Did you all have a nice weekend? For those of you here in Australia, hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable Australia Day and got to spend time with family and friends. I managed to do just that AND get some crafting time in. I got started on some new collage canvases and finished a couple of them. I am slowly learning to leave things alone and move on to something else, if they are proving problematic. Sometimes you need to step away from a particular project, in order to “Regroup” and get a fresh perspective.
This little 6 x 6″ canvas was giving me grief, and I couldn’t make it work, so I put it aside and started on a new one. When I came back to this, I managed to finish it off and be reasonably satisfied with it. I cut out numerous caterpillars – none of them looked right – until I found this pinky-red one, that seemed to suit ok. I can waste hours trying to find just the right critter or leaf or flower.
I wasn’t sure what words to incorporate and was focusing too much on the bird looking down. I thought of “Keep your head up” and “Don’t look down” and other head-related nonsense. In the end, given that the bird is letting little Mr Caterpillar have a free ride, rather than eating him, I figure “Be Kind” was as good a message as any. As yes, I did need to put a crown on the bird. It looked naked without it.
Hope the week ahead is kind to you – thank you for stopping by 🙂
As I mentioned in a previous post, Mum and I recently took a little road trip to Bunbury for some much-needed rest and relaxation. It was nice to get away for a couple of days, with no schedule to follow, no work to get through, and no dramas to stress us out. It was such a lovely weekend and I think we both really needed it.
The weather was, unfortunately, pretty dreadful. Cold, wet and miserable. In the middle of Summer we had torrential rain, flooding and ridiculously cool temperatures. It was so cold, I had to buy some extra warm clothes and shoes once we got to our destination. I had planned on spending many hours at the beach (our favourite little motel is located metres away from the Ocean) but the weather was just too inclement. We did have one afternoon where the sun shone for a few hours, and we were able to go beach-combing at Hungry Hollow and collect some lovely shells, have a paddle and soak up some rays.
I love the variety of shells at Hungry Hollow. I try to take the ones I think won’t be used by sea creatures for their homes or other purposes. I like to collect the broken, smooth pieces of shell and any that have that gorgeous oil-slick colouration (mother of pearl to everyone else on the planet, I guess) on the inside. I have great plans for the shells but then end up just keeping them because they’re so pretty and I can’t bear to use them.
While the weather was fine we also visited the Bunbury Wildlife Park. We’ve been there before and have been very impressed with the way the animals are cared for and housed, and how the kangaroos, in particular, have “quiet zones” where they can escape from the crowds. It’s so important for animals in captivity to have places they can go to when they want time out. They shouldn’t have to be on display all the time if they don’t want to. The roos at the Wildlife Park seem very relaxed though. They follow you around and come up to you for food and enjoy a good scratch on the chest or under their chins.
I do love kangaroos. Having had one as a child for a short period of time, I love their gentle nature. Of course, the bigger males can be quite aggressive and dangerous at times (usually when a human being is getting too close or basically being an idiot) but the inhabitants of the park are all very calm and friendly. I like to see them so un-stressed and chilled out. They don’t even startle when a group of noisy children come in, which to me means they are not anxious or have any need to be afraid. Do I wish they were out in the wild? Yes, of course. But these parks are also important for teaching people about native fauna and how we need to look after them and protect them. Many of the critters in the park are orphans, hand-reared after their mothers were killed on the road, in dog attacks, and other accidents.
I love getting up close with them. My Mum was a bit more nervous than I (she was attacked, rather badly, by a large roo, years ago when I was child) and so didn’t get right in their faces like me, although she did feed them and give them a pat. But I have always been annoying and like to get right in the middle of the action ha ha. I wouldn’t do it if they were weren’t so calm and friendly. One of them actually grabbed my arm and pulled me back in when I stopped scratching his chest 🙂
Another lovely little spot we visited was Mulberry House. Just gorgeous. Pretty things to buy and look at – room upon room of vintage-inspired treasures, in a 1900s building. Each room is themed and just so delightfully arranged with floor-to-ceiling goodies. You can also have afternoon tea there (we didn’t indulge this time) and enjoy some home-baked cakes and other treats. My Mum ended up buying some lovely fat quarters in beautiful country/cottage colours – pale pinks, greens and cream. If you’re visiting Bunbury, be sure to pop in here – you won’t be disappointed.
This is a bit random, but I had to show a pic of this beautiful Crepe Myrtle, standing proudly outside a small antique store. How gorgeous is it??? I can’t believe how bright that pink is. It was almost TOO bright to look at. I’m glad the sun came out long enough for me to take this photo. It wouldn’t have looked so spectacular if it was bedraggled and dripping with rain (which I would also have been, most likely).
So, a lovely, relaxing trip that recharged our batteries and gave us some respite from life. I’m looking forward to going back again later in the year, if I can. Which probably means more kangaroo cuddles. If I’m lucky 🙂 (and the kangaroos, less so, ha ha!).
