In one week, another 416mm of pounding rain fell, flooding the creeks and closing the roads, strewing logs and stacking beaver dams at fences and bridges and crossings that got in its way.
The skies cleared one evening and the moisture began to separate into creeks and clouds, as they should. It heralded the dawning of our one fine day… which just happened to coincide with our village Fair!
But the wet returned with soggy monotony, more of the driveway gravel came down the hill to visit … and even more fungi appeared, so large and so many that they were obvious even from a distance.
They popped in gold flushes out of palm tree stumps, in pale lilac ripples out of grass.
Parasols opened in pure white profusion while on the opposite side of beauty, two sole fat white drumsticks turned black and crusty overnight.
Daintiness returned with tiny white pinheads on an exposed dead root.
Mysterious red moss-like filaments on a long and alive casuarina root caught my eye… but is this fungi?
Wet, wet weather and just enough warmth still in the air to cause a whole new aspect of life to come forth and blossom … fungi.
This beauty unfurled out of the top of a palm stump that has sat there unadorned for two years.
Way down in the paddock, a smattering of white glimpsed from the house, demands investigation. Up close they are cinnamon coated narrow domes as babies, maturing to large cream umbrellas still carrying their cinnamon, as flakes.
Walking back up to the house level, a very large single white blob proves to be one that I know, the stunning parasol, Macrolepiota dolichaula.
Its pure delicacy and detail still amazes me, as does the charm of that faint toasted marshmallow blush on top.
On the soggy house lawn there are drifts of smaller lemony circlets that turn up their edges and flash their gills as they age.
I thank Nature for the unexpected flashes of fungi of whatever colour, size or quantity!
It’s autumn, and I welcome the cooler mornings, but we are also having daily deluges more like tropical summer storms.
In the first five days of March we had 124 mm — or six inches if you’re my age — and that’s on top of what we’d already received in 2017.
By New Year it had become so dry that small native trees were dying, citrus were turning up their toes, my creek had stopped running and its isolated pools were becoming stagnant.
But from January 2 we’ve now totted up nearly 15 inches!
These brief but astonishingly intense autumn rainbursts make a joke of my carefully planned drainage systems, with pop-up waterfalls taking much of my soil down to the creekflats below.
They have filled and overfilled the ‘pond’ that has been bone dry for months.
Up close, they looked more like aquatic mini rats, with their pointy noses and long tails.
Next day they seemed to be less often swimming under the water than hanging from the surface vertically, blowing bubbles, opening and closing their mouths in air.
Clearly not fish nor rats but growing amphibians… froglets, frogs, soon to be adding to the frog chorus here!
My verandah is a great spot for watching the sunset light up the escarpment or the sunrise blush the sky over the ridge.
But only twice have I been lucky enough to be out there when the moon rose early enough for me to catch it creeping up past the ridgeline.
Once it popped into the sky it proved to be a glorious golden globe of a moon, a smiley one too, but its progress is what fascinated me.
It seemed a surprisingly slow moonrising until the trees released it to the sky. Then it soared, in its element.
You have to be quick to capture some fungi at their best. This beautiful, delicately stippled and pleated limey-yellow trio appeared one morning in my mint pot at the back door. The next day they had wilted to an unimpressive brown.
About a metre away these little Chinese-hatted soldiers had popped up in another pot.
In the manure/mulch fill around the pot a sprinkling of small milk coffee domes briefly ‘bloomed’.
Above them, several generations were making good use of a dead stump, frilling and flaring in stages, but remaining as they dried, unlike their more ephemeral ground-dwelling cousins.
My verandah is fringed with an ornamental grape vine, in full summer bright green leaf at present, its stems twining and curving and constantly reaching out to new holds.
Last week a familiar and faster twiner and curver was using it as camouflage.
I have seen this Green Tree Snake each summer here, but on those two past occasions it was extremely UNcamouflaged, on my tank and my ladder (see here and here). I could see the full length then of this slender snake, when it appeared about two metres long.
During this visit, it wound in and out of railings and vine stems so intricately that I could never see its whole body.
‘Green’ is a generalisation in its name as it has a range of colours, but I’d know that pretty head anywhere. Whether as Tank Snake or Ladder Snake or Vine Snake, I loved that it had returned.
And is it smiling ’hello’ back?
This gorgeous Green Tree Frog is probably the best known frog in Australia, but no less special for that. He’s the source of the very deep and monotonous ‘wark-wark-wark’ that I hear at the bottom of a nearby downpipe, presumably when he reckons rain is coming.
This one was quiet, post-rain and dozing on a rhubarb leaf, for which he was really too heavy as he’d bent it almost to the ground. They can grow up to 15 cm long, so this one is a relative lightweight.
Such a baleful look he gave me as I went closer to take his photo. These plump green beauties are also known as White’s Tree Frogs. I was more familiar with the much smaller Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog, also a green gem of a creature. I welcome all frogs!
A second Willy Wagtail decided to start a family on my other verandah. She made such a messy job of nest building, compared to the neat cylinder of my usual family, that I decided she must be a novice nester. Not only was it sloppy and sprawling untidily over the edge, but it seemed as if she’d made two attempts.
The eggs were laid in the first attempt, where the three babies barely fitted. The weather was heating up.
The mother had trouble fitting there herself, let alone reaching over to make deposits into the gaping orange beaks.
Their heads were indeed touching the eaves lining as the temperature rose. I was expecting tragedy.
But no, they just moved out to the lower annexe, the patio, where they were cool enough until they took off next day.
Mum was smarter than I’d given her credit for.
This is the climate chaos nest adaptation design.