Saturday, June 30, 2012

Zucchini fritters

For all you zucchini growers out there, here's my recipe for Zucchini Fritters!  I just cooked up a batch this morning. You can freeze them for later use. The following quantity produces around 4 medium size fritters - increase basic components if you want to make more. I made 16 by tripling the flour and eggs and adding more filling.



1/3 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups grated zucchini
½ cup of grated carrot
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Crushed and chopped garlic clove (optional)


Mix flour, baking powder, salt, pepper & eggs into a smooth batter.
Add zucchini, onion carrot, garlic and parsley and mix gently.
Very lightly spray skillet with olive oil and heat to medium hot.
Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto skillet.
Fry until golden, turn, and cook second side until done.

You can add other fillings, e.g. chopped green shallot onions, chopped bacon pieces, etc.

Finally, at long last ...

Flat Rock Crossing is a single lane river crossing upstream from the Hume Bridge on the Yass River. For many years residents have wanted a walking/cycling path around Riverbank Park from the weir below Hume Bridge to Flat Rock Crossing, the low level crossing further upstream.

The pathway ends at the Low Level Crossing

At present we can follow a pathway that cicumnavigates 99% of Riverbank Park - but there is no pathway across Flat Rock Crossing and pedestrians and cyclist - the latter largely made up of High School cyclists trying to get to the Yass High School - have to cross and mix in with vehicular traffic. That's a very dangerous situation.

For years many have been agitating for council to put a pedestrian/cycleway path adjacent to Flat Rock Crossing. Funding was voted for this project by council, however, NSW Fisheries/State Water wanted to ensure that any construction did not obstruct fish movements up and down stream. I understand a steel reinforced, poured concrete footpath span is going to be erected and stabilising of the southern embankment is now taking place.

Coffer dam structure commenced on the southern embankment.
Heavy earthmoving plant can be seen in the background

This is a very attractive area, home to many varieties of fish and wildfowl. It is only proper that due deliberation by the responsible parties occurred.

Looking upstream from the low level crossing

Pondage upstream

Looking downstream

The signage went up yesterday and heavy plant was moved into position.

Looks like all systems are "Go!"

Frittata recipe.

I cooked a frittata - one we named FRITTATA MARI E MONTI – (Frittata Sea & Mountain)

Frittata Mari e Monti

Hardest part is all the chopping preparation.

FRITTATA MARI E MONTI – (Frittata Sea & Mountain)


400 gm of fresh sliced button mushrooms
100 g of chopped bacon
500 g of green prawn (shrimp) meat
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil – for frying
1 tablespoon of finely chopped basil
½ cup of grated zucchini
½ cup grated carrot
4 green shallot onions finely chopped
1 cup of chopped mixed coloured (Yellow, Green and Red) capsicum
300 g of sour cream
6 medium eggs
1 cup of grated tasty cheese


Cut prawn meat into sizeable pieces – say 1x1 cm pieces and reserve
Heat oil in a pan and add mushrooms. Cook until reduced by half, add bacon and cook for 1 minute, add prawn meat, stir and cook for 2 -3 minutes or until prawn meat is reddish colour
Remove from heat and reserve
Combine basil, zucchini, carrot, capsicum and shallot onions and reserve
Beat eggs until smooth in a large bowl
Lightly beat the sour cream until smooth and blend in with the egg mixture. Add cheese and fold this evenly through the mixture. Reserve
Grease a 25 x 12 x 4 cm oven proof dish and layer the bottom with the prawn, bacon and mushroom mix. Spread the vegetable mix evenly across the top of the prawn mix. Pour the egg sour cream and cheese mix evenly over the top. The sour cream and eggs part of the mixture should sink through the vegetable layer and leave the coated cheese across the top of the layer.
You can add extra grated cheese to the top layer if desired.
Place in a preheated oven (160 C fan forced -320 F- and 170 C normal - 350 F) and cook for 35-40 minutes, uncovered and with door closed until golden brown on the surface.
Remove from oven and test surface by lightly pressing with your finger -  it should spring back to touch. If not, return to oven for another 5 minutes
When cooked, rest in warm oven with element off for 10 minutes and then serve to table on a heatproof mat.

