autumn · daughter · enchanting · friends · gardening · In My World

Before April is over….

kookiesBefore April is over, I wanted to drop by and say hello to my blogging friends.

threeWhat a month it has been! Brilliant news, cooling temperatures with the changing season, gardening projects….April has always been one of my favourite months of the year, a time when my muse drops by and sets my fingers to the keyboard, yet this month I have been so busy, (both in mind and body!) and, well, I miss my blogging friends, my quiet time sitting at my desk, catching up with your world.preeningToday, I am heading out to help with a project at our factory, but there is another project that I have been working on, one very dear to my heart, a gift for my very special daughter, so here is a snippet, with more to be revealed later….projectI have been taking a few photos each day, not as many as usual, but some I thought I would quickly share, before April is over, taken over the last few days.grevsMajor happenings are taking place in the garden too, but more on that later, I have to rush now….miner….as much as I would love to stay and chat some more…..

Wishing you all peace, love and happiness, and sending hugs from my presently chaotic, but very happy world. 🙂

mags

 

Australia · blessings · enchanting · freedom

Ask and it is Given ~ Kangaroos in the Wild.

What a treat to see a kangaroo coming up so close to my car!
What a treat to see a kangaroo coming up so close to my car!

Around the end of January this year you may remember that I did a series of posts on all things Australian. With Australia Day being celebrated on January 26th each year, it is a great time to take a look at Australian icons, and I really enjoyed sharing some of them here on my blog.

Karma asked if I would be showing you photos of any kangaroos or koalas. I told her at the time that I would see what I could come up with, having in mind that I could take a trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, about twenty minutes drive from my home, to take a few photos to show you some of our native animals.

Look, a whole little family!
Look, a whole little family!

Well, my trip to the wildlife sanctuary didn’t go to plan at that time, Mother Nature had other ideas for the people of the Tweed and Gold Coast areas. We spent weeks avoiding venturing outdoors, due to the tail end of a tropical cyclone hitting us!

The worst of the cyclone was over by the end of January, but the wet weather conditions continued for weeks. And what I really wanted you to see was kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat and not in captivity.  I’ve heard that many of the people in other countries believe that Australians see koalas and kangaroos regularly, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t. Seeing our iconic marsupial mammals, which is what koalas and kangaroos are, in the wild is a huge treat for us too!

I didn’t forget Karma’s request, although I really wanted to see some native animals in the wild! As usual, The Universe responded to my request, and during the space of just one month I have had the privilege to see firstly kangaroos, then koalas, both in the wild!

I could see they were about to jump away and thought I wouldn't be seeing them again.
I could see they were about to jump away and thought I wouldn’t be seeing them again.

The kangaroos I found at a place called South West Rocks, where my son and I stayed a night at a motel on our way home from our trip down south in early July. Adam had been to South West Rocks with his father a couple of years ago when my husband took him there for a surf carnival. Adam loved the area and wanted us to spend a night there, telling me I would find heaps of very cool things to take photos of. I don’t think even Adam expected to see the kangaroos!

It was late afternoon when we arrived and by the time we had booked into our motel and headed out for a drive it was beginning to get dark, so the top photo, as you can see, has been taken at night-time. Regardless, I was thrilled to bits to actually see these kangaroos hopping around near my car!

Kangaroos legs are incredibly strong as you can see here by the way they jump.
Kangaroos legs are incredibly strong as you can see here by the way they jump.

The next morning Adam and I booked out of the motel early, to make the most of our time at South West Rocks before we headed home. First of all we drove to the lighthouse, where I took some photos of the lighthouse and the surrounding ocean. It is indeed an area of great beauty and Adam was right, I found plenty of photo opportunities there.

Next we went to Trial Bay Gaol. I won’t tell you about the gaol or the lighthouse now, but all will be revealed in a future blog post. I will tell you though that the gaol is no longer in use as a gaol!

As it was so early in the day we were the only car in the parking lot and all was quiet around the gaol, as I walked around snap, snap, snapping away with my camera. I walked up to the main entrance of the gaol and as I continued to take photos a movement caught my eye.

They jumped right up to me! Aren't they beautiful?
They jumped right up to me! Aren’t they beautiful?

At first I thought I was imagining things, but no, there they were, a mama, papa and little baby kangaroo ~ a whole family! All three looked very alert and I knew that they had heard the click of the camera and had seen me there, so I stayed still. Low and behold, suddenly, all three of them decided to come over and say hello to me!

I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful they were, with their big black-brown eyes, and the softest of fur. Well, I couldn’t touch them, they were behind the gate of the gaol, but I have touched kangaroo fur before and believe me, it’s very soft. I think it was all too much for the little joey tough as it quickly scurried into mama’s pouch once they had come over to me. The funny little thing, it didn’t right itself in the pouch though, so if you look carefully you will see one long, thin, black joey paw, peeking out of her pouch!

