If you miss Ballarat, you miss Australia. Forget Sydney. Sovereign Hill went down in history and stayed there. Like going to Colonial Williamsburg, VA in the United States, or Mackinaw Island, MI or Columbia, CA visitors step back in time when they walk the city’s streets.
“Oh my dear man, would you care to tour my garden?”
How could he refuse such an offer?
Guests are easy to spot. They dress funny.
How delicate the tiny petals looked, so romantic.
“These would look lovely in a bouquet on the table for tea, would they not?”
“Perfect like you, my dear.”
“Are those flowers moving. There’s not a wee bit of air moving.”
“Indeed, I do not feel anything but the scorching sun. I’m wearing my coolest dress today.”
“It flatters you, dear woman.”
“And are you keeping cool in your dapper black?”
“I’m not fussed about this suit.”
“Don’t get your knickers in a knot, my dear. We’ll have a spot of tea, straight way.”
“What do you think of these muted colors, dear man?”
“Most muted, yes indeed. Most muted.”
“There, I saw it again. A bit too much movement.”
“Ah, it’s nothing to rot your socks, sir. It is simply my turkey. He wanders the garden looking for a shady spot.
“I think I’d like to join him.”
“Let’s get you to the porch for a lot of iced tea and maybe Sarah has baked some meat pies and pavlova.”
“That sounds lovely. It sounds like you have everything all sorted. Good on ya.”
“Thank you my dear. We’re in a good posi here on the veranda, don’t you think?”
“I’m enjoying shade and my lot of tea. Thanks for inviting me in to see your garden, and the surprise turkey.”
The weeds are growing well in March in the Ingrao’s California household. Instead, we’ll take another peek into the summer beauty in Australia this January.
In my brief experience when bloggers travel together, there is a great deal of serious alone time. Either Carol or I had wandered off engrossed in our own photo taking. When I looked up, she had her nose buried in the purple flowers above.
“These are one of my favorites,” she said. “Here’s a picture Leanne just posted on Instagram.”
Even if I could have gotten Instagram on my phone without costing $1,000 a minute, I probably would not have had better timing. Leanne had posted a picture much like what we were seeing. She picked a bud for her photo subject. So we looked for a bud and tried to duplicate her efforts.
That was not impressive because the wrong part of the plant blurred out.
It got worse when I enlarged it! I can’t do manual focus! You can see that the greenery is lovely.
This beauty came from Ballarat, I think. I’ve taken my pictures out of context because I grouped them by purple. Don’t ask me why or what this is. Read Carol’s comments if you want precision. She has an encyclopedia-brain. Mine bee a bit fuzzy!
Notice that Mr. Buzz has pollen all over his face and legs. He reminds me of an 18-month-old boy eating chocolate cake. Enjoyment personified.
The bees did not bother us. They had food on their pinheads.
Happy Sunday! Hope you enjoyed beautiful Victoria in southeastern Australia. Be sure and visit Indiana Carol for more ideas and photos of gardens in my home state and beyond.
Actually, these stories rate less as an odd ball photo and more sweet and cuddly. However, I fear that a Sweet and Cuddly Photo Challenge might open up to something other than the Australian children’s fairy tales, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.
That said, I thought it was a bit odd to have a gum nut shoved onto a lizard-riding baby’s head. Yes, I think it’s a little far-fetched to have soft baby skin riding a scaly lizard. Mothers tell me I’m right! Carol informed me that I was a little off in my thinking and that maybe I’d better read the stories. The illustrations have a high cute factor.
There is nothing as pretty as some of the flowers I found at the Healesville Sanctuary when I went with Leanne, her friend Suzanne and Carol. I wish I knew the names to share with you, but maybe someone will slip in and rescue my ignorance.
Maybe I felt hot and this reminded me of snow. Or maybe it was like blowing on dandelions, which I did as a child. (My dad must have loved that!) I could actually draw some of these random patterns. I love the hazy, spider webby, x-ray quality of this photo.
Of course, you know what this is. It’s a didgeridoo. In case you have never seen one, this is probably not the first view you would see. So when I call this oddball, I simply mean unique.
