garden, Uncategorized

Why Gratitude is a Good Thing

I sometimes do a week of thanking Nature, and the world, for the good things in my life. Things like gentle breezes, flowers, trees, the lovely night sky (I live in the country), yummy fruit and vegetables. Feeling grateful for the good things in life is a fine meditative thing to do, much healthier for your mind than focusing on the bad things.

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Missy, our dog, is another thing I will usually put on my list of things, although some of the things she does certainly don’t get on my ‘gratitude’ list. If you’ve ever had a sight hound, you may have an idea about the unlovely things our lovely dog sometimes does. There’s no need for me to go into that here.

 

I am grateful for her though, and I’m especially grateful for all of the lovely birds that love around where I live. We have ones that most Australians would have, Magpipes, Sparrows, Starlings. We also have two different kinds of Honeyeaters, Crows, Murray Magpies, two kinds of Miners, and many others.

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I have a list of the different kinds of birds that I have seen at my place. I’ve been working on this list for around twenty years, and I currently have around 45 different birds on the list. I live in country South Australia, about sixty kilometers north of Adelaide. We in a little townette, called Redbanks, on one and three quarter acres of land, with farmland on all sides of the town.

On our property we have around fifty trees and bushes over 2 metres tall, eucalypt trees, pine trees, a couple of citrus trees, and lots of others I don’t know the names of. There are different flowers at different times of the year, for birds to feed on, or for insects which also provide food for the birds. In am grateful for the trees, the flowers, even the insects because the birds can feast on them.

Feeling grateful for things, is so much healthier for a person than feeling angry about things, or despondent, or annoyed. There are things that annoy me, or otherwise are not things to be grateful for, but thinking too much about those things is a bad thing, not a good thing. It has been proven that positive thinking has good effects on a person’s health. I’m a believer in following good scientific studies, and I feel I am proof of the benefits on focusing on the positive in life.

As I have talked about on another of my blogs, where I talk about my life with Multiple Sclerosis. Talking about these things, and sharing the good things about my life with MS can help to remind me about how well I’m doing with this disease, and it can also give other people inspiration to find ways to be grateful about the good in their own lives too.

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philosophy

My Spiritual Site

Our backyard seems to be the place I can go to, to find peace and a sense of secular spiritually. I am not a believer in any god, but a believer in the all mighty power of Good. When I go out of our back door, I am at one with Nature, which is my symbol of the greater good.

Outside are the plants we grow for food (herbs, fruit, vegetables) and for enjoyment (flowers, lawn, greenery). Outside is the big blue or clouded sky, and the huge trees that bring the birds I love to watch. And further, beyond the backyard is the rest of our property, and all of the rest of our township we’ve lived in and loved for over thirty years.

When I sit outside on that sofa that once upon a time was our ‘good’ sofa, I think about lots of different things, or sometimes I meditate and think about absolutely nothing. Whichever end of the thinking spectrum I am at, I know it will be good. I also go outside sometimes to do a secular salute to the sun. I did one of these this morning. I will explain how I did this today, which is similar to how I usually do it.

Today I let Missy outside, then swapped my slippers for my rubber boots, and went and stood on the concrete path and looked up toward the sun. Then I held both arms out behind myself with my palms facing upward, before holding that position and sinking into a squat. I held that squat for about ten seconds then rose slowly, finishing with my hands in a ‘prayer position’ in front of my chest. I repeated that entire routine, I think five times and then Missy and I came back inside. I think both of us benefited in various ways from it.

I’m trying to live as mindful a life as I can, and with the mindfulness and meditation, combined with the wonderful family and friends I have, my life is a joyful one too! My simple life brings me much joy indeed. Do you find joy in your life? I’d love to hear about how you do it, leave a comment here!

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growing your own

Growing Our Own

We love mandarins in our household, as I’m sure many households do. They’re usch neat packages from Nature, wrapped up and ready for us. We love them so much, a couple of years ago, Graham, the main gardener in our house, bought a mandarin and planted it. He’s been looking after it well, watering the plant, and putting down mulch to conserve the water.

By the way, he’s been using shredded waste paper for the mulch, and it seems to be doing the job well. It’s a far better thing to do with paper, than burning or throwing it away, that’s for sure. Last season, we had flowers on the bush, and some tiny little green fruit began growing, but they all fell off, and never made it to possible eating stage. I think the tree was the victim of a run of hot weather.

This year the mandarin is going along better, it’s made it through the summer without suppering from too much heat, and the tiny little mandarins that came from the flowers grew, and grew, and grew. Some of them are still growing, but they’re hanging in and getting bigger all of the time. Mandarins are changing colour, from green to orange, slowly headed for sweet loveliness!
IMAG0309Looking at the photo, you can see some of the fruit is turning from green to orange, hooray! I can see I think six of the mandies in this photo. I’ve been counting and recounting them, but I’m not sure how many there are. Sometimes I could see 18, other times I’ve counted up to 21 lovely mandarins. It doesn’t really matter how many there are, but I count them anyway. Humans are strange like that, I don’t really know why.

If anyone has ideas about this, please leave a comment, I’d love to discuss the matter. Is it greed-related perhaps? Wanting to have lots of good things?

