Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Early Bilbies

Littletree has gone away for the holidays to stay with her grandparents in Israel, so she’s over there now celebrating Passover.

We haven’t ever really celebrated Easter before, and she’s well-informed about the Pagan origins of the holiday, and knows that technically, it’s a Spring rite, and therefore should be observed around the full moon after the Vernal Equinox, which isn’t for another six months for us up here in the Southern Hemisphere. We’ve talked at length about Ishtar and Oestre and the significance of rabbits and eggs.

This year, Littletree declared that she doesn’t mind about all of that stuff, she just wants to have the “wake up in the morning and have a surprise easter egg hunt with hidden chocolates”. She explained to me that she knows that the “Easter Bunny” would just be me pretending, but she asked me to do it for her anyway. And to do it early, since she would be away on the “proper” Easter – as she wisely pointed out; it’s irrelevant when we do it, since it’s not really Easter anyway, and the whole holiday is just a made-up thing.

Fair enough.

So off I went to a purveyor of processed egg-shaped chocolate confections to purchase a small hoarde of goodies for Littletree to find. A dozen “egg-sized” chocolate eggs, a small bag of “mini” eggs, and an Easter Bilby.

The Easter Bilby is an important and noteworthy part – here in Australia, rabbits are a massive plague of a pest, and meanwhile, the Bilby is a cute little Australian native animal that sort of vaguely looks like a bunny, and they’re highly endangered since the introduction of European settlers to the country (said settlers were also the foolish imports who brought the rabbits with them). Anyway, Australia tries to cull feral rabbits, and promote saving bilbies, and somehow, eating chocolate bilbies at Easter instead of bunnies is a part of that. Or something. At least it’s educational.


Anyway, Littletree awoke on the morning before she left to find a little trail of chocolate eggs outside her door


She started collecting them up in her shirt


Until she found that the trail led out into the garden to a basket



There were eggs hidden all around the house


and around the garden


Littletree got quite the stash!


She did plan to save the Bilby, but after about an hour she came to me, all distressed, and said, “mama, the worst thing ever happened – I was playing with my Easter Bilby and the wrapping just fell off of it, and then it broke, so I had to eat the broken bits, and then it was uneven, so I had to eat more to make it neat… and now it’s all wrecked.”

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The poor child – she had to eat the whole thing!

She did save all the eggs to take to her cousins in Israel though – apparently they don’t get chocolate there, only matzah.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Currumbin Virtual Photowalk

Continuing on from our Authentic Aussie Experience with Tif and Andy, we all met up with Michael who was hosting a Google+ Virtual Photowalk™.

The Virtual Photowalk is actually a very cool concept. Essentially, some people on Google+ decided to help show the world to people who can’t see it, by bringing them virtually, in Hangouts (HERE is a neat little CBS news clip about it).

Michael’s setup is pretty darn cool – he has a big, fancy video camera, with a smartphone mounted in, and mobile internet connection, so the feed from the video was streaming in the Hangout, where several people from around the world could watch, and the whole thing was recorded so it can be watched later. Check it out HERE

30 Currumbin virtual photowalk

Being a photowalk, we did, of course, take a lot of photos (You can see the full album of our adventures (HERE)

25 mama

As did Littletree

32 kidlet photographing

(and yes, this is a photo of me taking a photo of her taking a photo of me…)

We arrived in time for the morning feeding of the Rainbow Lorikeets

27 rainbow lorrikeets

29 rainbow lorrikeets

And then it was right off to the Koalas,

34 koala

Because both Littletree and Tif were super excited to cuddle koalas – this is Abby

85 koala cuddling

We tried to feed Tif and Littletree to a croc

47 croc

But failing that, we fed kangaroos

57 feeding kangaroos

We saw cassowaries (because Angry Birds in Australia are really angry – do not mess with Aussies)

 74 cassowary

We saw the cutest little ginger tree kangaroos

63 tree kangaroo

We rode the train

78 train

And did I mention we took lots of photos…

72 Andy

We spent a lot of time on our phones checking out Google+, 73 Googling in the forest

posting, sharing, chatting, and in general engaging with thousands of people, and joining in the hangouts, so it felt like we had the whole world of all our friends with us


So much awesome!


Especially the awesome friends right here

79 Faerie and Tif

And we took lots of photos.

