Sign Of The Times

After a busy break doing the usual stuff, my True Love and I headed off to the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) for a relaxing New Year’s Eve stroll. To be frank, I find NYE rather a trial due to the inevitable illegal fireworks and a small dog who is terrified of them. I imagine it is not only small dogs that are terrified. The birds and animals at the ANBG get to hear and see the official fireworks show. At least that show is time-limited, unlike the unofficial ones which seem to go off all night.

White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos) at ANBG

New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) at ANBG

Red-Browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis) at ANBG

This year I expected the firework shenanigans to be worse than usual because earlier pandemic restrictions seem to have caused more than the usual number of idiots to have slithered out of their holes. I asked my TL whether I should speak to those who had gone crackers but my TL suggested that would not be a good idea if I wanted to live til morning. So I didn’t. One friend in another city did tell her neighbours to fornicate with their illegal fireworks and lived to tell the tale. She may regret this next year when they let off even more.

As I keep saying over and over again, there are worse things than snakes, ladies and gentlemen.

By the way, after a two year break due to the pandemic, the ACT Herpetological Association in partnership with the ANBG, is again hosting Snakes Alive! from 9-15 January 2023. It is great fun for kids and adults alike. See here for details.

Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) at ANBG

Anyway, happy 2023, everyone. I hope it is a bloody good one.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

About the Photos
The photos of the red-browed finch and the bearded dragon were taken by my True Love. All the other ones were snapped by me.

The Chicks Are Down

Or at least one of them is. There are four. The magpie parents are very busy.

This week Anne has chosen the theme of Wildlife Close to Home for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Here is my contribution.

Let’s start with a couple of images of said magpie chick and his dad.

I am never one to let a snappy title get in the way of more wildlife photos. Here are another couple of bird shots from our local wetland.

And returning home, it’s the birthday girl – the wiley Ama. She threw up this morning, probably because of all that grassy hail she ate yesterday or perhaps to make room for birthday ice cream.

I hope you are all well, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve been getting a drenching in sunny Canberra (Australia), although not as much as a little further northwest where it is an absolute catastrophe.

Take care of yourselves and our world.

Kind Regards.
Tracy Rail.

Going My Way?

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Would it be okay if I share a dog story with you rather than focus on the doom and gloom this week? I spend a lot of time thinking about the gloomy stuff and it is of no help to anyone. And yet, I did read a story on a Finnish innovation, a mega-sand battery to store green energy for when it is needed. Hooray, but I digress. Today, I was walking to the park when I saw this huge Siberian husky loping my way at speed.

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Backyard Bandits

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new night vision camera. We occasionally get bats eating our figs in the backyard. We will be ready to capture them on camera next summer should they decide to pay us a visit. Of course, they are not the only animals that help themselves to our produce at the night market. Here is a taste of our backyard fauna.

The brushtail possums are frequent, noisy visitors. Normally, there is a furore after sunset when the possum exits our garage/shed. The dogs go crazy. However, I didn’t really expect the possum to stop by at 2am in the morning.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago. My neighbour has a much better shed but the possums prefer to slum it with us.

Mr Possum, that is not your best angle.

The rodents have been a huge problem over the last few years. We have caught quite a few in a snap trap that my True Love designed. The trap is placed in what is effectively a tunnel. This is the culling method that is preferred by the (Australian) Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (see here). Unfortunately, the rats are very canny and after a successful night trapping, the trap must remain unset for several weeks until the rodents get hungry enough to try their luck again.

Our fig tree fruited prolifically this year, but it seemed none but the rodents would enjoy the fruit. We tried collaring the tree with an Elizabethan dog collar to prevent the rodents ascent. It worked.

Here is a short clip of one of the little bastards. As yet, we have not worked out a way to keep them from our tomatoes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the backyard antics. Perhaps we will set up the camera in our banksia rose hedge. It appeared to shimmy with movement this afternoon.

