birds in garden, Uncategorized

My Weather, Beautiful, not Crazy

semicascade-jade

Today I had one task I had to complete, and am glad to say, the job is done, and well done! What was my successful task? Well, all I had to do was to water the potted plants in the backyard, including this jade tree in a pot. This involves letting Missy our into the backyard, to run around, sniff things, and do what she had to do. If she does what she had to do, it was my task to deal with that in the usual way (pooper scooper).

So yes, Missy and I went outside, into different parts of the the garden – Missy sniffing thing, running around a little, and mostly having a fun doggy time (and yes, pooper scooper duty promptly done). Once that was done, I switched on the tap, which has a hose attached to it, then I look the hose fitting to spray the things that needed to be watered.

There are flowering things, herbs, strawberry plants in hanging baskets, and a variety of different plants in different stages of life (or in some cases, death). When you have a garden, it’s almost inevitable there will be wonderful instances of rebirth, but also deaths of things that will never regrow. I thing our two tiny little olive trees in teeny little bonsai pots are in the never to be reborn group., victims of too little water and too much heat in pots that are too small.

We have plenty of more olive trees though, popping up all over our property, compliments of the birds that eat our olive fruit, and deal with the seeds in the usual, natural way. I saw one of the strawberries was looking ready, but before I got too excited about eating a homegrown fruit, I saw that a bird had been there before me and took a bite out of it. It didn’t seem anywhere near as yummy then … I’m thinking of how I can rig up something to stop the birds from eating our strawberries. Graham brought strawberries home from the shop recently, but they don’t taste anywhere near as good as our home frown ones taste …

We have some shade cloth and I’m sure I should be able to fashion some kind of shelter from some of that. I have to check with the chief gardener first though, he may have some other plan in mind for it. I don’t really mind sharing our produce with the birds, after all, I get lots of enjoyment when I can sit outside on the comfy sofa there, watch and listening to the birds … The birds are happy, and I’m happy. Of course Missy is happy when and if she can catch one of the birds to eat, which doesn’t make me anywhere near as happy, even though that too is a natural thing … Nature isn’t all flowers and sweet things …

So that’s it, I’ve got a meeting coming up later this afternoon, and I’ll hand the house back to Graham when he gets home again soon. Missy and I have enjoyed being the in charge of everything ones this morning, and I get to be the in charge of everything person, at the writers group meeting later! I love my life, sunshine, happiness, loved ones, friends, and lots of birds flying all around! Oh, and Missy too, of course!

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birds in garden, dogs, Uncategorized

Missy in the Backyard with Me

There is something about a dog in the backyard that always brings some joy to my heart. It brings the pooper scooper into action too, at times, but the overwhelming joy a dog seems to get from being outside with Nature, also brings me some of that joy too. This morning was another one of those joyful times.

I was acting on instructions from Graham, to water particular parts of our garden. He told me or was that asked me? anyway, I was to water the hanging pots and the bonsai trees. We have some rain-free days coming today and the next few days, and we certainly don’t want our trees and plants to die. Looking at this trees and plants, remembering the processes of getting them to their various stages, these are good to remember. And if it brings memories of other plants and trees that didn’t make it through to this stage, well that’s still a good thing to think on, even if it isn’t a joyful thing.

Missy prefers to stay on and around the back lawn, sniffing around the shrubs, searching for things I certainly don’t want her to find, like snakes, I suspect. She didn’t find anything like that this time, which is a good and joyful thing! What she did find was a spot of lawn that was in the sunshine and was ready to be rolled on! Missy loves to roll on the lawn, and I love to watch Missy doing it. A dog enjoying a back massage by rolling over and over on the lawn, that’s an extremely joyful thing for them to do and a joyful thing to see!

Of course, there are birds to see and hear when we’re in the backyard too. Missy and I both like birds, but not for the same reasons. I love to see them flying free and mobile, zooming high above us, or past us, or diving down to sip some water from the pool, and then way up high again. That’s usually the swallows who do that, and they’re particularly active at this in the early evening, when there will be many swallows dive down and then away again, circle around and do it again, or disappear off somewhere else. I love to see them doing this. Missy would probably love to catch and eat one of them.

cape honeysucklethis is one of the bushes Missy likes to snuffle around the base of. Sometimes she’s found baby birds there, yum (for her anyway)

 

Because of course, Missy is a dog, a hound, and what dogs in general, and hounds in particular, like to do, is to hunt. When these bushes (Cape honeysuckle proper name Tecoma capensis) are flowering, as they are in the photo, that’s when the birds take a particular interest in them, getting nectar from the blooms. I love watching the honeyeaters in them, betting a good feed of nectar. We get two kinds of honeyeaters around our place. There are always New Holland honeyeaters around the place, and sometimes we get White Lined honeyeaters. I don’t like it if Missy catches and eats any of these lovely honeyeaters, but Missy doesn’t care what I think about that.

muAH7rk(1)  a New Holland Honeyeater

 

Watching the birds around our place brings me joy, I love to see them, both the ordinary ones, sparrows, starlings, turtledoves, but the native ones in particular, such as those honeyeaters mentioned above, and the crested pigeons, lorikeets sometimes, and often there will be willie wagtails too, I love these jaunty and songful birds! Sometimes I will spot a bird of prey circling high above, which always interests me, as I work to figure out what kind of bird it is. I’m a keen birdwatcher, and new birds to our place certainly brings me joy – I love to be able to add a new bird species to my list of birds around our place. At the moment, there are I think 43 different birds on my list.

