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Hanging out with Some Fun Guys

You just know I have been milking that joke (in the post title) all month, right?  🙂

I love me some nature photography.  I do not claim to be very good at it, nor do I have any fancy equipment, lenses, or even a decent camera.  Just my little iPhone with the cracked screen.  It does the job though and I get some pretty nice shots when we are out and about.  But, really, nature does all the work – I just show up and take the photos.

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 Fungi always seems a bit magical and other-worldly, because of its weird shapes, colours and places in which it grows.  I would like to tell you I can identify all of these little toadstools and mushrooms but, clearly, I would be lying.  I have no idea if anyone of them are edible.  They’re just neat – that’s all I know – and, during this hike through the forest in Jarrahdale, they were in abundance.

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We had to be careful where we walked, in case we squished some of the more well-camouflaged specimens, and you had to look down and up and sideways and under things and above your head because they grew in all sorts of places.

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Nature is so clever and beautiful, and we should take the time to notice her work more often.  Not just trample all over it.  We need to learn to tread more softly and leave smaller footprints.  We miss out on so much when we don’t stop and look around every now and then and remember to be grateful and appreciative.

Thanks for stopping by – have a lovely day 🙂

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Black Swan

There is absolutely no point to this post, other than to say I love black swans.  Most days I go walking at a big lake on the way home from work, and I love watching these guys as they paddle about on the water.  They are majestic and comical all at the same time.  At this time of year, when they are not consumed by the breeding urge, they are friendly and inquisitive, quite happy to waddle up to you and graze nearby or check out what you may have for them.  Sadly, I don’t bring them food because I know it’s not good to do so (especially bread) and so I am a bit of a disappointment.  Still, they seem to know me now and will hang out for a while if I sit on one of the benches or on the bank.

I love their little honks and whistles, their head-bobs-in-greeting and their lovely big feet.  I love their upside-down feeding when their in bums are the air and their heads are underwater, feet paddling like crazy.  I love their ballet stretches and their sleepy eyelids when they are dozing off.  The way the water beads on their blue-black plumage, and those bright red beaks.  Just beautiful.

I read this today, on the Australian National Geographic website :

“…Our bird plays a starring role in all this owing to a belief in Europe, dating back 2000 years to Roman poet Juvenal, that swans are invariably white. Like purple cows and flying pigs, the black swan was a symbol of what was impossible. In medieval Europe, unicorns had more credibility. Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh, by finding black swans in Western Australia in 1697, showed how risky it is to declare something impossible…”

I’m glad they ARE possible, and that I get to share their space with them.  Come breeding season they are less inclined to be so welcoming but, even then, they are accommodating and patient, allowing a certain amount of intrusion into their little family groups.  Cygnets are the most adorable things on the planet.  Grey balls of fluff – it’s hard to imagine they will grow up to be something so tall and glorious.  Don’t get too close though – you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a Mummy Swan’s wrath 🙂

Thanks for visiting.

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Black Swan – Look at those feet! 🙂
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Quote for the Day : Paths

“…Everyone has their own path.
Walk yours with integrity and wish all others peace on their journey.
When your paths merge, rejoice for their presence in your life.
When the paths are separated, return to the wholeness of yourself,
give thanks for the footprints left on your soul,
and embrace the time to journey on your own…”

— Unknown

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Kokoda Track, King’s Park, WA
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Spring Sings

Spring is one of my favourite times of the year.  All those beautiful flowers blooming, baby everythings everywhere you look (finally got some GORGEOUS broods of cygnets at the local lake – I just want to squeeze them!), blue skies and glorious sunshine (well, some of the time anyway…so far we’ve had a pretty cold and wet Spring).  I love how the evenings change – there’s that particular feeling in the air.  The feeling of change and of warmth coming.  The days are longer and the mornings brighter.

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My garden, such as it is, also changes with the coming of Spring.  The majority of my plants are in pots – I just haven’t had the money or energy to create a proper garden yet.  I mostly have weeds.  Lots of weeds.  I’m a bit ashamed of them, to be honest.  My neighbour’s gardens are all pristine, well-manicured and tidy.  Mine is the feral one.  I try not to look at it.  My back has been playing up such a lot lately that I daren’t do any weeding or any activity that requires much bending in the garden.  So, weeds it is.