All the native Aussie’s told me that out of all the wild animals and birds, the didgeridoo was the most unusual sight we got to see at the Healesville Sanctuary. This was an indigenous Australian Ranger playing a $3,000 didgeridoo.
The sound drew us magnetically to his side. He practiced reciprocal breathing. Air went in his nose and came out his didgeridoo through his mouth. I tried reciprocal breathing without success not even using a didgeridoo.
He gathered a crowd of all ages. We watched through several sessions. He could play for several minutes without taking a breathing break.
Then he spoke to using his beautiful accent about the didgeridoo. I struggled to understand and sort out all his words.
For more of Cee’s Oddball Challenge entries click here.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Hope you have fun today!
Leanne Cole and her friend Suzanne took Carol and me to Healesville Sanctuary to get a closer look at wild animals in Australia.
Some of the critters there were just there to look good and have fun. They smiled constantly.
When in Rome, do what the Romans do, correct? So this is what the Aussie Romans did.
It looks like fun, don’t you think?
I did not want to get on the lizard. Way too slippery and high! Trust me, stabilization shoes do not do a thing for you when you are sitting on a polished statue. Not even this friendly platypus budged an inch to help us stay on!
When you’re in Australia. I would call this squash, but it’s a Kent pumpkin.
That’s right. Australians call this delicious fruit pumpkin. But it doesn’t matter what you call it, even wombats love it.
My first contact with pumpkin happened in Melbourne. Carol and I took a walking tour of the Fitzroy Gardens. It got hot, and I got hungry. Fortunately, the gardens had a fabulous little restaurant looking out onto the gardens.
Their special that day must have been Pumpkin Soup. That sounded good on a hot day – I was still in North America mode – winter. And the “air con” was on in the restaurant.
Oh sure, you see iced coffee there in the background. That’s another post for another Friday. I think I forgot and took a bite first before I took a picture. Good thing Carol reminded me to take a picture at all. It was so good, I almost gobbled it down first. And it wasn’t turkey soup. 🙂
The next day we went with Leanne Cole and her friend Suzanne to Healesville Sanctuary. I’ll be writing several posts about that trip! Again, I looked forward to eating lunch after watching the wombats eat pumpkin and corn. Two of my favorite proteins. 🙂
That was a joke. I was just checking to see if anyone is reading this. 🙂
So there we were at Healesville Sanctuary. I guess I thought I was hungrier than I was. I ordered a croissant ham and cheese sandwich and a salad. When the salad came it was huge. It did not look that huge here, but everyone else finished at least 15 minutes before I did. I couldn’t leave a single bite. It had pumpkin and cheese hiding under all that green stuff, and the salad dressing tasted sweet and tangy, almost orange.
I may have gone a day or so without pumpkin, but I was more than ready for it after eating meat pie at Sovereign Hill. Carol and I went with our Ballarat, Vic hosts, Glen’s sister Mandy and her family, to Turret Restaurant on Sturt Street, the widest Main Street in the Southern Hemisphere.
I had pumpkin pizza. Everyone’s meal was so delicious no one took me up on my pretentious offer to try my pizza. Yum!
See how thin that crust was? It did not detract from the sumptuous sizzling pumpkin and the broiled cheese.
If you enjoyed this, please send it to someone you love. Or tweet it. (A little birdie told me to say that.) If you hated it, don’t buy pumpkins in Australia.
Mrs. ET and I headed across the plains of Victoria from Melbourne, AU to Ballarat by train. Seventy-five minutes later, we coasted into the station surveying the historic town of Ballarat. Her niece and sister-in-law picked us up and the adventures began.
The main interest was Sovereign Hill. Replicating the Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s, reenactors peppered Sovereign Hill with authenticity. There were miners, majors, mothers, and bakers making meat pies.
“Have you ever had a meat pie?” Carol asked.
“Of course,” I answered like an Aussie know-it-all.
Only I did not know that the Aussie definition of a meat pie was so different than an American Meat Pie.
Carol could not wait to get her hands on an authentic Sovereign sausage roll, and told me I had to eat a meat pie or my life would not be complete.
“Where are the carrots, peas, and potatoes?”
