Saturday, August 29, 2015

This week's links ...

This morning The Big Girl and Riley had testing for the Ideal Dog Australia course. We weren't expecting him to pass but in the end he only missed one criteria ... he was unable to sit in the car without jumping out, so we were pretty happy with that. They can still go into the club and continue their obedience training. It was bitterly cold and rained at the end of the morning so it's good to be back inside, warm and dry.

Here's some links for your weekend.

1. For those of you not in Australia you might or might not be aware that government policy is currently to incarcerate refugees arriving illegally by boat. Some of them are processed offshore to avoid the legal issues that arise once they set foot on Australian soil. There are also many children detention centers. For the Australians I'm sure you're well aware of this issue, but you might not be aware that it is now possible to be a pen pal to children in detention. Hat tip to Pip.

2. Declutter by turning manuals into ibooks.

3. Religion and Violence.
There is faith used for other ends, and there is faith.

4. Orchidaceae in Summer. I got given an orchid in May and it brightened up my kitchen for nearly six weeks before the flower dropped. Since then I cut off the flower stem and I've kept it watered. It's still providing a bit of green on my kitchen bench, will have to see if I can coax it to produce another flower. It's near the kitchen window but probably needs some fertilizer now.

5. Writing makes your life better.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip: Day 6 Coober Pedy to Alice Springs

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

7:30am and it is time to say goodbye for now to Coober Pedy.

Morning Tea Marla: 10:05-10:25am; 233km. 

NT Border: 12:00pm; 393km
I was determined not to miss the NT border, but I needn't have been worried, there's a massive sign and picnic area.

The speed limit in the Northern Territory is 110km unless signed otherwise but on the Stuart Highway the limit is 130km so we clock over the distance rapidly but with increased fuel consumption.

Lunch Kulgera: 12:20pm; 415km. 

Afternoon Tea Stuarts Well: 527km

Emily and Jess Gaps: 3:45pm; 607km
The turnoff to these two gaps in the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges is south of Alice Springs so we decided it would be a good opportunity to get out and stretch our legs. They are two small gaps, with dry sandy river beds. Emily Gap has aboriginal paintings depicting the caterpillar dreaming.

Arrive Alice Springs: 4:45pm; 622km.
We didn't realise that the NT show would be on while we were here which made it more difficult to get into restaurants and many of the attractions were on public holiday hours. Our 2-bedroom apartment accommodation at Quest Alice Springs was excellent.

2015 Album: Weeks 33 & 34

What we did week 33: I presented my paper on The Body of Christ in class. The Little girl played in the string orchestra at her school's annual music concert. She also had her 4th grade AMEB piano exam, passed with a B+. Hubby took The Big Girl and The Boy to look at Melbourne University.

What we did week 34: The Little Girl ran the 1500m in the GSV athletics in 5:57 which is a little off her best but 40s better than her preliminary time a couple of weeks ago when she was on the viral merry-go-round. Riley was up to mischief, sneaking up the front of the house and stealing The Little Girl's banana from her lunch and climbing over the back seat when we took him to the vet ... he's getting clipped in the back from now on.

The pages: I didn't have many photo so I left out a couple and just made one page. I included a series of shots that The Big Girl took of Riley climbing over the back seat.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

This week's links ...

Plum Blossom

It is nearly Spring here after one of our coldest winters. The blossoms are starting and we even got up to 20 degrees this week. We are so ready for winter to be over. I'm a little later this week with my links. We had a busy day yesterday with dog school in the morning and visiting my brother before he flew out with his family for their big move to Park City, Utah in the afternoon.

1. I did about 3 months of a 1s video per day. I love this project but keeping it going would have been a challenge. I'm wondering whether this app would help.

2. I've changed over to paper organization this year and it has been a good move. Why a paper planner is better than digital.

3. With one daughter who avoids processed meats because of the preservatives and two others that just odn't like them that much, I often try to have leftover meat for lunches. Laws of Leftovers: How long do they last?

4. I would have loved to do WITL but being completely honest I knew that I would not be able to follow through, plus the family is not particularly cooperative on the photography side nowadays but I did realise that I could incorporate some of the details captured in the WITL project into our yearly album. This post offers some good tips for WITL to help me.

