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The swamp/pond in the reserve below my block generally looks like a smooth bowling green. But now and then I see dark tracks through the algae topping carpet. Going closer to investigate, I see two handsome Black Ducks entering the water, joining another bird that from a distance I assume will be a Purple Swamp […]

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Normally I have a view of a swamp, algae covered except where ducks forge a path. It’s the most permanent of a deliberately created wetlands complex of often dry depressions, built for flood mitigation with metal traps to catch debris. I don’t usually get to see white water or hear it rushing through the forest, […]

When planning to move to the bush back in the late 1970s, the main company I knew where one could get items essential for the alternative life, like a manual stone mill for grinding flour, was Self-Sufficiency Supplies, then in Newcastle. It was run by Brian England. Amazingly, that company is still going, based in […]

As at my last two homes, I see a lot of wildlife just from my decks and verandahs, perhaps because I choose homes that are part eyrie. Not having heard kookaburras here yet, I was delighted to see this one last evening, just metres away from my side verandah. Such a handsome fellow! Next day, […]

There have been no posts for a while as I’ve been immersed in the chaos of moving house again. This time — the absolute last! — it was to a rural town, where I share my block with this Tawny Frogmouth, one of my favourite birds. A quiet, retiring, serenely beautiful bird, with ‘eyelashes’ to […]

This drawing was meant for Chapter 5, ‘Living for Weekends’, of The Woman on the Mountain. We’d moved there into the still very basic cabin, and I’d taken the writing work from my old design firm… In a way it’s as if I remained part of the company even after I’d left and moved back […]

The sun on your knees, a view of birds and bush… who’d want an indoor loo? This sketch and extract is from The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 14, ‘The Simple Life’. ‘Contrary to popular mythology, the simple life is not found in the country but in the city, where you simply pay your bills […]

After the White-faced Heron staking a claim on my pond, the word seems to have got out to other water birds that the pond is here and the surrounding lawn is soggy enough to easily poke a long waterbird beak into. A small troupe of iridescent Straw-necked Ibis were here the other day, strutting and […]

My Glory Vine is wearing its Autumn garb; when the leaves turn red, right? They look red, as I come out to the verandah, with the morning light behind it. But then I step outside and look back at it and the shade of the main leaves externally is so different that I have no […]

Most times I am awake and risen early. Some days it’s more worth it than others. Like today, as the sun rose in just the right spot over the escarpment to be split into morning glory rays of benediction by a perfectly placed tall tree. Within minutes the sideways rays grew longer, the view brighter. […]

The delicately feathered lilac curls of the native Melaleuca thymifolia are a relief as well as a delight to see, as these swamp-loving small shrubs have only been in for about six months. They will only grow to about 2 metres and will hide my shed from view for verandah sitters. Willows love water and […]

The time has come for me to leave another beautiful mountain area. After only two and a half years here, I am not embedded in the country as I was at my Mountain, which owned me for 36 years. I still grieve for the loss of the Mountain. I had thought four acres would be […]

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