Monday, December 31, 2007

England. The Lakes District. Part one.


Instead of spending a lot of time writing about our trip, I thought I would simply upload some photos that Susie has taken.

The landscape of the Lakes District is simply stunning. it is easy to understand why Beatrix Potter made it her home.


In the second part I will write about the Maalie court, fishing, glog and mulled wine. Not to mention English food.....


Please note:- the photos here are copyright. Should you want one please contact me.


Stay tuned for the next installment!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas



Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyful and Prosperous New Year!

(Don't know how I did it but I lost the original post!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Disaster!

Looking out across the Landcruisers bonnet.












Part One:-

I don't know what it is- but sometimes when I make a snap decision it does not always work out for the best.

I mean , it was evening, I was in the kitchen about to cook dinner, when I said to Dave:- "Dave! Lets go camping!".....Just one of those "spur of the moment things" you know...

So we set off.. The track was dark and, with recent rain, slippery. Water lay in sheets and the creeks were full. A careful path had to be chosen....






But we were not daunted. The vehicle is capable and sure footed. Simply engage four wheel drive and "hey presto!" After a short time we had arrived at a beaut camp site. Fire wood lay in abundance. Soon, (and with one match I might add), we had a nice fire.

We were close to the Grose Gorge and the sound of rushing water could be clearly heard form the gullies below. The view from the top is simply beautiful, as trees danced in the firelight..
















After some time, and staring thoughtfully into the fire I suggested to Dave:- "Dave lets eat!" I went to the vehicle and searched everywhere.... and I mean everywhere. Under seats, in the draws, ..everywhere....

I HAD LEFT THE FOOD BEHIND!..... There was nothing but the growl of our stomachs... "Idiot" I thought to myself... I suggested to Dave that it "did not matter" and we could just hang around..

But it go too much, I said to Dave:- "Dave.. lets go home!" He agreed with enthusiasm. So we did.

And that was that!

Part Two:- So, with yesterday firmly "forgotten". It was time to make amends by riding the MTN bike... Solid!

So I loaded the vehicle up and headed out..... It was a blue day when I left. It was a blue day when I recorded the Bell Miners too, (Trying to sound like David Attenborough). But that was about to change..







A thunder storm hit. Nothing better than watching lightening whilst wearing steel plated bike shoes on top of a mountain. Still, I was undaunted and continued into the storm.... A fast downhill, into a torrent of water which lay across the road...Then I simply fell off as the front wheel bogged into the soft sand.And that was that!


Part Three:- So UTTERLY devistated by it all, I limped into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee and stared at my scratches and bruises and the Galahs on the feeder...

Yep! I have a lot in common with them.......IDIOTS!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wedge Tail Eagle


I have a Wedge Tail Eagle that lives in my piano room...






I rescued it from an auction. I wish I had rescued it before.......

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mungo Man


Discovered in the 1970's Mungo man is the oldest evidence of man outside of Africa. Originally thought to be 60,000+ years old , his age has been downscaled to what is now considered to be accurate:- 40,000 years.

Maalie and I travelled to Mungo National Park to investigate this world heritage listed park. Like most of the national aprks, Mungo was a sheep and cattle station, and like most was stripped bare of native vegetation until it could no longer sustain farming.

For 10,000 years Aboriginal people lived by the banks of flowing streams and rivers, fishing and hunting. they moved away as the waters slowly dried up. It is evidence of global warming over tens of thousands of years.



Mr Mungo reclining















But it is the evidence of RAPID global warming that has changed the environment since the turn of the 20th century.

Creeping sand dunes, 33km Walls of China blown bare by the winds, weeds and feral animals are all that remain on this desolate landscape. Neighbouring properties are being offered back to the National Parks as they too succumb to the creeping luna landscapes.











Walls of China(not my photo)



Our journey was from Mildura and the road into Mungo is unsealed. Whilst not a problem for a passenger vehicle, should it rain then the road would become unpassable. A 4x4 is recommended for safety and comfort.


