Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wiseman's Ferry

The ferry is pulled across the Hawkesbury on cables, and takes no time at all to cross. I thought it was kind of cool that the car got a ride somewhere instead of just being the vehicle we ride in. Once we reached the other side, we took a left to The Old Great North Road.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A new Road Trip!

We are going to take the Wiseman's Ferry across the Hawkesbury River to see whats over there. The Most DH has been over there - but too long ago to remember, and you and I have never been!

Friday, November 28, 2008

- - - fly by posting - - -

Egads people! Its been nuts around here lately and I havent had (more than) a moment to blog in days now....somethings gotta I have to do the dishes or cook dinner today?

Anyway, here is a Frozen Flight shot starring one of our parent Little Wattle Birds from a short time ago. Flight just gets more interesting to me the more of these I capture.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lithops, Living Stones

I bought this little plant a number of years ago in a garden centre for a whole three or four dollars. It was just one 'stone' then. One year it divided itself into two stones, and then flowered!

Although it did set seed they didnt germinate, but no matter. Its still a fascinating little plant. It has just finished re-newing itself as it does at the end of winter each year.

The topmost surface of each stone has tiny windows in it to allow the sun to shine inside the plant for photosynthesis, therefore, no leaves are necessary!

You can see an amazing number of these plants at, or here is a Wikipedia Lithops page, or even more info at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just wait till I shoot this with the Canon!

This is an old shot from yonks back. Now my gum tree (a Eucalyptus hybrid called "Summer Red") is heavy with bud, and I cant wait for them to open. The flowers pull in Rainbow Lorikeets like a magnet!

This year I will have the Canon, so with any luck the shots will be even better, and if the sun is shining that day - it will be magic!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Her Majesty's Fireworks

Since growing some Queen Annes Lace (Ammi Majus) from seed a couple years ago, I find Im even more enamoured of it than I was back in the day it was just a weed by the side of every road in my country of origin.

I keep taking pictures of it - as though I was doing a 'study'. Perhaps I am. Or perhaps its just fodder for another occasional series - only time will tell. Regardless, it fills the bill today as Ive nothing else prepared!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ingredient of Purple Haze

These little flowers in great profusion make the Jacaranda the marvel it is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

On the way back to dry land

Mangroves where the Kodak had a kniption fit, and I missed a great shot of a heron. The Most DH had much better luck, catching a very nice Jewfish. We cooked it on the bbq that night, delish, I think its even better than flathead!

After the sedate colours of the Mangroves, you cant miss this odd couple. You are all familiar with the Jacaranda tree now, but I havent the foggiest what the other is.

But then on the last bend of the river, this magnificent White-Bellied Sea Eagle patiently waited for my Kodak to sputter back to life. Once Id bagged this shot, the Eagles mate arrived and sat across from him! Two patient and regal Sea Eagles were giving me a rare and wonderful treat - and how did the Kodak respond?

Why, with the error message "Memory full", of course.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not Lazy - Up and Down the River

Motor to a good spot, drop lines, drift with the tide. Repeat.

Ive given up fishing. I never catch anything here in Oz, except gross and disgusting sea things. So I struggled with the Stubborn Old Cow Camera (Kodak DX6490) and wished Id dared to bring the Canon.

The weather may not have been nice, but since we were out on a Tuesday, we had the river pretty much to ourselves. (Some things about shift work really pay off for us.)

The last shot is my fave of these three. This stalwart sage speaks to me. I want to sit with this tree awhile, but no boat is sturdy enough to brave the rocks along the shore.

Remnant wilderness and imagine the garden...

Its these undeveloped remnants of bushland that I most adore. The way the gums strangle sandstone to stand proud leaves me feeling hopeful for my own struggles. I wish the whole world was still covered in green, instead of seas of houses and roads...but thats for another blog, another day.

Still, if one had to live here, I must admitt I covet this place:

Imagine the work that went into all that terracing! And imagine the garden I could create there....hmmm, thats a sweet daydream. I imagine that The Most DH has daydreams about being able to park the boat in the boat house too.

