Saturday, September 24, 2011


The scorpions are making their way into the house. In two days there have been four and a half. That we've been able to find, anyway.

How the half, you ask? I'm pretty sure that when a friend/my husbands boss was helping to deliver our new free desk, he tracked one in and stomped it to death because I found it's squishy remains in his wake.

The other four:
One was found in the kitchen while I was sweeping. Barefoot.

Another two were found in one of the spare bedrooms. One was dead, the other kind of drunk-acting and I almost stepped on it.
The last one was found today, in the kitchen again, by my husband who announced, "I've found one of your friends!".

Thanks, dear.

The Baygon spray makes them kind of drunk, because it's slowly killing them. This last one was quite lively, however.

I prefer the scorpions to spiders, though, because they just seem a lot less sneaky about trying to hurt/kill you. Not that I'm in any kind of hurry to let one get me, but scorpions at least get all defensive and wave their pincers around trying to scare you and look all fierce (because the whole "I'm a scorpion" doesn't deter me enough) rather than just go off and sting you. Spiders though, they're nasty little beasts. Sneaky and horrible.

I actually talked to a friend who has lived in Arizona for a while now, and she's never had ANY scorpions. As far as I know, my relatives who live there haven't had this many either, and they've lived there for years.

And if you're wondering, "Why the new desk? why was it free?" It's because someone my husband was moving was going to throw it out, so he asked if we could have it instead. And this is what we've been using as a desk since we got the computer set up.

The "new" desk is cheaply made, particle board and laminate, and we've spent all of $25 to sand and refinish it so it doesn't look all terrible.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cool, Clear, Water

I don't just live in Australia, but in RURAL Australia.

Most people out here are on tank water instead of city pipes or something like that. It's about the equivalent of being on your own well water and not sharing with anyone else. These tanks colect rain water from your roof and have basically a screen filter to filter out leaves and dirt. Though, if your fire is very smoky while it's raining, you might end up with smoke-flavoured water.

We, in our new house, share a 5,000 gallon tank with our landlord, who lives on the same property, but is blocked by trees and so we really never see much of each other (though he seems quite nice). He doesn't use much water during this time of year, just boils a little in his kettle for drinks and what I'm assuming is some kind of sponge bath, based on what he's told us. My husband and I, as water saving measures, try to take less then 10 minute showers (which is hard to do if you want to actually shave your legs AND wash your hair), use very little water to wash dishes, have a water saving washing machine (and really, I only do 3-4 lads a week, if that), and try to not flush the toilet every time it's used (gross, I know, but come summer when it stops raining so much, we won't have as much water to use for, say, drinking, if we did flush often).

However, we've been hearing the water pump run. Frequently. When we're not using any water. ANd, as none of our pipes leak and our toilet doesn't run constantly, we thought perhaps that our landlord was using more water then he claimed. Perhaps something to do with his fruit trees. Or a kinked hose or something. But nothing we were worried about until he came up to drop off the rental agreement and chat for a bit and started taping on the water tank while explaining how to clean the filter.

He was surprised when it sounded the same at every level he was tapping on it. And looked happy, saying it must be full, when he thought it would be at three quarters at least. I thought it sounded empty, because water doesn't generally sound THAT echo-y when you hit the container it's in.

So after he left, My husband climbed up on the tank and looked in. Sure enough, there was a little over a foot left in it. He called up our landlord to tell him about it and see if they could locate where the leak was. He thought it was our toilet, and told us how to fix it, until we showed him our toilet and he saw it wasn't running. Turned out, it was one of his own fittings on some hose he'd done earlier this year. It was some sort of T-fitting (or whatever, I didn't listen that well apparently) that he'd attached to the pump, another pump, a hose, and the a tap of some sort that had nothing to seal it off, but he thought would be fine since there was a tap.

It obviously didn't seal off correctly, ever, and has been hemorrhaging water.

Our landlord went off to fix it, and filled up the tank to about half full, using a pump, with creek water. (So I'm now boiling drinking water and putting it in bottles in the fridge, because the filter doesn't filter out bacteria or whatever the guy up the road uses on his farm) He also gave us $50 for the power bill, because of the pump constantly running, and because it was his fault it was running.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm glad I was wearing gloves

Yesterday, I found my first live scorpion while cleaning out the flower beds.
It's only a very small one, and after a little Googeling, I found out that there's only one type of scorpion that lives in Tasmania: The Wood Scorpion.

And, thankfully, they're not like the kind in America, where smaller equals more deadly. Smaller, here, just means it's smaller. They can sting you, of course, and it's supposed to hurt like heck for a while, but nothing more. Unless you're allergic to the venom. This was just one of the sites I checked out, if you're at all interested in some extremely basic scorpion info:

And, this week, I also cooked my first kangaroo. On our wood heater.

It cooked for about 4 hours, lightly covered (I don't have a lid that fits our largest frying pan), and was still a little too tough for my tastes. It did, however, taste quite delicious.

