Saturday, September 08, 2007

The weather's too nice to blog

... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week I packed a picnic lunch and a good book and headed off for places I knew would be ideal spots for relaxing. My first choice was Ruffy Lake Park, just a short drive away. However, as I approached the car park I was confronted with maybe a dozen huge buses already there, marquees set up around some areas of the park and what seemed to be a few thousand high school students who were having a sports day. I figured the park was big enough for everyone and I chose a place right next to the lake and away from most of the activities. I'm glad I stayed - the day was wonderful. I didn't have my camera but this is the view I sketched from where I was sitting. There were lots more trees but I thought I'd quit while I was ahead.

On Thursday I went to the zoo. I go there frequently as we belong to Friends of the Zoo and get free admission. My main goal this week was to see the cherry blossoms in the small Japanese garden within the zoo. I was just a week or two too early for that, so I'll have to return for another visit.

Usually I visit just a couple of animal groups (always including the giraffes) before settling down for lunch and a read. Despite my frequent visits I always find something new, it's unbelievable how much change the staff can produce in a short time. This time I discovered a huge new area for the Australian animals, replicating the dry landscapes so often seen here.

These are kangaroos made of timber, but of course there are also real ones! You can see a grass tree to the right, and the red sand which is common to much of inland Australia (that's why they call it the Red Centre). I find deserts quite beautiful.

This is a lizard called a lace monitor lizard. They can grow to 8 feet, but this one would have been only about 6 feet long. It was quite lively.
I always feel quite relaxed after my zoo visits. And seeing the school kids on their excursions is always entertaining. The reactions of primary schools kids of course are fun to watch, and even high school boys can forget to be "cool" for a while and go "ooh" and "awwww" along with the rest of us, especially when watching the young gorillas. I'm also grateful to zoos for preserving endangered species. The Melbourne zoo now has a family of Sumatran tigers. For years the male was all on his own, but a couple of years ago a lady friend was imported for him and now there are three "cubs" - they've grown so fast though!


Helen said...

Hello Val,
Glad you called. Isn't the epacris delightful? It also comes in red with white tips, and plain red I think. Your lesson for the day was about it being our state emblem. Good, I like to share my knowledge here and there. You really must drive along the Melba Hwy and take the cook with you. These plants are totally stunning in their natural habitat. It's a very pretty drive, and nice to stop for coffee in Yarra Glen on the way back.

John Cowart said...

Every once in a while Ginny and I pack a basket and go eat breakfast at the zoo long before most visitors arrive. Breakfast with the animals is a happy start to a day.

Gina E. said...

Oh Val, you have whetted my appetite - it has been a few years since Ken and I visited the zoo! When we were last there, the tiger was indeed on his own and I would have got a wonderful photo of him, but I was still learning how to used my digital camera, so none of my photos turned out - BLEAH!!
I love the sound of your picnic and book days - may Helen and I join you one day?
Thanks for your comments about my job situation; BTW Lindsay asked me to let you know their overseas trip has been cancelled, due to Anne's ill health.

Sonia said...

Hello Val! Sounds you had a wonderful time at the zoo. I love Australian animals, and kangaroos are my preferred!

T*mmy said...

We should be cooling off here in the next few weeks and we are definately looking forward to that so I understand completely!

That is a nice sketch!

PEA said...

That's a lizard?? The darn thing looks huge like a crocodile! lol I so love visiting the zoo and I wish there was one nearer to me, I'd be there all the time! As it is, I have to drive over 3 hours to get to the closest one. Love the drawing you did, just as good as a picture:-) xox

Diane J. said...

I love animals of all types so zoos are a favorite destination, although the closest ones are a couple of hours away in Memphis and Little Rock. I've been to the Memphis Zoo several times, though not lately, and I've never been to the Little Rock zoo. Maybe someday...

We're just beginning to get some hints of Fall as you're moving into your Spring. It never fails to fascinate me how our seasons are reversed from yours.

