Happy today because....

Started by Steve, April 14, 2007, 10:39:40

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MeltingMan

Under the impression of dwindling social contacts, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Peruvian (?) Family at the cash register. Three adults who buy groceries (very healthy) for over one hundred Euros, including a young woman in a kind of gray leggings with butterflies on them and knee-high boots made of black velvet. Is it already Christmas? 🦋🎄🔥😜
Le futur projette une ombre, comme le passé.
(Modestie et vanité, p. 333.)

Ulrich

... because it seems like Indiana Jones #5 is in the making!

QuoteFilm producer Frank Marshall recently told Den of Geek he had no intention of replacing the actor in his iconic role.

"We are working on the script," he said. "There will only be one Indiana Jones, and that's Harrison Ford."

The actor first appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), followed in 1984 by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, then Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, and in the fourth instalment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in 2008.

The fifth instalment has long been in the making, with several screenwriters coming and going, and was further slowed down by the outbreak of the global Covid pandemic.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55270909
It's never enough...

SueC

This made a really nice dessert last night - and a great breakfast this morning:



Yesterday I spent three hours tying up rapidly growing berry brambles to espalier wires so they don't take over the whole garden, and can actually be netted (so we can eat the berries - otherwise the birds get them all).  And I've got another hour to go today (thank goodness for iPods, and that's exactly why I get to listen to so much music and so many podcasts these days - all this farm stuff).

Tying up brambles is not my favourite job, because you invariably get prickles in your fingers (you can't wear gloves when actually tying knots and yes, I do use pliers to help me handle the darned things).  But the silver lining was that when I took the net off the boysenberries, there were lots of ripe berries - the first haul for the season - so I just had to go make a boysenberry tart afterwards... as a bonus, it was a complete surprise for Brett that evening.  :heart-eyes

I hate shortcrust and make my pie crusts mostly with porridge oats mixed 50:50 with wholemeal flour, and just enough butter and water to make it stick together.  Makes a lovely crunchy crust with actual nutritional value. The secret to keeping the pastry crunchy when you make a custard-fruit tart is to melt some good-quality dark chocolate and spread it all over the base, then let it set before topping with the custard and fruit.  The chocolate layer is a great moisture barrier, as well as a wonderful addition to a fruit tart.  Soggy pastry completely unnecessary - even the next day, same crunch!   :)
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

... I received a very polite, positive e-mail after I sent one out, voicing an idea I had. IF this should come to fruit, I'd be involved in a nice project...
Still, it will take months to complete (if not longer), so it might be a while until you hear more (watch this space)!
It's never enough...

MeltingMan

I finally ordered a chair for my 'basement studio', matching dark blue. I couldn't make up my mind for a long time. One shouldn't look too much like an 'office' and a classic piano stool wouldn't have fitted either because I wanted one with a backrest. Then I cleaned all the cables. Now it looks good again and that makes me happy. 😌
Le futur projette une ombre, comme le passé.
(Modestie et vanité, p. 333.)

SueC

How lovely, @MeltingMan!  It's good to find exactly the right thing, especially after a delay.  Can you believe I didn't buy myself a proper ergonomic office chair until I was 29?  I could have theoretically done that when I was 22 and first earning a decent salary.  But did I?  ...I don't know why some of these things take us so long.  To think of all the hours I spent as a university student studying and writing assignments in a bad chair...and writing a dissertation for my first job...and then later on, marking student work at home... Had I bought it when I could first afford to, that would have saved me seven years of bad posture... Maybe I thought ergonomic chairs were for other people... you know, real people...  :1f636:

Best of luck, @Ulrich!   :smth023

I'm happy today because Brett told me he's going to read a funny Christmas poem for this forum; he's making a clip of it and thinking about buying a Santa beard and some performance props.  He's got one of those reading voices (and I don't, and anyway, this was his idea!).  He's hoping to get it finished by Christmas... presumably this Christmas...  :-D
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Another happy moment, when an unclear situation at work has cleared up (at least for now).
(One company had been bought by another and I was uncertain whether they would still buy my products. Now they want a little something, so there's hoping they'll want more in 2021.)  :cool
It's never enough...

