Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Feast, Parrots, Cockatoos, Tomatoes

Hey, how's that for a title? Hmmmmm, should I do them in order? Nah.

Let's start with the tomato(e) count, shall we? There's been a lot of action on the 3 plants, so the numbers will be way different from the last count.

Total number of tomatoes harvested (and eaten): 30
Total weight of tomatoes harvested: 2.72 kilos (6 pounds)
Number of tomatoes currently ripening on vines: 6
Total number of tomatoes on vines: 67

I can tell you from experience, that NOTHING tastes better than a fresh, organic tomato(e) right off the vine that is roastingly hot from the direct sun! The sweetist tomato(e) you'll ever taste!!! I was shocked at the sweetness of them when they are sun hot and right off the vine. Ahhhhhh, bliss.

Next topic:

The annual Holiday Feast down under! I started this tradition 7 years ago when I made various polynesion dishes for the family for christmas. Over the years it has expanded --to say the least.

For the complete list of items this year (and how to get any of my recipes) check out Dingo Dave's Delightfully Daring Delicacies.

Next topic:

You know how there's a thing going around where you take a photo every ten hours and post it? Well, there's no way in heck I could do that! Mainly, I'm rarely awake for that long at a time (I like naps). I'd also forget to do it.

However, I'll post nine great pics I took this morning from the back yard in a 10 minute span!

Heeeeeeere we go:

Notice the size of the full grown cat in the lower left of this next one, compare him to the big ole cockatoo.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Weirdness from the Possum house

Let's get right down to it: I have four (4) more weird things about me to post.  So here's one (1) or two (too) (2) more:

Weird thing #4
I used to commute via mountain bike in Fairbanks Alaska. Year round. No car. No bus service. For 12 years. I always told folks I'd rather ride at -35 F on a nice trail than at +35 F in the pouring rain. And I meant it! And I still do. Without a doubt!

Hmmmm, I had a weird thing #5, but I can't seem to remember it right now... so let's just go on with the tomato(e) count, shall we?

Total weight of tomatoes harvested and eaten: 2.105 kilos (4.6407 pounds)
Total number of tomatoes harvested: 22
Total number of tomatoes on vines: 67
Total number of tomatoes ripening on vines: 8

Oh, I posted a foodie post over at my Dingo Dave blog, so go check it out, eh?

Almost forgot, I need to post the holiday feast. This'll be a list of all the cool dishes we'll have during the time when no one works down here in South Oz. That'd be the 21st through till at least the 3rd.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dazed and Confused

Gee, I wonder just how many times that's been used as a blog post title? Probably waaaaaay too many to count! Note: I'm too lazy to go to google and search on the phrase; if'n any of you would like to then please be my guest. Maybe this'll be up at the top? HA! Doubt it.

Why am I "dazed and confused"? Ummmmmm, it's just a little thing called painkillers so pay it no mind.

Tried using the stationary bike the other day (didn't want to hit the road with my back being like it is) and only lasted 12 mins before calling it a day. HR didn't even hit 120 and I was never breathing hard but my back was sure letting me know. The next day it was calling me several unrepeatable names --well, since my blog is rated R I suppose I could repeat them, but I'm not going to.


On a personal note, I finally got an email through (I hope) to the old fart (my dad). So perhaps you might see some snide, sarcastic comments popping up irregularly from a grizzled old geezer up in the frozen north. Hmmmmmm, perhaps I should've waited until AFTER the xmas check from him arrives before typing that...


Number 2 and number 3 on the 7 weird things about yours truly.

#2  I am doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to commerate my 100th post! How many bloggers can say that, eh?

#3 Have you ever been driving down a single lane country road and come up on a car going around or under the speed limit? Of course you have. Now, let's say it's a twisty, turny road that's hard to pass on and the two people in the slower car are obviously sight-seeing and just toodling along without a care in the world. Wouldn't that get you upset? Now, imagine your surprise when the slower car pulls over and lets you pass and gives you a friendly wave!!! Yup, that driver of the slower car would be me! Weird, huh?


My tomato(e) plants are doing quite well (slurp!!!). Here's the latest numbers:

Total weight of tomatoes harvested (and eaten): 1.430 kg (3.15 pounds)
Total number of tomatoes harvested: 13
Number of tomatoes currently on vines: 72
Number of tomatoes currently ripening on vines: 7



Couldn't let you go without giving you a birdie pic. Ummmm, this is what I get for using the auto-focus... Notice how nice and crispy clear the tree in the background is?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tag! I'm it!

Hey everyone! I've been tagged!!!! Does this mean I've officially arrived in the ole blogosphere? If you're curious, A Girl and Her Dogs tagged me with one that I've seen going around for a while, so it'll be kinda hard for me to find folks I visit who haven't done this one, but I'll try.

It's the Seven Weird Things About Me that's been going around like a bad cold for a couple of months. I've read some really weird things some bloggers have written about themselves, and I'm sure some of it is made up (like eating your own toenail clippings, for example).

Now, mine may not be as weird as some folks, but to me they sorta seem to separate me from most blokes. Oh, I asked my BIL for seven weird thing about me... a couple of mins later after picking himself up off the floor from laughing so hard he said, "What, ONLY seven?" And then he walked away chortling to himself.

I'm going to run my seven weird (or odd) things about myself over seven different posts, and on the seventh post not only will I rest, but by then I'll have scoped out enough bloggers who haven't been tagged with this one so that I can pass it along.

First weird thing about me:

I really like counting my tomatoes. Every morning I'm out there watering them, fertilizing them, and ahhhhh, counting them... I count each one I can see on all the plants. This means that for about five mins I'm hunkered down on the brick pavers peering up the bottoms of the flowers to see which ones have set (oh, I could go to jail for that!). Even if there's only a little tiny microscopic tomato(e) hiding under the skirts of the flower;
it gets counted. Needless to say, I haven't been able to count my tomatoes since I tweaked my back 82 hours ago (but who's counting????) so for today you'll have to see wednesdays count:

Total weight of tomatoes harvested: 930 grams (2.05 pounds)
Total # of tomatoes harvested: 8
# of tomatoes ripening on the vines: 4
Number of tomatoes currently on vines: 65 (probably more like 70, but I ain't bending down to look up the tomatoes' skirts)

Now, what would a post from me be like without a pic of the parrots that hang out in the backyard? I call them the breakfast club. Of course, there's a funny caption to go along with it.

It's WEDGIE time!!!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Oops, I did it again

No, I'm not a fan of modern music, nor of pop music. I did go through the ole top 40 phase when I was in my early early teens. Thankfully I grew out of it. However, it sure is a good title for this post.

If you're looking for something funny today from Yours Truly (that'd be me), then I can type to you right now to tell you this is not going to be one of my more funny ones cus I's isn't in no mood ta be a laughin'! Besides, it hurts too much to laugh...

How's abouts that for a bit of foreshadowing? Hey, if I do that 3 more times it'll be fourshadowing! Ha Ha! I crack me up. Ok, I take it back, this one might be a little bit funny as(s) the latest round of painkillers kick in... ahhhhh...

Before I tell you all what's going on, let me give you a tomato(e) update. For you newbies, we've got 3 wonderful tomato(e) plants growing in pots this season and we're hoping to get 80 to 100 pounds of fresh, organic tomatoes throughout this season.

Here's the current numbers:

Total weight of tomatoes harvested: 795 grams (1 and 3/4 pounds)
Total number of tomatoes harvested: 6
Number of tomatoes currently on vines: 67
Number of tomatoes currently ripening on vines:4

Growing right next to the tomatoes is a big hanging basket of basil. Tomatoes and basil make good companion plants: they each keep the other very healthy. When you grow basil, you can keep it bushing and producing leaves all season long: whenever one of them looks like it's going to try to flower, just snip that one off an inch or so below the flowering part (that way you'll have fresh leaves that evening, and the stem that's left has plenty of leaves). The snipped stem will then split off in two new stems and you'll soon end up with a huge bushy hanging basket of basil for 6 months. How's that for a gardening tip?

Next Topic:

Did you know that I used to be (am still kinda am) very phsically active and an athlete in 6 different sports? I did a lot of other sports, but only competed in 6 throughout the years. Oh, I count xc running and marathon running as one sport, btw.

A quick condensed recount of various athletic endeavours I have done over the last 40 years:

Got 2nd in a xc ski race a week after the leg cast came off

I've run a marathon (all on trails)

I've done an ultramarathon through mountains

Ridden over 200 miles on a road bike in 13 hours solo and unsupported

Done the same on a mountain bike but in 20 hours

Was a State Epee Fencing Champion and runner up in Foil and Sabre

Taught at a University PE Dept for 8 years

Did 20 snowboard runs at Skiland in one day; before it opened for the season so I hiked up the whole thing each run

Bowled 22 strikes in a row when I was 16

All of those things took an uncounted number of hours, days, weeks, months, and years practicing. You kinda get the idea: I was in damned good shape. And that's not to mention the freight tossing around either.

Now for the other side of the coin...

I've broken a leg

I've torn knee cartilege

Broken an arm

Broken a hand

Broken many fingers

Evulsion fractures on both ankles

Cracked ribs


Too many bruises to count

Broken foot (twice)

Too many twisted ankles to count

Broken toes

Left face on pavement when I was five

A hunk of rebar decided to try and jam itself into my knee when I was 10

Hit by a car (twice)

Hit by a motorcycle

Pulled too many muscles to count

Now, all of those resulted in fairly superficial injuries which have all healed up nicely, no worries.

HOWEVER... I do have a wee bit of a problem with my back, and, quite frankly, I'm SHOCKED at what I was able to do athletically with a back like mine.

