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Can't settle

All these fires, high winds etc have left me very unsettled.  The news of the burning of iconic landmarks and the plight of the wildlife has added to this.  I think that these kind of things rekindle my post traumatic stress and although I am not ill it is just unsettling.  I am on the look out for threats all the time and find it hard to concentrate on the job at hand.  So I have put the jobs at hand aside, put on the sprinkler to keep the grass green and took in what was outside my window. 

The sprinkler brought Larry out of his hiding place.  We don't see him all that often but he came out to get some water.

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My makeshift bird bath is still attracting lots of birds of all sizes and as they make such a mess and we have to clean and refill it twice a day. The native swamp lily's I planted are flowering and thriving on the water.

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On closer observation I see that the bigger birds,  like Mervyn the magpie,  aren't real happy to perch on the lip of the tray and prefer to keep their feet on the ground.

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Mervyn must have been thirsty on this occassion as he walked right past Larry to get to the water.

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But he was keeping a weather eye on me.  The noise of the shutter on the camera had him taking notice.

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The Grevillea's are out in bloom.

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They are heavy with nectar and the native birds are feasting.

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I walked down the track to the beach to see how thick the bushfire haze was.

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Not too good.  The high country had all disappeared and there was a constant wind blowing in our direction.  When we first discovered this island you could look out to the mainland and not see another house.  Oh how things have changed.

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It was then that the perfume of the Freesias reached me.  So heady.  It is over 20 years ago that I helped another resident plant these bulbs.  Her husband had died and we planted these in memory of him.  Over the years they have multiplied and spread along most of the steep bank at this end of the island.

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This is the side of the island where the south easterly winds blow most of the year.  They can be cold and these exposed cliffs take the full force of the wind.

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Over the years they have spread right along this bank for over 500 feet and line the main track where we first planted them.  This is the area where the kingfishers hunt and you can see there bright blue feathers darting in and out of the bush.  There are other escaped plants in this area like these native orchids.

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I decided to walk around the point and back home through the golf course.  Here I was greeted by swarms of moths that are hatching at the moment.  (All those white dots are moths.)  So those birds that feed on insects are getting rather fat.

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I am so glad I live here.  Maybe I can now get back to those jobs.


We have a visitor

Soon after we moved into this house on the island I saw small foot prints on the front stairs.  I know there are no possums on the island and these prints were too big for a mouse.  Over the next couple of years I came upon these prints again and just wrote them off as some small bush animal as we live surrounded by bush.

Then early this year my dog became obsessed with something that she could smell in the house.

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Then we found some droppings.  Bigger than lizards, which are everywhere but again not like a mouses droppings.

 

Next clue was then we found a cake of goat's milk soap was being eaten in the laundry.  All the soap was hidden away.  Non of the fruit was touched.  Nothing in the pantry was touched.  But Charlie was hyper sensitive to something being in her territory.  She only has one eye and isn't a hunter at all but she knew something was there.

 

My husband was sure it was a rat.  We have never seen a rat on the island.  It it was a rat it had to be a native one.

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But then Charlie got what ever it was cornered under a bookcase down stairs. 

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The big game hunter, ( my husband) moved the bookcase and it ran off into the bush.  In the space under the bookcase he found what it had been eating.  "Why didn't you store these onions in a better place so that rat couldn't get them?"  he railed at me.    "Those aren't onions", was my reply, "those are flower bulbs that I had put in a dry place to plant out later."

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And I'm sure it wasn't a rat, it was a small bandicoot.  So glad he got away, but I'm sure he will be back.


A good weekend

Saturday was cold and wet and blowing a gale.  I travelled up to town to teach at the Guild and had a lovely group of ladies who made the teaching really easy.  There had been a mix up about the date of this class so the Easter bunny (and chicken) made an appearance to apologise.

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On Sunday the sun shone, as it should on it's name day, and the island was beautiful.  People swam at the beach.

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The Quandamooka people came and told us stories in song and dance.

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They had a great young didjeridoo player,  he is young but very good and the boys danced with conviction.

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It is good to know that there will be a good run of mullet fish coming through soon.  The Noonuckle people, which means people who's main food is mullet, say you can tell if there will be a good run by the number of parrots that fly in from the back country and there have been lots of golden crested kockatoo  in the skys lately.  Another thing mentioned was about the earth and the skys.  They have a story that the planet Mercury had a brother who died, so they do not speak his name.  In many cases it has been proved that these old stories talk about actual events that have taken place in history.  Now it is believed that they have been here for at least 120,000 years.  The oldest living culture on earth.

On the home front the lawns need to be mowed, but they aren't too bad.  (That low letter box is a distraction.  My husband ran it over with the ute.)

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And looking down the bank onto the beach I see that it has doubled in size  and Kerlew creek is running again after the recent storms.

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We are coming into the best part of the year, when the days are fine and clear and it is cool at night.  Roll on Autumn.


Talking of birds

My husband is in the process of trying to get a 'community project' established on the island.  But they have hit a problem with noise.  The natural background noise of the birds here takes the noise level over the limit allowable under the environmental guidelines.  I don't think those birds have read the guidelines.  Who would have thought birds could do that?

Maybe it is all those noisey lorikeets?  They are everywhere here, along with lots of other birds who call to each other all day long and then the kerlews call all night long.  They are cute though when you spy a breeding pair in their hollow.

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Charlie and Me

Charlie and I went for a short walk this morning.  She can't see very well but she trots along on the lead and wants to smell everything.  She seems to have accepted the cone of shame around her head although she just can't get into things like she did before. 