You can see here the little joeys long black hind leg sticking out of mama's pouch.
You can see here the little joeys long black hind leg sticking out of mama’s pouch.

The kangaroos stayed with me for a few minutes. I don’t know if they were expecting food, but I had nothing to give them, so after a short while they jumped away, out of sight.

Talk about magical moments. Anyone would have thought I was a visitor from overseas seeing kangaroos for the first time! It wasn’t just the joy of seeing them though and taking their photo. They were living freely in a wild habitat and not an animal sanctuary, and they trusted me enough to come right up close to me. What a privilege that was.

In my next post I will show you the koalas I saw. There is a funny story to the koalas, and I learnt a lot about them too! 🙂

And here's a close up photo of mama and papa.
And here’s a close up photo of mama and papa.

Australia · enchanting · freedom · pecan nuts · photography

Ethereal

etherial.jpg

“To hear never-heard sounds,
To see never-seen colors and shapes,
To try to understand the imperceptible
Power pervading the world;
To fly and find pure ethereal substances
That are not of matter
But of that invisible soul pervading reality.
To hear another soul and to whisper to another soul;
To be a lantern in the darkness
Or an umbrella in a stormy day;
To feel much more than know.
To be the eyes of an eagle, slope of a mountain;
To be a wave understanding the influence of the moon;
To be a tree and read the memory of the leaves;
To be an insignificant pedestrian on the streets
Of crazy cities watching, watching, and watching.
To be a smile on the face of a woman
And shine in her memory
As a moment saved without planning.” ~ Dejan Stojanovic.

???????????????????????????????The first day that a flock of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos invaded my Pecan Nut Tree was indeed a happy day for this bird-loving, photo taking blogger. For weeks I had listened to their raucous screeching sounds as they flew through the ether, bypassing my garden and heading off to parts unknown.

???????????????????????????????These are large native Australian birds, and whilst some may regard them as pests, there are many more, including myself, who love the personality, character and appearance of cockatoos.

During one of my early morning photo session I could hear my next door neighbour calling out “shoo, shoo” and when I looked towards her garden, there she was, running around her yard, waving a stick and obviously attempting to remove these angelic beauties from her garden. Not that she had many in her yard, and they were my pecan nuts they were munching on.

I chuckled to myself and continued clicking away with my camera. The cockatoos ignored the stick-waving human. The stick-waver gave up.

???????????????????????????????We planted our pecan nut tree about eighteen years ago, so you can imagine how large it is now, and we have enjoyed many seasons of munching away on the pecans ourselves. In fact, I’m sure I have a post, somewhere in the archives, of my delicious Pecan Pie…..

"Wanna share....?"
“Wanna share….?”

…..Here it is!  And look at that, I added the recipe on June, 18th, 2010, almost three years ago to the day! And I’m more than happy to share my pie recipe with everyone, unlike my cockatoo friends, who are very possessive with what they regard as their own, as you can see here!

"Gimme that now!"
“Gimme that now!”

During the silence of the early morning, with around two dozen cockatoos breaking open the hard shells of the pecans, the collective cracking of shells being broken open resembles the sound of a fire burning. You know the crackling sound a fire makes when logs are burning in the fireplace? That’s the noise that the cockatoos make with the shells.

???????????????????????????????Their white feathers are so pristine in appearance and with the birds being so large, between fifteen to twenty inches in length, when their wings are spread they seem to look as I imagine an angel in flight would look.

???????????????????????????????Oh okay, yes, you’re right, I don’t imagine an angel with a rounded beak and black beads for eyes, but you do get the picture, don’t you? Their white wings look like gossamer, cascading through the air. I suspect in reality those wings hold power, though my heart wishes to believe they are gossamer.

A white flurry of gossamer wings....
A white flurry of gossamer wings….

Cockatoos can be tamed and kept as pets, even taught how to talk. Apparently they are very demanding pets. I’ve also read that they are very affectionate birds, which doesn’t surprise me, after having been privileged to watch them interact with one another in the wild.

Pretty Cocky!
Pretty Cocky!

The long yellow feathers on their head, the crest, has its own set of muscles, allowing the bird to lift their sulphur crest when happy, excited or playful. As I have watched them, I’ve noticed that when something catches their eye somewhere in the distance, they will raise their crest before flying away.

???????????????????????????????My neighbour, who also feeds the wild birds, (not the stick waving woman!) has a huge pine tree in her garden and the cockatoos love chewing on the pine cones too. In captivity, they can destroy furniture, as they love to chew on wood. Perhaps the stick waver thought they were plotting to destroy her trees…..?

