Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

I’d rather listen to cars crashing…

April 5, 2009

…than the sound of some of the native birds in our front yard.  Actually, some of the native birds sound very much like cars crashing.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because, quite frankly, I’m a little jealous. Kim posted about a sweet little pirate bird, a sparrow, who serenaded her quite sweetly outside her window while she worked. At the moment in which I read of her beautifully melodic distraction, I was also being serenaded from outside, not so dulcetly. *sigh*

Allow me to demonstrate by introducing you to some of the birds in our front yard.

The Maggies: 

The Magpie
The Magpie

The Magpies don’t look too pretty but make one of the nicest sounds of all our little visitors. My boys like to talk to them as the handfeed them by gurgling water and cooing simultaneously. It works. The magpies reply. They sound like this

Our pretty birds, the Rainbow Lorikeets, sound rather well…let’s just say looks can be deceiving. 

Tell me what you think of their song

Next we have the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos:

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

These guys look pretty and take part in all kinds of clownish fun. However, they are also known as ‘The Screechers’ and if you listen here you will discover why. *sigh*

Wait it gets better…

The birds that truly drive me insane are the Corellas. Gah! They are so very, very grating. 

Poor little guys. They are rather unattractive too. They look like they’ve been beaten up and are constantly sporting blackeyes. They probably are the bullied birds of the burbs and when you hear their song, cry, screams, you’ll understand why they probably have been beaten up by the other birds. Gah! And that was a tame sound file! Often we will have MASSES of these little guys in the gum trees out the front all screaming together. They sound like brakes screeching, metal twisting against metal and wicked spectators laughing at the scene of a gruesome accident. Actually, the sound of a car crash would be more soothing. These are the birds I was listening to while Kim was being serenaded by a little pirate-ish sparrow.


An Artful Disorder: Symmetry is for Faces not Vases!

April 18, 2008

As I was arranging a bunch of flowers tonight, the following passage came to mind:

There was really no point trying to arrange wild flowers. They had tumbled into their own symmetry, and it was certainly true that too even a distribution between the irises and the rose-bay willow-herb ruined the effect. She made some minutes making adjustments in order to achieve a natural chaotic look. While she did so she wondered about going out to Robbie.

These are the thoughts of Cecilia in Atonement, a beautifully written novel – which has also been adapted into a gorgeous film, as you probably know – by Ian McEwan. A novel overflowing with evocative description and vivid characterisation.

As I arranged my flowers I thought of symmetry, life past and future, that which is determined and a man I long to see. I thought of my life. My day. My tomorrow.

Like Cecilia, I have never liked symmetry – except for in a face. It’s far too ordered, predictable and balanced. It’s so balanced it makes me feel…well, unbalanced. If I see something symmetrical I have to fight the strongest urge not to rearrange it. Unless it is a bunch of flowers, then nothing can hold me back!

The flowers fell into a unsettling symmetry before me tonight and as I swiftly rearranged them I wondered at my abhorrence of that which is uniform because, you know, it extends to more than just floral arrangements. I have a terrible feeling that the way I like my flowers indicates some deeper darker truth about who I am, what I think and how I want to live: I think I’m pretty much inherently rebellious. But for now all I want to say is, Cecilia is right: symmetry is for faces not vases. What do you think?

Btw, have you read Atonement?! Every word is soooo very delicious!

Living Between the Trees – Rob Bell

April 11, 2008

Check out this video: Trees

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I love…

March 16, 2008

I love how the sea beckons me, picks me up, kisses my face and tousles my hair in warm greeting like an old forever friend.  

It was swell.

January 2, 2008

Just when the temperature finally heats up, all Sydney beaches are most miserably closed! It’s just not right! It’s just not summer! High winds in Queensland have severely affected Sydney beaches. The news reports that all beaches from Queensland to Sydney are closed! 

 This is completely bad news for my beach faring family! So far this season we have cancelled a couple of trips down to the beach due to the rough surf and hazardous conditions. We have sensibly resisted the powerful urge to swim in the unrelenting heat, till now.  Today we finally succumbed.   

My brother took the boys to see the first day of the second test at the SCG while I met up with a friend. It was a hot day. So hot that you couldn’t sit in your car for a minute without the aircon on. So hot that your clothes stuck to your skin, the air felt thick around you and sapped your mind of rational thought. Perhaps that’s why the promise of cool water was too much to resist. By 4:30 we had all found our way to Bronte.   (Photos of Bronte here).   

