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You are Awesome (Collage)

Hello everyone 🙂

Another little collage I made for a friend’s birthday a few weeks back.  She and I have bonded over shared ailments, social anxiety and lots of other issues that make us feel less than awesome.  We always support and reassure one another, even if it’s just by saying “Oh I know how you feel!”  We started telling each other we’re awesome, kind of as a joke, but it has become our thing to say now.

 I wanted to make a little reminder for my friend that she is an awesome lady, even if I’m not around to tell her that,  so I made this 4″ x 4″collaged box canvas for her desk at work.  The crowned stoat could be symbolic for “fearless” or something, but it’s actually just the first image I pulled out of my collage file.  We’ll pretend it was chosen for its symbolism though, because that sounds better and makes me look smarter.

Hope you are having a great day.  Always remember you ARE awesome 🙂

 

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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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Be Kind (Collage)

Hello everyone and Happy Monday 🙂

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 🙂

 

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Mini Road Trip

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.

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Sunshine at last!

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.

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Nature’s Artwork

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.

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Kangaroo – boop my nose!

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 🙂

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Photo-bombing!

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.

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I’ll have one of everything, thanks!

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).

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Crepe Myrtle.  Ridiculous show off.

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

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Bandy-Cute

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.

img_4257He (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.

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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.

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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!

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Have you had any close encounters with a wild critter lately?  I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

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A Cockatoo or Two

Just a quickie post today…

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

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Hope you are having a happy day – enjoy some time outside, if you can x

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A Visitor at Last!

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.

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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)

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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.

🙂

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