Eat with a good crusty bread and some olive oil and black pepper.

Enjoy with a glass of a rich red wine

Thursday, June 28, 2012



Genuine Spoonerisms – those that have been attributed to the Rev. William Archibald Spooner himself.

Spooner's Spoonerisms

fighting a liar                                          lighting a fire

you hissed my mystery lecture           you missed my history lecture

cattle ships and bruisers                      battle ships and cruisers

nosey little cook                                     cosy little nook

a blushing crow                                      a crushing blow

tons of soil                                               sons of toil

our queer old Dean                               our dear old Queen

we'll have the hags flung out               we'll have the flags hung out

you've tasted two worms                     you've wasted two terms

our shoving leopard                              our loving shepherd

a half-warmed fish                                a half-formed wish

is the bean dizzy?                                  is the Dean busy?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I want out of Generation I

An article from today's Sydney Morning Herald:

Are students' opinions a dead loss?
TODAY'S teenagers are shaped by a multitude of weighty issues - high levels of teenage obesity, a heavy binge drinking culture and a social media landscape with hefty consequences. But pause for a moment and consider the corresponding gargantuan rise in the younger generation's confidence in the value of their opinions.
The sheer weight of their viewpoints is growing exponentially as parents and teachers alike are counselled to hold a young person's opinion in the highest regard. Current thinking in educational circles focuses on students' independence and empowering unwavering self-belief. Our educational approach favours individual participation over instruction.
As a teacher with more than 20 years' experience it is increasingly painful to read and listen to opinion in the absence of background knowledge, research or experience - ''no offence'', teenagers. Past generations paid due regard to the expertise of the teacher and gained intellectual exercise by reading and (gasp) memorising important information. No wonder today's students find university such a challenge, coming from a school system where the mathematics curriculum includes estimation and the English curriculum covers social media. Having recently spent time teaching students in China, I can't help but draw stark comparisons to my local teaching experience.
Students there expect that they will be given a tonne of information and will be assigned extensive homework involving engagement with the instructional material.
Invitations to express opinions are met with puzzlement. Rather, they expect and welcome direction. In contrast, our students launch into impassioned and complex negotiation the moment there is a hint of work to be done (a technique all too familiar to any parent attempting to institute household chores).
When the work comes in (often late) it is littered with sentences starting with ''I think'' - an amusing oxymoron. Little reference is made to any research other than nominal efforts to cut and paste from Wikipedia. 
Anyone visiting the supermarket will notice that the fine art of putting one's view across is honed at a very early age - often encouraged in children too young to talk but old enough to point. 
Having now taught through generations X, Y and Z, the labelling of the next generation is clear. Generation I - the first, foremost, the centre of attention. 
I think I'd better retire before I face the gargantuan task of teaching this next generation of overconfident individuals. Their weighty opinions are too much to bear and I've exercised all my patience. 
Lynn Van Der Wagen

Poll: Do you agree with the author?

Strongly agree       63%
Tend to agree         24%
Tend to disagree       4%
Strongly disagree     5%
Undecided                4%

Total votes: 13758.

A matter of definition ....

Monday – I pruned a lot of the lower branches off my flowering Pear tree. I worked at no more than head height using a pair of long-handled pruning shears and a small branch cutting saw. I just let the branches fall on the ground.

After an hour I was done and the ground was littered with small branches. I left them on the ground, re-sharpened my shears and saw and put those tools away. So far so good.

Tuesday – Rhonda asked me what I was going to do with all the branches – did I want her to ‘chop them up and put them in the garbage bin?’ I said No! I was going to cut them down and put them in the trailer and take them up to the Green Waste Recycling area (for which we are charged $4.50AUS for the privilege!).