Here's the lowdown on my back:

My left pelvis is 12 mm lower than my right

My spine curves off to the left after it leaves my pelvis

Shortly after my spine leaves the pelvis it consists of 4 compressed vertebrae in a row

My spine then starts to curve to the right, resulting in my right shoulder being lower than the left (but I'm getting better with that)

When my spine becomes my neck, it encounters 2 neck vertebrae in a row that are TWISTED wrongly by about 10 degrees

So what happens when I do something stupid with my back? Say, like lift something heavy the wrong way... Well it's been so long since I've done that I can't say! See, lifting properly is such a second nature to me that I don't even have to think about it. The last time I had to move the Clan Household I did like 13 runs in a freight truck over 10 days or so and didn't have a single problem with my back! In fact, a lot of my strength returned then.

So what did I do yesterday morning that has me whinging and whining about my back? Here's what I did:

I had just fed the local parrots (up to 18 in the morning and 10 in the evening!!!) and I was filling a watering container for starting the mornings' watering of juicy tomato(e) plants, grape vines, and other goodies. I leaned slightly over to turn on the outside water spigot. While I was leaned over I coughed to clear some mucus from my lungs... INSTANT shooting pain down both sides of my lumbar regions where the comressed vertebrae are! OUCH!

Oh the embarrasment! I had to tell my wife (she'd have seen me hobbling around anyways) what happened. Personally I'm kinda glad it didn't happen by lifting wrong. But leaned over and coughing?????????? Go back and read through all that athletic stuff I did! I'm supposed to be tougher than that, gah!

Fortunately, I have everything I need to treat it and I know exactly what to do for it when it's like this. Also, my chiro has my back nice and loose so things click back into place easily... Lots of ice, liquid muscle relaxants, lots of anti-inflammatories, lots of muscle relaxants, laying in the proper positions, more liquid muscle relaxants, move around so things don't tighten up, lots more ice, even more liquid muscle relaxants etc etc etc

I'm sure you all realiz(s)e there are some things you CAN'T do when your back is like this, there are some things you CAN do but hurt like hell, and one or two things you HAVE to do no matter how excrutiatingly painful they are...

Can you think of something you HAVE to do but is so painful you'd rather die??? Can you? Let me give you a hint: as soon as my back is better I'm installing a bidet so next time I hurt my back I won't be afraid to go number 2.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Overheard at the Possum House

For those of you (k)newbies, check out why I changed the name from the Clan House to the Possum House right here.

YT stands for yours truly (that's me, BTW), and BIL stands for brother-in-law:

YT coming in the side patio door, "Ahhh, no better way to waste a morning *edit* than *edit* with drills, screwdrivers, sledgehammer, and duct tape."

BIL "Oh, are you doing watch repair?"

BIL "Or perhaps practicing for brain surgery?"


BIL "So what are you working on this time?"

YT "Oh, just fixing the door jam and lock on the side gate."

BIL "Sounds like you've got the right tools, carry on."

*edit* my high school english teacher used to live right across the street... I'm hanging my grammatically challenged head in shame...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I CAN add... sorta...

Lessee... 1+1=2, 2+2=5, 5+5=21... Oops, musta been Hobbes doing my math homework for me...

I know, I can hear you saying from all throughout the blogosphere, "Dave, is this going somewhere?" My answer is, "Yes, it is going somewhere; just be patient and keep reading."

Waaaaaay back when I was in elementary school I didn't due well in math, nor did I doo well in paper writing, and even though I was very active, me and organis(z)ed sports didn't seem to get along too well. I seemed to be destined to be a totally useless middle management type dude with a beer gut who watches the world go by while other people do cool things.

That all changed in junior high school when math classes introduced variables --algebra and all that stuff. It was like flipping a light switch in the empty morass of little dave's empty brain: Suddenly it all made sense.

Needless to say, I was in physics, advanced chem, and calculus while still in high school --wee-hooie! Engineering vistas unfolded before my wondering eyes. I also started doing better in my chosen sports (at the time: xc running, xc skiing, bowling).

I was a few years in petro eng in college, but decided the oil patch was NOT where this hippy kid wanted to be so I switched to a double in Math and Geology (had to do something with all the math and geo credits I had, eh?)

I could solve second order partial differential equations; fluid dynamic equations and thermo were a breeze. Now, I still couldn't write a damn paper to save my life so the liberal arts really weren't for me.

I enjoyed lab work in chem and physics, especially the blowing stuff up part! Hey, I know what part of the miniscus to read when measuring volumes. And I can even tell you why they form!

However... I am still blond! I have long blond hair that I haven't cut in yonks (that's aussie for a long bleedin' time) and it's starting to get a lot lighter as I spend more time in the pool --even my eyebrows are now bleached blond!!!!).

You know all those blond jokes? Well, they apply to us guys too!

You remember all that math and science crap you just skimmed over? Do you think that anyone who's been through all that can read a kitchen scale properly when weighing his beautiful, fresh organic tomatoes as they come off the vine? Well? Do Ya? Especially when said person has been told he should open a restaurant and is *supposed* to know his way around a kitchen!

Well, if your answer was something along the lines of... "of course dave won't be able to read the damned scale properly," then you win!

Did I look at the increments on the gram side of the scale? NO! Did I wonder why the ounces didn't match the grams I thought I was weighing? NO!

Sigh... Yes, I can count and I can add: I just can't read a damned kitchen scale!

Here's the updated and FIXED tomato(e) numbers:

Total weight of tomatoes: 495 grams (1.1 pounds)
Total number of tomatoes this season: 3
Number of tomatoes currently on plants: 56

NOW we're looking at more like 75-80 pounds of tomatoes for the season: very very cool!

Over and out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ha! Fooled ya! No way in hell would I pick my beautiful, wonderful, organic, vine-ripened tomatoes while they are green. They basically come off in your hand (slurp). As you may have guessed: we've just had our first tomatoes.

I'll keep a running weight tally and post the total every couple of weeks; it looks like we'll be getting around 60 pounds total off of 3 plants (next year we're gettin' six plants).

weight of tomatoes: 175 grams ( .40 pounds --a little over 7 ounces)
# of tomatoes picked: 2
# of tomatoes on plants: 47

They are roastingly sun-hot when they ripen and come off the vine... EXCELLANT! Very tasty.

It's amazing how things grow down here: just plant a dead looking stick in the ground and then suddenly you have a beautiful hydranga, or a huge grape vine (this year I'll be getting white seedless grapes), or pretty much anything you fancy.

Next topic: birdses.

Our neighbors have 3 almond trees, and one of them is right next to our pool (almond blossoms in pool SUCK) and the almonds have set and are starting to ripen. This means that there'll be Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos EVERYWHERE! I'll get some picks for you when the local flock descends to wreak havoc on the 
almond trees.

Got a parrot pic to tide you over till then:

"Ok gang. On the count of 3 we all look down and to our right."




Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Newbie

Did y'all know that I've got a bird feeder? Did you know that I've got parrots (14 at last count), sparrows (17), blackbirds (2), galahs (1), pigeons (too bleedin' many) that all hang out by the feeder in the back yard? Well, if you didn't, then you need to go back through some of my archives!

We also have two flocks of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos in the area. But they've never graced the backyard with there presence --YET.

White cockies (that's the Aussie term for em) are 20 inches long, a wingspan of almost 3 feet, they can live to 100 years old, are very intelligent, and they are F*CKING LOUD! We're talking some serious loud squacks. REALLY, REALLY LOUD SQUUUU-WACKS!!

Anyways, I had one of them show up in the bird feeder this morning. I grabbed the camera and shot of few through the window, then went out onto the side patio by the grill to get some close-ups.

Here's what I got:

Now you know why I'm call a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

What's your problem, bud?

Just a mouthfull, a bit off the flank!

Here I am in all my glory! Worship Me!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

As The Wheel Turns, So Goes The Days Of Our Lives

Whoopsie! Soap Opera time (is that where you take your Opera browser outside and give it a bath???)

This post could turn out to be rather, ummmmm, convulated. Much like my neural pathways, which are still growing. Did you know the pathways keep growing and making new ones till you are in your mid 40's? After that, you're just bound to get dumber. Although some folks (like my folks) would say mine stopped growing sometime in my mid-teens... Hmmmph! Hey, anyone wanna look in one of my ears??? Guaranteed you can see light out the other side!

Enough of that; I gotta tell y'all that I went for a bicycle ride this morning! No, this won't turn into a "bike blog", there are more than enough of those out there, and some really damned good ones too. No way could I compete with the likes of Jill or Fatty. So I'll just sorta keep on doin' what I'm doin', and once in a while you'll have to put up with my cycling stuff --this'd be one 'o' them times.

Oh, wait: you need a bit of a backstory here (hear) otherwise you'd have no idea just how far the mighty (ummmmmm, that'd be Yours Truly) has fallen.

When I was riding all the time, my riding weight was 155 lb (contrast that to when I was in marathon running training: 135 lb; and an ideal fencing weight of 165 lb) and I could ride all day long. Yeah, I can hear you cyclists snickering, but keep in mind I'm six feet and one and one half inches tall.

I've ridden 200 miles in 12 hours unsupported in the wilds of Alaska (if you don't pack it with ya, you don't have it). 30 miles of running and 105 miles of mountain biking through the Alaska Range in 12 hours. Weeklong solo bike trips to wherever the road went.

Ok, you sorta get the picture: I used to be in GOOD shape. Note: the above crap will make for some damned good stories!

This doesn't mean that I turned into a couch potato(e) when I moved down here. Quite the opposite, in fact. My wife (The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World) bought me a beautiful carbon-fiber frame with all the trimmings when my old Bianchi died. It only took me 18 months to put 20,000 k on "ole rocket butt" (that's another story) before I hurt my back.

Maybe it was my back that I used as an excuse, maybe I was getting tired of staring at stupid training numbers and wattage output and intervals and all that crap (it does get old after a few decades). Who knows? Anyways, I couldn't ride for a while cus of my back and I think I was burned out (I'd been training with Cat A and Cat B riders): the back was a good excuse.