This weekend I was surprised to find this glorious bloom in my courtyard.  An Apostle’s Iris.  So pretty!  I got this plant about 18 months ago at a Quiz Night and had no idea what it was.  I figured it was probably an iris of some kinds, but I wasn’t sure.  I have neglected it totally and haven’t even repotted it into a decent sized pot.  Then, yesterday morning, this beautiful flower appeared.  The plant also has a baby that has taken root in another pot, so I’ll have two plants soon.  Yay!

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My pelargoniums are always cooperative and do very well, even with my slack gardening efforts.  I have had this one for a few years and the flowers are just gorgeous.  So bright and cheerful, and long-lasting.  I’ve taken lots of cuttings over the years and so the original plant is now growing in lots of different pots and other people’s gardens!

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I often go for a little walk during my lunch break and the bushland nearby has lots of pretty natives (and a few non-native interlopers) blooming.  I love the bright and cheery wattle – I don’t suffer from hay fever like so many other people – and the colour is always so lovely against the greens and browns of the bush.

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I believe this lovely purple climber is called “Happy Wanderer”.  It’s from the pea family, so it creates its own food by bringing nitrogen to the soil.  It’s so pretty.

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This bright pink beauty is a type of wild geranium.  It grows pretty prolifically and is common around coastal areas as it is very hardy and doesn’t mind a bit of salt air.

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And then we have good old freesias.  I LOVE the smell of them.  I pick lots and lots in Spring time and have them in the library.  Their scent is so gorgeous and fresh.  They are not a native, and in some states are considered a pest.  So I can pick as many as I like 🙂  I even had them in my wedding bouquet, a million years ago.  They make me happy.

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The best thing about Spring, besides the flowers and baby critters, is the promise of Summer.  THAT is my favourite season.  The heat, the sunshine, the balmy nights (that everyone else complains about but I love because it’s warm, warm, warm) and the blue skies.  But, Spring is a pretty close second.  It’s Mother Nature’s party time, her extended prom night, her chance to show off a bit.

Do you have a favourite season?  Does spring bring you joy or does it spell runny-nosed-sneezy-wheezy hay fever hell for you?

Either way, hope you’ve got some spring in your step today (or some Autumn Attitude for our Northern Hemisphere pals!) 🙂

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It Keeps You Runnin’.

Brrrr.  It is cold.  Like, freezing-your-butt-off cold.  Which is pretty normal for Winter, I suppose, but it seems extra chilly at the moment.  We’ve had some wild, stormy weather with thunderstorms and heavy rains, hail and flooding, and people have lost their fences and roofs.  I had a few pot plants go for a tumble, but that’s about it.

In a continuing attempt to be healthy and lose weight, I have been walking and / or running, regardless of the weather.  In some ways, exercising in crummy weather is better for me, for several reasons :

  1.  Less people around to witness my lack of coordination and grace.
  2.  If you’re drenched with rain, no one can tell if you’re sweating.
  3.  People think you’re very dedicated and diligent.
  4.  You can wear big baggy raincoats and wet weather gear and
    hide your flabby bits.
  5.  Ditto wearing hoodies and other head-covering ensembles.  Bad hair be damned!
  6.  When you finally get back home to the warm and dry, it seems SO MUCH  warmer and drier by default.
  7. You can be a bit smug about how disciplined you are (see # 3.)

I must admit it has been VERY hard to get motivated (although the size of my thighs should be motivation enough) and some days I would rather go straight home, put my PJs on, and stay warm with a cup of tea and Vincent D’Onofrio (via a Criminal Intent DVD).  This week it has been difficult to organise walking times because I’ve worked overtime and had car issues.  And I’ve been lazy.  But I try and go at least a few times a week, even if I just pop out at lunchtime for a quick trek around the block.  It’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

There have been days when it has been raining so hard I have come home COMPLETELY drenched, and my sneakers are making that gross squelchy-squeaky noise that sounds like you’re walking on dead frogs.  I’ve got raindrops in my ears, crazy hair, and small puddles in my pockets, but that’s ok.  I’m still glad I have made the effort and have one less reason to feel bad about myself.  It’s so easy to fall back into house-slug habits and just go straight home, after a day at work sitting on my bum in front of a computer, with no exercise or fresh air.  But I’m trying to do better and get out there.

