Monday, February 28, 2011

Mozzies, my new best friends - almost

The perfect breeding place for small vampires.

I’ve just had that experience where my worldview has had to shift to fit with a new reality. I can feel the sluggish gears in my brain grinding as they try to accommodate what I’ve just learned about mosquitoes.

A friend was cursing the little blood-suckers, and querying what place they have in the scheme of things.

It appears they’re vital to our continued survival!

The males pollinate flowers, and they’re also food for fish, dragonflies, bats and other creatures and therefore vital to the intricate web of life of which we are a small but extremely ego centred part.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Amore detailed post on the benefits of mosquitoes is over at traverselife.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #145. Tiny shadows

I was going to continue with the story from yesterday, and how I stupidly got sunburnt at the beach ☹ but got sidetracked when I rediscovered this bug in my shadow file.

Is it edible?

I was on my way to work one afternoon, to a new location, and was way too early, so stopped off at a park that had been flooded recently.

No food here

I had my camera out, taking photos of trees when this little creature landed on my hand.

Ready for takeoff!

I was juggling the camera, trying not to startle the little guy and am pleased with the beautifully delicate shadows he cast.


Thanks to Tracy at Hey Harriet for hosting Shadow Shot Sunday. Hop on over to see shadows from around the world.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Saturday, February 26, 2011



A day at Flinders Ocean beach on the last days of the Summer we didn’t have. Little kids on surfboards giggling with excitement when they stand up. Dad hauls them though minute wavelets with giant strands of kelp. The splash and squeal of hurt pride when they inevitably fall off. Sounds of encouragement, “keep trying” from proud parents.

Snorkelers making the most of perfect conditions look up to see an odd zombie lurching down to the water’s edge.

“Jason I told you to bring your gear up here, we’re leaving”.

The zombie slumps. Regains composure slightly and trails after mum.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A rusty welcome


Going nowhere
along a tree lined track
rusty bikes
welcome cyclists
at Bright 
in North East Victoria.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's in a name?


There’s a small, very small, tiny town in Victoria, (population of 45), but they’ve hit the international news.

The name of the town is Speed, but the locals agreed to change the name to SpeedKills if they got more than 10,000 Likes on Facebook. Then one of the local farmers, Phil Down, said if they got an extra 10,000 Likes he’d change his name to Phil Slowdown.

It was a massive success, and the name changing ceremonies were held last Friday.

Critics citing the complexities of road trauma, call it an empty stunt,
but I say “Well done, Speed Kills"


US (Time magazine): 
UK (BBC News): 
China (HK Standard): 

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ShShSu #144 Larger than life.

I often wonder what it would have been like for early British explorers in their small sailing ships, coming for the first time into Port Phillip Bay (Victoria). To see the hazy, low lying hills in the distance and smoke curling from the fires of the local Aboriginals must have been amazing. Everything different: sounds, sights, smells all unfamiliar, not knowing what was safe to touch and eat or what would be lethal.

Matthew Flinders was an influential early British navigator who circumnavigated Australia, explored Port Phillip Bay, and was keen for the island land mass to be called Australia. This statue of him is located in a park in Mornington, a bayside town.

The plaque on the side of the statue reads:

1788 – 1988

Matthew Flinders
Navigator & explorer 1774 – 1814
Dedicated by Cr. William Hanson J.P.
To commemorate the Australian Bicentenary
26th January 1988
“The adventurous spirit of Matthew Flinders
lives on in the hears of all Australians”
Sculptor Marc Clark

His larger than life shadow is fitting given his influence.

As an aside, the trees in the background aren't native to the area. The early navigators and explorers would have seen lower growing shrubby trees, totally unfamiliar to them in colour and shape. The paintings from that time appear strange to us, as if the artists were unable to paint what they saw and had English filters on their eyes.

And for a little bit of local history extracted from that well known academic resource Wikipedia:
"Proceeding along the coast, Flinders explored Port Phillip, which unbeknownst to him had been discovered only 10 weeks earlier by John Murray aboard theLady Nelson. Flinders scaled Arthur's Seat, the highest point near the shores of the southernmost parts of the bay, where the ship had entered through The Heads. From there he saw a vast view of the surrounding land and bays. Flinders reported back to Governor King that the land had 'a pleasing and, in many parts, a fertile appearance'.[3]. He stated on May 1, "I left the ship's name on a scroll of paper, deposited in a small pile of stones upon the top of the peak". Here, Flinders was drawing upon a British tradition of constructing a stone cairn to mark a historical location. The Matthew Flinders Cairn, which was later enlarged, is located on the upper slopes of Arthurs Seat a short distance below Chapman's Point.[4]"
Appropriately, stone cairns are dotted around Port Phillip Bay with historic information related to

Matthew Flinders and his crew.

