Australia · blessings · gardening · gratitude · spring

September

“Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.” ~ Try to Remember lyrics by Tom Jones.

I believe that September may very well be my favourite month of the year, a month when the cooler days of winter are almost over, the nights are pleasantly cooler and comfortable for sleeping and the garden is springing back to life after a few dormant months.

Having said how much I enjoy the month of September, I may contradict myself by proclaiming another month to be my favourite at a later date! It all depends on how I have spent that month in question, and I have to say, I have found something delightful in every day of this month, especially in the garden.

The new plants in my garden are growing beautifully, most looking as if they have been well established in their positions for months, even though they are very young.

I’m not much of a shopper, but let me loose in a garden centre and that’s a whole other story! Over the years I have had to teach myself some discipline, only buying plants that I know I have the room for in the garden.

On my most recent shopping trip for plants, I actually took a shopping list with me, just as I would if I were going to the supermarket. I’m very pleased that I had a place prepared for every plant I came home with.

Tomatoes are one of my favourite edible plants. Shop bought tomatoes lose their flavour after being stored in the refrigerator; not so with home-grown tomatoes, which can easily be picked when needed and enjoyed at room temperature.

Poinsettias are at their best, with equal amounts of light and dark throughout a twenty-four hour period, and last Saturday, the day of the Spring Equinox, my potted poinsettia looked stunning!

One thing I’m not looking forward to as the weather warms is flies! I’ve spotted the odd one or two, but not too many just yet. I did find one though, unexpectedly, perched on the petals of one of my newly planted flowers!

During the late mornings and early afternoons, the birds have taken to singing the most joyful spring songs, high up on the branches, among the thick foliage of the tallest of the trees! I’ve zoomed my camera in on a few birds that I didn’t recognise, and have discovered that we have had a few unusual visitors lately.

One of the birds, a Spangled Drongo, has tail feathers which look like a fishes tail! He seemed to be alone when I spotted him, dangling from an unopened palm leaf.

Other new visitors, known as a Figbirds, arrived in their multitudes! I only managed a decent photo of the female Figbird, although their were males here also. The main difference between the two was the red ring around the male’s eyes.

My faithful regulars, the Magpies, have a nest nearby and when the adults collect food and fly to the nest, I have often heard the tiny cheap-cheap sounds of the baby birds! I’m looking forward to meeting the new babies, when mama and papa bring them to visit, as I’m sure they will do eventually.

As I feed the adult birds, I wonder if they are he same baby birds I have become familiar with in previous years, who have grown up, losing their mottled black and white feathers, and now having the developed their predominant shiny black feathers.

The little Noisy Miners have already brought a baby or two to visit. I love the soft, downie feathers of the baby birds. Imagine how soft those spring baby feathers must be.

This month has also seen the arrival of some bright green frogs! I really, really enjoy the sound of the croaking frogs when it rains! They live in the rock walls around our house and I love catching a glimpse of them every once in a while. They are rather shy creatures though. I think this one that I found, sitting among my new plants, must have been a grandfather frog! He was one big froggy!!

Another sign of the changing season has been the sugar cane fires and the harvesting of the sugar cane. I managed to zoom in successfully on a cane truck the other day, way down in the valley, where the fields of cane had been harvested and the trucks were being loaded with the cane, ready to head off to the sugar cane mill in nearby Condong.

Another bonus of the warmer weather is being able to sleep with the windows open! The warmer nights of September have allowed us to leave some windows open, and the fresh and gentle scents of the outdoors are wonderful, wafting in on the nighttime breeze. Miss Tibbs, however, prefers to sleep outdoors, under the foliage, when the weather permits.

The swimming pool is ready for us to jump into when the hot summers days reach us. None of us have been brave enough to try the water this early in the season, although my two boys did go to the beach last weekend. They didn’t stay too long though, and came home with stories of the surprisingly warm water for this time of the year.

I think that the last word for September should go to the Kookaburras, those happy little chappies who laugh all year ’round, no matter what conditions the weather brings!

“Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.”

inspiration · photography · spiritual · vision

Imagine…

Today is the International  Day of Peace and rather than talking about peace, I would like to stay silent.

Talking has its place, but can be so over-rated at times, so on this day of peace, I will simply offer scenes of those things which bring peace to my days.

“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” ~ A. J. Muste.

“It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

“Yes, we are all different. Different customs, different foods, different mannerisms, different languages, but not so different that we cannot get along with one another. If we will disagree without being disagreeable.” ~ J. Martin Kohe.

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” ~ Buddha.

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~ Dalai Lama.

“People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.” ~ Dalai Lama.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you will join us and the world will live as one.” ~ John Lennon.

blessings · gardening · happiness · mangoes · Mount Warning · spring

The Sacred Garden

A Place of Happiness and Contentment.