I cooked it in a few tablespoons of olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. Threw in one enormous fresh garlic clove, roughly chopped, three onions cut into eighths, and later added some water to it so it could simmer away nicely. Just before serving, I mixed in a little flour so that the juice would thicken up and stick to the meat in a gravy-like fashion.

Served with fresh mashed potatoes (moonlight potatoes are now my favourite kind) and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Again, the roo was kind of tough, but I got some nice reviews from my husband's grandparents (who were over for supper) and my husband.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Australians use a lot of slang. Or different words for things than what American's would use.

A pick-up, or truck, for instance, would be called a ute. If you call something a truck, it's a massive truck, something with a trailer. Also, gas. Gas is, well, methane or propane or something. If you say you're pouring gas on a fire, you get really wired looks. It's PETROL. And never call it a fanny pack, or say your sitting on your fanny, because, here, that's a rude word for vagina.

Before moving to Australia, I visited twice, so I was somewhat versed on basic slang. So my mistake with this story was really ridiculous.

My brother-in-law shot some kookaburras. It's not illegal or anything like that, but it annoys his parents, because they're rather pretty birds, even if they do sound like they're mocking you every time they make a sound. So the family was expounding on the menaces and benefits of kookaburras, such as if you have a little fish pond, they'll eat all the fish out of it. But they'll also eat snakes, so yay! And if you have chickens running around, they'll eat them, too.

Now I was kind of shocked at hearing this, since a kookaburra is, at the largest, maybe 17 in., whereas most chickens are either the same size or larger. Plus, kookaburras don't really have monstrous talons or hawk-like beaks.

I mean, picture it, this cute, but mocking and somewhat annoying bird, going after a full-grown chicken.
So I sat there gaping, asking, "WHAT?! HOW?! I mean, isn't the chicken BIGGER??" until they finally realized I was confused and started laughing at me.

No, no, by chicken, they mean chick. As in a baby chicken. (Picture explanations involving lots of laughing, gesticulating, and showing how small a "chicken" is). Over here, when referring to full-grown chickens, they're called chooks. Only the babies are called chickens.

This was followed by much laughter from everyone.

I got my "revenge" though... sort of.

My mother-in-law asked me what her American friend meant by "curling her bangs". She was so confused, since her friend was going out for dinner, why she might be wrapping sausages in bread (bangers=sausages). She was almost sure this wasn't what she was doing, but was so utterly confused and didn't want to look stupid asking what her friend meant.

I got to giggle a little as I explained that she was curling her "fringe", which is what bangs are called here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's A Bugs After-Life

There are a few new pests here in Australia that I didn't have to worry about when I lived in Illinois.

Various poisonous spiders, scorpions, some of the most venomous snakes in the world. And large ants.

Our previous house (yes, we've moved again and I haven't yet posted photos anywhere of either house) had an infestation of "piss ants". They get the name because when you smash them they smell like, well, the name. Thankfully, since it's winter here, they smell almost like coconut oil instead.

Some "Ant Rid" took care of them in a matter of days and
after that, and the only spiders I saw in the house were already dead and crunchy.

Our new house has a whole new set of possible pests: scorpions, inchmen, and wasps. And wood lice, but I'm ok with them since they're basically idiotic rollie pollies.

Thankfully, my mother in law told me about this wonderful spray that you put around the outside of windows and doors, and it lasts for up to six months, and kills anything that touches it.
I love you Baygone....

Like this Inchman. It got maybe 4 feet into the house before
it died.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hippity Hopp- BANG!

The kangaroo is Australia's national animal.

A wallaby is very similar to a kangaroo. In fact, most people who aren't from here probably would just think they're small kangaroos. And I've even heard residents interchange the name.

Down here in Tasmania, the wallabies are about as prolific as rabbits. In fact, I've seen more wallaby road kill than I have rabbits. And they eat everything. You can't have a garden without fencing it off or the wallabies will eat it all. And apparently they eat up pasture land that is much needed for all the beef and dairy cows here.

So, I've been told, you can pretty much go out in the bush any time of the year, day or night, and shoot as many of the little (or sometimes somewhat large) beasts as you want. My brother-in-law (the one who loves to shoot/hunt) has gone out and gotten up to one-hundred in one night. And I've seen photos of his pick-up (or "ute") full of 30+ dead wallabies.

And of course, you can eat them.

I've seen kangaroo steaks (on the mainland, the kangaroos numbers are becoming a bit of a problem as well) for about $23AUD for a rather tiny steak. And, like I said, a wallaby is a lot like a kangaroo.

And it tastes pretty good. I've been begging my brother-in-law to go out and get us a big one, so I can try my hand at cooking some wallaby stew or lasagne, and just to go with all the deer we now have stacked in our little freezer. You know, stock up on some wild game.

Yesterday, he got one.