Friday was a busy day, that’s for sure! I had all four periods on, each a different class. I was exhausted at the end of the day! The first period was “Bones.” The students were still struggling with the math associated with levers. This has been a little depressing for me since I would expect my students in the U.S. to have had the prior knowledge to complete the tasks that I had asked of my students here. Next week, I am going to make the equations a little more manageable and will start grouping the students so that the students who understand the equations associated with force and torque can help the ones who are having some trouble. I think this would be a great way for students to help one another. We’ll have to see how this works out on Monday.
My next class was “Animal Inside.” The students completed their life-size digestive system poster and then started working on their projects. The project involves each of the students choosing an animal that they are interested in and having them show how the animal represents each of the seven characteristics of life: movement, respiration, sensitivity to the environment, growth, reproduction, excretion, and need for nutrition. I’m really fond of this project because it allows students to choose an animal that they are curious about, and engages them in a personal investigation about that animal.
The third period class was my year-7 science class. I realize that it was Friday, but it was no excuse for a few of the students to act up in class, especially when the microscopes are out. Prior to class I had collected some swamp water and duckweed from the swamp that separates the senior and junior campuses. I had it lying out on the table in the front of the classroom for students to make slides to use under the microscope. It almost got knocked over at the beginning of the class when a few students walked into class pushing each other around. This will NEVER be tolerated in my classroom and it will certainly not be tolerated in a science classroom. After dealing with the students outside, the rest of the lesson went well. The students were really keen on the invertebrates in the water! I found it fantastic that the students were so interested that they wanted to make more and more slides to see what else was in the sample.
My final class of the day was with my favorite class, the year-11s. I’m fond of this group because they are mature and are always willing to participate in class. I had a practical set up for them to perform that would allow them to understand how a semi-permeable membrane and osmosis works. I also had a quiz for them to do that would help me understand where they were with their knowledge of the chapter coming up. I’ve still yet to look at them to see where they are, but I will prior to Tuesday, when we have class next.
After school, I arrived home and got on the bike to go on my daily ride around the neighborhood. I ended the ride earlier that I would have liked just because I was so exhausted from the week. I spend the rest of the evening on Friday just relaxing. I wanted to get to bed early so I could get up at a decent time to help Ernie at the craft market.
Saturday morning, I woke up, made breakfast, got on the bike, and headed to school to help out at the craft market. As soon as I got to the end of the driveway, it started to rain. Of course it did. It rained the entire way to school and the entire time that I was there.
The craft market was held in Boucher Hall, the small gymnasium of the college. There was everything from woodworking crafts to pin up boards, to leatherwork, to Ernie’s unique collection of metal work. I will admit that I was very impressed with his work and was really mad that I wasn’t able to afford a piece. He had three mirrors that he had made out of stainless steel. Each one had a different animal theme. He also had a garden feature/fountain and a chair on display. The metal chair was very impressing. The arms had red gum tree inserts and it was very comfortable. After a few enquiries about his craft and his work, a lady bought the “stork” mirror as a gift for her husband. I was extremely pleased to see at least one piece of work sold.
After the market, Linda invited me to come for a bike ride along the Mitchell River going toward her house. I obliged and we left Ernie to do his thing for the rest of the time. We rode along the Mitchell heading east until we hit the bridge. We made it up to her road and I turned around to head home. The ride was about 15 km and took about around an hour. This was just about the longest ride that I had done since I’ve been here. Little did I know that I would go for about twice as long the following day!
The rest of the day involved watching various sports, including rugby, Aussie football, soccer, cricket, and probably some more that I just can’t think about right now. It seems like there is always some sporting event going on.
This morning I woke up and Skyped with my parents. It was great to see them and talk with them. Skype is the best! I then made some breakfast and coffee. And then all of a sudden, I had an impulse to take the biking to the next level. I don’t know where the impulse came from or what I needed to prove, but the weather was perfect and I had nothing else to do, except for laundry and this blog post… After breakfast and coffee, I filled up a water bottle and made my way down to the river. I headed down to the river and out to where Linda and I left off our ride on Saturday. It was around 8 kilometers from there to get to Nicholson, the next town east of Bairnsdale. What the hell…right?
With the temperature in the mid-20s and the sun bright in the cloudless sky, nothing could stop me from getting there and making my way back. I followed the Rail Trail through the farming country to Nicholson. Starting out, I didn’t come across a single person, but the closer I got to Nicholson, the more “g’day mate” greeting I received. I will never get tired of hearing that!
The trail was full of wildlife. I saw a ton of magpies, heard thousands of croaks from frogs, saw more cattle than McDonald's goes through in a year, a few horses, a few lizards, a snake, and a ton of insects. I may have even eaten a few of the insects as I was heading down a few hills!
I knew I had arrived in Nicholson when I saw the pedestrian bridge. The bridge, around 20 meters above the Nicholson River, was to be used by horses, bikes and pedestrians. Of course, you have to dismount the horse before crossing; wouldn’t want to be thrown over the edge! At this point I turned around. I’m glad I did! I headed back and was glad that the ride out was mostly uphill! I followed the exact trail back to the house, on the Rail Trail, along the Mitchell, and back up the hill to Scott Street in Bairnsdale!
In total, the ride took around an hour and a half and equated to just less than 30 kilometers. I had never ridden a bike this far in my life and was happy to have survived! I’ve been really keen on riding the bike but after this trip I was even keener!
After a shower and some rest, it was time to start dinner. I wanted to cook my mom’s lamb burger recipe for my host family, who was happy to try. Lamb is a staple here and is very easy to get in the market. I’ve found it quite expensive and limited at home. It has to be some of the best meat there is! I even like it better than kangaroo! The burgers, cucumber sauce, and garlic mayo all turned out fantastic, I just wish I had made some more!
I’m off for the night but will be back tomorrow to rant about something or just talk about something I found to be “Australian.” Please find my mom’s lamb burger recipe below-
4 large peeled and minced garlic cloves
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 small (4 inch) pita breads
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, grated and squeezed very dry in a clean towel
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon red or rice wine vinegar
2 clove garlic, minced
4 large, thin tomato slices
1. Peel, mince and set aside the garlic cloves.
2. Break up lamb in a medium bowl. Sprinkle garlic, feta, oregano, mint, parsley, salt and pepper over meat; stir with a fork to combine. Divide into 4 portions. Toss meat back and forth between cupped hands to form a ball. Pat with fingertips to flatten to about 4 inches wide. Refrigerate. (I actually make them into smaller balls, then flatten)
3. Mix cucumber, sour cream, mint, vinegar, 1 minced clove of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.
4. Build a hot fire on one side of grill. Replace rack. When coals are covered with white ash, add burgers. Cover and cook, turning only once, until done, about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium to medium-well burgers.
5. Grill pitas until spotty brown and warm, a minute or so per side or make it easy and heat in oven until warm. Split crosswise. Spread a couple of tablespoons of sauce over 4 pita halves. Top each with a tomato slice, some fresh parsley and a burger. Spread a portion of the remaining sauce over each burger. Top with remaining pita halves.
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
Crush the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and remove the skin. Mince the garlic very fine, add a bit of salt, and then using the flat of the knife again, scrape the press the garlic against the cutting surface to make a smooth paste...like an aioli
Add the garlic to a small bowl and whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to fuse together. Serve cold.
Enjoy! Thank you mom!