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Showing posts from December, 2014

Few cyclists on West Basin?

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We have done a lap of the West Basin of Lake Burley Griffin a few times recently.  Frances felt like a longer walk, and suggested that the weather on 31 December would be pretty good, if we started early.  She also thought that as the Public Service shuts down over Christmas (and most of Canberra heads for the South Coast) there would be few other users of the track.

So we arrived at Black Mountain Peninsula at 8:05 and took off.  At the foot of the Peninsula a fmily was spending a peaceful time fishing off the launching pontoon of one of the boat clubs.
 People were also paddling canoes, rowing shells and sailing on the Lake.  Very good to see it getting used in such peaceful ways.

After about 500m we came across this colourful entity sitting on a rock.
It was a Gippsland Water Dragon.  The Dragon bit is pretty straightforward, and the water was soon proven,
 .. but we are about 200km in a straight line from the nearest part of Gippsland.

A good few steps later we got a nice view of …

Christmas 2014 Beer Report

As is becoming a tradition part of my present-set this year was a visit to plonk to acquire some interesting beers.  It was enhanced by Frances joining me and - after I had made some selections - drawing my attention to a pre-packed 'hamper'.  She then suggested that I get this as well.  What a clever girl!

So here come some tasting notes (I think there will be about a dozen of them - I'm not sure how many duplicates I have).  I have decided to start after five samples, so watch this space....
Ogham Oak: this is from Caerphilly, in Wales.  I am basically approving of the Welsh (apart from a bastard who played breakaway for Thanet RFC and punched me in the nose in 1969) and indeed this sample adds to my positive view.  Added orange peel and cinnamon gets a nice seasonal tang, while 8.5% alcohol gives some glow.  This turned out to be the only one I doubled up on:  The second sample was as tasty as the first!  Excellent!Ringwood Old Thumper: tastefully decorated with a pictur…

Progress on New Years's Resos

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Just in case you're wondering, this is a report on my NY resolutions (shortened in Ocker as she is spoke - or blogged - to 'resos) from 1 January 2014.  In fact it should be reso as there was only 1: to keep my shed in better nick.

Up until about 10am on 30 December that had to be rated a 'fail'.

However it is not yet 23:59:59 on 31 December so there is still time!

After
schlepping a set of shelves down from the top shed; filling two large plastic bags with grot - who brings all this stuff into my shed? and deciding that a few bulky items no longer have even a potential role to play in my life things had improved quite a bit.
Tomorrow is also a day and I might give a bit more attention to the main work bench.  Watch this post.

Invertebrates pt 2 (with some wotsits)

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Arachnophobes should note the use of the term 'invertebrate' rather than 'insect' and either dodge this post or check their prescription!

'Wotsit' is a technical term used on the COG chatline to refer to photographs in which crucial identification features are missing.  That is to be distinguished from photographs of an entire specimen are given, but I cannot identify below about family level (which is situation normal).

A cicada taking a rather unhealthy rest on Widgiewa Rd.
 This is a shield bug, possibly Nezora viridula.
 I believe this to be an fly (Order Diptera) rather than a bee (Order Hymenoptera ) as it appears not to have an obvious waist and only forewings.  I will take a punt on it being a member of the family Muscidae.
This is a spider.  I thought it rather attractive but thus far haven't managed to confirm its identity. Referring to my new acquisition "A guide to the Spiders of Australia" by Framenau, Baehr and Zborowski it seems th…

2014 in Review

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As the year nears its end I will cast an eye back over what has happened, highlighting changes.

As would be expected the biggest changes have been with grand-daughter Arabella.  She has gone from a nearly 1 year-old baby to a nearly 2 year-old little girl.  Here she is on Christmas Day.
At the other end of the age scale is the small dog, Tammy.  She is beginning to slow down a bit, not surprising at about 12 years old ( I suspect equivalent to about 84 human years) but has still got plenty of bounce when bouncing is needed.  Here she is, later on Christmas Day, about to offer necessary guidance to Boson, our friends Whippet Cross. Watching them sort out their relationship was hilarious, especially as Boson invites play by bouncing his front feet up and down and then waving a paw in the air.
As a result of having Tammy we acquired, very late in 2013 our camper-trailer.  This made it relatively easy for us to take trips away.  Initially it took a bit of gritting of teeth but we now have…

Kniphofia weaves its magic.

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The Canberra Spinners and Weavers use the title "Warped and Twisted" for their Annual Exhibition.  Given the contorted bird-shapes in the following images I thought a reference to weaving in the title of this post quite appropriate.

Kniphofia is the genus name for the garden plant "Red-hot pokers".  There are many species but I suspect those below are K. uvaria.
We have two differing varieties - or possibly species - which flower at different times.  In the bed outside our sun-room we have the Summer flowering example, while on the Western part of the garden we have a couple of clumps which flower in Winter.  (Usually the emergence of the flowers on these is the signal for a hard frost (-5oC or below) which tends to disimprove them a bit.)

The flowers are very attractive to honeyeaters.  This is a Noisy Friarbird, also known as a Leatherhead.  This is the first twister.
 This image isn't as sharp as I like but is included to show the yellow pollen all over the b…

Where is Mr Tray?

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It being Christmas Day I thought you might like a small game to play while the Christmas pud, turkey, ham and sundry beverages slump to the base of your abdomen.  Or, if in a less happy situation, to distract you from not having the above.

We got two presents from a member of the family.

One was a coffee pot, complete with armouring vaguely along the lines of chook wire.  Interesting in and of itself but it turns out to have been manufactured by R Bourne and Son Ltd in 1947 (as were myself and Frances).  The date is substantiated by a stamp of "G VI R".  Unfortunately Google knows nothing about this bunch of Bournes - possibly they are from Denby in Derbyshire?   So if you want a really tough game, try to find out about this mob of potters!

For a simpler game, along the lines of "Where's Wally?"  I offer the following set of snaps including the second present described as "good for a garden party".  Possible this comment is based on the difficulty of…

A new feral?

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I went for a drive through Hoskinstown in the direction of Rossi on 23 December.  Just outside of the first-named village are some blocks of land which were up for sale a few months ago.  I don't know if the sale went through, or was part of the sale of the whole of Foxlow Station.
On several recent occasions I have noticed some colourful; cattle on the property.  They have long, upthrust horns so I have called them Texas Longhorns (I can't see why anyone would have the alternative breed Ayrshires, as they are a dairy breed).
On this outing they had a new Best Friend Forever. What on earth is a camel doing out here?  Obviously, in this case, eating hawthorn so it isn't all bad!
However the damage it could cause if it escapes is definitely a worry!

A further thought is that the combination of beasts from Texas and Arabia causes me to wonder if there was a link to other common factor of those locations: oil.  Is there fracking in Hoskinstown's future?

A three roo day

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Apparently the American band Three Dog Night took their name from the custom of Australian indigenees (presumably the desert mob, not the salt water people) of stacking an extra dog on the bed when it gets cold.  It was quite warm on our walk this morning so we were happy with our single (small) dog.

However we did come across three species of macropod. (A 4th - the Wallaroo (Macropus robustus) is possible, but I have never identified one on the property.)
I didn't manage to get a photo of the Swampie (Wallabia bicolor) as it crashed away through the Kunzea.
The first sighting was of a red-necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus). It is interesting that the genus is Macropus - a common genus of Kangaroos - rather than Wallabia.  This must imply that the 'Wallaby' is used in the vernacular sense of 'small kangaroo' rather than whatever science underlies the taxonomy.

They are very pretty animals so I don't apologise for a couple of extra images.  This one also po…