Showing posts from November, 2011

Vegetation decorative and edible: plus invertebrates

We seem to be getting rain at pretty much the right time to get the garden happening this year.  (Also getting the brambles and briars happening, but that is another story.)  This afternoon we did some stuff in the garden and I took a few images that may be of interest - especially for those in the North who maybe finding colour and daylight a bit hard to come by.

These flowers come from a large bed on the Eastern side of our house, which Frances has pretty much created from scratch.
The first 2 images are of Penstemons.
 These foxgloves appear to self regenerated from last year's flowers which is good.
 After many attempts we have some Acanthus flowerig: and very attractive they are as well!
We have a row of Globe Artichokes along the bottom of the bed, partly for appearance, but they are on the menu for tonight.
In addition to these 'pure exotics' we have some nice Australian Natives - possibly not from anywhere close to here - blooming.
This is a mini-melaleuca  and a…

The natural order is Chaos?

At an early point in Chaos by James Glieck he mentions the chaotic effects of turbulence.  When I looked down into Whiskers Creek this morning I reflected how the foam pattern called to mind some of the images generated by chaos algorithms.  The foam is the residue of the very strong run off from the catchment of the Creek scoring at least 50mm of rain over the preceding 2 days.
This is emphasised by a close up of the pattern in the top centre of the pool.
Taking another stab at it I got an image of some flowers of Joycea pallida, against a clear blue sky.
Perhaps this is not exactly an example of a chaotic system at work but the way the stems, flower heads and awns all point off in different directions made me think along these lines.  Certainly trying to catch an image like this in gusty winds appeared to invlove the vernacular view of chaos!

Some thoughts on running

I have occasionally commented in this blog about my running activities.  As I haven't troubled folk much in the last few days I thought I would offer a few musings on that topic today.

A frequently asked question is why people run.  In my case it is twofold:
It helps keep my weight down (so I can continue to enjoy wine and beer); andI find it relaxing (particularly when point 1 has been successful). Over Winter point 1 had not been successful and as a result I had not been getting off my butt and out the door for a run as much as I should.  So in October I decided that I needed a target or two to assist these processes.

The main target was to be the Melbourne Marathon 2012.  This is to be held a few days after my 65th birthday so offers a good chance of getting my name on the ACT Vets Athletics " best marathon times" list for that age group.

However, to enjoy that event required that the alien life-form which had taken residence behind my belt buckle needed to be evicted.…

Earwig Wars

NOTE: this body of this post was composed by Rob, a friend who is a keen gardener, rather than myself.  However I thought the content and tone of the post were quite suitable for my blog (he doesn't run one himself, possibly because he spends most of his waking hours pursuing earwigs) and he has given permission for me to copy his work. 

As a result any references in the rest of this post to "my garden" or in the first person refers to Rob's garden and/or other activities rather than my own!

For the last few years the productivity in my garden has dropped off quite a bit – initially due to drought and water restrictions, but last year when water was plentiful I had terrible trouble with plants, especially seedlings being eaten. I assumed that it was slugs and snails and took appropriate action, but with only limited results. Things that I grew from seed would get wiped out overnight – entire rows of carrots demolished for example or broccoli seedlings chewed ba…

Exciting birds on the Hoskinstown Plain

The Hoskinstown Plain is an area of frost hollow along the course of the Molonglo River.  It is overlooked by the property from which the large flock of Black-shouldered Kites were reported.

A couple of the property owners on the Plain itself are keen birders and report exciting sightings to me from time to time.  The last couple of months have been extremely productive.

One property on the Plain has also been visited each year recently by Superb Parrots.  They seem to turn up to dine on the fruit of Acacia dealbata.  As I haven't been able to coincide with the birds yet this year, here is a photograph taken by my friend Kim (who is a far better photographer than myself).
The keen eyed viewer will note the Acacia pod in the bird's beak!

The irruption of Barn Owls reported from urban and peri-urban Canberrra also spread to the Plain.  There were a couple of reports of single Barn Owls at various spots and two road-killed birds were handed over to the CSIRO collection of co…

Birds of the South Coast trip.

At least one person has requested more detail about the birds seen on such trips.  So I have put a list of the 94 species we observed on this voyage at the foot of the post.  There are a few relevant comments and images in the first and second text reports.

It was difficult to assess the 'best bird'.  There were several which I hadn't seen for a while including:
the Australian Spotted Crake feeding in a pool in a saltmarsh at Mallacoota (dashed for cover at the sound of a camera being opened);the Azure Kingfisher flitting from the interior of one tree overhanging Mallacoota Inlet to the next, making it pointless opening a camera;the Eastern Koel which lurked in the dark interior of a Melaleuca untl a camera was pointed at it, when it immediately hurtled across Karbeethong Avenue pursued by a very annoyed Red Wattlebird; andthe winner, the Hooded Plover, which I hadn't seen for about 20 years, is Endangered in NSW and Vulnerable over the whole country and posed for a co…

Starting the Finnishing of the South Coast

This is the report on our visit to Moruya and Mallacoota with our Scandinavian friends Liisa and Maija: hence the additional 'n' in the title of the post!

The day of departure (Thursday) did not begin well.  As the marine forecast for the Friday was rather rough I rang the Narooma Visitors Centre to check departure times for the Montague Island trip on Thursday.  It turned out that despite their earlier advice there were no longer evening trips from Narooma to the Island.  The National Parks Service had got tenders for the trips and it had been won by someone from Bermagui (a good bit further South).  Not happy.

IMPORTANT CORRECTION:  I have since been informed by the National Parks Service, in answer to a complaining email, that this is just not true!  Evening tours are run from both  Bermagui and Narooma (subject to weather and minimum number of punters.  I have no idea what the Narooma Visitors Centre were up to!

I should also note that I got a text from Liisa saying that th…

The end of Finnishing the South Coast

This is the second half of our report on a trip with Scandinavian friends.  The first episode ended with us leaving Eden.

On across the border to to Mallacoota with a brief pause at Genoa (from where we left the highway) to establish exactly where the bus to Melbourne stopped.  This was not quite as described by V-Line, and I was very pleased to have resolved this 2 days early rather than at 8:30 on Monday  (see the material from that time below)!  As we headed into Mallacoota I was noting an itchy feeling on my shoulder.  Yes, I had been visited by a tick.  As we removed this one at the roadside I did not get a photo: instead here is a photo of a spider which visited me a little later.

Entry to the house was simple compared to the puzzles I experienced last time and after a period of unloading and a coffee we headed off for a walk.  We saw several interesting birds (Australian Spotted Crake and Azure Kingfisher being the biggies) before I noticed that the wind was coming fr…