Now, some of you may know that when an endurance athlete STOPS the endurance training, they generally continue to EAT like the were training: the weight PILES on --in large quantities; usually around the waist.

Any surprise why I went from 155 lb to 190 lb??????

For some unknown reason this past weekend, I decided to stop being a slob. Well, I mean an out-of-shape slob cus I'll probably always be a slob.

This morning (Tuesday, November 20th, 2007) was my first ride on ole rocket butt in a long time. Oh sure, I'd done some grocery runs on the mountain bike and sorta toodled around a bit on rocket butt, but a real ride? I knew it would hurt, I was sure I'd hurl, and I shivered (as much as one can shiver in an Aussie summer) at the thought of my legs hurting. But what the hey, I really want to get back in shape, so, like, what's a little pain in the long run, eh?

It's not like I'm in terrible shape, heck I do water-aerobics in my pool once in a while --it usually involves me pushing off from the side of the pool with one finger while reclining in the pool furniture-- so I figured I'd be right, no worries!

Ok: get up at 5 am (don't need an alarm: I have a cat). Check the weather, check the bike, no worries.

Time passes...........

Holy Crap!!!!! I can't believe how HARD this is! I was blowing chunks after just a couple of minutes! My legs were trembling, I could barely hold onto the bar... Chest was heaving... sweat dripping from every unnamed part of my anatomy... Holy Crap: this used to be EASY... Spittle running down my chin... "My God, it's full of stars"... tunnel vision... dry-heaves... hamstrings and glutes cramping massively...

Ok, slow down... chill out, breath deep and try to catch your breath... whew... No worries! Ha! I showed em! I can still do this! Ok, I'm now ready to pump up the other tire!

Yes, I got breathless pumping up the tires to a good ole 125 psi!

Time to get the spandex shorts on... Fortunately, I'd gotten my second wind by this point so I was able to squeeze my lard-ass (and lard-thighs) into my largest pair of cycling shorts. This process took a good 5 minutes as I had to continually tuck various fat folds into the waistband of the shorts. Once I got them on, I figured the circulation would return to my feet and the tingling feeling in my calves would stop soon.

Jersey: NOT A BLOODY CHANCE!!!!!!! I wore a t-shirt and a fanny-pack (with a large waist strap in the hopes it'd conceal my ample girth). Oh the shame! A crusty old fart wearing a t-shirt out on a racing road bike worth well into the four figure brakcet... (I looked down whenever I noticed anyone staring and/or laughing at me and hung my head in shame while trying not to spew all over myself --it didn't work, the spewing I mean).

I tried to get into the drops once... Have any of you ever tried to ride a road racing bike with a "few" extra pounds around the middle? Well, you may have noticed that even on the hoods your thighs slam up against your gut on each pedal stroke. Now try to imagine what happens when you are in the drops and your ample gut is pounded by your fat thighs on each pedal stoke... Now, remember, there's only 3 (count 'em 3) things to get in the way: the two family jewels and your weenie. All 3 just happen to get MASHED into little bitty bits when you are in the drops! Needless to say, I got very adept at braking from the hoods.

But, I survived! Obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be relaying this tale (tail) to you. Gotta tell ya though:


Damn, how will I ever get the vomit off my beautiful bike?

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Day In The Life --and then some

We'll be starting with a wee brief (oooohhhhh --wee briefs!!!!) conversation betwixt yours truly and wifey-poo.

YT: Hon, when do you want to go grocery shopping today?

WP: Oh, whenever you want to dear. But you'll definitely be driving cus my eyes are so fried from staring at the computer screen all morning that I can't even see the clocks on the wall in front of me, let alone you.

YT: *dave starts waving arms frantically*

WP: Now I see a blob waving his arms around.

YT: *dave starts dancing a jig*

WP: Now I see a blurry foggy bump trying to imitate someone who can dance.

YT: *dave turns around does something disgusting*

WP: Now I see a disgusting white blob mooning me.

Ahhhh, life at the Possum Lodge Down Under! Ain't it great? BTW: I REALLY did moon my wife!

Next Topic:

I haven't been in the pool for 3 days... waah! But I will be in it this afternoon. It's not cus the pool has been cold (32 C right now --that's 90 F for those of you who can't convert the temp in your head), but I've been giving my skin a bit of a rest as it's been decades since I've spent time in a chlorinated pool --I used to LIVE in the Dimond High swimming pool as a wee tyke.

Next Topic:

The barbecued kangaroo burgers last night were fabulous. In fact, I made enough of them so that we can have them for lunch today --slurp!

Next Topic:

I can sleep anywhere, anytime, for any length of time. It's a gift. I'm very good at sleeping. NOTE: This is sorta like a kind of literary (does that mean a learned person who litters?) doo-hickey called foreshadowing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How to be funny (or stupid!)

Apparantly I have some new readers...  Hi there New Readers! No, I'm not waving at you from the keyboard; sticking my tongue out at you, perhaps... but surely not waving :) Ok, I lied... I did just wave.

Somebody out there in never-never (blog) land thinks I'm funny (wee-hoo) and has told other folks. This means I'm under pressure to come up with something funny!

Well... you could always tell them amusing anecdotes of growing up in the wild...

Huh? Who said that?????

ME: I did.

ME TOO: Oh, you're right!

ME: How's about the time when you almost killed yourself with your hatchet?

ME TOO: THAT wasn't funny!

ME: Well, I laughed...

ME TOO: Jerk!

ME: How about the time when you slept with that guy you'd never met?

ME TOO: Shut UP! You're gonna get me in trouble.

ME: What about when post-holed your entire bare leg into a wasp nest?

ME TOO: *sounds of hitting and kicking inside dave's head as ME TOO kills ME*

All right, I guess that means I need to finish the Canoe Story (there really is a part two!!!!), so that I can tell you a whole bunch more creek stories.

However, I also need to go make some 'roo burgers for the clan so that we can all eat tonight. On the menu is bbq kangaroo burgers (with bacon and other trimmings), chips (fries for those of you "up north") and strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

Ta Ta for now!

Friday, November 16, 2007


I do have loads of stuff to tell you. However, I don't really have the time right now. So what I'll do is give y'all a few pics from down in Oz to hopefully bring a little warmth and cheer to an otherwise cold winter! Although, all you dog mushers are very happy it's winter now!

The begonias are blooming

Two little parrots sittin' in a tree; kay-eye-ess-ess-eye-en-gee!

The Princess Lily out front is blooming

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Flippin' Da Boidy!

When I say "go", we steal the camera!

Now, GO get the camera!!!

Hee, hee! I'll take that camera, and your little doggie too!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why I yam what I yam!

No, this has nothing to do with Popeye (although the Robins Williams Popeye movie was GREAT! I have it on DVD).

This is to explain why I like to talk (write) about the pool so much. Which, BTW, started out at 28 C (82.4 F) this morning and should be at least 33 C (91.4 F) this afternoon so that when a friend who invited herself over for a dip stops by for a swim and a home-cooked Dave Dinner (I'm such a sucker) it'll be nice and toasty.

Anyways... Why do I write about the warm water and the endless summer down here? Is it cus I'm a jerk and like to torment those of you who have to deal with that thingy called "winter"? No, not really...

How's about I give a list of the various temps and activities I put myself through while living in the arctic throughout five decades (yes, I count five cus Jan and Feb of 2000 were really really really cold).

I've swam in a pond while there was still ice in the middle of the pond, while only wearing shorts --on more that few occasions!.

I've windsurfed in the Gulf of Alaska.

I've ridden a bicycle through too many snowfields to count.

I've been in the Gulf of Alaska in a sailboat during a storm when the windspeed hit 100 knots (200 kph, 125 mph).

Coldest temp I've ever felt: -62 F

Coldest temp I've ever felt while being outside for over an hour: -58 F

Coldest windchill temp I've ever felt while being outside for over an hour: -95 F

Coldest temp I've ever felt when waking up in a tent: -35 F

I've sorted freight for 3 hours in the back of an unheated freight truck at -42 F

I've been stranded in the middle of nowhere for 3 hours cus it was so cold that the diesel fuel gelled up even after the additives were added.

I've had my eyelashes freeze together numerous times.

I've taken out the trash barefoot at -35 F --and I was SOBER!

I've camped out in the winter for a couple of weeks with nothing but a few malemutes and two stinky guys for company.

I've waded through freezing waist-deep glacial rivers too many times to count.


Hell, after seven years I'm STILL thawing out some bones...

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Well, actually, none of my posts are "pointless"; just thought it'd make a good title for what's to come in this post...

Overheard at the Possum Lodge Downunda:

just a reminder: WP is wifey-poo, and ME is yours truly

ME: (while taking clothes out of washer) Hey hon! Some unknown person left some tissues in a pocket.

WP: Oh God! I'm sorry!

ME: No, no. I'm not sure who it could possibly be. Besides, only a bit of the tissue was left in the basin, the rest is embedded in the clothes.


ME: Lemme go put 'em on the line and see how bad they are...

time passes...

ME: Good News!

WP: Huh????

ME: Well, not only did most of the tissue shreds come off as I was pegging clothes on the line, but I've now got a suspect!

WP: Oh, please do tell.

ME: Since a vast majority of the laundry was female undergarments, we could conclude the suspect is female, or at least someone who likes to dress in feminine skivvies. Also, I found a lock of long red hair so we're looking for a "lady" with long red hair!

WP: Oh great! We're looking for an Irish Setter that likes to wear womens underpants.

ME: Ummmmmm... "I" didn't say that...

WP: (Laser beams of death shooting out of eyes) It's a damned good thing!

Next topic... (since WP is now ready to kill me)

Has anyone noticed that in different parts of the world weather reports can me totally, completely different things? Well, I have!

In Fairbanks, Alaska, partly cloudly (in summer) means that as soon as you get off work it'll cloud up and get thundery.