So, I shall continue to waddle around, rain or shine, with little guilt-ridden breaks in the middle where I “forget” to do any exercise at all.   I will stop to take photos and watch dogs play.  I will run when there’s no one else around, and walk when there is.  I will try not to spoil it all by coming home and eating a cookie.  But, even if I do, I will forgive myself and start over the next day.  That’s the biggest hurdle for me.

x

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Quote for the Day : Go Outside

“…Go outside.
Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone.
Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see.
We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice.
Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t.
Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t.
And that’s the point.
Just walk, see, sit down if you like.
And be.
Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have,
and realise that that is enough to be happy.

There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window.
You’d be a fool to miss it…”

— Charlotte Eriksson

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Lake Lovely

When I am feeling energetic (and, quite often, when I am not) I go walking after work.  I wish I could say I am diligent and do this every day, but I would be a liar.  I usually manage about three times a week, which is a bit pathetic, but it’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

Some afternoons I go walking along the beach, which is lovely and scenic and blows the cobwebs of the workday away;  most days, however, I walk around the local lake, which is on my way home and provides me with a nice, easy, 3.5km route.

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Because I am generally quite lazy, it is good to have a circular route to walk – it means I just keep going until I get back to where I started.  I don’t have to think about it.  I don’t get tempted to turn around and head back either.  The lake also has multiple paths; some of them meander through the bush so you can jog a bit and no one can see you ha ha.  I don’t run in public unless I can be sure I don’t have witnesses.  No one needs to see that.

The lake is populated by LOTS of birdlife.  Swans, ducks, moorhen, and herons, as well as my favourite, the pelicans, and some long-necked tortoises, which I am yet to spot.

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As it is breeding season for many of the birds, there are cute, fluffy bundles of downy joy dotted around the lake, following their parents around and getting up to mischief.  There are plenty of reeds and other plant life to provide happy nesting spots and hideaways for the vulnerable babies.

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I am dying to see some cygnets.  I love the black swans – they are so majestic and beautiful.  There are a couple at the lake that have allowed me to get quite close – sometimes they waddle up to me of their own accord.  During breeding season, they can become a little bit aggressive and protective of their offspring, which is totally understandable.  It’s best to keep your distance at those times and give them their space.  Even if you do want to run headlong into those gorgeous, grey, fluffy cygnets and squeeze them in an adoring cuddle.  It’s not really recommended.

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There are also lots of cormorants.  I adore them.  Those funny webbed feet!  The fluffy, shaggy feathers on their plump bellies and chest!  The almost bat-like wings!  The way they dry themselves in the sun, holding up their wings like laundry!  The way they hiss at me when I get too close and annoy them with my photo-taking! 🙂

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The lone egret is a tricky individual to photograph.  He doesn’t like being bothered and you can’t get too close before he flies off.  It could also be because I have mistakenly been calling him a heron, and he’s not.  I have offended him and now he doesn’t want a bar of me, or my camera.  So all my shots of him are blurry (because I am far away and have zoomed my camera in).  It’s very inconsiderate of him, to be honest.

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Towards sunset, the lake takes on a magical quality.  I tend to keep stopping to take photos, which is not really making efficient use of my exercise time, but hey, the sky and water is so pretty at night!  It’s hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.

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I am always on the lookout for new places to walk ; it’s nice to have a change of scenery and some different landscapes/wildlife to look at.  The lake, for now, remains one of my favourites.  Easy to get to, easy parking, lots of people around (for safety’s sake) and lots of lovely birdies for me to photograph.  I am lucky to have these spaces to utilise and enjoy, and get that much-needed exercise.  That egret will just have to get used to me because I’m going to keep coming back 🙂