Friday, October 31, 2008

300 Posts?! Now thats scary!

First I caught up on comments here. Then read three days worth of posts from the 114 blogs in my Google Reader. By the time I was done with that, I was aware of blood congealing in my lower legs, and thought, "I can miss posting today".

But then around the house: put away some books, put away the clean dishes, put a load of wash on...well, so boring! And theres a limit to what the shoulder will allow lately - so here I am again.

300th post, halloween, (anti-non-USA-halloween diatribe deleted). I think its best I stop here - hope you have a great day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Oh well, I missed the second fledgling despite a valiant effort. Such is life, eh?

Although both chicks are out of the nest, the parent birds are not off the hook yet! For the next couple weeks, the parents will continue to feed the chicks while they are learning how to care for themselves.

But the first lessons are in flying proficiency. So the parents gather insects in thier usual manner, park themselves in a nearby tree and begin to call a chick to them.

I rarely see the chicks at this stage, they tend to stick to dense cover untill they are confident little fighter planes. Then they so closely resemble thier parents, we wont know who is who anymore.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I can haz cricket?

For hours Id heard Momma & Poppa Little Wattle Bird making thier "QUOCK!" call. One "QUOCK!" doesnt tell you a whole lot. In fact, it could mean anything. "QUOCK!"

But when it goes on and on and on and on, well, "QUOCK!" this birder's curiousity gets impossible to ignore. Plus, I know they have chicks nearly ready to fledge. My bet was "QUOCK!" the parents are calling the eldest out of the nest. So I got the camera and slipped out in "Max Stealth Mode" to observe. "QUOCK!"

Just as I rounded the sunshade/bird-hide, the elder chick lauched itself out of the nest and into flight! It flew like it was already a pro, straight and true to the neighbors apple tree, maybe 10 metres away. It was over before I could even get a focus on the little Champion!

And then there was one. "QUOCK!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lampworkers Tag Team Me For A Meme

ACK! Ive been hit! Not once...but TWICE!!!

Donni landed the first punch. Donni is a very interesting woman - creative in more ways than just her lampwork - speaking of which I have one of her beads and I love it, it has such depth, you can spend ages looking at it! So go get yourself one and visit Donni's blog too, theres links there to all her creative pursuits.

Then Vonna introduced herself by slugging me as well! And we've only just met, but she makes a very pretty bead too - so click over and check her out!

Are you wondering what they've tagged me with? Well OK! Its time to play: (drumroll please..........)


(Kinda off the top of my head since its getting late...Hmmmm...)

Im a cranky old woman, and have been since I was 6 years old!

Currently I am being kept alive by the promise of a latte.

Still havent figured out what I am going to do when I grow up.

The next person who says to me...
"Oh, you are so lucky your'e a blonde" going to be eviscerated.

I like to name things. Even inanimate things, for example:
I have a bra I call "Civil Engineers Pride"
Some undies called "The Underwear of Ambiguity"
and several T-shirts called "More Hole-y than Righteous".

I like to make people laugh.

I wish I knew then, what I know now.


And now Ive gotta spread it around. You know how it goes, I tag seven of you, and you each tag seven in return RAH! RAH! GO TEAM! Know what I mean ;)

Barkfoot of The Perambulations of Barkfoot
BetteJo of A Bead a Day
Ces of Ces and her Dishes
Melanie of Creating Nunde
Sharon of Mooky's Hood
Young Werther of Forlorn of Thee
My evil twin at Oculus Sinister

Monday, October 27, 2008

No good deed goes unpunished

First, some back story:

I get along better with animals, than humans.

I keep my two cats Aurora and Priapus, inside. I keep them inside even though Im sure its detrimental to thier mental health.

I know cats are hunters by nature, and Australia's small native animals are no match for them. Anyone who says thier cats dont hunt, dont know thier cats.

Its not the cats fault that they are here in Australia - its peoples fault.

And now my piece begins:

There is a sign up in my yard. A sign that only cats can see. Not having seen it myself, I dont know exactly what it says. But it must translate to "Safe House". Travelling cats see this sign, and if they require assistance, they know to hang out and allow me to see them.

Most times of the year, theres only one. But in spring - the season when a young Tom's fancy turns to love - traffic goes way up. I have FIVE strays Im monitoring at the moment, two are pregnant*. Sweetie*, Blondie*, Bluey, Battleaxe, and Greylegs.

Sweetie is very loveable. She wants to be loved as much as she needs to be fed. She is ravenous not just because she is pregnant, but also because she is heavily infested with worms. Par for the course when youre living rough on the streets.

So yesterday: I got a wormer that is safe for pregnant cats and a little tin of Royal Meow, waited for Sweetie to arrive, then went out to open the nights 'clinic'.

To my very great relief, the crushed wormer tablets mixed into the fishy mush was gobbled up with no hesitation. Now see, a pampered house cat would have instantly turned up thier nose and refused it - indeed, a pampered housecat would have preferred to starve.

