Thursday, December 23, 2010

Death after Sex

Can you imagine making love for six hours?  I don't mean half an hour of exertion and then a two hour sleep and then go again, I mean six hours of the actual act?  Well this little guy can, and he might even manage it several times!  However at the end of the two-week mating season every single male is dead!
This is a brown antechinus (ant-e-ky-nos).  He is an Australian marsupial, in other words the female has a pouch which carries the young, and he is carnivorous.   You may recall me writing about the phascogale, another carnivorous marsupial from the same family. 

I found this one, and six other members of its family in one of my sheds.  I'd heard the telltale rustlings and thought a rat might be the culprit.  I set my live catch rat trap, (I catch things alive in case they are the good guys that can then be released) and the trap didn't go off.  That's because an antechinus isn't interested in pumpkin seeds and peanut butter (much more effective for rats than cheese!).  This little carnivorous chappy lives on beetles, spiders, cockroaches and those other insects we'd prefer not to have crawling around us.  He'd be a perfect guest if he could only be toilet trained!

Sadly, because he is about mouse size, he is often killed before people realise he's a good guy.  I've now removed the cardboard and paper they thought would be great to nest in and so hopefully they've found a good spot back out in my scrubby bush.  There are many different types of antechinus living in Australia and I find them one of the cutest and most fascinating.  Amazing to think that this little fellow has the stamina for a six hour sex act and that all males are dead at the end of the two weeks, leaving the females to raise their young until the whole cycle begins again next breeding season, (August/September).  Some women might think this a perfect world!

Let me also take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays!  I'm also taking a blogging break as I've taken on a three month role in the NSW Elections and so go full time from January 4th and I fear blogging may have to take a back seat again.  In the meantime check out some of my other posts, all listed by category under the header photograph.  Under Extras you'll find items such as the "Rules for being Human" and the "Lost Generation Palindrome".  In Environment you can read about two-headed fish, natural deficit disorder and saving money. If cooking is your thing try Recipes and the delights of healthy chocolate or mango ice cream.  Under Wild Life find all the links to Merrilyn, the eastern grey kangaroo and her family.  See the video of her latest joey, see "Big Boy" and read his story.  There are also fighting snakes, tawny frogmouths and many other wonders of the Australian bush and finally under Writing you can see how many of the BBC's Top 100 books you've read, or consider whether you might take on the challenge of novel writing in 2011.

Thank you to all those who've joined in my blogging journey in 2010.  Special thanks to those who've taken the time to leave a comment, you are much appreciated and I wish each and every one of you a fabulous 2011 - happy writing, reading and living!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joey Video

Just love Christmas - don't you?  Here's my favourite Christmas ornament. Could be Merrilyn and Alexander quite easily!  I've been playing with my camera and trying for video footage of him.  It isn't easy as kangaroo joeys spend a good deal of time with their heads in the pouch when they first start emerging.  This gives them a sense of security, but doesn't always make for good footage.  So here's an early Christmas gift for you all, a short video of Alexander, Merrilyn's 7th joey out of the pouch.  Be patient.  The best is towards the end, but it's only a couple of minutes all up.  Listen to the sound of my bush in the early morning and watch Merrilyn warily watching me to ensure her joey is safe.

Alexander goes for a run

Enjoy and here's the latest still shot if videos are not for you. He is growing fast!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Award Time


Denise over at L' Aussie Writing just gave me an award!  Many thanks Denise - you are too kind!  The award was all about being Fair Dinkum' Yes that's a link if you aren't sure what being fair dinkum' is, but suffice to say it's an Australian term for someone who is genuine, honest, true to their word.  I am honoured Denise, many thanks.

I really enjoy blog awards as they give me a list of new blogs to go and visit and I always find a gem and so I'm passing this award on to three bloggers I always very much enjoy and who visit here regularly, encouraging me to continue.  I think they are fair dinkum' gems and I hope you visit each one of them and say "g'day".

