Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lysander Wordle

This 'Wordle' is based on my Lysander book's text. It's a kind of summary, but I'm not sure it does proper credit to the research. Still, it looks pretty. A bit like writing the book, it's rendering down a huge amount of information into a much smaller, easier format. This does that all over again.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Wet - I

Normally a nice view of Five Mile Creek in Woodend, from this bench. Still a pastoral scene, but somewhat more aquatic.

It's been interesting times around Eastern Australia recently, as most know. The tragic events up in Queensland, including the shocking fatal flash flooding in Toowoomba, have hit the world's headlines, and recently, and currently, there's been significant flooding in North-Western Victoria, with towns flooded and in some cases isolated, but with thankfully none of the sudden onrush and subsequent loss of life Queenslanders have faced. Many people have asked us if we are OK, (including Sahlah in a recent comment) and we are.

In fact the longer it stays wetish (for us) the better as stuff can grow, and it eats into what's normally fire season. We'd all like it in less big lumps, more evenly spread over time. But we certainly aren't going to complain, here.

There's been exceptional rainfall around us and some minor flooding, which has thankfully been mainly 'interesting' rather than a problem for our area of Victoria. Here's some of what we've seen.

The view of the rock, shows a local field filling from the lower side. The low line of trees running down to the right are on a creek, normally dry, but here... On that day we measured 102mm (4 in) of rain, which was frankly like being in the tropics, for us.

A later walk a day or two later with as much rain again, this was a nearby field. I liked capturing a cloud in the puddle. Kind of existential waterness.

This is (rather obviously) the Campaspe River in flood. The turbulent line is the river, the rest is meadow, underwater. It's a fair amount of water, and in fact this is the stuff providing part of the problem for our north-western neighbours, because the Campaspe flows inland and (much later) into the Murray, this causing Echuca and the other towns to the north of us and downstream on the Murray (westwards) lots of problems. Like a lot of Australia's rivers, it's not very big, it's very long, and it goes the wrong way. And like many of them, it's there as much as a flood route - very infrequently - as a normal river.

'No Entry' indeed. This is the car park for Woodend's tourist information centre. It's actually only a few centimetres deep, and drained quite soon. In fact before we got there, our friend Kathy captured a shot in Woodend that was waterless when we arrived a few hours later. It's a great shot, and you can see it here.

ALL of the waters above have now gone, and while it's a bit damp (like England is all the time) it's not a problem anymore.

But more on the Big Wet soon...


Friday, January 21, 2011

It's the Shunting, Innit?

What is going on?
A persistent accompaniment of dark muttering and shouting, together with a brisk tearing of wood and metal reminiscent of early Walpurgis Night in a local cemetery, suggest to the more imaginative of the passengers that the engine is being dismantled and put together again.
See over on Anno - Libro to find out. Have a look around at the other posts while you are there.


Let's Meet!

It's always good to get together and chat with friends.

Dear Diary's Pawmarks

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favourite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favourite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favourite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favourite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favourite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favourite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favourite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favourite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favourite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favourite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favourite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.


There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released -and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

This post was lurking in the archives, unused. Too good to leave there, though! With thanks to Rich, who originally shared.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Glass Bottles

Every evening at this time of year when there's a sunset, these bottles that Bev's collected from here, there, and the cottage garden, are sunlit about dinnertime.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Climbing Mt. Alaska

(Photo by James.)

Our lovely friend Riiiita was here for a couple of chilly days over the Christmas holidays, and she wanted me to teach her how to cook.

"What, everything?" I said, alarmed.

"Pretty much," she said, "but we can start with Baked Alaska."

Now, Baked Alaska is not the kind of thing you'd think of for a first cookery lesson. But the lovely Ms R. is about to move in with the lovely Mr J., and there are little blue birdies tweeting songs of love.

Mr J., we are told, is a man of hidden talents -- he loves to create complicated and extended menus to impress -- so the gal needs something pretty schmick to hold her corner.

(Photo by James.)

When the stakes are high and the gal needs more than an egg and a nifty salad, which Fairy God-Aunt should she turn to? The one looking fetching by the stove, of course. That knows how to cook and can write a mean recipe for the faintest of hearts. We can do it when we have the lovely Ms. Nigella Lawson as team coach for the gal's side.

(Photo BBC, via Telegraph.)
Note the lack of Baked Alaska in her Christmas.

So Rita chose the Baked Alaska from Feast. The little skiier on the mountain of fluffy white egg meringue was, she insisted, essential. James turned his talents to fashion a fine pair of popsicle-stick skis, attached to an unfortunate Christmas tree decoration.

He looks a little piste to me, don't you think?
(Photo by Rita

Nigella's directions were excellent: jolly and explicitly clear. The shopping expedition to the supermarket pondered and found the perfect mountain-shaped slab of coffee ice cream, which was lovingly rested on a cool sponge cake base and then whipped about the ears with puffs of white frothy egg-white meringue. Bake it fast.

We made the Alaska. We Baked the Alaska, and the ice cream did not melt.

(Photo by James.)

A gal could work up a sweat, trying to get that meringue on there as quickly as possible.

slip, slap!
(Photo by James.)

Pleasant surprise at the result, or maybe it was the sugar high? Some foods come with a % recommended daily intake: Baked Alaska needs a Recommended Annual Intake of 1.

Yes, that man is definitely suffering from sugar overload.
Baked Alaska Recommended Annual Intake: 1. Wooden skier: 0.
(photo by Rita)

And we asked Rita today when she would be making the Baked Alaska mountain for the boy. Without missing a beat, she said,

"Baked Alaska, no -- that's a team effort."

Guess she'll be back for more mountain climbing next Christmas, and an annual dose of Alaska!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Cool morning, things to do. Up early with coffee, in the garden.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Troll in the Cottage

I've taken to referring to myself as the troll in the cottage these days, as it seems I barely want to go out at all, apart from great excursions into the garden every day.

Moomin Cookbook
Originally uploaded by SelfMadeHero

But there's one advantage to being a troll: Moomintroll cooking!

Jo and Paul very kindly gave this to me for Christmas and it's packed with recipes -- the expected and the unexpected. It runs from berry soup to smoked fish and several variations on porridge (which I don't think I'll be making in any big hurry). It's definitely an introduction to Finnish cooking, as the subtitle would have it, and although lots of the recipes are incre-dibly simple, it's got a slightly unexpected character to it. And lots of quotes. Plus super fantastic illustrations.

Tonight for dinner? Well, seeing as we have not left the house and do not, no no never have visited the Troll Supermarket, tonight's dinner is Little My's peppery spaghetti. We have ham! And cream, and pepper... we eat!

Tomorrow I suppose we must go out...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's day

Woke up this mornin'
(bah-na, ba-num)
Got outta bed
(bah-na, ba-num),
Made me some cawfee
to clear my head.
(di-dee, di-dee)

Oh it's the mornin!
Oh it's the day!
New year's a dawning,
and hey --

Who forgot to close the curtains last night and why am I up at 6:15?

(I may not be invited back to blog for a little while....)

Meredith of the floppy ear

Meredith is now in Canada, but he started life in Australia.
(Don't tell me Meredith is a girl's name, I'm not listening.)

One ear stubbornly flips down - it's the one with the different lining. His body is scraps and the legs and arms are bits of old clothes-making projects.
A very useful chap is Meredith.

When he's not nestling in tissue paper and leaping in a jiffy bag for the budget flight to Canada, he likes long walks, evenings by the fire and the occasional ride in a plastic truck or toy train set. (You get me, Zachary?)