If you are staying home due to the long weekend traffic jams or for any number of other reasons, perhaps you would like to play a game with me? It’s called Caption This Photo. However, if you are on a long trip and actually stuck in a traffic jam, you could modify this game to suit your circumstances using the scenery on hand.
I’ll go first.
“Will those dogs ever shut up?I can’t hear myself think.”
Your turn now. Entries in the Comments Section below. No prizes, no glory.
It’s official, ladies and gentlemen, I am now a landcarer. I join over 100,000 volunteers across Australia working on landcare projects that are focused on sustainable land management practices and environmental conservation. I’m also a newbie Canberra nature mapper. Better late than never, I guess. Over the last six months, I’ve teamed up with some of my neighbours to form a registered group to look after our community park. It is lucky that we had our own resident ecologist because, with his assistance, we identified something that needed protection. Even our ecologist was surprised.
My family has known for years that areas of the park had some lovely native grass – spear grasses (Austrostipa sp.) and kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) – as well as some native grassland plants, clinging to the edges, or under, trees. We also had an inkling that if the native grasses were allowed to grow rather than be mown, they might out compete some of the weedy, exotic grasses. But who would believe us? Nothing to see here, right?
When the drought broke, the resident ecologist discovered more and more native woodland and grassland plants at the park, and I started to incorporate these plants into my verge garden. My neighbour had also seen many interesting looking plants popping up down the park and she talked to me about starting a park care group. So our little adventure began and soon we were joined on this journey by some other enthusiastic neighbours. We embarked on months of self-initiated environmental assessments, community engagement and government liaison.
It is fair to say that not everyone is on the same page. Myths of snakes in long grass, experience of devastating bushfires and differences in aesthetics, beget many different reactions. I certainly get it because that was me. Of course, I am “passionate” about conservation, as was pointed out to me, but it is knowledge, not passion, that motivates me, ladies and gentlemen. As a team, we did our homework (ie. the biodiversity surveys, etc) and the park woodland did the rest.
And the result? A small patch of the park has now been officially recognised as critically endangered box-gum grassy woodland. This is both horrifying and exciting. It is horrifying because there is so little box-gum grassy woodland left in eastern Australia due to urban development and unsympathetic agricultural practices. It is exciting because we now have the chance to work together – both government and local landcare volunteers – to ensure that this precious ecological community is cared for appropriately. Well, that’s my view anyway. I can’t speak for the government or the broader community.
So we’ve planted a few plants, not many, to shelter the small birds. We have also been weeding, weeding, weeding. It’s been wet so there are many weeds. Weeding has been a learning exercise in itself because we are no experts on what is and isn’t a weed. Thankfully there are a lot of resources, including the resident ecologist, to help us make those distinctions.
I haven’t had time to swan around taking photos. I tried to combine my photography and land care interests at one point but I ended up leaving my camera in the grass when I got distracted by some weeds. Don’t worry, it was still there when I realised my error. I do, however, encourage swanning around with a camera because images (plus the expert narrative that goes along with them) tell a story and the story can lead to understanding, and understanding can lead to action. So I haven’t completely given up.
Because the conservation patch is a grassy woodland, it has delivered, once left unmown, an outpouring of beautiful native grasses the likes of which I have never seen in our park. Let me show you.
Like the rest of Australia, Canberra has a growing multicultural population. Although my ancestors arrived here in 18th century, I include myself in that multicultural group. This multiculturalism extends to our weeds, gardens and pastures. Our nature reserves, and the indigenous species that depend on them, cannot withstand the onslaught of these “threatening processes” unless we do nature differently.
I’ve got lots of ideas about “ecologically sustainable development” and probably not very original ones. Improved community education about environmental conservation needs to reflect where we are as a community, so tailoring nature “education” to Australia’s increasingly multicultural population, through programs and materials in languages other than English, could be really helpful. I would also love to see even more community and government initiatives to re-wild and connect our urban green spaces. Canberrans, the latter is already happening and you can join in now. Contact Landcare or the ACT government to find out how you can get involved. The work is intellectual; it is physical; it is communal and I love it. Don’t wait until you are over 50, like me, before you get your A into G. There’s a job that suits all abilities.