My L'Aussie Fair Dinkum' Awards go to:

Firstly, Deb Shucka from Catbird Scout. If you want to read glorious descriptions that resonate in your heart, please visit Deb's blog.  Deb's area is memoir writing and many of her postings are about the delights of her world and her adventures with faithful dog Toby. It's a blog to bring you peace and joy.  As honest and genuine as you can find.

The second is a blog of an entirely different flavour.  Visit Jayne of Our Great Southern Land for Australian history and general quirky madness eg two of her most recent postings are entitled "OMG I added WHAT to the Chrissy pudd???" and "Has bited mah nailz, I can bitz yur, yez?" respectively. Jayne's a fair dinkum' Aussie battler!

The third is Yaya of Whispering Pines.  Yaya blogs about her family and you'll delight at their antics.  Yaya is renown for putting on celebrations that cannot be topped - check out the Hallowe'en Parties if you don't believe me.

That's it.  I know it's the silly season and time is short so just four blogs for you to check out (Yes don't forget L'Aussie Writing - a prolific Australian writer and fellow Nano Winner who started this award.)

Blog winners there's nothing for you to do except bask in the glory, oh and pass it on if you would like to.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How many of the BBCs Top 100 have you read?


Bloggers love to write.  They also love to read.  I am sharing this list with you as I was inspired by a fellow blogger and 2010 National Novel Writing Month Winner, Denise from L'Aussie Writing.  It really appealed to me as an exercise in seeing which of these books, considered classics, that I have read and I love Denise's suggestion that we also include which of these books we'll read in 2011.

Having read Denise's post I did a little research and apparently this was all started in 2003 by the BBC.  In April 2003 they asked people in Britain which were their favourite books and in August 2004 they published this list, which is in the order of people's favourites.  You can see all the results of the BBC Big Read here.  Apparently the BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. It's an amazing list and I struggled to recall some as I knew I'd seen them as movies, so if in doubt I didn't mark them.  Pillars of the Earth would be my favourite, though I've had Lord of The Rings on my bookshelf for years and in 2011 it will be read!

So the challenge is: how many have you read?  Please join in, accept the challenge, then pass it on.
Instructions:
• Copy this list.
Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.
Denise suggests we underline those books we plan to read in 2011.

Here's my contribution:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The World's Most Unique Christmas Gift

Are you scratching your head and wondering what to buy your friends and family this year?  I may well have found the most unique Christmas gift of all!


How many of your friends have ever received a nesting box for a phascogale?  For just A$10 you could provide a nesting box for a tiny red-tailed phascogale to sleep safe and dry in.  This particular phascogale lives in south west western Australia and the box will be placed high up in the trees safe and sound, on your behalf.  Learn more about phascogales here.

Don't we all have enough stuff?  Does Uncle Tom really need more socks and jocks?  Does Auntie Bet need more linen?  Wouldn't the kids enjoy a gift that really gives back to the world and teaches them something about a new place and new animals? 

Do you normally give flowers?  Here's something different.  Help protect rare wildflowers like the golden moths orchid, or help Bush Heritage purchase 2 hectares of wildflower country so that it can be forever preserved by your generosity. 
How does it work.  You go to the Bush Heritage Wild Gifts Website chose the gifts you would like and also chose from a selection of cards which will be either mailed or emailed to your loved one (or to you if you want to hand them over personally on the day), letting them know what you have done on their behalf.

There are organisations around the world that organise this type of gift.  You can provide water to villages in Africa, chickens and goats to needy families, education and so much more.  However, this year, this is my favourite.  So many organisations help others, and that help is indeed needed, but very few do something so specific for our fast disappearing Australian bush, so forgive me for putting it at the top of my list and wanting you to consider it for yours.  I'd also like to state very clearly that I am not in any way connected to Bush Heritage, or their gift program.  It's something I came across and was so thrilled about I wanted to freely promote it.  I do have their permission to do so and thank them for the use of their photographs. 

