Monday, December 12, 2011


Yesterday thunderstorms rolled across from the west sometimes passing to the north and some to the south and a few passed over us. By mid afternoon a line of storms approached that looked like they meant business. One storm was coming from the west and another from the north and the weather radar showed that they would meet right over us. And they did!
Lightning leaped all around us, the thunder crackled, crashed and roared echoing around the horizon. Then came the rain in torrents gushing from our tank overflows, followed by the wind which howled, lashed the trees and shook the caravan. To top it all of next came the hail. The lorikeets and king parrots clung grimly to the branches of the trees, facing the rain and wind, a study of endurance.
It was all too much for Cockey and he jumped off his appointed spot and hid beside the bed. The dogs, however just snoozed and lolled around like nothing was happening.  The wind drove the water under the roofing sheets and we had towels and buckets and pots catching the drips.
The storm went as quickly as it came and left a deposit of 50mm in the rain gauge. Quick phone calls were made to neighbours making sure everyone was OK. 
Rain showers continued throughout the night.
This morning dawned relatively clear and the humidity levels shot up as the sun climbed higher in the sky. Jim went to check the roads for fallen trees. There were quite a few down and many branches blown off. It wasn't until he started back to the house that he realised that the glass panel - our 'Night Spirits Totem' was gone, a victim of the ferocious wind and hail. In its place were thousands of tiny fragments of the toughened glass scattered like diamonds among the leaves.Perhaps the storm was releasing the spirits of the bats that were encased in the glass, sending them back to fly under the stary dome of the night.

On the other hand, with all the mining going on at the moment, including a gold mine about 50 kilometres from us, not only is there "gold in them thar hills", but I was thinking of starting a rumour that there are diamonds as well!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Where's Channel 2?

They have been warning us.
The switch-off of the analogue tv signal would start in December in the Wide Bay area. 
We have been receiving digital signals on our little indoor antenna, except for channel 2. Auntie obviously does not have the oomph of SBS and the commercial channels so we settled for spotty analogue channel 2.
Well the date kinda snuck up on us and so on Monday, channel 2 vanished.
Well today we trecked into Bundy and got ourselves a big-ass fringe area antenna.
Lotsa pointing it this way and that and now we have 16 high definition digital channels!
The feral fossil channel surfer is in 7th heaven!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Of Pen, Paint and Paper

Have been fitting painting in around making jewelery the last few months. Due to lack of table space at Ourgunyah most artistic endeavours take place at the local Gallery and at our art workshops.
The last workshop was on drawing a bird in pencil and graphite. Have drawn birds all my life , but Bill's techniques on reproducing an accurate representation of the photo of the Red Kite were a revelation.

Grids and measurements. Now why didn't I think of that! 
The result.

The other piece I have been working on for about 4 weeks is a pen and watercolour study of an entry door on an old bluestone building.
As if all this creativity wasn't enough every Thursday I travel to Childers for some clay therapy. Forgotten how much fun making pottery was. My little owl should be fired and waiting for me.
Naturally all this creativity comes at a cost - no washing, no cooking and no cleaning!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ourgunyah Gallery

The long timber case has stood against the shed wall for over 12 months. The fragile contents of liquid light cocooned in soft wrappings.
Lately, as I have walked past it, I could swear I heard the soft flutter of wings.
Jim must have heard them too because last week he announced that it was high time the contents were given an appropriate place to be displayed which is the top of a rise on a bend in the drive.
Holes, bracing and concrete poured and this is what greets you on the bend.
At first the panel blends into the bush like smoke.