It’s not a competition, but I’d love to hear about the different birds you can see from where you live – please leave a comment here are let us know. I live in Rural South Australia, in the lower Mid North region, I’m sure people in other areas have some very different kinds of birds, please tell!

 

 

 

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birds in garden, dogs

Glorious Days of Different Kinds

Yesterday was a glorious day of sunshine, blue sky and fluffy clouds. There was a gentle breeze outside, the birds were merrily cheeping and chirping in their various ways, the dogs happily went from lounging around on their sofa, to happily running around outside. It was a lovely warm day, and all was pleasant both inside and outside our home. Today is also quite a pleasant day, but it’s another kind of pleasant. I have no signs of a blue sky,

aleppo pine

 

the sky is white and grey with clouds. There is a tiny amount of rain that may or may not fall. The birds don’t seem as chirpy as they were yesterday, and the wind is cold, and a little less pleasant because of the temperature of it. The dogs are still happily lounging around on their sofa. The dogs are almost always happy to do that, and who can blame them?!

pelargonium

 

My point with this blog post is to encourage myself, and others to look at our lives, and to find glory, or at least pleasant times, in a variety of situations. I’ve been thinking about my own health, after seeing my specialist yesterday, and I am convinced having many thoughts about the things that please me in life has played a part in why my chronic illness isn’t troubling me as it can trouble others (and has troubled me in the past). I am in the remission phase, and haven’t had a full-on relapse for quite some time now, I have only had what is called pseudoexacerbation. This is where previous MS Symptoms can occur again for only a short period of time. This is most commonly caused by getting too hot.

The symptoms go away again when you are able to cool down again. I’ve had this occur in a truly worrying way only once. On that occasion I was driving my car home, was feeling rushed, and got far too hot. When I got out of my car and walked around to the passenger side, I collapsed when I opened the door, and couldn’t get up again, my muscles wouldn’t work. It was a big worry, but I was in the shade from my car, on the grass, and I knew my son would be home from school eventually to help me.

I don’t know how long it took for his bus to drop him off from school, but it did eventually arrive, and he was able to get a neighbour to help and they were able to get me inside. After being in the air conditioned house, and with some cool water to drink, I was able to regain control of my body …

Anyway, that happened quite a few years ago – six years, possibly, and hasn’t been that bad again since. I am much more careful about these things now, having found out how bad it can be If I don’t look after myself. So sitting in a stinking hot car, with no cool air is a bad thing for me and for many other people with MS, or without MS, really … My favourite sitting around places outside are on my front or my back veranda, and I only sit there if I’m in the shade, or if I’m not in the shade, then when it’s a mild day with a cool breeze.

galahs drinking

Glorious days outside with the dogs, the trees, the clouds, the birds, oh what a marvel those lovely times can be! If you have places where you can rest and take in the glories of Nature, please leave a comment and tell us about it!

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birds in garden, d, Uncategorized

Winter Feels Like Spring

Outside the plants are growing green and flowers in a variety of colours are brightening our times outside. We still have strawberries popping up in hanging baskets on our back veranda, and life is certainly sweet! Nights and early mornings are cold though, and our air conditioner on ‘heat’ is most welcome to take the edge off the cold inside.

My poetry output is coming along, with another few poems written in the past week, and one of those poems in particular seems worth sharing further, somewhere, sometime. I’m not good at this ‘getting my work out there’ stage of the poetry writing thing. But for my next collection, perhaps, next year? Who knows …

Will the real Spring nudge me into action on that front? I can but hope. As I said, I’m not good at this. I have some poems that would be suitable for children, and I know an excellent publisher for such works, but I’ve still done nothing about getting those poems to that publisher. If my head wasn’t firmly attached to me body, would it say on?

Ah, self-recrimination, how could I live without you? I’d live quite well actually, I suspect. But there’s always the next thing, the new, thing, the best thing, and so old tried and tested things are ignored, opportunities missed. But as I sometimes write on my Facebook page, Life is Good. The birds outside my back door are still flying around, hunting and eating bugs and so interesting and entertaining me.