SueC

Very happy with a wonderful way to spend Christmas Day - taking a long walk in the coastal scenery 25 minutes south of us.  The botanical diversity here is so spectacular that when I did go back to Europe once, I was really missing it... and the coast around here is larger than life in many ways; it makes me feel like a tiny ant, in a very good way!  ♥

The steps leading up to the elevated coastal path from Cosy Corner:



Gorgeous woodland (Casuarina grove in this spot!) where the path runs between Torbay Hill and the sea - the hill sheds much water down to here:



This Dasypogon reminded me of Christmas baubles:



The trees grow every which way:



Old fire-scarred tree trunk:



Enormous dunes under coastal heathland:



The elevated track:



Extra-gnarly eucalyptus trees:



Dingo Beach. At the very far end, there's a little white strip you can see nestled in the headland. This is Dunsky Bay, which has a fabulous little beach where the wave motions are so amplified that when you're floating in the water just a stone's throw from the beach, you're going up and down around 4 metres, like a watery fairground ride ...I found this out when I walked there with a colleague who was practising for climbing Kilimanjaro in Africa 15 years ago - she was dragging me all over the place for strenuous walks, which was a good thing!  :)



Migo and Richards Islands, off Cosy Corner, on the way back:



Eucalyptus "nuts" forming:



That's a little selection of photos; if you want a vicarious walk through our coastline, click on any of these photos to get to our Flickr homepage.
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Nice, I took a walk on 2nd Christmas day too and this looks even more "Christmas-y"!  :happy

It's never enough...

SueC

We were very fortunate to have two sets of very lovely guests this week after that shocker last week, and they were so much fun we invited them to dinner every night and had food feasts.  It's the last night for one of the couples and they decided I was having a night off and they would cook Seafood Paella for us - she's Spanish and has actually won prizes in Australian Paella competitions!  So after picking some boysenberries and turning them into icecream earlier, I'm just sitting back salivating at the smells permeating the house.  She said, "I'll give you a proper Paella recipe, forget what they say in cookbooks!  No, no no (reading a recipe, rolling her eyes), that's not what you put in Paella!"  :)

That's usually what I sound like when I read a recipe - "What???  HOW much sugar?  Are they trying to blow up their pancreas?  No way am I putting that much sugar in!"  - or, "Pineapple?  On pizza?  In America maybe, but not in Italy!" - or, "This is nutritionally useless - why are they afraid of wholemeal flour?  And maybe I'll put some nut meal in, but I'm not using refined flour; may as well put sugar in your petrol tank..." ...and it's hilarious to meet someone else who mutters things like that when they read a recipe book!  :lol:

Beatrice is making her own stock and everything - she was mashing up prawn heads before.  The smells of the cooking are completely amazing...I had a pretty sparse lunch because I was so busy (OK, I'll be honest, I had a bowl of CCs with a dollop of sour cream because I needed something quick and salty) so now I'm starved for real nutrition and in a perfect state to thoroughly enjoy the upcoming meal...  :yum:
SueC is time travelling

SueC

It's 3.30pm and I'm happy because the wind has finally changed from northerly to easterly, meaning that the red-hot 39 degree C afternoon is going to start cooling off, now that the incoming wind is blowing from the Great Australian Bight, and not from the Central Australian deserts.

I've just come back off the roof of the house, where I've thrown an old blanket over the solar water heater, because the water was starting to boil in the unit, and if you don't stop that, the unit rattles on the roof, and starts losing water - neither of which are good for the unit or the roof (boiling hot water with copper ions isn't great for the zincalume).

If you've never been in an Australian summer heatwave in the Mediterranean-climate regions of Western Australia and South Australia, let me describe it a little.  The heat is leaden the moment the sun rises in the morning, and escalates to giant-hairdrier/oven levels by midday.  We're on a farm and on days like today, I'm in for 15 minutes on the sofa in front of a fan cooling down and relaxing (and writing ;)), before going out again for 15 minutes with long pants, long sleeves and a big hat (the UV is brutal) to get our animals and garden through the day.  I repeatedly check watering points to make sure water is available and cool, and that bees aren't preventing livestock from drinking.  The cattle and donkeys are pretty good and will drink from the farm dam, but the (ex-race, artificially reared) horses are scared of the dam and rely on manually topped up watering points (large drums).