In Anchorage, Alaska, partly cloudly (in summer) means you'll see a couple of patches of blue sky once or twice during the day.

In Seward, Alaska, partly cloudly (in summer) means the clouds will lift high enough so that you can see the lower slopes of the mountains.

In Juneau, Alaska, partly cloudly (in summer) means there's a very miniscule chance that it won't rain all day long.

In Adelaide, South Australia, partly cloudly (in summer or winter) means that, by some freak weather anomaly only occuring once a century, you just might see some sort of unknown puffy white thing in the bright blue sky for a moment or two!

After 35 winters in the frozen north, can any of you guess which weather report I prefer?

Next topic:

My (our) 3 tomato(e) plants now have over 34 tomatoes between them! The get fed a steady diet of dried cow poop and lots of water. We reckon that by the end of April we will have harvested over 100 pounds of fresh, organic, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes. YUM!

Next topic:

The temp in the pool was 25.5 C (78 F) early this morning. Right now (mid-morning) it's 27 C (80.6 F), and by this afternoon it should be (fingers crossed) 30 C (86 F). Can any of you guess where I'll be between 2 and 3 pm today? My handmade thermal pool covers really do work!

I'll be putting a food post up on my other site today --how to feed 4 adults for 4 days on only one chook. So check out Dingo Dave for all your food needs!

5:30 pm update!

The pool temp in the deep end at 4 pm was 31 C (87.8 F), and in the shallow end it was 33 C (91.4 F). Wifey-poo and I enjoyed a very nice hour or so. It was so nice that when I got out to give the parrots their afternoon seeds the water felt nice and toasty when I jumped back in! Oh, air temp in the shade only hit 30 C today.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Oh My

Ahhhh, ummmmm, y'all wus supposed to git a story about a dead canoe and a very young dave... However, I've just noticed that the pool temp is 27 C (81 F) water temp, so you'is'ns just gonna haffa wait till tomorraa!

Excuse while I kiss this pool...


It's, now, sorta, like 29C (84.2 F) water temp in the shady end of the pool... and 30.5 C (86.9 F) water temp in the sunny part of the pool...

I hope y'all will excuse me while I'll go for a quick (long) swim... Hmmmmm, do house cats like water like tigers do?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Long-Billed Corella Parrot

This bloke ain't even supposed to be in the area. The only place in South Oz he should be is in the extreme south-east corner... He's a few hundred miles from home...

Yo! where am I???

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Up Close and Personal

I now have a flock of parrots in the backyard. I counted 11 of them this morning. There's a pair of them that let me get to about 5 feet away --they are the original pair, BTW. Yes, I can tell a difference a few of them.

Anyways, here's a pic:

ain't I purdy?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Yo! I am HANDY!

"Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, at least they'll find you handy."

Truer words were never spoken by a grey-haired, short, flannel-clad, slightly beer-bellied, and very funny Canuck.

Fortunately, I am not grey-haired, nor short, but I do wear flannel, and am non-beer-bellied, and I make my wife laugh, Alaskan-Aussie bloke.

Yes, I am handsome and handy --he says with a certain modest smugness. BTW grammar is knot won uf myy strongue pointses.

Remember when I made the pool cover out of tarps, bubble wrap and duct tape? Well, I have now fixed the roof.

No, I didn't use duct tape (but I was tempted). See, we had some rain; the first in a long time. And the roof was leaking in a couple of spots. So I actually found the stupid nails that were loose, replaced them with roofing Tek screws and sealed them with silicone goop.

The hard part was getting the nails out cus they were under the tubes for the solar heater that heats the pool. Did I mention we have a pool? As it was, it still didn't take any time at all, and was a good excuse to blow off an afternoon.

Here is another Handyman's Secret Weapon:

Notice, please, the fact it 24 V, not a wussie 12 or 14. Variable torque, variable speed, came with a boatload of drill bit, sockets, screw heads, etc. Also came with a SPARE battery and a rapid charger so you're never out of juice. Keyless chuck of course, and an LED light that shines on the drill head for when it's dark. The 8 mm socket was perfect for the roofing Tek screws, very handy. For those of you in the US, GMC stands for Global Machine Company and they make very good stuff (my leaf blower/vac is GMC too).

Oh, yeah, it also looks really really cool --sorta like you'd expect it to shoot a laser beam type cool!

I was going to put a scalloped potato recipe here, but I've uploaded it to my new(ish) cooking blog instead. So be sure to check out

Dingo Dave's Delightfully Daring Delicacies

Oh, I'll get the real story of what happened in the canoe up soon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Parrots are back!

My parrots are back in the yard --weehoo! Oops, backstory time...

I keep a bird feeder (that I made) in the back yard. It attracts parrots, galahs, sparrows, blackbirds, finches, honey-eaters, and of course pigeons.

Lately every tree around has been blooming and producing goodies for the birds. So for the last month the only birds hanging out have been the blasted pigeons. That all changed yesterday...

My Rainbow Lorikeets are back, along with a whole bunch of sparrows. I have pics for you, however they still need to be downloaded from the camera so that'll wait till tomorrow for the new ones, but I've got something to tide you over till then:

Also, I've just started my cooking blog! It lives here:

Dingo Dave's Delightfully Daring Delicacies

Go check it out; the first recipe (it's a fish dish) is up and  there'll be more up soon.

I'll get more birdie pics for you too.

Friday, October 26, 2007


It works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My thermally insulated pool cover made with tarps, bubble wrap and Duct Tape (The Handyman's Secret Weapon) really works!!!!!!!!!!!

The shade temp right now at 1:30 pm (1330 for some of y'all) is 23 C (73.5 F) and the water temp in The Pool is 27 C (80.6 F) and bound to get warmer! Ya wanna know why? Well, cus this pool is Solar Heated! Ha! I'll explain how it works next post.

The above is best read with Harold's voice echoing through your head...

Now then:

Dingo Dave's Delightfully Daring, Delicious Delicacies is coming soon to a computer near you (and me).  Stay tuned for all relevant info, and some (lots of) non-relevant info.

I've been very busy this week preparing for our First Annual Halloween Pool Party. Y'all are invited; snags, bangers, chops, and chooks will abound. Just BYOB, eh?

Gotta run, gots a pool to vacuum :)

more soon,



The pool temp is now 28 C (82.4 F) so it should be very very nice for tomorrow. Gotta run, loads of cleaning and cooking to do...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Update is done!

Well, me wee little blog is updated and upgraded. As you all notice, I've put labels on posts (thanks Suzer). You may also notice that the "food" label appears regularly (so does my waistline).

Next, I'll be making a cool banner pic. I've got a few ideas, but I'll keep you in suspense for now.

I'm also going to be starting a food/cooking blog! I'm thinking about having other folks posting recipes and food stuff there. Anyone interested? So far I think it'll be called Dingo Dave's Deliciously Daring Delicacies. Whaddya think?


If you are reading this right now, then let it be known that I'm a thrid of the way through my label updates. I'm now taking a break for lunch, then finishing it up this afternoon.

more soon

Friday, October 19, 2007

Death of a Canoe --Part Deux

So, the scene is set: The family is going down CC and continuing onto the lower part with the killer sweepers and the boat eating eddy's and the creek is running high!


Do you have beautiful tomato plants that are already over a meter high? Are they already producing tomatoes? But then you SUDDENLY FIND OUT THAT SOME DAMNED BUTTERFLY LAID EGGS THAT HAVE JUST HATCHED AND YOUR TOMATO PLANTS ARE COVERED WITH 2 MM LONG LOOPER CATERPILLARS?

If this has happened to you, then have no fear cus Dipel (tm) is here! Our Bio-Insecticide works wonders on any leaf eating caterpillars. Just spray it on, and the caterpillars die. Our product is biologically friendly, it doesn't affect any other insects, nor birds, nor fish, nor mammals. It's a naturally occurring bacteria bacillus thuringiensis and is a healthy part of any dynamic eco-system.

Make sure you spray both sides of the leaves, and retreat in 7-10 days or as needed.

Yes, you too can have healthy, beautiful tomato plants all summer long, producing almost 100 lbs of tomatoes! Imagine the savings!

Dipel (tm) also works on fruit trees, herbs, vines, and pretty much any place you find leaf eating caterpillars.

Just imagine: six months of wonderful tasty tomatoes grown from high quality cow poop! Mmmmmm GOOD!

Dipel (tm) is a trademark of Yates.


...and that's why I still have a healthy dislike of canoes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Concerning Croutons and Cilled Canoes

Yeah, so it shoulda been Killed instead of Cilled. I just wanted to go with the "C" theme --kinda average?

I'm going to change this around and put the recipe (for what it's worth) first, then the story of the death of a canoe and almost the death of a family. Not only to keep all 17 of you (WOO-HOO) in suspense, but more so that if I run out of time I can always do part two next --brilliant logic on my part, eh? Not bad for a bloke with long blond hair and a tan...

Quick Croutons:

This is for when you need some croutons in a hurry, and you don't feel like running out to the shops and paying for them!

Take some white bread slices, either fresh or semi-stale. Slice em into crouton sized pieces (about the size of dice). Toss them into a wok, and add some seasonings. The other day when I made them I used Egyptian type seasonings and they are GREAT!

All seasonings are either dried, ground, or crushed. Here's the Eqyptian seasonings I used:

Sea Salt

Oh, if you've been wondering how to get that beautiful Moroccan flavour (or any North African or Middle Eastern flavour) then you'll want to note that the key ingredient not known in many western kitchens is ground sumac.

Anywho, toss the seasonings into the bread cubes and drizzle some olive oil on them. Put the wok on a high heat, toss the cubes frequently (if you let them sit for more than 30 secs you'll burn them). After a couple of mins (add more olive oil as needed) you'll have nicely toasted and seasoned croutons.

Remove from heat and let cool --they are even better the next day.

You can use any kind of seasonings, whatever your taste buds like.

