Watering

Arrive home
no rain
garden dry as…
start pump to water
sky darkens….

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Still watering
sprinkles of rain
I say
“bring it on”
still watering….

Dark clouds
how you taunt
small droplets tumble
splash the dust
plants beg
we wait
still watering….

Clouds persist
the dust persists
the garden begs
the dam empties
finished watering….

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Flowers Birds Bugs and Snakes

This month has been quite a month of contrasts. I have been sitting here wondering where my rain has gone when all around rain has fallen. I am away and have rain and a diversity of stuff, whereas at home, the dryness has seen quite a few birds desert the property for better pickings. But still there are the ones who stick around for most of the year with an occasional drop in by a stranger.

This is a look back at the month and some of the discoveries that I have made as I wander about. Hope you enjoy this adventure walk around with me.

I have been peeking into flowers again. I love hippeastrums colours

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A vine that trails over a fence has flowered this year the first time for quite a while. I don’t know what it is but it has an interesting shape inside.

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The Crocus flowers have attracted the attention of the native bees who arrive in numbers. I like the one at the top of the photo, throwing a shadow on the petal, who is buzzing in at speed as though it was a bit late.

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As it seems we have moved onto the bees and bugs, we better continue. The Blue Banded Bees have been quite busy at my place and my besties. This bloke was very intent on the flowers.

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The Cassia flowers have been quite spectacular this year with the pendants of yellow dripping from the tree. The big bee who dropped in to do a bit of gathering would have been surprised with the thank you pat on the back from the flower.

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No matter the weather, there is always dragonfly flitting about or stopping to eye-ball what ever I am doing.

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One night, there was a constant high-pitched chirping from a cicada inside. After a bit of searching I found it hiding behind the curtain.

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While outside, a caterpillar was changing location to set up a better snoozing spot in its cocoon.

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This moth is always watching or so it hopes in order that’s what predators will think so it won’t end up as dinner.

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There has been some birds around. The Peaceful Doves are always around as they know in the afternoons I give the chooks some grains.

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The new comer to my garden was a Bar Shouldered Dove who was cooing from the bush for a few days before I saw him.

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It has been quite hot and the Spangled Drongo just sat in the shade of the tree hoping to catch a breeze.

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But in my besties garden, the Red Browed Finches has a great place to meet have a chat, a  bath and a drink.

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The Cormorant found a good perch above the dam to keep an eye out for fish and to dry off in the sun.

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At night the Flying Foxes came for the flowers of the Pink Bloodwood. Can you count the eyes peering out from the dark as they hang from the palm tree?

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It has been a year for snakes big and small. At my besties I saw a carpet snake high up in the mango tree. A knot of snake on a small branch.

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Whereas at my place late one night I had to rescue a chook from the deadly coils. A bit of a drive up the road in the morning to a safe place, I let it out of the bag. It looked bigger in the night.

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But it gave a cheeky grin and slithered off.

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The little Green Tree Snake was quite happy to scurry away at speed.

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We all enjoy a walk along the beach. Even an Osprey has to do it every now and then.

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Well like the tired old dog in Murwillumbah, it’s time to start the truck and head on home.

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Did you like a walk through my January?

brian

The Cowards Punch

When I was about 16 or 17 in the 70’s, two mates and I were heading from my home in Lidcombe along Kerrs Parade to Berala where some of the girls we used to hang out with were sitting around listening to music and doing stuff teenage girls did in those days.

I was a tallish skinny kid with thick glasses, long hair and quite happy-go-lucky sort of kid. I never had fights at school or anything like that as I was, and still am, a peaceful sort of person. Although Stephen Cash, a bit of a bully in about 4th class wanted to fight for some reason and I somehow managed to get him in a head lock and made him cry. Thank goodness for World Championship Wrestling on the TV on Saturday mornings lol. But in the main there wasn’t any sort of physical activity from me. I was quite skinny and not much meat on my bones so I didn’t have the physique to be some sort of stand over kid.

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Steven and I playing at a concert or school dance

There was quite a group of us kids who all went to school together and once at High School, the boys went to Homebush Boys High and the girls went to Homebush West Girls High School or Auburn Girls High School, depending on which side of the railway line they lived. During this time we met a lot of kids from all around the area who didn’t go to Lidcombe Public School. Kids from Berala and as far away as Burwood.

Most weekends we ended up at someones house to play music, dance and generally goof around as teenagers did and we always walked to each others houses, sometimes with a couple of mates or in a bit of a larger group of boys and girls, quite often carrying guitars.

One day, as I started to say, a few of us were heading to Keryns place at Berala, just walking along, probably joking around and talking the rubbish that teenagers do, having a good time on a warm sunny day. We were about half way to Berala when this motorbike went past, did a U-turn and came back and stopped in front of us. One of my mates said something like this looks like trouble but I just said it’ll be OK as I knew most of the people in Lidcombe and I had seen this bloke on his motorbike around.