Must run, am supposed to be in two other places right now. Ha! Hope to catch up tonite!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cockatoo's cat-nap

This Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is having a cat nap. They raise thier chicks in hollows of gum (eucalyptus) trees, so this one is probably a very tired parent.

Its very hard to get a clear shot while standing on a moving boat. If the day had been sunny, I could have used a faster shutter speed to counter it....but thems the brakes, eh?!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An afternoon Georges River cruise

There will be no prize winning photography in this short series. As there was no way I was risking my beloved Canon on a boat, I took the Stubborn Old Cow camera.

I was swiftly reminded of the things I hate about the Kodak DX6490. Its rotten in low light and as swift as a glacier. At one point I dangled it overboard and threatened it verbally.

But for what the shots are worth, I hope you will enjoy a bit of scenery from the Georges River. This time of year the gorgeous Jacaranda are in thier full glory.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not what I bargained for

This iris is not what I bargained for. I won two auctions on ebay last year. One was for a soft lavender iris, and the other a sweet pink.

I got two of whatever these are.

I guess they are OK. But I cant get over them not being what I stretched the buget and outbid others for. Both had correct labels. One hopes it was an honest mistake. One doesnt think one will be buying iris on ebay again. I am making an effort to get on the boat and pretend I like it. I hate boats, but I love The Most DH, and he came with a boat. A Gal has got to do, what a Gal has got to do!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

David Austin Rose - Gertrude Jekyll

One of my top three rose choices, Gertrude Jekyll from David Austin. If you take that link out to his site, you can browse his other selections, which are all fabulous in every way. Dont despair that the site is the UK, you can buy David Austin roses in retail shops around the world. Ask you local garden center to get your selections in for you. USA readers, it is never too early to start planning your spring planting!

Other than the above, I am completely uninspired verbally this morning, so off I go.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Alcea Rosea var. Nigra = Drama

Ive had a small victory this week. Blooming in my garden for the first time is the infamous black hollyhock, Alcea Rosea var Nigra. Also known as The Black Knight. My excitement stems from having sown seeds for this variety twice before, with only terrible germination rates followed by snail attack as my reward.

Now I am victorious!
(picture me striking a dramatic pose and beaming with pride here)
In other news, I may be absent tommorrow due to an engagement tonight. Sadly not one I can take a camera to, doesnt that suck?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Call of Happy Hour

After visiting several flowers, our man on the job was fluffy with pollen. When he finally stumbled out of the last flower, he flew listing to one side.

Now probably it was all that pollen stuck to him that set him off balance. Or maybe he was just so full of nectar that the weight of it made it hard to maintain altitude. Id have to be a bee to be sure. But I find it more amusing to think that he was just tipsy with all that sweet nectar.

And he certinally flew like a drunk. Suddenly changing course, shambling forward in a sort of sideways fashion and then - he bumped into this bud stalk! Instantly, but not gracefully, he grasped a bud with two legs and hauled his body in to sit on the edge of this leaf!

Then he set about furiously running his legs over himself. Everywhere he could reach he tried to clear himself of pollen. Pollen is obviously sticky stuff.

Suddenly deciding he was 'clear for take off', he let go of the bud and plunged several inches downward untill he got his wings going fast enough for flight. And with pollen grains still visible on his head, our bee friend flew off toward home. Flew...well, okay. Not so much 'flew' as lurched.

Bon voyage, Bee!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No such thing as a 'free lunch'

Here we have a bee burrowing right in to drink nectar from nectaries at the very base of the flower. For the bee, its the equivalent of stopping off at the pub on the way home from work.

You may have noticed that hollyhocks make masses of pollen. As the bee burrows in, he cant help but get covered in it! After he leaves this flower, he will order another pint at the next flower - thus bringing pollen from one flower to the next.

So the bee thinks he is getting a free lunch, and the hollyhock gets what it needs to set a big crop of seeds.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hollyhock Skyscraper Skyline

The very first time I saw hollyhocks, they looked like this. You can see how they would make a big impression on a little person.