So go on, head to Bush Heritage Australia Wild Gifts and see what you might find to pop in someone's stocking!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mango Ice Cream - Homemade and healthy!

As the new joey has been entirely unco-operative when it comes to me taking more photos and, perhaps, even some video of him out of the pouch, (he dives back in as soon as I go outside - afraid of his very strange looking Grandmother I expect!), I decided I should treat you all to one of my favourite indulgences.  "Healthy" might be stretching it a bit, as this is certainly high fat, but it doesn't include all the nasties of store bought ice cream, so as an occasion treat it is much better for you.

You'll need:

The flesh from two fresh or frozen mangoes
1 tablespoon of honey for sweetness ( you could use dates instead)
50 mls of milk
400mls of fresh double cream (heavy cream)
A blender and an ice cream maker.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kangaroo joey - it's a boy!

I was so excited to see joey number 7 hop out of the pouch for the first time.  (Well the first time I'd seen him out).  Yes it is a him.  Check out little tough boys "lipstick" wound out between his legs.  This often happens with little boy joeys, they get very excited to be hopping out for the first few times.


It all happens very quickly.  Merrilyn decides things are safe around her, she relaxes her pouch and the new joey tumbles out.  They are very Bambi like at this stage.  They struggle to their feet, swaying about on their long back legs, and then immediately try to get back into the pouch.


Mum keeps her pouch relaxed so he can't get back in for a few seconds and she takes this time to give him a clean.

And there is the proof he's a little boy.  This is Merrilyn's second male joey.  The first was her very first joey, Mickie.  Sadly Mickie died after being injured.  We think Merrilyn was being chased and she snagged herself on a branch and fell.  When she arrived here she was bleeding from a tear in the pouch and the joey's head was twisted around strangely.  He was probably trapped between her leg and a log when she fell.  He sustained spinal injuries and couldn't be saved.  People think these animals don't feel too much, but Merrilyn mourned the loss of her first joey quite clearly and so I am hoping this little boy makes it through.  It is a sad fact that 70% of kangaroo joeys don't make it to 12 months old, so fingers crossed.

After just a few seconds out, he's heading safely back into the pouch.  Merrilyn will let him out more often and for longer periods and he'll grow very quickly now.  One of the dangers at this age is eagles, so she'll be sure she is in the shelter of some trees.

Safe back in the pouch.

Thanks to those who've been letting me know you're receiving the new feed.  I'm still adding a link to the old "Scrubby Bush" to be sure.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Writing Triumph and Blog Tragedy



Two writing triumphs really.  I'm taking part in National Novel Writing Month and as the side counter declares I've made it over 9000 words!  Pretty happy with that and am really enjoying getting up each morning and bashing out a novel that has lived in my head for years but has not made it to the top of my priority list until now.  It's only day 5, so if you've been thinking about joining in, it's not too late.  Here's the link to NaNoWriMo.

The second triumph is having ten articles accepted to the website Powder Room Graffiti and thus being named  a Graffiti Artist.  So what is Powder Room Graffiti about?  Here's how they describe themselves: "Powder Room Graffiti is the response to the exasperated sighs of women across the globe.  Powder Room Graffiti highlights the varied lives and experiences of articulate women and amplifies their voices.  Our global community is the perfect place to share laughs, honest views and opinions in a safe and supportive environment."  There are writers and readers from the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia.  Articles can make you laugh and cry and you can join and add your comments, just as you do with a blog.  They do pay a small amount for each article published, so budding writers may be interested in trying their hand.

Now for the Blog Tragedy.  If you are reading this you have made it to Kangaroos of the Scrubby Bush.  As you may know, until a few days ago this blog was called simply "Scrubby Bush".  When I changed the name it seemed all well, that all my followers came with me and nothing but the name and header photograph had changed.  Alas it seems many of you are no longer receiving the post notifications in your google readers so you may miss future posts.  I'm working on what's happening here and if anyone can help please leave a comment.   I'd also appreciate it if you are receiving Kangaroos direct into your reader now so I know if people are receiving it.  Whilst it is now showing me as a follower, the blog is still not appearing in my Google Reader.  I have reinstated Scrubby Bush as a link through, as that is still showing up and so that should keep you in touch for the moment.  Thank you for your patience, it's much appreciated - clearly I'm still a blogging novice.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Love Baby Kangaroos!

