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Posts Tagged ‘Local birdlife’

image from keithferrazzi.com

I’m ready to admit to having a little brain fog today. Well, if you insist, it’s a lot of brain fog today and I can’t really explain why today is any different from hundreds of others, except, I only had an hours sleep and since I had suggested an outing today I’ve been staggering around like a zombie most of the day. In fact Lucy (above) just about fits the right picture when I opened Word Press and got to my  ‘page’ and saw…..

Like the Three Bears in Goldilocks, “Whose been messing around with my page?”

Stunned surprise and bafflement. I haven’t seen anything to tell me any changes were coming. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a notification, I’ve been really lax with my emails today too. Bright lights hurt my eyes which in turn laser into my frontal lobe. Very unpleasant. Thinking is a painful suggestion. It’s a strange concept, but I need to think to put fingers to keyboard.

So, getting back to Lucy. I could never understand how she became so famous for making such exaggerated faces and having so many foul ups. I think I’m beginning to understand. It’s all a matter of experience. When she was a byword on National television I really wasn’t into slapstick comedy very much.  Very serious person indeed. It almost went with the career I think, or at least it did for me. Until today.

image from araneus1.wordpress.com Singing sweetly in the Jacaranda he looked so beautiful.

We went to visit one of my favourite haunts, the Crystal Castle. It is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of crystals, as you might expect, but in such a display that it takes your breath away. Just wandering through the rooms gives you a heady feeling. Of course it wouldn’t be quite the same if I didn’t pick up one or two little treasures, but that’s just an added perk. Yes, I could easily get carried away.

However, I wasn’t feeling too chipper so we decided to have a light snack and a nice latte at their organic cafe. All produce locally grown, much on the property itself, so I was sure it was going to be yummy. It was, a beautiful spinach and four cheese roll with salad. Delicious.  There are signs everywhere asking the patrons not to feed the birds since it isn’t any good for them. There is also a delicious carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese topping on offer, a favourite from the way it disappeared from the counter.

Yummy carrot and walnut cake, cream cheese topping

This was delivered to the next table to us, a delicious piece of carrot cake. The temptation to take photos is almost overwhelming since the views are incredible and that is what distracted this couple. They moved away from their table to take some photos. In a swoop reminiscent of a diving magpie after a cyclist, a magpie floated down from the Jacaranda tree and landed on the table and promptly set to with gusto.  Of course the first peck into the cake filled his beak with cream cheese! He couldn’t swallow it, he couldn’t open his beak and he couldn’t get rid of it.

He banged his beak left and right on the plate and then the table and all the while the couple were happily snapping away. I couldn’t stop laughing at the sight. It doesn’t sound that funny, but it looked hilarious, so much so I couldn’t hold the camera to get a photo. So the carrot cake will have to do.

So Lucy, I understand all those comic faces. I pulled one when I suddenly saw my page completely different and I pulled a dozen more watching this magpie, especially when the couple turned and saw what was happening. Then I had to pull more funny faces trying to hide that I was laughing so much.  Headache time here I came!

image from blogs.sacurrent.com     Yes, I LOVE LUCY now. 

So there we have it, one sober day (no alcohol included) shot to pieces by a magpie stuck on cream cheese. You simply had to be there.

Happy Sunday people.

Ciao, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Love is in the air

Love is in the air

The love bug bit early this year (I think) and we have had the Eastern Rosellas back in the nesting box in the front garden.   Above is a photograph of one of last years parents feeding the almost full grown offspring.  Now we have the parents, their offspring from last year, (two birds) and a clutch of new babies.

We have been trying to guess how many were in the box since we didn’t want to disturb them. Mum and Dad have been flying madly to and fro and there was lots of cheeping from inside. Excitement has been rising as the weeks passed.

It was really tempting to get closer as the bird box is right above the King Orchid which was flowering spectacularly a short time ago.  In fact it was whilst photographing the orchid that we learned it was inhabited. There was an explosion of feathers from the bird box as one of the parents left in a hurry at being disturbed.

Have you ever had a surprise sitting there, waiting for the right time to be opened and you are so excited waiting to find out what is inside? That’s how I’ve felt for the past few weeks.  When the chirping became louder we started seeing the parents and offspring almost stripping my Sandra Gordon Grevillea of the nectar. I thought it was beautiful that the young from last year returned and helped raise the next generation.

The only time there was any concern was the arrival of the local Currawongs. They are predatory birds and love getting the eggs from nests if they can. One particular day there were six hopping all over the tree during the day. I spent more time shooing them away than doing anything else.

So, we finally saw our little family, the fledgling, peeping out of the box. One quick shot and the head popped back inside again. We still had no idea if there were more babies inside and didn’t want to scare them  away. Peering through the bedroom window each time the chirping became load was an occupational hazard.

You can imagine our surprise when we found out we had more than one baby inside the box. We caught several beautiful shots of two heads popping up and down at the ‘mouth’ of the box.