Thanks to Hey Harriet for hosting Shadow Shot Sunday. Follow the link to see shadow shots from around the world.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ethical paper and the UN International Year of Forests

I was in the process of writing about ethical paper use, got distracted by a link on FB about one of our major paper providers, and wrote the following Drabble in response:

Officeworks is a trap for those susceptible to “shoppers vortex”. You know, the one where you get sucked in, and can’t find the exit? You wander aimlessly around the aisles mesmerised by glittery knickknacks, helpless to extract yourself from the vortex’s pull.

Unfortunately, Officeworks stocks Reflex paper.

Australian Paper, which makes Reflex, uses trees logged from native forests in our beautiful Central Highlands and Strzelecki Ranges to help make the paper. This impacts on waterways, plants and our endangered state emblem the Leadbeater’s Possum.

Reflex, it’s the International Year of Forests. Think of the future. Act ethically. Use plantation timbers.


A 100 word Drabble might not be the best vehicle to share information, but it saved me getting too hot under the collar, and stopped me rambling on and on.

The ABC aired an amazing documentary "Out of the Ashes" last week about the devastation created by the horrendous bushfires 2 years ago. The footage is fantastic!  They refer to the fish, Leadbeater's Possum and other creatures affected, as well as the forests and people and show what has happened since the fires, and how they are recovering (from the fires, not the logging).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Forest track to somewhere lovely

I had a cruddy day today,
working people about to be made redundant.
The people are great, it's the politics that gets me.

Found a striking photo of a tree
and managed to make it sound miserable as well.

Removed the photo
and inserted this more soothing one instead.

Nothing jarring, smooth track, no one about.
That's where I want to be.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Random comments about trees and rainbow lorikeets

Back to trees, and one in particular: THAT apple tree.

I tried to get a shot of it to show the volume of fruit left - failure.
Tried to get a shot of the rainbow lorikeets eating the fruit - failure.
Managed to show eaten fruit - success-ish
Picked up limb with fruit - it's heavy - it may snap if I don't pick all the fruit soon, or ask the neighbours in to assist.

But I realised that one of the things that's stands out is the colour of the tree. It's such a bright green, and a vibrant contrast with the colours of the other trees round here.

Have a look, and you'll see what I mean:
Apple tree...........
(If you look closely you can see the fallen fruit and the remnants of what the birds have shared with us.)

Now compare that colour with some leaves from a Lemon Scented Gum.....

The apple now looks a bit brash and garish.

Speaking of brash and garish, if you now look at some of the maurading Rainbow Lorikeets, you'd wonder how their colouring could possibly be considered a disguise.

It's extremely effective and they're hard to see in the eucalypts!

I think the one on the left looks like it's criticising the one next to it. "Ooh look at those feathers on your back, you haven't done a very good job of preening, and you've got a speck of yellow on your blue front, and it's dappled, how quaint, it's not like my lovely solid blue. And the one on the right is wondering whether to fly away or stick up for his mate"...just a thought....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ShShSu #143. A miniature dinosaur?

I'm told this bug is a cicada. He's casting the most delicate shadow, even the tiny claws on his feet. I was convinced he was dead, then a child I was with poked him with her finger - he moved! ... hehehehe.

The creamy green veined, gauzy wings look impossibly fragile for his bulk.

The mantle around his neck reminds me of a dinosaur, it looks like it's there as a defensive mechanism, his eyes are placed at each side of his head, with a distracting decoy in the centre.

He’s lovely as long as he doesn’t land on me!

Shadow Shot Sunday is hosted by Hey Harriet. Have a look for lovely shadow shots from around the world.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. no more, no less.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crunch time


Today’s post isn’t entirely about trees, but the product of a particular tree. I’ve always liked the idea of growing fruit trees. Apricot, nectarine, peach, lemon, lime and apple seemed good for starters.

But not having anything remotely resembling a green thumb, it’s been a bit of an uphill battle. Occasionally we’ve had a laden branch or two, but it’s been slim pickings generally. Except this year the apple decided to “go forth and multiply” enthusiastically.

The birds are full as a goog* and have waddled off elsewhere, and there’s only so many I can stew.

Any ideas cheerfully accepted.


A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

* This is a strange expression. (Now there's an understatement!) When I was a child it was used as in the phrase "A googy egg". But to be "full as a goog" implies one has either eaten or drunk too much. Weird. I'm off to do some research.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Munching cows.

