Scott bought us a cheese making kit from Amazon for a #smaj activity. We already successfully made halloumi, but Rosemarie said I should document the process next time, so here is our attempt at making cheddar cheese!
Don’t use this as a recipe, I haven’t included the finer details.
Now we have to leave it in the cupboard for a week, flipping it twice a day, so it can develop a natural dry rind. (We have a mesh food cover for it.) Once it’s dry we have to cover it in wax, and then leave it to age for minimum 5 weeks.
I only heard about Pound Bend near the end of the summer, so when Easter Saturday was supposed to be a freakishly hot day we knew it was the last chance to try it this year. The air was warm but the water was SO COLD. It takes a good 3 to 4 hours to float around so while I was OK up on the inflatable pizza, Scott was freezing his butt off on the water hammock. Plus some parts are quite shallow so he was also bashing his butt on rocks. It was fun for a couple hours but then became way too long.
We finally had a board game night with friends. Michael and Gina made an EPIC wonton feast!! It was soooo good. We played Tiny Towns, with hilariously bad results by some. I think Michael’s final score was NEGATIVE ONE in his first game hahahaha. (He did much better in the second game btw.) It is totally different experience playing with six people instead of 2 or 3.
We heard that our favourite game store was selling crokinole boards and were pretty much like START THE CAR, LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!! What a fun game. RIP everyone’s fingernails.
I competed in another weightlifting comp. I did snatch: 44/47/49x, and C&J: 52/55/58x. The 47kg and 55kg were equal comp PBs, which together gave me a 1kg total PB. I have never even tried anything heavier than those, even in training, which freaked me out a bit, but those third attempts went better than I expected. Hopefully I can get them next time.
Volunteering at State Champs. It was nice to see some good lifting in real life again. Maybe some day I will qualify. Maybe.
Endless bike drama. Prepping to ship my bike back so they could try to fix the bent back wheel.
I finally got to the framing shop and framed my Escher cross stitch, and the print we bought in Tofino, BC in 2015. I’ll try to take better pictures of the cross stitch soon. It is gigantic!! I need to research what’s the best way to do that with my fancy camera. Little peek of our new couches there too! We finally got them, after buying them in Boxing Day sales!!
Many family meals. Dinner at Brett’s, Easter brunch at Jemma’s, Noah’s 16th birthday lunch. It was nice being able to see everyone again after barely seeing them the year before.
We played Ticket to Ride online with MEP and Paul and I didn’t even win.
Went out for a dumpling lunch with my internet friends. Loooove having dumplings in a big group so you get to eat ALL THE THINGS.
Our March #smaj activity was clay target shooting in Carrum Downs. I was worried about it! I don’t think I have very good hand-eye coordination, and I’d never even touched a gun before. But it was actually super fun! I did better than Scott!
We got to do three rounds. In the first round, they shot one target at a time and they told you where it was going to come out. In the second round they shot two, but told us where they would come out from. And in the third round they also shot two, but you didn’t know where they would come from. I think I got about 70% of my targets which is WAY higher than I would have guessed.
The guy standing next to me in the picture who ran the whole thing went to the Commonwealth Games! Maybe it’s a new hobby for me when I retire from weightlifting. :D
We went to a AFLW game. We got to see the goal of the year!
Terrible picture but Da Boys came over for lunch and games. We played Tiny Towns and Camel Up, and ate sausages and mac and cheese.
I was doing regular, uneventful back squats and thought “Hmm, my finger feels kinda weird” and then watched it turn purple right before my eyes! I must have burst a blood vessel or something?
Waiting after jab #1. My work got us vaccines very early. We all thought we were category 1B, but we got them nearly straight away with category 1A. We got AstraZeneca, then literally the next day they started having all these news articles about how you could get blood clots and they were going to stop using the vaccine in many parts of the world. Felt great man. But we all survived (so far) and I’m due for my second dose this week.
It has been reassuring being half vaccinated while still seeing lots of patients, many of whom are immuno-compromised. (And also don’t wear their masks properly.)
Scott played A LOT of lawn bowls. He got promoted to the club first team, and they made it to the finals.
He also made it to the grand final in his basketball league.
We had a few family lunches.
We went to this progressive dinner thing in Kew where we had entree, main, and dessert at different restaurants within walking distance. I didn’t take any pictures but it was fun. We ate so many different things and also way too much.
We started pottery class. I think I’ll make that into its own post.
I’d had Cactus Country bookmarked for years, but because it’s 3 hours away from Melbourne and not really close to anything, we still hadn’t made it out there. But it fit into our Bright and Echuca trip perfectly.
