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.”
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?
K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.
Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.
Virtual caches are often located next to famous landmarks, and can be useful in helping you get to know a new place, or when planning a sightseeing route while traveling.
In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).
At that location, the doors were not particularly visible, so I had to get closer for this challenge. This meant I had to explain to my family about Thursday Doors. Fortunately, they’re used to weird mom things like that.
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
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.
My friends in Australia, The Eternal Traveller, aka Mrs. ET and her husband’s family, escorted me to the Gold Museum in Ballarat. Not to pick up so loose gold, unfortunately, but to learn the history of the Australian Gold Rush.
Aside: We did some panning at Old Sovereign Hill, where I became enormously rich thanks to their generosity.
A famous artist at the time, Eugene von Guerard, sketched many pictures of the evolving mine fields in Ballarat. The museum displayed one of them looking in the exact direction at the distant mountain as the window. So I shot a picture of them both at the same time, the old and the new.
Did you wrack your brain to find musical chairs? A couple of antique stores in Prescott, AZ had some. Have you ever ridden on a merry-go-round?
Friends, Darlene, Jean and Mary Lou and I headed to Prescott to check out the antique stores. Musical chairs stumped me, so I scoured the stores for signs of them. See if you agree that these could be musical.
Don’t you love the old-fashioned figures riding this merry-go-round?
He looks like he’s having fun. the horse may be even singing to him.
The horses wore bright-colored outfits befitting their parts in the musical performances. Of course, the in first carousels, appearing in the early 1700s “the animals would hang from chains and fly out from the centrifugal force of the spinning mechanism. They were often powered by animals walking in a circle or people pulling a rope or cranking.” Wikipedia Germany has the oldest existing carousel made in 1779.
Platforms appeared in the 1850s, and by 1870 steam engines and organs adorned the amusement ride. The engineer Frederick Savage attached gears to the horses allowing them to glide up and down on the polls, and hoped to make the benches pitch and toss as if they were on the ocean.
This teddy bear picture reminded me of a Victorian poem, “The Swing,” that my grandmother used to recite to me.
Maybe it’s because the National Parks are 100 years old this year. Happy birthday, NPS.
Montezuma Castle National Monument, a thirty-minute drive in light traffic, south from Sedona, AZ surprised many tourists looking which way to go on Thanksgiving besides the dinner table.
Looking at the dry red rocks and desert landscape along the path at the foot of Montezuma Castle, it was hard to imagine anyone farming the area.
Yet productive Hohokam and Sinagua native settlers grew corn, beans, squash and cotton from about 1125 AD to 1425 when they disappeared.
The hole in the side of the limestone cliff was one of many openings or alcoves into which the Southern Sinagua carved pueblos into the cliff about 10 feet. Each of these open rooms housed a small family.
Darlene and I walked the short trail admiring these open houses and chatting with visitors we met on the path with us.
These early tribes used willow trees for implements and supports in their pueblos. In spite of being built in crumbling limestone cliffs, these homes held up for 800 years.
For more Which Way entries, find your way to Cee Neuner’s blog. This is an easy one to enter. There’s no weekly theme. Keep a lookout for any path or road, sign, bridge, stairs. See her site for details
Do you ever pick up and head out with old friends or family, and not know where you might end up? For the next few posts, I’ll share how my friends and I spent the week in Sedona, AZ.
Share this article if you know someone who wants to spend an hour exploring an 800-year-old settlement near Sedona, AZ.
Grandpa was crippled. All day he reclined by the front window at 1420 N. Denny Avenue staring out at the aging neighborhood. Grandpa rarely talked as my Grandmother kept a constant stream going. He stared out the window.
The only thing that has changed over the past 60 years is the color of the house and the size of the tree. He must have watched the grass growing.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. Dale Carnegie
My mother’s cousin Hal, however, in September 2016, at age 91 and nearly blind, directed me to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA and where we found our Window Wonderland at Longwood Gardens Conservatory. We started our self-guided tour outside. After we passed through the first ivy covered archway, we found a creek with a wrought iron gazebo.
While the roof structure wasn’t a window, we felt like we were inside looking through a fancy window.
As we meandered by the river, we huffed and puffed past a meadow with some chairs meant for someone else who wanted to sit in the blistering sun. Unable to resist its call to my camera, I started walking towards a many-windowed house at the edge of the meadow under a large leafy tree. Hal made a beeline for the shady bench.
