Australia · blessings · books · family · freedom · memories · Mount Warning · rain · reading · spring · sunset · Tweed Valley

Monday Musings

5:45am in the valley.

There were storms about last night – plural. Thunder with no rain during the afternoon, which subsided. A rain storm between around 6pm to 8pm, which also ended. Then overnight, another storm. Bowie cat, I discovered, is scared of storms and slept all night cuddled close to me.

I didn’t know what to expect in the valley this morning, but I woke to a very pretty misty fairyland scene, even if Mount Warning was hidden behind mist and clouds.

Each day since uni ended I catch up on a neglected chore, yesterday I pressure-cleaned the front veranda and part of the driveway; today I spent ironing.

Ironing is a pretty brainless task, and as anyone old-fashioned – like me – knows, whilst ironing and alone, your mind wanders off in all directions.

Today, I contemplated the risk I took in deciding to take photos and add a post to my blog every day, while I studied. It was a risk because I wasn’t completely sure I’d have time to post something every day, but I did. (Except for that one night when my sister called, and we stayed on the phone until after midnight. That was worth missing a day of posting.)

I decided to take that risk and make the committment, another committment – but an enjoyable one – which would distract me from the tunnel-vision I am prone to while studying and writing assignments. As much as I enjoy the study and writing, it drains me. I needed a distraction.

My conclusion at the end of the three month semester is that it paid off. Forcing myself to take time out each day to walk outside and take photos gave me something else to think about. It was a very worthwhile distraction. And even more rewarding has been my reconnection with blogging friends, most of whom I have known now for many years. The risk was worth the effort in many ways.

I’m not much of a risk taker though, which led to another thought. I feel content right now, I’m getting my home and garden back in order, and I am looking forward to Christmas. Through into next year, and when semester 1 of uni starts back, I will continue blogging. Decision made. But I also know I want to hold on to my peace of mind.

Here in Australia, there is a state election on Saturday. It’s not for my state, but the outcome will directly affect us as we live so close to the border. And next week, there’s the big election in the U.S., the outcome of which will have an impact on Australia. I’ve decided though, that this week, I will not listen to any news. Regardless of my opinions, the outcome of both elections will be whatever they will be, so I will save myself the agony of speculating on “what might be”. When the outcome of both elections are known, regardless of which party wins and which one loses, the world will keep on spinning.

Another thought I had was about the year – 2020 – which the multitudes seem to consider is the worst year ever. I understand why many people feel that way, but I don’t. Last year was more difficult when my husband and I had to organise aged care for his parents then sell the home they had lived in for twenty years. In 2015 my first grandchild, baby Samuel, was born, but never took a breath. The next year, baby Braxton, now aged four, was born, but we wouldn’t have Braxton if Samuel had survived. 2002 was an incredibly trying year when my husband had a serious accident and could have lost his life. He survived. I thought my world would end when my mother left me in 1993. The world kept spinning though, and her absence gave me the opportunity for the next five years to develop a closer relationship with my Dad.

My point is, life goes on. I thought a lot about that today, whilst ironing. I can’t control the world, my country, my state of residence, my town – I have no control over the actions of anyone other than myself, and it is my responsibility to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Making that decision feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I think also that if I stay away from watching television this week, I will get a lot more reading done. 🙂

Husband and I have been planning a renovation of my kitchen, so tonight he called me into the kitchen to discuss the height my new rangehood should be installed at. The discussion had to wait though. I looked out the window, and after all the rain, and storms, and mist we have had, look at the sunset sky! ❤

Australia · birds · in my garden · Mount Warning · rain · Tweed Valley · winter

Rain, rain, mist, and more mist.

It took a while, checking the valley at various times of the day, seeing only a sheet of white. Finally, just before nightfall, Mount Warning emerged from beneath her white blanket.

The rain bucketed down for most of the day and during the only break I noticed in the rain I went outside with my camera for a few minutes. It was then that I saw quite a few familiar bird faces around, so I assume they were taking advantage of the dry moment too.

There’s a family of Pied Butcher Birds nearby and I’ve often noticed they take refuge on my veranda on rainy days.

I call the Butcher Bird above Hoppy. They arrived at my house one day with a mangled foot and I feared they’d be attacked by the other birds as can happen when a bird is injured. I thought I’d never see them again, yet here they are, still visiting.

The bird above is another Pied Butcher Bird, but this one is less than a year old. He, or she, usually visits with Hoppy and I’ve noticed he-she also often stands on one foot even though both feet are just fine. I don’t know if Hoppy is a male or female, but I suspect this young one is “hers” which is why it mimics her stance.

The larger bird on my clothesline is a young Australian Magpie, and its little friend is another Australian native bird, a Noisy Miner. I’ve noticed that Magpies and Miners seem to hang out together a lot and even share food without squabbling. They must have some sort of a birdie-world agreement going on!

And the of course, there’s always a kookaburra or two in the garden. They usually have comical expressions on their faces, but I really had to laugh today at this pair with their inquisitive stares and wet, bedraggled feathers!

Australia · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · sugar cane · Tweed Valley

A Misty Morning … and a Sugar Cane Fire

The view to Mount Warning and across the Tweed Valley this morning looked incredible. A thick layer of mist had settled in the valley overnight, hiding from sight every object – both natural and constructed – that is usually visible on the valley floor. I took a series of misty morning photos which I will post here tomorrow.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day in our garden, right down the back of our yard among the fruit trees we planted several years ago. We’ve had a pretty hectic past eighteen months for one reason or another and have consequentially neglected our orchard area. And it shows. We have lost a couple of trees and have pruned back others harshly, hoping they will bounce back after some care and attention.