If I could describe the perfect weather, the weather we are having now would be it.

Every day, for weeks on end, we have seen blue sunny skies, pleasantly warm temperatures during the day, and cooling down overnight for a cosy night’s sleep, snuggled up under the blankets.

Tiny Violas, just outside the back door.

It hasn’t rained at all, which is an advantage in one way as there is no humidity, but a disadvantage as the garden is crying out for a nice long refreshing drink of water.

The poppies are going well, but need watering every day.

Every afternoon I give some of the garden a watering, keeping it to just the plants that I know will suffer from the lack of water, such as my potted poppies and orchids, and the vegetable garden.

Garden tools are never far away.

This week I have devoted each day to giving my garden a “spring clean”. It’s more than just pulling out the weeds and pruning a few plants, and my mission is to have all the tidying up completed before the heat arrives.

New flowers are beginning to open on the Alamanda.

Yesterday’s chore of pressure cleaning the pavers at the back of my house had to be aborted, due to our four-month old pressure cleaner blowing a gasket! It has gone to the pressure cleaner hospital for a few days, and will be home again next week, so I can finish the job then.

Mount Warning, the Overseer of All Things Sacred.

Meanwhile, plenty of plants and trees have been pruned, old tatty plants have been removed, today I have added some new topsoil in the gardens where necessary, and before breakfast this morning I had a huge truck load of mulch delivered!

We all know how I will be spending the day tomorrow!!

Little Miss Tibbs, my helper, who is never far from my side.

I haven’t been alone in the garden either. Little Miss Tibbs has been right by my side, “helping”. No day in the garden is complete, without having your hands grabbed as you pull out weeds, legs jumped on as you move along the garden bed, and of course, everyone knows that a freshly weeded patch of dirt simply has to be rolled in!

Gardening can be exhausting!

She really is such wonderful company. If I don’t pay her enough attention I hear her little meow, and next thing she is rubbing up against my legs (or arms, or whatever body part is handy at the time!)

My sore muscles and aching “gardener’s back” are really of no consequence, when I think of the pure and absolute pleasure I feel when I’m out in the garden. If there is a place in the world that I could call my “Sacred Place”, that would have to be my garden.

The Mango Tree is covered in new growth.

New buds are forming, showing signs of the promise of beauty yet to come and my mango tree is positively covered in little blossoms! If we don’t have too many windy days (the wind can blow the tiny mango seeds away, leaving us with a bare tree) then we are in for a bumper crop of mangoes this year!

Tiny blossoms everywhere!

This afternoon, when I went right down the back garden to take photos of the mango tree, I spotted a Bush Turkey, just outside the back gate. He seemed tame enough, so I went closer to take his photo. Unfortunately he didn’t smile for the camera though, as he was more interested in finding his lunch.

“No, I can’t look up, I’m eating!!”

Some regular visitors to the garden, the magpies, who have dropped in for a chat and a meal for a few years now, were here for their usual afternoon scrounge around, and when they left the garden they headed for the very top of one of the tallest trees around, a Norfolk Pine.

The magpies balancing act!

I zoomed in on them to get a photo of the pair, looking quite ruffled, as the two of them tried to keep their balance and the tree swayed in the breeze!

The lemon tree is fruiting and flowering beautifully.

Everyone should have a “Sacred Place”, somewhere that you can go to, where all the cares of the world are guaranteed to be washed away in an instant.

Do you have a “Sacred Place”, or even a person who pacifies your mind and soothes your soul?

Tess plays her role of watch-dog, while Miss Tibbs and I are gardening.
Changes · gardening · Mount Warning · new beginnings

Welcome to my new WordPress address! :)

The self-proclaimed “King of the Garden” ~ The Kookaburra.

Welcome to the new address of Home Life Online!

When I began blogging at Home Life Online, the very first blog that I ever had, I didn’t know a lot about blogging at all, so every decision I made was based upon the advice of other people.

From all the accounts I read, it seemed that the way to go with blogging was to have a self-hosted website, which would allow me to have complete control over my website.

Well that was nearly three years ago now and during the last three years I have started up another three blogs, each with a different purpose all of its own, and each one being a free WordPress blog. You will find the links to my other three blogs right under the header at the top of this page.

In all honesty, I have yet to find the advantage of paying to host my own WordPress blog! And what is more, I find the free versions easier to navigate around!!

The overseer of all things “garden” ~ Miss Tibbs.

I’m absolutely sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I were a super-techie type, who knew website code and could decipher programming mumbo-jumbo, I would be singing the praises of the self-hosted website, but unfortunately I’m not techie, or code savvy at all.

