Showing posts with label animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animals. Show all posts

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fragments of a tropical vegan

Hi! I am hopelessly overworked this semester! And trying to do things to keep my stress levels down, which also take time. Things like striking, to prevent some of the overworking in future years, maybe. Things like starting yoga classes again, for relaxation and adaptability. Things like gardening and running with Tika and reading novels and crocheting and spending time with Andy. Blogging isn't my top priority at the moment, but I do have some things to share. Rather than taking the mental effort to make some narrative sense out of them, I present to you some fragments.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Kale. We grew the pumpkin, the kale, and the coriander. We added garlic, white wine, and coconut cream, and ate with store-bought chappatis for an easy, quick dinner. 

A few weeks ago I saw Joey post about this vegan tuna salad recipe. I tried it out that weekend but used nori and wakame for the seaweeds. It was yummy, but didn't taste at all like tuna, in my opinion. Chickpea-based tuna salads are still the real winner! 

We have been eating PILES of passionfruit because our vine is ridiculous. We've also given stacks away. This cup-and-a-half went into the freezer to be enjoyed during the summer months. 

We eat flowers. It's a shame salad vegetables grow better here in winter, than in summer, but we are really starting to appreciate a good salad in the winter. This one has mizuna and rocket, a radish, nasturtiums, and cherry tomatoes from the garden, plus cucumber and capsicum from the markets. For dressing, I used Dreena Burton's recipe for hummus salad dressing, with a big handful of parsley from the garden. 

I've gotten a few new cookbooks recently, because they make me happy. This is a variation on a recipe from The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour at Home. They are roasted green capsicums (because that is what we had most of) rolled up with hummus and rocket. Yummy and nice to have some little bites instead of a huge bowl of food every night.

Tika, Defender of Kale and Spring Onions.

Nacho, Disrupter of Academic Work.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hello Tika

A bit over a week ago, Andy and I went up to the RSPCA and picked up our newest family member: Tika, the sharpei x cattle dog (x other things, probably). We weren't necessarily planning on bringing a dog home after that visit, but when we met this darling, she was so clearly sweet natured, gentle, and perfect for us that we couldn't risk someone else snapping her up.

In the 10 days since we've had her, Tika, who is maybe 4 years old, has done a fair amount of sleeping.

She's extremely affectionate, and Andy, who has never had dogs before, has had to get used to being licked.

As she settles in, Tika's personality is coming through more and more. She's a bit of a goose, and she loves flopping down on her back and laying with her feet all up in the air.

On Sunday we took Tika to the river, where she was *so excited* and distracted by all the people running, cycling, rowing, and walking dogs. We sat outside the dog park for a while, and then went in - but we didn't let her off lead. (On her second day at home she had a bit of an, ahem, incident with my friend James's tiny dog, so we want to know she can peacefully play before we take that risk with strangers' dogs.)

And to answer the question on everyone's mind: how does bossy Nacho, who has a serious reputation around this city, get along with the dog? So far they have mostly stayed apart. Nacho is largely indifferent, sometimes angry, and sometimes accepting of the dog. They've sniffed each other a bit, but for now we're happy to encourage distance between them. The dog very clearly knows Nacho is at the top of our house's food chain!

She's still a little nervous about loud crashy noises, and movements that may be perceived as about to inflict violence, but overall she's settling in beautifully, and she is just what we all needed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Touring the North Island

Pohutukawa tree, or 'New Zealand Christmas tree'

The majority of my week in Aotearoa New Zealand was taken up by the conference I was attending. 400 papers, plus a full program of ethnographic films takes a lot of time, but it also tires you out. Especially following very little sleep, thanks to a conference dinner and dancing to Baltic music.

For that reason, I was happy to wag off on Friday with my friend Chris and skip most of that day's proceedings. Instead, we had breakfast and then set off to walk up Mt Eden, or Maungawhau. The highest point in Auckland (aside from buildings), Mt Eden was not too far from our dingy apartment so we did the whole thing on foot. We started out walking through the Domain, Auckland's big garden with both landscaped grounds and bush.

