Last Sunday we went on an afternoon drive to the scenic rim to visit Lake Moogerah for a picnic. On the way Kitty spotted a sign for a Camel Farm and Diary so we stopped on the way home, of course. Summer Land Camel Farm only opens Sundays from 9:30 to 4 and has a cafe and an area where you can get up close and feed the camels – we all loved it so much!



on picnicing

One of our family rituals is going on picnics. We have found it’s a lo-fi activity that increases our families’ wellbeing. This has academically been proven to actually be the case:

“A marriage can cause an increase in happiness equal to a quadrupling salary. Making a good friend is equal to tripling a salary. Belonging to a club can cause an increase in happiness equivalent to doubling a salary. And going on picnics three times a year is the same as receiving a 10 per cent raise.”

~ Harvard Psychologist Robert Putnam quantifying the effects of good relationships (and picnicing)

Since we go on a picnic at least once a fortnight, we’ve established a picnic basket (which Kitty calls our ‘caravan’ – long story) which is always packed and ready to go. We typically do a BBQ picnic so we just need some food and the basket contains everything else like plates, cups, oil, sauce, BBQ utensils and even a thermos for hot water to make tea. Kitty picked up the picnic hamper, unused, at a nearby op shop (thrift store) for two dollars (bargain!). 

We’ll usually visit a park with some bushland or a place for the kids to play and explore before we cook our food and enjoy it together. 

This afternoon we found an old gold mine that still has some remnants left which the kids loved exploring and imagining how it worked almost one hundred years ago. 

the remains of a track that carried the mine carts across the creek

Afterwards we had a lovely BBQ in the light of the sunset:

mt coot-tha sunset in brisbane

We did have some over-confident, brazen kookaburras who managed to steal almost all our sausages from our plates as we ate, which freaked out the boys a little, but it was very fun nonetheless.

I love activities that require little effort but provide huge amounts of wellbeing, and picnicing, unlike motor-boating, seems to be just that 😎

omg it’s so spiky

Today was the second time I’ve seen an echidna in the wild; both times have been in Toohey Forest which is a short drive from our place in Brisbane.

Seeing an animal in the wild is so much more amazing than seeing one in an animal sanctuary; I stood there fascinated for about ten minutes whilst it went about doing its thing, fairly content with me being quite nearby until I got a little too close for a photo and it curled up into a spiky ball with its head in the ground 😊

Oh, and the wildflowers in bloom were also pretty amazing today.

white rock spring mountain

I haven’t ever not enjoyed a hike to white rock. The secret is to hike along the ridge rather than the fire trail: it’s a much more interesting hike with amazing views and a gradual climb. It’s a bit tricky to find this trail initially, probably easiest coming back where instead of going down the stairs you continue straight along and climb up the rock and keep walking.

can’t touch this

As the parent of three small children, what really bothers me is art that looks like it has been designed to be touched/climbed/played upon, but is covered in “do not touch/climb” signs. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for being careful and caring for things, but blatantly banning touching/climbing on something that is clearly designed that way is just plain cruel to kids.

please do not climb

non climable?

world aridland gardens at roma street parklands

I went for a crazy 17 kilometer walk around Brisbane on Saturday. My favourite part was getting to explore the Roma Street Parklands. I had never really spent much time there, and I was delighted to discover the World Aridland Gardens: a collection of succulents from around the world! I couldn’t believe that they had flowering crassula gollum/hobbit (coral shaped jade plants). Wow. I have never seen one flower before. Amazing.

morning fog

There was an amazing fog in Brisbane this morning. It was really spectacular crossing the bridge as I walked to work: enough to warrant a temporary stop to take a quick snap with my phone. I think the photo came out well.


my flowering portulacaria afra (jade) plant

I have been meaning to post this for a while now. In December, during the Australian summer, one of my portulacaria afra (jade) plants flowered a small amount of flowers.

Kitty was in our rooftop garden when she calls out that my plant is flowering. “Not it’s not”, I say, “they don’t flower here”. “Yes it is”, she says, “I swear”. I finally am convinced to come outside and see.

It was the most amazing thing, considering I have never seen this plant flower before, and according to most sites on the Internet, I don’t think I will ever see one again.

The flowers are rare in cultivation, but if kept very dry the older [and presumably unpruned] plants may flower after rain.

Amazing stuff.

fat freddys drop @ the tivoli 27 may 2011

We went to see Fat Freddy’s Drop tonight at the Tivoli in Brisbane. It was one of two Australian shows this month, so we felt pretty special to see them live again. We had choice spot on the upper right balcony which meant the view was especially awesome.

Their new material was especially enjoyable, I look forward to their new album later this year.

gotan project at the brisbane powerhouse

We were lucky enough to get our hands on some great tickets to see the Gotan Project at the Brisbane Powerhouse last Saturday night. Wow; what a show. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was a mish-mash of beats, a large video screen, various instrumentals and superb Argentinian vocals. Absolutely amazing, absolutely spectacular. Wow.

suitcase rummage brisbane

We took Junior Pixels (who recently turned one!) for a walk to the city today, and stumbled across hipsters selling wares out of suitcases in Brisbane Square.

From the Suitcase Rummage site:

It’s a simple idea. Fill your suitcase with your wares, and travel to our designated spot on the day. Sell your wonderful goods old style. No hassle. No fuss. Good ol’ fashion markets.

It was a really cool idea, and was suitably popular. We saw some cool stuff being sold by some cool people.

It’s on the first Sunday of every month in Brisbane square, so next month you should check it out!


crateman’s crate men in south bank

Kitty and I were walking past South Bank this week when we saw what looked like giant lego men all over the QPAC building. On closer inspection, we realized they were milk crates, and were work of Crateman, aka Cornelius Brown from Melbourne. I quickly too some snaps because they’re part of the Brisbane Festival which finishes on the 25 September. If you want to see them, I’d get down there quick smart.

on succulents flowering

The more I get into succulents, the more I anticipate and appreciate them when they flower. Unlike a lot of other plants, succulents will only flower when the conditions are just right, like it’s a reward for you looking after them well. Unlike bromeliads, they can continue to flower. A few of my favourite succulents are in flower at the moment, probably due to the nicely warm weather in Brisbane at the moment. I took s0me snaps of these on the weekend. There’ll be hopefully many more to come in the coming months.

south brisbane street art

The empty block next to us is about to be developed, which is a shame as it has quite an eclectic collection of street art. The old brick walls on the site make the perfect texture for all sorts of art, so I thought I’d ignore the ‘do not enter’ sign and capture these before they’re gone forever.

the go between bridge concert

We’re pretty excited about the Go Between Bridge Concert. It’s on June 25 in Brisbane and features Angus & Julia Stone, Josh Pyke, and Bob Evans, among others.

It’s all ages, and since kids aged three and younger are free, we’re taking Junior Pixels to his first music concert! We’ve already bought his Gwyneth Paltrow inspired earmuffs to protect his sensitive little ears. Tix are about $48 include booking fees, and available now, but I’d hurry, I am sure they won’t last long.

salmon and veg

Tonight’s dinner was salmon and veg. I baked the salmon in foil with fresh corriander and lime. The veg was fresh kai-lan (from our new favourite Asian grocery at West End), green beans and brocolli, all stir-fried with a little bit of light soy, kecap manis and lime juice. Served with jasmine tea on the balcony, it was yum yum.

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