I worked away and loaded them into  the trailer.

I had checked the Green Waste requirements – Prunings under 20mm diameter (1 inch) and less than 1 metre (3 foot) in length were acceptable for recycling into garden mulch. I carefully checked my load – all prunings were 15mm (max) and no longer than half a metre, so fine!

Wednesday – I towed the trailer to the tip and stopped at the entrance boom gate. The operator came out and asked what I had and I said:

“Prunings, tree branch prunings!”
“Nope! Not acceptable, they will not go through the muncher!”
“But they are under 20mm in diameter and less than 1 metre in length!”
He lifted the trailer cover and had a look.
“Nope! They are too big!”
“But, they are within limits!” I protested.
“I don’t care,” he said, “I reckon they are too big – take them up and throw them in the landfill hopper!”

Now I knew that this would incur a charge of $9.00AUS, so I said ‘No!’ I turned the vehicle and drove up town and stopped near one of the businesses owned and operated by an elected member of council.

“Jim, have you got a minute to come outside?” I asked – he wasn’t busy, the shop was empty.
“Yes,” he said, “what’s the problem?”
I showed him and explained to him what had happened.

“That’s not right,” he said! We went back inside and he got on the phone, calling the Waste Services Manager at the Council offices. I listened to the conversation. Eventually he hung up and came back to me.

“The Waste Services Manager says the prunings are within the limits and he should take them ….. but ….. it’s hard to get Waste Service officers at the Transfer Station so he is going to defer to his judgement on the matter!”

I was furious – steam was coming out of my ears. Jim went on to say:

“He’s going to ring the operator at the Transfer Station and speak to him but the Operator’s decision is final as to whether he accepts them or not!”

So I drove back to the Transfer Station. I could tell by the look on the Operator’s face that he had sized me up as a ‘Smart Ass’, s ‘Wise Guy’.

“What’cha got?” he asked?
“Prunings, tree branch prunings!”
He lifted the trailer cover and had a look.
“Nope! They are too big!”
“But, they are within limits!” I protested.
“I don’t care,” he said, “I reckon they are too big – take them up and throw them in the landfill hopper!”

He could see me fuming.
He smirked and added – “I’ll only charge you the $4.50 fee to put them into the landfill hopper!”

I paid the fee and took them up and dumped them in the landfill hopper. I reflected that if I had let Rhonda cut them up and put them in the garbage bin they would have gone directly to the landfill in the garbage truck. But, it was the principal of the matter. I was trying to do the right thing and recycle my green waste.

Later that day  - I had to attend a Rotary meeting. The Waste Services Manager from council was also there. After the meeting, during supper, I spoke to him about the matter.

“Oh! That was you, was it?” he said. “You should have called me direct and I would have instructed the Operator to take them but I was going to be bullied by some elected councillor. Why didn’t you call me?”

I was so flabbergasted I stood there with my mouth flapping and no sound coming out. After half a minute I just turned and walked away, utterly amazed at the games bureaucrats play and how little regard some appear to have for their own policies!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hugo - a movie review

Winner of 5 Oscars, this tale is set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

Director: Martin Scorsese; Writers: John Logan (screenplay), Brian Selznick (book)

Stars:  Asa Butterfield, ChloĆ« Grace Moretz and Christopher Lee


Asa Butterfield has been billed as  the answer to Daniel Radcliffe and “The next Harry Potter” and the whole movie was marketed as “… A spectacular adventure for film lovers of all ages.” (Rolling Stone).


Asa Butterfield

Asa Butterfield has the potential to be the next child 'heart throb' but he needs to work harder at it.

I found the plot protracted and predictable and I was waiting for each part of the movie to evolve into the next scene in the hope that it would improve. It didn’t!



The movie has a semblance of animation about it and the background scenery was stunningly done. One was easily distracted as Hugo ran through the mechanics of the giant railway station clock that were concealed behind huge cavity walls. Sacha Baron Cohen as the Station Master reminded me of Arthur Bostrom, A British spy posing as a French police officer ‘Allo ‘Allo! (The Policeman Cometh!)