The facilities at the park are superb. Recently rebuilt shearers quarters and home make life comfortable indeed. The visitors centre reverberate tot the sound of digereedoo as the locals teach about the history of there people. its a world class facility, reflecting the importance of the region.














Maalie and I chose to camp in the camp grounds and were quite comfortable whilst Apostle birds nested nearby, and Whistling kites soared majestically overhead.












I cannot begin to describe the park itself. You drive over the lip of a crater and into another world. I half expected to see something prehistoric wandering about. The walk across the China Walls in bare feet with the sand between the toes is something else. I will not forget it.

Of all the National Parks in the State, Mungo is perhaps the most breath taking, and not for the right reasons. As you stand on a dune with the wind blowing the grains away,it left me cold. Its a scene closer to that of the Sahara Desert. Yet its recent.

Bugs on the windscreen!











Don't miss the chance.

BTW I have heard they have found more skeletons on a neighbouring property, rumoured to be older than Mr Mungo, and rumoured to be a "modern civilisation".

Time will tell......

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Frogs






I have a confession:- I LOVE frogs! So when I found these beautiful tree frogs at Kinchega National Park, I just had to say "hello". Everytime I visit Kinchega it seems to be same frogs that come out to say "G'day mate!" Or is that Bonjour?????






These are for my blogging friend "Anon". Check out her blogs.... if you can keep up! ;o)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lyre Bird feather




This is a Lyre bird tail feather. I found it along the track I was riding. To see it in real life..well, it's just beautiful. About 45cm long and feels like spider web!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sir Joseph Banks


The bike ready to go














Over the past 4 weeks there has been a great TV documentary called "Cook". Vanessa Collingridge narrates this wonderful walk through Cooks life, his partners, adventures and discoveries.
A lot of what was discovered in Australia,(botanically,) can be attributed to Cook's botanist Joseph Banks. He was one crazy/runcible guy!


Vanessa Collingridge.













Having received a nice email from Vanessa, and with her work on my mind, I thought I would ride the fire trails that lead to Mt Banks! I also wanted to look at how the BANKSIA was affected by the HUGE bush fires 12 months ago.
So, with the mountain bike loaded, the back pack equipped with the essentials e.g. water, insect repellent, lip chap, binoculars, camera, note book, pen, first aid kit and a banana, I set off.



Banksia recovering from fire.

















Mt Banks is about a 30 minute drive west of Kurrajong on the Bells Line of Road. You can't really miss it. It's this great big LUMP that sits to the south of the road. Popular with rock climbers, and picnickers, Mt Banks provides some of the best views into the Grose River Gorge you will ever see.








The ride itself is easy, with just a couple of sections that are very rocky and soft.


View of track from my bikes headlights point of view.













Two things struck me. One was the lack of birds, the other was the absolute noise of the cicada! It was an absolute din!



A Tiger Prince Cicada!















The bush has been all but wiped out by the intense bush fires that occurred 12 months ago, but the bush needs fire. Evidence of recovery can be seen right across the mountain.


Banksia burnt!



















Beautiful flowers were everywhere.


Flowers

















Lunch with a fantastic view completed the ride.... All I had to do was to get back to the Troopie. After a total of 3 hours and wonderful look at a superb Lyre Bird, I thought what Captain James Cook and his crew went through and what they thought of Australia....


Rough track

















As for Sir Joseph Banks? Well, he could not keep his hands off the ladies ... but thats another story. Watch Vanessa's documentary!..........

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Birding on the run.


Eastern Whip Bird. Photo courtesy of NSW National Parks & Wildlife.









Yesterday we had huge storms over the Mountain. For some reason, when the rain stops, the birds come out beside the road. I can only assume it's because of the steam or humidity off the tar that attracts them. I decided to do some bird spotting on the run.

The road itself to the top of our mountain is narrow, twisting and the bush grows right to the edge. It is a mixture of natural,lantana, and bamboo. Maalie knows of the location (its where the bell minors "ding" mate). I immediately was greeted by a Whipbird! I knew the male was in this location because I have heard him constantly. But this is the first time I had seen him. Bell minors too, with their distinct colour and sound were apparent. A short drive on and a family of Superb Wrens flitted about the road side and the low brush. I counted a dozen.