Firstly, welcome to the new header and blog name.  So many posts here are about Merrilyn and her mob, I thought one of my rare photos of her, together with four of her joeys, was appropriate, a long with the name change.  I'll still be filling you in on the other characters who live here in the scrubby bush, along with other things environmental and interesting bits and pieces.  I hope you like the change.

I just love joeys - which is what a baby kangaroo is known as.  Merrilyn's seventh joey - known simply as "Number 7" at this point, is starting to view the world a bit more.  It's a time I find very exciting and also nerve wracking.  If Merrilyn is chased by a predator, (generally a wild or domestic dog), then nature takes over and relaxes the pouch muscles so the joey tumbles out, and Merrilyn has more chance of escape.  Let's hope that doesn't happen.  Merrilyn still loves to flop on my cool patio, on an old sheepskin rug she used when I raised her, and I caught a few photos as she slept there recently and thought you'd enjoy them.


  The tip of a toe pokes out from the pouch.

The tip of a tail.  It's pink because the joey hasn't developed its fur yet.

A bit more of a foot.
Two little hind feet.

Merrilyn, the sleeping mother.

Initially a joey's ears are floppy, like the one to our right. 
The left hand ear is starting to stand upright now as the joey develops.
Light fur is starting to develop, along with whiskers. 
Gotta love kangaroo joeys! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Own a dog or cat? You need to read this.

I recently came across a fantastic site, fake plastic fish.  Great name and the information contained on the site is very powerful.  Beth Terry saw an article "Plastic Ocean", which I cannot share with you here as the website is under going maintenance. The article was about the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and what it does to our ocean life. From that point Beth started to eliminate plastic from her life. (Read more about Beth Terry here.)

This is something that is important to me, from two stand points.  First the environment and secondly my health.  Having lost a breast to cancer 10 years ago I read a lot about plastic and their effect on oestrogen levels, so I too started eliminating plastic, mostly with regard to my food.  So when I saw this site I was hooked.  Beth has kindly allowed me to reproduce a recent post of hers on plastic and it's effects on our pets.  As you know I have two Abyssinian cats and Libby does seem to be suffering the problem mentioned here and, yes, I must admit I was using plastic bowls.  I've now switched and things seem to be improving.

Before I add the post, I'd also like to recommend you take the one week plastic challenge Beth suggests.  I completed it and was amazed and realised more I can do and Beth's feedback was really helpful.  You can see a week's worth of my plastic here.  There is also a fantastic Plastic-Free Guide that shows you how to substitute those things you thought always had to be made of plastic.  Now read on about plastic feed bowls for dogs and cats.

Cat & Dog Acne from Plastic Bowls?

Our cats have always eaten their homemade food out of nice ceramic dishes that we got for free or almost free at a yard sale. (Arya is practicing her scary Halloween demon kitty face.)



But apparently, not all cats are so lucky. Michael came home last Friday and told me his workmate’s cat had developed acne, and that her vet said she should stop feeding him from a plastic bowl. Huh? I mean, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about plastic, but that was a really new one for me.

So I Googled “cat acne plastic,” and guess what: it’s conventional wisdom (although I haven’t found a definitive source) that cats can develop acne on their chins from eating out of plastic bowls. (Dogs, too! Google “dog acne plastic.”)

DIRTY PLASTIC BOWLS
According to About.com:Cats:

"Plastic food dishes have long been suspected as a culprit in chin acne. Plastic is a magnet for bacteria and dirt that work their way into scratches and nicks, reinfecting your cat and/or spreading bacteria to other cats in the household. Veterinarians and other feline experts recommend using only glass or metal food bowls, and daily washing of those, in order to help prevent this common condition."