“What part of meat pie didn’t you get, Marsha?”
“This looks like hamburger, not roast beef.”
“It’s minced meat pie. Try it.”
Remembering back to Christmas more than 50 years ago, I recalled my great-grandmother’s minced meat pie. It was a sweet spicy pie filled with chewy brown stuff called “mincemeat.” I did not think I wanted to try that again.
“Is it beef?”
“Yes, but minced meat can be beef, turkey, pork or any meat. It’s minced MEAT, Marsha.” (They sure are dense in the US, I could hear her thinking.)
I explained about mincemeat as best as my 60-year old memory of it would allow.
“It’s meat, Marsha. It’s not sweet.” Carol urged.
I gave in. I opened it and sure enough, it looked like hamburger.
“You’re not supposed to open it,” Carol admonished me sternly. “Put the top back on and put tomato sauce on it.”
“It’s too hot. I’ll burn my mouth!”
Oh no, I thought, catsup. Now it sounds like Mom’s meatloaf. That was awful! I can’t do this. What am I going to do now?
“You’re ruining it!” Carol said. “You’ve got to put tomato sauce on it!” She sounded frantic for me to do it right to get the full effect of the Aussie meat pie. I was frantic, too.
“Carol, I can’t put catsup on the top. How am I going to eat it? I’ll have catsup all over my hands and face and who knows what else.”
Carol was disgusted with me. I could tell by her sigh. “It’s not catsup. It’s tomato sauce anyway. You’re not doing it the Aussie (pronounced AUZZY) way. But go ahead JUST TRY IT!”
Gingerly I took a bite without catsup. It was different. I could not identify the flavor, though. Basically, it tasted somewhat like hamburger. The pie crust was flaky. The meat was meaty. I was hungry. The whole thing was gone in five minutes.
Thank you, Carol, Kate, Mandy, and Paul for such wonderful day at Sovereign Hill. I’ll have more to share about our amazing experiences in later posts.
Remembering Ballarat at Home
When I got home, I thought I would make some Aussie meat pies for Vince. I made my own pie crust, which was a mistake because I did not have eggs, and I like eggs and vinegar in my pie crust.
Rolling it out I soon realized that I did not make enough pie crust for two pies. I made another crust. Piecing it all together, I pinched it around the top and thought it looked good OK.
For the meat filling, I followed the recipe below – sort of.
Since I did not have real stock beef, I used brown gravy mix. I did not use enough water. Also, I was missing Vegemite. OH WELL! Carol gave me some of that on a piece of bread at her house. It’s nutritious.
Proudly I baked the pies. Neither Vince nor I remembered to take a before picture. Vince asked about catsup to put on top.
“What’s the date on that bottle of catsup?” Vince asked as I retrieved the nearly empty bottle from the refrigerator.
“Um, January 2013. It’s fine.”
He did not use catsup either.
Here is Vince’s meat pie after picture.
I am not sure whether or not he liked it. Maybe if I had put vegemite in it.
It’s been in the refrigerator several days now. Carol would not let things like this go to waste. She was a fabulous cook and so efficient. I don’t think Carol would ever substitute things in a recipe. I wonder if I will ever learn?
Have you ever experimented before, and been a little sorry about the results?
The term breakfast originated from the Middle English words break and fast. For those of you who rarely fast never heard fasting, it is a noun or a verb, not an adjective to describe a guy in a bar or how one drives a Lamborghini on the German Autobahn. To fast means to go without eating. A fast means a period of time without eating.
Yikes! This is a foodie channel! Fasting is not an alternative!
Actually, the Middle English decided in the 15th century that everyone fasted while they sleep. They did not know about the American’s love of refrigerator raiding in the middle of the night.
Assume you awoke starving after your fast. You would not go hunt and kill a possum or a rabbit, cook it for hours to make it tender, and have rabbit stew for breakfast, would you?
No, you want something quick and fresh.
Breakfasts have changed over time and places. I would not be a fan of eating locusts and butter spread on unleavened bread as the Arabs did according to a book published in 1843. The Austrians loved their croissants. I love those especially with scrambled eggs, cheese, and Canadian bacon inside. I’m not fussed on Australian Vegemite on toast and butter. Don’t ever let and Aussie offer you a spoonful of it!
