Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The last weekend of summer. In words and (cat) pictures.

This past weekend was the first dry, sunny weekend in a fair while, and it’s also the last summer weekend (Australian autumn officially starts the 1st of March). Andy and I saw it out in an appropriately summery manner.

The weekend started on Friday night with a trip out to Thuringowa’s Riverway.

Photo courtesy of my mum and dad.

They were having a Friday night market and a ‘dive-in’ movie. We wandered through the market, entered a competition for a new bike which we don’t need, and then hopped in the pool. The movie that was playing was Open Season, and though I couldn’t hear much over the splashing and yelling, the gist I got was that it was a pretty vegan film. Basically, a bear is living a cushy life with a forest ranger but something happens and he is forced to move into the wilderness. At first, he doesn’t fit in with the wild animals, but they eventually band together to fight off the evil hunters. His wild side comes out when his annoying deer sidekick is injured, and at the end he is forced to choose between a return to the log cabin or life in the woods. Of course he chooses the natural life, because even a loving human isn’t a good enough excuse to keep wild animals in captivity! If you have children in your life that need to be indoctrinated with animal rights messages, this is probably a good film to show them. ;-)

After we dried off and came home, we enjoyed the very last fresh (giant) mango of the season…

Luckily we froze a few mangos so we can enjoy them all year long.

Saturday morning was an opportunity to give the house a big end-of-summer clean. With all the rain we’ve been having lately, everything got very damp and mouldy. Plus, with a kitty in the house now, it’s easy for cat hair to build up in corners and carpets. We washed all the sheets and put them out in the sun with our pillows to let ultraviolet light work its anti-microbial magic while we got our sweat on. Andy vacuumed the whole house (vacuuming is just as effective against fleas and other pests as chemicals) and shook the dust and hair out of furniture while I scrubbed surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. All our cleaning supplies are cheap, vegan and environmentally friendly: salt, vinegar, bicarb soda, eucalyptus oil, and lots of elbow grease.

I also made some herbal mothballs from dried cloves, rosemary, thyme and mint, tied up in a tissue.

To cool off, we headed to the Townsville Rockpool

Photo courtesy of my mum and dad

and after the swim, we swung by the Townsville City Council building for a Sustainability Expo. We each got a free greenbag and compact-fluoro lightbulb. We got info about hybrid cars, solar panels, a natural pest control business in town, and we got a free shower timer. There was a stall giving away free native plants, so we grabbed a Palm Lily, a Stiff Jasmine, and a Paroo Lily. There was also a sausage sizzle, and while there may have been veggie sausages available (I didn’t ask), I always find it amusing and also depressing that people are so unwilling to make the connections between meat consumption and the environment.

When we came home, I planted our little plants in the front garden. Andy installed our two new CFLs in the last two vestiges of incandescence—over the stove, and in the toilet. Now all of our light bulbs use less than 40 watts—there’s one big fluoro in the kitchen, the rest are 10 or 12 watt CFLs.

Sunday began with an early morning trip to the farmer’s market where we gave our new bags a workout. We didn’t get much because the pickings are still slim, but there were glimmers of a produce-filled future. New season avocados were for sale! They were $1 each, which is too much, but soon they will come down. I can’t wait. Then we had a leisurely day of reading the newspaper, flipping through the new Vegan Voice magazine, screwing around in the garden and getting ourselves ready for Monday.

Unfortunately, Sunday was our last leisurely summer day for a while—Monday saw me teaching qualitative research methods to physiotherapy students for 8 hours. Andy had to wake up at midnight to head out for a diving daytrip to do counts of bull rays. The new semester is starting, and much busy-ness is predicted for the future. At least this last weekend was a relaxing end to my most favourite season.

Farewell, summer! Come back and visit soon!


Anonymous said...

Oh what I would give for it to be the end of summer, instead of the middle of winter...

Mangoes!! I finally got some, so I can drool when I see yours, and eat them!

I remember when energy efficient lightbulbs first came out, my dad bought one for everything! It's such a great option, and such an easy switch, too bad more people aren't doing it.

Amy said...

I so want to wake that sun-warmed kitten up from her nap!

I like seeing how sustainability permeates all aspects of your life. Obviously it doesn't stop at veganism. And you're right, people are bad about making the connection between "green" living and eating meat--but I think/hope that is beginning to change.

Vegetation said...

I forgot it was the last weekend of summer! (although it kind of makes me happy that it is!)

I'm not freezing any more mango, turns out I have issues with labeling things and last time I made pumpkin muffins, it wasn't all frozen pumpkin!

And Nacho, I am SOOO in love with you! Too gorgeous!

Liz² said...

it's so strange to think that summer is ending for you... I do love hearing about all the ways you're making the world awesome, though! And Andy staring down Nacho is SO cute. :D

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

ahh, theresa, what a great farewell to summer post! that last kitty pic really illustrates the lazy days of summer -- it'll be nice to look back on during the upcoming hustle & bustle. :)

the little one said...

What a fantastic weekend! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Tony said...

Nice Blog,


Melody Polakow said...

Your kitty is soo cute!

I share your love of homemade cleaning products.. they do an amazing job..

bazu said...

Aw, what a romantic post. Summer isn't really gone, it's just making its way up north. Very slowly. I promise to take good care of it for you when it gets here! In, you know, 3 months or so...

Alec said...

Great post, I like Bazu's comment, it is slowly making its way up to the US. I do find it frustrating about environmentalism and veganism too. That's one of my major 'beefs' with Al Gore (along with his huge house, private jet, etc.). I don't think he has ever once talked about how diet choices, veganism, eating locally + in season can make a huge difference on the environment. Good luck with the new semester!

Ashasarala said...

Wow. Summer is just 3 1/2 months away for me! I can't believe it. Spring is yet to come!

Instead, I must shiver inside with a space heater, wishing I could move to some hot country on the equator... ::sigh::

That was an awesome weekend. I had to laugh and roll my eyes at the whole sausage bit, of course.

And pools galore! I don't have a lot of pools around here I can go hop in. Not that I'd want to. There're a lot of dirty people around these parts.

Nacho looks like such a happy kitty. :)