It does make sense. Plastic is lipophyllic, meaning that it attracts oils. Have you noticed how hard it can be to clean grease off of plastic? And once plastic is roughed up a bit, it’s even harder to clean. Our ceramic dishes, on the other hand, clean up beautifully.

PLASTIC ALLERGIES
Also, some pets are allergic to plastic, and what appears to be acne is actually an allergic reaction. According to The Human Society’s Complete Guide to Cat Care:

"Many cats are allergic to plastic. Replace plastic food and water bowls with stainless steel, U.S.-made ceramic (glazes on foreign made ceramics often contain lead), or heavy glass. If your cat habitually lounges on plastic surfaces, drape his favorite spots with thick, soft towels to prevent skin contact. Plastic allergies are often betrayed by outbreaks of rashes or raised, itchy patches on your cat’s throat, neck and chin — where he touches his food and water bowls."

HORMONES?

Maybe the reason for pet breakouts is bacteria trapped in plastic, and maybe it’s plastic allergies, but I want to suggest another reason: leaching chemicals. Okay, don’t quote me on this! I haven’t found any studies definitively linking the chemicals in plastic to outbreaks of acne, but consider this: many plastics contain hormone-disruptors like bisphenol-a and phthalates. And changes in hormones are a major cause of acne.

I don’t know if the chemicals in plastic affect hormones in such a way as to promote acne or if they might even do the opposite. Biosphenol-A, in fact, mimics estrogen, not the male hormones associated with acne. But I’m just tossing the idea out there that we’ve created this environmental soup of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and no one really knows what the long term affects will be for us or for the animals with which we share this planet. Why wait to find out? Let’s just stop feeding ourselves and our loved ones, including 4-legged ones, out of plastic
*****
 
My thanks, once again, to Beth Terry of fake plastic fish for allowing me to reproduce this piece for you, and for doing so much for our environment. 
 
So what do you think?  Could you take some plastic out of your life?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Your Chance to Write a Novel!

Not the usual topic heading you'd expect here.  No blood suckers or kangaroos sitting on the doorstep.  No warnings about pesticide poisoning and two-headed fish.  Though my main passion is the environment, particularly the one I live in, I do also have other passions and writing is one of them. 

I am fortunate to have had three books published, two marketing books put out by Simon & Schuster and long since out of print, and a wildlife manual that I self-published so carers could obtain it for free.  I used to write a column for a business magazine and still write articles, particularly for Powder Room Graffiti as well as this blog.  However I am yet to write a novel.

I fiddle and diddle and have a couple started, but they just don't develop.  There are so many things to be done in life that it simply doesn't happen, and yet, this is something I would very much like to do.  Last year I was introduced to a concept know as NaNoWrMo - National Novel Writing Month.  It takes place in November each year and the challenge is to write 50,000 words over the 30 days of November.

Yes, I admit, when you first read that, it sounds a little crazy - but is it?  You join thousands of others in the attempt and the deadline drives you on.  I don't know about you, but I need deadlines.  Last year a friend of mine did it, and successfully managed the 50,000 words and was thrilled with the result, and so this year I am taking it on.

It's not about quality, it's about quantity.  Put that stuff in your head on paper.  Once it's out, you can then spend the editing time to shape it up, but imagine, in just over a months time, you could be sitting there with 50,000 words written.  The essence of your first novel, (or second, or third...). That's about 175pages.  Are you ever going to manage to do this any other way? 

You potentially have a million questions so here's the link to the explanation of NaNoWrMo, how it works, how you can register, how you protect your work etc.  Please let me know if you are joining in so we can motivate each other as the month progresses. Come on, join me, it will be great!
  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blood Suckers

Here in Australia spring is sprung and it's been raining - commence the parade of the blood suckers!


That's a good old Aussie leech!  How big is he?  Well he's climbing a brick wall and he isn't stretched out as much as he could be, but let's give him the finger test.

