Friday, 27 December 2013

Some musings from the Institute for Bloke Studies (IBS)

There will be some natural history reports before getting to the more academic material inferred in the title of this post.  Hope you don't mind.

A pretty reasonable night's sleep with a slight interruption when a possum gallumphed along the deck.  At least it couldn't get down the chimney this time!

The day dawned
somewhat before I woke up and looked as though fine weather was a possibility, but I am aware that in Victoria:
    If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change; and
    In this State you get 4 seasons in a day.

A Whistling Kite was enjoying the view from a dead tree below the block.
Off for a very pleasant walk along the multi-use track by the Inlet, heading upstream.  We came back through the houses observing the lush gardens.

Several birds added to the trip list, including a Rose Robin which was most surprising at this time of year.  We met some pleasant folk with a Chihuahua named Poppie: one of the few dogs smaller than Tammie.  Surprisingly Poppie didn't want to play.

I had breakfast and noticed a boat returning from an early fishing expedition.
Judging by the wake they'd be coming through the parking lot at Lake Williams, and clearly believed you didn't just have beer for breakfast (OP Bundy chasers being the probable supplement).  This was followed up later in the day by 30 minutes amusement at the ramp watching amazing ineptitude as people launched and retrieved boats.
In fairness the people in this boat were competent, and the reason for the image was to show the dog.  Quite a few boats seemed to take their mutts with them.  Others use the wee jetties.
We then drove off to the edge of Croajingolong Canophobia Park, walking along the beaches we could get at as we went and keeping an eye open for interesting flowers in the bush as we drove past.  

This was quite common but I have no idea of its identity!
 Pigface: Disphyma crassifolium
 A burr seedhead
A plant with an unusual petal arrangement that makes it look (to me at least) like a rotating propellor.  I now know it to be Alysia buxifolia - sea box.
 Definitely a member of Asteraceae.
 Sap emerging from a bloodwood.  Perhaps reflecting a dry year there wasn't the abundance of this which we saw on our last visit.
 Glycine clandestina
 Scaevola calendulacea
 Brachyscome spathulata (a white version)
Three species of plant growing on a rock in the spray zone.  Are they lithophytes or halophytes?  Very tough, whichever they are!
 Also this grass!
The undoubted highlight was a huge crop of Hyancinth Orchids (Dipodium roseum) which were everywhere in the bush
and with some very large flowerheads.
On the beaches the greatest interest was the stratification in the rocks both the small outcrops on the  water's edge
and the cliffs at Quarry Beach.

Other items seen today included cormorants on the rocks
more pelicans
and some fungi in the bush.
There are many lizards around the house.  I will rate this one as a skink and take a punt on Lampropholis guichenoti.
Getting back to the IBS.  This is a little known Department of the School of Hard Knocks within the Mens Shed of the University of Gungahlin.  Sort of like Wimmins Studies but with a different conceptual base.  This afternoon included the field work for a Doctorate if I can come up with the admissions fee (a slab of VB and a bottle of the aforementioned OP).

The case study was my desire to mow the lawn for our friends.  On previous visits it has looked OK but this time a session with a motorised panga was definitely in order.  The problem was that while I found the mower (Basic Bloke 101 – its in the shed) what fuel did I use?  As the mower had two holes in the top, one for fuel and one for oil, a serve of unmodified unleaded was the go.  The trouble was that there were two fuel cans in the shed and if I chose wrong putting 2 stroke fuel through a 4 stroke motor would be a mess.

Now a real man would simply do a taste test.  If your palate can't pick up the nuances of Bunnings 2-stroke oil you've obviously dipped on the Y chromosome.  However I am on a diet so had to pass this obvious route. 

My first guess (Basic Bloke 102 provides detail on when to rely on that but cutting to the chase, the answer is always) was that the old metal can had been around a while and probably went with the venerable chainsaw, while the new plastic can probably matched the new lawn mower.  I then looked at a sample of the contents of the two containers and concluded that the metal can looked a tad green.  This might have been algal bloom but I assumed it was oil additive and went for the plastic.   This was an application of the methods covered in Very Advanced Bloke 305).

The fuel added to the mower lasted for the job so I think I got it right.  Here is a snap from early in the piece
 ... and this is the finished job.

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