Select Page

I’ve been doing fairly well learning to spell some words differently (e.g., paediatric, organise) and use a few new vocabulary items, but one thing I’m really struggling with is changing how I think (and speak) of seasons. If I want to refer to something happening in Oct/Nov, “fall” is what comes out of my mouth. Now that’s problematic on 2 levels here. First, Oct/Nov is spring here, not fall. Second, even if it were fall, that word isn’t used here – it’s only ever called autumn. Of course I know the word autumn, but it’s so rarely used in Canada, we always say fall. So I think my plan is to just refer to months instead of seasons. It is so hard to say “winter” when I’m thinking of something happening in July or “summer” when I think of something that happens in January. The pairings of month names and season names are very ingrained in my brain!

So we are solidly in autumn now. It was actually quite chilly last night, felt more like winter – check out the temperature at 3am this morning (time on weather monitor is wrong):

Yes, it was only 17C out! Definitely needed to be under both sheet and quilt last night! Hugh even put his slippers on yesterday evening. Should be interesting to see how we cope in full winter in July – maybe I shouldn’t have been making fun of the fleece clothing that appeared in stores a few weeks ago…

It’s still been unusually rainy, even though we should be heading into our dry season. Not daily rain like we had a couple weeks ago, but still more than what is apparently usual. We had 160 mm of rain in 2.5 weeks:

And we got another 25 mm from Fri night to Sat night. We were supposed to go to the horse races in town yesterday but all the rain made the turf unsafe, so we’ll have to wait to experience small town Aussie horse-racing.

Today was supposed to be rainy but it ended up being a beautiful sunny day (until 6:30pm – it’s just started raining now, sigh). We went to the yacht club with Kevin, Joanne, Rod, and Lou to watch the band Relic play. A great 80’s band! In fact, that’s their history – they played together in the 80’s then each went their own way for a long time and now they play together again. It was so nice to listen to live dancing music! Unsurprisingly, I found myself on the dance floor a few times 🙂 Hugh snapped this photo of Jo and I dancing to Whatever You Want by Status Quo – this is a band from the UK but I don’t remember hearing this song before, it’s pretty catchy!

I do miss the fabulous live music we had access to all over Hamilton-Burlington-Niagara. When we were in Brisbane the other week, job #1 was to find live blues – could we find any, in a city of 2.2 million? No! Apparently the bands tend to just play on Fri and Sat and we were only there Tue/Wed/Thu nights. There was one club that had live music on the Wed and Thu, but it was $50 to get in and the band didn’t start until after 9pm. We’re going to be in Sydney in a couple weeks so Hugh’s job is to find some live blues there for us!

Speaking of Brisbane, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you in last week’s blog that we had an emu sighting when driving home last Saturday! And not just one, there were 8-10 of them! This was just south of Biloela. They were running but not full speed, their heads were still upright. And no cows were chasing them 🙂 I swear emus are the Sasquatch of Australia – I never seem to have my camera ready the rare time they make an appearance, so I tell these stories with no proof to back them up. Trust me, we saw a mob of 8-10 emus running south of Biloela last Saturday…

In other wildlife experiences, when we got home last weekend, another (or the same) St Andrew’s Cross spider had set up his web, this time in the back yard. I posted a photo of him (or another) awhile back and I thought they got their name from the spider looking like an X the way they group their legs together, but I was wrong – they get their name from the X they sometimes make in their webs:

There is some yard fabric on the fence behind the web that obscures the view of the web, but the white cross you see toward the top right of the photo is made in the web by the spider! If you look closely (which you can, these spiders aren’t venomous and prefer to leave you alone), it looks like the X was made with a zigzag needle setting on a sewing machine, it’s incredible! They don’t really know the purpose of adding the X to the web (they don’t always do it – there wasn’t one when we found this spider in our front yard a few months ago). Hugh accidentally destroyed all this spider’s hard work while moving some plants around in this section of the garden, but the next day, he’d built a new one!

