Australia · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · sugar cane · Tweed Valley

A Misty Morning … and a Sugar Cane Fire

The view to Mount Warning and across the Tweed Valley this morning looked incredible. A thick layer of mist had settled in the valley overnight, hiding from sight every object – both natural and constructed – that is usually visible on the valley floor. I took a series of misty morning photos which I will post here tomorrow.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day in our garden, right down the back of our yard among the fruit trees we planted several years ago. We’ve had a pretty hectic past eighteen months for one reason or another and have consequentially neglected our orchard area. And it shows. We have lost a couple of trees and have pruned back others harshly, hoping they will bounce back after some care and attention.

We were not alone in the garden though. As we were digging around our (very healthy!) pecan tree we noticed a kookaburra watching us from its perch in the pear tree.

You might notice the intensity of this gorgeous bird’s gaze! We knew what he was looking for – dinner – and it wasn’t long before he swooped down to catch a tasty morsel he had noticed in the soil.

At other times he seemed quite nonchalant, as if the potential of discovering a meal in our turned garden soil hadn’t crossed his mind!

After collecting dinner he flew back to the tree branch and dined alone, then shortly after he flew away.

Meanwhile, we heard the crackling sound of a sugar cane fire starting in the valley.

The fire was just a short distance away from our yard, but far enough away from the sudden drop at the end of our yard to be able to see the cane fire clearly. As the fire burned, I took a series of photos.

The outer perimeter of the cane field is clearly outlined, and as you can see the fire has been lit around the perimeter. The flames quickly gain momentum, burning the inner section of the field to remove leaf debris before harvesting can take place.

Within an incredibly short time, the fire is over. The job is done.

The time between the last two photos is just two minutes.

Just one minute later, the flames are virtually gone.

From the first dim sound we heard as the cane fire began, to the time the flames were gone, just ten minutes passed.

The sugar cane industry has played an integral role in the Tweed Valley for many generations. Newcomers to the area often cannot understand the attraction locals have to seeing cane fields ablaze every winter, but to the long-standing locals like myself, and to my husband – a fourth-generation Tweed local – the area simply would not be the same without the familiar orange glow in the valley each winter.

Australia · gardening · Mount Warning · photography · Tweed Valley · winter

Cane Fires at Dusk

I spent some time in the garden today, weeding a few flower beds, as well as reading some more of a lengthy novel for one of my university units. It was easy completing the set tasks this week, being the first week of semester. Next week I expect will be more challenging, but as long as I don’t get behind in my weekly work the semester won’t be too difficult to keep up with.

Taking photos every day of Mount Warning will force me to take some time away from study during the next few months. I know from past experience that while it’s temping to keep plugging away at tasks, especially when assignments are due, I am far more productive if I take a break. Keeping a daily photographic journal will force me to take at least one break every day.

It’s worth taking some time out to admire the valley every day at this time of year because there are so many fires now down in the cane fields of the Tweed Valley. Today there were several cane fires, with plumes of smoke billowing then receding throughout the day.  Then later in the day, just before dusk, I heard the crackling of a fire starting close to home. Just past the rear boundary of our land the earth drops away suddenly into the valley, so I knew I would have difficulty seeing the flames of the fire with it being just beyond the drop. But just before nightfall I did catch a tiny glimpse of the flames glowing amid the foliage of some trees, which can be seen – taken on full zoom of my camera – between the trunks of two tall palm trees.

Seven minutes later, at sunset, the smoke had dissipated slightly. The sky lit up in pinkish-orange tones and frustratingly, as usual, my camera did not duplicate the intensity of the magnificently coloured sky! I still think it’s a very pretty picture of the sunset though.

Australia · family · grandchildren · Mount Warning · Tweed Valley

A Busy Friday

When I saw Mount Warning first thing this morning it looked for all the world like a huge sleeping giant, awakening from its sleep.

I took the first two photos about fifteen minutes after sunrise. Being so early in the day, the ranges were still relatively well hidden in the early morning shadows beneath the glowing, sunlit mountain. I must remember to take some photos right after sunrise some days, to note the different ways the sunlight changes the mountain as the day is dawning.

By 8:30 am, my eldest daughter had dropped off my beautiful almost two-year-old granddaughter to spend the day with me. I cherish the days I spend with Aurora. Even though her speech is still limited, she is beginning to understand everything that is said to her, and can usually make it known what she wants and what her opinions are. I think she’s going to be a great talker once she has learned all the words she needs to engage in a flowing conversation.

My younger daughter also arrived early in the day with a wash basket filled with brand new baby clothes that needed washing. For her, this will be baby number one, and another little grandson for me. She could wash the baby’s clothes at her place, but her yard is smaller than mine, and her clothesline doesn’t get as much sun on it as mine does. I suggested we wash baby boy’s clothes at my place. Besides the practicalities, I enjoy admiring all of the gorgeous little outfits my grandson will be wearing after he is born next month. 🙂

After all the tiny baby clothes were pegged on the line and flapping in the breeze I noticed a cane fire in the valley. That was a good enough reason for me to take another photo of the mountain – this time with the cane fire burning in the foreground – after the sun had risen fully over the mountain ranges and valley.

Later in the day the mountain caught my eye again, this time as the sun was setting. The pale orange sky amid the darkened clouds was a glorious sight to see.

Australia · Mount Warning · photography · Tweed Valley · winter

Morning and Night.

6:45am

Today I photographed two glorious episodes of sky colour in the valley over Mount Warning.

I took the above photo at quarter to seven this morning. Only five minutes prior to taking this photo the sky had just a pretty, pale pink tint. Then the colour-show happened!

5:45pm

Just before nightfall tonight I noticed a cane fire starting in the valley. I went inside to get my camera, knowing that in the time it took me to go indoors, pick up my camera, and walk back outside again, the fire would be raging. And it was. Within another couple of minutes the fire had all but disappeared. That’s the nature of our cane fires, they gain momentum fast, and die down just as quickly.

5:45pm

Here is a broader view of the cane fire in the valley tonight.

After another beautiful sunny winter’s day, the setting sun lit up the sky again tonight, just as it had done this morning. 🙂