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So emus are supposed to be fairly common here – there are apparently around 700,000 of them across the country. That’s nowhere near the 50 million kangaroos we have, but still a good number of large, running birds. On the highway between Yeppoon and Rockhampton, there is a large section of field where they warn motorists about emus being in the area. I drive this road a lot going to and from work and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve caught a glimpse of an emu in the 10+ months we’ve been here. I remember being particularly annoyed last June when I was in the back of an ambulance going between Yeppoon and Rockhampton and when we got to this stretch of highway, the ambulance attendant with me said, “Oh cool, there are 4 emus in the field!” Seriously, the one time a bunch show up and are easily visible is the one time I’m strapped to a gurney, unable to move to see out the window.

Well, as I told you last week, I have an emu story for you! Unfortunately, there is no video to accompany this story because I was driving when I witnessed it, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it. What first caught my attention was a few cows in this stretch of field that were standing close to the highway but facing away from the highway. Nothing unusual about cows in this field, they’re usually there eating grass, pooping, or lying down on the job. What was unusual, however, was how upright and alert they were, head and tail both raised. Because of the tail position, I did wonder if it was just a pooping incident, but it was not. I then noticed further afield (ha ha) that a whole bunch of the herd was running at full speed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any cow move this fast and here were 10-15 of them hightailing (ha ha) it across the field. I wondered what on earth they could be running from. But they weren’t running from anything, they were running at something – an emu! I was driving 90-100 kph and I didn’t quickly overtake the running ball of feathers. I’m estimating that he was going close to 50 kph. I would love to know what happened to precipitate this running of the emu and cows. I thought they peacefully co-existed, but perhaps not. Emus do seem to be cheeky devils with attitudes, so I’m assuming the emu did something to stir the pot. I found this video of an emu running and that’s what he looked like – head and neck straight out in front, feathers flapping in the wind. I’ve looked every day since and have seen nothing like it.

Today we went to Emu Park for the outdoor market. With a name like Emu Park, you assume it must be known for emus. Apparently it was at one point, but we go there often enough and have never seen one. The town is, however, full of emu statues to identify landmarks around the area, so we took this photo for you:

As this photo was taken, I noticed that I somehow had dog shit on a couple of my toes on my right foot. Nothing on the sole of my flip flop, just on the tips of my toes and underneath them on the top of the flip flop – how on earth did that happen?! But ewwww, gross! Fortunately, there was an ocean just behind me so I could head over and wash my foot. This was actually the first time we’d gone to one of the beaches in Emu Park, so I guess I should be grateful for however the dog shit came to land on my toes. The tide was out so we had to walk across a lot of beach to get to my foot bath. But we discovered a different variety of sand balls here, presumably by a different type of crab:

And there were sections of the beach that looked like they’d been airbrushed with black sand – so pretty!

That black sand was also in the water I was trying to wash my toes and flip flop in and so I replaced one set of dirt with another, but at least the black sand didn’t stink and washed away easily at one of outdoor taps for rinsing sand off one’s feet.

The picture of the emu statue earlier was describing this jetty, built in 1924:

We’ll go back at high tide one day to show the difference! What you’ll notice in the background behind Hugh is all the rocks on this beach. I think it was just last week that I was lamenting how hard it is to find rocks here. Well, if we need small ones, we’ve definitely found the spot!

When we were driving back from Emu Park, I decided to take a picture of the road we were on:

The speed limit on this road is 100 kph! I don’t think you’d see a road this narrow and winding having a speed limit above 80 kph in Ontario. But here speed limits are actual limits – you can maybe get away with doing 5 over, but most people drive at the limit because the police take it seriously. Not like at home where you can usually get away with 15-20% over – which is frustrating, because just make the limit 115 or 120 then! But I don’t think you’d find us driving 100 kph on this road at night.

I’ve previously shared some vocabulary differences between Australia and Canada. I’ve been meaning to take a photo of this sign for ages and finally got it yesterday:

I crack up every time I see it! Especially if you can read the slogan underneath in the light green section: offering a complete service (I’m starting to wonder if there is a link between all the slashing services in the area and the lack of cheeky emus…). Well, if I ever need a thorough slashing inflicted on someone, I know who to call 🙂

In other random news, I made it into the photo array of the sponsorship package for this year’s Pickleball Festival:

Sharyn and I plan on defending our “title” (as in bronze medal) this year. So I probably should get out and play more as I don’t seem to be improving by sitting at home watching TV.

On Friday night, Hugh and I went out to The Alley for dinner with our friends Rob and Lyn. They live in Melbourne but have a place up here that they come to as often as they can and when they do, Hugh and Rob usually play golf and the four of us usually go to The Alley for food and live music. Normally I drink wine but I felt like cocktails this time. This is how the pina colada came:

Nice but certainly not worth the $18 price tag. My next drink was called a Foxxy Mama and it was delicious, but also definitely not worth the $19 price tag. Back to drinking wine I go – it’s the more economical choice. But what was good about the Foxxy Mama was that it gave us an idea for a drink to make at home. So Hugh whipped one up for me – grapefruit juice, lime juice, and gin. DELICIOUS!!!

Hugh also bought some Guiness today – it being St. Patrick’s Day and all. We were quite surprised to discover next to no St Paddy’s Day decorations anywhere this weekend. We hear broadcasters on TV and radio with Irish accents, so there must be Irish among us, but there’s certainly no Irish partying going on. We did eventually see some green balloons at the RSL this afternoon, but other than that, absolutely nada. You’ll see in the emu statue photo above that I have my shamrock on. My mom made this shamrock for me when I was about 8 years old. So yes, it’s a good 20 years old now… 🙂

The birds continue to return to our bird bath. On Friday, we had 2 magpies arrive. Unfortunately, the water was really low in the bird bath so it was hard for them to get a drink or hop in for a bath. One of the two was fearless and had no problem reaching down to get a sip. The other tried a couple times but chickened (magpie-d) out.


The brave one also went for a dip a couple times:


I should have kept my camera running because when he hopped out of the bird bath and stood next to the chicken one, the chicken one yanked at his tail feathers! And this resulted in some noise-making:


Hugh promptly went out to fill the bird bath so we would be inclusive to all birds, not just the brave ones.

Yesterday was election day for local governments. We live in Livingstone Shire (“shire” seems to essentially mean “municipality”, but sounds way cooler). The voting system is quite different from Canada’s – click here for an explanation about how it works in Queensland. Hugh and I actually met the guy who won for mayor, Adam, because he came to last year’s Pickleball Festival. Nice enough guy. Because we can’t vote, we didn’t spend a lot of time reading about everyone’s platforms but we did notice that Adam’s placards focused on lowering water rates. Seriously? We pay $10-15/month for water – how much lower can it get?? I guess we’ll see what happens – maybe our water rates will drop to $9-14/month and I can put that extra dollar each month toward a cocktail once per year 🙂

Have a terrific week, everyone!

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