Thanks for joining me.
Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Ode to Ama – A Bush Ballad

I am reprising my poem about my little dog, Ama, for the NaPoWriMo prompt about dogs you have known, seen, or heard about.  It is the best poem I’ve ever written (if I do say so myself) so I can’t offer any better.  The poem is written in the style of bush poetry (ie. it’s long) and there’s a nod to Banjo Patterson’s iconic poem, The Man From Snowy River.  In that poem, “the Man” rides his mountain pony down a steep hill after a herd of brumbies (wild horses).  There is some controversy as to whether that poem was a true story.  Unlike Mr Patterson’s poem, I can vouch that Ode to Ama is completely true.  Enjoy. Read more

This Ain’t No Teddy Bears Picnic

Be afraid, be very afraid. (NaPoWriMo #5)

In Australia, there are whispers of a murderous cabal of people-eating koalas. Known colloquially as “drop bears”, their location is known only to Aussies, who avoid them for dear life. The modus operandi of the drop bear is to drop down from the trees onto unsuspecting visitors. That’s when things get gruesome. But times are a-changing, ladies and gentlemen. Survival of our respective species, of the planet, means we will all need to reduce our meat consumption. Let’s see how that goes. Gather round.

Blood red eyes, dagger claws, give lie to that sweet furry body and button nose.
“To our sacrifice and to yours!” The leader of the Drop Bears includes the captive in her hypnotic gaze. Then, in a booming bark, she projects to the crowd, “One last time. For tomorrow we turn vegan.”
The crowd blanches, then tentatively at first, begins to chant, “Flu-ffy. Flu-ffy.”
“But tonight. Tonight, Sisters. Tonight, Brothers. Tonight, there will be feasting on more meaty prey.”
“Flu-ffy. Flu-ffy.”
Silence falls – or maybe drops – as the throng gathers to feast.
Finally, a shout rings out. “Tomorrow. Tomorrow, we dine on the Infidel.”
The crowd roars. “Flu-ffy. Flu-ffy.”

A Vegetable’s Nightmare
The silence ripples.
Beyond the shadows,
beyond the adulation,
in gardens across the country,
the infidels quiver in their beds.

If you are a visitor to Australia and plan on visiting koala habitat, best do that during the day. Koalas and their kin, the drop bears, are nocturnal and feed at night. There’s no telling if the drop bears will honour their resolution.

Day 5 of the NaPoWriMo challenge was to write a poem about a mythical person or creature (drop bears are more secretive than mythical) doing something unusual – or at least something that seems unusual in relation to that person/creature. I made a slight deviation from the brief, but near enough is good enough.

Stay safe, everyone.
Kind Regards.
Tracy.

PS. I had rather too much fun setting up the photos. I’ve had the koala toy since I was a baby.

Round The Bend

There has been many a twist and turn, and a few curve balls thrown at us over the last few weeks.

My mother and step-father visited from up north, skirting the floods that have left thousands homeless on the east coast of Australia. It has been over two years since I had my hair cut. My mother plaited it for me. The plait was a bit wonky, so perfect for me.

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Oddly Enough

For the Lens-Artists Photo ChallengesA Special Place and Odds and Ends.

I have been rather quiet over the last few months living my ordinary life in extraordinary times. Ordinary does not mean dull or insignificant. Such is life in these days of extremes. I have spent an inordinate amount of time at my special place, ie. home. It might not be perfect, posh or pristine, but it has everything we need. Every window has a view of the garden and its inhabitants.

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Not War

I have previously written about climate wars, culture wars, water wars and war wars, wars on rodents, waste, corruption, hunger and homelessness; the collapse of essential ecosystems; the persecution of climate activists, minorities and refugees; the jailing of protesters; and so on. I am not going to repeat myself here today. Instead, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, all those people who work tirelessly to keep us safe and who provide humanitarian aid in our darkest hours. They are the light that gives us hope.

Moving right along, it’s not a cat photo or video, but it is a reasonable substitute. I give you Ama and Makea. Enjoy.

Please, no more war writing and photography prompts, otherwise I will have to pull out the dead rat photo. If you have something to say on any of the topics above, say it anyway. It is always an important time to stand up for the issues that matter.

Mediate, not meditate, is my new favourite saying.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Surrender Is The Only Option

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Happy new year to all who celebrate the Chinese New Year. It is the year of the Water Tiger. I feel inspired to write a short poem.

Surrender To The Forest

silence descends
deep are the shadows
birdsong marks its passing
the water laps the lake

Photo by Danne on Pexels.com

Continuing on this cultural journey, I think we should have a listen to Sun Quan, The Emperor, by Moyun. Enjoy.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.