Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter epic - Part II

Well, Easter's just about over and done with for another year. I've had an eggcellent (sorry!) loooooong weekend.

On Saturday, I met my friend Paul for brunch at Gluttony on Smith Street in Collingwood. A couple sitting near us had a tiny and adorable Maltese/Shitzu puppy which seemed to take a liking to me, or more likely to the aroma of bacon coming from my plate (I know, what diet?). Lots of people passing by stopped to gush over the pup and pat it.

It was an overcast morning, but in the afternoon the sun came out and it was warm. I wandered up to Brunswick Street and poked about the book stores and clothes shops. I didn't buy any books but I did buy a T-shirt (below). They had one with 'Far out brussels sprout' on it too which I got excited about but I couldn't find one in my size. Dang!

I walked back in to the city via Gertrude Street where I could see the sun setting behind the dome of the Exhibition Building and illuminating the arched windows with golden light.

When I got to the city, I jumped on the City Circle tram for a spin through the docklands and then I walked home from Flinders Street, arriving in the dark.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon and early evening at my Dad's. My brother, whom I haven't seen in over 12 months, was over from Adelaide and it was good to see him. We had a yummy roast lunch, and ate lots of Easter treats (including the truffles and chocolate spiders I made).


Today I slept in, chatted to a friend on the phone and walked into the city in the warm sunshine and went to the gym. Yep, again! Three times in nine days. Just got to keep it up now...

I walked home again afterwards and nipped into the Botanic Gardens to enjoy the late afternoon sun (along with a horde of other people) and to take some macro shots of flowers. When I was crouching down to take one shot, a little boy with his face painted like Spiderman stopped to talk to me. He spotted the black and white stripey feather I'd picked up along the river bank and said he thought it was from a peacock.

At last!

Oh, and tonight I FINALLY finished the book I have been labouring over for about two months now - The End of Food by Paul Roberts. It's really put me behind in my goal to read 40 books this year but I'm glad I got through it and please to be able to start on a new book.

I would have abandoned the book, but it was really interesting - I wanted to finish it. It was just that it was so large and fat and I only managed to knock over a few pages a night before bed because my brain was too tired to concentrate.

One thing in the book I loved was the description of an alternative, sustainable, closed-loop method of rice farming in Japan which substitutes peckish ducklings for chemical pesticides.

"Each June, Takao Furuno releases hundreds of ducklings into his newly planted rice paddies, the ducklings ignore the seedlings (which contain too much of the mineral silica for their liking) but gobble up insects and weeds. Their waste fertilizes the rice, while their contant churning of the paddy bed stimulates the roots of the rice plants to grow faster...In the fall, Furuno removes the ducks (who would otherwise eat the mature rice) to a barn, where they produce eggs and grow to market weight..."

He sells the rice and the ducks and the eggs. How cool is that? Remarkably, his paddies produce about as much rice as his neighbours' paddies, which are more conventionally farmed.

Speaking of ducks, check out this duck I saw on the Yarra today. Usually I just see brown ones.


dam buster said...

Well done on finishing the book. on to better things hey?

i also got the roasting from the parents. But they discovered that in one of the supermarkets in the country town wher ei grew up they have roast pork as well as chooks cooking away. It was superb and an easy way to have a 'poor mans' roast.

glad you got to the gym again. is the pain lasting as long or are you getting back into it?

Jayne said...

Sounds like a very relaxing, refreshing time you enjoyed :)

Love the alternative rice farming with the ducks idea, every little bit helps and it sounds more productive, monetary-wise ;)

Frisky Librarian said...

Hi db. Yes, onto better things. Am now reading a book that's the opposite - I can't put it down and I'm ploughing through. Gotta make up for lost time!

Your parents roasted you? Strange Easter tradition. Bought roast not the same! There's not the same aroma and anticipation.

Gym pain has reduced to the point of quite pleasant muscle fatigue now.

Hey Jayne. There was actually more to the farming system than I blogged too. He also releases fish into the rice paddies. I forget why now. Maybe ot eat some kind of worm. He sells the fish when they get big too. He doesn't use any off-farm inputs at all.