Sunday, 26 February 2012


We like walking around the back paddock and down along the creek. We enjoy the exercise, as does the dog. It gives us the chance to see how the creeks are doing and to look for tadpoles and crabs. We check for erosion along the fire scrape behind our place and take note of any damage to fences from dropped tree limbs. We stop to admire new growth and wildflowers. On occasion my mind gets trapped in busy thoughts and I'm embarrassed to realise that our walk is almost over and I haven't paid attention to nature's daily wonders. That doesn't happen often these days as I remind myself to let go of distracting thoughts.

We got a little shock yesterday. We walked along the track (on our property) approaching the shire's formed road. We found a shovel lying in the middle of the track. Beside the track was... a grave-shaped hole, newly dug, about a metre deep. The dirt had been flung in every direction out of the hole. It hadn't been piled neatly beside it. It was somewhat reassuring to figure that there had been no plan to fill it in again. In the bottom of the hole lay a foam pad, a rumpled sheet and two empty glass bottles. We stood for a while, speechless... and uneasy... unable to make sense of it and finally, continued on our way home.
Grave-shaped shelter. Shovel in middle of track.

When we checked this morning, it didn't look like anyone spent last night in the hole. We phoned our neighbour and discussed the discovery. As best we can assess, someone felt so alone and so fearful in their situation that they dug this grave-shaped shelter and spent at least one night in it. If they had planned to stay long, they would have dug in a more isolated spot, not right beside a regularly used walking track and near the shire's road. 

Sometimes the right thing to do is leave. Sometimes the right answer is silence.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

February in the Tropics

Life in the Tropics during the Wet Season includes thunderstorms. We're getting them daily again. I'm keeping my entry short as I must soon unplug the computer. Yesterday we had some fairly close lightning strikes. Not much rain though.
Side street in town where we do most of our shopping
Home along same street
Everything is green and growing. In the warm weather snakes are out and about, even at night. I got quite a start when I discovered this night tiger hiding behind the microwave. He's hunting geckoes and that is a favorite corner for geckoes as a lamp sitting on top of the microwave attracts insects. Night tigers are ready biters but generally, they are considered only a threat to small children or people with heart problems.
Night Tiger behind microwave
I think I prefer green tree frogs.

Post & photos by M in JaM

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Wet Season Denizens

Creek has good flow.

A few mornings ago I thought, oh no, when I found a giant centipede trapped in the bottom of the kitchen sink. Luckily, I have another rainwater tap in the laundry and was able to fill the tea kettle without venturing near the centipede.

Giant Centipede
A neighbour doesn't mind handling centipedes. They're just looking for food, he said, and they won't hurt you as long as you don't panic and squeeze them too hard. As he talked, he juggled a centipede from one hand to the other as he waited for me to bring a jar.

I have seen a giant centipede disputing ownership of a bone and the dog's outraged barking did nothing to deter the centipede. Centipedes have too many legs for my liking. J usually has the chore of removing them from the house. We encounter at least one during each Wet Season.

Green Tree Frog

Another denizen of the Wet Season: green tree frog. This one likes the toilet bowl. We thought something had gone wrong with the flush mechanism. The fresh water wasn't flowing properly. Then we glimpsed frog legs frantically moving below the rim. He seems to prefer to hide in the exact spot where the water pours in when the flush button is pressed. Recently, I found him floating contentedly in the toilet bowl, thus throwing my plans awry. I encouraged him to leave by gentle application of bowl brush. He leaped to the floor and looked at me with an accusing expression. By the time I finished my business, he had climbed back up the outside of the bowl and was headed for his hiding spot.

Such is life in the Wet Season.

Photos and post by M in JaM
Frog photo by J in JaM

Monday, 6 February 2012

Finding My Way

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
...Douglas Adams

I've learned to use a new tool, called Foreground Select, in GIMP, an open source graphics program, thanks again to Tay for installing it. I had fun putting together the image above. I used the new tool to cut out the Road Art sculpture (same one as seen in my last entry) and then deleted the background. I layered the sculpture over Spiral Galaxy M100, one of the amazing photos from NASA's Hubble telescope. What an amazing time to be alive, to see such wonders and to play with such tools.

My energy is returning, no doubt about it. Just in time, too, as J hasn't felt himself since having a wisdom tooth extracted. In amongst preparing soup and other soft foods, I'm sorting through clutter, shredding old papers, making another pile to take to the op shop this week. Each time I stand back and regard an (admittedly tiny) empty space, I realise how truly, at my age, Less is More.

We have interesting news from Max:
Late last year a team of archaeologists from Latrobe University spent about three weeks doing field work in our area. It will be several month yet before everything has been analysed, but already some results are available. 

Richard Cosgrove, who led the team has emailed: "We have received two radiocarbon dates from the rock shelter. The oldest charcoal sampled from the base of the excavation is, when calibrated, about 7,359 years old. ... This dates three artefacts made of rhyolite, probably gathered from the river nearby as many of the flakes and cores have river cobble cortex. The age of the charcoal from the layer above is about 4,348 years old. So the shelter appears to have been occupied by people at least 7,300 years ago and then repeatedly visited through 4,300, probably until the European contact era."

I leave you with a Swedish proverb:
"Fear less, hope more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Hate less, love more; And all good things are yours."

post and photo editing by M in JaM
RoadArt photo by J in JaM
Spiral Galaxy M100 photo by NASA's Hubble