We've had a few surprises in the last week.
Night time temps have gone back to single digits -- brrrrr! Just got used to the high temps, and back again. Blessings of the "cool change" and some torrential rain. Farmers were already harvesting grain in country Victoria, and their progress has been halted. There has been a lot of discussion lately with design and architect people about building for the southern hemisphere climate... I heard a fascinating conversation about using thermal mass to trap heat and release it appropriately (from cold to hot, shades of adobe, although more "modern" examples were also given). Double glazed windows, a given in most of Canada, are only now becoming available and used in Australia (price has been an issue). We've had quite a few conversations with friends about the use of insulation, overhanging balconies, and a way to use solar energy. There is a huge debate going on right now because the Victorian government is hoping to build another coal-fired power plant to provide enough energy to run the desalination plant being built SW of here on the coast. Apparently there is enough brown coal in Australia to create power for unknown amounts of time. This is an ancient continent, after all, and it was once covered by huge inland seas. And Australia's big Asian trading partners are very interested in obtaining more and more coal, and investors are very interested in continuing to obtain great financial benefits from the sale of brown coal.
ABC's All in the Mind explored cultural and psychological issues surrounding our response to climate change. When Europeans came to Australia and NZ, they brought their ideas regarding building construction with them, ignoring the indigenous techniques that had sustained generations of the original inhabitants of this continent. Listen if you are interested: http://www. abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/stories/2009/2746165.htm/
The Federal Government is taking its Emissions Trading Scheme to parliament for a vote this week, in preparation for next week's involvement in Copenhagen. Lots of back and forth as they try to gain approval from the Coalition. Should the vote be blind? Should it be recorded? A free vote perhaps? Not by party lines? It goes on and on.
Came home from the wood kiln firing at Robert Barron's in Kardella on Sunday. Kai advised me that he "might have some bad news" for me. (He's become the master of guiding his listeners on to a variety of topics...) Showed me some type of animal poo near one of the windows. !!??? What the heck? How on earth could an animal that size, and we checked the room thoroughly, leave some deposits like that? Oh well. And I'd just swept that room recently, so I thought they were newish deposits. We don't leave doors open (mozzies and other bugs) and only open the windows that have screens. Maybe a rat, but how??? Yikes! What could it be? After the kids were in bed, I walked into the main part of the house, just in time to see a small brown furry object (on 4 legs, with a big bushy tail) streak past me into our bedroom. I ran after and closed the door. Trapped! The culprit was a possum, teen-ager size, who somehow came down the chimney. At least that's where I found more of the poop, and some scattering of black cinders. So somehow the little possum fell down the chimney and had been hiding out in the big living room, probably huddling in fear as these 4 humans hung out there. We spent a bit of time in that room, as the kids and I were all stiff from long drive, so we had a great time stretching and opening muscles and joints to the Philip Glass CD from Rob and Monique. The little critter just had to bide its time.
So what to do? I threw a sheet over the little critter (cute, but reputed to have a tendency to bite and scratch, so I wasn't going to pick it up by hand), but it scampered away into the closet. I got the laundry basket, figuring I'd pop it in once a grabbed it in a towel. Fortunately, it had chosen one of the empty boxes we have in there (waiting to finish packing up for our departure...), so all I had to do is close the lid and take it out. I had so much adrenaline roaring around in my body that it was very difficult to drift off to sleep after that. It huddled in the box, but once I left, out it jumped. Away! I've now got a box waiting under the chimney in case our friend tries to return. Probably too scared now...
OK, I had planned for this to be short... no such luck. Santa was at the library this morning!! I'll just leave it there.
Easy entertaining. Pickerel Cheeks - This is really such a delighfully simple dish to make. Great local ingredients that shine. Pickerel cheeks (yes, Walleye, to my non-local language puris...