It’s $17.50/adult to get in to see 1000s of cacti and succulents set up in little themed trails. There are number markers that match up to a guidebook that gives you tons of fun facts and information. They also have a cafe where you can try cactus cake and cactus ice cream, and a shop where you can choose a cactus to bring home.
So colourful! I kinda want a cactus Christmas tree.
They use these ones to make the cactus cake.
Cactus ice cream and cactus cake. A friend asked me what it tasted like and I wasn’t sure how to describe it. Maybe like apple? The ice cream was mild with a pleasant crunchy texture, and the cake was moist and spiced.
I bought a little Monkey Tail cactus to try to grow at home. We’ll see how it goes.
Overall we both loved Cactus Country! My favourite was the “underwater” themed area with all sorts of genetically unstable mutant cacti. The place was huge, there was so much to look at, so many cool pictures to take. And the information guide was very informative. I recommend a visit for sure.
Scott and I booked off the first week of March a while ago, without booking anything else, but planning to go somewhere. Maybe Queensland! Maybe Byron Bay! Maybe Western Australia! (I really wanted to go somewhere with warm swimming.) But after Jill’s ruined trip to Melbourne we decided that it’s still too risky to cross borders. So instead I tried to find the warmest places in Victoria (lol).
The weather was actually great in Bright, which is up in the Australian Alps. Nice and sunny and warm, but the water was freezing. We still got in the river in town for a little float, which was nice.
I hadn’t done much research on the campground I picked. I knew it was on a lake, and thought we’d do some swimming there. But after driving continuously UP for 40 minutes on switchbacks, we realised the campground was right on the TOP of Mt Buffalo, where the temperature was about 10°C colder than in town. Whoops. It was scenic AF but so cold. We felt like death getting out of the car in our wet bathing suits. One morning when we got up it was 0°C!!
See, it’s a legit mountain!! And pretty ideal for lazy people like me because you could drive nearly all the way up to the top. We only had to do a quick little climb up to The Horn at the very tippy top (30 minutes return).
We did a whole bunch of short hikes around Mount Buffalo National Park. Gorge Heritage Walk (1.5 hours), Lakeside Walk (45 minutes), Chawell Galleries Track (45 minutes), Eurobin Falls Track (45 minutes). They were all nice. Lots of big rocks. A bit of climbing.
Trying the ice bath technique on my sore calves.
Rosemarie suggested that we try mountain biking at Mystic Mountain while we were in the area. We tried to arrange a lesson but it was too hard so instead we just rented bikes for a half day and attempted to figure it out on our own. I was real worried. (Scott’s done it before but I never had.)
Anyway we started on the easiest run, which was basically just dirt tracks going around in squiggly circles, with a few bridges and jumps to try out. That was fun, we did that three times. Then we tried the second easiest run, which was similar but longer and had loose rocks ERRYWHERE, so it was really slippery. Sorta fun. At that point my butt was already very sore. Then we tried one tiny part of a blue run, which had MUCH BIGGER lumps!! And then I couldn’t find any comfortable position at all to be in, and we were both sweaty and tired, so we decided to head back. Scott did one more lap on the easy one one more time while I lay down.
After 3 nights in the mountains we needed to warm up, so we moved on to the Echuca area, which is a town on the Northern border of VIC, separated from NSW by the Murray River. It can get pretty hot up there, but not while we’re there, of course.
We stopped at Cactus Country on the way, but I have so many pictures to show you I’ll make it into its own post.
We stayed in a campground a bit of out town. It had… A LOT… of birdlife. Like THOUSANDS of cockatoos and galahs flying over starting from about 6:00AM. If you’ve ever heard one cockatoo squawking, you would know what I am talking about. It also had a lot of flies and mosquitos. Also the pool was freezing. But other than that it was fine!
Because 1000 birds is not enough for me, we took a boat tour through Barmah National Park with Kingfisher Cruises to see even more birds. It was great! We saw cormorants, spoonbills, azure kingfishers, egrets, tawny frogmouth, eagles, darters, treecreepers, yellow rosellas, pelicans, ducks, and more that she pointed out but I forgot. The azure kingfishers were so pretty and we got to see them fishing and eating shrimp out of the water. BTW I posted a whole bunch of Scott and my bird photos on my Facebook if you’re interested.
Echuca has a lot of paddle steamers. The most in the world apparently. We did the Wharf to Winery tour, where you ride a paddle steamer to Morrison’s Winery for lunch and wine tasting, and then get the boat back. Lunch on the deck with kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, and yellow rosellas flying around was simply lovely.