Friday, October 29, 2010

Scenes from a run

Today I went for a 4 mile run.  I did 4 miles of speed work yesterday so wanted today's run to be nice and slow.  I brought my camera along to show you one of my favorite Launceston running paths.

Such a beautiful place to run right along the water.  The weather was great too-almost 70 and breezy.  I am very lucky to have such nice places to run while here. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Liffey Falls

We took a nice drive into the Great Western Tiers today and hiked to Liffey Falls.  The Tiers are a series of mountain bluffs in the central highlands.

After a drive full of hairpin turns on a narrow gravel road, we arrived at the park.  We hiked down through a eucalyptus forest into a temperate rainforest at the Liffey River. 

Back at the carpark, we added a couple of new birds to our list, the Flame Robin and Silvereye.  I've changed the ordering of the birds and animals list (right sidebar) to record the most recent additions at the top.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yellow Wattlebird

Since we moved to this apartment, we have been awoken almost daily by a harsh bird call.  We have previously imagined this ugly sound as what a dying chicken might make.  (As an aside, Aussies refer to the chicken as a "chook.") 

Today, we believe we have finally identified this demon bird.  Our bird book describes the voice of the Yellow Wattlebird as "extraordinary discordant gurgling and regurgitation noises."  Other sources have described it as "a person coughing or vomiting."  What a good neighbor!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Weekend Pics


Monday, October 18, 2010

Burnie 10

Sunday morning I ran the Burnie 10 as Ben mentioned in previous posts.   The race didn't start until 11:15 which meant we could sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast before the race.  We are so used to races starting at 7 or 8 in the morning.  There were over 3700 people signed up for the 10K race.  It was a really fun race on an out and back course along the water.  Coming back we were running into a pretty strong headwind which I think may have slowed me down a bit, but I was very happy with my time of 1:05:12 which was better than the other two 10K races I have run before.  
Ready to go before the race

The first place finisher! Check out his time!  Faster than 5 minutes per mile-amazing!

I'm almost to the finish line!

Yay, I'm done!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Platypi!

After Leigh shattered her personal record in the Burnie Ten today, we drove home by way of Latrobe which claims to be the "Platypus Capital of the World."

They have a Big Platypus to prove their superiority.  (A future blog post might explore the Australian fascination with big objects.)

Nearby, we discovered another platypus feeding in the Mersey River.  Thankfully, the pictures are better than yesterday's.

The platypus is a fascinating creature.  With a bill like a duck, feet like an otter, and a tail like a beaver, British scientists thought the first specimen sent from Australia was a hoax.  However, platypus truth is stranger than fiction.  Adult males even have a venomous spur on the hind foot which can be quite painful.  Technically a mammal, the platypus lays eggs.  It uses electroreception to detect electrical signals from its prey (usually small invertebrates).  What a crazy animal!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Busy Day!

We had a very busy day today!  We drove up to the city of Penguin and saw the "Big Penguin" above, then drove to Burnie and picked up Leigh's race number for tomorrow's 10K. 

Our next stop was Wynyard for the tulip festival.

 The best spot of the day was Fern Glade in Burnie, a park along the Emu River.  It's a beautiful spot with huge tree ferns and gum trees along the river.  We even saw the elusive platypus!

We also made stops at Table Cape and Fossil Bluff for great ocean views of Bass Strait.  We had a crazy chinese dinner in Burnie tonight and then saw Fairy Penguins returning to their burrows.  We'll be posting more this weekend, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peacocks and Pademelons

We had a great walk through Cataract Gorge today.  We tried a new trail, the Zig Zag Trail, which was very steep to start then gradually descended.

We also saw a pademelon.  This is a marsupial similar to a wallaby and about the size of a small dog.

The resident peacocks must have been in a good mood (it is springtime), several males were displaying.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bloomin' Backyard

In some parts of Australia, the Calla lily has become naturalized and is considered a weed and pest.  These look pretty good!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Leigh's making gnocchi for dinner tonight.  She's a truly modern woman, check out the computer for recipes!  You can't argue with the results:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

So last night I was much more successful with dessert than I was with the chocolate chip cookies.  Sticky date pudding seems to be a popular dessert here and I wanted to give it a try.  I made it using this recipe with a few modifications.  I used pecans instead of walnuts, didn't make the praline, didn't put the brandy in the sauce, and I baked it in a large baking dish instead of individual ramekins because I didn't have them.  The results were great!

I think the best part was the butterscotch sauce.  We can't wait to eat more of it tonight!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Not the same chocolate chip cookies and Coke is expensive

So Ben and I wanted chocolate chip cookies tonight and when we bought the chocolate chips I thought I would use the recipe on the back of the bag instead of the traditional Nestle Toll House recipe that I usually use.  The recipe only used flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate chips-no eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, or salt.  Well, I will be using the traditional recipe next time.  The batter was really dry and the cookies weren't nearly as good.  It was worth a try though.  We also broke down at the store and bought Coke and Diet Coke.  We always kept Coke and Diet Coke stocked at our place in Chicago, but it is so expensive here so we had only been getting it for a treat.  I figured out it was more expensive to buy one soda a week for each of us than to just buy a 24 pack of each at the store, but it was still $29 total for the two 24 packs!  We've found that groceries in general are more expensive here and we aren't sure why.  That's all for now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time and the Footy

Australian Rules Football (colloquially known as "Footy") finally wrapped up its season yesterday.  They tried to finish the season with the Grand Final last week.  Last week Collingwood and St. Kilda clashed ending in a 68-68 draw after a dramatic second-half comeback by St. Kilda.  Instead of overtime, the AFL has the ingenious plan of replaying the Final the following week.  This way, the league gets another week of publicity and another week of ticket/food/beer/souvenir sales (100,000 people at the MCG).  By the way, you also get another week of drunken Aussies going to the emergency department!  This weekend, Collingwood crushed St. Kilda 108-52.

In other news, we learned that Australia also observes Daylight Savings Time and last night was 'spring forward.'  Luckily, we learned this before my morning shift today!  We're now 15 hours ahead of the Eastern U.S. and 16 hours in the future for the U.S. central time zone.