The Changing Seasons – June 2022

June in Canberra (the Australian Capital Territory) – Winter officially begins. It has been the coldest start to winter since 1964. Opening the house to the elements due to household Covid infections made June a particularly cold month. Life on the outside was better even if it was freezing. The sun came out occasionally and reminded us that winter days in Canberra can be glorious. Here are the highlights, largely courtesy of my True Love who took photos before and after his Covid infection. The poor man still seems very unwell to me but he takes beautiful photos nevertheless.

It snowed on the ranges in the period after my TL’s surgery and prior to his Covid infection. It was bleak but we were happy, happy, happy.*


The majesty.*


Then life got more complicated so I snatched a few moments in the garden.
My Eutaxia obovata (egg and bacon plant) that I planted last year clenched its leaves to conserve heat.


The galahs were contemplative.


The sun popped out and so did my TL and Pimelea physodes.* Lucky for us.


The Eastern spinebill chimed its arrival and stopped to freshen up.*


The prodigal Golden Whistler returned.*


The sun called me and I was off. T-shirt weather, baby!
The brittle gums (E. mannifera) up the hill were celebrating too.


The Eucalyptus cinerea were covered in galls. Something should eat those.


By this time (3 hours later), I wished I had packed my jumper.


Finally, one last photo for my neighbour, J, who is home with Covid. You had visitors today. They seemed to be gnawing on your tree rather than eating the seeds.


Anyway, back to the Covid situation. Canberra seems to have the highest rate per 100,000 people than any other Australian state or territory (NY Times tracks this stuff but maybe their data is wrong). Perhaps the number of infections is only now catching up with the rest of the country? On the other hand, there are now 122 people with Covid in our public hospital. That’s 122 people with Covid in a public hospital system that has somewhere between 600 to 670 public hospital beds and a huge number of hospital staff off sick. At the same time, elective surgeries in the public hospital system have been cancelled again. By my rough calculation, 15-20% of our public hospital beds are being occupied by people with Covid, as they should be if those people need hospital care. These stresses on the system do not seem to merit a “business as usual” approach. Furthermore, several patients and staff in the cancer ward have also caught Covid on the ward. I understand that staff, patients and visitors are required to have a RAT test to enter those highly sensitive areas. If our experience with the uselessness of the RATs is anything to go by, then that does seem like a Covid breach waiting to happen. That’s my opinion.

Anyway, anyway, I send my best wishes to my neighbour, J, for a speedy recovery. Ditto, my friend, Martha, in the States. My TL is none too well and he is in his third week post onset of his infection. Who knows what July will bring? Hopefully, cake. And a few sunny days. And good health. Especially good health.

This is my response to The Changing Seasons photo challenge, jointly hosted by Ju-Lyn (Touring My Backyard) and Brian (Bushboys World). Click on the links provided to check out Ju-Lyn and Brian’s challenge and create some memories by joining in.

But enough of me, how was your June? I hope you found a space for things that make you happy and keep you sane.

Take care, everyone. Stay safe, be kind and be you.
Kind Regards.
Tracy.

*Photos preceded by an asterix were taken by my True Love.

The Changing Seasons – May 2022

May in Canberra (Australia) – Moments in May, momentous May, May in triptychs. But first, a poem, a kind of triptych of course.

May Change

Filaments of May morph and coalesce
‘twixt pearlescent rain and golden light,
while rising power bills outstrip inflation.

Leaves and pamphlets flutter in the breeze.
People power in technicolour. Rejoice!
Winter is upon us and Australia is infectious.

Sadly, little bird flies the coop. Man in repose,
rises. Listen, do you hear that?
Tick-tick, tick-tick, as we turn the corner.

What does it all mean, I hear you ask? Autumn finished slowly. It rained on and off, but the sun broke through often enough to dally with our affections. Jack Frost flirted, adding impetus to deciduous trees still reluctant to toss aside their colourful costumes. The wildlife has begun jockeying for power and has cleared out the pantry in preparation for next Spring’s bounty. There was, nevertheless, time for bathing. Speaking of bathing, a national election was held. The government changed amid pledges of a new, kinder, more collaborative polity in the future. My True Love survived his surgery. Our canary, Pan of the Wild Music, died. I got hearing aids today. I wish I could have heard Pan sing one last time. Apparently, I still don’t listen to my husband.

Triptych – black and white theme for the magpie juveniles who still haven’t left home.

Triptych – Crimson theme for crimson rosellas bathing.

Triptych – multicoloured mixed feelings.

Winter is now upon us. As I returned from my hearing aid fitting, the Brindabella range was shrouded in snow clouds. Rain hammered loudly on the windscreen. We’ve definitely turned a corner. It sounds like tick-tick, tick-tick.

This is my response to The Changing Seasons photo challenge, jointly hosted by Ju-Lyn (Touring My Backyard) and Brian (Bushboys World). This post is also doubling as my contribution to the triptych themed Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

Goodnight, everyone. Be well, be kind and try to listen.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

About the Photos:
The last photo in the first two triptychs were taken by my True Love. I snapped the rest.

The Changing Seasons – April 2022

Canberra (Australia) – Autumn delivers and April visitors.

