birds in garden, dogs

Watching the Birds …

Well, it’s Spring in Australia, and in the garden, Spring means lots of new things are coming along, both plants and creatures. One of the things I’ve been noticing much more than usual is young birds …

I’ve seen various birds doing their natural thing, courting, mating, nesting. And now I’m noticing the baby birds first, and now the adolescent birds. One bird species in particular has connected with me, and I was thrilled to see a pair of Willie Wagtails building a nest, and then obviously having laid eggs in the nest. The nest is only a couple of metres from where I park my car, and I’ve been thrilled to see the pair of birds taking turns at sitting on the nest.

About a fortnight ago, three baby Willie Wagtails could be seen in the nest, and then, a couple of days ago, they took flight! They didn’t fly very far, and they are still hanging around not too far from where that nest was that was their first home. These babies slowly  growing their tail feathers, practising their flying, and learning to wag their little tails!

I’m thrilled these little babes are living in and around our backyard, where I can see them and their parents whenever I go out of the backyard! I love seeing Nature so close to me, and I wish this family of lovely birds well! I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t love these cheeky-seeming little birds!

Anyway, I have finally written a poem about these little new residents in the yard, and here it is, a little Haiku poem for the little baby birds:

Keeping watch
Willie Wagtail
babies all flown the nest –
parents still care …
I will go on watching this family of birds, and I hope they keep on staying around. I am worried though that Missy, our dog, might decide to make a snack of one of the baby birds. They are getting better at flying though, so I hope they will be able to keep on flying high above Missy’s reach, so they can stay safe. Missy usually only goes outside if someone goes outside too, and that means we can keep watch. I hope that will be enough.
At the moment, Missy seems mostly interested in hunting for, I suppose snakes … She hunts around the fence line, where there is some grass, and sheets of fencing panels, where snakes could be hiding. I so hope she doesn’t ever catch a snake, I don’t want to lose our beautiful and silly hound. But she’s a hunter through and through, and she doesn’t listen to us when the hunt is on …
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!




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!


Reasons Why I love the Garden

  1. I love the garden because it’s colourful blue flowers
  2. I love the garden because it’s fruitful
  3. I love the garden because it’s peacefulabove the fish pond
  4. I love the garden because it strongly links me with Nature – the birds love the garden, and I love to watch the birds who visit our garden
  5. I love the garden because a garden is the loveliest place to benapowrimo 13 pine pic
  6. I love the garden because it adds greatly to my creative self
    Photo from back when the first print run of my first self-published book came out. Currnetly promoting my thrid print run!  "Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs"

    Photo from back of my book about gardening from a dogs point of view, when the first print run of this, my first self-published book came out.
    “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs”

    Yes the garden is a lovely place – at the moment we have snow peas plants producing food for us, with tiny new snow pea plants growing, and soon enough I expect we’ll have all of the snow peas we need for ourselves, I love snow peas! My favourite vegetable, I think.

    When I sit out in the garden, my mind calms down, and wonderful thoughts occur at times. Serenity rules in my garden time, until the dogs or perhaps the air force have other ideas! But even these things can’t take away from the lovely things the garden does for my head and my body, slowly calming down, with stress leaving my body.

    I have an almost spiritual feeling for the garden, and for Nature in general, I love it so much. I feel sorry for people who don’t have a garden to love. Do you love the garden too?


Water Brings the Garden to Life!

After some hard work by one family member to keep the back lawn alive and well during our recent heat wave (many thanks to my husband Graham), we’ve now had an absolute deluge compliments of Nature. Our back lawn is looking lovely and green, and our trees, shrubs and flowers are looking wonderful! This free rain is always a welcome surprise, until it becomes a flood.

At the moment, we’re certainly not needing to worry about flooding. So far, our house has always been fine, water-wise. The front driveway may be an upclose water feature, but the liquid is reamining outside, with none coming in with us! The birds have a large variety of places to go for water at the moment, from the two bird baths we have, the dog’s water bowls outside, the driveway lake and the swimming pool.

We have lorikeets in our flowering gum trees at the moment too, which is always exciting (yes, I’m one of those ‘twitchers’ – bird lovers). I spent several days during the heat wave out on our back veranda, trying to work out which kind of lorikeets they were in the trees. But I couldn’t get close enough for a positive ident, because I didn’t want to get overheated from the scorching sun.

