friends

This Spring the Welcome Swallows and the Willy Wagtails have both chosen to raise their families on my verandah. The Willy Wagtails built a tidy and solid new nest, a smooth cylinder of cobwebs and grass and bodily fluids. The slack Swallows just re-used the old one; didn’t even shore up the crumbling structure, just […]

Young mum Nicky Coombes is passionate about her beautiful Bundook area, her Gloucester River, and her family’s right to clean air and water. As AGL’s coal seam gas project at Gloucester threatens all of these, she instigated a Gasfield-free Community survey in her Bundook locality. The first in the Gloucester region, the results showed that […]

Last week I loaded my much-loved Gypsy camper on to my ute for the last time.  I have had to sell her due to financial problems. The first to see bought her, and I had several callers wanting me to gazump them and buy her sight unseen. I delivered her to her new home base […]

A few months ago, some necessary clearing of shrub weeds like lantana was undertaken along the fence line. A few weeks ago, the burning of the large pile of rubbish from that clearing was finally possible. What it revealed was a Satin Bower-bird’s ‘bower’ — the grass U-shaped ‘avenue’ surrounded by a mat of grass and […]

Hadyn Wilson is a friend of mine from the Hunter Valley — south of the coal wasteland, but he’s deeply aware of it. He is also a fabulous painter, a deep thinker and a sincere environmentalist.  Recently I saw an exhibition of his work at the Frances Keevil Gallery in Double Bay, Sydney. Hadyn describes […]

I have reluctantly become a grazier. These two Friesian dairy steer calves are now our permanent resident lawnmowers, and company for Clancy the horse. This block is cursed with setaria grass, introduced for cattle, but harmful for horses. That’s it towering over them on the right. It depletes horses’ calcium, so Clancy needs supplementary calcium, […]

I have seen a tree snake trying to climb a water tank here. I suspect this is the same slender Green Tree Snake, made smarter by that experience. Now it uses the ladder. My book says that this snake will inflate the fore part of its body when threatened; I’m not sure if it was […]

The other Saturday night Nature gave us what used to be known as ‘a dump’: 150mm of rain in one storm. The sight that greeted me in the morning showed we’d had a lot of rain even before I checked the rain gauge, which overflows after 150mm, so we may have had more. The little […]

I’m not allowed on my front verandah at present. Two sets of protective parents say so. The Welcome Swallows have hatched a second set of babies in the original nest. I have spotted three sets of panting baby beaks so far. Perhaps being second time parents on my verandah in one season has made them […]

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) recently held its annual conference. This growing umbrella association is the key voice for nature in NSW, and now has over 120 member groups and about 60,000 supporters, including individuals like myself. One of the things they do at the conference is announce and give out awards to […]

I was used to sharing my old home with the wildlife. Here I am discovering that I mainly share with birds. First there were the swallows nesting on the verandah. Their babies left the nest soon after I came here but the whole family comes back to roost near it … and of course to […]

I am waking up around 5.30 a.m. here, and I am realising that, just as on my other mountain, I will be rewarded with ephemeral treats like this one when I do so. There is so much to do that I don’t even want to stay in bed! This house is built on a cut-and-fill […]

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