Monday, January 16, 2012

I Speak American

When you travel in another English speaking country you take it for granted that you all speak the same language. In fact there are many types of English; British, Australian, Irish, (I’m not even going to classify Scots as English), Indian and American (to name the biggies). Academically speaking British English, American English and Indian English are recognized as separate braches of English.

As we’ve been traveling around we’ve been noticing just how separate the versions of English can be.  Australian English is alike a funky half breed of British and American with a lot of “what the hell” throw in with a side of nonsense sounding words. In short I’ve learned that I speak American.

Here for your viewing pleasure, and maybe for some, your reference, are some Aussie words and phrases that we’ve picked up. While it’s true that you can probably just Google Australian slang, these are words we’ve actually come in contact with. It’s the FizKat Aussie to ‘Merican Dictionary

Every Day

 Tracky-dacks- sweat pants
Eskie- cooler
jump’r  sweater/jacket
tomato sauce- ketchup
full cream milk – whole milk
thongs- flip flops
franga- condom
The Bush- literally a part of land that boarders the Outback, semi-arid terrain,
bush - used when referring to the woods or wilderness areas. “ It ran off into the bush.”
washing powder- laundry detergent
pegs- clothes pins
ute- pick up truck
rego- registration
whipper-stripper- weed wacker

Drinking Beer(not as simple as it sounds) …

Schooner- about a bottle
Pot- 200ml about ½ a Schooner (VIC)
Middie- same as a pot (NSW)
Jug- pitcher
Stubbie- a little bottle of beer

…and Smoking’

darri- cigarette
cone-bowl( not the type you eat out of)
joint- when they say joint they mean spliff

Dumb-Ass ( and other insults)

Flamin’ gallah – idiot
Dole-bludger- welfare abuser
Flamin’ ( fill in the blank)- idiot
Derro- abbreviation of derelict- white-trash -also used to mean ‘tool’


‘Good-on-you’- Good for you
‘How you going?’- What’s up?
‘Gone-off’- gone bad (as in food)
‘No wukin’ Furries’- no worries can be shortened to “ no wuks”

‘Mate’- friend, dude, bro used more liberally in the bush than in the cities. Very Aussie.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peachy Keen

By Kathleen
It's a Musk Lorikeet and it loves peaches and this photo is brought to you by Wikipedia. Thanks wiki!

Another week in the fruit pickers world has gone by quickly. We’re still waiting for the harvest to start in earnest so we’ve been passing time continuing to pick tomatoes and on a couple of days, peaches.

The orchard we’ve been picking for supplies caning peaches for Coco-Cola ( among other fruits). I find it strange to be on this side of the agro-industrial fence given my pro-locavore/organic stances in my own food choices.

I can’t help but think  back to the giant cans of peaches that we had in the campus kitchen. Strange to think how seemingly unrelated things in life tie together. I’ve now worked in the food industry from picking to serving and I am continually amazed at how much food is being wasted.

Blueberries, tomatoes, plums and peaches it makes no matter for every fruit I pick five go on the ground as trash fruit. About half of that is perfectly edible but not esthetically up to par. What’s wrong with us? Isn’t there some seconds market out there? Having come direct from India this waste seems all the more appalling. We don’t realize what a privilege it is to eat well.

Nevertheless, orchard work is interesting and not half as labor intensive as tomatoes. The peaches have a few drawbacks one of them being the itchiness that their fuzz imparts and the other being that they are particularly appealing to birds.

Peaches are a bit harder to pick in some ways as it can be difficult to tell when they are ripe. Half the time you’ll see a group of them on a treetop and think “ oh look bunches of ripe ones”. Then you’ll get your ladder haul it over set it up and climb it with your giant fruit back, only to have it turn out  “nope not at all ripe” or “ way too small”. Peaches are devious.

This week brought another foray with Australian wild things. We stumbled upon a wounded musk lorikeet (we call them parakeets). Or I should say our local roommate spotted it hiding on a tree using its lovely emerald color as camouflage. We managed to grab it and discern that it was hurt before it escaped us.

For several hours we lost it until I stumbled ( literally poor thing) across it. We grabbed it again, put it (nicely) in a box and our roommate brought it to the local vet. Another cool thing about Australia… they have people who volunteer all over to rehabilitate wildlife and they take it every seriously.

So hopefully our lorikeet friend will fly free soon instead of becoming cat food.In the meantime I’m hoping it’s mates will take it’s hospital care as trade for not eating the fruit I want to pick.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day Trippin’ to Daylesford

By Kathleen Broadhurst

Corner of Daylesford
While we may be posted up in one spot for a while we still are traveling and when we have some free time it’s exciting to explore the surrounding area.

The state of Victoria is one of Australia’s smallest. Perched in the far south, smooshed onto the coast between New South Wales in the north and South Australia in the west, it has the wilderness of many national parks to get lost in, Melbourne’s urban delights and the wine country of Australia all within easy reaching distance from Melbourne City.

This is what Western Victoria looks like
Day Tripping

Tatura is in the north west of the state in the heart of Victoria’s farming belt. Flat grasslands are full of orchards, tomato plots and wheat fields. However not more than two hours away lies the Gold Fields distinct, historical center of Australian gold mining and the gently rolling hills peppered with vineyards.