???????????????????????????????They seem to be quite partial to the exotic orange blooms of my African Tulip tree too. I’m guessing there must be seeds inside the flowers that they enjoy eating. I’ve also watched and wondered, as they shake their heads back when they have a mouthful of delicious orange-ness, just as this next cocky is doing.

???????????????????????????????I must admit, I wondered whether the cockatoos had left me any pecans on the tree at all! Not that I needed any, as I already have two buckets full on the veranda, waiting to be shelled, so I took another bucket down to the tree last weekend only to find that there were heaps of pecan nuts left for me! These gorgeous white-winged angels are not greedy at all. 🙂

An angelic pecan muncher in action.
An angelic pecan muncher in action.
autumn · blessings · enchanting · gardening · lemon · Mount Warning · photography

Blissful, Enchanting April ~ Part 2.

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“Suddenly to be transported to that place where the air was so still that it held its breath, where the light was so golden that the most ordinary things were transfigured – to be transported into that delicate warmth, that caressing fragrance…..” ~ The Enchanted April, Elizabeth Von Arnim (1922).

Mount Warning in all its glory.
Mount Warning in all its glory.

The month of April really has been the most enchanting month, with the sun’s rays losing the harshness of summer, yet the cooler winter air has not yet arrived. More and more flowers are breaking out in bloom as each new day arrives, the breeze is the gentlest I have felt it in a long time and the birds flittering around the garden are just happy to be alive.

I’m happy to be alive; I wouldn’t want to miss out on a single day spent in the garden at this most beautiful  time of year.

Prince of Orange.
Prince of Orange.

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” ~ Lindley Karstens.

A favorite in the garden, my Tibouchina tree.
A favorite in the garden, my Tibouchina tree.

The bees are buzzing, the butterflies are fluttering, and oh how I love to get my hands in the soil. I can feel  a trip to my local garden centre is imminent, and I’ll probably arrive home with way more plants than I intended, but that okay, there’s always room for just one more beauty in the garden.

No shortage of lemons.
No shortage of lemons.

During the last couple of weeks I have made two Lemon Meringue Pies, which is Ben’s favourite, as my lemon tree branches are overloaded, almost to breaking point, with huge, juicy lemons.

If there’s one thing I enjoy as much as gardening, it would have to be picking freshly grown fruit and vegetables straight from the garden and bringing them indoors to devour with my family.

Crazy clouds on a fine day.
Crazy clouds on a fine day.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” ~ Abram L. Urban.

Blooming Dahlias.
Blooming Dahlias.

Tomorrow, when the month of May is here, I expect the weather will begin to cool down somewhat and by June we will all be wearing warm jumpers again for perhaps two or three months. These photos belong to April though, and needed to be shared before we bid April goodbye again for another eleven months.

This has been the most Enchanting April I can remember, ever. Did I say that about last April? Perhaps. But that’s okay. I will probably go into raptures over my garden and the wonders of nature all over again next April as well.

A lone Kookaburra.
A lone Kookaburra.

“….April came along softly like a blessing, and if it were a fine April it was so beautiful that it was impossible not to feel different, not to feel stirred and touched.” ~ The Enchanted April.

Three for dinner.
Three for dinner.

I’ve spent so much time in the garden lately that I have hardly found any time to read at all. I have come across more books written by Elizabeth Von Arnim though, including “Elizabeth and her German Garden” and “The Solitary Summer”. Being the keen gardener that she was, it is little wonder that Elizabeth was able to describe the beauty of the gardens at San Salvatore in “The Enchanted April” so poetically.

Mind your manners now....
Mind your manners now….

“It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional.” ~ Robert Brault.

Butcher Bird.
Butcher Bird.

All of my regular feathered friends continue to visit me for their breakfast and dinner each day. Their little in-built timers tell them all to arrive at around 7 am each morning, then again at around 4:30 pm. The Kookaburras dominate, the Magpies seem to rank second in the chain and my sweet little Butcher Birds are left to clean up the dregsy remains. (We don’t let the Kookaburras and Magpies know it, but I usually take out a little something extra for the Butcher Birds after the others have left.)

Drooping seed pods.
Drooping seed pods.

My hours spent in my garden will always be blissful. It doesn’t matter at all whether I am watering the garden, feeding the birds, digging out weeds or planting new flowers, my garden transports me to another world, a blissful world, an enchanting world…..

…..an Enchanted April.

Smiling Gazanias.
Smiling Gazanias.

If you missed Part 1 of my April gardening photos, you will find them at “Three Hours of Gardening Bliss ~ Part 1”.