Success – we finally got a great photo of the babies!

We have two!

We have two!

It was really difficult to get an idea of whether we were seeing the same two heads or perhaps more. Parents and young from last year seemed to be dashing to and fro so often we thought there may be more. The Currawongs were now no longer a problem and we had to be patient to find out exactly how big a brood was hiding in there.

Yet as always, the path of love, and life never runs smoothly. I was loathe to leave them because we thought they might be venturing outside at any time, but my doctors appointment was scheduled and I had to go away.  Peering through cross eyes at a bird box through a camera is a challenging task so I had to content myself with making sure they were there and waiting. But there was a mishap to come.

To remind you of the orchid in the tree…. and for Laurie, our Green tree frog who serenades us at the laundry door every night.

I couldn’t resist showing our Butcher birds who come caroling every morning.  We are Blessed to have such an abundance of beautiful wildlife at our doorstep.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy taking them. I love sharing the amazing life we have around us, especially when there may be a struggle going on inside. At least I can see straight, talk sensibly and have my fingers do the walking.  🙂

Next – An unexpected development.

Ciao, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013.

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Sunrise, tranquility hiding a fiery combat

Sunrise, tranquility hiding a fiery combat

The past few days have been quite busy, for me at least. There are times it is difficult to reconcile the reduced activity level from days past. Now I am an observer of life as it passes me by, or as happened today, in front of me.

It had been a quiet day, quiet apart from the cacophony from the building sites and the ever present noise of vehicles scooting past.  The peace and tranquility of the Crystal Castle seemed a million light years past. Ray had just brought a beautiful cup of French Earl Grey tea in for me. It has the most beautiful of aromas if you like the slightly perfumed teas.

Suddenly there was an ear splitting noise from outside my window. It sounded like a cross between a cats howl, dogs growl and a thunderous rumbling from some devilish creature. I have never heard anything quite like it before.  Curiosity drew us to the window to see what was making this deadly racket It had doubled in intensity so we knew two creatures were locked in a fight to the death. The sight that met our eyes was totally unexpected. All the photos of the fight were taken through the window, hence the diffused appearance.

Kookoaburra 1 (Copy)

Here you can see the dominant bird has almost a death grip on his opponent.

The Laughing Kookaburra is well known as a symbol of Australia’s bird life and is also known as the “Laughing Jackass”.  I have seen then sitting atop aerials and tall posts, our balcony rail and flying around. They are territorial birds and the largest member of the Kingfisher family. They have a beak which can reach 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. It has a wicked looking hook on the top beak. They are known for attacking even Brown Snakes. As you can see, at the beginning of Spring, in a fight for territory they will fight each other.

Kookoaburra  2 (Copy)

With a lunge the challenger tried to get away but there was no going until the duel was over!

Kookoaburra  3 (Copy)

Flung back to the ground the noise became even louder.

Kookoaburra  4 (Copy)

One beady eye was all we could see but it had death deep inside its black depths. As the challenger was pushed towards the front porch it seemed a matter of time until there was only one bird left standing.

Kookoaburra  6 (Copy)

With the end possibly in sight I couldn’t stand by and watch it happen. (I know, its part of life in the wild).  Being the brave soul I am, and also wielding the camera, I sent Ray outside to see what would happen. Usually, as soon as humans appear most birds will fly away. The Kookaburra doesn’t seem to have this fear of people. He knows he is the “King”  in his arena.

For the longest moment there was no reaction to a human presence. I was beginning to doubt that there was anything except one end, the death of the loser. The dominant bird must have eased his grip slightly which allowed, with a sudden flurry of feathers, the downed bird to take off. With a squawk of fury, the other bird flew after him. Through trees and round bushes they disappeared into the distance to continue to the struggle or until he had chased his competitor out of his territory.

DSCN3624 (Copy)

Once more secure in his territory he reappeared to sit, keeping a wary eye out for interlopers, on our balcony railing. Once more he was the Laughing Kookaburra, “merry merry king of the bush”.

For those who like information:-

The Laughing Kookaburra gets its name from its manic laughter-like call. Its early dawn and dusk cackling chorus earned it the nickname “bushman’s clock.”

Laughing kookaburras are monogamous, territorial birds that nest in tree holes. Females lay one to five eggs, which are tended by a collective unit composed of parents and elder siblings. Fledgling kookaburras generally remain with their parents to help care for the subsequent clutch.

Who can forget the Children’s nursery rhyme? I might add that this is thew first time I have seen the full lyrics.

Kookaburra sits on the Old Gum Tree

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must beKookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Counting all the monkeys he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
That’s not a monkey that’s me

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Eating all the gumdrops he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Leave some there for me

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
He fell down and broke his knee
Ouch Kookaburra, ouch Kookaburra
Glad tha was not me

To end I’d like to add one of my favourite quotes:

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
D. H. Lawrence

Ciao, Susan x

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image from sweetsuite10.com

Now I debated long and hard about making this picture a little, well perhaps a lot smaller so that I could write more at the side.

