Dangerous Liaisons?

Hello Groovers, I was going to start with a joke about how I’ve been hanging out in a hotbed of radicalism, but that doesn’t seem very appropriate now.  So instead, I will tell you about how lovely it was to spend last weekend at the National Folk Festival (Canberra) with many people of goodwill.  Admittedly we were a little cranky given the political times/blame games, but we took our frustrations out in peaceful and creative ways, such as through humour, verse and songs of kindness.  Here’s how it goes. Read more

The Changing Seasons – March 2019

Dear Readers, can you believe that it is already March?  So here I am, commencing my second year of The Changing Seasons challenge.  I’m feeling battered this month, like an incumbent government that is falling in the polls even though the economy is performing well.  Don’t the punters know that they have never had it so good?  I suppose that is because we don’t live in an economy; we live in a society, and there has been a fair bit of societal ugliness going round.  So yep, although I want to crawl under a rock or hide in my own little “Canberra bubble” (sorry. in joke), March was mostly good for me.

So, let’s get started. Read more

No Ordinary Day

Happy National Eucalypt Day, everyone.  23 March is the national day for Australia’s iconic eucaplypt trees, of which there are around 900 species.  Eucalypts were known to have existed when Australia was still part of the super-continent Gondwana.  The oldest known eucaplypt fossil specimens (flowers, fruit and leaves) date back 52 millions years! Read more

The Changing Seasons – February (Part 1)

My February Changing Seasons post will be divided into two parts.  Part 1 covers the serious stuff.  Part 2 will be more lighthearted.

February – in the dying days of summer, danger lurks.
The shrill wind blew of the calamity to come.
But no one was listening.

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Did you know that the UN declared 2010 to 2020 the Decade for Deserts and has called for urgent action to fight against desertification?  The main reasons are land-clearing for agriculture, over-grazing and other land uses (eg. mining), unsustainable land management practices and climate change.  In a vicious cycle, degraded lands hold less carbon and less surface moisture.  It is estimated that it takes 1000 years to generate 3 cm of topsoil and if the current rate of soil degradation continues, all the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years.  No topsoil.  No life. Read more

Animal Farm

Once upon a time, yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands stretched from Toowoomba to Victoria (Australia), providing a continuous wildlife corridor 100-150 kilometres in width and 1,500 km in length.  Since colonisation, vast swathes of grassy woodland have been cleared for agriculture.  Now there may be as little as 1-5 percent remaining. most of which has been modified in some way by grazing.  Many birds and animals have become trapped in isolated communities, reducing valuable genetic diversity and leaving them vulnerable to threats of local habitat loss.  It is not surprising then, that yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands have been declared a critically endangered ecological community. Read more

Miracle Garden

In 2003, bush-fires ravaged the old Nil Desperandum homestead.  After the fires, the historic rammed-earth cottage was re-built to the original 1896 design.  Nil Desperandum forms part of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (near Canberra).   Amidst the devastation wrought by the fires, a part of a commercial camellia plantation somehow managed to survive.  Surrounded by dense bush on all sides, it truly is a miracle garden. Read more

Strange Aquatic Creatures

Today’s post will introduce two very strange aquatic creatures found at one of Canberra’s nature reserves — the first, one very odd looking duck, and the second, quite duck-like.

Australia’s musk duck looks half-fish, half duck.  It must be the oddest looking duck I’ve ever come across.  It is so named because it is very smelly, emitting a musky smell from scent glands on its rump.  Musk ducks spend most of their time in the water.  They even sleep on the water.  They can fly, but launching from the water or ground is hard work, so they do so infrequently.  When fleeing predators, they choose a watery escape rather than take to the wing.   Read more

The Changing Seasons – January

January —  the season of abundance.  It can’t help it if it so hot.  Temperature records were broken again during January, including in my little part of the world.  Our town had four consecutive days above 40ºc, a new record.  Due to the bushfire hazard, many of our nature reserves were closed to the public.  So I’ve been housebound and cabin fever has set in.  Hence, this month’s post focuses on the small haven that is my garden. Read more