I must confess, towards the end I dozed off. My wife tells me it “Got better!” I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and watch it again, perhaps when I am not so prone to snoozing off.


My Rating: 5/10

Elephant Jokes

My friend Cindy sent me a lovely video of elephants interupting a Safari for a mud bath and the troubles a baby elephant had extracting itself from that mudbath - it was hilarious! 

(Go to if you want to view it).

Any-Hoo-Dee-Doo-Dee it reminded me of the "Elephant Jokes" of years gone by:

Q: What did the Dallas chief of police say when the elephant walked into the police station?
A: Nothing! He didn't notice.

(The joke was told in the aftermath of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, who had walked into Dallas police headquarters carrying a gun)

Six blind elephants were discussing what men were like.
After arguing they decided to find one and determine what
it was like by direct experience.
The first blind elephant felt the man and declared -
“Men are flat.”
After all the blind elephants felt the man, they agreed.

Q: What do elephants have that nothing else has?
A: Baby elephants.

Q: What is gray, has four legs, and a trunk?
A: A mouse going on vacation.

Q: What is brown, has four legs, and a trunk?
A: A mouse coming back from vacation.

Q: What has eight legs, two trunks, four eyes, and two tails?
A: Two elephants.

Q: Why is an elephant big, grey and wrinkly?
A: Because if it was small, white and hard it would be an aspirin.

Q: Why are golf balls small and white?
A: Because if they were big and grey they would be elephants.

Q: What's the difference between an elephant and a plum?
A: Their color.

Q: What did Tarzan say to Jane when he saw the elephants coming?
A: Here come the elephants.

Q: What did Jane say to Tarzan when she saw the elephants coming?
A: Here come the plums; she was color blind.

Q: How do you get 2,000 elephants to invade Cuba?
A: Promise them air support!

Q: How many elephants will fit into a Mini?
A: Four: Two in the front, two in the back.

Q: How many giraffes will fit into a Mini?
A: None. It's full of elephants.

Q: How do you know there are two elephants in your refrigerator?
A: You can hear giggling when the light goes out.

Q: How do you know there are three elephants in your refrigerator?
A: You can't close the door.

Q: How do you know there are four elephants in your refrigerator?
A: There's an empty Mini parked outside.

Q: How do you shoot a blue elephant?
A: With a blue elephant gun.

Q: How do you shoot a yellow elephant?
A: Have you ever seen a yellow elephant?

Q: How do you shoot a red elephant?
A: Hold his trunk shut until he turns blue, and then shoot him with the blue elephant gun.

Q: How do you shoot a purple elephant?
A: Paint him red, hold his trunk shut until he turns blue, and then shoot him with the blue elephant gun.

Q: How can you tell that an elephant is in the bathtub with you?
A: By the smell of peanuts on its breath.

Q: How can you tell that an elephant has been in your refrigerator/ice box?
A: By the footprints in the butter/cheesecake/cream cheese.

Q: What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
A: Time to build a new fence.

Monday, June 25, 2012

5000 ducks out for a walk

Chinese farmer Hong Mingshun his army of quacking companions became an internet sensation when photos of their annual expedition went viral.

Lonesome George dies ....

Last of his species ... Lonesome George. Photo: Reuters

Lonesome George has died, leaving the world one species poorer.

The only remaining Pinta Island tortoise and celebrated conservation icon passed away on Sunday, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a statement.

Estimated to be more than 100-years-old, the creature's cause of death remains unclear and a necropsy is planned.

Lonesome George's longtime caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found the tortoise's remains stretched out in the "direction of his watering hole" on Santa Cruz Island, the statement said.

Lonesome George was discovered on Ecuador's Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when tortoises of his type were already believed to be extinct. Since then, the animal had been part of the park service's tortoise program.

Repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George failed.

