Monday, May 31, 2010

Fighting Snakes

My father was a keen photographer and I recently found these fascinating photos of two carpet pythons fighting on our old shed roof.  I'm told that the combatants are male and fights usually occur in spring time.  Carpet pythons, (morelia spilota), also known as diamond pythons, are fairly common in Australia, covering at least half the continent.  They live in a wide range of habitats from rain forest to semi- arid areas.  On average they grow to about 2 metres in length.  They aren't venomous, they are constrictors, squeezing their prey to death.  They are valuable to have around as they keep the rodent population under control. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lost Generation Palindrome

Hi all, I put this palindrome into my health blog a while ago, but on looking at it again this morning I just think it should be shared with everyone. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kangaroos, Ears and Sleeping

It is the most glorious autumn day here.  The sun is shining and Merrilyn is enjoying the sun with her two youngest girls. Life isn't easy when you are a kangaroo.  They are always on alert for danger and so it is lovely to see them relax.  I think, because I raised her, Merrilyn often comes here to feel safe and when I'm out and around she knows I am keeping watch.

 Here she takes a roll onto her back.  Tomasina watches on.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Blog is Carbon Neutral

Hey this is a neat idea.  I am in the process of learning more about blogging and I'm finding new blogs I want to follow all the time and today I came across Capability Mom  This is an interesting blog about food, parenting and social media and I was enjoying reading through it when I noticed a button saying "my blog is carbon neutral".  Now I'm all about things environmental so I just had to click on this link and find out what it was all about.  Now this is a German site, so my advice to you is to click on my link in the right hand column which will take you to the English version of what to do to make your own blog carbon neutral.

Basically you write a short posting about this program, add the button to your site, send them an email with your posting and they will organise for a tree to be planted in spring by the Arbor Day Foundation that will help neutralise the carbon dioxide emissions of your blog.  Now that's got to be a good thing.  So go and click on my badge and make your blog carbon neutral too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Logs have life inside

It's almost winter here and in the early morning and late afternoon I can smell the smoke from local wood heaters.  I used to have one and, though I loved to watch the wood crackle and glow, it had two negatives for me.  Firstly as a health risk, not just from the smoke, I didn't want the soot and tar deposited on the roof to pollute the rainwater we collect and drink.  Secondly my increasing understanding of how valuable fallen wood is to the forest and its inhabitants.

Dead and fallen wood works for the bush in several ways:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happiness is a feeding joey

Any one who has read much of this blog will know I'm passionate about my wildlife and saving their habitat.  Some days it's a thankless task.  Most people are too busy surviving their own lives to pay much attention to how the animals are going.  I sometimes wonder myself, am I compromising my own life and happiness by taking on this crusade.  Then along comes a moment and you just know that it's all worth while.

This is Merrilyn feeding her youngest, at heel joey, Rocky.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poo, Paw Prints and other evidence of Visitors

Lately we've been having more visitors and some we would rather not see at all.  I'm talking night time visitors of the furry variety.  You can have fun with this yourself by putting down a sand trap, (you're only trapping foot prints) and by obtaining a good tracks and scats, (poo) field guide.  For me that's Barbara Triggs book "Tracks, Scats and Other Traces."  Now don't be put off if you live in a city - you'll be amazed what passes by.

So I suggested to Lovely that we add a sand rap, just out from our bedroom door.  Now we keep this door open, even in winter, (well just a crack in winter - we love fresh air but we aren't too ridiculous).  It does have a solid fly screen, so nothing can get in.  I think Lovely was a bit dubious about putting it so close to where we would be and he was amazed at the first results.

This piece of sand, just flattened out across the tiles is about 60cm x 30cm (2feet x 1 foot).  I've tried to take some close up shots but they just aren't as clear.  So starting at the top.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gorillas and your Mobile Phone

So what is it that links the magnificent gorilla to our mobile phones?  A product called coltan, (or columbo-tantalite).  Coltan is used to coat the capacitors in mobile phones and 80% of it comes from Africa and much of that comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo and, of course, its illegal mining is causing the loss of habitat for the eastern lowland gorilla, and increased road construction also makes life for the poachers much easier, so more gorillas end up as bush meat.

It is illegal to mine coltan in the Congo, and yet it is estimated that over 10,000 people moved into just one national park in 2004 to work in these illegal mines.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

31% of our wildlife has gone since 1970

Well I'm especially sad today as a United Nation's report has confirmed what I am seeing with my own eyes.  The world has lost 31% of its wildlife since 1970.  That's in only 40 years.  If this continues we will have lost 90% of our wildlife within a century.