However, as soon as I saw the picture in all its glory, I thought, “No Way, I can’t do that”, this is part of an age-old dream.

I can really imagine myself sitting in that beautiful tub of steaming water, the fire roaring in the fireplace, soft, fluffy towels warming close by as I relax against the headboard, luxuriating in the bliss of mellow candlelight and soft music, the tantalising scent of essential oils and bubbles swirling in the air around my head and relaxation seeping into every pore and brain cell. Isn’t that something to stir the emotions and bring romantic thoughts floating to the surface of your dreamlike state?

Right, the scene is set and the statement made. I adore baths. They are the most relaxing way, I find,  of winding down after a cold, wet, miserable day running around getting things done. You can even read a book if you are so inclined. You can have a glass of bubbly and nibble strawberries and chocolate and not have to worry about dribbling chocolate – not once! You can even share the bath if you are of a mind to be generous.

“The truth is, you know, we need our anodynes. You know that word, anodynes? We need that in life some times. A good warm bath can be one for you, or a whatever.”  Al Pacino

I may not have an old copper bathtub, reminiscent of bygone days, but I do have a lovely bath, surrounded by candles, essential oils at the ready and soft music available. It’s all in the preparation. I even have hubby organised to pop my towel in the dryer for ten minutes when I’m suitably wrinkled by the water and ready to step out and dry off in sensuous delight. Bliss, hmm.

DSCN2769 (Copy)As you can see the weather slowly became socked in and the view from the back verandah disappeared. I was lucky to get this picture before I became too bedraggled to slide inside. The deck is like a skating rink when it gets wet. Makes for interesting navigation!

We have two pairs of mating wood ducks who have claimed our garden as their day time feeding pasture. They arrive during the morning and spend all day eating and depart on dusk, Apart from today. As the rain increased they departed, looking at us very reproachfully. Never seen a duck look reproachful, it’s worth the wait. I wish I could have captured it but I was too amazed to get the camera.  This is what they looked like before I was ‘chastised’ for the rain. I mean, rain and ducks, they go together, don’t they? DSCN2798 (Copy) Perhaps they missed their rain coats and wellington boots? I certainly missed mine.

DSCN2792 (Copy)

Anyway I’m sure they’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the bird life we’ve been blessed with.                                                                                                    Now, although I love the rain, and if I haven’t anyone I have to see, I will happily wander around splashing in puddles. It reminds me of my carefree childhood. But today I needed to see my local vampire and have blood tests and all sorts of wonderful things done. The highlight was finding a fabulous jeweler who I could talk about gemstones with for a few minutes. There is something truly magical in how they can create incredible pieces from the raw ‘rock’, although the raw material can look stunning on its own. Yes, I am a fanatical crystal collector also.

So I arrived home, soggy and head achy and in need of thawing out. Solar hot water is wonderful, as long as it is sunny. We have had the booster going more often than not and still have problems with sufficient water. It’s fortunate we aren’t over users.  My romantic and idealised dream of a hot bath went gushing out the window, although I didn’t know it until too late.

image from billiew.deviantart.com

From a thawing out perspective it was a failure. I felt colder after I jumped in than before, (a mistake I realised.)  I literally fell out of the bath with a yelp heard throughout the house. My husband thought I was being murdered. At least I wouldn’t have been tortured by freezing water.    Yes, a light exaggeration  based on the shock to my system. I’ve never been into the ethos of cold baths, cannot understand why I would feel the need to prove how inured to the cold I might be by plunging into icy lakes, streams, rivers or whatever. I leave that to hardier and less sensitive souls. Each to his own. It is definitely not for me!

Eventually I settled for an almost hot shower. At least I thawed out and stopped feeling as though I had been assaulted. Curled up in front of the fire, listening to the rain and with a beautiful meal, again prepared by adorable hubby a semblance of normalcy returned. Civilisation has a great many benefits, but a cold bath is not one of them. In my humble opinion.

My romantic ideal is still intact, just waiting on the right time to implement it. What is yours?  Susan x

I think a lot of contemplation happens in bathtubs. It does for me. Nothing like a hot bath to ease the tension and think about what’s going to happen next.”
Sarah McLachlan

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My Zen Outlook

My Zen Outlook 

I have just returned from my escape into a little peace and tranquility. I didn’t get very far, just the back steps of my verandah. I needed a little time to find my equilibrium.  Fifteen minutes of meditation during the hectic efforts of the day so far.

So far we seem to have been tearing things down , at the old place, (not my way to describe it), boxing things up and generally creating mayhem in one place so that we can move to another.

It’s got a beautiful outlook, I have to be the first to admit that. Waking up to the sounds of the ocean waves crashing and the new bird calls surrounding me was wonderful. One might be forgiven of saying divine!

