Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My One Little Word for 2015 – Evolve

Every January, for the past four years, l’ve chosen a word for the year. 

It’s a popular concept nowadays, with the idea being that the word 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.  Rather than setting a resolution, you identify a feeling or an intention and work on making that present during the year.  My words so far have been Nourish, Soar and Simple, and each one of them has left their mark on me in some way. 

I’m again participating in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class and l can highly recommend it.  If you’re keen, check out Ali’s webpage for more details.

The 12 month class gives you monthly prompts to explore and reflect on your word.  I’ve found the combination of regular reflection, together with some level of creative play a powerful experience. 

I’ve really taken my time with my word this month, letting it percolate around in my mind, but it’s time to share it with you today.



My word for 2015 is Evolve.

As mentioned here l was considering having a second shot at simple, as l felt l didn’t achieve enough with it during 2014.  But as the New Year got closer l became increasingly unmotivated with using the same word again, but wanted to find something that would allow me to tackle some of my unfinished goals from 2014 as well.  I really had no idea, so started looking through a list of words other people had chosen in previous years, and looking up definitions on line.  This year, it was very much me seeking my word out.  Like it was kind of hiding from me! 

As soon as l read the definition of evolve, l knew it was going to be my word for 2015. 

Evolve: to develop gradually.

January's prompt is always about defining your word, getting to know it and working out what it means to you.  I've also set intentions and hopes for the coming year. Some of my experiences from this month l'll share with you in coming days.

Whatever your hopes for 2015, and however you choose to live them - let's hope it's wonderful and meaningful.  

Sunday, 25 January 2015

the 52 project - 4/52

{the 52 project}
A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015. 
Linking up with Jodi from Practising Simplicity.  

4/52



At the beach, full of joy: my little girl, dancing and singing on the sand.

Friday, 23 January 2015

In the newspaper - wildlife friendly backyard netting

Wildlife column - January, 2015

Australian wildlife has always been a passion of mine, and for the past 15 years l've been a licensed rehabilitator caring for injured and orphaned wildlife.  To help raise awareness of native animals and the difficulties they face, I've written a monthly column on behalf of the Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers for the Ballina Shire Advocate newspaper since 2000.
This month's column provides useful information on how people can safely net their backyard fruit trees.  
As appeared in the Ballina Shire Advocate on Thursday 15 January, 2015.

How to protect the fruits of your labour   


It’s summertime and nothing says summer more than a tree in your backyard laden with fruit, particularly mangoes.  But what do you do if someone, or something, is beating you to that delicious ripe fruit?
 
Here on the North Coast, there are plenty of birds, possums and flying foxes, all willing to take their share from your tree.  Many are happy to share their fruit with local wildlife, but for people who really want to protect their crop there are some wildlife friendly solutions. 
 
 
 
The easiest solution is to pick your fruit early and let it ripen on your window sill.  If you prefer your fruit to ripen on the tree, fruit bags can be tied over the fruit.  Fruit bags will not only deter wildlife but will exclude insect pests such as fruit fly. 
 
Shadecloth (30-50%) is an easy, temporary, inexpensive deterrent for flying foxes and it will still allow the fruit to ripen.  Fold the shadecloth over fruiting branches or throw a piece over small trees and peg into place.
 
If you do want to use netting, be aware that some types of netting can be a deadly hazard for wildlife.  If a native animal becomes entangled in the netting, they can severely injure themselves.  As they struggle to get free, the netting can cause deep wounds and even stop circulation.  So severe are the injuries that many entangled animals die; they either aren’t found in time or the extent of their injuries requires them to be euthanased. 
 
A Grey-headed Flying Fox completely entangled in black, nylon, monofilament netting.  
There are two golden rules when using netting to protect your backyard fruit tree.

1) Never use black, nylon, monofilament netting.  This netting is particularly deadly to wildlife, and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of animals annually.  It can be easily pulled out of shape by an animal climbing on it, causing it to become entangled.  Instead use knitted mesh with a maximum mesh size of 40 mm.  White netting is best as it stands out against the foliage of fruit trees, making it easier for flying foxes to see and avoid. 
 
2)The netting must always be taut, if the netting is loose or has a loose shape it will trap wildlife.  To keep netting taut build a frame out of pvc pipe metal or timber that will keep the netting off the tree.  Leave enough clearance for growth, picking and pruning.  Alternatively you can use a number of star pickets or stakes, crossing them to make a tepee frame.  Tent pegs or bricks wrapped in the ends of the netting can be used to keep the netting tensioned over the frame and stop animals from getting under the net. 
 
A great example of how to net your backyard fruit tree so it doesn't pose a hazard to wildlife.  
For netting to be safe for wildlife, it needs to be tensioned enough that folds of netting do not form around the animal when it lands or crawls over it.  Ideally a flying fox should almost bounce off the net rather than sink into it.  The netting needs to be really taut as a Mountain Brushtail Possum can weigh up to 4-5 kgs!
 
