Select Page

I am totally stuck for a name for this week’s blog. I was going to reference the damn tree frogs again but I’m trying not to give the buggers the satisfaction of making it into too many blog titles. So this one is just a “mish mash” because this week just has a mish mash of things to report on.

First, our kitchen renovation is done! Here is a photo from the previous owners:

And this one from a month after we moved in that shows the horrible green/turquoise counter (“bench” in Aussie) a bit better:

And here it is now!

Our friends Robyn and Darren own 10 Commandments (such a great name for a stone company :)) and they made the new bench top for us out of engineered stone. Interestingly, Australia has just last month banned the manufacturing of engineered stone due to a lung disease that occurs if proper protective equipment isn’t used. So now the only options here will be natural stone or laminate. I always had laminate in Canada because they’ve been able to make such funky designs in the last 10-15 years. But stone is nice for durability. So the other changes we made to the kitchen include:

  • Removing the “appliance garage” in the back right corner. I don’t recall ever seeing these in Canada but they are everywhere here! It’s a spot on the counter with a roll door where you hide away your appliances. But it takes up valuable counter space and it’s actually quite fiddly to get things in and out. So when Keppel Kitchens removed our old bench top, we had them reconfigure that corner of the cabinets to give us full height and bench space. Much better!
  • New sink and tap (they don’t seem to say “faucet” here, it’s tap or mixer).
  • New splashback (funny how it’s backsplash in Canada and splashback here!). In keeping with our Aussie theme, the name of the colour we chose for the splashback is “snakeskin”, to go nicely with the red wall in the TV room called “red back.”
  • Black door handles.
  • And then the big task that Hugh took on was painting all the cabinetry. I actually liked the original off-white colour, it looked nice against the tan colour we painted the walls, but it really didn’t look right once the new bench top went in. There’s a lot more grey in the bench than I had expected and the grey really made the cabinetry look yellow-ish. We went back and forth on what colour to do, initially wanting to keep an off-white of some sort. But we eventually decided on plain old white as all the other accents in the area are white and we didn’t want to risk choosing an off-white that didn’t look right. Then we chose the same colour as the walls for the outside of the peninsula. We’re very happy with the result!
  • One of these days we’ll change the lights in the pot lights – right now they are the “bright white” variety, which makes anything white (even white foods on our plates in the dining room) practically blind you. Soft white would be a much better choice, but that’s low on the priority list right now.

Speaking of home renovations, this article popped up on my ABC feed today: It talks about “the old days” when shops closed at 1pm on Saturdays and how a shop owner in Melbourne started fighting against that law in the 80’s. The article makes it sound like places staying open later on Saturdays and also on Sundays is now commonplace, but that is not the case in rural Queensland! The great majority of shops in Yeppoon close at 12-1pm on Saturday and don’t open again until Monday. As is mentioned in the article, that does impact doing renovation work on the weekends if you find yourself in need of something not carried by a big box store. However, as much as we initially found it annoying, we’re accustomed to it now and certainly appreciate the work-life balance it supports for shop owners and their staff.

OK, let’s back up to New Year’s Eve. We went over to Rob and Barb’s and they put on another fabulous meal for us – Rob is definitely an aficionado with the smoker! At midnight, we watched the fireworks from Sydney (noting that Queensland doesn’t put its clocks forward in summer while New South Wales does, but the TV kindly does a 1-hour tape delay of the fireworks for us Queenslanders :)). Wow. If you can find a recording of the fireworks display, it will be 12 minutes very well spent. I have never seen anything like it. I took a few photos of the images on the TV, but I really do recommend seeing if you can find a video on YouTube to watch.

The first one shows just how extensive the display is – you can see the Harbour Bridge sort of in the middle, so you can see how far on either side the fireworks were happening. Click here for an article listing some fun facts about this fireworks display. The second photo gives a bit of an idea of just how grand one little part of the fireworks was.

After the fireworks show was over, a game of euchre erupted that kept us up until 3am in the morning!

Now, we had all signed up to play pickleball on New Year’s Day at 3pm and 3pm had seemed like a very decent time to play pickleball after a New Year’s Eve party, but that was based on not being awake until 3am. However, we are not quitters and we were there to partake in the action!

The teams were randomly created and that didn’t work out so well for Barb’s and my team (but we did “try hard”). It did, however, work out very well for Rob’s team and they won the event!

A couple bird photos for you:

The first one is just a Kookaburra, but I thought he looked pretty cute standing on our patio furniture. The second one is a Nankeen Kestrel and he tends to hang out on a lamp post further down our street. But this week he appeared in our front yard and I was finally able to get a photo of him for you.