And this lovely weather we’re having! If this is Winter, then I’m enjoying Winter very much, except for the chilly times in the evening and the morning … But I look at our indoor/outdoor temperature gauge, and it is now warmer inside than it is outside (in the shade). And the sun is shining, so I don’t have to feel as guilty about using the power for the heating (air conditioner). Our solar panels are doing their job, and even if we’re not making all of the power we’re using, at least we’re making some of it.

Thinking about the seasons, and the plants leads me to the novel I’ve been playing with. I get excited and write a bit, then something else needs to be done and this work in progress stops progressing. Again. I’m much more excited about the idea of being a novelist than I am about actually writing a novel, that’s the problem. I play with little bits of writing, and the longer novel form seems like too much of an ongoing thing.

Will Spring really help me get something happening here, with this novel? Maybe yes, maybe no. But at least other bits of writing happen. I have a book that will almost certainly be ready to launch at the end of July, at the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words 2017. The text (my part of it) is almost all written and in a document, and the other bits are on their way, and there’s still more than a full month before I need to have it. Something to be proud of for sure.

And isn’t that something we all need in our lives? Something to be proud of ourselves for. If you’ve done things in your life you’re proud of, feel free to tell us about it – leave a comment here!

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birds, birds in garden

My Christmas Bird Count

muAH7rk(1)

Enter a caption

I didn’t see the bird pictured, but often a look in the backyard will reveal one of these birds. It’s a New Holland Honeyeater.

After my mother left us today, I took a couple of the dogs outside and sat on the sofa on our back veranda to look at birds. I love looking at birds, I’m a bit of a sometime ‘Twitcher’ (Birdwatcher). I don’t seem to be able to just see a bird, my brain always looks and tells me, that’s a sparrow. Or swallow, or galah or whatever it is. And if I can’t immediately work out which kind of bird it is, I don’t like it.

I think it’s within the nature of humans to name things, but I’m not certain. I’d appreciate opinions on this from others. Anyway, today I counted eight different species of birds when I was sitting outside today after our Christmas lunch. I didn’t see anything particularly amazing or rare, but I still enjoyed sharing my time with these birds. These are the different birds I saw:

I saw Sparrows, Swallows, Starlings, Galahs, a Willie Wagtail, a Murray Magpie, a White Lined Honeyeater, two Crested Pigeons and a heard and then saw a Spotted Turtledove. This was over about twenty minutes. I saw the first two different bird species in the first minute of being outside, and I always do. We have many Sparrows in the bushes and trees in and around the backyard, and Swallows like to take quick dips in our swimming pool, which is next to the backyard.

If you like to watch and take note of the birds in and around where you live, I’d love to hear from you, we could compare bird notes!

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birds, birds in garden, dogs, Uncategorized

What’s Good in the Garden?

At the moment, water is flooding the back yard. Our gutters are trying to give up entirely, and the ground seems to be chocka block full of water. with rain happening today, and more roan forecast for the coming week too. The dogs aren’t choosing to stay long when they go outside, much preferring the warm and dry conditions inside.

It’s night time now, and I’m happier with the dogs staying inside as well. With four dogs, there is a certain amount of outside work required to keep things ‘nice’ out on the back lawn, but that task is a cold and wet one tonight. I’m glad the dogs are only going out for a quick wee, not the other task …

Anyway in our garden at the moment, as well as the water, we have lovely flowers growing in the hanging baskets on the back veranda. We also still have cherry tomatoes growing on the two tomato plants that sre just a few metres from the back veranda. I have about six or so of the tomatoes ripening inside, and there are about the same number of tomatoes on the plants outside that are about ready to come inside. There are also quite a few new tomatoes that will be ready to go in another couple of weeks, I’d say.

In and near the other vegetable plot, we have a couple of new things happening. Graham recently bought some seedlings and planted them out the other day when I was out. It was lovely to see the plants he’d bought, and planted out. So we now have our own capsicum plants growing, as well as leeks. I love leeks! We still have kale growing too, and tonight it was my job to cook our evening meal.

I went for my old standby – spaghetti bolognaise, and for a change I decided to put some kale into it. I’ve never done that before, and I hoped it would work out OK. I cut the kale up into small pieces when I was cutting up the onions (which were actually shallots), and the garlic and capsicums too. The shallots made my eyes cry, but by the time we sat down to eat this meal, my tears were forgotten, and the fine taste made up for the onion tears!

My husband and I both make this meal various times, and we both produce quite different meals. I like to go via a long and slow path with this meal. I take a long time over the meal, and give it all several hours for the flavours to blend. There was red wine sloshed into it, and read wine always adds a lovely flavour to a meal. The tomatoes in the meal were real tomatoes, bought from the Adelaide Central Market by Graham a few days ago. They weren’t as flavourful as our cherry tomatoes, but were infinitely superior to supermarket tomatoes.

