Tuesday, 26 May 2009


The image above is of the final pick of apples for this year. Note the car wheel, left in the image to provide some scale!

There are various ways of telling when apples are ready to be harvested, but for a couple of our trees this year the determining factor has been the presence of chewed items on the ground. As we have the trees more or less netted we are inclined to think the villains are possums rather than birds (although one appeared to have been pecked rather than chewed).

Visitors to Camp Butterfield (Southern Annex) are not allowed to leave the estancia without having put some apples in the boot of their car!!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Moths and Frogmmouths

In the last 2 weeks we have had a lot of very large brown moths turn up in the evenings. They make a fair racket fluttering against the window, which annoys the dog. Fortunately when the light is turned off so are the moths!

There are more photographs of similar moths on http://peonyden.blogspot.com/2009/05/swift-moths-love-cold-wet-weather.html The title of this blog reflects our surprise that the moths tolerate the current weather we are experiencing.

It seems that the bestbet for the species is Oxycanus silvanus apparently a regular around Canberra. There are many species in this family. and more information is at http://www-staff.it.uts.edu.au/~don/larvae/hepi/hepialidae.html (although there is no specific page for O. silvanus).

A side effect of the mothiness is that at least one Tawny Frogmouth has turned up. This can give an intersting experience if working in my study in the evenings as a large white shape appears out of the dark, catches a moth a silently wafts back to a perch in one of our gum trees. There are several posts on this blog about these birds of which http://franmart.blogspot.com/2009/01/tadpolemouth-update.html is the most recent.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Canine update

Our wee pooch has had a few adventures recently.

Adventure 1

We take Tammy for a walk round the block most mornings. She gets to bark at a bunch of 'roos in various spots and at 1 place (in a variant of the standard walk) she gets to jump through a cyclone square grid fence. Usually these two factors are separate and she is very polite in waiting to be told to go through the fence . However one day in late April the two factors coincided and she ripped through the fence pulling the lead out of my hand.

She took off up the paddock on the far side of the fence at Warp Factor N with Martin puffing (also swearing) along behind at Warp Factor M (where M < N). To my great surprise when she got about 50m away she turned and came trotting back, looking very pleased with herself.

Adventure 2

One night I put on the outside light to take her out for the final cr@p-call of the evening and she spotted a large roo on the lawn. Much barking and dancing around in the lounge, during which she jumped against the door. This swung open and she swung out at Warp Factor P (where P > -big time - than N). We have a metre high deck opposite the door. She was still accelerating when she got to the edge of the deck and landed about 6m out on the lawn.

My thought was that she was gone for ever, as this time she didn't even have the lead on. However, by the time I got out with the lead and the spotlight she was cruising the lawn making sure there were no more intruders. Good Dog!

Adventure 3

Normally when she is disturbed in the night it means a cr@p-call is needed so she gets taken outside and does the business PDQ. Last night when she got out there she just sat on the lawn and looked miserable. She also didn't rocket down the hall to her bed. When I got up at 6am she didn't want to go outside and yelped in great pain when I tried to pick her up. She didn't really seem willing to walk. Oh dear, something is wrong. Various options occurred:
  • she had mucked up eating a bone and got something stuck inside;
  • the cheap treats we had bought had perforated a bowel;
  • she'd eaten a Warfarin infested rodent.
Off to the vet. he rapidly decided that she was not in fact suffering from an abdominal problem but had a buggered disc. He gave her some shots to fix up the disc problem. So she walked out of the surgery and did a 2km walk when we got home. He is a magician, and she is a lucky dog.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Swine Flu

The following image follows on from the graffiti which used to be daubed on road signs in NSW announcing aerial speeding radar ('Pigs in Space' or "Pigs can Fly")

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Autumn at Camp Butterfield (Southern Annex)

After a very long and hot Summer we seem to have dropped (Fallen??) into Autumn.

This has revealed itself by the leaves on the Pin-oak and Pistachio trees in our lawn turning from green to red or orange and the temperature dropping rather dramatically. Here is a picture of the Pistachio tree in the morning sunlight!

And here is one of the leaves on the lawn a little later in the month.

As a result of the dropping temperature we have shifted all the plants off the deck into Frances' potting shed or the sunroom. The latter has been graced with this tuberious begonia.

Meanwhile out in the garden a camellia - possibly a susanqua - has got really in front of the game

Another effect of the dropping temperature is that certain reptiles seem to have vanished so we can allow the pooch to roam in the vegie garden. She has really enjoyed this but seems to sack out rather completely in the evenings.

Here is what she is sacking out in front of.