We were not alone in the garden though. As we were digging around our (very healthy!) pecan tree we noticed a kookaburra watching us from its perch in the pear tree.

You might notice the intensity of this gorgeous bird’s gaze! We knew what he was looking for – dinner – and it wasn’t long before he swooped down to catch a tasty morsel he had noticed in the soil.

At other times he seemed quite nonchalant, as if the potential of discovering a meal in our turned garden soil hadn’t crossed his mind!

After collecting dinner he flew back to the tree branch and dined alone, then shortly after he flew away.

Meanwhile, we heard the crackling sound of a sugar cane fire starting in the valley.

The fire was just a short distance away from our yard, but far enough away from the sudden drop at the end of our yard to be able to see the cane fire clearly. As the fire burned, I took a series of photos.

The outer perimeter of the cane field is clearly outlined, and as you can see the fire has been lit around the perimeter. The flames quickly gain momentum, burning the inner section of the field to remove leaf debris before harvesting can take place.

Within an incredibly short time, the fire is over. The job is done.

The time between the last two photos is just two minutes.

Just one minute later, the flames are virtually gone.

From the first dim sound we heard as the cane fire began, to the time the flames were gone, just ten minutes passed.

The sugar cane industry has played an integral role in the Tweed Valley for many generations. Newcomers to the area often cannot understand the attraction locals have to seeing cane fields ablaze every winter, but to the long-standing locals like myself, and to my husband – a fourth-generation Tweed local – the area simply would not be the same without the familiar orange glow in the valley each winter.

Australia · Mount Warning · Tweed Valley · winter

The Blue Mountain on a Cold Winter’s Day

Today the weather turned cold, with strong westerly winds blowing away the last of the leaves off our deciduous trees. Mount Warning and the ranges were blue today, darker shades of blue in the morning and lightening in colour as the day progressed.

I took photos of the mountain, ranges and valley from the front of my house today. Our land slopes down from the road, so the closer to the front boundary I walk, the wider the view of the valley I can see. From the top of the hill, I took a wide photo of the view before me. Once I had cropped out the roof of our house, the photo shows more of the expanse of the ranges to the south.

And a photo shoot of Mount Warning isn’t complete without a close up!




blessings · challenges · Christmas · family · gratitude · happiness · In My World · new beginnings · photography · summer · unbreakable bonds

New Beginnings

Christmas Day 2018

As the year 2019 begins, my family is happy, which is all that I have wished for.

This time last year though, I had a different story to tell, although it wasn’t a situation I wished to talk about at the time. On the day of my grandson’s first birthday in July, my daughter-in-law ceremoniously decided she was leaving, moving one-thousand kilometres away, to live with her parents. My son had two choices – stay here and lose his son, or follow his wife, which was really no choice at all. Obviously, he left too.

To be married in March 2019.

For the next six months, I didn’t see my grandson. My son, however, couldn’t cope with being away from his family. He was torn between his birth family, and the one he had created. So in desperation, he tried living and working here during the week, and flying home to his other family for the weekend.

It was a massive strain on him. He was miserable. And I knew there were problems in his marriage.

Fun for the family, Christmas 2018.

As Christmas approached, I felt absolutely no enthusiasm. I felt my youngest son’s pain, and at times I felt as if my heart was bleeding for him. Consequentially, I didn’t buy any Christmas gifts, I gave my family money and asked them to spend it as they pleased.

The Christmas tree looked so bare without the usual array of gifts, but when my family arrived that situation changed as brightly packaged gifts began to mount beneath the tree.

Meeting the right person at the right time! ❤ Christmas 2018.

During the afternoon, we all went outside for a photo session. My heart wasn’t in it though, my son would be missing from the photos. It would be a permanent reminder of the unfortunate split in our family.

At one point, my eldest daughter and her husband handed each family member an envelope, instructing us to open our envelopes together. I imagined I would read my card later, once I had gone inside and had put my reading glasses on. But that all changed when I took out the card, which read –

Jingle bells, jingle bells,

jingle all the way …

Oh what fun

It is to say,

A baby is on the way!

Due to arrive

August 2018.

I was going to be a Nana again! 

Many reasons to smile again …

Fast forward to Christmas 2018 – My youngest son is home again. His ex had chosen another significant day to ceremoniously (again!!) announce the end of their marriage on their third wedding anniversary. But this year, he’s smiling again.

My auntie dunked me!

My boy is back.

My family are all friendly with one another again, just like they used to be (before the x joined the family).

Aunt Em loves me!

And most importantly, my grandson was here to help his four-month-old baby cousin, Aurora Ebony, celebrate her first Christmas. 🙂

Aurora’s Mummy and Daddy getting into the spirit of Christmas.

I think the photos speak louder than any words I could choose.

And in 2019, we have two weddings to look forward to! My eldest son is to be married in March, followed by my youngest daughter who will be married in April. ❤

Christmas 2018 photo session. 🙂

A year ago, I couldn’t write about my life, or my family. This year, we have everything to celebrate!

I’ll be Flower Girl at my Aunt Em’s wedding in April!

I wanted to share this brief version of the story of my 2018 to let anyone who is suffering know that nothing stays the same. Change is inevitable. And there is always hope for a better future.

Uncle Ben and Braxton.

For 2019, I wish everyone a year of happiness, a year of joy, good health and prosperity. A year where even if your life isn’t going completely to plan, know that there is always hope for a brighter future. xx

Watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks on TV with Nana and Poppy. NYE 2018.

Baby Aurora, New Year’s Day 2019.