Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.
 
 
Daring rescue comes to late
As most of you know, we're licensed wildlife carers and rehabilitate injured and orphaned native animals at our home.  We belong to a local wildlife rehabilitation organisation, and to assist in rescuing native animals our group runs a 24hour emergency hotline.
Last week a lady rung, worried about a nest of baby Magpies in her backyard.  She had found one of the parents dead on the ground, with its head bitten off.  What happened to the bird, were not sure but we're guessing a fox or cat removed the head. 
The other parent was still alive and trying to tend to the nest, but for some reason was being ousted from the territory by other Magpies.  Meanwhile up to three chicks were sitting high up in their nest, crying out for food.
I heard of the situation from another member, and just felt awful.  I wondered what l would do if that was in my backyard.  I know l couldn't have listened to those baby birds crying out in hunger.  And the nest was at the top of a really tall tree, not something you could reasonably ask anyone to climb. 
Our organisation approached the local electricity company, who unexpectedly suggested they would bring out a truck with extendable ladder, to try and reach the nest.  Unfortunately the ground was still too wet after the recent heavy rain, and the truck couldn't manoeuvre under the tree.  They tried a few other approaches, including a really long pole used for dislodging things of power lines, but would you believe it was about one meter short!
Three days had now past, and all hope was just about gone of getting the chicks.  Until one of our members heard of the situation and let us know that her partner was a professional tree climber!  
He very kindly offered to drive straight down there and see if he could reach the nest.  And this is the part of the story l really wanted to share with you.  This man drove more than an hour round trip, on a Saturday afternoon to help us.  He wasn't paid, he just wanted to do his bit.
I was rung and asked to be there when he arrived and to help with any chicks that might still be alive.   I have to admit, l doubted whether he would be able to do anything.  The nest was 14 meters off the ground, in a top most branches of what looked to be a pretty hard tree to climb.  And did l mention that it was full of bees and the chicks hasn't been heard all day.  Yep.
Unfazed, he set about climbing the tree. It was amazing to see him methodically set himself up and work out a path up the tree.

 


Amazingly, he reached the nest but only to see that he was too late.
There was only one chick left in the nest, and it had recently died. Needless to say we were both really disheartened. 
I set about thanking him, and that's when it struck me. It's awful that the baby birds died, but the fact that he chose to help, to go out of his way to help some very common birds...is something to be upheld.  What an amazing person.  
One of the things l love most about wildlife caring is meeting and spending time with likeminded people.  They truly restore my faith in human beings, knowing there are people out there like this gives me a lot of hope.
Thanks Benny.      

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.
 
Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.

 
 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

River Cottage garden diary - the cottage/flower bed before shots

The move to our new river cottage has been the catalyst for a lot of change.  

Sure we live in a new house, there’s a new commute to work, a new village and community to get to know.  But we’re also doing different things.
For me, it’s gardening.

Now l’m not that surprised that l want to garden.  I’ve always been interested in gardening and feel in some ways that it is a part of me, though if Dan read that he would laugh out loud!  That’s because l’ve done very little gardening as an adult.  In fact the few attempts l’ve had at growing pot plants has been rather pathetic.  Dan’s always been the gardener in our family.
All of my gardening experience is as a child.  I watched my parents garden, and as a very young child when we lived in Melbourne my Dad was involved with a children’s community farm.  When we moved to the North Coast and lived on a large rural property, l had my own garden.  I distinctly remember growing my own potatoes and even collecting my own marigold seeds.  I can still picture the garden and me on my hands and knees in the dirt.
See it’s all in there, all the memories and things you indirectly pick up from those experiences. It’s just that l’ve never tapped back into it as an adult.

Well that was until now.
Our river cottage has a number of garden beds, one of them is very close to the house and looks like it might have been a cottage/flower garden of sorts.
I’d been eyeing off that bed, thinking of what l could do with it until one day l asked Dan “Can l claim a bit of garden and do what l like with it?”  You could imagine that was met with raised eye brows!

I really wanted this to be my project, l want to learn, l want to make mistakes and get my own hands dirty.  Dan’s been pretty respectful of that, but still been able to chip in with a few bits of advice and lend a hand when needed.
So this is the garden bed as it looked on the 27 July.


It has five roses, one looks like a climbing variety.  All in need of a prune.


Quite a few anonymous flowering plants that have seen better days.


That's our bird bath.  It got plonked there when we moved in, and it's actually not a bad spot for it. I like the idea of having a bird bath in the garden.


The soil needs love, and lots of it.  Even l could tell that.   It looks like the people before us brought in some 'red dirt' a volcanic krasnozem soil that's common locally, but not found on our property.  Whilst it's suppose to be very rich and productive, the soil was hard, dry and lumpy.   

 
And the weeds were starting to creep in.
 
The people who lived here before us, unfortunately or fortunately (l'm not quite sure which one yet), took a lot of their plants out of the garden when they moved.   So we are pretty much starting with an almost blank slate, which is exiciting.
 
So the adventure into gardening has started and l'm pretty keen to document our progress here on the blog.  Already looking back at these photos, the difference is amazing.  I love the chance to reflect and look back, it's so motivating.
 
And with Spring knocking on our door, the timing is perfect. 
 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.
 
