birds, Uncategorized

My Aussie Backyard Bird Count

Because I am interested in, and care about, birds, I decided last month that I was going to do this Aussie Backyard Bird Count this year. This event is held every October, all around Australia, and is a great way for researchers to gather information about birds in the built up environment.

Or of course, some people live in a house with not much built up areas at all, and those statistics are also important too. The Aussie Bird Count requires those taking part to record the different bird seen, and the numbers of that bird seen. (I should have read up better, for my first count, I neglected to report how many of the different birds seen, so it was recorded as the basic 1 only.)

I’m going to do another bird count later on today, and I expect to see some of the birds not there for this first count. I really like this chance to get involved in something like this – helping the researchers who are working on a variety of different ways to help all of the wonderful birds we have in Australia!

Apparently thousands of Australians get involved in this event every year. It happens in October, which is the middle of Spring when many birds are out and about, for their breeding season.

muAH7rk(1)(not my photo, obtained online, creative commons)

The bird in the photo is actually one I commonly see at my place, but not today, for my first count. It is a New Holland Honeyeater, and I hope I see one or more when/if I do another count later on in the day. I did my first count at noon, but I know I will see different birds later on in the day. If I remember, and have time, I will go outside into the backyard again at around 5pm, I think I should see one or more of them then.

If you are Australian, why not take a look at the website of Birdlife Australia, and do your own bird counts! Birdlife Australia does good work in conservation, with a focus, not surprisingly on birds. But of course, birds need habitat, so the organisation uses these stats to view the state/health of the environment. If there is a healthy environment, there will be plenty of birds!

The seven different kinds of birds I saw today were Swallow, Sparrow, Willie Wagtail, Spotted Turtledove, Starling, Noisy Miner and Blackbird. As I said, I know there are other different birds around my place, and if you know what birds you have, I would love to hear about it – leave a message telling us, if you want to!

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philosophy

Making Changes

Making changes can be a good thing in life. Things get stale, or go out of date, new things come into being, and you may want to have a piece of the new best thing. These are fine things, if they suit your life, and your lifestyle.

One such change is the new image I have put on the this blog – well, it isn’t actually something new, the image is one from ten years ago, bu it hasn’t been in this position before, so that is new (although it has been in different places on this blog previously, I think …).

Anyway, the image is of a Pharaoh Hound puppy, one of ours, and possibly the puppy we still have, Missy, who is now ten years old, and a long way beyond being a puppy, and she has the grizzled muzzle to show for it. The creature with the pup is Pumba, from The Lion King, a toy for our puppies at that time, to play with. The puppy and toy are both in our whelping box, where most of our pups were born, over our years as dog breeders.

Giving up dog breeding was definitely a good thing in our lives. Showing dogs and breeding them was fun for many years. Things change though, we had an actual human baby, he grew, we all found other things to attract our attention. We still had dogs, but they became solely pets instead of show/breeding stock and pets. The dogs aged, and passed on, and weren’t replaced with new dogs. Missy is it, and she happily lives her life between the backyard and her sofa!
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Anyway, gardening took over our weekends, rather than dog showing. We enjoy our garden, and our garden is certainly coming along much better now that it’s getting more attention. I am so happy with the vegetable garden, and those mandarins on our tree! I like the herbs in our garden too, in fact I was outside earlier today and chomped a few sprigs of parsley, which is far healthier than I previously realised.

dig it

I’m making a point of eating healthier food, with more vegetables. Today I chopped up a celery stalk into small pieces, and mixed it through my lunch of nuts and dried fruit. The celery was a lovely crunchy addition, and I’m glad I added it! I had a mandarin with my lunch too, which wasn’t so lovely. It wasn’t one from our garden, it was a purchased one, and even before I ate it, I had pretty low expectations of it regarding flavour.

This mandarin didn’t smell fresh, like the ones from our tree smell, it was old and stale, and that’s what the smell was like too. I love the smell of a fresh mandarin! Picking your own, when the fruit is at its absolute best is a wonderful thing. I’m so glad the change in our lives has brought these things into my life, more and more. With my husband retired from paid work, he is also glad to have so much more time to spend out in the garden, digging and planting! A fine way to get some exercise in the sunshine.