There are no worries about Mad Cow Disease in this environment. The biggest irritation these lovely ladies would experience would be random cyclists stopping and taking photos, then remembering to bat their ridiculously long eyelashes over their blissfully brown eyes.
Living like this probably means they don't need hormones to increase their milk production, and hopefully they don't get pumped with many antibiotics either.
This area around Kilkunda is rather swampy, and the cows and Paperbark trees thrive. It's possible to pull thin layers of the creamy white bark from the Paperbark trees and write on the smooth surface.

I just realised the title is ambiguous. It refers to cows munching grass, not me munching a cow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Going with the flow

a single sphere of fairy down
caught in an updraft

the ponderous meeting
can't match it for
grace and freedom


Wednesday, February 9, 2011



Walking through a forest in Germany, thick leaves scrunching underfoot, I half expected to see a wolf, some woodcutters and Little Riding Hood. I kept peering through the trees oh so expectantly. 
The sign and small stone bench seemed hopeful. Surely a sign so LRRH didn't lose her way, and a bench for her to rest her weary feet, and place that heavy basket full of yummy morsels for Granny.

Logically I knew it wasn't possible, but it was so atmospheric, logic began to lose its grip.


A gingerbread cottage was  more probable. 

Not quite gingerbread, but the next best thing.

I could just imagine someone inside with a spinning wheel, or long golden hair named Rapunzel.

Or maybe even three bears

Or the Pied Piper of Hamelin

Beauty and the Beast


I'd expected to be studiously involved in the history of wonderful musicians, artists and writers. Being swept up in rather brutal fairy tales from my childhood took me completely by surprise.

It was an unexpected joy.

(I've just realised that sound a bit weird, but I was brought up with the unDisneyfied fairy tales, and they are gruesome. That's just how it was. The sanitised ones seem a bit wishwashy and namby pamby to me, a bit like having triffle without the brandy, or gin and tonic without the gin. It's like something important is missing. I wonder if Jung has anything to say about fairy tales, archetypes...wanders off to see what can be found.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 7th, the anniversary of the Black Saturday Bushfires.

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria Australia.
It's hard to explain the weather on Black Saturday; the air was intense, searingly hot and dry and  sucked the moisture from your lungs painfully. It was hard to breathe normally - each in-breath was taken as shallowly as possible because the air was so dreadfully hot that it hurt to breathe it in. The moisture that you'd normally exhale on each out-breath simply didn't happen - it seemed to evaporate deep inside your nose or mouth as if the intense heat was dragging it, unwillingly from your body.

You don't sweat when the heat is so vicious, any hint of moisture evaporates even before it's had a chance to form on your skin. If, for some reason you need to move through an area without shade, it feels like your blood and all body fluids are going to fry immediately along with anything that could possibly contain even a drop of moisture.

Possums were dropping from their nests in trees, dead. Due to the prolonged drought, there had been strict regulations against watering gardens for years, but some suburban families used their hoses to spray possum nests to help them live - it was better to risk a fine than experience the distress of finding small furry bodies in the garden.

Eucalypts which usually cope relatively well in extreme conditions were stressed. The sparse leaves that remained were dropping, crisp and burnt at the edges from the extended period of unbroken heat.

Green grass, usually welcome and cooling in gardens, had long ago turned a crisp brown, or completely disappeared - not even the roots were left, completely exposing dry dusty earth. Nature seemed to be turning in on itself, dying - quietly, slowly, inevitably and we couldn't do anything to prevent it happening. It was painful to watch.

The weather conditions were dangerously ominous. A total fire ban covered the parched state of Victoria. Dams were dry, many rivers barely managed a trickle and some towns had completely run out of water and were trucking it in.  It was more a matter of "where and when will a fire begin", "how bad will it be", and "how long will it rage".  We knew we were waiting for the inevitable  Firefighters were on high alert, crews at the ready and there were constant warnings to be careful.

Temperatures consistently well over 40 degrees combined with wind gusts over 100kph, pyromaniacs, powerlines clashing together creating sparks dropping on to tinder dry eucalypt leaves, discarded cigarette butts on crisp roadside grasses and lightning strikes on tall trees, resulted in terrifying, massive firestorms that burnt out of control, across hundreds of thousands of acres for days.

Tragically 173 people were killed in the blazes, and over 2030 homes were destroyed. Many of those who lost homes are still in temporary accommodation. Bureaucratic red tape seems to be a real stumbling block, slowing the progress of rebuilding towns and communities. Grief and frustration are so evident in the faces of those still struggling with the after effects.

Along with this was the destruction of vast tracts of farm and bush land, massive numbers of livestock and countless native birds and animals. Creeks and rivers were chocked with ash affecting fish and other creatures reliant on fresh water - everything is touched in some way.

