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First I must apologize for not posting last Sunday! The WordPress site was down during my prime writing hours of 4-8pm here. Of course back in Canada, that’s in the wee hours of the morning, so they probably think that’s a good time for maintenance – clearly not taking my Aussie time zone needs into account :).

So now I find myself with 2 weeks to report on, where to begin…

I’ll start with what is usually the highlight of every blog post – Aussie birds! This is where the “Fowl Movements” part of the blog title comes from. Hugh and I had been lamenting that since our battle with the crows, we hadn’t seen the usual variety of birds at our bird bath. We had that discussion on Saturday September 16 and apparently the bird gods were listening to us because the birds appeared en masse on Monday September 18 – we saw them everywhere we went! I finally got a photo of some Galahs for you, another type of parrot we get here. This photo was taken as I was leaving work that Monday – they looked at me, I looked at them, and they posed for the photo:

Not of the fowl variety, but there were also kangaroos on campus that day:

Then when I got home, the birds were just lining up to entertain us! Now here comes the “movement” part of the title Fowl Movements. Check out this Lorikeet dude working so hard to get this gal’s attention:


And then we hadn’t seen the Blue-faced Honeyeaters in ages, and they suddenly returned as well. They look quite disheveled after they take a bath:


And they seem to hang out with the Kookaburras no problem:


Monday must have been date night because the Kookaburras were spending an excessive amount of time bathing and preening:


Across the street, the bin chickens (properly called Ibis – we get both the White Ibis and Straw-necked Ibis here) were pecking away:

Last fowl photo for this week – we were at Tanby Garden Centre picking up more potting soil this morning and they have a little cafe there. Apparently one of the resident chooks (Aussie for chickens) decided it was feeding time and showed up at the cafe counter:

Ok let’s move onto some vegetation. Hugh’s crop of “winter” tomatoes are ripening!

He has a new spring crop planted so we’ll see how they compare, but just like in Canada – it’s SO nice having tomatoes fresh from the garden! And especially when we can grow them in winter too :).

Check out the almost rainbow colours on this pineapple we picked up last week:

The annual Pinefest celebration began in Yeppoon this weekend and continues through to next weekend.

Next Saturday is the much-awaited-for Pinefest Parade, so you’ll be sure to see us there. Well, we think so anyway. This is a classic example of Australian advertising:

Rob and Barb pointed this out when we first arrived and it’s crazy how often we see this – ads that either don’t include the date, the time, or the location. In this case, the location is missing. It’s not a big town, I’m sure we can find it, but every time I see a poster missing date, time, or location, I wonder if Aussies have some strange additional sense that allows them to just know these things.

Oh, beets are unfortunately still popular here. I remember this from when I was here 20 years ago, beets on everything, even burgers. Well, nothing has changed, beets are still on every menu in multiple ways. Even saw this at the Flour restaurant the other day:

Talk about ruining a perfectly good dessert, sigh.

At long last have much-awaited vegetation in our front yard as the excavator guy finally arrived yesterday! We’ve discovered we have quite a bit of red clay in the yard and we (as in Hugh) had a lot of digging to do for ponds, gardens, and citrus trees, so we were very grateful for John to fit us in yesterday and dig up our front and back yards for us. Let me introduce you to our Lemon Bitters and Gin & Tonic trees (yes, you guessed it – a lemon tree and a lime tree):

Here are some other photos of the centre of the front yard being dug up for the pond:

When it’s done, the bird bath will go back into the centre of the square and it will just be in the middle of a pond instead of in the middle of sand and stone. The Magpies protested the removal of the bird bath so Hugh quickly re-assembled it in front of the pond, but we’re not sure they’re happy with the new location. Hugh better get moving on building the pond because you really don’t want to piss off a Magpie here.