Thanks for stopping in – hope you’re having a happy day x
Hello, everyone 🙂 I meant to post this a few weeks back but got sidetracked… My Mum turned 70 in November and she had several little get-togethers to celebrate. On the Sunday afternoon, we met my brother and his family for afternoon tea at a large garden nursery, which also has a delightful cafe and children’s playground. It’s a very popular spot and can get very busy so we were lucky to get a table for all of us in a nice sunny spot.
As we drank our tea and baby-cinos (obligatory for the four munchkins) and scoffed cake, we were joined by another guest – a Southern Brown Bandicoot (or Quenda). These little guys are normally quite shy and tend to come out at dusk, to forage. Our visitor is was well known to nursery staff, apparently making guest appearances on a regular basis, in order to pick up any table scraps and crumbs left by lunching customers.
He (I’m going with “he” for now) was happy to wander around our table, under our feet and chairs, and wasn’t the least bit disturbed by the children or my attempts to take photos of him. I even got to stroke him, which he didn’t seem to mind at all.
He was wiry to the touch, and very solid (he eats well :)) and about the size of a small cat (with albeit shorter legs). Bandicoots have long claws, used for digging out underground food items (they are omnivores and will eat insects, fruit, lizards, seeds, mice – pretty much anything they can get their paws on!) and are marsupials (meaning they have a pouch that they carry their babies in). They live alone, rather than in social groups, and have a running style described as a “gallop” rather than a hop or a scurry.
We were delighted to have his company and hope to see him again if we visit the nursery. It’s so nice to see wildlife, of any kind, and I’m always very grateful to be able to experience them close up and in a non-captive way. I guess these little guys are learning to adapt to being part of our community and losing some of their shy ways. Survival is survival, after all. I just hope that this particular fellow is healthy and protected and doesn’t come to any harm, being around human beings so much. He seemed happy enough though – very fat and not stressed at all. He’s probably living the dream and wondering why other bandicoots are bothering to hunt for their own food in the bush. As his “people” are solitary creatures, it’s unlikely he’s going to let anyone else in on the action. This territory is his and his alone!
Have you had any close encounters with a wild critter lately? I’d love to hear about it 🙂
I’m really going to miss South Perth. The River, the gardens, the greenery – just the general feel of the place and the lifestyle it allows. I’m also going to miss the local wildlife – all the lovely birds and the occasional dolphin – and the happy dogs playing in the park. I’ll miss the cafe strip (located so close to my house I can practically order a chai latte by yelling out my bedroom window) and the quiet neighbourhood where I go for my walks.
Yesterday I dragged myself out of the house to get some exercise, spurred on by a.) the sight of my thighs, and b.) the realisation that I soon won’t be able to walk around the River every day or play wildlife photographer with the local cockatoo population.
The two main types of “cocky” in my neighbourhood are the pink and grey Galahs and the Corella. Corellas are noisy and destructive little buggers and many councils have resorted to culling them to reduce their numbers. The do indeed make a racket when they are in large groups and even one solo bird is enough to send you a bit deaf. They’re cheeky little chappies though – quite comical and clown-like in their antics. The South Perth foreshore is often covered in large flocks of them, interspersed with a few galahs. Corellas tend to dig up the lawn areas, looking for tasty roots or bulbs, leaving lots of holes everywhere. They also “trim” tree branches, causing damage and leaving the tree vulnerable to fungus and insect attack. Many of these birds have been introduced to Western Australia from other states so they’re actually foreign interlopers!
I was able to get quite close to the galahs – they seem to be the braver of the two species (probably as many of them are either escaped “tame” birds or the offspring of) whereas the corellas kept a safe distance. The galahs seemed to even pose for me, stopping what they were doing for a few seconds while I snapped a shot or two.
Hopefully, wherever I end up moving to, I will be able to find some nice parkland areas or other places where there is wildlife to discover. Because I need all the incentive I can get when it comes to exercise.
I plan on planting lots of natives in my new garden-which-isn’t-a-garden-yet so that I can attract the local birds. I will be getting myself some cats (it will be my reward for all the crap I have gone through with the purchasing process to finally have some moggies) but they will be indoor felines – no hunting for them. Part of the reason I wanted a two-storey house was so they would have stairs to run up and down. I might join them – we shall have buns of steel together! 🙂
Hope you are having a happy day – enjoy some time outside, if you can x
Quite some time ago I got a couple of bird baths to hang in my garden. I have a lot of birdlife in my neighbourhood and, with the Summers being so hot, I wanted them to have access to water. I thought I would have lots of happy birdies availing themselves of the amenities I provided. But no. Not a one. I figured maybe they just chose to turn up when I was out or at work or whatever. As the months went by I came to the conclusion the local bird population was snubbing my water station and frequenting some other location for their hydration needs.