The problem is, no one seems to care.  As I check newspaper headlines, where is this massive crisis for our wildlife populations?  No where to be seen.  There's a Federal Budget being bought down tonight, so all eyes are turned there with interest to see how we'll personally be affected.  Animals - hmm they'll have to wait. 

This is a new blog, with small numbers following it so far, but I am determined to do my bit to reverse this trend in our animal destruction.  I am sure, if people know, they will care and they will do their bit to help preserve animal habitats, stop the pollution of our rivers, the loss of our wetlands, the destruction of our forests.  I hereby declare that I will not stop in my efforts to alert people to the needs of the other species we share this planet with.  They have a right to be here too!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Choko Time

Call me mad, (and some do), but I actually like chokos!  What is a choko, do I hear you ask?
These are my recently picked chokos.

They are what I call a survivor crop.  If the world, as we know it, comes to an end, the humble choko will ramble on where ever it has been planted and will help those who recognise its value survive.  It originally comes from central and southern America and somehow made its way to Australia and much of Asia.  You might also know them as chayote, vegetable pear, mirliton or mango squash.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Sits on Your Doorstep?

Funny the things you see when you live here.  Some of it is unique, of course, especially when it comes to Merrilyn, who views anything around here as her property to use at will.  So I thought I'd share these photos with you as they are something not seen very often.

You won't often see an eastern grey sitting like this very often.  They do it when they give birth, or to give their tail a good clean, if they can find a good spot. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cut Your Loops

Here's an easy way to save a few lives.  Cut the loops of your plastic bottles and cartons before you put them in the recycling bin. (I just know you all recycle!)  What do I mean.  OK I have some photos:

Here's a plastic bottle.  Top bit is the cap, just below that is the loop. 
Yes the piece that sealed it before you opened it.

When the bottles are crushed, the loop can come off, as we demonstrate here.
This loop can cause death to all kind

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Precious Water

It's been gently raining here since 6.30am and shows no sign of stopping.  I'm pleased.  We need the rain.  We provide all our own water here, via rainwater tanks for the house and I pump water from the dam for the veggie patch.  When you are responsible for your own water you realise how precious it is and how wasteful we can be with it.  Last year we had virtually no rain for four months and the tanks almost halved and we started to realise that if rain didn't come we could be in major trouble.  Fortunately the rain did come, but the scare put us back on track with our water saving program.

I have always thought it ridiculous that most of we fortunate few in, so called, developed, countries, flush our toilets with beautiful drinking water.  I wonder what many of the refugees who come to Australia think about that?  We know we don't have enough water now and so we are building things like desalination plants and dams to provide more.  These measures harm the environment.  They take resources, destroy rivers and they decimate habitat.  As our climate continues to change, and droughts become more prevalent, we will all have to find better ways to use the water that falls from the sky.

So what do we do?
  • We catch as much of it as we can.  We have tanks attached to the house, the shed and we have extra barrels catching overflow water that can't go to the tanks.  This we can dip from to water gardens before we have to reach for the tap.
  • We capture the water from our first flush filter system, (this is the initial rain that falls and is diverted to ensure only clean water goes to the tanks for us to drink).  This is still good quality water for plants and so a shame to waste.
  • We mulch our gardens heavily so that rain and other watering's last as long as possible. 
  • We deep water rarely, instead of shallow watering regularly.  This encourages deep root growth.
  • We have bowls in every sink.  We capture excess water from

Monday, May 3, 2010

Swamp Wallabies

As I started to write this blog, on a totally different topic, I looked up to see a swamp wallaby and her joey near the edge of my bush.  This is what "Scrubby Bush" is all about.  Many people are out there working to save, what are known as, high value conservation areas, and, of course, that is a good thing.  However we also need to save plain old scrubby bush, because gorgeous creatures such as swamp wallabies, need them to survive.  I managed to take the two of them through a window, but when I went outside the joey bolted and rightly so.  These creatures are very shy and so rarely seen.  On this occasion I'm sure the mum was one of the swamp wallabies I raised about six years ago, or she too, would have fled as I came out of the door.
See the joey to the left of her mum.  She is now totally out of the pouch and following her mum to find out where the best food areas are.
Mum stayed until I took this photo and then hopped back into the bush to find her joey.