Not easy to see in this photo. (Tough to be in the photo and taking it at the same time... and I didn't want to touch it), but the base is about the same width as my finger).  He is fully engorged and feel off Merrilyn's heel.



She will bleed for a while, but there will be no lasting damage.  I've had two myself lately, though they don't get to stay as long on me!  Salt is the easy way to get them to fall off - just a sprinkle and they let go and the salt kills them.  They don't really hurt, though a couple of times I have felt them pierce the skin, but they do itch about two days later - a lot!  The best way to stop the itch is to cover them with tape.  The lack of air seems to help.

However leeches aren't Merrilyn's only problem at this point.


This little dark thing, tucked into the fur of Merrilyn's pouch, is a flat fly.  They are a constant companion. The Marsh flies that I captured being taken by a blue-faced honeyeater in Big Boy is Back are also still around.



Here's one on Merrilyn's tail.  And a closer look...

These do hurt and the kangaroos flick their tails to try to dislodge them.  Merrilyn will come near the house if they are in high numbers and allows me to kill them with a fly swat!  The final problem at present is mosquitoes.  My camera wasn't up to the job of capturing them on Merrilyn's moving head, but I did gain a nice shot of her.


And one final shot so that you can sleep easy tonight. This is an Australian native, I don't know its name, but it's just coming into flower and I love it.  Enjoy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Could YOU live without it?

It's Blog Action Day and this year the theme is water. Most of we bloggers are able to take water for granted. What if we couldn't? What if it was not so available? What if the way we are living is causing our water supplies to dry up?

Couldn't happen? Well we know that in some parts of the world people have had a long running issue with water:
- African women walk over 40 billion hours each year gathering water
- Nearly 38,000 children, under the age of 5, die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions
- We've all heard of Darfur - many think this war was due, in part to water access.

Nothing you can do about that, you might well say. So what about your own water supply? Could it disappear? The book I've featured here from Amazon, "Water, the drop of life", was published as a companion to a television series. It's an older book now, published in 2001, but it contains many fascinating stories about water and the consequences of our tampering with nature. It was this book that bought the Aral Sea to my attention.

The Aral Sea, a huge inland lake that bisects the republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, had a thriving commercial fishing industry. It provided 60,000 people with jobs and 50,000 tons of fish were caught each year. Then it was decided that Russia's textile industry required more water, so water from the Aral Sea was diverted to the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.

Unlined and open ditches were used to move the water and so 80% was lost to evaporation. The Aral sea began to shrink and salinity increased. Half the Aral sea has now been lost and Mark Pitchers photo, taken on June 25th 2009, using a Nikon D300, in Qyzylorda, Kazakhstan says it all.


(See more of Mark Pitcher's amazing photography here )

The fishing industry died, and contaminated dust, from the more than 7,800 square miles, (20,000 square kilometres) of exposed sea floor, was carried by winds and has settled, not only on the homes and crops of local people but has settled on glaciers in the Himalayas, causing them to melt faster than they normally would and it has even been found in the blood of penguins in the Antarctic.

I don't think anyone stops to think of the far reaching consequences of disturbing our natural environment. Here in Australia, debate rages on how to restore the Murray River system to stop it dying forever and I hear people discussing the environment as if it were something separate to humans, as if we can decide whether we want to keep the environment or not. (Think about that one for a moment). There is a seemingly large river in northern New South Wales, called The Clarance river. Most people see it as the travel through the regional town of Grafton and it seems wide and abundant. So, some have suggested that it be piped to help restore the Murray. The problem is, the fresh water part of the Clarence isn't as wide and abundant and removing it would start a salinity increase, as much of the large flows seen are, in fact, tidal. We must learn the lessons of the Aral Sea and not make the same mistakes.

Though the Aral Sea will probably never fully recover, and people's lives have been destroyed, in this National Geographic Blog Post the progress of recovery is documented and though there is a long way to go, nature has an amazing ability to heal herself if we work with her, rather than against her.