But then the weather changed, the cooler weather and then rain meant I could get much closer, and could work out from their markings that we had Musk Lorikeets in our flowering gums. There may be another, smaller type of lorikeet there too, but other things have got my attention now. Later on I may check. The weather is still lovely and cool, and it would be a bit of a shame if I don’t do my ‘Twitcher’ task with the seriousness it deserves!

I have muffins planned though. Banana muffins. With Walnuts, and other Yummy things! I’ve taken the black bananas out of the freezer where they’ve been hiding, and when they’ve defrosted, I’ll turn them, along with the things I’ve already got out, plus a few other things, into yummy muffins! Yay, I love bananas that have been cooked! These bananas are Lady Finger bananas that were left too long, and ripened to much, so that nobody wanted to eat them.

I grabbed them though, and put them in the freezer, always intending them to reach their utmost glory days, as the main ingredient for Banana Muffins! Another banana delicacy I’ve been thinking about lately is banana pancakes, in particular ones with maple syrup and a side of bacon, at the Java Hut in Gawler. The bacon added to this dish makes it totally awesome, and I hope, hope, hope it will happen on Monday!

Does anyone else have thoughts on cooking with bananas? I’d love to hear about it if you do! Now I have to go and turn the oven on, Banana Muffins want to be made!

birds, dogs

An Interesting Thing in the Garden

Less than half an hour ago, I saw the most interesting thing. I’ve lived in this house, with dogs here too, for about twenty five years, and this is the first time I’ve seen this thing.

We’ve had Willie Wagtails here, always, as far as I can remember. But tonight was the first time I’ve seen this happen. I’d let all four dogs out into the back yard for a toilet break after they’d had tea. The Pharaoh Hound girls did their usual trick of racing toward the back fence to catch something.

The boy dog, Lah Dee squatted for a poo, and then a brave little Willie Wagtail swooped him over and over again, chattering its anger at the dog. The dog ignored the bird and wandered off when he’d finished. Then I did my pooper scopper lady thing, wondering if I’d be swooped too. I was safe from the bird, which had flown off over the fence and into a gum tree nearby.

Then the two girl Pharaoh Hounds went down that part of the yard and they were both swooped too. I was ready to get involved and convince the dogs to go away if they tried to catch the bird, but fortunately, they didn’t seem to notice the bird either. This really surprised me, because both of these girls have caught and eaten birds before. I don’t mond it so much it it’s a sparrow or starling involved, but I love these cheeky Willie Wagtails, always have and always will!

I know it’s nature that makes the dogs want to catch things and eat them, but dogs came to Australia, whereas the Willie Wagtails are native birds, and I figure this gives them right of way here. Does anyone else have thoughts about these things? I’d love to know whether or not you agree!


Flight too far …

Today I noticed two birds that seem to have metaphorically bitten off more than they can chew. The two birds appear to be not as fledged as they thought they were. They are perched precariously high up in the dead gum tree at the back of our place. They’ve been there for at least an hour, because that’s how long I’ve been keeping a bit on an eye on them.

They’re partly fledged swallows, I think. They the right size to be swallows, but that’s not why I think that’s what they are. I think they’re swallows, because adult swallows have been flying over to the pair for quick visits. It’s not the same swallow flying in every time, and I’ve seen that at times one swallow visits, then flies off and another visits. 

There seem to be more swallows flying around the area, although I may just be imagining that. We do get a lot of swallows around our place. They like to zoom over our roof, and fly around our swimming pool, dropping in for a quick dip, or mouthful of water sometimes. 

I got our binoculars out and had a look at the birds. They seem to be a bit fluffy, the way young birds are. The last time I went out, the pair seemed to be restless. It’s quite a windy day today, and quite warm, about 33 C. I’m going to the Mallala Bowling Club soon, to watch my husband finish off his game of lawn bowls. I’ll check out the intrepid pair before I go, and again when I get back home.

I feel like I should do something, but I know they will either be OK, or not, and I shouldn’t interfere. I can’t interfere, I can’t think of anything I could do anyway … I welcome the thoughts of others about this. It’s the time of year in South Australia when young birds try their wings out …