Oh, regarding sumac: There are quite a few edible types of sumac berries; when used in cooking they are generally dried and then crushed. There are, however, six type of sumac berries that are poisonous and (for the most part) the berries are white. These include stuff like poison ivy, poison oak and (of course) poison sumac. I wouldn't suggest going out and picking your own sumac berries, just buy the powdered stuff at you local shops!

Now on to the section of Alaskan Dave Down Under which specifically focuses on Dave (that's me) growing up (HA!) and having fun in the wilds of the north.

Back in the very early 70's, the family moved from the little trailer in a trailer park off Muldoon into a large house by a lake. Since there was a lake, the Old Fart (my dad) got a canoe for us to play around with in the lake. He got a LAKE canoe. Very long with a square stern (for hanging an outboard motor --it's called a transom).

We had some fun with the canoe on the lake; explored pretty much every inch of it --got bored after a few months and then they (the parents --specifically The Old Fart (my dad)) had the great idea to go down Campbell Creek in it.

Yes, I can hear all of you in Los Anchorage saying how the creek is polluted and we couldn't possibly have done it... Keep in mind this was 35 years ago (you know: back when Benson Blvd didn't exist and Northern Lights Blvd was one lane each way and had just recently been paved? Of course you remember!)! There was still a big salmon run in the creek and there was a race down it each year (stay tuned!!!!).

CC (I'm tired of typing The Creek, or Campbell Creek) is fed by snow melt from up in the mountains nearby. This means that it really really really cold. Did I mention it was a tad bit on the nippy side? CC is also one of those that even though it runs through south Anchortown it's still quite the wild and wooley ride when the water's up.

Once you got past the first few easy miles, it turned into a twisty, turny fun ride. On the inside of each sharp turn were what's called "sweepers". A sweeper is a tree on the bank of a river that has had the bank eroded out from under it so that the tree hangs over the river (or creek in this case). If they only hang down to about 45 degrees you can duck under them and their low-hanging branches, but if they hang lower (sometimes even parallel to the creek) then it's really hard to duck under the branches without hurting yourself massively --so you go around.

On the outside of a turn that has sweepers, there's usually a deep hole in the river bottom formed by the swirling eddy's of the river. Think of them as miniature whirlpools. The water swirls around on the outside of a sharp bend and goes straight down into the river bottom and gouges out such a hole that you are well under water if you tried to stand up in one (don't try it!!!!). Also, the eddy's are a great place for big ole logs to hang out in and jam up against each other. Anything that can't float (like a swamped canoe for example) will be jammed against the logs and then shot to the bottom of the hole along with whatever is in it.

We had been down the creek a few times in the LAKE canoe, but we always got out before the ugly part. Weeeellll... to make a long story even longer, there was this time (after weeks of heavy rains) that we decided to go all the way down to Campbell Lake.

Part Two coming up soon: Does the clan pile into the logjam in a whirlpool or do they get gored by the branches of a sweeper... Da Da Da Dummmmm!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I tell ya, folks down here DO NOT know how to make guacamole sauce. Fortunately, I do! Do you know that they add SUGAR! Sacrilege! They also sometimes use cream cheese and green food colouring --BLARF! I've even been to one "Mexican" restaurant down here and they made the margaritas with LEMON juice instead of LIME!

I'm sure that every single one of you have your own way of making guacamole, so please don't think this is the only way to make it. Besides, each region and village south of the Rio Grande make it different from their neighbors.

I'm also giving you some alternative ingredients to add in --bonus for you!

My Basic Guacamole Sauce:

What you knead:

3 really ripe avocados (really really ripe)
Juice from one lime (or 1 tbsp lime juice)
Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 to 4 tsp chilli powder (cayenne powder)
1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic

What you due:

Do I really need to tell you this? Ok here goes: Slice the avocados in half, pop out the stone (tap it with a sharp knife, the stone pops out on the knife blade), and scoop the ripe pulp out into a bowl. Chuck in the rest of the ingredients, then go to town on it with a potato masher until it's all combined. Make it in the morning, then let it stand till ready to use in the evening.

See? Wasn't that easy?

A tip: if your avocados aren't as ripe as you thought, still scoop the pulp into a bowl and slice it quickly with a knife before mashing.

Now's the fun part: Additional goodies! I wouldn't suggest trying all of the additional stuff at the same time though... Just sayin'.

Additional ingredients:

Dried chilli flakes (as much or as little as you'd like; they're your taste buds)
Minced bell pepper (capsicum) --any color you'd like and roasted or not
Finely chopped fresh tomato
Sun-dried tomato --chopped
A tbsp or two of mexican seasoning (any brand you prefer)
Grated parmesan cheese
Finely minced fresh onion
Chives --dried or fresh
Chopped garlic greens --if you don't grow your own garlic, these can be hard to find

Another tip: if you've made it too spicy, then add a bit of cream to it, no worries.

I'm working on the creek story from my childhood in Los Anchorage (adutlhood was in Squarebanks) and it could turn into a two or three parter. However, I wanted to get this up as it's now lunchtime and the pool water is 26 C (79 F) and the sun is shining.


I forgot a pinch or two of salt in the basic sauce, oops...

Monday, October 15, 2007

I missed it!

Hey, I passed over 3000 hits and I didn't even notice it. I must be slipping in my old age.

I have had requests for a few recipes and some stories from a couple of folk, so I PROMISE those'll be up next --including almost dying in the creek as a wee lad.

It was going to be today, buuuuuut warmth happened.

Air temp: 31 C in the shade (88 F shade temp).

In the sun: A helluva lot warmer.

Pool water temp in the morning: 21 C (70 F).

Pool water temp by lunchtime: 27 C (81 F).

Can you all guess where my day went?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hear Ye! Here Yee!

Yes, I have just updated me little ole blog roll.

As this is a very lame excuse for a post, let me tell you that coming up are two great mexican recipes, a very long story about a family and a creek (and almost dying), many pics of the land down under, and a write-up about the Faerie Penguins and horse-drawn trams on Granite Island.

Stay tuned!

Oh, and pics of a few of the many sushi platters I've made.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cheap 'n' Easy Blog Post

For those of you newbies, YT stands for Yours Truly (that'd be me), and WP is for The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World (that's me Wifey-Poo).

YT: Lemme go get my outdoor blower/vac and I'll take care of all those leaves and crap.

WP: Oh, great, thanks dear.

YT: Now, firstly, I need to find my sandals.

WP: Well, did you have them on when you jumped in the pool?

YT: No, I've been barefoot all day long.

WP: Hmmmmmm....


YT: Here they are, I found them in the library under a Calvin And Hobbes book!

WP: Why am I not surprised...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What a day!

You know the say about when life gives you lemons to make lemonade? Well, how's about this: when life gives you grapes, make wine!

and summer isn't even here yet!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Just Duckie

As I type this, I'm sitting in a hammock chair with a cat (His Royal Highness:Prince Bagheera) rubbing against my legs. I'm overlooking the pool, and there isn't a single duck anywhere to be seen!

Hahahahahahaha! I have outsmarted the ducks, and there wasn't even any bloodshed nor ringing of necks :)

But wait... How did I get to be talking (typing) about ducks? Well, there's a tale to be told...

Da Ducks:

Firstly, the house we are in has a pool (duh), and I think I've mentioned this once or twice or thrice or fource or fifece. This pool is over 30 sq metres, that's at least 330 sq ft of surface area --bigger than my first apartment back in Squarebanks!

About a month after we moved in (yes, we lease the place from the new owners --long story) I heard two small splashes in the pool. Two ducks had landed in the pool and decided they liked it.

Being winter (or what passes for winter down here) I wasn't *too* concerned as I wasn't planning on being in the pool anytime soon. Side note: a short while later I decided I was going to use the pool cus I got tired of cleaning it without getting a swim!

I'll be posting a pic of the original two ducks in a moment, just as soon as I get back to my own computer where I have the pics, instead of here in the hammock while using one of the laptops. The house does have wireless broadband so I could upload this post from this here hammock chair overlooking my duck-free pool, but I'll wait till I get the pics so y'all can see the ducks --ain't I nice?

*found a pic of one of them*

It turns out they are what's called Pacific Black Ducks --I call these two Pacific Blond Ducks since they aren't too smart. There's a huge wetland area right around the corner where there are perfect places for loads of ducks. And up at Flinders U there's a big duckie pond, and then just up the hill at Wittunga Botanical Gardens are two great duck ponds. All of those have reed lined shores, lily pads, nesting areas, duckweed, etc. So why would these two Pacific Blonds come around to my pool with no nesting area, chlorinated water, and no food? As I wrote earlier: they are blond! Either that or they are having an affair and don't want the other ducks to know!

I did some research into these ducks and it turns out they are nomadic (not migratory), and they were in the middle of their breeding season. Now, as cute as ducklings are, I didn't want any around cus they'd grow up in mortal danger from His Royal Highness: Prince Bagheera. Don't worry, remember, these two are pacific BLOND ducks...

The first egg I found was on the bricks by the pool where the two of them would sit. Now, the edge of the pool (where they sit) is 8 inches higher than the bricks... Needless to say, the egg was cracked and had been abandoned! I knew right then that I wasn't dealing with the two brightest bulbs in the duck world...

Ah! I'm back! I was gone for a few minutes as I grabbed to power cable for the laptop, so back to the duck story (hey, the screen's brighter now too!):

Keep in mind, there is absolutely NOTHING around here for them to eat. My pool is NOT full of reeds and bracken for nesting areas. They also never overnighted --yet another sign of an affair?

Then, 3 days later, I find a small "nest" under one of the palm trees by the pool. I type "nest" cus it was a small hollowed out area in the dirt. No leaves, no twigs, no NOTHING except for one lone duck egg.

Was there a duck on the egg? NO. Was the egg cold? YES. Gee, why was the egg cold? Perhaps cus the two blond ducks left it overnight, uncovered, when the temp got down to 5 C (41 F). Ummmmmmm... let's see... a duck egg left at 41 F for ten hours... I don't think it'll hatch!

