Australia · freedom · gardening · mangoes

Batty About Bats!

“Birds and fruit bats prefer native fruit. If they have native fruit they’ll leave yours alone” ~ Jackie French

I’ve had bats on my brain for the last day, fruit bats (or flying foxes) to be precise.

I place the blame on Kathy, over at “Lake Superior Spirit”, who wrote a most interesting and entertaining blog post yesterday, “Bat Event Today”.

Here in Australia bats are a common sight, especially so during the summer months. We regularly spot them gliding through the air at night fall. No doubt they have just woken from a day of slumber, being nocturnal mammals, and are preparing to raid the juiciest fruit available from the trees of suburbia.

Many years ago, whilst living in Sydney, we grew a lovely big pawpaw tree just outside of our back door. Each night after dark, the local fruit bats would make a feast out of our beautifully ripening fruit. Not wishing to be greedy, we would occasionally remove a pawpaw from the tree during the day for our own use. There was plenty to share!

One night I managed to take a photo of our cute little batty friends, although you will have to look carefully to spot the little fellow, right in the centre of the photo, who just happened to look straight at me as I photographed him.

Fruit bat in the pawpaw tree

This really isn’t the best of photos. But not to worry…I searched the web and have come up with some real beauties, taken by those with both better cameras and better photography skills than my own.

This photo of a bat in flight I found at  http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au

Bat in flight

These beautiful bats were at http://www.candobetter.org. I can resist their cute little faces!

Beautiful Bats

This is a great photo, especially for my non Australian friends. It shows bats hanging from a Hills hoist, or clothes line. (I will write a post on our Aussie clothes lines; it’s quite an interesting story!)

Photo credit ~ theblurb.com.au

We have a large mango tree growing just outside our bedroom window and during last summer all of the local mango trees produced fruit in huge quantities, the likes of which we had never seen before. I wrote about my “Delightful Mangoes” and also added a recipe for “Green Mango Chutney” during last summer. I made so much chutney we are still enjoying it, and it is delicious!

Over a period of around two to three weeks last summer, every night at around midnight, we were awoken by the unmistakable squeaky sounds of multiple fruit bats, feasting away on the ripening mangoes just outside our window. These little guys really must have felt they had hit the jackpot, as they continued to party, night after night, constantly returning until the last ripe mango was devoured.

Each night, when their tummies were suitably filled they would all fly off together, with a massive whoosh of their wings. The following morning I would check with my husband to see if he had been awake to hear the flying elephants taking off! I’m yet to learn how such tiny creatures can create such a massive wing sound!

According to Australian author Jackie French, if the trees you plant in your garden produce fruit which is more appealing to the local wildlife, such as native fruit trees, they will leave the human-preferred varieties alone.

I’m sure Jackie French’s theory would apply in all countries. Simply find out what the local wildlife wish to munch on and supply it to them. They’ll leave your treasures alone!

Whilst searching through photo albums for my fruit bat photo, I discovered another old photo, again taken in Sydney, of a couple of regular visitors to our window sill. These birds are called Rainbow Lorikeets, and are simply beautiful, not only in their colours but also their friendly personalities.

Lorikeets in Sydney

Don’t forget to drop by Kathy’s site, “Lake Superior Spirit”. You’re sure to enjoy her bat story, just as I did. 🙂

gratitude · Mum · spiritual

Mother’s Love Makes the World Go On.

Walking outside and into my garden this morning, I was greeted by the usual early morning sights and sounds; the sun shining brightly in the sky and birds chirping happily in the trees.

The distant sound of a chainsaw, possibly a neighbour pruning trees, preparing  their garden for the upcoming hot summer months.

Cutie Cat rubbed her dainty little body against my legs. Today, I imagine she is reminding me that it’s her birthday. She turns three today. As she rolls around on the grass, her eyes squinted against the bright sun light, I feel her blissful happiness and her enjoyment of the recent warmer weather.

The world goes on; the birds keep singing, the trees, grass and flowers keep on growing. The universe shows no regard for what happened, seventeen years ago today.

The sun shone in the sky on the morning of that day also, just as it is today. Memories of that day are embedded in my mind, to remain forever.

The weather had recently become warmer, as it does every year at the end of August. I thought the world might end that day, seventeen long years ago. But it didn’t. Life continued; the world kept on spinning.