Then it was back onto the street, into the suburb of Mt Eden and then up the hill. Near the top we found a small herd of small cows, grazing and napping and doing their cow-thing, free of fences.

This one let me give her a pat. I don't think she was particularly friendly, just too tired to move away.

From the lookout on top of Mt Eden you can see all around Auckland.

And, even though Mt Eden erupted 60,000 years ago, the crater is still very visible.

After marvelling at the view (and the cows) for a little while, it was time to walk back down the hill. Chris and I parted ways at the Auckland Museum, where she went in for a look around and I continued into the city. You see, I had a lunch date.

I was meeting up with Vaala, of the beautifully written blog Twilight and Shadow. We headed to Raw Power for lunch, a vegetarian cafe right in the city centre. The menu was packed with vegan options, so I asked Vaala what was good. I settled for the Tofu Burger, and I was informed that the guy from Coldplay had the same meal when he came to Auckland. It was the most aesthetically appealing sandwich I've probably ever had, but I had to eat it with fork and knife because it was so big.

I washed it down with the juice of the day, which was called the 'Elvis'. I don't remember what was in it, but it was yummy.

Then we grabbed dessert (I grabbed two desserts!) and went to Albert Park, near the uni, to eat in the sun. I had a Vegan Vanilla Creme, which is two chocolate biscuits with vanilla icing in the middle, and chocolate sprinkles around the edge.

Vaala was, as I expected, a lovely person and I'm very glad I was able to meet her.
A big tree in Albert Park.

(I also got a vegan rum ball to go, which I ate during afternoon tea at the conference.) After lunch I went back to the conference and settled in to some ethnographic films. As I watched, I wrote a few postcards to send to my family and started winding down for the weekend.

On Saturday a group of us rented a car so we could explore a bit more of the north island. The driver, Marcus, had heard about some hot springs about 40 minutes north of Auckland, so that was the only thing on the agenda for the day. We went, paid exhorbitant amounts of money to get in, and then agreed it was well worth it to soak in 40 degree mineral water.

After our fingers got wrinkly we dried off and kept going north. We found a little town called Warkworth, which I'm pretty sure is the best name for a town I've ever heard--especially if you have an American accent, like I do. We tried out our kiwi accents for lunch and I had "fush-liss sushi" and "chups". Sorry to any kiwis reading this--we weren't making too much fun of you, but it's just a nice accent to speak with!

From Warkworth we headed northeast, to Tawharanui National Park on the east coast. We marvelled at the blue water, waves, sheep and green hills.

Then we went a bit further north to Leigh, where we had a look at the Goat Island Marine Reserve (our driver, though now an anthropologist, started his life as a marine biologist, so this was for him really).

It was getting to be late afternoon at this stage, so we headed west. My supervisor *really* wanted to see the west coast, and especially the gannet colony, after hearing so much about it during the week. Though less than an hour's drive apart, the east and west coasts are vastly different to one another.

At Muriwai, we accidentally missed the turn off for the gannet colony and were rewarded with some amazing views of the whole coast.

And then we were quickly back on track for an up-close look at the gannets (again, for me).
Since Auckland doesn't get dark until late, we lost track of time and ended up going out to dinner at 9 pm, and finishing at nearly midnight! Very European of us, no? Then it was to bed, so I could wake up, do some last minute gift-shopping, pack and then get to the airport to head home. My arrival at home was slightly delayed thanks to a thunder storm over Townsville, but I got there, and in one piece. And shortly after I landed, Andy's plane came in from Lizard Island, where he'd been for the last five weeks. So while I had a great time in both Melbourne and Auckland, I was definitely happy to come home!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saturday in Melbourne

As I said in my last post, I had a busy and tiring but good (and gluttonous) week in Melbourne (aka: Australia’s Vegan Mecca). But the best day of the trip was the last day.