Side note: duck eggs taste like chicken eggs.

The third egg to show up (and last), was actually covered by one little leaf while mommy and daddy went off galivanting for 3 days.

Now do you know why I call these two pacific BLOND ducks?

At this point I was hoping that the Duck Division of Family and Youth Services would show up and haul these two off. But no, the Evil Duck showed up instead...

The Evil Duck was also Pacific Black, not very nice at all, and was probably the lady duck whom the other two cheated on. As soon as the first two would land, then the Evil Duck would land and fight with the female of the first pair.

Alright, time for some names: the first pair are Joe and Josephine, and the Evil Duck is Daphnee.

So, Daphnee would relentlessly attack Josephine while Joe sat and watched (catfight?????). I kid you not, I thought Daphnee would kill her! She tried to drown her on several occasions, while Joe circled around (probably shouting encouragement). I remember one time being woken at 6 am to the standard morning "duck fight", but this one sounded BAD. I tossed my robe on, went downstairs, opened the patio door and found what can best be described as a "rolling duck ball" on the back lawn. It turns out that the rolling duck ball was all three of my current pool tenants and the feathers were flying --side note: the cat was watching this with a perplexed look. They then flew away, but only onto the neighbours roof and went at it again. I'm sure the neighbours LOVED their wake-up call.

Another time, Daphnee chased Joe and Josephine onto the brick wall around the BBQ area and latched onto Josephine's tail feathers so tightly that they both fell six feet onto the bricks below. I thought my troubles were over, but, alas, both ducks were both fine.

For the next month the routine went like this: Joe and Josephine would shown up at the crack of dawn for a quick swim (and crap) in my pool. Then Daphnee would show up and chase them both off. Daphnee would then proceed to hang out in the pool all day long --while crapping a LOT.

Then one day, Daphnee got herself a boyfriend! He didn't look like a normal Pacific Black Duck, more like a Grey Teal Duck, but the markings weren't right for either... He lasted for 2 weeks and then was gone --I'm sure Daphnee tired of her boy-toy quickly.

For a week, life was back to normal: 530 am duck fight, duck crap in pool, Daphnee strutting around and crapping everywhere.

Then one day, the New Arrival shows up. Let's call him Daffy (he'd had to be daffy to hang around with Daphnee, Joe, and Josephine). He's a Mallard! I wake up one morning to see a convoy of at 4 ducks landing (and crapping) in my pool. Ok, fine thinks I, 'Daphnee and her blondie have made up with Joe and Josephine'. But when I look out the window, one of the ducks looks suspiciously like a male Mallard.

I even took a pic when I went outside. As soon as I get to my computer I'll post it in, no worries.

*found it*

Yup: One HUGE male Mallard led Daphnee, Joe, and Josephine to my pool. Daffy was fairly skittish around me, so the pics aren't the best. When Daffy flew off, the three Pacific Blacks flew off with him (he's a stud!).

It was at this point I did three things (regarding the pool). I researched Aussie ducks, I made the pool cover, and I bought floating pool furniture. Shall we review them in order?

1) Aussie ducks

Joe, Josephine, and Daphnee were without a doubt, Pacific Black. PB's are nomadic (no ducks down here migrate --why leave year-round summer?) and they INTERBREED with a certain type of duck the Europeans brought down here. Can you guess what they interbreed with? If you guessed "Mallard" then you are right! Unfortunately, the Mallard genes are dominant over the PB's, so they could be bred to extinction. Major Bummer. Soooooo, since the offspring are viable, that means same species, different race.

2) Pool cover

I was going to make a pool cover (owner won't buy one) when the weather really warmed up to conserve water, but I thought I should do it soon so the ducks go somewhere else. I researched how much a commercial cover for a pool this size would cost ($800+) and compared that to the materials to make my own thermally insulated cover ($105). Guess which choice I made? Oh c'mon, GUESS? What a great way to blow off four afternoons by playing with tarps, bubble wrap, sealastic, and (the handyman's secret weapon) Duct Tape!

Remember: If the women don't find you handsome, at least they'll find you handy!

3) Floating pool furniture

Have you ever thought how nice it would be to float around in your own pool on a 90 to 100 F degree day, the water temp is 80 F, and you're floating half-in and half-out of the water in a nylon mesh thingy suspended by two pontoons with an inflated headrest? Now imagine your hat is pulled over your eyes and you are taking a nap while laying (floating) in the pool (furniture). What does this have to do with ducks? Well, the yellow nylon mesh scares them away!

I was thinking about doing a food post for this, but I'm sure you all know how to cook omelettes and Peking Duck takes too long to make.

Cheers from Oz,

Oh don't forget, a story about how we all almost died in a creek in Alaska decades ago.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Overheard At The Clan House

Remember, YT stands for Yours Truly (that'd be me), and WP stands for Wifey-Poo (that'd be The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World).

YT: Honey?!

WP: Yes dear.

YT: Do you mind if I slice and pickle these last two carrots?

WP: Of course not. Go right ahead.

YT: Great! Thanks, hon!
YT: Honey!

WP: Yes dear?

YT: I'm out of my olive pickling brine!

WP: I set it on the table to clear space in the fridge.

YT: Thanks, hon!
YT: Honey?!

WP: Yes dear?

YT: This is the Kalamata brine! I need the clear brine!

WP: You're out.

YT: Are you sure?!

WP: Yes dear.

YT: *damn*
YT: Honey!

WP: Yes dear.

YT: Do you mind if I add chilli pepper flakes to the brine?

WP: Not at all, go right ahead.

YT: Thanks, hon!
YT: Honey?!

WP: Yes dear.

YT: Have I mentioned how much I love you?

WP: Yes, I do believe you have.

YT: Cool! Just making sure.

This is completely, 100%, honest-to-god, factual. What a great life, eh? :)

Coming up: the duck saga. I was going to call it The Tale Of Two Ducks, but then more have shown up. There's now the Evil Duck, her blond boyfriend, the two newly-weds, and the newbie that's a different species. Stay Tuned!

Also coming up: the story of how the clan almost DIED in a creek 35 years ago (gripping stuff).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another year OLDER

I had a Birthday!

It was about two weeks ago, and I had a grand ole time. I, of course, didn't work. Even I did work down here I'd make sure I connived the day off. Out of all my very many birthdays I've only had to work on 5 of them over the decades.

So, like, what did I do? The hardest thing was cleaning the pool (dumb ducks!!!!). I then spent 3 hours straight in the pool, ahhhhh... bliss... Needless to say, I was rather tired after that, so then a long nap was on order. I didn't even have to cook for the clan that night (wife is wonderful), and then fell asleep in front of a movie.

Presents were opened in the mid-morning once everyone was up. I got some great stuff: One of the Legends of The Tour dvds --the Lance one, a great Italian cookbook that's also a travel book about the various Italian regions --the recipes are very authentic, not westernised at all--, a 1 gig mp3 player (I'm currently listening to Hobo Jim followed by Johnny Cash), and an iTunes card so I can load up goodies on the mp3 (if you can't figure out the file conversion then too bad for you).

Why did I want an mp3 player? Ain't I supposed to be a geriatric dinosaur (like my dad)? Hell, my mobile doesn't even take pictures! I wanted it cus when we are in the back doing computer stuff, my wife and my bro-in-law need to concentrate on their work. I, however, just dink around with 3d programs and I like to have some music on. Headphones from Zues (my computer) don't cut it cus I get up and wander aimlessly around the clan house so I thought an mp3 player would be a great birthday pressie --I was RIGHT!

Oh, don't worry about my hearing, I have it turned down so that I can hear everyone and have conversation --it really is good background stuff. Note to self: rip the LOTR cds to mp3!

Scene break:

How's that for a transition? Coming up over the next few posts will the saga of the ducks in my pool --stay tuned!

Food Stuff:

Deep fried goodness! Oh, come on now, doesn't everything taste better when tossed in hot oil with or without some type of coating? Hell, I've even deep fried sushi --TRUE (personally, I like it better raw and yes, I make damned good sushi).

Today though, you get a wonderful batter that'll fry a variety of things. I was cleaning out the fridge the other day, and had a little of this and a little of that. I thought for lunch I should deep fry the bits and see which ones come out best --for some reason, no one else in the clan house was as excited about this lunch as I was... hmmmmm...

Anyways, I decided that a good, thick, egg batter would be best. Before I give you the batter recipe, let me list the things I was deep fryin':

pickled mussels
camenbert cheese
brie cheese
crab meat
feta cheese
blood sausage (black pudding)
bleu cheese

Ahem, yes, I like to eat... As you can tell, I needed a versatile batter (definitely not breading). It turns out, the feta was BEST, followed very closely by everything else. Hey, I am a deep frying King --been doing it a while.

The batter:

half flour/half polenta (corn meal will do) --about 3/4 cup each
ground white pepper
milk powder (a tbsp or two)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tsp powdered cumin
2 eggs
enough water to make a good, thick batter.

Mix it all together, then use.

Oh, if you use a good, wide wok, then you only need an inch of oil. I use olive oil for everything except deep frying, for that I use sunflower oil.

As I said, the deep fried feta was great, but so was everything else (the mussels were a close second).

Hmmmm, maybe I should tell you how to make deep fried, soft boiled eggs sometime (it's a vietnamese thing).

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Midnight Prowler

No, this isn't a story of my Cat (The Fanged Terror, His Royal Highness, Prince Bagheera, Blackness Personified, Lord And Master Of All He Surveys, otherwise known as Dipshit). This is the story of what you hear on your roof and on your upper deck in the wee hours of the morning...

The story starts with Dave (that's me) being woken...

Oh, wait: WP stands for "Wifey-Poo", otherwise known as "The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World"; just so ya know.

4:30 am

WP "There's something on the roof."