What else is there in the garden? Well, with the tomato plants, there are also ten garlic plants growing, from garlic bulbs planted several weeks ago. One of the plants is looking excellent, and the others all look OK. I’m looking forward to us being able to use our own home grown garlic again. Graham does almost all of the work in planting and looking after our garden, and he’s doing a fine job. I am the one who is more likely to pick things when they are ready.

I’m extremely happy the dogs didn’t realise the tomatoes are growing where they could have picked them off the bush and eaten them. They are grazers when they are out in the year, often chowing down on the lawn (and the occasional bird, moth or reptile visitor from time to time. It’s the Pharaoh Hounds who do this, our old Schnauzer isn’t a hunter how the other dogs are.

We also have a mandarin tree in the dog run out the back. At the moment, the little tree, which was planted a couple of years ago, seems to be getting ready to bloom. It did the same thing last year at about the same time. We have lots of lovely blossom, and some tiny little green fruit growing. But we had some hot days, and the fruit steadily dropped off of the tree, well before it turned orange in colour. I hope we have better luck with it this season. I love mandies!

If you have a garden with dogs in it, I’d love to hear about how your garden grows. Please leave a message here!

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birds in garden, dogs

Some Garden News for a Change

In our garden are many kinds of plants, some planted by ourselves, some by other people well before we got here, and some planted by Nature. The plants we planted vary from useful, to pretty, and some of the useful ones are pretty as well. My favourite useful and pretty ones are probably the strawberries we have planted in two separate hanging pots, which are hanging not far from our back door.

You  may not realise it, but strawberries begin life as pretty white flowers, then become green, then white, then pink/red berries. I love them in all stages, but I only eat the pink/red ones! We also have other foodstuffs growing in our garden, in garden beds, in pots, and another hanging basket which has some thyme growing in it.

Other herbs we have growing include rosemary, lavender and chives. We also have garlic growing in a garden bed that has two tomato plants growing in it as well. I saw the youngest of our dogs sniff at the tomatoes earlier today, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t steal one of the tomatoes that are growing there. The tomatoes were planted late in the season, and I’m not sure how many tomatoes we’re actually going to get out of the exercise. So far Graham, my husband, has had one of the cherry tomatoes to eat, and there’s another one I spotted today that is changing colour from green to red. At this rate, we’re not going to have terribly many tomatoes to eat – Winter is here, and the growth may slow down even further. I don’t know enough about tomatoes to know the answer, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the plants, and on the dogs …

A thing you may not have realised about tomatoes, something I never knew until we began growing them, is that the tomatoes are actually pretty little yellow flowers at the beginning, so even if the tomato crop ends up being a bit of a failure, we have at least had the pleasure of seeing these small flowers growing there amongst the greenery of the plants. I don’t know how Graham feels about that – I suspect he doesn’t care about the flowers, and just wants tomatoes …

We also have kale growing, but it’s not being used as much as it perhaps should be … it may be time for me to think about making some savoury muffins – kale, garlic, cheese and herb would be good. I could put some chives in there too, and a little thyme. The garlic won’t be home grown, our garlic plants are far too young for that. I like muffins though, all of us do, savoury or sweet. I’ve been a bit of a failure with my most recent muffins, but I’m not sure why. I may be stirring things too much, even though I well know that makes to failed muffins, not fabulous muffins.

On another subject, I love the trees we have at our place, from the tiny bonsai trees, to the tall pine trees out the front, I adore them all! We have almond trees too, and some native trees I’ve forgotten the name of at the moment. We have lemon tree too, this plant has never produced a lemon in the nearly thirty years since we moved to Redbanks. The only reason I know it’s a lemon tree is because the leaves smell like lemon trees smell … Another citrus we have growing is a mandarin tree, that Graham planted a couple of years back. This one has flowered, and begun producing fruit, but it’s still a bit young yet, it may become productive next season perhaps.

The weeds we have growing are many and varied, but with Graham’s efforts we aren’t overrun by weeds, and they do add greenness, which is better than just bare dirt. We have gum trees too, which the birds love, native birds especially, when the gums are flowering. I love watching the birds, we have two kinds of honeyeaters, miners, and at times we have Rainbow bee eaters, which is a bird I love to watch! So lovely to see, and lovely to hear as well. We also have magpies, magpie larks, crows or probably ravens actually. We have sparrows, starlings, swallows and many other birds too. All up, we have had more than forty different kinds of birds at our place.aleppo pine

So dogs, gardens, Nature – they all bring good things to us in our home out in the country, and we love it all! We wan’t talk about the snakes though, only the dogs like them, but we know they should leave those snakes alone, for their health, and our financial health. We have deadly snakes to visit in summer, and the vet bills if a dog gets bitten is huge.

Do you have happy garden stories? I’d love to hear about your garden. And any advice you can give about my garden would be very welcome. Feel free to leave a message!

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