For me this is the main message. We are a part of nature. There is enough documentation of the perils of simply using and trying to take control of nature for our own end. Let's start working with nature, respecting it and doing what we can to reduce our over-consumption of water.

I documented some of the water-saving methods I use here in a blog earlier this year called Precious Water.

There are many things we can do daily, and the main one is reducing our consumption. Did you know:
- It takes 24 litres of water to produce one hamburger
- It takes 1514 litres of water to produce a cotton t-shirt
- It takes 6,813 litres to make a pair of jeans

So finally a video and link to the people who organised this whole Blog Action Day.  Check them out and join in the conversation.


Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Join Blog Action Day


Tomorrow, Friday 15th October is Blog Action Day.  This is a day where Bloggers globally come together to blog on a specific issue, creating mass discussion on a topic.  This year's theme is water. 
Read more here.  I'm registered.  Won't you join me?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not Much Bigger than a Thumb

The rain continues to tumble down and so I've popped a pumpkin in the oven to make a batch of my favourite roasted pumpkin soup and I thought I'd take the time to tell you about another of the creatures who lives here in the scrubby bush.  This little guy.


This is the threatened squirrel glider and when I was a wildlife carer I had the rare privilege of raising a couple of glider babies. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October Flood

I'm considering a new occupation as a rain maker!  First we broke the drought on our Queensland cycle holiday and now I seem to have created another flood.  I no sooner sent off a family email update that said we're way down on rain this year, than the sky opened!  In the last couple of days I have received 274mm of rain, (11 inches).  The dam is full, the kangaroos are soggy and the road into town is under water. 


Eastern grey kangaroos don't like rain.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trouble in Paradise - Part Three

Hello again and thanks to everyone for sending warm wishes.  Happy to report that Merrilyn, Tomasina and Rocky are all here and OK.  Tomasina turned up yesterday morning, clearly untouched by the male kangaroo.  Either it wasn't her I saw him chasing, or he realised she was too young.  Sadly he was seen pursuing Old Strawb, quite an old roo that has been here ever since I arrived and who gained the name because she liked to dig up my strawberries,  (well not so much the strawberries, but the mulch around them.  When they move the mulch they find cool bits of earth to lie on.  Not good for young strawberry plants though so they are now within the fenced safety of the vegie patch.)

Poor Merrilyn.  When she arrived yesterday morning she was so tired she couldn't even eat.  She collapsed on her sheepskin and I spent the time before I had to go out swatting the many flies who wanted to land on her.  When I returned the male had clearly been there again and more blood was the result and she was just about a zombie.  When I woke at about 5am this morning I could see her on the grass not far away and again she was too tired to take any pellets - at least I was hoping it was too tired as the other option is illness.  Thankfully this afternoon she is looking brighter, much more rested and took a cupful of pellets happily.   All blood has now dried, but some is still there, which is a measure of how tired she is as she normally cleans things up fairly quickly.  Now we just have to wait and ensure there is no internal damage that creates infection. 

Meanwhile I'm the one that has had the problems.  An itchiness and stinging in an awkward place, (mind your own), alerted me to the presence of a bush tick.  Fortunately, with the help of a mirror and a reasonably flexible body, I removed it.  It wasn't much bigger than a pin head, but a nasty lump resulted.  No big deal.  I laughed at myself in the mirror and ran my fingers through my hair and stopped when I felt something far more sinister.


This is what is variously known as a hardback, shell back or paralysis tick.  This is the nasty thing that will kill a dog or cat if it is not located and treated for quickly.  It was burying itself in my head not far from my right ear.  Removal was by feel, which also means I removed quite a bit of hair and all, in all, was not pleasant.  However, as you can see, I managed to get it out in one piece, which you really want to do, leaving the head behind can create a few more problems.