Yesterday was a day which felt like a scene from Dante’s Inferno, scorching heat, humid, sore and aching muscles, head pounding and a hollow ache underneath my ribs – I was starving. Breakfast and lunch flew past barely noticed, but when it reached 7pm I knew I had ignored my human needs for far too long. I wanted FOOD!

The ingredients for a crock pot,  (The Yummy Chicken Crock Pot), carefully prepared and which should have been  cooking before midday, providing a nourishing and well-earned repast was still in cold storage. All our carefully made plans, our schedule, had gone completely awry.

If there was ever a time you didn’t need interruptions from phone calls this was it. You could be forgiven for thinking we hadn’t spoken to anyone in months. So we were not simply behind schedule, it was out the window and the door!

Of course chaos wouldn’t be happy without company. We finally arrived at our new home only to realise that each of us had presumed the other had picked up the keys and garage remote for the new place!  Nothing for it, we had to climb, aching muscles crying, back into my car and drive back to the Gold Coast and get the missing items, then the long drive back. It’s really not that far, only an hour in the car, it simply felt as though we were travelling to the ends of the earth.

We found the least offending ” bad food”, a place which made fresh burgers with really lovely crunchy salad, and partially filled that hollow under our ribs.  Hours later we had our bed set up and made up. All we yearned for was a hot shower, a cup of tea and to slip into a deep dream filled slumber.

The bedroom, the least chaos ruled room.

The bedroom, the least chaos ruled room.

I’m cheating really, all these boxes are holding my treasures – my crystals, the ones I keep close by. I have a beautiful sun room which will eventually be set up as my retreat and have many of these treasures inside. But that comes later.

Today has been similar to yesterday, except my husband has an able-bodied helper. With the best will in the world I cannot lay claim to being much help. I can’t lift anything, can’t carry it, and bending in and out if boxes has proved to be crippling. I’m feeling cranky with myself for not doing more. I feel I should be doing more, and I’m annoyed my body will not let me do it.  So it’s great to have someone to help with the heavy work, or should I say work in general!  I am grateful, my back is grateful and life is really wonderful.

So rather than being ensconced in our new home, albeit surrounded by chaos, we have another day of the same to look forward to. Hubby and offsider are organised for another mammoth effort tomorrow whilst I am relegated to the bedroom! Out of harms way – of the workers!  I’m really mindful of the great fortune we have found in this beautiful  place.

My new sanctuary.  The sunroom with a view to the ocean above.

My new sanctuary. The sunroom with a view to the ocean above.

So, another frenetic day to come. It’s times like these I wish we had friends to call on to help – and selfishly, help me to straighten up and hobble inside! No doubt we will look back on this in a few days/weeks and laugh about it. I think?

I return to the beginning and ask “When will there be an end?”  Which of course the Pope asked  Michelangelo during the painting of the Sistine chapel.  Lets hope this wont take as long!

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image from clipart.com

“I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any part of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surfaces of the water.” D. H. Lawrence

There is something quite inexplicable about the reaction one has to such a small insect as the mosquito. I know it is responsible for some nasty illnesses, Dengue fever, Ross River fever and others. So to say the sight of one small mosquito can send me into a state almost akin to hysteria, is in itself, almost laughable. Unfortunately it is also true!

You can imagine my horror the other day, when, on looking down at my feet, I saw not one, not two, but a veritable impenetrable cloud of these voracious little monsters all over my feet and lower legs!  TOO LATE!  I stomped, I shook my legs, I swatted, all to no avail. As soon as I dislodged them they attacked once more.

After a very undignified waddle (think of a dog with something on his feet, shaking each paw as he tries, in an ungainly fashion to walk along, and you have an approximate picture of how I must have looked). Hilarious!

Back inside the house I inspected the damage. My feet and legs were already swelling with innumerable  lumps, legacy of these little critters. I itched and I knew scratching was the worst thing I could do. (Impossible to avoid in your sleep!) I headed for my emergency first aid and liberally doused the entire area with lavender essential oil. Phew! As the itch and the urge to scratch slowly dissipated I examined the pictures I had been engrossed in taking which led to my predicament.

image from fineartamerica.com      – OUCH does not come close.

The history first! Last night, just before  a shower of rain and close to dusk I had been looking out my bedroom window to see what the weather might be doing. I thought I saw a lizard disappearing into the garden. I thought it strange since it was cool and miserable, not the sort if weather our resident water dragon enjoyed. He much preferred the sunny edge of our swimming pool.

A few seconds later this tiny, fluffy little ball scooted along the fence line and up to the pool shed, promptly turned and scuttled back. Back and forth he went without pause for five minutes. He was obviously ‘lost’ or ‘ stuck’ in there and couldn’t find his way out. I called to my husband ( just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, especially anything nasty) before we went to see what we could do for the little fellow. However, apart from a quick photo to see what we had found, the heavens opened, the sky turned dark and the corner where he was hiding became totally impenetrable.

