Monday, November 21, 2005

AAW Relief Fund Auction

Update (12/01/05) - the auction has been postponed because of a technical glitch. I'll post the new date as soon as I have it.

The American Association is holding a special auction on ebay, which features the work of some of the best woodturning artists in the world. This auction is for raising money to establish a emergency relief fund for woodturners struck by disaster. The motivation for the auction was in response to hurricane Katrina. The auction ends next weekend. Check it out through the link I've posted, and type "AAW relief" into the search window.

AAW Relief Auction on Ebay

My small contribution is one of my "Leaf Saturation" bowls. This one is 3.25 X 1.75 inches in size. It's covered in the leaf motif and covered in acrylic paint.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Coastline pics from North Queensland

Here are some of the pictures I took from the shore of the Coral Sea. I was really surprised by how calm the water is, but I guess that's the effect of the Great Barrier Reef taking the brunt of the big waves. It was like looking off shore of a large lake. The water was lovely and warm, but full of coral spawn when I saw it. I was able to wade in clear water in one of the bays, but I sure wouldn't have been willing to wade in the gunk that washes up on shore from the spawning.

This is one of the views of Airlie Beach, which is a resort town popular with youngsters.

One of the mangrove swamps near Bowen.

Coral spawn coming ashore near Bowen.

Dried coral spawn on the beach.

The sign gives a warning about "stingers," which are small jellyfish that are deadly.

This and the next picture are ones I took while wading. The water was great. I'll have to go back sometime to do some snorkeling.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I'm back home again

Wow, what a long trip home! I arrived in Columbus, Ohio at 11:52 pm on Nov. 10th. It was mid-day on Nov. 10th when I left Brisbane, Australia. I had lost a day going over, but gained it back on coming home. I had 32 hours of travel time, which included a 2 hour layover in Aukland, New Zealand, a 4 hour layover in Los Angeles and another 2 hours in Atlanta. I tried to get some sleep on the flight between Aukland and LA, but the guy sitting behind me spent 12 hours coughing every 30 seconds or so, and clearing his throat in between times. Sigh. I just hope I don't catch whatever he was spewing into the air.

It's great to be home! Everyone, including the dogs, is happy to have "mom" back again.

I still have a few pics to post from Australia, so I'll try to get that done over the weekend. I've heard from a lot of people that have been checking the blog. Thanks for letting me know you've enjoyed the posts, and thanks for tagging along for the ride.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lamington National Park Excursion

Terry Martin drove me to southeastern Queensland to see the semi-tropical rainforest at Lamington National Park. This was absolutely stunning. We walked a couple of trails, climbed a ladder into a tree, saw a lot of animals (including the red bellied black snake), and enjoyed the day. It started out to be a pretty rainy day, but it cleared up by the time we arrived at the park. The park is atop an escarpment, and the road is very windy and twisty as well as narrow. The drop offs near the top of the escarpment are stunning and a good place for hang gliders to launch. You could see the Gold Coast high rises from the top. I'm not sure how far away the coast is from Mt. Tamborine, where we were driving, but it seemed like a long ways off.

The rain forest where Lamington National Park is located was preserved by the O'Riley family when they first bought the land. It's pretty remarkable that they conserved this bit of forest back in the early 1900's, and it's even more remarkable to note how much of the rain forest was cleared for farming.

I really enjoyed seeing the rain forest. Here are some pictures from the day:

That's me at the entrance to the border trail.

Strangler figs and trees send their roots over everything on the ground, including huge boulders. The next three photos are of strangler figs. They're correctly named in that they strangle the tree they're growing on. The seed from these plants germinate high in the canopy and then send down roots to the ground. Once the roots are established, it's just a matter of time before the fig surrounds the host tree and keeps it from being able to grow outward. The host tree eventually decays away, which leaves a lattice of strangler fig stems around the ghost trunk.

We climbed ladders up a tree to get a look at the canopy. The top platform holds two people at a time, and is 30 m above the forest floor. These views are from the tree:

This last photo is of a stump after the tree has been cut down. The strange shape outlines the buttresses of the trunk.

Lamington National Park Fungi

Here are some of the fungi I saw today on our walk in the park. Fungi are very important to the ecology of a rain forest. They're the organisms that break down all organic matter into their component parts to recycle nutrients into the soil.

Lamington National Park Animals

Here are some pictures of the animals I saw today at Lamington National Park.

This is a brush turkey, also called a bush turkey. The colorful wattles are used in displays.

This is one of many different kinds of parrots to be found in the rain forest. Les Fortescue has informed me that this is a Crimson Rosella.