 
Welcome to Koala country

I knew when we moved to our new river cottage that it was highly likely we'd see koalas.  We've moved into known koala country, where they're regularly seen and its quite common for them to live in close proximity to people.  I knew we had a number of food trees on our block, and some of them showed signs that koalas had used them in the past.

But the people who owned the house before us said they hadn't seen any koalas there in years.

So for the past two months l've been regularly checking our trees and looking and hoping to see something.

Then two weekends ago, it happened, l spotted our first koala.
 

 
It was quite funny how we found it.  Dan had seen a hawk circling in our backyard and we were looking through my bird id book trying to work out what it was.  I then looked up at the koala food trees and said wistfully...... "I wish we would get a koala".  To my surprise there was the koala pictured above, high up in a tree enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

That koala, who we now think was an adult female, stayed for around 3-4 days.  Every morning we would find her in new tree, and then she was gone.  I've read that's pretty common for koalas.  They're a folivore, meaning they only eat leaves, and they have a very specific diet which consists of only a few species of eucalypts. They also need to eat a lot of leaves every day, and they generally prefer fresh new growth, which means they have to keep on moving to the next tree in order to find enough food to eat.

Then this past Sunday, Dan was cooking dinner on the bbq outside when he heard a male koala calling. We went out with flashlights and found him sitting in the same trees where the girl had been a few days earlier.  Now l'm guessing that most of you haven't heard a male koala bellow before, it's quite the sound.

 
The male only stayed for a night, and then must have gone on his way.  We wondered whether he was trying to locate the female that had been here a few days before.
 
Thinking ourselves pretty lucky to see two different koalas in the past week, last night we were taken by surprise to have yet another visitor!  With the windows open last night, l heard our pet birds calling out in alarm.  They normally do that when something is bothering them in the aviary. With the flashlight l looked down from the kitchen window, and it took me a little while to figure out what l was seeing.  A koala trying to climb up the outside of the aviary wire!
 
We went downstairs to check it out and it had since moved to a nearby tree.  I'm sure this is yet another new koala, and possibly quite a young one.  It hung around the house for the rest of the night, but this morning it was safely nestled up in the tall food trees. 
 
So yep, welcome to koala country - three different sightings in the past two weeks.  Needless to say, l'm more than happy. I love this place.

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.
 
Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.
 

Friday, 5 September 2014

this moment

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. Linking up with Amanda from Soule Mama



 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time.
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.
 
 
Minor flooding in the Wilsons River
This past week we've been connecting with nature at our very back door.
Since we moved to our new River Cottage, we've noticed the many different moods of our river.  Whether it be covered in fog and mist on a winter's morning, bathed in glorious afternoon sunshine or now, flooded and swollen after heavy rain.
Over 200mm of rain has fallen in the past 10 days, and this is the first of many floods we'll experience here.  I think Mother Nature was kind to allow the first one to be a minor flood! As we live here longer, we'll work out what different flood height readings from the gauge upstream mean to us and our property.  But seeing this was our first flood we were all pretty interested to watch the river rise and then drop. 
 
Our riverbank on a normal day.

At the flood peak on Thursday lunchtime.

Our riverbank again on a normal day, taken from another angle - note the rope swing.

You can just make out the rope swing in the tree to the right, dangling in the flood water.

Another before image.

And again at the flood peak - which was 4.7m at the upstream Lismore gauge.

Love this girl - pictured here in her gumboots, pyjamas and robe checking out the flooded river.  You know, l think we have a similar image of me doing exactly the same thing as a child.  Floods really are part and parcel of living here on the North Coast.

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.
 
Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.


Monday, 1 September 2014

One Little Word - January

I’ve never been big on making New Year’s resolutions.  They seem so destined to fail, that l’ve never really bothered.  A few years ago though, l was introduced to the idea of picking a single word for the year and the idea really resinated with me. You basically choose a word that symbolises or captures your dreams and hopes for the coming 12 months.  It could be something you hope to do, something you want to bring into your life or something you want to work on.  
This year l’m participating in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class again. This will be my third year of doing Ali’s class, and l can highly recommend it. 
This year my word is SIMPLE.
 
January - getting to know your word and setting some intentions

That's right, January. 
In an attempt to get back on track with my One Little Word this year, l'm going to make myself accountable for sharing what l've done so far and make progress on what's left to do. 
As mentioned in this post, my word for 2014 is simple.
January's class exercise is always about getting to know your word, defining it and setting some intentions for the coming 12 months. Like l've done in previous years l decided to combine my words with images.


 
I also like to find some quotes that use my word, and how can you go past Anne of Green Gables?
 

 


The next step was to set some intentions for the coming year.

 
 
So that was January, a good start. 
Now just to follow it up with some actions!  Really looking forward to getting the most out of the next four months and seeing how far l can get with my word.
How about you? Did you pick a word for 2014?  How are you progressing with it?

Friday, 29 August 2014

this moment

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. Linking up with Amanda from Soule Mama


 
Two moments really this week.  One when the photo was taken and the other when l unexpectedly got to see it again in these photos. Last Sunday Bella and l attended a local festival called Arts vs Science, at which my work was participating.  After setting up our display, Bella said she needed a hug.  A friend of my colleague was taking photos of the display for us, and captured this beautiful moment.  I didn't even realise he had taken a photo of us hugging, and when l saw the photo days later l think l gasped in surprise.  What a beautiful moment with my little girl. xx