In closing, I offer my best wishes to all who celebrate the coming festive season and to those of you who do not. My hope for the new year is that you too may have access to a resident ecologist and/or team up with likeminded friends to turn your dreams into reality.
Take care, everyone. Don’t be too naughty. Maybe I’ll stop for photos.
During the week about a dozen yellow-tailed black cockatoos visited our park. They were having a field day, chewing on branches and pulling out borers. My True Love snapped these photos. One of the young ones got caught up in a branch that it was chewing and it tumbled to the ground when the branch finally gave way. The youngster was unfazed by this. Check ’em out.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been waiting with bated breath for the murnong (Microseris lanceolata) on my verge to bloom. I have been waiting much longer for a closed loop insulin delivery system that adjusts my insulin dose based on real time changes in my blood glucose level. Both have finally arrived.
I have only been using the new tech for one week but already I feel that I am living life less on the edge. The tech suffers from a few technical glitches, but I can envisage a day in the near future when I can free my mind from the hundreds of decisions that normally go into the day to day management of my Type 1 diabetes. It may even change my temperament – perhaps I’ll be less cranky. Life too may offer a few more possibilities, just like this murnong seedhead.
Kind of busy, kind of wet here, ladies and gentlemen. A couple of weeks ago I visited one of Canberra’s wetlands, which is pretty much everywhere here these days. I’d been told that there were plenty of brown snakes in that area and to watch my step, a bit hard to do when there are so many other things to look at. Anyway, I went into one of the bird hides and all of sudden there was this almighty racket outside. I raced outside expecting to see a snake snacking on a nest of baby birds.
But I neither saw or heard anything unusual. How strange. So I went back into the bird hide and all hell broke loose. There were swallows squawking and flying up to my face. It was then that I realised that I was the snake.
They gave me the evil eye.
And plotted their next move under cover of darkness.
Great gobs agape.
Until I slithered silently away.
Gruesome. Not a creature stirred on this wet and windy Halloween night.
Some hospitals have a bit of kit that allows friends and family to track the whereabouts of their loved ones that have been admitted to hospital. I’m not sure whether I like it. For example, when your True Love is in theatre, the app indicates this. However, it doesn’t tell you what is taking so long. Of course, as the anxiety builds and the hours stretch out, the tracker is prone to wondering what happens if the patient (the tracked) dies In Theatre? Fortunately, people come out of theatre sooner or later and when they do, the app indicates that the patient has Exited Theatre. It is left to the tracker to imagine in what condition the patient exited the theatre. When the last update occurs late in the evening, the tracker may have a certain reluctance to call the hospital for information given the hour.
Information provided to families with loved ones in a particular hospital advises that due to the Covid situation, visitors should consider the need to visit and encourages calling loved ones instead. The few times that I have been to hospital to be spliced open to remove wrigglers, I was groggy for days afterward so I do not think it would be at all wise to ring the tracked directly after surgery because clearly that person would be in recovery and not taking calls or back on ward and potentially indisposed, or worse. Having discussed this situation with the wrigglers, we can only presume that someone from the hospital would ring us if the patient was in a bad way or worse. There must be some limits to this app. Surely? Presumably?
All will be revealed. I guess. Tomorrow.
I need a song. I can’t think of a better one than Katie Melua singing If You Were A Sailboat.
I have turned off comments so that I can freak out.
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.
This week, I had the great pleasure to attend Jo Shevchenko’s launch of her poetry chap book, Journey – A Cancer Story. Jo blogs at http://www.outofthecave.blog. What a talented poet and all round nice person Jo is. Not only did I meet Jo for the first time in person, but I also met her friends and family. They made me feel so welcome. I also want to make mention of one of Jo’s friends who has faced her own journey with cancer. She told me about a seven day, 25 kilometres per day trek she was planning. Awesome.