In our front yard last week, we discovered this massive caterpillar on a leaf on our lime tree:

He was the size of my pinky finger, I’ve never seen such a large caterpillar! That would explain the large bite marks out of the leaves. Despite the caterpillar, we got our first lime this week!

And oh my, I swear it was the best lime I’ve ever had in my life! It smelled sooo good and was sooo tasty – we put it to very good use:

In other kitchen news, Hugh started making bagels this week:

Curiously, bagels seem to be a very new thing here. Rob and Barb said they only started finding them about a year ago and of course, the selection is very poor and does not include Montreal-style ones. So Hugh resurrected his bagel-baking skills to make delicious Montreal-style bagels, yum yum!

Speaking of bread products, there was a “sausage sizzle” outside of Bunnings on Saturday and we remembered to take a photo of this unusual Aussie delicacy:

It’s a hot dog on a piece of white bread! At first I thought they were quite awful but I’m developing a liking for them – probably the only way you could get me to eat that horrible processed white bread would be to put a processed hot dog on it and cover it in fried onions and a pile of mustard. Oh and the Aussie slang for sausage is “snag” – so you order a snag at a sausage sizzle 🙂

On our way to Bunnings (sort of in between a Home Hardware and Home Depot), this was the sign at the Mobil petrol station:

This is how they show that they have no petrol – make the price $9.99. Pretty effective 🙂

Liz, you asked for some photos of our front yard looking at it from the street, so here you go:

And here is how it looks from our driveway:

The bird bath is back to providing its usual entertainment. Here is a magpie enjoying a splash:


And the crows are so big, they can just step into the water:


A couple weeks ago, I got home from work and there was a magpie hanging out with a juvenile pied butcherbird. The juvenile butcherbird appeared again on Friday and he seemed to be practising his song on the corner of our fence:


When mature, the pied butcherbirds have the most magnificent song. But it was fun watching this young one working on his repertoire 🙂

The temperatures were cooler this week (daytime highs of 25C – they say “top” here instead of high, so “with a top of 25”), so Hugh started taking apart our shade garden. You can see the crappy looking shade set up here:

So that’s now gone:

We’re going to turn this primarily into a vegetable garden, but will do some rock and flower edging as well. When we sit on our patio and look north toward the mountains, we now don’t have the ugly shade structure in our view. We also seem to get a better breeze through the patio now.

I mentioned that on our way to Brisbane, we stopped at the Sunny Coast to buy a used eBike from someone Hugh found on Marketplace. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an eBike but I knew I wasn’t riding my regular bike because of all the hills in the area (notably the hill we live on, which means that any bike ride ends with an uphill climb). Well, I am HOOKED!! I totally love it! You have to pedal like a usual bike but there are 3 levels of power-assist you can access if needed. So if you’re on a flat road or going downhill, you don’t use any power. If you’re going up hill, you add however much power you need to make the pedaling a little bit easier. So I set it on the lowest level of power to still make me work, but not die. What a difference this makes! Hopefully we’re done with the rain now so we can do lots of exploring without fear of hills. We do, however, have to fear the Queensland sun, so we bought these brims that attach to the helmet to give you good neck and face protection from the sun:

I know what you’re thinking – wow, is that ever a sexy look, Justine! Yup, not the most attractive of head gear, but then skin cancer isn’t terribly attractive either. Just wait until magpie swooping season arrives in the fall (no, not the fall, the spring, September) and I put some brightly coloured spiky things on top of the helmet – that will be a look that will be hard to top 🙂

What we hadn’t expected when buying bikes here is that the brakes are reversed – so the right hand brake controls the front instead of back. And then of course, you’re riding on the opposite side of the road, which means you have to do your turn signals with your right hand instead of your left. All the funny little differences!

That’s it for this week. It was one year ago that our furniture was put into a shipping container to await its long voyage across Canada and then across the Pacific ocean. Wild.

Share This