Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kookaburra in the old gum tree

Australia has more gum trees than I care to count; I would hazard a guess that no-one has counted them all.  We have gum trees sheltering us.   Their falling leaves are another story ... I have the self-appointed task of raking them up and transferring them to a bonfire.
Two days ago I heard willy-wagtails creating a raucous.  Willy-wagtails are a small bird with a huge inbuilt survival kit.  Spring is when they nest; spring is when they chase any bird that looks like attacking their young; spring is the time they dive-bomb humans who venture too close to the nest.  A willy-wagtail making a dive at one's head is not funny!
Wondering what was worrying the wagtails I peered into the old gum tree.  Three wagtails were flying in close formation around the head of a lone kookaburra.  Give Mr Kookaburra his due, he ignored the onslaught!  My sudden appearance decided the wagtails the battle they were waging was not worth the effort and they flew away, which made me wonder if this was simply a learning curve designed to teach the young how to protect themselves.
I hurried indoors and managed to take a photo of the kookaburra who sat undisturbed on an overhanging branch.
The wagtails did have a case re the attack as I believe kookaburras are not against raiding the nest of a wagtail

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Food or Fodder?

This morning I read an article about kale, the latest wonder food.  It was written with tongue firmly in cheek and resonated with me.
I have noticed how many folk are talking about kale ... that leafy green plant  I thought was grown for cattle fodder.  Not that my Dad grew it; instead he grew its close relation [well I think it is a close relation] chowmollier which smelt a lot like cabbage.  It also looked a little like cabbage but with an extremely long stalk.  
Chowmollier was planted as a winter fodder crop for cattle and sheep, along with swede turnips that played an important part in my childhood diet as a table vegetable mashed and sweetened with a little sugar; or plucked directly from the ground, the mud cut off with a pocket knife that fathers and brothers invariably carried in pockets, was a firm winter favourite.  Sadly swede turnips in Australia are a poor relation to their New Zealand cousins.  It was always said that a swede turnip was no good until after the first decent frost; frosts are not commonplace in this part of Australia.
Upon reading the article it struck me how vegetables come and go in favouritism.  I remember spring cabbages that were leafy and green [no doubt in the same class as kale for goodness] whereas today supermarkets favour pale insipid looking cabbage, often cut in half and wrapped in cling foil.

I think I will give kale a miss and look forward to whatever is the 'in vegetable' in future.   I hope it isn't mushrooms!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A trip south

Last week we headed down to Perth, mainly for a break away before the heat of summer arrives, with a secondary reason being I needed summer clothes.  Honestly I do need new clothes!  Last summer I wore skirts and tops; not a great idea as the extra fabric at the waist only makes me swelter all the more.  Loose fitting dresses seemed a better alternative.
We do not have a movie theatre in our town; a trip to the movies added to the pleasure of a week in the city, not forgetting visits from and to family.  All in all a lovely break away.
Coming home we stopped at a little parking bay for a cup of coffee [a flask of boiling water and a couple of coffee sachets along with biscuits are essential for a four hour trip].  The photos were taken from there.  You may be able to make out wind turbines in the distance in one of the photos.  Turbines are commonplace especially near to the ocean [Indian Ocean in this case] where the wind is no stranger.
picnic shelter
bushland with turbines in distance
bushland next to picnic shelter