Baby Buff Banded Rail at dusk

Baby Buff Banded Rail at dusk

Beating a hasty retreat (undignified and thoroughly vampirised by the mosquitoes), we decided we would have to wait until morning, fully expecting him to find his way out of the garden at the other end where we made sure the gate was open. Once it was light enough to see properly we checked and could see nothing from the house, so down we went. There he was huddled in the angle of the wall where the shed and pump house meet. As soon as he saw us he fluffed his feathery down and began his march to and fro once more.  He had obviously become too disoriented to find his way out.

I headed for the gate to make sure he didn’t go past it and into the far corner (one dead-end for another), whilst my husband played sheep dog and walked towards our  baby banded rail.   Last year we saw one of these little birds avoiding magpies as he ran for shelter under the bridge across our pond. It looks as though he returned and we now have a little family in our back garden. Yippee!

The little fellow was obviously used to seeing us move around since he wasn’t frightened to see us. He trotted along, shepherded by my husband until he neared the gate. I managed to get a few photos (they are quick little birds), and then he hopped through between two posts in the fence and headed for the shrubbery around the pool. He promptly made himself at home ferreting out the insects. After watching for a few minutes we left him alone, sure that he would be soon reunited with mum and dad.

Despite still itching away, but smelling sweetly of lavender,  I’m  thoroughly pleased to see so many of last years visitors back again this year. We have a family of ducks, plus several other pairs, the masked plovers, our mystery birds, who we think may be a Pheasant Coucal (if anyone knows what he is I would love to know), the Purple Swamp Hens, plus our Banded Rails. This doesn’t forget the Crows nesting in the gum tree, Rosella and Sulphur crested cockatoos,Kookaburras and Swallows. The Pee Wees and Magpies are quite at home and one of them loves leaving presents on my bathroom window.  Still, all things considered I feel really privileged that so many have returned this year. I just wish those pesky mosquitoes  didn’t enjoy my blood quite so much!

We  are fortunate to be able to see a small part of our local bird life with so much ease. The rain which has caused so many problems for so many has made our small corner a haven for the birds. Now if only my photography skills were a match for their beauty!

Here is what all the itching and scratching was about – and worth it! Isn’t he beautiful?

Baby Buff banded Rail, safely finding his way back to his parents.

Baby Buff banded Rail, safely finding his way back to his parents.

However, the mosquitoes have had the ‘pint and a half’ so they can visit someone else from now on! Despite “loving all our creatures”, I’m afraid this one gets short shrift from me… days later I’m still itchy and scratchy due to  being very allergic to even these tiny critters. Avoidance is the better part of valor from now on.

image from snailstales.blogspot.com

Here’s the link to my mystery bird.

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“A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.”  ~Chinese Proverb

There has been one constant in my “self-imposed” exile this past year, and that is the continuous play of wildlife outside my bedroom window.  Whilst the rain and floods have played havoc on the countryside, farms, roads, livestock and homes, I have been fortunate to see a parade of wildlife, well bird life visiting my garden, for which I am truly grsteful.

We have seen Masked Plovers and Pee Wee’s (Pee Wit’s), Magpies and Doves, Ibis and Purple Water hens, and a variety of ducks. I believe we have a family of ducks just started visiting and I am on the lookout to get a few pictures of the ducklings before they get much bigger. They are so cute!

However, last summer we were visited by a “Mystery Bird”.  Several of the  professional birdwatchers I spoke to were positive it was a “Pheasant Coucal”, but since I’m not certain, well I’m simply not sure.  Last week we were fortunate to see not one, but two! We have a mating pair and their colouring was much darker than last year, a beautiful russet colour.  Here are some of the photos I took then. The colour looks a little lighter than when I took the photo but you can see the intense black around his head and shoulders.

Is this our Pheasant Coucal?

Is this our Pheasant Coucal?

Checking out the garden to see what’s around.

You can see he has a much longer tail than the usual bird.

You can see he has a much longer tail than the usual bird.

Not taking any chances, we are fortunate the dogs next door can’t get in.

Very shy he creeps through the grass though he can fly

Very shy he creeps through the grass though he can fly

You can see his tail is longer than his body.

You can see his tail is longer than his body.

They seem to walk much more than the other birds and only take flight when they’ve been disturbed.

Hiding in the shrubbery

Hiding in the shrubbery

This is where he/she stayed for half an hour after the neighbors walked past and he took fright/flight.  Last year we saw them creeping along the fence line most often. They stayed under the shrubbery as much as possible and only ventured out if they felt safe – and unobserved.

If anyone knows what these shy birds are I would love to know.

Blessings

Susan x

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You must match your energy, your vibration, with that of the universe, bringing it to a higher frequency where it synchronizes with the object, person, or situation you require.”
Stephen Richards   

“Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.”   Lawrence Block

I have been laid up in bed, more than a little irritated at everything in general and myself in particular. It’s all a rather fruitless exercise. In other words, a glorious waste of time. What made it worse, at least so it seemed to me, was I lost my “mojo” or I thought I had, as a dear friend called it in her blog, “Lost your creative mojo?”.

