Australia · clouds · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · pecan nuts · spring · Tweed Valley

Blue-grey clouds at sunset

The day started off rather cool this morning, but by midday it was in the mid-twenties and rather warm. Around sunset, when this photo was taken, it looked like it could rain – it didn’t – and I made sure I fit as many interesting blue-grey clouds into the camera lens as I possibly could.

During the week I have taken a few photos of birds when they have visited the garden. I thought this kookaburra had quite an inquisitive tilt to its head.

And this butcher bird actually stayed still long enough for me to get a half-decent photo. They flit around very fast usually, so I often end up with a blurred patch of wings in flight on the screen when I upload photos.

All of my figbird photos are taken from a distance. They are very shy birds who don’t get too close to people. This photo is as much about the tree as the bird, it’s my pecan nut tree, and the branches are showing signs of new growth. That means I won’t see the birds on the branches for too much longer, at least until the tree loses its leaves again next winter.

I couldn’t resist adding this last photo of the two little larrikins! Kookaburras have a talent for saying so much, without speaking.

This week is the last week of semester two at uni. I submitted one assignment today, and still have two to go, so it’s going to be a busy week. I’m already dreaming about spending more time in the garden every day after my assignments are done. 🙂

Australia · In My World · Mount Warning · pecan nuts · photography · winter

Winter in My Garden

Mono pecanI try, often unsuccessfully of late, to add a photo each day to my Blipfoto journal. One day that I try to participate in however is “Mono Monday”, a day in which “blippers” are invited to add a black and white photo of a theme, as created by a generous host of the challenge each month.

A brilliant blue sky on a winter's day.
A brilliant blue sky on a winter’s day.

Today, the theme chosen by an Australian blipper was “Winter”, so my camera and I took a wander around the garden in search of suitable photos for the theme.winter pecans

With the brilliant blue sky overhead today, we had a maximum temperature of around twenty-three degrees Celsius, I had in mind to take some photos of the almost bare branches of the pecan nut tree. The leaves begin to grow again when the weather warms up in spring, and by autumn we have a tree laden with pecan nuts.

A touch of colour.
A touch of colour.

About a month ago, the leaves began to fall, and now, the only leaves left are those that got caught in the branches during their fall, and have since lost their brilliant green colouring.

I think I'm being watched!
I think I’m being watched!

As I walked toward the pecan tree, I heard a rustling sound, and there amid the scrub outside our side fence was an old friend of mine, Mr. Bush Turkey! I haven’t seen him for over six months now, and had feared the worst. Apparently, he left the area for a while, and has now returned and taken up residence in his old nest amid the scrub and small trees.

Hello there! Where have you been?
Hello there! Where have you been?

He’s not the prettiest of creatures, you must admit, but what he lacks in looks he makes up for ten-fold in personality, and he remembered me! As I said hello to my old friend, he ran to me, showing no fear. (I have been known to slip him the occasional treat to eat.)

The sugar mill in the valley, surrounded by cane fields.
The sugar mill in the valley, surrounded by cane fields.

Another notable sign that winter has returned is the smoke rising from the huge chimney at the Condong Sugar Mill. I can see the mill, way down in the valley, from the back of my house. The mill remains dormant throughout summer, awaiting the new stalks of growing sugar cane, harvested and brought to the mill by many local farmers during the winter months.

Leafless in winter.
Leafless in winter.

After my garden walk, I took the clothes off the clothesline, leaving my camera on a table on the veranda. A while later, remembering where I had left my camera, I collected it, at just the right time to see the muted tones of a gentle winter sunset. So pretty, and so much a sign of the season.

Subtle, and oh so winter.
Subtle, and oh so winter.

Ah winter, how I love the cooler months. 🙂

One of my friendly magpies, guarding their territory. Nesting has begun.
One of my friendly magpies, guarding their territory. Nesting has begun.
Australia · enchanting · freedom · pecan nuts · photography



“To hear never-heard sounds,
To see never-seen colors and shapes,
To try to understand the imperceptible
Power pervading the world;
To fly and find pure ethereal substances
That are not of matter
But of that invisible soul pervading reality.
To hear another soul and to whisper to another soul;
To be a lantern in the darkness
Or an umbrella in a stormy day;
To feel much more than know.
To be the eyes of an eagle, slope of a mountain;
To be a wave understanding the influence of the moon;
To be a tree and read the memory of the leaves;
To be an insignificant pedestrian on the streets
Of crazy cities watching, watching, and watching.
To be a smile on the face of a woman
And shine in her memory
As a moment saved without planning.” ~ Dejan Stojanovic.

???????????????????????????????The first day that a flock of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos invaded my Pecan Nut Tree was indeed a happy day for this bird-loving, photo taking blogger. For weeks I had listened to their raucous screeching sounds as they flew through the ether, bypassing my garden and heading off to parts unknown.