Saturday morning I woke up and took advantage of the free breakfast offered daily by my hostel (bad bread and peanut butter or vegemite). Then I hopped on the tram to St Kilda. I wandered through the beach-side suburb filled with cafes and trendy shops. I wandered along the beach, and put my feet in the Southern Ocean—it was cold. I bought a jacket, because I was warned that if I was cold in Melbourne, I would freeze in Auckland.

I got the tram back into the city in time for lunch at Lord of the Fries. I ordered the chicken nuggets with tomato sauce, but I wish I’d gotten chips.

I ate on the steps of Federation Square.

And then went for a walk along the Yarra River to the Federation Bells.

I got the tram back into my hostel and took a little while to pack up my things since I had to leave for the airport at 4 am. Then Kristy picked me up and brought me back to her place. I met Button, her semi-anti-social but super-cute kitty. We ate yummy Peanut Butter and Banana cookies while we waited for everyone. When we were all assembled—Kristy, Mr T, Caroline and Tim, and non-bloggers Dan and Ian—we piled into two cars and headed for regional Victoria. The first stop was at La Panella, a largely vegan bakery. I got a cinnamon donut and an éclair-like pastry. They were so good. The next stop was to pick up several kilos of weetbix. Then we were on the road.

The destination? Edgar’s Mission, a sanctuary for farm animals. Run by an amazing woman called Pam, Edgar’s Mission is a refuge for animals including chickens, ducks, dogs, goats, pigs, sheep, cows, a pony, horses, a turkey and bunnies. We were greeted at the gates by the dogs, who were shortly followed by two young goats called Romulus and Remus.

We saw the animals who live near the house—the bunnies and the birds.

The turkey called Tony Blair was beautiful but a bit shy.

From there we went over to the pig area. Pam fed the animals and introduced us to all of them. We met characters like Lily, one of the pigs who played Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web.

And Edgar Allen Pig, who Pam got as a pet and who made her realize the connections between animals we love and animals we eat.

After the pigs we went to see the sheep. Pam yelled out to them and they started running towards us.
I’ve never thought of sheep as intimidating, but when they know Weetbix are around, they get a bit aggressive.

We were each mobbed by hungry sheep who variously tried jumping, shoving, and eating our clothing. After the weetbix had run out we had some sheep cuddles.

Then we went over to see the horses. Everyone was a little intimidated by them, but they were very beautiful.

We said hello to the little pony.

And then we patted the cows. They were disappointed that we didn’t have any weetbix, but they settled for some scratches on the head. Cows produce an amazing amount of saliva—most of which got caught in the wind and blew onto us.

Pam has created an amazing animal utopia where different species intermingled with no animosity. She is not only generous with the animals, she was also very generous with us. After spending the day at an agricultural show to spread the word about veganism, she opened her farm up to us in the evening since it was my last day in Melbourne. It was really great to meet so many animals, to hear their stories, and to see the connection that she has with them.

After a rewarding trip to Edgar’s Mission, it was pretty late so we decided to get pizza from the gourmet vegetarian Plush Pizza. We got eight pizzas between the seven of us. I can’t really remember all the types—there was the mushroom medley with pesto, which also had dill and was delicious; there was the tom yung which tasted like soup in pizza form; there were a few with satay sauce; there was the Ben Special with avocado, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar; there was a BBQ pizza with fried tofu and roasted potatoes; and there was a garlic and Cheezely pizza. I tried every pizza and had the equivalent of an entire pizza all by myself.

The leftovers amounted to less than one whole pizza. I was impressed with our effort. I was even more impressed when we went back to Caroline and Tim’s for a glass of wine, when Mr T ate a few more pieces.

It was a great end to a great trip—even if it did mean getting only 4 hours of sleep before flying to Auckland.

Before I move on, in my next post, to the Aotearoa New Zealand portion of my trip, I want to say a huge public thank you to Kristy for driving my ass around Melbourne when I was there. I also want to suggest sponsoring an animal at Edgar’s Mission. It would make a great, ethical Christmas gift (and if you’re not in Australia, chances are the exchange rate is currently in your favour, so get moving!) and it would make a big difference in the lives of those animals.