As we got closer he got off his bike and, as we walked past, said “What did you say when I rode past?” to me, probably as I was the tallest. He was blocking the footpath which made us stop. I said I didn’t know what he was talking about as none of us had said anything, we weren’t even talking amongst our selves. Then I noticed a light blue Holden sedan stop and four blokes got out. One I recognised as the brother of one of the girls, Janet Church, from my class in Primary School but didn’t know the other three. I didn’t really look at them as I was too busy with this dickhead in a leather jacket.

I said I didn’t know what he was talking about and he just kept saying “What did you say” and I kept saying nothing until I finally said “Well what did I say.”

His reply was “I’ll tell you what you fuckin’ said” and with that swung a punch that hit me just above my left eye, sending my glasses flying but I didn’t hit the ground and managed not to get hit again. One of my mates picked up my glasses and we just walked off. I don’t really remember if there was any further “conversation” with him and we just kept going towards Berala, me with blood streaming down my face and not really seeing much as once I didn’t have glasses on, everything was rather fuzzy.

We were almost to Berala shopping centre when the thump thump of a motorbike once again pulled up along side of us. I think I must have had enough of this shit and said “What the fuck do you want now! Haven’t you had enough fun” or something similar. This didn’t go down too well with the other blokes as they had escaped unscathed. He came over and asked if I was going to the cops in Berala which was in the general direction we were headed. I said no and probably gave more lip, I wish I could remember!!

Well he came over and stuck out his hand and said that I was OK and he had seen me around the place blah blah blah. He then said that if anyone gave me any grief to tell them that I knew Terry Wilkins and I’d be OK. And with that, he rode away accompanied by the car full of blokes.

When we got to Keryn’s place, of course the girls made a fuss of me, washing my face and making sure I was OK much to the other blokes dismay.

After we were there for a while listening to records, first time I had heard Big Brother and The Holding Company Cheap Thrills which was Keryns older brother or sisters LP, and straightening my glasses as best we could, we left to head back to Martins place.

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That night I was staying at Martin’s place, so we jumped the train and went to Burwood. Once we got there his Mum took one look at the gash above my eye and took me to the hospital where I had three stitches to close the wound.

I’ll never know why he decided to pick on a skinny teenager. When the girls asked why he punched me, all we could think of I was the tallest and the only local as Steven and Martin came from elsewhere.

So, the cowards punch has been around for quite a number of years. I don’t know if Mr Wilkins had been drinking but I can’t remember smelling booze on his breath and it was in the middle of the day and in those days only the hardened alcoholics were in pubs at that time, not the young folk.

That was the last time I have been involved in a physical fight although I didn’t throw a punch so it wasn’t much of a fight, it was just one punch that could have had a worse outcome than it did.

From my window

My window at the office is quite good with a lovely view of the Clarence River, across the park where the citizens of Grafton and visitors often stroll about, sit on the benches, sometimes to canoodle, sometimes a ball game will start up or they are off to the toilets as they walk beneath the window.

But this is not about the people, this is about the tall cypress pine that is almost in front of the window. The distraction is that the tree is often a resting place or a place where there may be a snack or two or somewhere to gather twigs to be carried off to the bird’s nest. There is often a bird or two bustling about the foliage, going about their business.

Of late, there has been a few Superb Fairy-wrens hopping about the branches.

This is their story…..

He said, “I’m sure it is down there somewhere”

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“I’m saw it too. It just has to be there, it was earlier I’m sure,” she replied.

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“Do you really think it is still around, down there on the ground,” he asked.

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“Of course,” she said. “Look again and see if you can find it.”

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“I’m not so sure any more but I will have another look, just in case.”

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“Perhaps it has moved and is over there or somewhere else,” he pondered.

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“Or maybe over there.”

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“This is hopeless,” he said. “I’m going to find something else to do.”

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And with that he was off, closely followed by his mate. Lovely little birds aren’t they?

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brian

Flowers in the bush

Around my place flowers seem to pop up all the time. Many are hard to see as they are so tiny. Most of the flowers are in the open paddocks or in the margins of the bush, with some plants in the gullies that run down from the ridge country down to the intermittent creeks that flow perpendicular to the gullies.

In these gullies are the pioneer rainforest plants which have been emerging over the years interspersed with an assortment of mosses, lichens and ferns. When the seasons and conditions are right for ferns one gully’s side is covered in Maiden Hair Ferns.

Some of the flowers are smaller than a 5 cent piece but I find that small is quite beautiful. I hope you enjoy a stroll among the native plants and flowers that inhabit my special place in the bush.