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Then, all tuckered out from walking around… and taking so many pictures, we retired to the beach for an awesome brunch

93 brunch on the gold coast

Fun times! And of course, entirely educational, especially the part where Littletree challenged Tif to a Big Bang Theory quote-off.

89 brunch on the gold coast

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Authentic Aussie Experience

Last week Littletree and I had some visitors from the USA come to stay – the most awesome Andy and the most gorgeous Tif made it all the way to our rainforest hideaway!

So awesome to get to meet good friends from Google in real life!

21 Tif and Faerie

Of course, it was still flooding, though the rain had mostly stopped and the waters gone down a fair ways, getting in to our place was quite the adventure for city folk (at least Tif is a tough Jamaican)

33 walking out

And crossing the creek with luggage

30 walking out

Actually, they arrived after dark, so that made it even more fun, these are the photos of when they left.

Of course, I had to make them a traditional roast dinner – Kangaroo Roast

94 roo roast95 roo roast

And cake, which goes without saying - Tif’s favourite; a tres leches cake.

97 tres leches cake

We explored the rainforest around the back of my property

03 andy

08 Sequoia

And climbed up to the spring

05 Tif

And climbed up the mango trees

10 mango tree

Google+ Hangouts from the tops of a tree was pretty epic!

19 in the mango tree

And Littletree and Tif bonded over their mutual love of Chupa Chups

23 lollipops

We went out to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and got to see all manner of awesome critters and even cuddle koalas, but I’ll save that for its own post tomorrow :)

Most of all, we had a fantastic time, and were sad to see them go, even over Thai food.

36 Sequoia and Tif

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Moving house and parting waters

Oh yes, we disappeared again! Littletree and I have been a little exceedingly busy moving house. In a flood.

Surprise! We have a new home. It’s still in Fern Gully, but on the far side of the caldera.

The new house is gorgeous – it’s like our dream home. We have a large block of land in the bush, rainforest, dozens of fruit trees (mangoes, guavas, rose apples, pomegranates, bananas, papayas, pears, sapotes, and loads more!), established, fenced veggie gardens, a large creek with swimming holes and stretches we can kayak on, and a small, freshwater spring that cascades down little waterfalls in the rainforest – clean sweet water we can drink!

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And the house itself is so perfect for us!

01 house

The front of the house

08 kitchen

The kitchen (all wooden – yay!)

10 master bedroom

My bedroom,

30 rainbow window

with extra awesome rainbow window

14 balcony off master bedroom

And my own little balcony to enjoy the morning sun

12 sunroom

And a sunroom off my bedroom, that shall be my office :)

20 second bedroom

Littletree’s room

23 covered deck

The most enormous covered deck ever!

26 living room

Adorable fireplace in the funky living room

33 veggie garden

Veggie gardens

40 rainforest

The gorgeous rainforest…

It’s honestly the most amazing place ever. I go to sleep at night hearing the burbling of the spring below my window, which cascades from one pool to the next…

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The only problem is that since Cyclone Oswald, which hit us the day after I got this new house, it’s been raining heavily, and flooded here. The creek has been up over the driveway and we’ve been unable to drive in for a whole month!

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At some point, it even got up to waist-deep over the causeway, with a very strong current – at that level, I didn’t even try to cross, having decided that anything over knee-deep was unsafe (and even then it was a bit iffy), and it was deemed only safe for Littletree to wade through if it was no more than halfway up her shins. Definitely not possible to drive poor Sunshine (our van) through!

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So, not being able to drive in, we couldn’t move in properly – we managed to get some camp mattresses and bedding up to the house in backpacks, wading through the creek (when it was low enough to do so), and then schlepping up about 200 metres of muddy, rocky hill to get to the house.

We had a good friend come to stay who helped out a lot – she even lugged a little bar fridge through the creek and up the hill for us!

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And I did about 57 trips back and forth, down to the van, fill up storage bins and a backpack with stuff, wade through the creek, put storage bins on a cart, and lug the lot up to the house, unload, return with empty bins, rinse and repeat.

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We still don’t have furniture at the house, or a proper fridge, but we have what we need, and slowly, one box at a time, I’m getting stuff in. And in the meanwhile, I’m getting a LOT of exercise.


The housewarming party is yet to come :)