Have a wonderful weekend, Val! :-)

Love and hugs,


catsmum said...

you should've come up this weekend. Weather's glorious and the nights quite reasonable too.
Ms Rosie is due to kid today [ or tomorrow or tuesday ]
btw DD used to work at a pet shop in Blackburn South called Jurassic Pets. Star of the place was a 7' lace monitor [ well, and the bird eating spider the size of your hand ]

Annette said...

Our local zoo in Portland, Oregon has an exhibit of naked mole rats. A smellier crew couldn't be imagined. I can't even walk past their little exhibit without gagging. My favorite parts of the zoo are the aviary with the lorikeets and the sea lion exhibit.


Susie said...

Hi Val,
Great sketch! We love the zoo too! Our very favorite is the San Diego, but SF is very good too..

Alice said...

It must be about 20 years since I last visited Melbourne Zoo. I never liked zoos but some of the changes they had made even back then made it a much more appealing place for me to visit.

A book, good weather and somewhere relaxing in the outdoors - another joy of retirement.

Lee-ann said...

O! Val the weather is purfect for blogging tonight it is raining! yep! it is!!!

I love the Zoo and as one of our daughters lives in walking distance to the Zoo it is the best spot to go and run with the granchildren..........rushing from one lovely display to another but the best for a 5 year old grandson is the big morton bar tree that is purrrrrfect to climb in the middle of the zoo....:)

Have a lovely evening.

Lee-ann said...

Oooops morton bay not bar silly me!!!


Jeanette said...

Hi Val, Agree Its too nice to stay indoors, and I havent been to the Melbourne zoo in many years. went to Dubbo zoo about 6 years ago and enjoyed that.

jellyhead said...

Glad you had a peaceful day with your book, and a happy zoo visit. You can probably appreciate your days off even more, now that you are back working a couple of days!

I'm looking forward to visiting the Perth Zoo when we go on holidays to W.A next month.

Val said...

ONLY six foot long? Good grief, you dont do things by half Down Under do you?!

Peter said...

Hi Val, must be spring in the air, we, DIL and two grandsons and I, went to Australia Zoo for the day before heading down to Brisbane to pick my son Marcus up at the airport.
Particularly as it was so soon after the anniversary of Steve's death it was both pleasant and nostalgic to be there.

Miss Eagle said...

Val, re cherry blossom, you might like to pop across to the blog of my friend Denis at The Nature of Robertson ( Denis is a very good and keen amateur environmentalist. You will note that he has a post where a Japanese man has been in contact him with a request for photographs of single cherry blossom trees for "Flower Viewing". Denis has not been able to oblige because it appears that Australians tend to prefer double cherry blossoms. The Japanese, however, prefer single cherry blossoms. Denis has a plea out for photographs of single cherry blossoms in flower. He knows of trees in Canberra which were presented by the people of Japan. Perhaps that small Japanese garden at the zoo has gone for single cherry blossom? Let's know.

Blessings and bliss

lindsaylobe said...

Sounds like you’re enjoying our incredible weather and the Zoo~it reminds me I need to take the granchildren who love the experience !!.

I recently experienced the delights of suburbia with a walk along Fendale Trail to Gardiners Creek Trail and to Hedgely Dene Gardens in the vicinity of Glen Iris and Malvern.

Best wishes

Merle said...

Hi Val ~~ Sounds like you are enjoying the nice Spring weather.
Glad you enjoyed the Zoo - it is a great place, though it is a few years since I last went there. Glad you bought that tank, as it still hasn't
rained up here. Strange to ease the restrictions, and I doubt it will last. Carrazzo (sp?) is a very
consistant player, and Scotland is good too. High hopes for 2008.
Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

Kerri said...

Sounds like 2 perfect places for a bit of rest and recreation Val. I thought those Kangas were real :)
Our Syracuse Zoo has a family of tigers too, with 3 young ones that are growing rapidly. They're so beautiful! I too love the zoo...and relaxing in a park with a good book. Haven't done that in ages.

catsmum said...

If you're still coming up this weekend, you know where to find cute fuzzy things to snuggle with [ and maybe feed ]
not as exotic as a lace monitor but damn cute

Gretchen said...

Sounds like you've had a couple good days.

Thanks for sharing the sketch and photo. :)