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Any other changes? This year I have been putting more attention into my writing ‘career’, including this blog and my others. That’s not a big change, but with luck, it may begin to actually bring me things, who knows. This blogging is fun to do, I love putting my thoughts ‘out there’ into the online world. I get a few comments here and there, and I love that, knowing that my words have found some interested readers. What writer doesn’t love that?!

I’m thinking about my life, and ideas, a lot more these days too. Being mindful is something that interests me a lot. I love to read interesting things, and share them with other interested people. Sharing thoughts on social media in this way seems like a fine thing to do, and even better is when I meet up with the people who share things like this, and we can give each other a hug.

doggone itAs I get older, I am loving getting hugs from friends, both new ones, and long-time friends. Hugs are gifts we give to others, which also give good things back to us, so hugging people I like, often, is a great change to make! It may be hard for people who know me these days to believe, but I used to be quite shy, and would never have hugged anyone, really. Now it can be a large hugfest, when I meet up with friends! More hugs is a great change.

If you have any good changes in your life, I’d love to hear about it – feel free to leave a comment here!

 

 

 

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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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dogs

When the Dog Goes Walkies

I’m not the one who takes the family dog walkies, that’s not my job. Graham is the one who goes walkies with Missy, and they both enjoy it. They are both getting more toned, ridding their bodies of excess weight, and adding on muscle. Being out and active in the garden can do both of those things too.

Missy is a ‘get up on the sofa and stay there’ kind of dog, for a large part of the day, but sometimes, when she goes into the yard, she really goes, streaking around and around the backyard like there’s a banshee at her back. Then she’ll suddenly stop and look at me, as if it was my fault she was running madly around and I should apologise, or something.

Of course, she may just be doing it because she likes a good run, every now and then, who knows? Until we learn how to understand what dogs really think, we can only guess, and the dogs can’t actually, truly tell us if we get it wrong.

Missy and Graham are out walking at the moment, which means the house is all mine, except for the people on the TV screen who I’m doing my best to ignore. They might be talking about sports I’m not interested in, or it could be political. I heard the word ‘problems’, and that’s it. It’s mostly a blur of sound, with little actual meaning. I think I just heard the word ‘drunk’ or it could have been ‘drug’, I’m not sure. Either way, it isn’t a good word to hear, under the circumstances. I’ll continue ignoring the TV, it’s better that way, I think.

dig it

So when I’m home alone, I ignore the TV, that is on anyway, waiting for Graham to get home so that somebody at least pays it some attention. I’m happy with no TV on, and only Natures sounds coming in from outside (although with the cooler weather here, I can’t hear much of that either). The idea of exercise, walking up and down our road, is a good idea, but I don’t like walking that much, even though I know I need the exercise almost as much as Graham does. I’m more like Missy, and will do my favoured exercises, but not too often, even if it’s good for me. Missy and I both like lolling about doing not much physical at all.

I don’t know if Missy does much thinking when she’s on the sofa. I know she has dreams, or maybe nightmares, when her legs move, and she whimpers a little bit. Do dogs really dream, I wonder? Am I just putting my own human interpretation on something? Humans often do that, anthropomorphising things that animals do, especially when the animals in question are our pets. When these creatures live in our homes, we see them doing things, and think we understand it all.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We don’t always get it right, I’m sure, but I hope that at least some of the time, humans can in fact understand what’s going on in the animal/pet world. When I wrote my three books with Buster the Dog (who lives in my head), I was trying hard to understand how things humans do seem to our pet dogs. I certainly enjoyed writing those books, and like sharing them with people (not just because I get money if they buy my books!)

I love to write about things to gain a better understanding of them, and to understand what I think about things. Do you write about things? If so, what is your favourite way to write – a journal or diary? A blog? Poetry? Stories? I’d love to hear about it!

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weather

My Front Yard View

Today I’m in my best seat in the house, on the sofa, near the window, with curtains drawn and the sun shining. I can see part of the front lawn, a weird shrub thing that has been there forever, but I still don’t know what it actually is. I can also see some of the pots we have with plants in them, along the front of part of our front veranda.

I can see the road near our driveway, and so far the only thing I can see moving are the plants. There are clouds up above, in the blue sky, but I can’t really tell from here whether or not they’re moving, but I assume with the strongish wind we have at the momeny, they definitely are moving.