But consider pavlova for breakfast. It has the essential food groups. Eggs for protein, cream or milk for more protein, fruit for energy, and of course, sugar for energy. You can get your grains anywhere.
I watched Carol, and it’s easy to make.
Before you start preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C). You will turn it down when you start baking.
Ingredients: Egg whites, cornflour and vinegar and sugar.
4 egg whites
1 and 1/2 C caster sugar (This is a very finely granulated sugar.)
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch in the USA)
1 tsp vinegar
Separate 1/4 cup of sugar and mix together with cornflour. Beat egg whites while adding 1 and 1/4 C sugar gradually. Beat until the sugar has completely dissolved and is no longer grainy. Fold the cornflour-sugar mixture into the egg mixture and gradually fold in vinegar.
Spread pavlova on a tray with baking paper. Bake at 200 degrees F (100 degrees C ) for 1 and a half hours. Turn the oven off and leave pavlova in the oven until the oven is cold.
Put whatever fruit on pavlova you like. You can sweeten the whipped cream which covers the breakfast delight or not. Carol’s niece, Kate, prefers to sweeten the whipped cream. Carol prefers to leave the cream unsweetened. They are both teachers, so it made for quite a discussion. Which would you prefer?
I argued that unsweetened cream was like butter. Carol disagreed. I had never tried unsweetened cream, so I lost the argument before it started.
I tried pavlova both ways. I admit to a little hesitancy about unsweetened cream but Carol’s pavlova is VERY sweet. It needed no extra sugar.
Carol had one more card in her favor for those of you who enjoy a good bet. She made quiche with the leftover cream for dinner.
That’s another story. I love quiche, so I’ll vote with unsweetened if you mix the whipping cream yourself. For lazy folks like me, a can of whipping cream will do.
Carol was not fussed with the idea of Cool Whip. (See how I’m picking up a bit of Aussie vocabulary? I wish I could get Carol to record this post for you, but she does not like to be recorded. Bummer!)
“Have you read what the ingredients are? Cream is much better than Cool Whip!”
I’m warning you right now, you don’t need to argue with Carol about the benefits of Cool Whip.
I’m sure I have made my case for eating pavlova for breakfast. One more convincing argument is that pavlova keeps very well in the refrigerator in an airtight container. As it ages overnight it develops a bit of a gooey sauce of its own on the bottom which makes it even better.
Carol served naked pavlova and let us put the fruit and cream on that we liked. I’m not showing you how much cream and how many peaches and banana slices I used.
What’s your favorite non-traditional breakfast delight?
I met Miriam through the Eternal Traveller’s blog. She posts frequently about Australia, so I thought you might enjoy this play on names. “I’ve been everywhere, man … I’ve been to Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Molong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi … Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta; what’s it matter?”
So goes the classic Aussie song penned by Australian country singer Geoff Mack in 1959.
Whilst I definitely haven’t been everywhere I’ll be working on it this year. And I can vouch for Mr. Mack’s words. Within our vast land and our Aboriginal ancestry, we have some pretty bizarre place names.
There’s a place in the Northern Territory where we’re traveling mid year called Bong Bong. Apparently, it translates in an Aboriginal dialect to “mosquitoes buzzing”. Ah, not exactly inspiring.
We’ve traveled to some strange sounding places. But twice? Mitta Mitta, Wagga Wagga, Baw Baw, Lang Lang, Dum Dum, Booti Booti, Colac Colac, Mundi Mundi and Nar Nar Goon. And that’s just for starters.
What’s with the double-barrelled names?
There’s even a place called Woop Woop in the outback of Western Australia. That’s our slang term for “in the middle of nowhere”.
And it’s not somewhere I want to get stranded anytime soon.
One of my favorite places is Yackandandah, known by the locals as Yack. A picturesque town in the valleys of the high country.
There’s a suburb in Perth called Innaloo. It was originally called Njookenbooroo but was changed as no one could spell or say it right. Can you imagine if someone asked where you lived? Innaloo.