WP "Psst, wake up. There's someone on the roof."

WP then kicks and elbows YT (yours truly, that's me).

YT "huuuhhhh, wwwhhaaa... yessssh dear... whatever you'd like..."

4:31 am

WP "I've been listening to something on the roof and the deck for a while!"

YT "... huuunnnhhhh..."

WP "Something's on the ROOF!"

YT "Ummmm, I'm not hearing anything..."

WP "Wait, you'll hear it... It sounds like feet scampering around on the deck, SHHHH!"

YT "Yes dear..."

4:40 am

YT "I'm not hearing anything... The wind is blowing and it's probably just a branch on the gutters."

WP "I KNOW what a branch sounds like! This was the sound of feet pattering about on the roof and thumping on the deck!"

--Sudden sound of CLAWS scrambling up and along the roof... pitter-patter of feet above our heads--

4:40:30 am

YT "Honey, there's something on the roof."


YT "I'm sure it's just a possum."

WP "But it could be a prowler."

4:41 am

--THUMP onto the upper deck, sound of feet scampering across the deck two feet from us--

YT "Yup, that's a four-footed critter, 10 to 20 pounds. Either a possum or a cat."

WP "Are you sure?"

YT "Do I sound that dainty when I'm on the roof cleaning the gutters?"

WP "No."

YT "So, it's not a prowler, right?"

WP "Riiiiggghhhtttt..."

4:42 am

--CLAWS scramble up the drainpipe right outside our heads, and a shadow flits outside of a window along the upper roof slates--

YT "See, just a possum, I just saw it."

WP "whimper..."

YT "Cute little bugger too."

WP "ummmmm..."

4:42:30 am

--claws and feet skimper along the roof over our heads--

YT "It's just a possum, go back to sleep."

WP "..."

YT "Look, there he is! Right outside the other window on the roof-beam."

4:43 am

--YT peels back sheets from over WPs head--

YT "See, it's just a possum. I see the arched back, the possum nose, and the foofy (oh good god, I actually SAID that word!!!!) tail."

WP "Awwww, he's cute. Look, honey! A cute ring-tail possum on our rooftop."

YT "Snore."

So, the moral to this story is... Ahhh, there isn't one.

Anyways, the new name of the clan house is "The Possum Lodge" With all due respects to Red Green, of course.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Post-Tour Hangover

Holy bicycle spokes, Batman! It's been a month since I've updated... I *think* the Post-Tour Hangover is gone now, just in time for the Rugby World Cup --WeeHoo!

See, the french have a problem: They have this big ole massive bicycle race in July, but they run it in the middle of the night! How rude is that? BTW, the Tour is watched by more people worldwide than the US Super Bowl, just in case y'all were wondering.

Back to the hangover... Oh, that is what it's called in media and fan circles: Post-Tour Hangover! At least the Super Bowl hangover goes away in a day... But WHY, oh WHY does the Tour one last for weeks? It's all about sleep schedule.

Allow me to elaborate...

SBS TV in Oz (bless their hearts!!!) carries each stage of the Tour live. They do a DAMN fine job. I have no idea what the telecast in the US is like, but it sure ain't like watching a US Olympic telecast. They show THE RACE, and only THE RACE. You want character stories and such? Well, just listen to Phil and Paul while watching the bike race. So, every night there's like 3 to 4 hours live starting anytime betwixt 10 pm and midnight. Finishing anywhere betwixt 1 and 4 am.

Now, don't get me wrong, I can stay up late partying with the best of them --*cough* 20 years ago *cough*-- But to do that for a month straight and still getting up at 6 am each morning requires a HELLUVA lot of caffeine. I think part of the Post-Tour Hangover is caffeine withdrawal.

Now, what I'd do after dinner each night, is go to bed to take a *nap* for 2 hours, then get up an hour before the telecast and follow the early action on the net --while drinking coffee. If it was a particularly exciting stage, then I'd watch the last hour a second time (just waiting for the coffee to wear off, REALLY!) and then crash sometime around 2 to 4 am. I'd be awake at 6 am (as per usual, morning person I am), and I'd spend time on all the cycling sites reading interviews and stuff about the stage.

Nap time was around 2 pm, till around 4 pm. I'd then start working on dinner for the clan.

Do you see where all this leads????? For a month straight I slept in short segments no longer than 3 hours! So now after the tour, I'd (obviously) wake up after 2 or 3 hours and be wide awake for a few hours.

However, I am FINALLY back to normal (or at least normal for me, which ain't sayin' much). The last three nights I've stayed up till 10, and haven't gotten up any earlier than 5 am. Afternoon naps only last an hour, life is good!

To sum up: I'm back! I'm normal! I'm hip! Well, you can discount those last two...

cheerios from Oz,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Sillyness From Yours Truly

Hi all! So, like, any new readers out there now that I've passed 2000 page views? Anyone? Hello... ello... ello...? Hmmmm, nice echo, cool. No worries, I can always write this now so that when I'm rich and famous everyone will be flocking here (like sheep to the slaughter HA HA!).

Back to Alaska; then and now


During my many decades in the frozen north, I was into many sports. I didn't like the team events (although I like watching them for the strategy). For a while I ran (among other sports, more later). I did the cross-country races in high school, and afterwards ran just for the heck of it.

One year, I decided to get in shape to run the Equinox marathon in Fairbanks --oddly enough, held on the fall equinox, Sept 21. So I spent the summer (in Anchorage while tossing freight around for work) getting in shape. I'll spare you the details, with this one exception...

I decided that on one of my rest evenings after work (resting from running) to hike up Wolverine Peak in the nearby mountains. Fairly short (4 to 6 miles, I think), and not that steep (4000 feet, could've been 4500???) so it wouldn't be a problem doing it after work since it was light till almost midnight. Oh yeah, I forgot a water bottle.

After a mile, I got bored with hiking and started running... I ran to the top... not stopping, no water. The rocky, loose sections weren't bad since I'd practically grown up outside. The snowfield crossing was easy, except when a foot would break through and "posthole" in the deep snow --ouch.

The last mile was the easiest since it was along a ridgeline --2000 foot drop down either side! Wee-hoo, keep running!

Anyways, at the top some other folks there looked at me like I was crazy (they were right). One guy asked if I was training for the Mt Marathon race. No, I think I might do Crow Pass though, however I'm training for the Equinox up in Fairbanks, was my reply. Yup, I was definitely CRAZY!

A quick swig of water from one of them, and I was off down the mountain. Fastest miles of my life, that was. Got down to the parking lot, drove home.

Did it again the next day.


Ummmm, I get winded cleaning the pool...


Damn those Frenchies! How dare they have a bike race in the middle of the night? Do you know how much fun it is to stay awake (and coherent) till 2 and 3 am for 3 weeks straight (without getting to sleep till noon the next day)? Let me tell ya something: me and mister caffeine are DEFINITELY on good terms. Last night was a rest night, which means I got to sleep --wee-hoo!

I'm more than majorly bummed about Mick's wipe out; he could have won the tour with that breakaway, damn. Also, being a fellow Adelaidian, I wish Stuey a fast recovery from his 9 broken ribs, punctured lung, and broken shoulder blade. Now you know why I don't race!

Like everyone, I don't think the chicken will hold yellow through the time trials, and Cadel is in good position. However: I'm REALLY rooting for Moreau now (a frenchie) cus he's been the only GC contender to actually make attacks! Good on ya, mate!


Did you guess the number of doors (entrances)? SEVEN! Cool, eh?

Did I mention the solid timber staircase at the end of the marble (real marble) tiled entranceway?

Did I mention our master bedroom is 348 sq feet?

Remember, you can't bring your guns down here to shoot me! Nyah, nyah!

Food Stuff:

Sorry, I'm late with this and I've got a dinner to cook for the clan. Next entry will be all about food though, promise!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just a quickie... and a house update

Well, well. A few more days have come and gone, MY how time flies as we get older! My back actually continues to get better, I hope to be able to take real bike rides soon :)

Speaking of bikes... Dave's Le Tour Update: The blokes have just finished the first mountain stage, and a summit finish is up for tonight. We all know that Vino and Klodi are hurting from injuries. In fact, Valverde has said that he and his team want to drop Vino on the last climb tonight (local Aussie time). Ummmmm, Vino has an overall podium finish under his belt, whereas Valverde had yet to even FINISH a TDF. Ah, kid, shut your mouth!

I'd like to think that Vino is playing poker with his injuries, but they do look pretty bad. And it's hard to imagine Klodi riding through the mountains with a broken tailbone: OUCH.

I'd love to see Cadel take the overall, but I think the team has had to do too much work for Robbie the first week. Same thing with Sastre; CSC worked damned hard for Fabian and Sastre isn't a world-class time trialist.

I'll make a prediction here, and it's based on both Vino and Klodi's injuries being bad. Final GC: Levi, Moreau, Mick. Not the 3 I'd have picked if there hadn't been many wipeouts the first week, and I do have good reasons for not picking other favs (involving team politics). They are basically the 3 GC contenders who are the SOLE leader for their team, their ENTIRE team is behind them, and they haven't had any bad spills on the flats the first week. How's that for logic? Oh, yeah: they can all time trial!

Oh, I was very happy with Gerdemann's win, been watching him for a year: Good Kid!

House teaser:

Did I tell you there are FOUR bathrooms? Well, there are! Did I mention that the entranceway just inside the double glass doors is marble tiled? Oh, perhaps I haven't... Well, it is!!!

Go ahead everyone, guess how many doors there are (the double glass entranceway counts as ONE). The person who gets closest gets a virtual hug and a virtual swim in the pool.

Food Stuff:

I've got a recipe for shrooms for you, but that'll have to wait till later. Instead, you get a pic of the finished peanut butter cheesecake with hot chocolate sauce topping, Try not to drool on your monitor, eh?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Warning: This Blog Is Rated R

Free Online Dating

Can you believe it??? I get an R rating... huh? Here I am, semi-retired, and I have a blog about cooking, Alaskan stuff, stupid stories, and some pointless ramblings.