For ages now, I’ve toyed with the idea of transferring all the content from my self-hosted website to a free WordPress blog, and today I have finally bitten the bullet. I’ve spent the afternoon signing up, importing, exporting, re-adding, colouring, contemplating, deciding…and finally…it’s all set!

And here it is ~ the new home for Home Life Online!

To make the transition a little easier, I’ve stayed with the same theme, same header, same background, and all the content has been transferred from the old site. It may sound really quite involved, but it wasn’t at all. Even an un-computer-savvy blogger like me could do it!

At my new blog, right here, I will continue along in just the same way as I always have. The kookaburras and the garden, the river and the ocean, in fact everything that has always been there, will now be over here!

Pretty in pink!

There are just two requests I have, with moving my online address ~ firstly, if you were subscribed at the old site, would you mind subscribing again here? You will find the subscription link just to your right, near the top of the column, under the heading “Keep in Touch”. I can’t transfer my subscribers, and would hate to find that I had lost (or misplaced!) anyone during the move. You know what it’s like when you’re moving….

And secondly, if you find that there are any glitches in the new system, could you please tell me about them in your comments? I’ve checked everything from my computer, and all seems well, but you never know about those unwanted gremlins….

Over the next month or two, I will be asking my ever-so computer techie friend if they can help me out with a few things that I would like to do with the old website, but until then, I will leave everything there as is. And you will all be the first to know when my new plans for the old site are up and running!

It will be a whole new revamp, in fact a full-scale renovation, and once I get the ball rolling, the old domain will be a blog no more, but I promise, you will hear about it!

In the meantime, just so as you know you are really at the right address, here is a photo of my beautiful view from my home, of the majestic Mount Warning. 🙂

Mount Warning
Australia · autumn · blessings · happiness · Tweed Valley

Towns of the Tweed ~ Hastings Point, (on the rocks)

The seagulls have to be cheeky, to get fed!

My photographic story of my visit to Hastings Point, a beautiful, sleepy, seaside town on the Tweed Coast began here yesterday, as I sat on the grassy hill overlooking the ocean and shared lunch with some very cheeky but rather cute seagulls!

Tiny pools of the ocean water, trapped by the jagged rock formations.

We decided to return to Hastings Point the next morning, when the tide would be low and we could climb around the rocks below. I had also charged my camera battery, so could take more photos.

Black birds were flying around the rocks below, although didn’t seem to want to venture up the hill in search of food, unlike their seagull friends.

The roar of the waves, even at low tide, is at times almost deafening when you are right next to the ocean. The rocks which were hidden by the ocean the previous afternoon were now exposed, showing strange creatures attached to the rocks, and tiny shells in the rock pools.

Tiny creatures, exposed by the low tide, and attached to the rocks. I needed to have a closer look at these…

I have no idea what kind of sea creatures (or rock inhabitants) these are, but they are rather interesting when you take a closer look…

Looking down on the unidentified creatures….

Little seashells, dotted here and there among the attached creatures, look for all the world as if they are covered in honey, when you take a look at them side on.

Honey coated crustaceans?

The crevices between the rocks, filled with ocean the day before, had dried out in the morning sun, making our climb across the rocks both dry and enjoyable.

Wide expanses of rock, letting in streams of the ocean.

Although some of the rock surfaces were smooth and easy to get a footing on, other were jagged pillars of rock, like the volcanic rock formations at Fingal Head, just north of Hastings Point.

I suspect these may be the same breed of volcanic rocks, which can be seen at Fingal Beach.

Being the beautiful morning that it was, I was quite happy to just sit in the sunlight, mind clear, ears filled with the roar of the ocean….

The noise of the ocean didn’t detract from the peace I felt…

….looking out at the ocean, watching the waves crash against the rocks and weave their way like little rivers through the rocky crevices.

The tranquil but fierce ocean.

It felt as if I was existing in a world all of my own, with nature; the birds, the waves, the thundering and splashing, the peace and tranquility.

Natural beauty. No amount of money can buy this, it is free for all to enjoy.

The beauty….

After a while…I have no idea how long I sat on the rocks, contemplating the sea…I noticed the water levels getting higher, the wave splashes rising higher, and thought I might head around to the other side of the rocks, where another beach lies, looking south of Hastings Point.

A deserted beach, looking south from the Hastings Point Headland.

A lone fisherman stood on the rocks, amid the noise and the spray of the waves…

A lone fisherman….

I couldn’t help but wonder if he too felt the magic of the ocean, heard the peace in the crashing waves and lost all track of time as he stood on the rocks amid the salty sea.

The Old Man and the Sea.

Hastings Point is a place that brings back some old childhood memories, of my younger days spent camping with my mum and dad in our little tent by the sea, but now I have made new memories.

And my new memories fill my heart and make my soul sing!

I’ll be back to visit Hastings Point, many more times….

Beauty and colour in the sand.