The wacky names extend beyond the towns and cities to the islands. Continued on Miriam’s blog
If you have been in a bathroom in the United States, you have been assaulted by graffiti, someone loves someone else, maybe even phone numbers.
Australia is different. Or if you are Australian, my thinking is a bit skewed. Or maybe my thinking IS a bit skewed. You can decide that after you read.
The “loo” is clean. Australians cures for graffiti by covering the door with instructions.
Seriously or Australian Humor?
I expected to have language difficulties when I came to Australia. However, I thought I would understand icons and instruction drawings.
This poster appears in several bathrooms around Australia. This one accosted me in the airport as soon as I deplaned in Brisbane, Queensland.
“Who stands on a toilet?” I thought. “Is she hiding from someone? Is she exercising – NEXT TO THE TOILET? There must be a better place to do that! What’s up with this? Eeew! I’d almost rather read graffiti.”
Apparently, there is a problem with newcomers to Australia not understanding how to use a flush toilet, so the government solved the problem with these iconic drawings.
OK, I was not expecting that, but things are different in Australia just as they would be in any country.
But I became guarded about using the loo.
A few days later I went to Healesville Sanctuary to see the native animals. The Sanctuary is environmentally conscientious. I found this sign.
So, I wondered, “How in the world the Sanctuary recycled their toilet paper. How does that even work? How could they ever make enough paper to offer it for sale? I was sure I did not want to use it! Notice the paper is brown. Yikes!”
Mrs. ET and I flew from Melbourne to Toowoomba on Australia’s Air North. She suggested that I take the window seat. It was a short trip. I would not have to crawl over anyone during the duration. I thanked her, sat down, and buckled up as instructed. As we taxied, I watched the shadow of the plane.
The shadow did not stay large very long!
I do not like to kill birds, but I am proverbially killing two birds with one stone because there are two photo challenges I can do at once with these photos. And I love photo challenges.
In addition to size changes, there are several visible textures. The smooth metal plane, hard concrete, soft green grass, and prickly brown stubbles create a Tuesdays of Texture treat.
But we kept looking. Textures are mellowing out as the shadow continues. The landing gear is still visible, but not for long.
Seconds after take-off, the landing gear clicked into place and our shadow streamlined away from the Tullamarine Airport (Melbourne to me). Carol shared that we would be flying into the new Brisbane-West Wellcamp Airport. The airport is located in Toowoomba, Queensland a city of about 120,000.
The plane crossed the highway below the dark rectangle (a parking lot in the middle of farmland???) That represents another change of texture.
The Story of the Brisbane-West Wellcamp Airport
The city of Toowoomba, Queensland has a new privately built airport. The airport is inappropriately named Brisbane-West Wellcamp. Wellcamp had a population of 302 in 2011. Not 302,000, just 302. Brisbane, with a population of 2 million is a two-hour drive from Toowoomba.
This distance might create a problem for bargain hunter travelers who do not know the area. Unknowing travelers might think that would be an alternative airport to Brisbane International find themselves a little farther out-of-town than they planned.
The joke at the time of naming the airport was, “Why not name it Cairns South?” Cairns is a large town north of Toowoomba in the state of Queensland. Never mind that it is an 18 hours drive from Toowoomba. Or maybe they should call the airport Perth-East, a mere 44-hour drive.
Who knows the minds of governments or airport namers?
I hope you enjoyed the shadowy flight of our ride into Brisbane-West Wellcamp.
To see more Fun Fotos or to take part in the Challenge click here.
For those who prefer Textures, try this link. This my first time to participate in the texture party.
When doing something completely different from your usual way of life, there are certain to be some moments of self-discovery; travelling vast distances with a caravan for seven weeks around our amazing country revealed some new aspects of my character. Here are ten things I learned about myself on the Round Australia Road Trip.
1. I enjoy flying – but only in big planes. Our flight over the Bungle Bungles was in a 6 seater Cessna C10 and our very enthusiastic pilot Sam made sure we all got the best possible view …
In mid-January, I awoke to a cool 69 degrees in Toowoomba at my friend Carol’s house. We toured several gardens around the city, but I missed the grandeur of the spring gardens. Her pictures of vivid September flowers will amaze you.