Now, we really needed the help of the Kookaburras and Kestrels (and any other birds not afraid of water) this week, but disappointingly, they have not stepped up to the plate. Here is the next Australian Green Tree Frog story. The damn things have been laying their eggs in our front pond! We went out to check on our little fishies one day and noticed the pond was FULL of tadpoles. I mean FULL. There were hundreds if not thousands of them. The little fishies were trying their best to eat them, but there were just too many. And the birds seemed uninterested in the effort for the little tiny morsels. So Hugh went to the rescue:

He got a little strainer from our kitchen (gross) and started scooping them out. He has done this every day and we’re starting to get the numbers down. Apparently one tree frog can lay up to 2,000 eggs. And the bloody thing is back in our downspout crawking away again. I’m starting to wish for a python to arrive in the yard!

Speaking of all things Aussie, I took a photo of this tree near our favourite swimming beach:

That thing on the trunk is a termite mound. Apparently they make their mounds out of soil, saliva, and dung. Gross. Termites are an issue here so lots of effort goes into protecting houses from them. We have a termite barrier all around ours and then of course the houses are sprayed for pests too.

One of my favourite things about living in a small coastal town is that if you just need a mental break for a minute, it’s a 5 minute drive to the ocean and no parking problems. I needed one of those breaks earlier this week, so off to Wreck Point we went to soak up some ocean views (and this fun sculpture of a shipwreck):

Our friend Liz had asked us about the islands off the coast and there is bronze map of them at Wreck Point:

We went back to Wreck Point one evening this week to eat our takeaway overlooking the water:

As we were sitting there enjoying the view, I noticed what I thought was a weed being blown along the decking. Upon closer inspection, it was not a weed:

From what I can determine, I think it’s one of the Huntsman spiders. There are hundreds of varieties of Huntsmen and this one was quite small, probably just 2″ toe to toe. Interestingly, as I was reading the link I’ve attached for you, I saw it describing a unique feature of some Huntsmen varieties – being able to flatten themselves out, including twisting their legs to aid in the flattening. I have a tiny spider that likes to hang out on my laundry line and he does this anytime I get close – he squishes himself against the laundry line and puts some of his legs straight out front and some straight out behind so you can barely see him (in fact, that’s how I discovered he was there, I thought something had dripped on the line and went to wipe it away – when all of a sudden it moved!). So now I wonder if that’s another variety of Huntsman. Will need to do more research.

Continuing with killer things in Australia, saw this sign at Mulambin beach:

The super deadly box jellyfish apparently doesn’t show up here much (more common in Cairns, way north of here), but other ones do. Barbra sent me this link to explain the varieties we tend to get here – the blubber one is apparently the one most likely to be seen around here. We had arrived at this beach yesterday to see some blo-karting (see below) and Hugh had worn his swimmers thinking he’d go in for a dip afterward. After seeing that sign, we decided to go to the Yeppoon Lagoon instead! This really is an amazing feature in Yeppoon – a beautiful massive pool right next to the beach and it’s free. We thought the water might be too hot but they must use a chiller as it was a lovely temperature for swimming. There is an infinity pool edge in one spot where you can hang out and look at the ocean. As much as we had originally wanted a pool in our backyard, the Yeppoon Lagoon is a really amazing substitute!

Continuing with the mish mash of things this week, Hugh found this hilarious YouTube video. Yes, this is how difficult it is to try to replicate the Aussie accent 🙂

I think I’ve told you about the insane steepness of hills here. We discovered that our car has a feature to tell you what the percent incline is. So this is one of the steeper streets in Yeppoon:

15%!!!! (and yes, I know, the screen really needs to be cleaned…)

OK, onto another highlight of the week! Our friends Kevin and Joanne (who introduced us to the new scoring system for cornhole, and also taught us a great card game called Five Crowns the other night), introduced us to blo-karting yesterday. Hugh of course hopped right in to try it out:


I of course was a bit more chicken but Kevin gave me good instruction (pull the cord tight to go faster, loosen it to go slower, steer into the wind to stop) and so off I went!


Note the terrible positioning of my helmet, sigh – I always roll my eyes at cyclists whose helmets are positioned like this because it’s doing nothing to protect your frontal lobes, yet here I am. Although, after watching a couple of the topple-overs that happened in the race that was going on, it’s really the sides of your head that need protecting, so maybe this helmet position was OK. Here’s the start of one of the races:


The faster carts/racers could get up to 40kph! And it attracted all ages, I saw people from age 8 to 80! Definitely a lot of fun.

A big thank you to everyone for sending healing vibes for my mom! She’s had a really tough week. I have a lot to say about the horrific care she was receiving at the hospital, but I will just say that I’m so glad my sister is there. She tried the “be nice to everyone, they’re overworked” approach to start and that went nowhere, I can’t get over how horrible things were. But then today as she was discussing the appalling lack of meeting basic care standards and how the hospital seemed to deprioritize older women, an administrator happened to overhear the conversation. Within an hour, literally everything changed. Mom has been moved to a more suitable unit and the staffing quality seems to be outstanding. It is a testament to my mom’s strength and will, and to all of your positive energy, that she prevailed this week. Hopefully now she won’t have to be doing it on her own and will have decent medical care to get her back on her feet. Andrea and I have lots of fun plans for when she and mom come visit later this year!

Share This