And now Western Australia is coping with out of control blazes on the outskirts of Perth (the capital city). 64 properties have been destroyed, some fires are believed to have been deliberately lit, others the result of sparks from an angle grinder.

And through all this hundreds of professional organisations joined forces with emergency services, volunteers, and everyday people to support, nurture and help others. Disasters are dreadful, and I'd never wish one on anyone, but through them, strong connections are formed and they can allow the best of humankind to shine.

Two years on, fishing near Marysville:



Monday, February 7, 2011


I remember when this tree 
was a sapling
in our backyard
too spindly for my children to climb.

It's big enough now
they've moved away.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

ShShSu #142. "International Year of Forests"

The United Nations has launched 2011 as the International Year of Forests, "Recognizing the role that forests play in everything from mitigating climate change to providing wood, medicines and livelihoods for people worldwide", this will be a year-long "celebration to raise awareness of the value of this important resource". The full article is available here.

My personal celebration (and challenge) will be to include trees in my blog as often as possible. I’m not sure if I’m up to it, but I’ll give it a red-hot go. I like trees, from many viewpoints.  They’re fantastic to paint, photograph, hug, climb and plant.

But I’d also like my children’s, children’s, children to have clean air to breathe, to experience the wonder of standing beside a living thing that is hundreds of years old, and to be mesmerised by fabulous colours and dappled light.

There are many other reasons, but that’s a hundred words, so I’ll stop.


"Shadow Shot Sunday" is hosted by Hey Harriet. Pop over to see shadows from around the world, it's fun!

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Best Friends Forever"

I wrote this Drabble in response to the February Valentine challenge hosted by Burrowers, Books and Balderdash; it first appeared in The Burrow February feature.

A dull thud in the night
I wake, heart pounding; the noise from a child’s room.
Gripped by cold dread and fear,
charge down, (night vision miraculously enabled)
brain not registering the possibility of an aggressive intruder.  
Discover my son not sleeping soundly, face in the sweet repose I love so much - a mask for daytime shenanigans!
Instead, scrunched in stunned, outraged surprise.
His small chubby finger points accusingly around the floor.
His much loved soft toys usually nestled beside him, spread there, apparently ejected with force.
His voice full of hurt disbelief: “They pushed me out of bed”.
drabble picture
"Best Friends Forever"
Photo courtesy of Rayna M. Iyer @ Coffee Rings Everywhere.
A Drabble is a story told in 100 words, No more, no less. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Goanna

gloomy, grey and humid
thunder rumbling ominously
Cyclone Yasi's affects 
felt thousands of kilometers away

a Summer of destruction all over my land

I search for a photo
to remind me of happier seasons.

A decent sized goanna
does the trick

that's how Summer should be!

and now a close up
(relatively speaking)

My brain's gone to sludge
my get up and go, got up and went

It's time to get out in the bush
smell the eucalypts and humus

load the panniers
escape for a while

Clear the cobwebs!
Stretch the limbs!

And avoid close encounters with the wildlife.

Definitely alive, but moving too slowly for my liking.
But in the right direction!


A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Photos taken on The East Gippsland Rail Trail.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Climbing trees.

My boots climbed a tree without me.
They're used to cycling, not climbing.

They got to the top!
while I padded around on the ground in my socks,
watching them climbing
and even higher
until they were out of view way up in the canopy,
and the voices of the people up there merely a hint of a whisper in the breeze.

My neck ached from watching them.
all the way up, then the long climb down.

The lady who borrowed them was pleased.
So was I.

My boots are braver than me.
I like my boots.


The 61 metre giant karri, named the "Gloucester Tree", is located near Pemberton in south west Western Australia.

I wasn't included in the more than one million people to climb it.

A YouTube clip giving more of a sense of "gosh that's high" is available here. (not taken by me)

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more,  no less.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"f" words

Fickle files flummox frantic female

"fabulous feature" foto found!



(I know I cheated with photo, but couldn't resist)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Flooding rains.

Floodwaters, destructive as lava oozing from a seeping volcano, obliterating everything in its slowly advancing path, drowning farm-land and properties for hundreds of kilometers.

The inexorable advance of this insatiable monster unable to be halted by levee or prayer. (Though many have tried.)

Almost a footnote on the news, no dramatic footage like Katoomba or the Lockyer Valley. Premier Baillieu appears as a rabbit caught in the headlights not knowing what to do or say, looks indecisive, confused, lashes out with inane comments at the media.

Meanwhile, hundreds of communities suffer the relentless deluge, hope we’ll remember … fear we’ll forget.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.