Chasing Birds

I've got a garden to tend, birds to find, beers to drink, and stories to share.

November 16, 2015
by Brittany
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Australia Part 1: Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula

Note: Australians are known for their unique way of bending and shortening the English language. Personally, I find English dialects to be fascinating and will try to share some of the relevant and/or more entertaining slang terms we come across. They’ll be denoted by italicized text in parentheses. 

We’ve been in Australia (Oz) for 12 days—a fact that my brain is having a hard time adjusting to. It may be in part because the cool Mediterranean hills of Adelaide feel familiar. The rolling residential streets are narrow and winding, shaded by mature gum trees (including eucalyptus (eucalypt); native here, obviously) punctuated by bursts of vibrant color from private gardens and native flowering shrubs like bottlebrush and jacaranda. And when you venture out beyond the suburban foothills, you find rolling grassland, already turning gold in the dryness of early summer, interspersed by oak-like woodlands. And beyond that, vast vineyards yielding some of the best wines in the world. Beyond that, the Great Australian Bight bleeds into the vast Southern Ocean. This should sound familiar to many of you. Yep, almost immediately upon leaving the airport, Colin and I agreed that Adelaide reminded us of the central California coast—a place that we both have very strong ties to. After 24+ hours of travel, we had landed in a familiar land…but not quite. Like California with crazy colorful birds, a British accent, koalas, and no Mexican food. A bizarro world of sorts. Though I’m sure the we-swear-we-don’t-feel-jet-lagged style of jet lag had something to do with our skewed perception of place.

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November 12, 2015
by Brittany
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Quick Catch-up

Good morning from the land down under! As you probably noticed, I haven’t posted anything in a few months, so I figured now is as good a time as any for a quick update.

The field season ended in mid-July with very little fanfare. We rounded out the summer with a visit from Colin’s parents, barbeques with friends, two backpacking trips and a bit of car camping. I had a few extra comp days to use after the field season, so I also took on a few extra shifts and educational programs with the raptor center. I was fortunate enough to squeeze in a long weekend in San Francisco with my two sisters– a first for us, but hopefully not the last! September was basically a month of travel for the two of us. Colin went on a long-planned 11-day hunting-backpacking trip in the Sangre de Cristo mountains while I enjoyed a quick trip to beautiful Washington State for Colin’s cousin’s wedding, which included visiting the Roslyn Cafe from the TV show all of us Michiganders knew and loved, Northern Exposure. We rounded out the month by squeezing in a celebration for my birthday and our second wedding anniversary.

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June 5, 2015
by Brittany
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Self-reliance or Something Like It

If you could only take three things to a desert island, what would they be?

I loathe those kinds of questions. Particularly that one. Mostly because I’m a take-the-kitchen-sink kind of person (except for when I’m backpacking). And I’m sorry, but there are only two people who could survive with only 3 things: MacGyver and Chuck Norris.

In the real world, no matter how much you think you’re prepared for something, you just aren’t. What you are is at the mercy of Mother Nature. And sometimes, she just. doesn’t. stop. In California: month after month of negligible or no precipitation. In Michigan, there’s a joke that the state has 4 seasons: Winter, Still Winter, Almost Winter, and Construction. But that last season has changed to “Is This Summer? Well, The Sky Isn’t *As* Gray…” and people aren’t laughing anymore.  In Colorado, we’re experiencing the effects of El Nino: precipitation and lots of it. And we truly, honestly, wholeheartedly do appreciate the extra moisture (we’re thinking of you, California!), but…enough already.

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