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We only walked a couple of blocks, there and back, up to the community centre.  This island used to be 3 or 4 farms.  It became  soldier settler lots that were leased out after the 1st World War.  Someone donated it to soldiers who came back from the Western Front Shell shocked or suffering with Post Traumatic Stress.  They were very productive farms sending produce onto the Brisbane markets.  When we first started coming here there were still a small railway line up the jetty on the mainland side where they used to unload the produce.  There were farms on all the bay islands with fruit trees, avocado, mango etc.  Today on our walk be walked into the yard of Amina Garden's which was a place to eat 30 years ago and from what I found in the grounds before this it was an orchard.

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Needless to say I took some home to add to a fruit salad. 


So much noise

I still spend a good part of my day in bed but I am not getting  a lot of rest at the moment. Why?  Well the trees out the back are in flower.

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The bees and insects are around the blossoms in droves as are the birds.  The noisiest of which is the lorikeet.  Boy those birds make a racket.

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They yell and chatter all day long.

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Then the squawk and yell at every intruder.  That nectar must be sweet?  As it gets older I think it ferments and those birds are a bit drunk.  Nothing worse than a noisey drunk.

 


Slow living

This virus sees me living my life at a much slower pace.  I have to sleep a lot and just can't do anything at my normal speed.  I am still not able to drive, my reactions are too slow, so life is confined to the island most of the time.  I did get to go to the mainland last week, I should not have gone.  I had to stay in bed for the next 3 days.

As I was coming home a rainbow formed and the end was on the island.  I thought at the time how apt that was.  This place really is a treasure.

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It is school holiday time at the moment and there are a lot of holiday makers on the island.  Before we moved here this was our holiday destination.  I have always felt this is a magical place, everyone I speak to believes that as well.  I have tried to find out from the traditional owners of the land what it is that makes it so special but they have lost that knowledge.  That doesn't change the fact that everyone who comes here feels a connection and it regretful when they have to leave.  As you can see from the message in the sand.  I have no idea who wrote it but I love the island as well.

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But I can be surprised by people who live here as well.  Maxine is a friend who lives a couple of streets away.  She is the author of the children's book who's launch we attended.  Now I find that she makes the most whimsical jewelry. 

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I just had to buy these ear rings.

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And after speaking to her I find that the character is based on a real person, who she says looks like this!.

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They are made under a magnifying glass to get all that detail.  (They are not very big.)

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She and Gary have developed there own materials.

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I need to get some more they are so quirky.  When I was teaching full time I always used to wear unusual ear rings.  I never had to say "look to the front", all eyes were already there to check what I had on that day.  This time I will wear them just to feel happy.

 


Life is busy

I don't know why I am so busy at the moment.  Put it down to spring being in the air.  Last week I attended a musical evening at a neighbors home.  It was only a couple of hours between 4 and 6pm but I did enjoy myself.

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a group of local musicians led the singing and we all sat in the breeze way.

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Everyone one came with plates of food and wine.

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Jane's chickens got in on the act as well.

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Then the kookaburras arrived I'm not sure if it was the music or the food that had attracted them.

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They sat on the lattice behind the musicians and leaned in as thought they were listening.

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They even gave us a cackle or two.

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They were so amusing that they were rewarded with some food.

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It was delightful sitting in that space listening to the music.

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Both that of the humans and the birds.  I like this poem that Jane has on the wall in her kitchen.

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As we left I looked in the window to find that some of the children had found the pianola and it was playing out some old tune. 

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Simple pleasure are often the best ones.


Spring is upon us

I have to admit it is Spring.  I would much prefer the cooler weather but time and tide wait for no one.

Now the stitches from my surgery are out I can stand up straight and I have set myself a goal of 10K per day of walking.  Not all at one time but spread out over the day.  I have to get in some kind of condition before my trip.  (I am also learning some basic Spanish.)  I start the day by walking along the beach.  This morning a pod of dolphins was out in the water so that made it more interesting.

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I also saw a number of Kingfishers in the trees but only had my phone with me so couldn't get any photos.  The birds are all nesting at the moment.  Yesterday 10 little ducklings had to be rescued from an eagle.  Their parents have disappeared.  I saw another eagle annoying a magpie nest.  This morning I found a dead eagle.  My money is on the magpies.

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Their feathers are quite beautiful. ( Eagles that is.)

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There had been lots of other visitors to the beach before me, they had left their marks.

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One thing that is more obvious is that the tides are getting higher and eroding parts of the beach on the eastern side of the island.  On the Western side the mangroves seem to be expanding.

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Back in the garden there are all kinds of flowers.

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And my neighbour has moved the cow from "the cow house" back to her mini farm and it has turned 'PINK'.  The railway carriages have had a spruce up as well.

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She tried to get me to give her my agapanthus, no way.  She has hundreds of bulbs planted out at her place, she doesn't need mine

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I suppose the days are just going to get hotter.  I can't wait to be able to take my kayak out for a paddle.  Very soon.

 


Some normality for a little while

I was able to bring my husband home from hospital yesterday.  He is so pleased to be back in his own environment and I don't have that long drive every day.  He has a long way to go before he is back to his old self but every day sees an improvement.   I am the one who will have to adjust to sharing the house again.  I have set myself a routine I like and that doesn't go down to well with him.  You would think that after all these years of marriage we would have all this worked out?  But no, the push and shove continues.  At least it isn't dull.

I am still trying to finish all the kits for the Children's Class.  Everything is just one big mess at the moment.  My cutting table looks like a bomb has hit it.

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If I look at the room for a distance it isn't too bad, but up close uggh.

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And that bundle of completed kits is so small!

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And when I went on my walk to the beach this morning I was hit by the perfume of freshias. 

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I didn't plant my bulbs because I thought it was too warm but the wild ones are all in bloom. Blow!