5. How to write a condolence note.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip: Day 5 Coober Pedy

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

Today was the day for our 4WD Arid Area tour. We booked the 4hr Coober Pedy town and Breakways tour prior to leaving Melbourne. Wayne arrived at 9:30am and we headed off round town. There's a few things that set Coober Pedy apart from other towns ... the first being that a large portion of the town is underground to escape the heat. There are homes, shops, motels and churches, including the Catacomb Church

and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

There are plenty of local characters. We visited Faye's Underground home ... dug out of the ground by three women using picks and shovels.
Faye's Underground House Coober Pedy

Also Crocodile Harry's Nest. Harry spent 13 years hunting crocodiles before settling in Coober Pedy to try some opal mining. His home became a place for backpackers to hang out for free ... as long as they left something behind. The walls and ceiling are plastered with mementos from all over the world, and inside and outside is furnished with re-purposed junk.
Crocodile Harry's Nest Coober Pedy
Crocodile Harry's Nest Coober Pedy

What Coober Pedy is famous for of course are opals and mines are dotted all over the town and surrounds. For that reason you need to be extremely careful. Do not walk off the paths alone and avoid disturbed ground.

In the middle of town is the Old timer's Mine. Rediscovered in 1968, the original mine dates back to 1925 and it is the place to get a good feel for what mining opal originally involved.
Blower Coober Pedy
Blower Old Timers Mine Coober Pedy

We had a good time perusing the highly inappropriate ads in some old newspaper clippings including this one ...

These days, a lot of the miners use large excavating machinery to dig down to opal level and then hollow out massive tunnels through the rock.
Opal Mine Coober Pedy

We also did some noodling. There was a fair bit of opal, we even found some with colour.

The Boy had a good time bashing this rock to reveal the fossilized shells within.

North of town are the Breakways with flat topped mesas and stony gibber planes, they have been the setting for films including Max Max.

We stopped at the dog fence. Built to keep dingoes out of sheep country (north is cattle) it stretches 5614km from Jimbour to the Eyre Peninsula.
The Dog Fence

You may have guessed that all this took longer than the 4hrs advertised. It was a fantastic way to get a good overview of Coober Pedy and get out in the opal fields.

After our tour we relaxed in our apartment ... 

before heading back into town for some opal shopping, kangaroo feeding and dinner at Tom and Mary's Greek Taverna.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

This week's links ...

Well the washing's on, The Boy is at soccer and I'm just chilling until it's time to drive The Big Girl and Riley to dog training. Here's some links for your weekend.

1. I've been doing some time tracking using a doubledex. I'm finding I'm less likely to goof off if I'm keeping track of what I'm actually doing during the day. I just draw it quickly each morning in my journal then it's really quick to fill in.

2. I have always have major issues in my vegtable garden with powdery mildew. Here's an article on what to do about it.

3. Preparing food for the week ahead.

4. How to stop to-do lists from ruining your life.

5. The Boy is a voracious reader so ... 25 Books for kids age 8-12.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 Album: Weeks 31 &32

So. despite my best intentions I've got a little behind with our 2015 family album but we'll keep plugging away. Today I've got my latest pages and I'll go back and fill the gaps later.

What we did Week 31: The Boy helped decorate the Makerspace at school where his tech extension group meets. The Little Girl had a GSV PB Athletics Meet, running the 800m. I started second semester classes. Riley had his second IDA class. We went to the Monash Open Day.

The pages: I didn't have many photos so just one page.

What we did week 32: I had an episode of vertigo, luckily Hubby was home to do the morning driving and by lunchtime I was up, if not quite myself. The Little Girl had her GSV Preliminary athletics carnival and ran very badly, then missed swimming for the rest of the week with a cold. The Big Girl had her school social. The Little Girl swam in the Nunawading SC meet at MSAC on Sunday and managed 2 PB's for 3 races. Hubby took the other two kids to the RMIT Open Day. The Big Girl preferred the look of Monash's architecture program. Afterwards we had dinner at my parents.

The pages: Just one page again. I took a photo of the social ticket to include.