???????????????????????????????These are large native Australian birds, and whilst some may regard them as pests, there are many more, including myself, who love the personality, character and appearance of cockatoos.

During one of my early morning photo session I could hear my next door neighbour calling out “shoo, shoo” and when I looked towards her garden, there she was, running around her yard, waving a stick and obviously attempting to remove these angelic beauties from her garden. Not that she had many in her yard, and they were my pecan nuts they were munching on.

I chuckled to myself and continued clicking away with my camera. The cockatoos ignored the stick-waving human. The stick-waver gave up.

???????????????????????????????We planted our pecan nut tree about eighteen years ago, so you can imagine how large it is now, and we have enjoyed many seasons of munching away on the pecans ourselves. In fact, I’m sure I have a post, somewhere in the archives, of my delicious Pecan Pie…..

"Wanna share....?"
“Wanna share….?”

…..Here it is!  And look at that, I added the recipe on June, 18th, 2010, almost three years ago to the day! And I’m more than happy to share my pie recipe with everyone, unlike my cockatoo friends, who are very possessive with what they regard as their own, as you can see here!

"Gimme that now!"
“Gimme that now!”

During the silence of the early morning, with around two dozen cockatoos breaking open the hard shells of the pecans, the collective cracking of shells being broken open resembles the sound of a fire burning. You know the crackling sound a fire makes when logs are burning in the fireplace? That’s the noise that the cockatoos make with the shells.

???????????????????????????????Their white feathers are so pristine in appearance and with the birds being so large, between fifteen to twenty inches in length, when their wings are spread they seem to look as I imagine an angel in flight would look.

???????????????????????????????Oh okay, yes, you’re right, I don’t imagine an angel with a rounded beak and black beads for eyes, but you do get the picture, don’t you? Their white wings look like gossamer, cascading through the air. I suspect in reality those wings hold power, though my heart wishes to believe they are gossamer.

A white flurry of gossamer wings....
A white flurry of gossamer wings….

Cockatoos can be tamed and kept as pets, even taught how to talk. Apparently they are very demanding pets. I’ve also read that they are very affectionate birds, which doesn’t surprise me, after having been privileged to watch them interact with one another in the wild.

Pretty Cocky!
Pretty Cocky!

The long yellow feathers on their head, the crest, has its own set of muscles, allowing the bird to lift their sulphur crest when happy, excited or playful. As I have watched them, I’ve noticed that when something catches their eye somewhere in the distance, they will raise their crest before flying away.

???????????????????????????????My neighbour, who also feeds the wild birds, (not the stick waving woman!) has a huge pine tree in her garden and the cockatoos love chewing on the pine cones too. In captivity, they can destroy furniture, as they love to chew on wood. Perhaps the stick waver thought they were plotting to destroy her trees…..?

???????????????????????????????They seem to be quite partial to the exotic orange blooms of my African Tulip tree too. I’m guessing there must be seeds inside the flowers that they enjoy eating. I’ve also watched and wondered, as they shake their heads back when they have a mouthful of delicious orange-ness, just as this next cocky is doing.

???????????????????????????????I must admit, I wondered whether the cockatoos had left me any pecans on the tree at all! Not that I needed any, as I already have two buckets full on the veranda, waiting to be shelled, so I took another bucket down to the tree last weekend only to find that there were heaps of pecan nuts left for me! These gorgeous white-winged angels are not greedy at all. 🙂

An angelic pecan muncher in action.
An angelic pecan muncher in action.
gardening · gratitude · herbs · lemon · mangoes · pecan nuts · summer

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Abundance.


This past week has been a rather hectic one for me, with an abundance of work, mostly paper work, taking up most of my waking hours each day.

As a result I have missed out on posting anything here for quite a few days. I’ve even missed the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for last week!

Now, where in the rules does it say a photo can’t be posted a couple of days late?… No where?… That’s what I thought!

So here I am with my photo, which represents last week’s theme ~ “abundance”.

This photo was taken last year, when our garden produced a massive abundance of extremely tasty food; tomatoes, lemons, limes, mangoes, pecan nuts, chillies, and a number of my favourite herbs, including rosemary, basil, sage, parsley and thyme.

This time last year, the planets must have aligned perfectly, giving us a bumper crop of absolutely everything we grow! The right amount of rain and just enough sunshine, with the right amount of heat beating down upon the earth.

This summer, however, Mother Nature has not been quite so kind to us. Luckily, I have my photos from last year, showing my garden in all of its lush glory with an abundance of edibles, with which to reminisce, until the perfect weather conditions return again.

And the perfect weather conditions will return. Mother Nature is kind that way. 🙂