The strange thing was, I couldn’t  sleep, at least not at night. As soon as the lights went out my eyes popped open and I felt like a proverbial owl, gazing steadfastly into the dark hoping for – well something to happen. Now, I’ve been in this little pickle before, and there is little use fighting it by counting sheep. All it succeeds in doing is putting me off lamb for a while. (Apologies to any vegetarians, but in actual fact I eat little meat anyway).

I had, over a period of many hours, used all of my meditation tapes, CD’s, chants, visualisation, and I wasn’t having any joy. So, I decided that I had to change tack. The very thing which was causing my nocturnal interruptus was going to be there in the morning and it wouldn’t let me rest until I made a decision. Yet making that decision was giving me a migraine and an ulcer. You’ve probably worked out that the “problem” was family oriented. It’s the one which usually causes the most angst.

Diversionary tactics were called for. After a decade I picked up my crochet and started that.  This in itself was a huge thing for me and was part of my ” 2013 Creative Challenge“. By itself it was a huge help and I enjoyed it immensely. The satisfaction of seeing this fragile mat take shape under my hands was uplifting. However, I was conscious of not overdoing it, since it has been more than a decade since I had been able to do anything, thanks to a ‘minor’ accident. This was my finished mat a few days ago. It has taken me two days to get it onto my blog….

One Pineapple mat - for Mum.

One Pineapple mat – for Mum.

After the crochet I went for my trusty Kindle and read until my eyes felt as though they were hanging out of my head on stalks. I’m quite sure I could have auditioned for a sci-fi movie without any prosthetics required. By this time I was feeling somewhat surreal, staggering around like someone who had been on a three-day bender and I hadn’t had a drop!

image from ereaders.venturebeat.com

I’ve managed to find a super little book light which makes reading at night a breeze. Once again, my accident over a decade ago had stopped me reading until late last year. My love affair with books has been rekindled… pardon the play on words.  Most of my books are heavy-duty tomes and I want to make sure that when I finally pick them up it’s not going to cause any problems. The Kindle has sorted that out beautifully. Once again, thanks to Ray.

Yet eventually, pounding headache, eyes hanging on dry stalks and a raging backache also put a stop to that. Then came the journal.  In my heyday it was called a diary… how’s that for dating things! I used to keep one regularly. Nearly slipped up and said religiously, but I don’t want to cause offense to anyone. Yes, you may detect that I am feeling lethargic, tired, slightly slow in the thinking department, in short all the signs and symptoms of the sleep deprived. Yet, despite that it served a tremendous service.

image from my.opera.com

As has my foray for a picture to break up my meandering. I’ve written volumes but haven’t thought to add pictures or any of my scribbled drawings before this.  My journal has now been given a new lease of life.  Each dawn I grab a few pictures as the world, down in Australia at least, wakes up.  I listen to the beautiful serenade from the rainforest birds and the general waking up of the local wildlife whilst I wind down. I do my final meditation of the ‘morning’ for everyone out there and then lay down again. In my own way I wind up my day/night with thoughts of the world and my prayers and wishes for a better day for everyone wherever they may be.

Perhaps that’s what causes the final flourish of the magic wand. After this meditation I drift off to sleep, only to wake two hours later in excruciating agony as all the muscles in my neck, head and back let me know they have seized up. My body has betrayed me yet again.

My dear, sweet, long-suffering husband, helps me to the bathroom, since I look like a question mark and he worries  about whether I can find my way there and back again and I am ensconced in the spare room, which has my old bedroom suite in it. I have learned that sleeping alone in a water bed when your back and so on are protesting, is not a good proposition. As I doze in two hourly increments throughout the day, he supplies me with tea, coffee, toast, all the supplements to help me and a strong arm to get me to the bathroom and back. My angel in truth.

So there we are. The three things which are keeping me semi sane: My Crochet, Kindle and Journal. Is that Synchronicity or Serendipity, I really can’t decide. Now the cotton wool filled brain appears to be letting up a little, I may have another string to my bow – my blog, which despite my challenge to myself to blog every other day, has gone awry this week. I don’t think the tapestry will make it into the bed as it may prove too uncomfortable for my husband. He is generous enough at sharing the bed with everything else. (I wonder if a puppy will have any luck?)

And,  there we have it. The reason for my absence. I have been thoroughly pumped at receiving my Award for my blog, and since I felt somewhat better, decided to let you know why I was MIA. I will try to stay on track, although a specialist appointment mid next week may throw me off. That, and my brothers, which is another topic for another day.

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image from atelier-ad.blogspot.com     It feels like a never-ending search.

