Australia · clouds · garden flowers · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · photography · summer · Tweed Valley

The Moodiness of Mount Warning

A slither of blueness returned to the morning sky today, just a slither, but enough to give me hope that today might just be the day the mountain would reappear, after sulking behind a wall of clouds for the past four days.

Little Hoppy (of gammy leg fame) was on standby, watching the mountain with me. I can always count on Hoppy to drop by every morning.

But wait – the Three Stooges are here as well, with clean and fluffy feathers after several days of being washed by the rain – repeatedly.

Not to be outdone, baby magpie waited patiently for me to turn around and take a photo of him as well.

Meanwhile, the mountain remained mostly hidden for most of the morning.

Early in the afternoon, most of the cloud cover had disappeared. Seeing the beautiful vivid blueness of the ranges is good for my soul, even if a few clouds lingered.

Less than an hour later, we had a complete mountain view!

I kept on checking the mountain today, and she was full of surprises. At dusk, even though she had caught a few clouds again, the setting sun’s dazzling rays shone across her lower ranges.

Quite a few daylilies appeared today, so while I had my camera in hand, I thought I’d better preserve some of their splendour. They are called daylilies for a reason, and will be gone by tomorrow.

During the few short minutes while I had wandered off to visit the daylilies, the mountain had changed again, this time darkening in preparedness for nightfall. Today, however, Mount Warning had one last treat remaining …

Goodnight mountain. ❤

 

Australia · garden flowers · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · palm trees · photography · quotes · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Nature Journaling

 

Hands-on experience at the critical time, not systematic knowledge, is what counts in the making of a naturalist. Better to be an untutored savage for a while, not to know the names or anatomical detail. Better to spend stretches of time just searching and dreaming. ~~ Edward O. Wilson.

My mind is not wired for science, and consequently the anotomical detail of plants has me bewildered. I’m more of a searcher and dreamer as I wander around my garden, taking photos, and I even feel completely comfortable if anyone wishes to regard me as an untutored savage. My garden brings me so much joy, and I love experimenting, wondering if plants will grow, and how they will grow if they survive my sometimes erratic subtropical climate. Will the new plant reach or exceed the suggested height on the label? Will they survive our dry, mild winters, or get ‘wet feet’ during our rainy season, summer?

Today when I walked around one of the first areas we established in the garden twenty-six years ago, admiring the plants we planted back then that have survived – and flourished – throughout the test of time and seasons, I realised just how little I know about these plants. The pink flower is a hibiscus, but what variety of hibiscus? I found plenty of weathered hibiscus flowers on the hedge, but do they always develop new buds in January? Perhaps the wind and rain, which has many of the flowers looking battle-weary, has encouraged the plants to bloom again. I’m not sure.

I must document these changes I see in my garden, for future reference. I noticed today that the western end of the hibiscus hedge still has a few unblemished flowers left. It is also on the western end – an area protected by a solid fence nearby – where more new buds are growing.

This is the eastern end, an area more exposed to the elements. Here I found unidentifiable dried debris, littered with fallen frangipani flowers, and even a small branch broken off the frangipani tree. This discovery led me to wondering if I will see a second burst of flowers blooming on the frangipani before the cooler weather arrives, seeing as the tree lost most of its flowers during the recent powerful gusty winds we had? So many questions …

My photos often feature the palm trees we planted many years ago as tiny saplings. Now their massive leaves tower above me when I stand beside the hibiscus hedge. I couldn’t tell anyone what variety of palms they are. I can safely say, however, that when the palms grow seeds, I see birds stopping by briefly each day to check the seeds. I assume the birds are waiting for the seeds to ripen, because eventually I see flocks of birds excitedly clamouring over one another, hopping from bunch to bunch, until they find seeds to their taste.

These days, when I plant something new, I try to remember to make a note of the name of the plant. I have contemplated the idea of nature journaling for several years, but I always hesitate at the thought of drawing pictures of my finds in the garden. Is my drawing ability up to scratch? I used to love drawing, but haven’t drawn anything since … I can’t remember when.

Maybe I could start by drawing something easy, like this plant that has sprouted out of a low rock retaining wall amid the moss. I wonder can anyone identify it for me? Is it a spaghorn? There are a few growing along the wall, and I wonder how big it will grow?

Before I went down the garden, I closed the gate on Brontë and Forrest, but not the gate Forrest is peeking at me through! That naughty dog must have climbed the chainwire fence near to the house, run along the outside of our garden and up through the broken fence at the bottom of our garden. The gate she is behind in the photo leads to the rear boundary of our yard, where the orchard is. She certainly knows how to get my attention, that girl!

I love looking across the valley from the lower end of our garden towards Mount Warning. Today the weather cleared again, and if we don’t get any rain overnight we will mow the lawns tomorrow morning. I told husband I will slash the edges while he does the main mowing with the ride-on mower. Even if my gardening chores take up all my time and I don’t have time to take photos, I have plenty more to share from today’s garden walk. 🙂

Australia · blessings · cakes · Changes · clouds · farewell · garden flowers · granddaughter · gratitude · In My World · memories · Mount Warning · new beginnings · new year · pets · photography · rain · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Goodbye, 2020.

Words seem to escape me tonight. What does one say as the year 2020 draws to a close?

I could state the obvious, that this year has been an extremely difficult year for many people, but we all know that. It’s hardly a profound statement.

It has definitely been a year of change – we all know that as well.

So I will tell you all some new news, about my day filled with magical moments. 🙂

It rained overnight, washing away the dusty air in the valley. I awoke to a crystal clear – picture perfect, I would say – scene of Mount Warning.

As always, when Forrest and Brontë enjoyed some time in the sun, it was my Labrador, Brontë, who kept watch.