I didn’t take the bird baths away, but I did forget to refill them regularly (possibly the reason the birds chose to stay away). Wally, my garden Wattlebird (cranky guardian of my grevilleas) sits near them every day and watches me eat my breakfast through the window (I mean he watches through the window…I’m not eating my breakfast through a window – that would be strange). I’ve never seen him partake of any water though – even on the hottest days. He is a quite large bird though, so perhaps doesn’t feel safe perching on the swinging bird bath. He’s also quite territorial so it’s possible he has been warning all the other birds away.
My little Willy Wagtail, whose melodic song means Spring is only a few short weeks away, also likes to hang out NEAR the bird baths but I haven’t seen him actually perch on them or take a drink. I think they’re just mocking me now – my water isn’t up to their standards apparently.
But, hallelujah! This morning as I ate my very late breakfast ( I slept in – it was glorious, but now I have wasting-the-day guilts) I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bird DRINKING OUT OF THE BIRD BATH!!! A bird I had never seen before in my garden, was happily having a long drink out of my bird bath, swinging away in the breeze and enjoying a spot of sunshine (it’s been raining heavily all morning – hence the bird bath actually having water in it!). I managed to get a couple of sneaky photos of him before he noticed me, peering out of the window and doing a silent happy dance.
I think he is a Grey Butcherbird. I have seen them before, mostly down by the foreshore, but never in my garden before. I was so happy to see him! But then a bit sad because I will be moving soon and will have to start the whole wooing-birds-into-my-garden process all over again. I don’t really even HAVE a garden in my new place (if I ever actually get to settlement) so will have to put in lots of natives to attract the local bird population. A garden with no birdies is so sad!
I didn’t know a lot about Butcherbirds, so did a bit of research. I found that they have a lovely, warbling song, a bit like a magpie (listen HERE) and that they can be quite aggressive during nesting season. I also read that they “..prey on small animals, including birds, lizards and insects, as well as some fruits and seeds. Uneaten food may be stored in the fork or a branch or impaled. Grey Butcherbirds sit on an open perch searching for prey which, once sighted, they pounce on. Most mobile prey is caught on the ground, though small birds and insects may be caught in flight. Feeding normally takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups…” (Thanks, Birdlife Australia)
He’s a handsome fellow and I’m glad he stopped by. I’m hoping he feels safe enough to come again and maybe bring a friend. Maybe sing a song or two (now that I know what I’m listening for!).
Thank YOU for dropping by, too. My blog is a little lack-lustre these days due to being in the midst of packing boxes and house-buying dramas and just being in a general state of disarray. Please bear with me while I muddle through my messy life.
Had a death in the house this week… This tiny little gecko decided to meet his maker, under a pile of my crafting supplies (which I am sure will be my fate someday). So sad. I had seen him earlier in the week and had desperately tried to catch him (which also involved me having a conversation with him whereby I tried to convince him he should come out so I could take him outside) but he had disappeared into my book shelves. Then, when I was clearing up on Sunday, I found his little corpse in between some sheets of scrapbooking paper 😦
Look at his tiny little toes! Those pretty, gem-like and almost metallic eyes! The patterns in his skin! So sweet. I don’t think he was long gone…his body was still soft and pliant. I’m glad I didn’t squish him – he wasn’t flattened or anything like that. Just looked like he was sleeping really. He may have just gotten dehydrated, stuck in my house, or maybe he was already sickly. But he’s so tiny! And perfect!
Apparently geckos are nocturnal and eat insects. That’s about all I know. Other than them being cute. I did have a much larger one in my shed a while back and he scared the living daylights out of me. He leapt off the wall as I opened the door and basically flung his tail at me. Which was a bit horrifying. I (again) was having a conversation with a reptile – “Please keep your tail! I don’t want to eat you!”- but to no avail. His tail wriggled and flipped for ages by itself as he ran off into the undergrowth. Icky!
I’m not sure what kind of gecko this one is. I guess he’s just some sort of common house gecko. Let’s go with that. He wasn’t wearing a name tag. You can look at some other kinds HERE if you’re in to that sort of thing.
I’ve kept him for now, as my brother sometimes does resin art and uses, ahem, dead things. But, besides that, he (the gecko) seems too lovely to get rid of. I’ll bury him if nothing else. He deserves that, and will go into the earth or be dinner for other critters.
Just a quick post to show you the bird houses my brother has been making. He’s been using old wooden pallets – great idea for recycling! He has added bits of fallen branches and painted the houses in rustic colours or left them plain and unpainted. They’re more decorative than functional, but maybe some little birdies will be looking for just such a house to hide in or raise some babies.
I love these, and my brother 🙂
PS I have been fiddling about with my blog’s theme/appearance as you may have noticed if you’re a regular reader… I haven’t settled on one that I really like yet, so please bear with me while I chop and change, and hopefully I will get it right soon! x