a far away photo of some birds we saw along trail on the way but it wasn't a good photo-- it was just to help me figure out what they were later. i love my melboure's wildlife book-- turns out they were red-rumped parrots)

vegan day was good. weird that the first one in melbourne was my first year in oz and it was just a small group of people having a vegan picnic at albert park (we had trouble finding the group and walked around for ages before finding a group of people and dogs that we thought looked like the right group). now its a massive gathering of all kinds of animal friendly businesses and groups. by the time we got there it was pretty crowded but we went around to all the stalls sampling things (mostly chocolate) and then went around a second time and bought lots of goodies. the line ups for lunch were really long (and there wasn't as much choice in good hot food to eat as there has been in the past) so we ended up getting ice cream for lunch (and it was really good). we also caught the last half of a talk on climate change which was interesting. what she was talking about wasn't really anything i didn't know but she did have a couple interesting facts like this one:

If everyone in the UK abstained from eating meat even for one day a week, this would save 13 megatons CO2 of greenhouse gas emissions. This would result in greater carbon savings than taking 5 million cars off the road in the UK (10.4 Mt CO2). (Source stats: Nicolaas G. Pierson
she stated it as: if everyone in the UK went vegan 7 days a week it would be the equivalent of taking about 35 million cars off the road in the UK(that's more cars then there are there).
i like random facts like that.
one other photo- wombat enjoying her vegan "pig's ear" from vegan pet:
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Sunday, November 01, 2009


last nite we had another good lightning storm (this time with lots of rain). i decided to pull out the camera again. i thought i'd just get a few shots of glowing clouds like the last time but it was even better than that.
the first photo is one of the many with no lightning (i just continually shoot for several seconds until i get a shot of lightning flashing)
i didn't even see the bit of the fork in this shot until i got it on the computer. i was just excited about the way everything was glowing blue in the yard (the lightning would flash several times really quickly so the whole yard would light up this eerie blue colour)
a fork! i got a fork!
another fork.
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