Jack’s back

May 9, 2018
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My favourite lizard at the Mountain was the cheeky Jacky (Amphibolurus muricatus). I missed him. But after six months in my new home, I think one of his cousins has come to live here. He was stretched out across my makeshift plastic-covered hothouse for carrots, catching the last of the afternoon sun. I ran for […]

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Old friend

April 23, 2018
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I have always needed a writing work space with connection to the outdoors, and I have had that at my Mountain and my last place. Here I have had to create it by inserting two windows to give me the natural views I crave. This means I can see a fair bit of the birdlife […]

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Plant surprises

April 10, 2018
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A Colorbond garage wall is not the most inviting surface for a climbing plant. I was sceptical when my nursery lady said she thought Virginia Creeper would be able to cling to it. Never having grown one – but always wanting to – I gave it a go. The plant had tendrils which it clearly […]

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From swamp to stream

March 23, 2018
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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, […]

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Moisture marvels

March 13, 2018
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We’ve had lovely rain, which caused my garden plantings to literally lift up their heads in gratitude — and to visibly grow, instead of barely surviving. In between actual wet days, we’ve had damply humid ones, where rain promises/threatens, but remains undelivered. The perfect warm moist weather for fungi. I love these very visible clumps […]

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Kooka colony

March 6, 2018
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Being bordered by a forest on two sides means I have great close-ish views of many birds. I hear and see kookaburras quite often, usually in ones or sometimes twos. This pair were on lookout duty in a large camphor laurel tree.( I have planted a small self-sown strangler fig at its base, hoping that […]

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Brush creatures

February 24, 2018
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This is one of the larger inhabitants of Wingham Brush, a wonderful rainforest pocket reserve right near the town and the river. The Brush was rescued from being smothered by weeds and vines and now attracts many visitors to wander along its winding walkway and share its cool green world. But ‘inhabitant?’ Well, I know […]

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Snakes Alive…

February 3, 2018

This is an extract from The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 18, ‘Snakes Alive and Dead’, . ‘Once, when I was about nine, Dad and I and the leech-burning neighbour were in the bean paddock when we noticed a really big black snake sunning itself on a log beside the track. The practice then was […]

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Squatters

January 18, 2018

The Peewees own the Jacaranda out the front of my place; it gives them the best vantage point to make forays onto my verandah, foul the white railing and attack my windows. They have a go at the windows of any parked car too. So a huge fuss from them made me look up. Guess […]

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Walking sticks

January 9, 2018

Wildlife seems to find me. This impressive stick-insect right beside my front door was spotted by my son-in-law when he arrived. I think this is a female Titan Stick-insect, Acrophylla titan. She was easily 300mm long, compared here with her discoverer’s hand. I was afraid to harm those fragile limbs in trying to dislodge her, […]

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Sunkisses

January 1, 2018
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This is an extract from Chapter 16, ‘Let the sun shine’ in The Woman on the Mountain. It was also included as a stand-alone piece in an anthology by Catchfire Press called Stories for a Long Summer (2006). Summer once meant glorious, golden sunshine, for outdoor playing and swimming, from sunup to sundown if we […]

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Christmas birds

December 27, 2017
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No partridges or pear trees for me this Christmas, but Rainbow Lorikeets in a Jacaranda. Gorgeously coloured, brighter than Christmas decorations, yet unseen by me until I heard the unmistakable, unstopping whinging of baby birds… Far up in the Jacaranda where I’d not have been looking, they were just a darker blob from the ground. […]

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