They want to be fed. I'm glad I had my hat on. Some of them left presents on me. In addition to the Crimson Rosellas, the green and red one is a King Parrot.

Terry made a friend.

The next three photos are of a red bellied black snake. This is very poisonous. Terry spotted it sunning itself off the trail we were on. I took the first photo on our way out and the next two on our way back to the car park.

A wallaby grazing near the car park.

I don't know what this lizard species is, but it seemed content to be sunning itself in the road. Les sent me an email to say it might be a Bearded Dragon.

In addition to these lovely critters, I also heard the calls of the Whip Bird and the Green Cat Bird. I wish I had had my digital recorder with me to record the bird songs. Some of them came through on a few of my video clips.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Proserpine Turnout 2005 Part 2

Sunset at the dam above camp Kanga.

Barbque! Steaks and sausages.

Fellowship with some of the Bowen crowd. Bowen is a small town north of Proserpine. I visited there yesterday and will post pics later.

After the bbq, we went back to camp for the evening entertainment, which was line dancing done by the ladies. They sure had a good time. This was followed by a semi-naughty skit, but I won't post those pics here.

On Sunday morning, Shin demonstrated how he makes his tools. He heats up the metal to shape it on the anvil.

He then uses an angle grinder to remove waste metal before heating again to bend the tip into a hook. Then he tempers the steel in oil.

Proserpine Turnout 2005 part 1

I'll have to try this in two posts since I'm having trouble uploading all my photos into one. I arrived in Proserpine on Friday afternoon and was picked up at the airport by Bunnie Mclean. Bunnie was really kind and had prepared a sandwich for me to eat on the way to the campground where the Turnaround event was taking place.

I arrived to see four large tents set up, two for the lathes and accessories, and two for ladies crafts. There were about 120 people there for the weekend with around 40 lathes going at once.

Shin Ezuki (I'm not sure about the last name, I'll have to correct this later) and his apprentice came from Japan to demonstrate Japanese style woodturning.

The Japanese use a lathe setup very different from western styles. The tool rest moves around and the lathe is used in forward and reverse orientations. Everything is done with hand-forged tools that are bent into a hook. Push and pull cuts are used and all the cuts are done below center.

These are some of Shin's tools.

Here's the ladies tent where all the needlework and paper craft activities were going on. This makes the weekend very couple friendly. The guys can come play with wood and the wives do their domestic crafts. There were a few women turners, myself included, but only five of us turning were female.

I spent an afternoon demonstrating how I turn a bowl, and I think the guys learned a lot from watching me work.

Every meal was done in the dining hall. Long queues were the norm, and don't you dare ask for an extra portion of anything - the cook might smack your hand. The food was farm fare for the most - meat and three or four veggies. Very filling, which helped everyone get through the activities of the day.

Saturday afternoon was for the team races - four lathes going with teams of four or five. Everyone on the team had to do some turning. The race this year was to turn two identical chop sticks and an egg. The finalists had to run a race with the egg held in chop sticks.

I was supposed to be on the ladies team, but the afternoon sun got to me during the first heat. We were scheduled for the second heat, so I went in search of a shady spot and cold water. By the time I got back, the second heat was finished. Oh well - I didn't need to spend any more time in that heat. It was way too hot for my northern hemisphere genes.

The Saturday evening meal was a barbque up at the dam above the campground. It was a nice spot for a picnic.

The appetizer for the evening was "red claw" - a local crawdad. It was pretty good to eat.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Off to Proserpine

I'm flying from Brisbane to Proserpine today on their cutrate airline, Jet Star. This is really a no frills airline similar to Southwest. Should be interesting.

I won't have internet access again until Tuesday. I'll update the blog when I can.

I'll be flying home on Nov 10th. This past two weeks have flown by, and I expect the weekend to do the same. If you're one of my friends or family members checking the blog, please feel free to email me. I'm kind of homesick right now.

Brisbane, Queensland Herbarium, and Art Museum

Terry took me up to a lookout to see the view of Brisbane. Brisbane is built along a river that winds down to the coast. The city is about the size of the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area, but is laid out in a windy, twisty fashion that matches the contours of the river bed.

I was able to use the collection at the Queensland Herbarium this morning.

This collection doesn't have a lot of specimens of Euphrasia, but I was able to look at some species from this region and take some photos of their type collection.

Contemporary Aboriginal spirit poles at the art museum. For a change, I was permitted to take photos of the aboriginal art.

The contemporary Aboriginal art gallery showing a variety of objects based on traditional art forms.

One of the bark paintings on exhibit. Each of the tribes have traditional symbolism in their art. I don't know much about it, but I did buy a book that I hope will explain some of the nuances of the art.