Closer and forms and patterns emerge

The form take the shapes of spirits of the night.
(Click the photo for a close up)

Each bat has been modelled in clay, a flexable master mold made followed by a high temperature kiln mold.
The thermal sand bed in the kiln is textured, then the molds go on the bed followed by the sheet of glass. Firing cycle is 5 hours with about 15 hours cool down.
Hanging out to get the kiln set up here as there are lots of places crying out for a panel of liquid light.
So the Ourgunyah Gallery is open for viewing. Champers and nibblies on opening night!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Underwater Ceiling

Summer has flexed her muscles the last few days, just to remind us that she is all-powerful and will not be denied. Memories of last year returned vividly, in particular how hot 'Ourgunyah' got during the day, usually 5-6 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. Phew!
So we now have an 'underwater' ceiling.
We lined the ceiling with reflective foil insulation. The internal temperature today was .4 degrees warmer than outside. Much better than 5-6 degrees.
I also put the shade cloth back up along the back wall to reduce the glare.
The next issue to be addressed is to increase ventilation. Will replace 2 of the glass panels with some prop-out timber panels, (with must-have flyscreens to keep the creepy-critters out)
Should be muchbetterer

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Practical or Pretentious

As we will probably be spending another year in 'Ourgunyah' some more improvements are called for.
We have lovely chocolate soil here, courtesy of an ancient volcano. The lava has been eroded and laid down as alluvial mudstone deposits. The soil is really rich - just add water and you can grow fence posts BUT. . .
The deposit is really really fine and makes dust, more a fine powder and it gets everywhere.The cars stir it up, the wind blows it around and the Kelpie Express suck it behind them in a Mach2 vortex as they tear in an out.
Now that our creek has almost stopped flowing, banks of river sand are exposed each side of the causeway.
Jim collected a couple of trailer loads and spread them on the ground around 'Ourgunyah'
This seems to have reduced the windblown dust greatly. But living at ground level, when it rains, the dust becomes mud.

So on the weekend we built (from stuff other people would throw out)this.

A timber deck! It is lovely to sit on a level surface, with a table that doesn't wobble.
Then we made a .....

Fenced area for the dogs, which means we can leave them safe and sound when we go out.

So, who's up for a 'deck warming' party?

Monday, August 22, 2011

One Whole Year

Twelve months ago to the day, the sun came up and shone in exactly the same place, just as it has this morning.
That long-ago morning was filled with left over stress, tension and wondering what the future held and if we had made the correct decision. The daunting task of making something comfortable to live in and what the outcome of the legal problem would be.

What a difference a year has made.
This morning was relaxed, calm and moved with the rhythm our life has developed during the passage of time. 
A cup of tea/coffee, walk the dogs, admire the blue of the mountains from the ridge road, or, walk the steep road to the creek and stand in awe in the deep mystery of our own patch of rainforest. The delight of watching a pair of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos in the wattles, following the drag marks in the dust made by the tails of last night's wallabies. A leisurely breakfast and watering the vegies.

Do I miss my 'old life'? Sure. I miss having my family close, I miss the support and friendship of a wonderful, dedicated band of wildlife rehabilitators, I miss shopping and a the aroma and taste of a good cappuchino when ever I want.

The legal situation has been resolved - cost us a lot of money, so the house we planned to build has been through the razor gang department buy have managed to keep the character. 
We are now waiting for our son to finalise his finances so the sale of our old house can be completed.
Then our life rhythm will change again. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Daft about Doves

We call these the 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' birds, Bar-Shouldered Doves.
They come out of the bush in single file, rather like Walt Disney's cartoon broom sticks. (All we need is the sound track.) And like the broom sticks, they just keep coming, sometimes up to 30 birds, and scour the ground around the aviaries for dropped seed.
They are very shy and melt back into the bush at the slightest movement.
The males take the opportunity to court the ladies with lots of tail fanning and calling.
Listen HERE

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chuffed about Choughs

Every day we are provided with free entertainment by 2 groups of White-Winged Choughs. Whata HOOT! 
With their long curved and very mobile tails, they're kinda like those dipping birds that sit on the edge of a drinking glass.
The adults have red eyes and they live in groups of around 10. Our groups are 'Legs Eleven' and 'The Dirty Dozen'. Their feeding pattern is to march along in line all abreast turning over the leaf litter. They build mud nests and cooperate in laying, incubation and raising the chicks.
Choughs (pronounced 'chuff') are very gregarious with lots of playing with each other and inanimate objects and call constantly right outside our door!
Listen to their calls HERE 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Terrible Trivia

Today I mulched the vegie patch. 
What? you were expecting something more exciting? I did warn you the title said it all!
But I digress.
There is something about breaking open a new pack of finely shredded cane trash that smells sweetly of molasses and diving your hands into the golden brown texture.
The patch is so massive it took me ohhhhh about 20 minutes to finish and I must admit, it now looks much more loved.
 Here is a bean flower. (we know what it's bean but what is it now boom! BOOM!)
And a newly 'hatched' baby bean
The peas are covered with snow white flowers and the pods should be be starting to pop out anytime.
I feel that I may have have planted to broccoli too late, but we may score some, provided the @$%# grasshoppers leave them alone.

