Monday, June 22, 2009

Sitting On Top of the World with Your Legs Hangin Free

Happy Birthday Avery!!!
Avery & Seth went to Disney Land for Avery's birthday this year. Every kid's dream come true.

And of course they came back with a huge bag of candy.

...and couldn't leave there without first making a sand castle.

Love those boys!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Walkabout Creek

Of course you have the Australia Zoo, or Steve's place. North of Brisbane this is the zoo to see when you come to Queensland. The thing is that it's incredibly touristy, and quite expensive. An adult ticket is $54. Well, that is Australian dollars, which is about 79 US cents as I'm writing this, which still makes a ticket $42.77 US.

If you don't mind a more low-key local flair then I'd suggest walking about Walk-About Creek in the Brisbane Forest Park. This hidden gem is accessible by bus from downtown Brisbane. Admission is only $5.70 for adults. The website says it best:

  • "A visit to Walk-About Creek Wildlife Centre is a great opportunity to enjoy Queensland's wildlife. This re-created natural environment is home to a platypus, lungfish, nocturnal wildlife in a night-house, many types of birds in a walk-through aviary, wallabies and many other interesting animals."
Thanks to the Wildlife Centre I was able to see a real, living platypus for the first time. If I can figure out how to get a video linked on here I'll post it. For now you'll have to look at this picture to see if you can spot the busy little guy.

There was also an area where you can walk among wallabies. I know many of you will think these are kangaroos, but you'd be wrong. I'm not totally sure what the difference is, but they're different. My guess would be that wallabies are smaller than roos. All I can say is that I touched one. Fortunately animals in Australia don't have rabies, but I've developed this strange itch and a craving for grubs. Here's a picture of one of the little posers.

Of course a wildlife centre wouldn't be complete with at least one of the top 10 deadly snakes in the world. I think this is a black death adder. The darn thing never moved. Could it have been a rubber imposter? I wasn't about to poke it with a stick to find out. Death within 6 hours of a bite? Don't think so.

I forgot what type of freak of nature this thing is, but the picture looks hauntingly beautiful. I tried several times to take pictures of it, and it just kinda floated there.

Then there are tons of lizard-type creatures. Good thing this guy is planning a trip to Tokyo. He was a bit tired of stomping on buildings when I was visiting the centre. He was giving me the eye to make sure I didn't get too out of line with the wallabies.

Finally there was this guy, a quoll. I was told he belongs to a small group of marsupials that are carnivorous. When we first walked by his living arrangments he was a no-show. On our way out he was pretty active looking for something to eat. Many marsupials are only active during the dawn and dusk hours. I think he and the lizard-eye ran the place... at least that was the word on the path.

So that was my Sunday at the Wildlife Centre. I thought it was well worth the money. Throw in some koalas and kangaroos and you'd see just about any critter you'd be expecting when you come to Australia. The best part is that all of the animals at the centre can be found locally. Who doesn't like to support local efforts?


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Ultrasound

Today we saw our baby for the first time! I have seen plenty of these black & white ultrasound photos and have always thought they all looked the same...until now. This one is the cutest one ever. Ok, ok so to everyone else it probably just looks like some big headed creature surrounded by some white stuff and a few blurry lines. But to me...ok it looks like an alien, a cute alien.
(Click on pic to make it bigger)

The balls could still be in there! They might not have dropped yet. We don't know for sure.

Ha Ha! The tongue is sticking out right there. Already has attitude. We know its a Watson!

These are the Poliak genes. Kidding Avery. You know you're sexy.

See how cute that little foot is. Ohhh!

Healthy nasal structure.

Look at those little hands.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Eggs in Australia

I've just finished a nice breakfast. Fried egg with garlic salt and herbs, sprinkled with cheddar cheese on a toasted English muffin. What a yummy way to start the day. I'm sitting here pondering how eggs are different in Australia. For one, they are not refrigerated in the grocery stores. You find eggs on a dry goods isle just like a box of brownie mix. My food inspector alter ego keeps warning me that something is wrong. Perhaps we're too cautious in Maryland.

The other difference is that the eggs are a brownish color, not bleached white. Sometimes there are stamps on the eggs, which has some significance that is lost on me. The end result is generally the same... you know the whole egg white with a yellow yolk in the center. They seem to cook slightly differently, the yolk doesn't go completely solid like I'm used to with the white/bleached eggs. Maybe the eggs in the States are not bleached at all, they just come from different types of chickens. If anyone can solve this riddle please post a comment.

I can't write a post like this without giving a shout out to my Jackie. This is for you... Egg song.

UPDATE: According to someone with expertise in this subject, eggs in Australia do not have the same form of salmonella as in the States. The difference between the two strains of bacteria mean that in Australia the germs can't get inside the egg, hence there is not as much a need to keep the refrigerated all the time.