“Home is the place that goes where you go, yet it welcomes you upon your return. Like a dog overjoyed at the door. We’ve missed you is what you hear, no matter how long you’ve been gone.”                                     MICHAEL J. ROSEN, Home

Ever since I came to Australia I have heard people talking about “The Great Australian Dream“,  the dream of course to own ones own home.  As far as dreams go it is totally understandable, though today it is becoming harder than ever to attain.  In reality it was probably one of the reasons my parents wanted to come to Australia all those years ago.  “Australia, The Land of Opportunity”,  the chance to be able to have a home of their own and offer a greater opportunity to their children to have a better life than they felt they could have ‘back in the old country’. Times were changing and the brightness of Australia beckoned to many.

Since nothing ever remains static, dreams change as much as people. The dreams of having your own house back when my parents were young is vastly different to the dreams of today’s generation. The “old” Queenslander, which would have been a wonder in those days has become a huge, four (at least) bedroom mansion. I suppose its all relative really, and who am I to say anyone is right or wrong since I have jumped on the bandwagon yet again. URGH!

As of a few days ago when we decided a move was indicated, we have begun the planning process.  Where to, what sort of house, how much land, the services available, which area to move to, and that’s all before the hard work begins.  Part of the hard work, for me at least, is trudging through so many houses until you find one which ‘fits’. We have a list we always use. It has been honed over time to cover everything we could want or need in the home we want, right down to power points and if there are enough cupboards and drawers in the kitchen – VERY important if you want to be able to do anything.

image from atelier-ad.blogspot.com They really do breed if you take your eyes away from them for a second!

Packing! A necessary evil – at least to me.  Days or weeks of packing boxes, tape, labels, paper cuts from the packing paper, and woe betide you if you forget to correctly label a box!  The very first move I ever made, a pure novice, everything seemed to go wrong.  I forgot to label everything down to the last detail. OK  I forgot to put any labels on the boxes.  I had boxes coming out of my ears in some rooms and none in others and not one in the right room! Everything had to be opened to try to find anything at all, and then move it to its real home. As a result it was hours before we could find something to use to for a drink, and let’s not think of a cup of tea or coffee – the kettle went into hiding! I couldn’t recall what had gone into any of the boxes, it was like a lottery – and there was no winner.  That is just the beginning.  After the unpacking has been done and you have hopefully managed to find ‘homes’ for all your things after they have been carefully washed again, you realise you cannot remember where anything is! I needed tracking devices to locate anything. Now that is an idea – I wonder if anyone knows where I can get some?

That is where I am at this moment, in the process of moving house, of packing boxes, wrapping everything in paper which always cuts my fingers one by one. OH NO! – OH YES!  To this day there are still some things we cannot find. Perhaps when we pack this time we might find them? Who knows. Time is running out and I desperately need to find somewhere to move to, somewhere which ticks off the majority of, if not all the boxes on my list. You know, THE LIST, which, if I can get it right will mean I have found my dream home, the one which fulfils all our needs and from which I will not have to move again.

image from oneplanetimages.com There, I knew it existed somewhere.

So, as you can guess, we’d like a place in the country. It has turned out to be a deal breaker, in fact they seem to be as scarce as hens teeth.  It must be somewhere that we can work from home, so both phone, internet and hopefully mobile access. Not too far from  a post office for mail access. Deciphering real estate jargon makes it even more difficult.  For example, this might be what we are looking for and have seen in the ad .

image from boutique-homes.com

When we get there , whilst charming, this is what we find.  (OK, literary license  has been taken here.)

Really though, the real description might say:

  • “a home with space, it has ‘x’ number of square metres under roof – which means – they have counted all the covered verandahs, car ports (not garages) and any covered walkways or external entertainment areas.   Is it possible to use any of that for a home office?  No way, so what it doesn’t say is the house may be enough for a single person but it has loads of covered areas outside or around it.
  • “it has charm and character” or “a little TLC is needed” – which means – it’s antiquated and may be held up by a few rusty nails. (see above).
  • “close to all amenities” – which means – it’s really on a major road and the constant noise would drive you insane, and deaf!
  • “the bedrooms are ‘spacious’ or ‘generous’ in size – which means – you might be able to fit a small bed in but forget anything close to a double bed unless you want a hernia.
  • “it has air conditioning” – which means – one room has a miniscule and ancient mover of air and the windows open in the rest of the house.
  • “it has 2+ car spaces under lock” – which means – there is  lock on the front gate of the property and a rickety roof over the cars, if you are lucky.
  • “country living at it’s best” – which means – possibly no garbage collection no phone coverage and unlikely to have internet access.

The list can go on and yes, I have chosen extreme examples just for fun, although some of them are not too far wide of the mark.   I don’t need a mansion, although it might be nice, yet I don’t want to spend forever cleaning it.  I really, really would love a place in the country but I have to be able to work from there, so it has to have all the accessories I mentioned.  A creek would be nice, but not so that I will be flooded out if there is a minor shower. I’d prefer not to share my home with poisonous snakes, but I guess I’m a chicken, then again maybe not, I’d certainly be dinner for them!