The only living things I can see outside are plants. I haven’t spotted any birds at all, in the bush, flying around, or on the ground. Maybe all of the birds are somewhere warmer … It’s quite a cool day, after all, winter really is well on the way, so we should prepare ourselves for the cooler, and then cold weather, in the southern hemisphere. For those in the northern hemisphere, summer is approaching and you’d better prepare yourself for the heat.

Ah, I just saw a car drive past, so I’m obviously not the only living creature around. My dog Missy is inside with me, in her own favoured position, on her own sofa, curled up and cosy. IMAG0306Missy looks most comfortable there, and I’m comfy too. I have to go out later today though, and looking out at the sky again, I can see I’d better put a warm jacket on. The sunshine and blue sky have disappeared, and obviously those clouds sure were moving. There still haven’t been many cars though, and I like that, living on a quiet country road, where not much happens …

I still haven’t seen a single bird, but here comes a bit more sunshine, and I hope I’m soon going to be inspired enough to actually get up and get myself some lunch. My tummy is hinting that it would be a good idea, and I know I have plenty of health giving walnuts available to mix with some other things and turn into a good lunch. Did you know walnuts were the healthiest nut? The BBC said so, and I’m certainly prepared to believe them! BBC means believability to me.

So I thnk that’s it for me, time to get up off the sofa and get my lunch and another cup of coffee, yum.

Do you ever just sit comfortably inside and look at what’s happening outside? What do YOU see? (I still haven’t spotted any birds at all out there)

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New Book

What’s that? A Possible New Book?

The Buster the Dog series of books has three books in it so far … The first book “Dig it! Gardening Tips for Dogs” came out in 2007, then some time later came “Doggone It – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”. After that, more rapidly, came possibly my favourite book in the series so far, “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts”.

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doggone it

dog buddha front cover

 

I had thought I was at the end of this series of books. Buster the Dog and I have had a fun time writing them together, and I’m pretty sure our illustrator Ally (Allyson Hean). enjoyed doing her wonderful illustrations that added much to the words Buster and I wrote. So, it was great while it lasted, and I still sell the occasional copy of these three books, but now, even as I am looking to order another print run of the first book, a new possible book title has popped into my head … Maybe this series has another book to come?

This book title offers much in terms of research for me, and interest (I hope!) to possible readers. It will be a matter of covering some old ground from the first three books, and the expanding much, about one particular subject common to all of these first books. I suspect that as well as looking back at those earlier books, I am also going to have to do some research, to get as broad an idea as possible for this new book. So, Buster and I will have to become researchers as well as authors, looking into the background concerning things we’ve covered in more basic and obvious ways. We’re going to have to become smarter in the way we present our ideas. Well maybe.

We probably won’t have to do that correct referencing thing that uni students have to do, because, hey, we’re only here to have some fun, and give other people a bit of fun too. Buster the Dog is itching (metaphorically only – no fleas on him) to get into this subject. He has always had thoughts on this particular one, and yes, I’ve had some thoughts about it too. So what is this important subject? Can you guess? If you’ve read the first three books you might be able to guess, because it’s clear from the words written that Buster is interested in it.

So what is it? Well, it’s CATS! of course. Buster is extremely interested in CATS! This new book though, it won’t be about how much Buster would love to chase and catch cats, it will be a learned discussion on cats, dogs, and their interactions with humans. The third book looks at this theme the most of all three books, and this fourth (possible) book will be all about that relationship, in the present dog, into the future, and in the past. I know that some of the things that will have to be written, may make Buster the Dog growl, and get a bit cranky, but the truth is the truth, and it will have to come out in this book.

Because in the past of course, cats were considered to be divine creatures particularly by the Egyptians way back in time. Buster doesn’t like thinking about this idea at all, but it’s been written about a lot, and can’t be ignored. In this new book that Buster the Dog and I may write we will be thinking and writing about this subject, how it all came about, how it was thought on, and what the future may hold. So this new book will have a title that poses a question, and will be full of discussion on this question, with perhaps the ultimate truth on the subject.

There is only a book title so far, with a couple of thoughts of mine, and some whining and growling in equal measure from Buster the Dog. I’m not sure when the text of the book will be written, or whether it will ever be written at all, but in the meantime, I have this book title swimming through the swamp I call my sub conscious mind and we can only wait and see what Buster the Dog and I will make of this title:

“Divine or Disaster?”

I welcome ideas and thoughts about this, leave a comment and who know what may happen?!

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