 This year I planted cherry tomatoes. So far so good. Last year they just rolled their eyes and turned up their toes with all the rain. Also have a few 'ferals' from the compost bin spring up. Will probably be hip deep in 'matos this year. Checking under the wee furry hats for the start of the tiny green fruit.
Weather is starting to warm up here and the Southern Oscillation Index has jumped. I have the feeling we are in for another wet summer. Hopefully not as devastating and extreme as last year. Mind you, a nice 25mm of rain would be very welcome.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Our daughter Olwen paid a flying visit this week.
We decided that an event that occurred many years ago when we were building our house at Helensvale was worth re-enacting, hence this study in concentration.
The event was to turn two kids loose on a backhoe to dig a hole which eventually became our dam. So we turned Olwen loose in the bobcat to break the ground for a new dam.

Which pedal makes the bucket go down?
Ok CONTACT and back we go

A symbolic breaking of the ground and some new memories

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A New Watering Can

We have been doing some landscaping.
Each week we have bought some native plants at the Gin Gin market.
See the huge array of beautiful advanced shrubs? 
You sure you can't see them? 
Look there's one, a banksia

OK I admit when I stand back I can't see them either. They are all tube stock, about 300mm high, but they are growing and they are about all the budget can stand.

The Xanthorrohea (Grass Trees) or more politically incorrect - blackboy spears have been relocated from the house site to the top of the drive and a row of grevilleas planted behind them.
They will all grow quickly, provided we can keep the water up to them and therein, dear readers lies the problem.
There are no garden taps within cooee of where the plants are, so the Feral Fossil has been filling up the barrow with water and buckets and slopping his way from the tanks to the garden.
Now I don't know if you have experience wheeling a barrow load of water but I have come to believe this practice is directly connected to the vocal centres of the brain, the area specifically involved in swearing.
The Feral Fossil would set of effing and blinding as he wobbled on his way and when the oscillations became too great, the air turned blue and buzzed and forks of lightning flashed forth. Would do a bullocky proud.
Sometimes the Feral Fossil's Wife was press-ganged into service and guess what? it affected my speech centre too.
After several sessions of full shoes and less than full wheelbarrows, we came to the conclusion that this practice was a mug's game.
What we needed was something mobile and if possible another source of water.
We have a shipping palleton tank. In a past life it was used to ship Guinnes fram t' auld Blarney, but it was full of water. 'Twas painful to watch all that precious liquid run away and soak into the thirsty ground, but it needed to be empty. With the tank manouvered onto the trailer and secured, the fire fighting pump was dusted off, spiders and other residents evicted, and mounted on the front of the trailer. Joy of joys, we had some suitable pipe with a filter for the pickup and a length of flat fire hose for the filler.
So we set off for the causeway to collect a load of water from the creek.
(I was going to show you a selection of photos of our triumphal tank fillingbut the batteries in the camera were flat)
1. The creek water, is freezing
2. No matter how tight the joints, they leak.
3. The leak in your direction always has the highest pressure
4. (see point 1.)
5. Fire hoses are hard to control
6. (see point 4.)
7. It took longer to drive to the creek than it did to fill the tank.

A quick trial run and BEWDY! now the Feral Fossil can water quietly at his leisure and the Feral Fossil's Wife can keep her feet dry

Ya gotta love . . .

