Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)


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IN WHICH I TICK OFF MORE ‘FIRSTS’

 

Sung about, written about and probably even cursed by light sleepers, the Mocking Bird eluded me until now. I think this is a juvenile (because another bird was bringing it grubs and bugs to eat).IMG_2109

And, because I know some of you want to hear  it…

I was lamenting the lack of arachnid Kodak moments. But the rainstorms the other day must have brought out a load of Incey-Winceys. So far, only  Orchard Orb Weavers that I can see (Leucauge venusta), but they’re new to me so they count!

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And the real reason I’m here…Maggie, the ancient and venerable Border Collie.IMG_4949

Post-prandial snooze.

OK, this is a short post, but I have other things to do. Those of you who dip your toes in the muddied waters of Facebook know how to find me.

 

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IN WHICH I CROSS BOTH THE EQUATOR AND THE DATELINE.

So if this post is a bit muddled I have two damn’ good excuses, right?

Actually, I crossed both lines a few days ago. In the normally fraught what-to-pack frenzy, this trip was a breeze – pretty much what I’d be wearing at home.But not as scruffy!

I’m in Sarasota,FL, staying in a friend’s house and looking out for one old dog and one slightly younger cat. And, rain being its usual fickle self, playing with hoses.

Did I use an F word ? Yes. Back at home, when rain might have been expected to chuff off for 6 months or more, My Man emails that it’s been raining on and off, sometimes quite hard , since I left.Well, enough that he hasn’t had to rush about and water desperate plants!

I’m seeing birds and butterflies new to me and, with a new 70-300mm lens, hoping to have some worthwhile pictures.

The day after I arrived, my friend drove us out The Celery Fields  where I saw my first Grackle. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Boat-tailed_Grackle/id

 

This chap is familiar to me – the Cardinal.That’s Mrs Cardinal on the left. If I manage to get a closer, brighter shot I’ll come back and edit.Don’t hold your breath!

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https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id

 

But this a newbie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_woodpecker

The Mourning Doves  will have to wait.Also the Blue Jays and as for flutterbyes-hah! I’m beginning to think the easiest way to catch the blighters is to video them and grab a screen shot! But here’s a Monarch that wont make it into the National Geographic                                monarch IMG_2069 (2)

I rarely manage more than a cat-nap on long-haul flights, so I take a book. I stuffed a Jack Higgins spy/terrorist/kidnapper paper back in my bag and started reading on my flight to Brisbane.Left the wretched thing on the ‘plane and wished the cleaners luck. With something like 13+ hours ahead I went looking for something more interesting and settled for this, partly because the period interests me, partly ‘cos it has a nice cover! http://www.tworoadsbooks.com/fiction/the-words-in-my-hand-guinevere-glasfurd/  I’ve not finished it yet (I may be on holiday, but still have things to do) but can recommend it for those who like historical fact-based novels. What really “gets” me though is Glasfurd’s way with words.No further spoilers,try it and see.

And before leaving I’d re-read all of the “Millenium” trilogy.Unfamiliar to you? That’s the Stig Larsson books about the girl with the dragon tattoo.Somehow, I’d missed #2 years ago, though  I did see all three movies (good stuff!). And that’s about it for my reading list, unless you count various technical periodicals and garden tomes.

The sun is dipping and I can see some Orange Fritillaries in the garden so that means hose time and one more crack at snapping a butterfly…

How about a squirrel? Squirrels are easy!IMG_2063.JPG

 

 

 


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IN WHICH I GO BAT-SHIT CRAZY

That might sound a little harsh. I love bats. Back in my London days, I had a bat box in Epping Forest. I’ve rescued bats. I find them endlessly fascinating.

But it must be said, they can be messy little beggars. They seem to be competing with birds and possums over who can make the most and stickiest mess. Of course, we have now paved the back pathway and we have  rather a lot of palms overhanging the garden and path…

But back to the mystery object of the previous post. It was a yo-yo. No, it’s not Johnny’s yo-yo. Did you ever play with yo-yos? When I was about 7 or 8 someone gave me a yo-yo and I spent hours trying to master it. I could get it to unwind in a downward motion.But would it wind back up? Would it heck as like! My yo-yo suffered from terminal gravity. Until…I had a brilliant idea. Actually, at that age I had quite a few brilliant ideas, not all of which were feasible.But I was hell-bent on beating that bloody yo-yo…

Convinced something was wrong with its cord, I scrabbled in my mother’s sewing box and found some shirring elastic. Bingo! I’d defeated  gravity! Maybe, if I’d kept practising I might have been as good as this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x7ZxW4vinI

Let’s have a look at the local beach.Recent rain has washed away the dust and this is how it looked when I had lunch with friends at the “pub with the million dollar view.”IMG_4770

Turning South. My house is out of frame to the right and a few streets over.

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And this little chap hopped out of my car the other day after I’d taken a load of pruning trash to the tip. I think it’s Litoria fallax. If anyone can confirm that, please do.

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And in other news…I have been instructed in the starting of  the Mustang. First, I must connect the battery. And, once the engine turns over, I must shut it off for  few seconds. Then I turn it on again, this time running it for 15-20 seconds. Then I let it sit for a couple of minutes. And the next time I turn the key…I can actually put it in reverse and back it out onto the drive!