Remember to check your netting daily and if despite these precautions an animal does become entangled ring the Northern River Wildlife Carers on their 24 hour rescue hotline. 

If you find any injured or orphaned wildlife, please call the Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers on: 6628 1866 and for seabirds and marine turtles only Australia Seabird Rescue – 0428 862 852.  For koalas please ring Friends of the Koala on 6622 1233.  Check out our website at www.wildlifecarers.com

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

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.


Growing frustrated with chlamydia

Our river cottage is located in prime koala habitat, and since moving here in July we've spotted quite a few koalas.  In an attempt to get to know the locals, l've been keeping a photo diary of the koalas that visit our property. 

They can be pretty hard to tell apart, but l think at this stage we could have had at least ten different individuals visit us in that time. Our most recent visit is from this fella, a decent sized male who spent yesterday in our lemon-scented gum




Unfortunately all is not well for the koala.  Our national icon faces a series of threats and their population is in decline across most of the country.  In some areas, experts believe koalas could be locally extinct in 15-20 years time.  Our local population is one such area where their long term survival is in question. 

After habitat loss and the biggest threat facing koalas is disease. 

The most significant disease is chlamydia. 

Chlamydia presents itself in a number of different ways in koalas, including conjunctivitis which can caused blindness, reproductive tract infections which can cause female infertility, urinary tract infections and pneumonia.   When a koala has a urinary tract infection the fur around its bottom can become stained from incontinence, giving it a 'wet bottom' or 'dirty tail'. 

Since moving here, we've seen four different individuals all showing signs of chlamydia, including the male from yesterday.  I'm finding that my camera with its zoom is a great way of assessing their condition.  Here's a close up l took of his bottom, showing the obvious staining.   


Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease and without treatment the long term effects include blindness, infertility and death. The good news (there's got to be something) is that chlamydia in koalas can be treated, we've just got to catch them. 

Enter my frustration. Koalas that are still healthy enough to climb, can be very hard to catch.  So far we haven't been able to rescue any of the sick koalas we've seen, and with every individual l'm getting more and more frustrated.  The long they stay out in the wild with chlamydia, the more individuals they can infect and the sicker they get. I can't tell you how crazy this makes me.   

The most common rescue method is to 'flag' down koalas by tying a plastic bag to the end of a really long pole and holding that above their head.  Their natural reaction is the climb downwards away from the plastic bag to a height where they can be caught.

Our koalas move around so much that l can see we're really going to have get some equipment organized ourselves.  We're are licensed wildlife carers, but haven't had that much experience with koalas yet.  Somehow l can see that's going to change!  

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.

  

Sunday, 18 January 2015

the 52 project - 3/52

{the 52 project}
A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015. 
Linking up with Jodi from Practising Simplicity.  

3/52



It's hot, and we're hot. 
And with the river still too muddy to swim in, there's only one place to be.......under the garden hose.

Friday, 16 January 2015

The beach shacks of Wooli

The small, sleepy little beachside village of Wooli is one of my most favourite places on the North Coast. 

Originally founded to support the commercial fishing that occurred in the ocean and river, villages like this used to be found up and down the North Coast.  It’s what made the region and partly what defined it: great beaches, famous surfing breaks, good fishing and sleepy little villages.

Visiting Wooli is like being transported back in time, in a really good way.  The village has kept its original integrity and l just love all the old beach shacks and cottages. 

Early one morning l took a walk around the streets of Wooli, admiring all the old shacks. 

They’re such a classic Australian icon, the fibro or weatherboard beach shack.

Most of these shacks would have been built somewhere between the 1920’s and 1960’s. 

Some have been renovated. But most haven’t.
Whilst fibro was used throughout the country to build houses, it’s along the coastline where the product really endured.  Where other materials rotted or burned, fibro persisted. 
The other feature is that most of the original beach shacks are square in shape and don’t have a veranda. Simple houses for people mainly interested in fishing, or a holiday escape from the summer heat.

Don't ever change Wooli. xx









 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

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.


Our busy nest builder
 

 
 

Without a doubt the busiest bird on our acre block is this fellow, the Willy Wagtail.
For such a small bird, only about 20cm in length from head to tip of tail and weighing around 20gr, they are active all day and sometimes during the night as well.
We have a pair of Willy Wagtails on our property, and they seem to be almost always flying around looking for food.  They feed on insects which are taken either on the ground or in the air, and as they dart around their tail is wagged from side to side (hence their name).  One of our birds likes to use the back fence as its vantage point (seen in the top two photos), darting down to collect an insect and returning back to the fence afterwards.  It uses the fence so much that the back of the top railing has a continuous line of droppings right the way along it.
The other day, l got a surprise to see they had built a new nest in one of our trees.  It's fairly high up, so had to us the full extent of my camera's zoom, but l hope you can pick up on the detail of their nest.  It's covered in spiders webs! and in fact looks like it's anchored to the branch by webs.  Just amazing. To think how long it would have taken for these tiny birds to have built a nest and covered it in webs is remarkable. 
Isn't nature wonderful?

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.