By mid-morning, every shaded building surface is covered in flies of all descriptions:  Blowflies, bush flies, midges, seeking to escape the desiccating heat.  Clouds of midges buzz around and settle in garden beds containing mint.  Bees are flying in swirls all around the watering points, and are sitting on the rims of bird baths and at the junctions of tap fittings, imbibing all the moisture they can get before returning to their hives to help cool these down so the wax honeycomb doesn't melt and the bees don't die of hyperthermia.

I'm moving large-droplet sprinklers around all day to keep fruit trees and lawn alive, and hand-watering seedlings and thirsty vegetable varieties so they don't perish in the heat.  On extreme days like today, I throw old bedsheets over the most recently planted vegetable seedlings so they don't die in the midday heat.  Everywhere the sprinklers have been, bees are on the ground, drinking water.  Little birds like silvereyes, New Holland honeyeaters and fairy wrens dive straight under the sprinklers to cool down; ravens lap from livestock watering points and puddles on the ground; any earthworms coming up in the wet are picked off by various of our feathered garden inhabitants.

It's so hot you can't stay out for more than 15 minutes without getting seriously overheated - leastways, I can't - I've got some Viking DNA and don't tolerate heat well at all.  So you rotate your watering stations, do a spot of hand watering, then go back to the sofa and the fan and drink fluids and cool down again.  If you stay out too long, you get dizzy - at that point, it starts to become seriously stressful, so you just avoid doing that, otherwise you'll end up with heat stroke and/or electrolyte depletion (and we keep electrolyte tablets in the house for days like today).

It's not like this every day, but this is the reality of getting a food garden and lawn areas through an Australian summer heatwave.  We've had a mild summer so far; this is the first proper heatwave, of three scorchers like this in a row - December was mild, with only a handful of days above 30 degrees C.  Last year, we had heatwaves like this from November through to March.  Last year was also the third year of drought in our region; just 60% or so of normal annual rainfall, so last summer our landscape was parched, as this drone footage a guest took shows:


This year, we had a wet spring, and therefore a decent growing season.  The bushland is green, and there is a good amount of green perennial grasses and legumes and dry annual grass in the paddocks.  It will be interesting to see if the drought stays broken - that depends on whether the autumn rains come on time, and at normal rates - they haven't since 2017.

The green zone around the house is what I preserve through the summer, with the help of a low-capacity solar bore which gives us 8 litres of water a minute during daylight hours - that's enough water to run two garden hoses to watering devices throughout the day.  That's the only way to keep things green in a summer-dry climate, and keeping the zone around the house green and lush is an important part of bushfire safety around here.

A few years ago I thought it was a bit crazy to spend heatwave days like this; a questionable use of my time, but then I saw the drone footage and realised what an oasis the green zone is, for hundreds of birds, dozens of microbats, thousands and thousands of insects; plus a garden that feeds us, and a safety zone from bushfires - and now I think differently.  Computerised reticulation, by the way, doesn't suit our situation; you can spend as much time clearing ants from irrigation pipes as you spend rotating stations manually, and at the end of the day, an on-the-ground human makes better decisions about watering than pre-set time cycles, and can multi-task with other garden jobs while there.

I've just been back out to top up water drums; the bush flies cling to your face the moment you step outside, trying to drink from your eyes and crawl up your nostrils and suck up your sweat, such is the pressure for water on days like today.  I wear a veil when that happens; so do the horses, who will come running if they see you with their veils, and literally push their own faces into them.  Nobody wants to have flies all over their face.

The nights are getting warmer, which means the bush flies will very soon thin out considerably, courtesy of the dung beetles, which start to become active when the cold nights are over.  We're looking forward to that.

I hope you've enjoyed this postcard from Australia. :)
SueC is time travelling

MeltingMan

Three completely strangers who grow closer to my heart the more I see them. Today it was that time again. Most Central Europeans are (sometimes) in such a hurry that they rush past the important things. Not so these three. I love you for that. 🇵🇪
Le futur projette une ombre, comme le passé.
(Modestie et vanité, p. 333.)

Ulrich

... of no snow tonight, i.e. no endless shovelling today. Phew.
It's never enough...