All this is so that if My Man is not home when the tow truck comes to collect the Mustang,I can line it up to be loaded on the truck. Yes! One of them is going to a new home.

That’s it for now! I’m off to stretch my legs while daylight lasts.


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REMEMBER ME?

Quite understandable if I’d slipped from your memories.

I usually take a break over the Christmas period.Not a sabbatical, in the strict sense, but I gave myself and others around me a rest. Well, you’ve had your break!

The thing is (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this!) as the time slides by, the re-boot becomes harder. Or I just get lazier!

But, here I am  and, having actually turned the crank, I guess I should now be witty. Or pithy.Or wise. Maybe I’ll just bung up a few photos and see  where that takes me…

Beginning with the header… I found a folder of old scans on The Man’s computer, probably loaded there when mine was in for service. Among them was this rough sketch of a barn owl barn owl_0002

I think I may have snapped a photo of the owl, years ago (remember the days of 35mm film that came on rolls? Yeah, that long ago!) and decided to sketch it.

Some of the Facebook Folk recently nagged  each other to post images from nature. I thought it would be good camera practice and something I could manage while being on phone duty…

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Can you guess? OK, some of you live in Arctic zones so you’ll, perhaps, be struggling.Baby bananas!

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Cestrum nocturnum a night-blooming jasmine/jessamine. And it belongs in the same family as the spud. I have several planted along the back boundary, where the scent can waft in through bedroom windows. And, in my very early garden ventures, had one beside the entry steps.Oops! Had to rip that sucker out because the leaves stink. Deliciously sweet/spicy scent at night, but the leaves are foetid.  And, being a solanum, probably poisonous!

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Aeschynanthus radicans  sometimes called “lipstick plant.” The stems can reach quite a length ( 1 m is common) so I have some difficulty finding places to hang the baskets. This one was hanging from a branch of the mango, but it picked a fight with some ferns and frangipani growing up. So I moved it to the bearers below the deck. Fine.Then it grew even longer and scraped the pebbles.So now it’s hanging beneath the pergola, but I think the wisteria and petrea’s combined take-over might be blocking too much light. Serious pruning needed. Hefty help needed! Apply in person.

Fed up yet? No? Lucky people – I have more!

 

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A lovely crinoline stinkhorn! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallus_indusiatus One of several smelly things we have.Sometimes in abundance! Though,personally, I think the piles of dog turds around the street are worse.

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Lichens on a palm stem.

And a cutie to finish.Because I’m really quite nice. Sometimes.

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How many bird nests have you seen with interior lighting? A pair of Sunbirds incorporated a string of fairy lights in their nest next door. And, yes, checks fledged from here.

 

Oh! I think the owl was one we had in rehab,so that would have been 20 or more years ago.

I’d like to say “normal service has resumed”…but that might be stretching it. I’ll try.

 


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GRATUITOUS FLOWER PHOTOS (AND AN ANNOUNCEMENT)

I was up before the sun this morning. Not from choice, I might add! But having a head start, I thought I might catch the sunbirds feeding their chicks.

The astute reader will immediately discern that this is not a picture of a sunbird.

What it is is a picture of a Saint Andrews spider (Argiope aetherea), sitting motionless in the middle of its web, quite unperturbed by the water from a sprinkler.

Finally, after years of waiting, we have seeds ripening on one of the Wodyetia bifurcata.
Called foxtails (for obvious reasons) when fully ripe, they look not unlike one of those nets of oranges you see at fruit markets. And I took this picture because, with possums, birds and bats, there may not be any left for a “ripe” shot!

With an ENORMOUS house being built right behind us, I’ve allowed the garden in this corner to “go troppo.”

The new house from its street front.

And the view we have.

Usually, we give these hibiscus a pretty severe haircut at the beginning of spring. But they make a good screen. An occasional flower manages to poke its head through the support wires on the pergola. And that is no mean feat, considering the rampant runaways up there!

Like this, Wisteria sinensis for one. From a skinny little 10cm (4″) cutting 4 years ago to a sprawling mass, it is slugging it out with a climbing rose (“Iceberg”) and the petrea and a tecomanthe hilli and stephanotis and a white Mandevilla. Who will win? Well, I’m hoping they will all continue to flourish!


This tecomanthe (Fraser Island Creeper) is actually planted several metres away, beside the fence, but it’s happily making its way, Triffid-like, in several directions. A bit of a problem, actually…

Despite crawling around for half the morning I still did not catch the sunbirds. This is the shaky one I managed to get of Mr. S. on Sunday. Shaky because I was balancing on the edge of the stairs and Rusty was eyeing the bird with great interest! I called a halt and took Rusty for a walk on the far side of the garden.

And now, an announcement…

Some bloggers like to mark “blogiversaries” with sort of lucky dip.
Why should I be any different? Besides, I was the winner of Cynthia’s blogiversary prize earlier this year, so it’s only fair that I offer a similar give-away.

But you have to work for it!
On the first anniversary of Idle Thoughts, I will put the names of commenters into a hat and a completely trustworthy person, say, a policeman, or a priest or maybe a Significant Other will draw one name from the hat.

And that person will be the winner.

Now, you’re all busting to know what the prize will be, yes?

Until closer to the date, that, my friends, remains a secret! I might toss you the odd clue …