birds in garden


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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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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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!

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!

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!

I was going to use this as an article for the front page of the Mallala Crossroad Chronicle. It was too long though, because if I was going to use it there, it would have to have photos, and it would have taken up at least one and a half pages. Instead of that, I’ve decided to put it on this blog instead. It’s part of who and what I am.

I live in rural South Australia, on a small property with the four dogs, and I watch the birds when I have spare time, and if feel like sitting aroung on the veranda, front or back. You see, in my spare time, I am a twitcher, or birdwatcher. I know there are twitchers who take this role far more seriously than I, but there you are, I’m perhaps a casual or spare-time only twitcher.

 

13 February 2015

A report on the avian activities for the afternoon. Birdwatching from the seat on the front verandah I’ve seen more native birds than non native ones and I find that to be a huge win for the session!

Non native birds seen – 2 sparrows one in our old bird bath, one flying from roof to pine trees on western edge of our place. I can hear a spotted turtle dove but haven’t seen it. Oh there were two of them a few metres in front of me. They’ve flown off now, but there’s one 15 metres away, and there’s still an unseen one I can hear,

Native birds – the first seen for this session was a crested pigeon. It seemed it was going to use our new bird bath, but only walked around it and near it before strolling off, head nodding, to have a drink from the old bird bath. Then it flew away, with that characteristic call, so beloved of small children, who delight in chasing them off, so they’ll do the call!

After the crested pigeon was a small group (5) of white-lined honeyeaters who all flew into the odd bush we have which is about 5 metres from my seat. They then left the bush and all drank from the old bird bath before splashing in it briefly before flying into one of the pine trees.

It was the other honeyeater species next new holland honeyeaters. A frolicking little flock of them went merrily from bush, to pine tree, to old bird bath. They briefly stopped on the edge of the bird bath before the six of them jumped into the water for a fun splash, fly off, return and splash again. None of them drank the water, they just splashed and bathed in it.

muAH7rk(1)New Holland honeyeater

A sparrow joined them at the old bird bath, but he only had a sensible sip and then he flew away. I was having fun watching them frolic, but they flew away from bird bath to bush, to pine tree and then gone. I thought that was it, but joy of joys, oh my is that? Yes it is! A crimson rosella landed in the old bird bath, then another and then another! Oh wow, how wonderful is that!?

crimson rosellacrimson rosella

These three gloriously red parrots bathed and then sipped and the bathed again. I stood up to go inside to tell my husband, hoping they wouldn’t disappear, so he’d be able to see them too. The three of them flew away from the old bird bath, but only flew the few metres to the pine trees, and they were still there when Graham and I were outside again. I’d brought my phone with me an took some snaps, but don’t know if the parrots will be visible. Finding out will be a task for tomorrow. As it turned out, the photos were no good, but this is a close up picture of what the bird looks like. I couldn’t get as close to the wild birds as this one is whoever is the person feeding it.

That’s probably the end of this bird watching session, except to mention the willie wagtail I both heard and then saw on the road just both of our driveway. I can hear a bird cheeping too, but that’s almost certainly a non-noteworthy sparrow. Ah though, speaking of sparrows, I did see more sparrows from time to time, mostly taking a few sips, then flying off and mostly male ones. There were a male and a female though who both bathed, and I saw some white lined honeyeaters do the same toward the end.

That’s all, it’s time to go inside with the other two humans and the four dogs!

 15 February 2015

Today galahs are the main thing with the birds. I was out on the front veranda chatting to a friend on my phone tonight, and was watching and listening to the galahs as I chatted. We have 6 tall pine trees along part of our front fence, and it seems the pine cones must have pine nuts in them. This season, flocks of galahs fly in and try to get at the pine nuts, knocking the pine cones off the tree, and trying to get at the nuts on the ground.

The galahs were there tonight, and they also took advantage of our two bird baths. I had an interesting show, and thought this would be a good further note to this blog post. And I took a photo, so I’m able to put up one of my own pics, as well as the others.

galahs drinking

this photo of galahs drinking at bird bath taken by Carolyn Cordon

two other bird photos from http://www.rgbstock.com/