So now I have a lump the size of an egg on the side of my head and the poison has worked it's way down the nerves to the back of my head.  It's painful, However I'll survive.  It's been a while since I've had one this big, but I know they do me no lasting damage.

As a point of interest they don't hurt the kangaroos at all.  (Well unless the roo is sick and over infested with them from being down too long and unable to groom.).  Here's a photo of some I took that fell off Merrilyn quite a while ago and this is what happens when they are left in to feast on the hosts' blood.  The coin is an Australian 5 cent piece. (The size of a dime, I think).



Well you have a special treat that's a perfect way to end this "Trouble in Paradise" series.  I just looked up from typing and I spotted a small pink head.  Yes Merrilyn's new joey has had it's first peek at the world, (well the first time I've seen it peeking, any way.)  This is Merrilyn's 7th joey and yet it is still such a thrill to see that little pink head for the first time.   Of course as soon as I went out, Merrilyn hopped over to see if I might have more food on offer, (a very good sign of her returning health), and I was afraid the little head would have disappeared, but it stayed out long enough to capture it for you, so here you are, meet joey number 7!



So now my headache is fading fast, I am very optimistic that Merrilyn will make a full recovery and this little joey looks as if he/she's survived it all too.  Paradise restored!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trouble in Paradise - Part Two

If you missed Part One here's the link to the original Trouble in Paradise post.  Though you can scroll down to it as well.

Well it's been a mixed day.   I was up at 5am and Merrilyn was here with both Tomasina and Rocky.  She still seemed to be bleeding, but only a small amount.  She was hungry and exhausted.  I took this photo through the window so I wouldn't disturb her.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

I am not happy.  Merrilyn is bleeding and exhausted and if I had a gun I might well consider using it!  Big Boy has gone beyond what is required in my book!  It's a week since I blogged about his following Merrilyn around for days and today things took a turn for the worse.

A couple of days ago I noticed that Big Boy had disappeared and Merrilyn had taken to sleeping on my patio.  This is primarily where I raised her from a fur less joey who had been orphaned by a car.  This is where she comes back to for rest and recovery after any major incident.  I hate to see her lying on the cold, hard, tiles and so I haul out the old blanket and sheepskin I used to use for raising the roos and put them out for her.  She has spent a few hours here a couple of times a day sleeping for the past couple of days.

This morning she arrived and lay down and then Big Boy appeared.  Now usually he is very wary of the house.  Today he didn't worry about it at all.



Monday, September 20, 2010

Big Boy is Back

  
Well it's spring here in Australia and "love" is in the air.  Male eastern grey kangaroos are built for just one thing - mating!  One who favours Merrilyn, or perhaps Merrilyn favours him, I call "Big Boy".  I certainly favour him as he is the gentler of the two big males I've seen here in recent years. He is a big boy, I'd say around 60kg, (about 132 pounds) and stands around 2 metres in height. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fabulous Mockumentary!

So back to blogging and continuing my quest to share information with you about the value of the scrubby bush. Rubbish is a continuing problem in most places, and when you cycle you see it clearly on the road sides. So when a friend sent me a link to this fantastic mockumentary, I thought I'd share it with you.


It's called "The Majestic Plastic Bag" and it's narrated by Academy award winner, Jeremy Irons. I hope you'll enjoy it and share it with others.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Never Volunteer


Hello there, well just as this blog was taking off I managed to volunteer to work on our Federal Election Campaign. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My First Award - Thanks Tightwad


I have to say this week has been amazingly busy and I've had to give blogging a back seat, so imagine the thrill when I did check things out and discovered Tightwad had decided I was a blog of substance!  Hey that's great.  Thanks Tightwad I will wear my new blog bling with pride!  Tightwad's catch cry is "A Girl's Guide to Living on Less" and I really recommend you go and say hello, I actually think Tightwad may have been the first blog I followed.  Thanks again Tightwad!

To finalise the award I have to a) sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in five words, and b) nominate ten new recipients who I feel have a 'blog with substance.'  Now that's not easy to do on either count.  Here goes: