Showing posts from 2008

2008 in Review

Administrative stuffI have tried to put in a few hyperlinks to other pages, but they do not seem to function too well at the moment, so bear with me while I try to figure out why!! The same applies to the weather table that appears below.
As it has been reported to me that some spammers have tried to use these pages to contact people (dobriden gospodini) I have declined to put our email addresses in this.So, anyone that wishes to comment – and who doesn’t already know our addresses – should post a comment to the page.SummaryThe year was essentially one of continuing on from 2007.I was going on to say “with no major shifts in our lifestyle” when a small terrier walked in the room, so that has been revised to the title of the next section.A few major shifts in life styleThe first of these was Frances’ mum having to move, from her house in Brighton to a nearby residential care facility.The major consequence of this for us was the move of the small terrier from Brighton to Carwoola.We hav…

The rhythym of the plums

When we were first shown around this place we were shown a lot of fruit trees which had a very high wire frame around them to allow netting. That first summer there were no fruit on the trees, since they hadn’t been pruned for about 3 years. A fair proportion of the wire frame was destroyed when the yellow box tree fell on it.

Last year, after a reasonable pruning (mostly deliberate, but certainly aided by the descending tree) we got a bit of fruit, but so did the possums and parrots. It was our intention to net the plum trees in particular but this has turned into a job requiring incentive.

The incentive arrived on Christmas morning in the shape of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo sitting in our biggest garden tree munching on an unripe plum. Should it have turned up later with its relatives we could have lost the lot in about 10 minutes. So the netting task commenced on Boxing Day.

During the course of this exercise we (Frances and I) realised several things:
Next year we will prune mor…

Christmas at Church

The local media (ie the Bungendore Mirror and the public noticeboard at the start of Captains Flat Road) announced that there was to be a Communion Service at St thomas's Church in Carwoola on Christmas Eve. As we have wanted to see inside this little church for some time we toddled along.

It was indeed a lovely little church. We sat next to a window with a stained glass image of an ANZAC, and a dedication to the donor's son who died during WW1. Nearby was plaque to some local residents who died in the 1910s.

The place was full: perhaps 100 people, which should have been nice for the organisers of the service. It was a bit of a contrast to my last church service: St Bartholomew's on Park Avenue on September 11th 2005. Rather than a huge organ thundering away this was more like a harmonium operated by the pedalling of the lady organist. The sermon was not up to the St Bart's standard being a rather academic treatise about the vicars view of God, rather than a pol…


On 22 December 2008 I went for a haircut.Even for me this is not a remarkable experience.It did however lead me to reflect on a lifetime of tonsorial activity.In composing it I have been astonished at the trivia I have been able to pull out of my mind: there is a warning in that for the alert, and time deprived, reader.I hope these memories haven’t occupied space that could have been put to better use!My first memory of such things places me at around 7 or 8 and riding a pushbike with my father from Mayland, Essex to Southminster in the same County.I think I was taken to the salon of one Wally Gooch who provided the required facilities to my dad.Later, the word got around my school that Mrs Cant, also in that village, did a better job: with hindsight, I suspect this meant she used a range of pudding bowl sizes, rather than the ‘one size fits all’ approach that Wally used.I have tried to get a Google Earth image of these establishments but the Poms don’t seem to have the street view av…

Christmas festivities

Being traditionalists we have got a Christmas tree, which I acquired through some alpha-male activity on a pine tree on our main track. The first image shows it, decorated with souvenirs from all over the place, including an embrodiered hanging created for Ingrid by some friends in Denver in 1981.

Here follows an E-card created from a photo of the flowers of Kunzea ericoides , which flowers profusely in this area around Christmas, giving us a white Christmas. Possibly more so than many places in the Northern Hemishpere in these times of climate chang.

With respect to 2009, HAVE A GOOD ONE!

Why Kangaroos grunt!

This series of images were taken from my study window. The final one brought tears to my eyes. A squirrel tackle is one thing , but Australian squirrels are BIG!

Hakuna Umeme

The first word of this title will be familiar to those who have seen the Disney animation "The Lion King". In that manifestation it is followed by the word 'matata' which together give the African continental motto that can be translated from Kiswahili as "we have no problems".

The second word in this case slightly changes things to a phrase also very commonly used in Africa (and should be used in New Zealand following privatisation) that translates as "we have no electricity".

While we lived in urban Canberra (I hesitate to use the word metropolitan for that overgrown suburb) electricity failures were few and far between. Unless, of course, the fire brigade had a controlled hazard reduction conflagration in the area.

However out in the bush we have a lot of kilometres of wire and a lot trees underneath them. Also a lot of lightning-prone hills. So it is not unusual to get the power to fritz out about once every couple of months. A quick phone …


During the warmer months we have a very good supply of lizards of one sort or another. Many of them are rather small and very fast (thus providing a constant challenge to Tammy). Others, such as those pictured here are rather larger, but also very fast when they feel like it.

Shinglebacked skink (which I have heard referred to as the two-headed turd)

Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard, engaging in Darwinian behaviour of basking on a road.

Gippsland Water Dragon: when they decide to move they make a lot of noise as they splash through the water.

Eastern Bearded Dragon, probably improving the quantity of insects on our lawn (at least until I scared it, taking the photograph to the left). On the right, a typical rocky pose.

Wild flowers, December 2008

It seems that many of the local wildflowers have done their dash. However there are still a few around our place. We were particularly pleased to find a Hyacinth Orchid growing in the (still rather) bald paddock in front of the house; the Kunzea ericoides is heading towards the Carwoola White Christmas; and the Eucalypts are still procreating away (although the one shown below was photographed at Monarto Conservation Park in South Australia).

Garden Flowers, December 2008

The images below show the Asiatic Lilies and a close up of a Penstemon. They look great in the garden and not too bad here. So I thought I'd share them with you.

Uses of a terrier.

As well as providing basic entertainment for us, and being very nice to come home to, we have found two very good uses for our small Tenterfield Terrier, Tammy-the-rat.

The first came about when we took her with us on a visit to Frances' Mum (the original owner of the beast) who now lives in a residential facility in Somerton, South Australia). We expected Frances' Mum to be pleased to see her, but were very pleasantly surprised to see how much the other residents enjoyed her. Two of the gentlemen in particular seemed to greatly enjoy giving her a cuddle, and all seemed pleased to see her.

The second use is closer to home - and probably more traditional. I was doing something indoors when Frances reported that she had been in my shed - and I cannot really think of a more terrifying set of words - and found "evidence" of mice. In fact once the light was turned on it was barely possible to ignore the:
for very polite people - droppings;for scientists - faeces; and f…

It's raining, it's pouring!!!!

It is a major part of Australian life generally to take note of the weather. Often this is to kvetch about it (if you come from St Kilda), to whinge (if you come from Elizabeth SA) and just to bloody moan about it (if your name is Hanrahan). However, it has seemed that recently there has been a fair bit to complain about with a large drought.

Thus it is pleasing to report that we have copped 107mm of rain so far this month. The following images are one of our downpipes rejecting the inflow it was being offered during a thunderstorm and the bark on a couple of our Eucalytpus mannifera (aka Brittle Gum) after the storm was over.

Some missed photographs were: a wombat tidying up its burrow in the creek; and Tammy-the-rodent swimming across the flooded creek. The little bugger semed very keen to leap in so I found a narrow spot and - with her on a lead for security - let her dive in. She loved it.

Martins Red-backed Kingfisher and (yet more) Frogmouths

The first two images show Fairy Martins (and no back-chat about that name please) doing fly-bys at their nests in a creek at Dunlop. Nearby a pair of Red-backed Kingfishers have excavated a nest burrow and one of them was kind enough to pose for me. Finally, I have for the first time in daylight seen both of 'my' Frogmouth chicks.

Also gardening ....

That should have got your attention, unless you also rate it as 'arty-farty'. It is a Red-hot Poker, which should be blooming in Autumn.

After that burst of luridity,I begin this with a photo of what I call Banksia Rose, but I suspect it isn't. It grows on the side of our deck and is covered with blossom and usually bees. A small pick of strawberries (we have been getting a serve like this or more every day for 2 weeks) and a mutant strawberry!

The following set show some iris activity. The first image shows part of the display of irises at an open garden in Burra (NSW, not SA). The second shows Frances removing hypericum and periwinkle from a garden bed with some newly planted irises in the foreground. Finally there are a couple of the newly acquired ones in closeup.

November's natives

This set start off with a flower that has bewildered the experts. It seems to be a mutant native bluebell! That is followed with a Pultanea (one of the myriad of shrubs described as 'peas"); a fringe lily; a donkey orchid (Diuris sulphurea); and two shots of the flowers of Red Box- the first shows them on the tree and the second has them on the ground after a thunderstorm!

A day in the life

I have often tried to describe to people how we "fill in our days" when we are at home. So I thought that I would complete a time use diary for today.
0550 : hear dog whining so get up and take her outside to park a coil. This is better than getting up at 6:30 and having to remove a coil!
0600: dog is decoiled so make coffee and take it through to the somnolent one. (Somnolence ceases when dog jumps on bed!)
0615: commence checking emails and reading on-line news. Fix up a few other things on my computer; make breakfast for me.
0800: Frances and I take dog for walk around the block. Near the end go to inspect mining operations being undertaken by wombat in creek bed. Discover many thistles.
0900: Load up sprayer and go to speak sternly with thistles. Notice many dead Mullein - the spraying is working!
0930: Go and pick todays 500gms of strawberries!! Yum, yum, yum.
0940: Mow lawns.
1020: have another cup of coffee and check emails.
1030: More work on removing periwinkle and…

Pollywogmouth update and other birdy things

The image above, was taken on 16 November 2008 and is the best I have got of the adult and a chick. For the background and further images, read on.

In a posting last month I mentioned the onset of a breeding event for a family of Tawny Frogmouths in a big Yellow Box tree in front of my study window. On 7 November I took Tammy-the-rat out for her final toilet break and noticed a frogmouth fly into the nest site. Putting my spotlight onto the site I discovered that this was the second adult bird present. As it flew off a downy chick was spotted sitting in the nest being fed by whatever insects the visitor had delivered.

During the day the adult is keeping the chick totally covered. This is a good idea as the Pied Currawong chicks are still in their nest just upstairs and would, I am sure, enjoy a diet of Tadpolemouth. I must be without guilt, as I am casting the first stone at the 'wongs at every opportunity. Also, when occasion presents, the second stone and the odd lump of w…


While having a cleansing glass of red wine in the evening of 3 November I looked out of the sun-room and saw an echidna wandering acros the hillside above the creek. So I grabbed my camera and spent a very pleasant 20 minutes peering at the little beast and taking a few happy snaps.

Some of them were even in focus! (As you will have noticed, the first one isn't, but I thought it such an amusing shot that I have wasted a bit of bandwidth on including it.)