 The beach was mush. Most of it was white water. Churning white water frothing on the surface hiding the terrible undertow. The beach was closed. I had walked down earlier in the day and had checked out the state of the surf. The beach was certainly too dangerous to swim in. Despite the hot day, no one was in the water. Actually, when I say “no one was in the water”, I mean no one was in the surf. Some people were paddling in the areas that were protected by the rocks. However the tow there was still quite strong and most people only went in up to their knees. The dangerous surf sign was up and the flags were down.*sigh*However, the Ocean Pool was open! 

Waves periodically crashed over the walls turning the usually calm lap pool into a wave pool but it was safe. I walked down the steps and dipped my toes into the water expecting it to be refreshing but warm. It might as well have been ice. The water was sooooo cooooold but so enticing.   

 As I said, by 4:30 we were all at the Ocean Pool and while it took us some time to jump in, once we were in it was divine! Oh how I love the sea! We swam across the pool and climbed up onto the wall closest to the surf. Holding onto the ropes we braced ourselves for the crashing waves that splashed a spangled shower of salt and bubbles over our heads and into the pool. While the waves were of a frightening size they were not as strong as I expected them to be once they reached us having lost a lot of their power on the rocks (they would push you into the water if you were not holding on but were not strong enough to pull you free of your grip on the rope). Thus we spent the afternoon splashing but mostly being splashed by the beautiful ocean. [Ooh! and I just found out Rebecca’s theme for the month is weather! I guess now I can safely confess to having a few weather widgets on my dashboard! ] 

Postcards from a holiday

December 27, 2007


Caves Beach, December 2007

Welcoming Autumn!

May 5, 2007

It’s Autumn Festival time again! The time we journey up into the Blue Mountains, gather produce, have a picnic, throw leaves at each other and thank God for making Autumn.

Last weekend my boys and I travelled up to Mt Wilson with 9 other friends in order to celebrate the season and its Creator. It was a rainy day and oftentimes we found ourselves surrounded by mists. At other times we found we were above the mist and looked down to see it veiling the mountains below. It was so beautiful.

On our way up the mountain we bought pumpkins and apples, I also bought a delicious tonic which is very similar to the recipe below. After our 3 hour drive, we picnicked in the mountains, walked, gathered chestnuts – which, I have decided are not as lovely and romantic as they sound. Just because there is a song about them doesn’t mean chestnuts are delicious. They are floury and bland and blah and if anyone knows how to cook them so they are not, I’d like to know because I would like to like chestnuts so that they can be romanticised in my mind once again. We threw leaves at each other and saw the most gorgeous red mushrooms I have ever seen! You can see some of the photos I took of them and of the day in the slide show above.

Tonight is the annual Autumn Festival dinner where we traditionally cook and eat our gathered produce, display our Autumnal leaves, exchange Autumn poems and hold our pumpkin carving competition while eating pumpkin pie. Yum!

Tragically, I cannot attend this year. I am sick. Probably from walking around in the cold rain last weekend. Autumn is so beautiful but it can also be so cruel. Ah! I love it still!

the beauty of cartography

April 16, 2007

More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colours.
Elizabeth Bishop 1911–79
‘The Map’ (1946)

While it has been argued that mapping is an act and representation of savage imperialism, and to a great extent I agree, I have always been drawn to the beauty of maps.

When I was a little Miss I loved to look at maps. I remember lying on the floor looking at maps with a friend of mine for hours. I loved the aesthetics of the maps and he loved the facts. While I was studying every colour and texture he was memorising the capital cities, populations and flags of most countries. People thought us strange but we didn’t care for the beauty of maps was ours and we hardly wanted to share it.

Today I am a little more mature, I’m willing to share, and I have discovered a gorgeous map blog that I would like to share with all of you. It’s called Strange Maps but I think it not strange, I think it beautiful. The maps on this site support the theory that cartography is an expression and representation of political dominance and control. A fact I find quite intriguing. To think that the manipulation of a representation of the landscape actually has an effect on the landscape of human history, human identity and world relations is quite amazing. The maps here are loaded with symbolic significance. They are powerful statements of the times and people who created them. And they are beautiful. Check it out.


March 14, 2007


“When two Macquarie University academics sighted a fin poking through the water on NSW’s south coast they suspected they were in for an encounter with a massive shark…But instead of a shark the fin turned out to belong to something far more wonderful – a remarkably large sunfish, big enough to fill a room and weighing perhaps 1.5 tonnes.”

What a beautiful fish! Read the full article @ The Sydney Morning Herald Science Blog.

leaf skeleton

March 13, 2007