And I continued to breathe.

I knew she was still breathing too, as I left her hospital room. A strong pulse moved in her neck. She was still with me, as I said goodbye, for the last time. Her fine, shining white hair curled gently around her face. Her strong, gentle, healing hands rested motionless on the bed. Her eyes remained closed. And the pulse in her neck kept beating.

Every particle of her hair, her hands and her face had to be savoured, to be held in my memory for as long as time.

Out in the hospital car park, I started up the car, the sounds of the radio instantly coming through the speakers. “All by myself, don’t wanna be, all by myself anymore”. It was Eric Carmen’s voice, singing one of her favourite songs. Funny, I hadn’t heard that song in years.

Upon arriving home, a sudden urgency hit me. The chores had to be done; the clothes washed, the beds made, the breakfast dishes washed. It all had to be finished, immediately.

And then I was told she had gone.

A nurse had watched me leave the room; she had watched me leave, before entering the room herself, only to find the pulse had stopped.

Instinct, which I had wanted to ignore, had already told me the news that I hadn’t wanted to hear in words. The song on the car radio…

Her physical body left the earth that day, seventeen years ago today. But I know in my heart that she never did leave. A golden thread keeps us close to each other at all times. We can never be separated, not even by “death”.

She remains with me every day, guiding me, protecting me, watching my children grow.

Because that’s what mother’s do.

And that’s why the world goes on.

Australia · gardening · gratitude · happiness · son · winter

It Isn’t Easy Being Green

“It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

But green’s the colour of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean
Or important like a mountain
Or tall like a tree”
~ From the song, It Isn’t Easy Bein’ Green, by Kermit the Frog.

Winter may very well still be with us, but we are already experiencing the occasional warm day.

Such was the case last Sunday, when we decided to take advantage of the pleasantly warm day and get into a few tidy up jobs and pruning of trees, growing along the front of our house.

As I collected together an armful of cut tree branches, one of the “leaves” in my arms let out the unmistakable sound of a cicada. All I had to do was find him, in amongst the greenery!

Twelve year old Adam was particularly keen to see him. For many years he has collected the emptied shells, no longer required by its inhabitant, although he had never before laid eyes on the real thing.

I was determined to find this little green fellow and I promised Adam he would be safe to hold, although he may fly away.

And find him, we did! The green leaves camouflaged him very well, but we eventually located him for Adam to have his first close up view of the cute little guy.

One day I will remember to have my camera strapped to my side when I spend time in the garden! All was not lost though, as Adam had his trusty mobile phone in his pocket. For once, I was pleased. I’m usually warning him that he will need to have the phone surgically removed from his hand, if he doesn’t put it down!

A very friendly new friend for Adam.
A very friendly new friend for Adam.

Here’s one of Mr. Cicada climbing up Adam’s t-shirt. The quality of the photos isn’t great, although not bad for a mobile phone.

The big green guy, climbing Adam's t-shirt.
The big green guy, climbing Adam’s t-shirt.

After Mr. Cicada had posed beautifully for this photo session for a few minutes, Adam gently placed him into the fork of a tree. He chirruped his thanks to us…just in time for little Miss Cutey Cat to realize where he was!

Luckily, Mr. Cicada was again wonderfully camouflaged in among the green foliage, so Miss Cutey didn’t have a hope of finding him.

We have a cluster of “Grandfather’s Whisker’s” attached to the bottom branch of the tree where Adam put Mr Cicada. As Miss Cutey Cat sat at the bottom of the tree, searching for her new cicada friend, she suddenly rubbed the whole of her face and head into the soft fluffy foliage of the Grandfather’s Whisker’s! Drat that phone / camera! As I tried to take a photo of her, it just wouldn’t click! The best I could do was a photo of her happy little face, after the soft, cuddly rub.

She just knew there was something of interest up there!
She just knew there was something of interest up there!

These are the magic moments of life…and this is what life is all about! Taking the time to pause, savour the moment and catch it if you can with a photo. The memory of Adam’s first encounter with a live cicada will linger, long after the cicada has flown away.

The front of the house looks much neater after our tidy up. I live in the hope that the pre-summer weather remains kind to us, so we can continue with the gardening tasks at hand.

advice · basics · freedom · inspiration

Freely Writing a Plan of Action

Personal freedom is something I hold very dear to my heart, possibly due…no; make that probably, due to the lack thereof I have occasionally experienced throughout my life.