"Later two females from the Espanola tortoise population [the species most closely related to Pinta tortoises genetically] were with George until the end," the park service said.

In honour of Lonesome George, the park service said it was convening an international workshop in July on management strategies for restoring tortoise populations over the next decade.

The Galapagos Islands, situated about 1000km off Ecuador's coast, are considered a haven for tortoises

What a great horse ...

Black Caviar's win in the United Kingdom for last weekend's running of the Queen Anne Group 1 Stakes was a mighty performance.

22 straight wins in her total career - 12 Group 1 wins - she must rank amongst the greatest of sprinters in the horse world.

And she's a magnificent looking specimen of a horse!

Her win last weekend was made even more amazing considering she ran with unknown injuries - As dawn broke the day after the big race, the vets were already at work at the Newmarket stables checking on two muscle tears and severe bruising to Black Caviar's hind legs.

"She has a couple of minor muscle tears in her hind quarters and so they’re letting her cool down and they’ll re-appraise her over the next few days," Co-owner Colin Madden said. "She's gone into quarantine because it was quite clear it was time for her to come back to Australia." He says time will tell if the Royal Ascot was Black Caviar's last race.

"This is a plausible, tangible explanation as to why she didn't run in the same manner that we have seen in the past. She’s had to dig in for the fight right at the end and try to win on heart."
ABC race caller Gerard Whateley

Sunday, June 24, 2012

After lots of excitement ...

We are back home.

We arrived at Quart Pot on Wednesday afternoon. Journey had not been without some degree of difficulty. We had a few 'idiot' drivers to contend with on the way up and we hit a wallaby on the climb up to the top of McDonald's Mountain (or rather, it hit us 'cos it jumped up out of a steep ravine and dived straight under the nose of the truck while we were moving up hill at about 60kph, ie. 40mph!) 

No damage to the truck but scratch one adult black-tailed scrub wallaby of about 20kg weight.

File image of Black tailed wallaby

We headed out along Drover's Fire Trail and down Oaky Ridge, a 1 in 4 descent from the top of the range to the valley floor and full of switchbacks and hairpins - you drive 4.5km to advance 2km forward in your journey - until we hit the end of the bitumen.

After a final equipment and supplies check, we took our bearings on where we were heading

Quart Pot Camp is in the small inlet to the very left of picture.

The country ahead.

Rhonda doing an equipment check at Drover's Fire Trail

it was out along the dirt trail of Quart Pot Road. Really, its an insult to a decent road to call this track a 'road'.

We had arranged in advance to 'overnight' at one of Moerkerkens' paddocks near Quart Pot itself,  and it was not long before we had the insect shelters set up and the Swags stowed inside (even in winter there are still lots of insects at night around the campfire, so an insect camp is advised)

One of our Swag bedrolls inside a personal insect-proof tent

Oh! A Swag is a 'self-contained' sleeping bag, mattress and shelter which has room to store folded clothing and small items of equipment - like a torch - in pocket liners. Here is a 'promo-image'

Swag bag - your bedroll fits inside this. - we prefer
the bedroll inside and insect tent, 'tho this type are
very good in damp conditions.

Also known as a bivouac sack (also as a bivy sackbivvy bagbivi bag or just bivy) it is an extremely small, lightweight, waterproof shelter, and an alternative to traditional tent systems.  Waterproof/breathable fabrics, such as Gore-Tex, allows internal humidity to pass through the fabric while blocking the entry of most external water.

That night the earth moved for us - literally - as we experienced a 3.8 earth tremor throughout the region. We had just put the camp fire out and turned in when around 8.30pm there was a sound like a freight train bearing down on us, then the ground jumped and jiggled, a loud "crack-k-k" sounded right beneath us and then the 'freight train' headed off away from us. Only lasted about 10 seconds all up but it was enough to get us out of our warm swags and lighting up the lamps and doing a check of our surrounds. 