Monday, June 13, 2011

Winter Vegies

Summer was tough on the vegie garden. Only the corn did well and we had some beautiful sweet plump cobs from them. The rest hated all the rain. The tomatoes turned up their toes twice, the capsicums sulked, the cucumbers became powdery mildew city and the climbing beans refused to flower and the grass hoppers ate them.
So I am trying again.
Some Greenfeast peas (same as my Dad grew). They should give us a good yield before the warm weather arrives. The beans should go on producing until it gets too hot or wet later this year. Broccoli - again a cool weather planting and tomatoes that should go right through until autumn.
Mmmmmmmm fresh peas with mint, beans with garlic and lemon butter, steamed broccoli and plump cherry tomatoes. Hope the vegie patch gods are good to me this year.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Playing with Camera Macro Setting

Although its winter, there are lots of plants in flower and fruit.
These lovely delicate flowers are the Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana) a relative of the Bower Vine (Pandorea jasmanoides) grown as a garden plant. And do they have a beautiful perfume? only if you are a fly! which is what pollenates them
This is Hard Aspen (Acronychia Laevis) no relation to the norther hemisphere Aspen. Fig birds and Currawongs love them and there are many disputes as to who 'owns' the tree.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Where we plan to build the house there are quite a few xanthorrhoeas or grass trees and we decided to attempt to move them. Depending on the species, they either have vast taproots or a fibrous root system . We took the view that they would probably have the latter, being a coastal species.
We dug a deep trench around our first test plant and filled it with water. the trench was deepened and refilled over several days. Eventually the plant came out easily with the root ball intact.
 We had prepared an area for the transplanted plants and had a hole ready to go. The plant was put back into the ground within 1/4 hour of being dug up, well watered in with sea weed solution and mulched. Most of the plants in the area have now been moved. We will keep up very regular watering this year and we will are confident of retaining these iconic Australian plants.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nice 'n' Toasty

With the evenings growing cooler and cooler, some repairs on our pot belly and she cooking with wood!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Our local art and craft gallery, which is in the old Gin Gin courthouse, have creative get togethers on a Wednesday morning,twice a month.   So I dug through my drawing and painting stash, which has not seen the light of day in quite a while and joined in.
Lots of creativity, tea, laughter, oh and cake as well.
A part finished ink drawing which will have watercolour washes applied at the next art-daze if I can wait that long to finish it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Autumn's Gentle Hand

Two weeks ago I wasn't sure, I thought that Autumn was taking the reigns from Summer, but then a burst of heat came and I thought maybe not.
Now I am sure.
There is a change.
Mornings say more of Autumn's hand than any time. The air is sweet, soft, cool with a tang that only Autumn brings.
The early morning sun wears a cape of misty golden glow.

The distant hill first reveal and then hide their eyes in the drifting silver mist.
The grevillea has caught the dew and threaded a garland of silver in her hair.
And the spiders webs have captured spheres of  brilliant light.

Green velvet moss hugs the ground, a gift from the bounty of summer rain.
The fruiting bodies of fungi spring from trees and the earth in fantasy of parasols and forms.
Patterns of lacework light forged by many unseen mouths.
Black Wattle puts on it's crown of fragrant golden orbs.
Then they fade and fall and spread their sunlight on the ground. 
The coming buds of winter wattle grow pale on flower spikes.
The wild passion glows with the final summer blooms.
The lilac flowers of the wombat berries will soon give way to fat black fruit.
Soft russet seed pods carry the next generation of new life.
Some have already cast their seeds to the wind.
 The grass tree spears, having shed their seed will stand a silent sentinel, witness to another season gone.
At the end of life's journey a brilliant cape of bronze and gold.
The sky is now a softer blue.
Gone is the ultraviolet blue dome of summer, from which the blinding sun cast its heat and harshness over the land to suck up the moisture and cast it back at us in fierce thunderstorms, torrential rain and floods.

The noon shadows grow longer and stretch across the land.
The afternoons are drowsy. The sun pours down like butterscotch on butterflies soaking up the warmth before their short dance is over.
The clouds of early evening are painted with watercolour.
The nights are cooler, and the stars, oh the glorious stars blaze.
 photo by NASA
The moon chooses a new arc across the sky and the great constellation turn on another journey of the seasons.
Autumn is my time of year and my time of life.