Superb Fairy Wrens. photo courtesy of NSW National Parks & Wildlife.
















A superb Bower Bird dark blue, almost black, flew quickly past as too did gallahs.

In this short period of time there was such a burst of bird activity. The climb up the mountain is about 3km, and I was delighted by the numbers of birds I saw.

I had almost reached the top and was greeted by Bronzewing and Crested pigeons. These birds appeared sluggish on the road.
When I got home our resident White Faced Heron was preparing to nest.















Frankly, it was a great way to end the day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Walk along a fire trail















Sometimes there is not a lot to be said. Just a walk along familiar trails provides the relaxation I need.















The trail heads south towards the Grose River Gorge. Wild flowers, banksias and gums line the trail...















It's part of a fire trail network that I ride on my bike regularly, but there is always somthing new to discover or see.





















When I get home a new visitor is at the bird feeder......

Saturday, November 17, 2007

When Roger met Howard
















It was a day like any other in my garden. I got Roger Rover, the mower, out of his shed. 25 years of faithful service without complaint. He never had an oil change, no new spark plug, no new air filter. He was the typical Aussie. Tough, strong, can suffer abuse and never complain. But he drank a lot. Oil and unleaded. Towards the end he began to mix them. He became wobbly. A tough guy who was at his end, and today it came. There was a knock in his bottom end. He could no longer "perform" (ladies- you know what I mean). It was time to let him go, to introduce a new mower to the garden- Howard Honda. I know "It did not matter...we could take him to the doctor etc..., but performance IS everything in this day and age.
















Howard Honda is sophisticated! He is a mix of Aussie "know how" and Japanese understanding. A perfect blend. He sipped his drink slowly. He is environmental and caring. He could mulch or catch- What ever you wanted. He even had big ball-bearings in his wheels. Like Roger, he was a four stroke. Unlike Roger, he was computer literate and well versed. He even had galvanized parts. He cares about what your garden wants.
I placed dear old Roger in the garage, thanked him for the work he did for 25 years. I hope Howard the Honda lasts as long. Howard took to the lawn with care and consideration.

Me? Well I mowed and said hello to a Black Prince Cicada who chose my shirt as a nice landing place... whilst I worked.





















And a grub moved happily across a daisy,

















Such is my garden.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Garden















At the moment I am doing 60 hours a week plus at work... Needless to say I am busy and stressed. But in life you have to "make hay whilst the sun shines" and this is what I am doing.

My garden provides me with a refuge and this weekend I put in a few new "bits". I have a new water tank and fire fighting pump and hoses as well as new bird bath and rosemary herb garden. The birds love it and I love it too!
















The addition of camellias,hedges and new deck add to the overall "feel". I find it relaxing and so does the wild life. Today I was excited to find that Monty had come out of hibernation, shed her skin, and was on patrol for bush rats.















For those of you who are new to the blog, Monty is our resident Diamond Python. Large, fat, and healthy. She lives in our roof in winter and comes out onto our deck for a sun, a drink and to shed her skin. Sometimes I have to move her out of the way when I am trimming hedges etc. Frankly I love it! She makes me feel as if my garden is a living thing as too does the possums, rats, and birds...














The garden is ok despite the drought. My grandfather would say " If its green let it grow!" This is what I do. Some of the plants are pests, but they are life, and as such are welcome. The lack of water makes it so.
















I get wonderful visitors during the day, birds, possums, snakes etc you name it. One night I even found a kangaroo grazing on my lawn.......


















That is the nature of where I live. every animal, and reptile is a welcome guest. Sadly our Tenterfield Terrier does not always share my love, and he will kill any poisonous snake that ventures onto our place. I do not like it, but what to do??



















Still, when I am stessed, I come here, and the butcher bird feeds on my arm, and see the garden, the birds, the bees, and reptiles and think... "Well, if they think it is ok... it must be..."













It gives me the strength to get going for the next 60+ hours......