So what is it that I want which I find so hard to find? What is on my “Bucket List?”

A place with room to breathe, fresh air and somewhere to walk on my property.  Something of a reasonable size I can work from home comfortably in with phone and internet access. Peace and tranquility – oh yes – it would be marvellous to wake up and go to sleep to the sounds of the bush each day.

There is a place out there for me, which meets all the dot points more or less. I know it, I simply need to find it and soon, before the lease expires or I go insane.  I really hate moving.  After this I will only move one more time – to the house I build on acreage which will then have everything I want in it or on it.  It’s all there on my dream board which I look at every morning when I wake up and each night before I go to sleep, so as you can tell, it has been a goal for a while. I want to stay in one place, my idyllic place and put down roots.

My home is my castle, my refuge and my sanctuary. I will be so grateful on the day I find it or build it. I will be eternally grateful to the Universe when this dream comes true.  I’m following my instinct here and know I’m mindful that everything has to happen at the right time.  I will have my dream home with room to breath fresh air, walk in the country, hear the birdsong, perhaps a burbling brook somewhere, where peace and tranquility will soothe my heart and soul and my health will recover and there is time and space for my soul to grow.

So, if you know just the place for me, just let me know, I would be so very grateful.

image from sothebysrealty.com Yes, it really does exist somewhere.

“Do you know how hard it is to make a home?… That’s something that a woman does from inside herself. You do it in the face of all sorts of opposition. Husbands are very appreciative when it works out well. But they’re not that anxious to help. It’s understandable. They don’t know how.”

SAMUEL R. DELANY, Dhalgren

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A Powerful Owl sitting on a tree branch

 Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

It is recognised that when something happens in threes it is a sign, or an indication that we need to pay attention to what is happening – there is a message there for us, if we can but read or hear it.

Traveling home from visiting friends tonight I was surprised and pleased to see a beautiful Powerful Owl sitting in the fork of a tree, calmly watching what we were doing.  I think we were rather too large for a meal, but the careful and considered look he gave me was enough to make me stop and wonder – was he trying to simply be noticed or was he trying to tell me something? Perhaps it was as simple as his next meal, which was hiding nearby as he was waiting for us to leave, but I had a feeling there was more to his impressive gaze than that. The question was – what?

image from mtnmatthews.blogspot.com

Driving along the country roads I was keeping an eye out for the “Kangawallafoxes” as my husband calls them. In other words the kangaroos, wallabies or foxes which are known to suddenly hop pr run out of the scrub along the side of the road. It can be a nasty surprise and make your journey come to a crashing halt!

However, it was not one of the usual creatures which caused the sudden startled intake of breath this night, it was the sudden and of course silent swoop of an owl across the road directly in front of us. He was beautiful and it would have been a glorious picture, but since I wasn’t thinking about taking a photo, I didn’t have the camera ready. It looked very similar to the photo I found, but it hardly captures the surprise I felt at seeing him.  So that was number two for the evening, and a very impressive reminder that something must be afoot. What was I supposed to be aware of and what was I missing?

We have quite a few owls around our place and I love hearing them call at different times, and I have been lucky enough to see them, although usually without a camera.  We were almost home when a huge owl suddenly seemed to swoop up towards the car, hitting the windscreen cleanly in the middle. He slid off the side and we pulled frantically off to the other side of the road so we wouldn’t hit him by accident.

He lay there on the road and I was amazed at how large he looked close up. It was another Powerful Owl. I felt awful at hitting him, even though we hadn’t actually driven into him, more he flew into us – but then the effect was the same. Being extra careful of those deadly talons and beak we wrapped him in a thick blanket from the car and carried him to the grass at the side if the road where we could see him in the headlights.  After carefully unwrapping him it was difficult to see if he was injured at all. There was definitely no blood, the blanket ( a pale one) was clean and there didn’t appear to be any blood on his feathers. At least there was no glistening tell-tale marks on his feather which we could see.

Powerful Owl takes off as though nothing has happened.

He suddenly seemed to give himself a shake and was on his feet in a flash. He looked around at us, measuring us up for a meal I wondered? Then after what seemed an age but was probably barely minutes, he fluffed his feathers and took off into the night, apparently none the worse for his crash landing with our car.

Not so our windscreen which had a crack completely down the middle!  So, three visits in one evening. Far too much for sheer coincidence, but I have yet to work out what their message is.  As for an exciting end to the evening, it most definitely was.

Our usual view of the Powerful Owl at home. Beautiful isn’t he?

For me this was a special occasion, one to be mindful of as I sit under a full moon, pondering what new beginnings this portent means. I am being present with the spirits who are sending me this messenger, so full of love that this has happened. I am indeed grateful that life is so full of wonderful and unexpected surprises. I am truly blessed tonight.

 Charles Dickens quotes 

Here’s hoping you are as lucky as I and I can work out what my owl visitors are telling me.  Happy Full Moon people.

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