Did you see Hal waiting on the bench while I went inside to take pictures? The Canopy Cathedral is actually a tree house.
What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through, just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day. Your part is to open the windows of your mind. Vernon Howard
Just so you know, even though there was a breeze blowing, it did not bear any semblance of coolness. If you have never been to the midwest and east in the summer and early fall, you may not have experienced 75% humidity.
“For example, if the temperature is 86° and the dew point is 70° it will actually feel like 91°! The reason it feels hotter is because it’s harder for our bodies to cool us off when there is higher humidity. Our bodies use a process of evaporative cooling, so if there’s a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere, it is much harder for our bodies to cool off, as compared to a day when there is less water vapor and lower humidity.
Hold onto your companion’s arm as you watch this next video. As I look at it with objective eyes, it seems like the videographer is a ghost floating through the unoccupied tree cathedral and not me. Turn the sound off, of course, and shut off the lights for added effect.
Sadly, once I got inside the treehouse, it felt like a hothouse and not a spectacular set of windows in a treehouse.
People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
It would be VERY DARK to be in the Canopy Cathedral after sunset. Who knows, the wood used to build the quaint treehouse, gathered from other locations might exude some misplaced spirits. We did not stay to find out. The mid-afternoon sun was hot, and Hal and I gravitated towards where we might find some air conditioning. I do not remember finding any.
This view and added humidity took my breath away. Even with failing eyesight, Hal enjoyed more of life than Grandpa Morris. Longwood Gardens is iconic to this area.
Wherever we looked, we saw views made more spectacular by the windows that framed them.
In spite of the window and the 83-degree day, the room seemed dark. Maybe I felt dark and sad inside after hearing the amazing two concluding minutes of the piano concert!
After missing the concert, we got lost wandering through the many rooms under the glass roof windows of the gigantic conservatory. Windows in this room filtered the light for these plants. By the way, you can find out the names of all the plants on their website IF you remember which room you were in. hehehe (You knew there would be a catch, didn’t you?)
The tropical room may have been one of the hottest. You can see that birds have dropped by this room hoping to swoop down to enjoy a bit of banana heaven. I doubt that birds like windows very much.
I’ll end with this chenille plant. I know you should not shoot into the sunshine, but the sky smiled it’s bluest grin and captured my heart.
Hal made sure I saw every exhibit in the conservatory. Exhaustion made my sandals feel like they had steel weights embedded in the soles by the time we went full circle and exited the conservatory.
It was morning; through the high window I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion. Herman Hesse
On this September day the sky, though blue, filtered through the trees until it became transparent, blending into the enchantment of the forest in the Winterthur Gardens.
I looked for the pictures I remembered taking on that magical day as I strolled with Hal, but they weren’t there. Have you ever had that happen?
You know, you just know, that picture is somewhere, but it’s not.
I am persistent. I found the picture of the medieval English-style roof I wanted to share with you. But it’s a video! Woe is me!
This quick post turned into a two-hour ordeal. I shortened the video (a new skill). Next, I added some beautiful bird sounds chirping after the rain cleared the air that I downloaded for free. Google helped me learn how to erase my own boring intriguing narration which I had already chopped to bits when I cropped the video. Finally, I uploaded it to YouTube.
If you are wondering about the woven branches, I’m not standing on a twig roof shooting this video. Hal and I are standing opposite the enchanted cottage in a gigantic roofless bird’s nest replete with three wooden eggs the shape of king-sized watermelons.
The little box on my YouTube channel tells me that I now have 56 videos. Guess how many followers I have of my YouTube channel?
Back to the thatched roof
Once I finished the video, I learned about thatched roofs. I looked for roof shapes so I could be more precise. After I searched through all the common roof shapes, thatched and cottage finally paired.
Thatched roofs are odd-shaped. Duh! No wonder they are so quaint.
Although they once denoted poverty, the wealthy put thatched roofs on their homes to be more eco-friendly. Did you know that thatched roofs can last up to 50 years? The English used thatched roofs from available resources such as dried vegetation like straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, or heather. Experts contend that thatched roofs do not burn as easily as some roofing materials.
Maybe it’s thatched, and maybe it’s not
This simple Woodlake home looks elegant with a cottage-style roof.