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birds in garden, Uncategorized

My Weather, Beautiful, not Crazy

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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, dogs, Uncategorized

Wild Life in the Garden

I have a backyard, and I have a front yard, and I have other areas available to me, if I want to be outside, on my property. We live on one and three quarter acres, my husband and I, our four dogs and sometimes our son. It’s a good life, and I love the amount of wild life sharing our property with us. Except for the snakes, I don’t love them …BrownSnake_Australia

The dogs we have, three of them anyway, are keen hunters. They’re Pharaoh Hounds, which are very much like greyhounds in that they love to chase things, and eat them. Our Pharaoh Hounds will chase and catch birds and reptiles whenever they can. Yesterday, our youngest dog, Missy, caught a bird, a small one, I wasn’t there, but my husband saw the results, Missy chowing down on a feathered morsel. It’s natural to the dogs to do this, but I feel a little bit sad about it … I just hope it was an introduced bird, not a native bird.

Of course, all of the birds deserve to live, as do our dogs. It’s a tricky thing, trying to edge an ethical way around dogs and birds, and other creatures. Dogs do their doggy things, birds do their birdy things, and the reptiles do their own reptilian things too. We have those reptiles on our property at various warmer times, lizards of various sizes and kinds, and snakes of a potentially deadly kind. We’ve certainly faced potential death from a snake bite, and don’t ever want to go through that again.

It was Missy that time too, that caught and tried to kill a deadly snake, a brown snake. Missy bit the snake, but the snake bit Missy back. A worrying trip the vet, appropriate treatment and a sleep over at the clinic, and Missy was back with us, a little subdued, but soon looking for prey again … The Pharaoh Hounds are wired for chasing, and there’s not a lot we can or want to do about that – we just keep them safe inside in summer, keeping an eye out, and an ear out too, for that hound chase thing kicking in and looking for trouble …

There are lovely things going on in our garden too, of course. We have grass, tall trees, flowers, fruit and vegetables, all growing well and showing us a lovely green vision of cool beauty. We aim to keep things relatively hardy, and as organic as possible. There’s nothing better than eating a fresh strawberry, plucked from the bush just outside of our back door, red and plump and warmed by the sun – delicious!

We also have lettuce, capsicums, garlic and celery growing. The celery is a test, and is growing in the kitchen, in a little plastic container, with a little bit of water that we refresh daily. I read about this idea, and loved the thought that we could grow our own celery right there in the kitchen windowsill, so I tried it. And yes, the celery is growing from the leftover celery that would normally have gone into the compost bin. So in theory, we have grown new celery from old, but the growth rate is slow, and our need for celery is faster than the growth.capsicum

I’m thinking of transferring the celery outside and hope it will grown faster that way. Growing things inside doesn’t happen as often inside for us, going outside is enjoyable, and the dogs are always likely to steal anything growing inside! Speaking of inside, there is wild life inside at times too. We’ve had mice inside, and many others in our area have had them too. I feel sorry for every mouse that falls victim to the traps we have, but I also feel cross when I see evidence of mice in the kitchen – yuck!

Outside are lovelier things to see – I’m an amateur birdwatcher, and love to see the variety of birdlife that lives around us. From the usual sparrows and starlings, to the lovely honeyeaters, willie wagtails, and others, I like to sit on the veranda and watch them as they go about their business. Quiet and mindful fun for me – I do a kind of Nature Meditation and feel soooooo calm and Zen!

Living with wild life is a game of what you can put up with and what you can’t – sometimes Nature wins, most times, Mankind wins, but the balance is feeling pretty good for us. We have shelter, food, water, space – and we are more or less happy to share some of what we safely can, with Nature.

If you love the Nature around you, I’d love to read about it, feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

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dogs, Uncategorized

Dogs are all asleep, but Garden is Awake!

When I look around me right now, I can see four dogs, all fast asleep inside with me on a dreary cloudy day, yes another one, with more to come. It’s Autumn, and these kind of days are common in the lead up to Winter …

When I look outside though, it’s quite a different story. The orange flowering shrub I always forget the name of has an amazing display of orange flowers, with a cascade of blossoms falling from the shrub as the birds poke their beaks into the orange trumpets! It’s a Cape something, something bush …

Anyway, I’ve going to head outside again soon and spend some time with this wide awake garden. We have strawberries growing in hanging pots just near the back door, and I want to check to see if there are going to be any more of the lovely berries again soon. Then I’ll go a little further and check on how our capsicums are going. I’m not expecting much, they do better when they get more sunshine …

This rain we’ve had has been good though, good for the plants we want, good for the plants we’re planning to plant out, but of course it’s good for the plants we don’t want. Weeds are the burden you get when you have a garden though, and I’d rather have a garden with some weeds than have no garden at all.

And now some of the dogs are awake and demanding to be let out into the garden again … They’re responsible for keeping that safe too, warning off invaders – rabbits, reptiles, and so on … It really is a tough life for them, haha!

I’ve been out to the garden now, and back inside again, after sampling the ripest of our strawberries. And by ‘sampling’ I mean biting into the sweet red/pink flesh and eating it. Ripe strawberries picked and eaten straight from the plant are delicious!cape honeysuckle

I’ve done some research now, and the plant with the orange flowers is actually Tecoma Capensis, or Cape Honeysuckle. It isn’t an Australian plant, but it does well in temperate areas, such as where we live. The native birds, particularly New Holland Honeyeaters certainly sucking the ‘honey’ from those flowers!

I love this plant, and the glorious blooms, yet another great thing to see in our garden! Do you have things is your garden to love to look at? I’d love to read about it, why not leave a comment?!

 

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