I haven’t contributed to The Changing Seasons since December 2021. A lot has happened over the past four months, including health issues, poetry, completion of a major mosaic project and the start of a new front garden. Apart from the health matters, the garden has taken priority because we have to get it in now ahead of the next, inevitable, drought. In the regular garden, we had to abandon the tomatoes and beans to the rodents this year. They have been very hungry (we caught three and Makea, our dog, caught one). Nevertheless, we still managed to harvest three pumpkins from vines we did not plant. The fig tree went bonkers and produced two huge bumper crops. The rodents got stuck into the first crop but we managed to score some figs from the second batch by securing Elizabethan collars around the trunk of the tree to prevent the rats from climbing up the tree. I also collected a small tub of feijoa today, our first ever crop in more than two decades that we have lived at our house in Canberra.

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Hidden In the Rushes

I am posting this again in memory of my mum’s dog, Ashie.  He died today from a serious illness.  There is only one line and photo in this poem-ish photo-essay that relates to him, but it sums up this beautiful dog so well, at least in my opinion.  Farewell, lovely boy.  You will be missed.

***

When our family ventures out to our beautiful natural areas, we go slowly, for it is only then that nature’s hidden treasures are revealed.  We take out, what we carry in.  We tread lightly and with care.  There may be no houses, but we are nevertheless going into someone else’s home.  This is what we taught our children from a very young age.

Let’s see who is home today – in the rushes.

moorhen2

The little family is well camouflaged.  It is a Dusky Moorhen with her chick.  

moorhenchick

The chick leaves the safety of its nest, but mum is not too far away.

swan2

The black swan and her signets weren’t expecting visitors.

swanb

But all is calm, so peace is soon restored.

Ashy

Come out of there, Ash, and leave those ducks alone.  Ash is a farm dog.  He knows to not hurt the wildlife.

No comments necessary.

First published in 2018

Ho Hum Election Comes

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. But first, a poem about the Australian Federal election campaign.

The less I say I about the election campaign,
the better. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi. oi.
Three word slogan, “You’re gonna die.”
That’s four, but who’s countin’?
Stick that up your Pine Gap.

It’s excruciating, ladies and gentlemen, but at least we get to vote and afterwards, whinge about the result. Let’s listen to Flogging Molly performing The Worst Day Since Yesterday. Sing it with me.

Stay well, everyone, and sift your oats from your blarney.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

NaPoWriMo #28
RDP Interlace

To The Margins

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
To The Margins

Light rain veils the clouds, blanketing shadows, 
Pushing them to the background, to the margins.
Autumn provides context to our marginal existence.
Stuck on the precipice,
Brightly coloured leaves hanging precariously
On the gallows of misspent time.
Time wasted, time lost to inaction, to
Indolence, graft and protectionism.
Protectionism, but not protection.
The latter is too high a price to pay.
Money does not grow on trees, invested
For those rainy days that wash farm to sea
And homes under high water mark until
Light rain veils the clouds, blanketing shadows.

NaPoWriMo #27

How To Impress Your Boss – A Haibun

Once, in an important work meeting with the senior execs, I opened my notepad and was confronted by a huge, black cockroach that had taken up residence between the pages of my notepad. We all saw it waving its monstrous antennae as it contemplated its next move. I made a hasty exit from the meeting, at which point the cockroach made its own dash for freedom. There may have been screaming. Did the bigwigs help with the dispatch? What do you think? I love my life.

Eyes agog. Cockroach!
One extra makes a quorum.
Best meeting ever.

True story, one which is best told on a weekend when nobody is reading.

I have never regretted being a pesticide-free household.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

NaPoWriMo #23

Coloured Red

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. But first, a poem.

The vine grows tangled on bough – gnarly and proud.
Pride, gnarly pride – whether of nations or race –
wins not war, wins not peace, wins not submission.

Vines tangled on thorns of bloodied resistance,
trapped in a fog of remembrance, the glory.
Ignominious defender of empire

Lost. Dark and broken. Quells peace. Cruel tsar to none,
hero to one. The vine grows tangled on bough.
Wins not war, wins not peace, wins not submission.

Tangled vines lash all to the yoke of sorrow.
Wins not war, wins not peace, wins not submission.
The vine grows tangled on bough. Its rose blooms red.

Perhaps there is only one road for those devoid of imagination and courage? Maybe peace is something that requires practise? You know, fake it until you make it? Who knows? It seems that some of god’s apparent emissaries can give some pretty shitty advice. Shall we listen to Loreena McKennitt’s song, Dante’s Prayer, in the hope of something better?

Take care, everyone.
Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Colourful Expressions, specifically a red rose for Anne as it is her favourite colour, plus
NaPoWriMo #22 challenge is to to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.

Consuming Passions

Photo by elif tekkaya on Pexels.com

Consuming Passions
Long slender legs to her armpits;
beautiful eyes flashed her carnal intent.
He had been looking for her his whole life.
Their eyes locked,
bodies swaying together in lovers’ embrace.
A question hung between them.
He: “What do you want?”
She: “To devour you.”
And then he lost his head.

This poem was inspired by two mating praying mantises I photographed last week. Sometimes the female mantis, the smaller of the two, eats the head of the male mantis during copulation. The male is able to continue the deed without his head for a short time as apparently he has a separate mini-brain in his abdomen. Talk about being ruled by the little head! I confess that I had to look away.

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge was to write a poem that anthropomorphises a kind of food, and ask yourself how the food feels about it.

Alrighty, gruesome.

Bon Appétit, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

NaPoWriMo #20
For information on the copulating appetites of praying mantises, here is an article from The Guardian.

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