Apparently, that site searches your recent entries for keywords, and rates the blog based on keywords.

The keywords that earned my an R rating were: hell, crap, hurt, kill, knife. Well, well, I guess I'm more violent than a Hollywood movie now :)

Food Stuff:

Referring back to yesterdays recipe, to get the frozen cheesecake out of the pie dish, float it in a sink of very hot water. This is why you butter the dish even though it's not being baked. One minute floating in hot water is enough to melt the butter, and the pie (still frozen), crust too, pops right out!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back to Alaska (sort of)

Back to ALASKA!!! (and part of the new house)

No, no... I'm not moving back to the "frozen north". The title of this pertains more to the fact that it's been YONKS since I've written anything about Alaska. Now, for some reason, every single person I've met down here in Oz is fascinated with Alaska --many of them think it's part of Canada (if only!!!!). There's also lots of online folk (I'm guessing big city types) that seem to love Alaska.

Whoops, it's now the next day... my how time flies. I'll bet none of you even noticed that 24 break in my typing, eh?

Alaska story: This was on one of my bicycle trips from Anchorage to Fairbanks (360 miles). I was with a good friend of mine, Rich, and we were doing the trip on our mountain bikes set up with road tires (I've ridden knobby tires all the way to Fairbanks, and let me tell ya, IT'S HARD!). It was a beautiful fall day, late August, sunny, warm (by Alaskan standards, bloody-well cold by Aussie standards) and we were having a grand time.

It was also still tourist season... campers and winnebagos abounded --the shoulder was wide and they were all cool while passing, no worries. As we rode up one hill, we both decided to take a short break. We leaned our bikes up against the guardrail and sat down on the six-foot wide shoulder. That's when we noticed the pavement was very very warm :) Since both of us were somewhat lazy, we decided to lay down and stretch out on the nice warm pavement next to the guardrail.

On retrospect, it was not a good idea...

Picture this: Two bikes leaned against a guardrail on a road in the middle of nowhere, and two guys stretched out on the roadside. Now, any Alaskan would drive right past; because they KNOW there are very few chances for Alaskans to work on their tans (we had taken our shirts off). However, after about the 10th kindly, elderly tourist stopping to ask if we were ok, we hopped back on the bikes and continued to Fairbanks.

Moral to this story: What Alaskans think of as normal, the rest of the world thinks is a little bit crazy.

Tidbit (or two) about the new house

Did I mention there is a pool??? Did I? Well, there is! This is an L-shaped pool that's 29 sq meters --that's 315 sq feet, larger than some apartments!!!! Wee-hoo, I'll be spending a LOT of time in it this summer.

Did I mention the FOUR patios and the walk-around second story deck???? Well, I have now! I'm a smug bastard, eh?

Did I mention the parquet flooring and the sunken lounge in the 3rd family room??? Oh.... I can hear the teeth gnashing from here! TTHHHHBBBTT

There's only 5 palm trees dotted around the grounds, and I don't have any grape vines so I'll have to find a neighbor with some vines so I can make my homemade dolmades this season... Gotta have some drawbacks, eh?

The tour! I'm not normally a fan of the beginning flat stages, but HOLY SHIT did anyone see the last 60 k's of stage 3? It was great to see the chase, and even better to see what Fabian was able to do at the end in yellow! Go find a highlight vid, you won't be disappointed.

Food Stuff:

Peanut butter cheesecake with hot chocolate sauce

What you need:

For the crust:
1/3 to 1/2 pound of crunchy chocolate chip cookies
2-3 tbsp melted butter --slightly cooled
1 tbsp milk

For the Filling:
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 pound softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar

For the chocolate sauce:
1/3 to 1/2 pound dark chocolate --chopped coarsely
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cream

What you do:

In a food processor, process the cookies until the are a fine texture. Then add the butter and milk; process some more.

Press the crust mixture into a buttered pie or flan dish. Chuck it in the fridge for an hour to harden and set.

For the filling; add the peanut butter and cream to a small saucepan, then mix/whisk over low heat until it's combined. Let it cool. While that's cooling, mix the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixers (you know, the kind with the beaters you licked as a kid?), until it's smooth. Then stir in the peanut butter mixture thoroughly.

Put the filling into the crust (duh), then chuck it all in the freezer overnight.

The next day...: Just before serving, make the hot chocolate sauce. Put the dark chocolate and butter and cream in a small saucepan and heat slowly while stirring (you don't need a double boiler for this).

Then (here's the easy part): slice the frozen cheesecake and top with the hot chocolate sauce.

In case you hadn't guessed, it's rather rich... I'd suggest very very small pieces...

Monday, July 09, 2007

The move from Hell, stage Last!

Gosh howdy folks! This is the Move From Hell, stage last.

Before I get to stage last, did anyone watch stage one of the Tour last night? That was the most exciting sprint finish I've ever seen, and Robbie is a damned incredible bike rider. 6 or 7 years ago I didn't like him, but he has matured with age and grown up a lot. If you didn't see it, folks are already calling it a Miracle Finish. Just watch it!

Getting back to the move... I was planning on doing a whole huge long story about it, but I've kinda ran out of steam. So l'll do a summing up.

IT RAINED!!!!! I know that may not surprise many of you, but we've been in a drought for a few years. Guess what? The drought broke, which would normally be good news. I just wish it had waited 10 more days, blech. I had the truck for 9 days --should have been seven, oh well. I got wet but was able to dodge showers well enough that nothing got soaked. Oh, the help I was supposed to have on the heavy and/or bulky stuff didn't materialise --what a shock! Fortunately, I was able to do it all myself... what FUN!

I somehow managed to find space in the new house for everything. That's pretty amazing considering this house doesn't have a huge garage like the last house. However, it does have quite a few features that are very very very very very nice. I'll tell you about that next time --I promise.

Getting back to the Tour. I thought that Fabian's ride in the prologue was incredible and that there wouldn't be any big dramas till stage seven. Boy was I wrong! What Robbie's team did and then was he did in the last 15 k's was the stuff of legend. He's won 178 races in his career and many people are already saying it's his best ever. Go watch the highlights, then see if you can find someone who recorded the whole thing (like me) and watch the last 30 to 40 mins. You won't be disappointed.

Food Stuff

A simple, tasty lamb soup.

You can do this with pretty much any meat, I just happened to have some off-cuts left from a side of lamb the other day. Also, lamb is darned cheap down here.

What you need:

A pound or two of lamb offcuts
lots of dried basil
carrots, peeled and sliced
potatoes, peeled and diced

What you do:

Fill a big pot with a lot of water, put in the meat. Add salt (at least a few teaspoons), ground black pepper, and basil (at least 2 teaspoons).Boil for an hour or so --covered so it doesn't reduce. Let it cool, then strain and add the liquid back into the pot after skimming the fat off*. Pick all the meat off the lamb pieces, toss the fat and bones away.

Put the meat, the potatoes, the carrots, and more basil all in the pot with the broth. Cook till carrots and spuds are done to you liking. Then eat with good fresh bread.

*There are several ways to de-fat broth. Let me know if you are interested, always happy to help.

Oh, this is even better the next day!

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Move From H*ll; Stage 1

The move from hell; stage 1

You know, if I was smarter (biiiig IF!), I should've timed this story to start on Saturday, July 7th. Get it? Prologue? Stage 1? Tour de France???

Oh well, since I'm not smarter...

The last time we moved we had a "moving company" (down here they call them "removalists") move everything we'd packed. It didn't go well, the boss of the company was there and he insisted on stacking stuff in the truck himself (instead of his helper who was much more experienced at it), and much of our bookshelves, desks, etc were pretty scuffed up. Also, he was working at a snails pace figuring he could milk us for around $2500. After 20 mins I saw what he was doing so I grabbed my own hand truck and started running loads to the truck along with his helper. His helper was a very cool guy and a damned fast worker, he was also pissed at the loading job his boss was doing so he and I loaded and unloaded very quickly. All in all, we got away with $1600.

Also, since I had to really hurry for 2 days (3 HUGE truckloads) I kinda tweaked my back; but that's another story.

Anyways, this time we decided to rent a truck. Me, being a former truck driver and freight tosser arounder, would be able to drive it. I also know how to move large, awkward, and heavy things without killing yourself --as long as you don't rush! It turns out they are pretty darned cheap and come with a liftgate, cool! For 10 days of having the truck (see, I told you we wasn't hurrying) it was just under $800. No worries. The truck was also the EXACT SAME MODEL as one that I used to drive in Fairbanks for 4 years.

What could be easier, right?

Famous last words... Stay tuned for stage 2!

Went to the Egyptian exhibit today. It's the one from the Louvre (in France) that's been on display at our state art gallery for 3 months. It was amazing! Unfortunately, no cameras, darn.

Got to see lots and lots of really neat old stuff. There were even sections of The Book of The Dead on the orginal papyrus! Oh the fun I could've had if I could read heiroglyphics! It would've been neat to see that mummy of a cat come to life and terrorise everyone --WEEHOO!

I'll talk more about the exhibit next time, just wanted to get something about it in today.

Food Stuff:

What's that you say? You're making something and the recipe calls for buttermilk? But, you don't have any buttermilk and the shops just closed! Oh, the horrors! What to do now...??? Have no fear, dave is here!

Buttermilk substitute:

250 mils (8 oz (1 cup)) of skim milk
1 tbspn lemon juice or cider vineger*

Mix the first two ingredients together and stir. Let sit for 5 mins. Wa-La! instant buttermilk!

*don't use distilled vinegar EVER, for ANYTHING --you don't want to know what it's gone through or what it started out as (I'll give you a hint: think yummy, scrumptious leftover heavy crude oil). Always use fermented vinegar.