They were in the shade of the house when the sky was finally clear enough for a nice blue background. For this shot I laid down on the path next to them and shot straight up in arpeture priority mode.

This way I was able to get shots where the hollyhocks were either totally black against the sky (cool looking), or more naturally coloured as in this case. (Sorry it is so small, but I figure you dont have all day to read blogs - maybe most of the day - but not all of it.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Leaf hopping is fun

I love this shot! Mr Glean was collecting aphids from the rosebushes, and just as he started to take flight, I got this shot. It looks to me as though he is hopping across the leaf-tops.

Ive been getting a few of these "Frozen Flight" shots lately. It just fascinates me how a birds wings move. If it fascinates me, it might interest you, so I will share Frozen Flight shots from time to time - cool?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mr Glean, AKA Passer domesticus

Introduced to Australia, and a considered a pest species, the sparrows do me a service by eating up any spilt or escaped seed from the budgies aviary. Ive named the fearless leader of the 'little brown job' troupe "Mr Glean".

Birds in Backyards' page on the Sparrow. Did you know that they are actually a finch? You can tell by the beak.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Invisible Perch!

I enjoy the LOLz over at I can haz Cheezburger. It took me awhile to not be annoyed with the (deliberate) mis-spelling of words, because I love words more, but now Im quite at 'home with the downies'. (LOLz)

I thought about sharing this photo with them, but when I looked at the fine print it seemed to me that that would be granting them permission to use it where ever they liked (ie: off line in print as well). So if I understood that correctly, heck no!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Future Food: Lemon

I knew the Fringe Lily was going to be a tough act to follow. Which is why I saved it for last. And, ooopsie, I dont have another series ready to start this morning (SLACKER!). I will try to revive one that sort of ran out of steam when I became ill last year.

Future Food will be a casual or occasional series, (first and only previous post tomato December '07). Im hoping to get more shots of Future Food this summer. In the veg patch so far Ive got a Zuke and some Cukes that Im waiting for flowers on - shouldnt be too long!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Common Fringe Lily -Thysanotus tuberosus

The honeyeaters we were stalking stayed deep in the brush. Clearly they were unconcerned with my desire to see them or for my cameras welfare in the increasing rain. As I set off back to the car I found this treasure.

Thysanotus tuberosus - the Common Fringe Lily. How can they use the word 'common' in the name for this gorgeous flower? This is the first one Ive ever seen - offline! The impossibly beautiful flowers are held aloft on wire like stems, I could see no leaves at all.

I dont think I have to explain how much Id like to cultivate these. I have seen seed for sale, and each time left them behind as Aussie natives are a tricky lot to propagate from seed. But next time I do, I wont hesitate!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mountain Devil - Lambertia formosa

We took an off-road track for a short way as it began to gently rain. We stopped to stalk some honeyeaters we noticed flying off from this Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa). Its woody seed capsule looks remarkably like a horned head, giving this shrub its name.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Further down that road...

Another dash to the road's shoulder, another super fast shot at a wildflower. I havent been able to identify this one, by the flower Id say one of the peas. Theres alot of pea shaped flowers though. If you know what this is, let us know.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Epacris longiflora - Fuchsia Heath or Native Fuchsia

Again we were being chased through the countryside by maniac drivers on a mission to ruin anyones fun but thier own. When an opportunity to pull over to let them pass finally arrived, I was able to snag this quick pic of a wonderful Aussie wildflower, the Fuchsia Heath also known as Native Fuchsia, and officially as Epacris longiflora.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

melting sticky ooze

So, yesterday the sun wasnt exactly out. But still it reached 38c (sounds better than 100.4f, which sounds better than 311.15 kelvin)!

I hope I can take this shot again when the jacaranda has more blossoms out and the hollyhocks arent drooping in the opressive heat. I stayed inside, where it was only 30c, as much as possible.

Today I am being dragged off to locations unknown, I will bring valium and a camera. Fingers crossed. (If I am absent tommorrow, assume I am merely recuperating.)