Some of the lichens and mosses seem to be alive with their small stems reaching out.

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While other mosses are just so soft as the cascade out of the base of a Brushbox

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Nearby an Elkhorn is trying to make its place in the world on the rock attended by little star moss trying to het a start as well

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One of the ferns is a Five Fingered Fern which grows in every gully. This is a local name so elsewhere it may have another name.Image

One of the red flowers that grows on a longish stalk is almost translucent.

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There is a small bush, Egg and Bacon, that has lovely flowers that native bees like.

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These little mauve flowers seems to pop up on their own in random places from the paddock to the forest.

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Orange flowers are easy to spot in the paddocks and these ones grow everywhere.

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This one is similar to the other mauve flower. The bug who wanted to get into the photo is very tiny. Can you spot it?

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Some have interesting stamen with their anthers ready to entice a pollinator.

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The native wisteria spreads and trails throughout the bush.

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This little hairy stemmed yellow flowering plant was one that I came across and not seen it again.

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I just love this little beauty and it’s another that is seldom seen.

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I just love flowers….don’t you?

brian

My Rooster

My rooster is a large, mainly red bloke, who thinks he is the best as he struts around the yard.

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Looking a bit closer at his feathers you can see the subtle shades and the complex colours that make for a magnificent bloke. The neck feathers just fall nicely

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And cascade onto the contrasting back feathers

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The dark red on his back is so different to the feathers on his chest

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The dark tips on the breast feathers carries on around the side to the softer feathers under the wing

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The brilliant colours on his back near the tail feathers are quite bright

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Which contrast with his magnificent tail feathers

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Even some of the chooks don’t mind a bit of a glance at those tail feathers

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That’s a look at my rooster….time to say see ya….cock-a-doodle-doooooooo

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So far this year…..

Some things have been found so far this year that have not been in my view before, either been too deep in the bush or rainforest only to be heard or too quick for me to capture in the lens or just plain never ever seen before. Oh yeah, happy new year hope it has been a fun and wonderous 2014 so far.

When sitting around because it’s too hot to do anything outside or just having a cuppa on the verandah where a breeze cools and a bit of reading can be done in comfort. Everyone likes to catch that breeze.

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I always have one eye on the outside, catching any movement, big and small. Even when the temperature on the verandah boards is very warm underfoot, the ants still scurry about on their most important business. Occasionally they will stop. Probably to let their little feet cool or catch their breath. Then they are off again to join the constant stream going to and fro.

This bloke seemed to stop more than the others.

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They look so golden when the light catches their tiny bodies. While the ants were trudging about, this weird blue flash kept going past me, landing on a verandah post, sort of half hopping and flying around and up and down. It finally decided to stop for enough of a millisecond for me to have a bit of a look.

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The little blue bugs shadow sort of looks like an elephant don’t you think? In the mornings, among the small forest of coastal pines plants almost 100 years ago as a wind break, there is the strange calling of Catbirds. I have never been able to find them until this year.

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While that one was preening, another was nearby having a bit of a call.

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Ever heard a Catbird call. Listen here courtesy of Birds in Backyards  http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Ailuroedus-crassirostris Later on in the day in another pine, a Wonga Pigeon was taking a breather out of the heat.

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While at the bird bath it was almost not stop action…..OK, this was over two days but when it is warm, the birds love the birdbath not only for that refreshing dip to get a bit of water in all the right spots, but to have a cool drink. The most amazing thing was in the morning, all the magpie babies came for a bath at the same time. I have never seen so many young in the one spot. One of the parents came for a brief moment. Probably realised that it was the only adult among the kids and took off so it wouldn’t be the one that the young ones chased to beg for a snack.

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It is always a family affair when the Red Browed Finches have a bath.

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I can never understand why people want to have these wonderous little birds in cages.

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I just love this photo.

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IN the other bird bath, the Eastern Yellow Robin shot daggers at the Lewins Honeyeater when it just breezed in for a drink while the Robin was about to hop in for a good bath.

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There is nothing worse than being followed inside by a March Fly. This one thought it was safe to follow me into the bathroom.

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I was surprised that a spider that small would be able to hold on long enough to be able to sink the fangs. You can see the flys biting proboscis. Come to think of it, the spider is a wrestler and has the fly in a Step Over Toe Hold.

I came across this butterfly while down visiting Mrs Flowers.

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It took me a while to work out it was a Tailed Citrus Swallowtail. It is an old butterfly and most of its tail is missing. You can just see the black and orange spots. There is usually three spots across the end of the wing. While we were there we picked some Davidson Plums.

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Which went from that to this.

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And to this.

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Just near the door the fuchsias have been blooming, such a pretty dainty flower.

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I hope I can find a lot of different and new stuff this year.

brian