The Queensland city of Toowoomba is perched on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, about 700 metres above sea level. Its location means that while much of Queensland has hot Summers and mild Winters, Toowoomba experiences four distinct seasons. For most residents, the favourite is Spring, which brings with it an unsurpassed floral display.
The rich volcanic soil of the area produces gardens vibrant with colour and Toowoomba is known across Australia as the Garden City. Each September, the city celebrates the Carnival of Flowers with a Grand Parade, arts and crafts exhibitions, garden competitions and a food and wine festival. The local parks and gardens, having been lovingly tended through the Winter months by a team of council gardeners, become a haven for locals and visitors alike.
This is a post by one of Leanne’s students who did some of the same things Carol and I did with Leanne. We did some night photography. Instead of a tripod, I used what anyone can use – a bridge, or fence post – whatever isn’t moving! You’ll see my pictures later. Meanwhile, enjoy Leanne’s and Alainne’s photos.
Alainne wrote about her experiences with Leanne.
Work Experience from the student’s point of view
by Leanne Cole on March 18, 2016
This last week has been interesting for me as I have had a work experience student, Alainne. She has been great and very willing to learn.
The first photographs we took were around the Eltham Library. We took some photos of the building and photos of the trains as well. The train driver actually stopped the train to tell us that we were supposedly trespassing and weren’t allowed to take photos. Despite that, I still managed to get a good shot of the train.
On Wednesday we ventured into the city early in the morning to go to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. I learned how to use the macro setting on my camera to take close up photos of the beautiful flowers that were on display. I got to see the effects of changing the ISO, aperture and shutter speed on the camera which helped me to understand what Leanne had taught me about them the previous day. I now know that to have a good photo you must have a perfect balance of all three settings on the camera.
We took long exposure photos of Flinders Street Station and photos of steel wool being lit and twirled in circles inside alley ways. It was so much fun and interesting to talk to that many photographers. It was good listening to them as they shared and compared tips and techniques. I used a tripod for the first time that Leanne was kind enough to lend me.
Read the rest of the post by clicking the link below.
You have to pick when you visit Australia because it is so vast. Native Australians often travel around the country on holidays. Here is the first of Carol’s 33 posts on her trip circumnavigating Australia. If you have ever thought about going to Australia, be sure to visit her blog to see the rest of the posts.
A couple of weeks ago my husband, aka Mr. ET, and our daughter set off on the first part of a great adventure.
They travelled from Toowoomba to Roma, Longreach, and Mount Isa, into the Northern Territory on the Barkly Highway, on to the Stuart Highway north to Mataranka, Katherine and Kakadu before arriving in Darwin. They covered 4046 kilometres in 11 days and saw many amazing sights along the way.
Leanne Cole, Carol, Chris Wilson (follow Chris on Instagram) and I spent an afternoon and evening at the Docklands on the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. Both Leanne and Chris are professional photographers, so Carol and I had a wonderful time picking up tips and snagging some of these same shots with our cameras.
The photos were taken in the city last week. We started late in the afternoon and we went until it was dark. We spent our time along the river, which is always a great place for photos, especially at night.
All images were taken with the Nikon 28-300mm lens.
But we lack exotic red birds like this one. Our former neighbor is an ornithologist and spent a lifetime studying birds. I wonder if he recognizes this one? Our woodpeckers have a tiny touch of red on them, but this is my idea of a beautiful bird!
Over The Cliff
by Carol Sherritt
Close to home #4
It’s always lovely to go on a long holiday to a far-flung destination. There are times, however, when it’s not convenient or cost effective and a staycation, closer to home, is the way to go. The destinations in this series of posts are all within a couple of hours’ drive of our home. They’re easy to get to, there’s plenty to see and do and at the end of the holiday we’re home again in no time.
If dramatic mountain scenery, mild temperatures, and tranquil surroundings are on your list of holiday necessities a weekend getaway at the campground at Queen Mary Falls, 11 km east of Killarney on the Queensland/New South Wales border, is the perfect destination. The campsites and cabins are surrounded by beautiful bushland and rich pastures and the peace is broken only by bird calls and the gentle sound of contented cows.