Officially, we were to later find out on the truck radio in the morning,

" .... the epicentre of the magnitude-3.8 quake was 20 kilometres north of Boorowa and 40 kilometres north-east of Young. Seismologists say it would have been felt as far as 50 kilometres away. ...."

Well, we could vouch for the latter part of the report! The only 'damage' we could see was that the stones of our fireplace had been 're-arranged'. a good reason for ensuring fires are extiquished before 'turning in' and leaving them unattended!

Fire place stones 're-arranged'

We did some 'fossicking that day but as the water level of the lake area was so high we could not access the sandy gravel we needed to be able to locate any kind of decent find.

Thursday it came in all threatening and overcast and as we had several creek crossings to make on the return journey we decided to pack up and head back to an area we know as "Tarrant's Fields - a long low alluvial valley on the other side of the ridge line - that in another life had been home to 'gold diggers' and even has its own Digger's Cemetery.

Tarrant's Fields

As you may be able to see from the above photograph, misty rain was already falling quite steadily by mid-afternoon, so, we again decided to head back to Wyangala and the warmth of a gas fire, a hot meal and a warm bed.

We spent all Friday and Friday night at "The Camp" before heading back home on Saturday morning. While we didn't find anything of value over our few days of fossicking we did survey some areas of future interest and we thoroughly enjoyed our time 'roughing it' in the bush!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Going away for a few days

Very tired. Got a little bit of an early-winter 'bug'; quite chesty and 'fluey' so we are going away for a few days of 'fossicking' in some old gold mining country. Fresh country air and no distractions!

Lots of little gullies and creeks in the folds of the land:

See you all in 3 or 4 days time!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

E-Life after death

Digital never dies - but it may be out of reach when we do. You pass on, but your digital self remains on email, Facebook, Twitter and numerous on-line accounts; a cache of words, photos, music, videos and money, which offshore companies then control.

''Protecting the privacy of our users is a top priority,'' said Amanda Millar, a Yahoo! spokeswoman. The company made a commitment to treat everyone's account content as confidential, ''even after death''.

The American composer Leonard Bernstein failed to do that and, 22 years after his death, no one has been able to crack the password to the computer holding his memoir manuscript.

His story alarmed the Sydney writer Mariza O'Keeffe, who is now giving grave thought to the fate of her draft novel The Cut. Every dawn before she goes to work, her tale grows. When she closes her laptop, her nascent novel, now 40,000 words long, disappears behind a password only she knows.

For back-up, she sporadically uses a memory stick, but emails her fresh words to herself every day. O'Keeffe writes dialogue for avatars professionally and has been part of the digital world for almost 20 years. But it was only when she learnt about Bernstein and checked on the Yahoo! policy that she realised if she were to die suddenly, her words - including her novel and her blog - could perish too.

Gmail account holders who want information to be available when they are gone should post it on Google Drive or Google Documents and specify who had access. The cloud is a complex area, because it is storage on the same machines which drive Google search. So they are public machines trying to drive what for many people is something very private; the storage of their valuable information.

Yahoo! users who wanted to ensure their account was dealt with after death according to their wishes, including allowing access to photos or message content by legal heirs, should make it part of their estate planning.

O'Keeffe plans to give her partner, Murrough, passwords and to print her draft book. Unlike Bernstein.

''What a silly man not to do a printout,'' Ms Suttor said.

If you have access to Australian e-media, you can read more at Sydney Morning Herald - digital life

At the edge of the universe

Voyager probe reaches edge of solar system

Updated June 17, 2012 01:23:26
PHOTO: Breaking new ground ... Voyager 1 has reached the edge of the solar system. (NASA: Reuters)

The Voyager 1 space probe has reached the edge of the solar system, extending its record for being the most distant man-made object in space. According to a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the spacecraft is sending back data to Earth showing a sharp increase in charged particles that originate from beyond the solar system.
"Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion - that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system," NASA said in the statement.
Voyager 1, along with its sister spacecraft Voyager 2, was launched in 1977 and is now about 18 billion kilometres from the Sun.