But then, isn’t that the way life is? Upon experiencing what it is you don’t want, what do want becomes blatantly obvious!

At my very own “Freedom Space” this month, over at The Calm Space I share my thoughts on taking appropriate actions in your life’s journey.

So why not head on over there now and say hi to the wonderful Káren Wallace while you’re there? Feel free to explore some of the other amazing articles in Káren’s online magazine. You can come back over here, to thank me for steering you in her direction, later. 😉

Oh, and don’t forget to breathe! Deep breaths…

I know, it sounds crazy, but someone just reminded me to keep the blood circulating by taking some big, deep breaths of cleansing air, and you know what? I feel much better for it!

Whatever it takes, to keep you in a tranquil, calm space. 🙂

basics · Changes · freedom · gratitude · happiness · inspiration

Taking a Holiday, All Year ‘Round

Being the creature of habit that I am, when the thought of taking a holiday pops into my brain, I have one point of destination in mind.

But no, today I will not be sharing stories of the place that I refer to as my home away from home. Nor will I be relating to you tales of the sun, the beaches, walks along the river, or any other physical aspect of enjoyment, although I could write multiple articles on the subject.

The holiday unit at the resort where we spend a week, sometimes two, more often than not during the steaming summer month of January, has all the basics we need; three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, laundry, lounge and dining area.

The kitchen is kitted out with the basic pots and pans, cutlery, crockery, kettle and toaster. The laundry provides a washing machine, dryer, clothes airer, bucket, broom, mop iron and ironing board.

Basic bed linen, blankets and pillows are provided in the bedrooms, along with bath towels and bath mats in the bathrooms.

All we need to provide ourselves with is food, purchased from the supermarket just up the road from our holiday unit, in fact, its walking distance away.

Before leaving home, all we pack are our clothes, usually summer clothes at that, so we travel light in that regard, although by the time the kids have packed fishing rods, boogie boards, footballs, iPods, mobile phone, etc., we do actually end up with a loaded car.

For the sake of their outdoor enjoyment, however, I don’t mind their various water activity and sporting related bits and pieces. Holidays are for enjoyment, right?

And enjoy ourselves, we do!

Many times I have pondered the why’s and wherefore’s as to how it is that I seem to find more time when holidaying. Why do the days seem longer? There’s still twenty-four hours in every day wherever you are, so what gives?

After a meal, washing up the dishes is easier.

I hang my washing on the clothes line faster.

My ironing is finished in a jiffy (even in summer!)

The beds are made faster.

The floors are swept in next to no time (yes, we have to sweep the floors daily, after we have carted sand in on out feet, from the river or beach).

We end up with more time in every day. That doesn’t happen at home, so what have I been doing wrong at home?

Really, I simply cannot believe that it took me a number of years, multiple holidays and an overdose of brain-strain to realise what we were doing differently when we went away. The answer is so obvious….

When we go away on holidays, we are not bogged down with all of the material stuff we have at home. Our holiday unit is probably less than half the size of our home, and yet…

Some of the best days of our lives have been enjoyed whilst temporarily possessing only the bare necessities in life!

Once this realisation finally hit me, I wanted to re-create the holiday feeling all year through. Yes, even while I was at home.

And so began my task of discarding unwanted stuff around home, sorting through cupboards, purchasing only the essentials.

Minimising doesn’t happen overnight, but then again, the excess stuff around home didn’t accumulate overnight either. It took years, many years, of growing into our larger home. Our larger home came into being due to our growing family.

Funny how these things creep up on you, when you’re not looking, isn’t it?

When I’m holidaying, I enjoy the freedom and the lightweight feeling I carry with me every day. Life is easy, even if only for a week or two. Therefore, is it any wonder that taking a holiday is such a popular pastime?

We can, and should, treat ourselves all year round to this lightweight, heady freedom, when our souls can sour through the days with as much ease as a feather being carried along by the wind.

And so, with the memories of weightless, carefree days held close to my heart, I continue to discard the excess “bulk” from my life, thankful for the days spent in a holiday unit, where, unbeknownst to me, life’s lessons were being learned. 🙂