Then Sweetie and I had a little love-fest. She just loves being pet, and craves loving company. I consider this one sign she is an abandonded pet. Aurora and Priapus, who watch from the window with great malice, are not impressed. (Dont worry, I change my clothes and have a big wash when I get in so I dont bring nasties of any sort back inside to these spoiled brats.)

But after a time, one must say' goodbye for now'. I explain to Sweetie that this special meal will make her tummy feel a bit better, and when I see her tommorrow we will see what else we can do - after all - I need to be sure that she really is abandoned, and not just a neighbor's neglected pet before I take her off to a shelter.

As I walked back to the front door, I lost my balance and fell over, dislocating my shoulder.

So I ask you...was that Karma?...or...Hubris?


I know, I shouldnt tease the moron spammers with a post title like that, but I cant help it. These are literally HOT CHICKS! It was a HOT DAY and the sun poked itself right into the heart of the Banksia. So the chicks had to pant to cool themselves untill the sun passed them by.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What do you want to see - The Poll

Yipper, Ive put up a poll. You can pick multiple answers - but you cant change your vote (that I know of anyway)! If theres something youd like that isnt a choice, well, smack it in the comments for this post....get to it!

Happy Snaps - Little Wattle Bird chicks '08

Im pretty happy with this shot. I think its the best shot that I could have gotten under the shooting circumstances - and WOW - my timing was right on. Birds are amazing - Im so glad Ive planted lots of trees for them.

Little Wattle Bird parents spend all thier time catching insects while they have chicks in the nest. Although its not our idea of 'good protein', the insect diet does grow bird chicks with lightning speed. These chicks leave the nest just 14 days after hatching!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Little Wattle Birds prefer Banksia Serrata

This Momma is not the same Momma Little Wattle Bird whose chicks we featured last year. That Momma (and Poppa too) were very tolerant of my presence and built thier nest very low in this Banksia Serrata, allowing me to get those great close up chick shots.

But this years' Momma has been very nervous, flying off at the slightest suggestion of our presence. So we have not been trying hard for photos. The most important thing is the safety and comfort of the birds, naturally. As a result, for the first clutch of the year we only got one photo of her sitting and one photo of the single chick at fledging.

They built another new nest early this month, higher still from the last, but in a spot where I could shoot while half concealed. I found I still had to sneak out, otherwise Momma would hear the back door opening and take off...but if I used maximum stealth, I could get a few shots in before she would be upset.

In looking at this photo, I think I see why they keep choosing this tree even though other trees offer more cover and are closer to other trees.

Notice the spent Banksia flower cone - and her patterning. Fantastic!

Friday, October 24, 2008

California Dreamin'

The song title puns continue!

California Poppy volunteer photo-ed on a dreary day. If the sun comes out today, I will surely be stuck inside somewhere - such is life, eh?


Comment moderation is back on due to the usual sort of idiotic "performance enchancing" linkage.

You jerks bugger off - you must be deadset morons to not realize that this site is not your target demographic.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A bird on Malus

Hunting amongst the spent flowers for bugs to feed his chicks. Im so glad I gave up using bug sprays in the garden. Now every year more birds come in to hunt, and I wont ever have to spray again. Win-Win all over.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Bud called Malus

In general: Flowering Crab or Crab Apple. Specifically: Malus spectabilis 'Plena' - which is also known as Chinese Crab. Theres a tonne of 'Crabs' out there - check them out on Wikipedia's Malus page.

Did you know that apples are in the rose family? 'Tis true!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Going Dutch

Ive had this Dutch Iris bulb in the earth for about three years now, and this year is the first its bloomed, Hooray! Extra manure for you Mate!

Ive had mixed luck with spring bulbs here. In our Sydney patch, it doesnt really get cold enough to trigger the dormancy period they need AND - moisture...well, the droughts not over yet.

So Ive photo-documented this one small triumph, and lets see if the other two bulbs join in next spring.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pinkerish Sun Spot Hathor Ra

Ive been at this computer (seemingly) all day, reading medical journals, abstracts and studies and case files - Oh My!

Theres alot of academic rabble rousing out there on the subject of Diabetes. As with all subjects, everybody thinks they are right and the other guy is wrong. Around and around they go till my brain hurts. I cant help but think the right ones are those who seem to be describing my own experience. But if I am going to defy traditional wisdom, then I am taking a gamble with very big stakes.

Now, I bet youre asking: "Whats this got to do with anything?"

Not much really - just enjoy the pretty picture - Im going to bed!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hollyhock: Alcea Rosea

Yesterday the bud, today the blossom. This particular plant has raised itself to over seven feet! Its going to be magnificent, and very worth the wait.

I think thats why you dont see them grown much anymore - this being the day and age of instant gratification, plastic junk, and chasing our own tails. Most people dont seem to want to take the time to grow something that wont bloom instantly and with artificially induced profusion....ooops, caught myself gearing up for a rant...excusez-moi...