Raindrops from our overnight shower clung to my potted Petunias. I love these colours so much! Pink and purple flowers in my garden make my heart sing!

Inside the house, Bowie boy posed beautifully for the camera. ❤

And when my little granddaughter came to visit, she was very excited to finally try a piece of the Christmas cake she has been eyeing off every time she has visited since Christmas Day.

While I had my camera out, Aurora told her Mummy and Daddy to say “cheese,” then she took her own photo. Don’t you just love the imagination of children? And Aurora’s curls? ❤

Miss Tibbs prefers to hide when visitors arrive. I found her after my visitors had left, in her usual place on my sewing table.

Around sunset, a sudden noise alerted me to a change in the weather. It had remained sunny most of the day – the sun was still shining – but a sudden gush of rain fell from a huge unexpected cloud that had rolled in from the coast.

We had the most spectacular sunshower. I took a few photos from my veranda, as the rain really was quite heavy, and had whipped up a windy squall from the south.

So the day that began crystal-clear-perfect ended with a brilliant sunshower. Two incredibly stunning, yet totally different views of Mount Warning. What a way to end the year!

I feel a tad sorry for the year 2020. It has taken a bad rap, particularly since March. But was it the fault of the year that so many things went awry? I don’t believe it was. Every year, we experience the good and the bad situations that life offers, and we can’t claim 2020 to be all “bad” can we?

For me, 2020 was the year my grandson, Eli, was born. It is also the year I learned that I have two more grandsons on the way. The units I completed at university were two of my most enjoyable units so far, and I was graded with a high distinction for both units. I have had the opportunity to spend more time at home, therefore more time in my garden. Since July, I have blogged every day and made more friends in the blogging community.

No, 2020 wasn’t all bad, not for me at least.

As we welcome in the New Year of 2021, we are presented with a brand new opportunity to begin again, with a clean slate. No mistakes, no problems, just a choice of how we will react to the good moments, and the bad, that 2021 presents us with. ❤

Australia · clouds · garden flowers · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · native Australian plants · new beginnings · photography · summer · sunset · Tweed Valley

Contemplating the New Year

The afternoon sun hid behind a cloud today, so the sky colours are far more subtle than they have been recently at sunset.

For the last couple of days, the light hasn’t been wonderful for taking photos. I think we have a bit of glare from the brightness of the sky, so none of the photos I have taken look all that wonderful.

But not to worry, I have a few photos, taken a couple of weeks ago, which didn’t make it to a blog post for whatever reason, so I will share those today.

Did I mention we have two baby Butcher Birds this year? I don’t believe I did. They are still a tad shy, but visit the garden occasionally. One day, both visited at the same time.

They seem to like perching on the trampoline I have in the yard for my grandchildren.

Since I added a few seedlings to some empty plant pots I had in the garden, the birds seem to enjoy rummaging around in the dirt, for reasons only known to them. Even the little Noisy Miners have taken a liking to the new pots.

Clearly it was raining the day I took this photo of a few of my regular visitors. I complained no end about the rain causing clouds and mist which hid Mount Warning, but after having so much rain that the area flooded, it hasn’t rained since! We could do with a touch of rain for the garden, just not so much that it causes a flood again!

And finally, here are a couple of flowering plants in my back garden. The first flower is probably the most recognisable – a hibiscus. A tiny Ladybird insect had taken a fancy to the stunning orange flower too. 🙂

The last flower is an Australian Native, whose name escapes me!

There’s a few more photos on my desktop waiting to be added to a blog post, so if the dud light continues, I have a few more photos to go on with tomorrow. It’s convenient timing too, I’m using up all of my December photos before we begin the New Year.

How is everyone feeling about a new year beginning – are you ready to launch into 2021 with gusto, shouting good riddance to the old year? Or do you feel wary of the new year, planning on tippy-toeing forward after the trials of 2020?

Australia · birds · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · photography · summer · Tweed Valley

A Visit from Larry.

I must confess to having an addiction ~ I simply can’t resist taking photos of kookaburras. My addiction began many years ago when I met my first tame kookaburra, who I named Larry.

When I saw this beautiful boy atop my clothesline this morning I first took a photo from afar. Until I approach a kookaburra, I am never sure whether they are tame or shy. Kookaburras with both characteristics visit my garden these days.

Recently, I have noticed several kookaburras have become more trusting, and allow me to hand feed them. This has created something of a dilemma for me, as once upon a time I had just my one tame bird, Larry. I recognised this bird just after I approached him and spoke to him though ~ it was faithful old Larry. While the other tame birds view me with caution, Larry is cool. Nothing phases Larry. Nothing phased this bird.

When I wanted to walk past the clothesline to take a photo of Mount Warning, I politely told him not to be afraid, I just wanted to take a photo. He calmly looked at me without even so much as flinching. That confirmed it was Larry.

When we heard the distance chorus of kookaburra laughter, Larry became alert. He stopped and listened, and I felt sure he would fly away to investigate the commotion. Instead, he shook himself, and fluffed up his feathers.

Larry looked this way and that, listening, completely ignoring me clicking away with my camera directly beneath where he sat.

With his feathers fluffed up, Larry shook out a wing, as if to fly away, but instead he stayed. His stance shows the expanse of his wing, and the brown and beige stripes running the length of his tail. They are magnificent birds.

I could not believe the change in his feathers! I have seen kookaburras fluffed up against the cold before, but this was the first time I have seen it closely, and in warm weather. Their individual feathers are surprisingly fine and delicate for such a robust bird.

Larry had been the perfect model for me, so definitely deserved a reward. 🙂

When he saw the food, Larry flew down to the fence to eat. He may have had to share his reward with a fly – it’s there if you look closely – then with a full belly and flattened feathers, off he flew to parts unknown. ❤