We drove out to this area on Saturday, looking to explore and to find some good food. Daylesford is known as being a quite artistic community in the goldfields area. The drive took us down beautiful tree lined roads and farmhouses with horses and sheep. Stone walls lined little town centers and small general store were filled with Saturday day trippers.

With every curve we were reminded of our own area back home. Finally we arrived at Daylesford. In one glimpse we knew we had found someplace wonderful. One main road ran through town with cafes, restaurants, bookstores and funky store on either side.

I'll have the whole menu please
Café Crawl

We decided that a café crawl was the only way to really see the place. We started at Gourmet Larder where we had a terrine with relishes and picked roots as well as some homemade “fat chips” with mustard and mayo. To drink, lemon, lime and bitters and a glass of locally bottled orange and passion fruit soda.

The Gourmet Larder also offered lovely selection of gourmet cheeses, olives and tapenades. If you just wanted a something to go their selection of baked goods and espresso drinks looked very tempting.

Next we meandered up to a Locantro Handmade Chocolates where we bought a few indulgences. These handmade truffles come in flavors as familiar as milk chocolate and caramel and as exotic as young fig (which is delicious by the way.) Made in-house all were little bites of taste-bud heaven. On cool days the warm wooden interior made for a nice place to chat over a pot of hot chocolate.

Across the street was the vine covered patio of a very popular café with very strange waiters, the food looked good but we were put off the staff. I guess we forgot that eccentric places can gather some interesting characters… “ bright lights attract moths” as a good friend would say.

We were on a mission to find cookies after three tries we gave up and decided to go with something more Australian. The bakery had plenty of delicious pastries, apple cakes, tarts and meringues. We figured that the apple cakes weren’t too big so we split one, it’s crust was a perfect compliment to the sweet apple filling.

Junk Style
‘R & R’

While food was a big part of our afternoon it wasn’t the only part of our day. Daylesford has many other distractions including a lovely independent bookstore ( Paradise Bookshop) where you can pick up antique comics or a coffee table book on local flora and fauna. There were also several interesting retail stores selling kitchen wares ( The ___?__ Pudding) vintage clothing ( Junk Style) and a funky LGBT store ( Can’t Think Straight).

What draws most people to the town however are its natural hot springs. These have earned the town the nickname of Spa Country. You can come and spend the afternoon of a week receiving relaxing spa treatments and enjoying the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

There are also some local wineries and distilleries. Herb Lore specializes in liquors as well as chocolates.

Aboriginal Art

The sky was just starting to darken with the promise of rain when we decided to get back on the road. Just as we were leaving town something caught my eye. Bright and colorful, entrancing and beautiful. “ Stop, quick pull over,” I old my husband and we pulled into the nearest empty spot. There it was sitting unobtrusively on the corner of the main drag an art gallery, an aboriginal art gallery. (I’m on a mission to learn more about aboriginal culture and especially art.)

 Art Yarramunua Gallery has built itself up helping others up. The gallery features the stunning paintings of Aboriginal artists both local and from other parts of the Australia. Here these artists can start to enter into the larger market and here there are great things to behold.

Aboriginal art has gained increasing popularity in the last decade with several artist even reaching collector status. The most eye catching and well known style is the “dot-paintings” where the artist creates the image with thousands of small dots.

The dot-paintings are maps and stories, they show the way to a waterhole of retell a creation story, they celebrate the spiritual and the natural. Each mark has a meaning as does each color, red for earth, white for spirit or women’s wisdom.

It was easy to lose track of time in Art Yarramunua and hard to leave without taking something home. One particular painting caught my eye, it was probably 4’x6’  predominantly black and white with a dot painting snaking across a grid and a tread of red draped amongst it and it was hard to leave it behind.

All and all it was a wonderful day and nice break from work. It was fun to explore such a small town, it would be fun to see the rest of the area, or go back for a spa day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To-MAY-to Ta-Ma-to

By Kathleen

The past week we’ve been picking tomatoes. Like most ground fruit and veg., tomato picking is hard work. After six hours your legs hurt so bad getting from sitting to standing or visa versa is supremely difficult. Your lower back has turned into a painful muscle and all you want to do is lie down.

It’s even more challenging when it 40 C (105 F) or raining. But weather or no weather the picking must go on.. unless of course we can’t pick because of the weather.

Either way its actually one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had. Frankly, even in an office chair or an air conditioned café my legs and or back would hurt and here when I come home at the end of the day, work is done. I find I’m not bring back half the drama I have previously. Besides it’s satisfying to pick the fruit.

I’ve had some deep thoughts (well, not that deep) about food and life but I’ll get to those later. I want to show you what we’ve been up to. ( in reverse order)  *Oh and to those who have requested it, comments are back on.
Pickers' Paraphernalia and rainbow of tomatoes.

Industrial Irrigation can look surprisingly pretty in the afternoon light.

Gum Trees by a muddy river

Quiet cove at Manly in Sydney

Fiz posing in from of Hat Head Lighthouse Point, NSW

Yep that's a kangaroo hopping by. They're FAST.