And anyway, whats wrong with 'old fashion' plants? They were popular in thier day for good reason - and besides - "old fashioned" is due to come back into style. Why not be ahead of a trend for once?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Long term investments...

Long term investments about to pay BIG dividends!

Last year I planted Hollyhock (Alcea) seeds. Being generally biennial, last year they produced a basal rosette of leaves. Now the plants are in thier second year of growth, the flowering has begun. I will keep you posted!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Perspective of another kind

Under the gum tree, a field poppy and its johnny jump up companions.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Orange & Pink: Perspective

Sweet Pea and Nasturtium volunteers...the secret to my garden style is just the right amount of neglect.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Robertson, NSW and Home again

After hiking back to the car, and stopping at the visitors centre cafe for a coffee, we headed on toward Robertson. Along the way the rain clouds began to break up, and I got this interesting shot of a continuing shower in the distance.

I loved the way the sun and clouds chased each other over hill, dale and a majestic Moreton Bay fig tree (Ficus Macrophylla). Not a bad shot considering I took it while we were flying by.

Once in Robertson, we made for The Famous Robertson Pie Shop. Now, here in Australia, the meat pie very nearly qualifies as 'traditional Aussie' cuisine. And the Famous Robertson Pie shop does do the very best pie Ive ever had. Ive gotten the chicken pie both times weve been there, and just thinking about it now makes me want to fuel up the car and go get one now - drool - very, very yummy pies. No pictures of pie eating tho - much too busy enjoying our dinner for photos!

When we got home...

...the recriminations began. After many cuddles and the Tin Opening Ceremony, a good nights sleep was had by all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morton National Park - Fitzroy Falls - Final

Much of the terrain is adorned with mosses and lichens, it must be cool here all the time. This detail from one pic gives us a good look at another world.

And this flower, I dont even know what this is - what was I saying about another world?

I love this 'secret view' of the falls.

Soon it was time to backtrack to the car, and make our way to our next destination.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Morton National Park - Fitzroy Falls Part 4

Low clouds and spray from the falls combined to form a veil of mist. As a breeze picked up, the sun peeked through, slowly revealing the Hawkesbury sandstone escarpment, and the long valley all the way to flat topped Mount Carrialoo.

Looks like a wide angle lens also goes on the wishlist! We have decided to come back one day with equipment for a real "old school" expedition.

(Again, in this size and resolution, you are only getting a taste of the beauty of this place, which I greatly regret.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Morton National Park - Fitzroy Falls Part 3

The rain made sure there was plenty of water to cascade over the edge and down into the sub-tropical rainforest below. Fitzroy Falls is impressive on its own, but wait till you see the valley too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Morton National Park - Fitzroy Falls Part 1

We entered the Morton National Park and decided to take the short hike to Fitzroy Falls.

The combination of the season (late winter), weather (raining) and altitiude (640 metres above sea level) made for some interesting photo opportunities. Which was fab as we had brought both lenses with the Canon (EOS 400D) and the mono-pod. So the only limitation on shooting was the rain - I guess Id better put "raincoat for camera" on my wishlist.

(I wish I could share these with you in full-size - but they are just toooooo big!)

Whoa Nellie! Whoa!

Whats with people on the road? They drive like they are trying to outrun armageddon. So, every chance we could, we pulled over to let them pass so we could enjoy the scenery.

Why would you want to rush through here?

USA readers: I am shooting from the passengers seat - and to my left beyond the guardrail is a steep cliff! In some spots of this road you are sure you are about to plunge to your death - very exciting - in a thrill seeker sort of way.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Roos near Berrima, NSW

Just outside Berrima, New South Wales, The Most DH spied these Roos in a paddock. At first all I could see was the lovely wattle bush...but as we reversed a bit - there they are! This shot was taken with my 'long nose', and still they are tiny - how does DH see them as we hurtle by at speed?

In Berrima we stopped for scones with jam and cream and a coffee - then off to our next stop!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Road Trip!

Its a rainy late winters day in August and diesel fuel costs a bundle - but we are going to have a nice drive anyway! Where are we going? Wait and see!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hardenbergia Violacea 'Happy Wanderer'

One of my favourite Aussie Spring Wildflowers: Hardenbergia violacea, 'Happy Wanderer' is a climbing vine also known as Purple Coral Pea. You can find out more at either the ABC's Gardening Australia or, Wikipedia

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Red sky at night, Sailor's Delight

Red sky in morning, Sailor's Warning

Spring is in full swing. Its time to reacquaint oneself with the sunscreen - lest one be smote to charcoal.

But in another conspiracy to make my life as complicated as possbile: Ive become allergic to my sunscreen. Im sporting lumps and bumps...nay, an actually lovely shade of purplish red all over my face, neck and decolletage.

Oh yes, its the look for Spring '08!

Till it goes away I will live the life of Nosferatu - hope you all are enjoying the sun, or at least the sunsets. Cheers!