We’ve gone back and forth a gazillion times on what to do with the backyard. Initially we wanted a pool, but that was just going to be super expensive and couldn’t really justify it – especially when we have an ocean a stone’s throw away and 3 sets of friends with pools… (you know who you are :)). Then we were going to build a huge pond, taking up almost half the yard. But the logistics of that were getting complicated and it could have hit $10,000 by the time we were done – and we wouldn’t see most of it from our patio area. So we scaled plans back considerably and we’re just going to have a small pond with stream and waterfall and we’ll do natural paths and landscaping everywhere else. To this end, we had John the Digger dig the hole for the pond and then also scrape the grass off everywhere. This leaves our back yard as essentially a pile of dirt:

The wind tends to blow from east to west here and you can see my laundry line at the back (west) end of the photo. We realized just in time that having laundry hanging while scraping the grass off the yard wasn’t the best of ideas – fortunately, we got everything inside quickly! In hindsight, perhaps should have closed the windows in the house too, I’m quite sure I was inhaling airborne dirt all night long.

We had additional dust in the house this week as we had our security screens replaced on a bunch of windows and doors and had plantation shutters put on a bunch of windows. I’ve previously shown you photos of the sitting area at the front of our house, but here are the new photos:

And our bedroom is now complete. Shutters and new window screens there too (the original screens were the diamond grille ones that are everywhere here, used to make it harder to cut through screens, but really hard to see through). And Hugh wired up our bedroom lamps from Canada to work on the 240V/50Hz electricity here.

Mom, you can just see the rabbit in the basket in the first photo – along with my Lucky Care Bear, he’s come in really handy the past couple months 🙂

This morning we went for a walk on some of the beaches here – my first time doing so in a couple months! We walked for a bit along Lammermoor Beach, then Kemp Beach, then ended at Kinka Beach. Lammermoor Beach is a sandy beach with only a narrow strip of limited foliage between it and the Scenic Highway. Kemp Beach is the next one south, super close, but its “sand” (at least at high tide when we were there) is actually shells:

There was not a speck of sand in sight as we walked, it was all tiny shells. Needless to say, a bit hard on our feet, so we headed down to Kinka Beach. Kinka Beach is very sandy with dunes and it has quite a wide swath of varied foliage between it and the road.

Apparently it is a popular spot for shore birds and migratory birds. Check out how far some of the migratory birds fly:

It’s a long weekend here (Monday is the King’s Holiday in Queensland) and the last weekend of the school holiday, but the beaches are still practically empty – you can have as much space to yourself as you want, it’s fabulous!

This weekend is the Grand Final weekend of 2 footy leagues. Yesterday was the AFL final between the Brisbane Lions and the Collingwood Magpies. Our neighbours are apparently major Magpie fans – zoom in to check out how they decorated their house to look like entrance gates (not to mention their house is black and white, the Magpie colours), very clever:

Today is the NRL Grand Final and Brisbane is in this one too (major cheering weekend for Queenslanders!) with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the Penrith Panthers. I am still a bit confused by all the variations of “footy” played here. Last weekend the semi-finals were on but also a couple NHL games were being played at Rod Laver Stadium in Melbourne! Would have loved to see the transformation from tennis court to hockey rink!

Oh yes, the other half of the title of this week’s blog – Vowel Movements. The speech therapist in me has been observing my speech patterns to keep an eye on if/when I pick up any accent changes. When I’m just around Hugh, I still sound 100% Canadian. But if I’ve spent time around Aussies, I’ve noticed the first change in my vowels: the “i” in five and nine. It’s not 100% Aussie but not Canadian either. I’ve also started pronouncing “ah” in “aww” and “not” a bit more toward the Aussie variant. For the speech therapists out there, click here for an Aussie vowel transcription chart. It’s interesting noticing the shifts in vowels and which ones are occurring first – well, interesting for us speech therapists anyway :). One vowel I don’t think I’ll ever pick up, and can’t even imitate right now, is the “o” in no or grow – I think it has about 3 syllables! Here is a fun article about “naur.”

OK, I’ll wrap it up here and save the rest of my photos and thoughts for next week – gotta get ready for dinner, we’re heading out with Leigh and Darren and a bunch of other people from the Yeppoon Socials group to try the new menu at the recently renovated Pacific Hotel. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!



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