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 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!

Cardinal him nd her .JPG

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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SERVES ME RIGHT FOR BEING ABSENT SO LONG!

Sometimes, life throws curve balls.Sometimes laziness overtakes me. Ain’t sayin’ which…

But I was jogged by my friend, the Banished One so I opened the neglected blog and found the WordPressians had staged a coup.I suppose I’ll figure things out  in my usual stumbling way…

Here’s something to look at while I have a stumble…004

It’s a Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata. Not so many of them in the cooler weather, but they are here in their thousands throughout summer.

I was sorting through a box of what cannot be labelled more kindly than “stuff” and came across something that made me think of a summer day, years ago.

I could hear children laughing and shouting as they played in the garden. Glancing through the window I could see one of the boys running around, one hand flapping at his trouser seat. The others were collapsed in giggling fits. Then the Resident Boy burst in, looking for a cold drink. I said they seemed to be having fun. “Yeah.Jason’s doing hippo farts.It’s brilliant!” And he raced out , taking the water bottles.

Hippo farts? I blame David Attenborough.

Geiger had a trip to Dr.Vet last week. A minor blip. A quick jab sorted it.Not that she thinks a needle in the nether end is minor! But the good thing is that the test that confirmed this infection also returned a negative glucose result. “Told you I wasn’t diabolic!”

And the new banner? That one, up there /\…it’s a native small tree, related to macadamia.Want to see more?IMG_1995  Buckinghamia celissima

Buckinghamia celissima  Commonly called Ivory Curl. It’s growing down near the beach; no room in this garden for it! Mind you, I’ve been wielding the big loppers to great effect…hmm, I wonder.

Not much of a post, but perhaps my mojo will return now that I’ve made some effort.

 

 


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I’VE GOT APHIDS!

Well, not on my person, you understand. At least, not now that I’ve washed them off. But the little blighters (polite term) have been sucking the sap out of  several plants. And the ants (no polite term for these bastards!) are husbanding them. I tried the soapy water trick and got nowhere ( mind you, the leaves were nice and clean!) so this morning I said some “magic words” and drenched  said bastards with white oil. Just hope Mr. Murphy’s  famous law doesn’t apply!

Anyway, what with messing about in the garden and one thing and another…I didn’t get around to posting the mystery  picture result.

It’s that strip of dots on the edge of my windscreen; something to do with the lamination process, I think.

Not mystery pictures this time, just a couple of gratuitous flower photos…

A hoya. No, I have no idea of its name. But I’m rather chuffed at having flowers as something usually chews through the buds before I even get to see what colour it will be. Now I know. Want to see more? Enter hoya in Google Images.

I’ve mentioned stinkhorns before. A bumper crop came up recently after the heavy rain. Mercifully, the sun came out and burned them before things got too smelly.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallaceae   Lacy and not unattractive to look at. But perhaps not what you really want below the dining room window! The first time I saw one (not the variety above) I thought something had decapitated one of my roosters!

I spent ages the other day, scrambling through the garden, trying to get a good photo of what I thought was either a phaesant coucal or a juvenile female koel.

Yes, a quite lovely shot of carallia and terminalia leaves! Ooh!look! there’s a koel up there! Many people go bonkers at the koels’ calling all night. Personally, I’d far rather hear the koel than the little yapster that goes off his (very tiny) brain when the telephone rings!

And since I’ve also mentioned the coucal, here’s Chapman’s recording of one. http://www.graemechapman.com.au/cgi-bin/viewphotos.php?c=78

(credit:Chapman.)

I think it’s time for some lunch…


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IT’S GOOD TO LEARN NEW THINGS…

…and I’ve just learned a new word. Well, I’ve known this word for many years, but this definition is new (surprisingly!) to me.

I did think I’d have a little guessing game, but it would be too easy for the smarty-pants crew to google it. This is what they’d find:  In some parts of the U.S., “brolga” is used to refer to a cocktail made from ginSprite (or 7 Up), and a few drops of Angostura bitters.

But boring ol’ me had something else in mind http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brolga

Taking palm trash up to the local tip this morning I spotted a small group of Brolgas so I pulled over to the side of the road, scrambled across to the passenger seat, put the window down and managed a few shots with the little camera. (more on Flickr)

Another fact…the brolga is on the Queensland State coat of arms, with a red deer. Never figured out how or why the red deer, an introduced beast ,made it to that level!

update    The final and current addition to the coat of arms was created in 1977, during the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, with the granting of supporting animal. A Red Deer, to represent the old world and it is a classic animal of heraldry; and a Brolga, which represents the native population and it is the state’s official bird.    

 More here  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_Queensland

Sporran is back to normal after her limpy leg adventure. Not sure what Dave gave her, but I’m thinking of asking him if he’ll jab my shoulder with some!

Don’t know why I’m trying to write a post when I’m so tired. We stayed up late, watching Tim Minchin on television. Recorded when he performed at the Sydney Opera House.With the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. When I think what they did to Lenny Bruce for swearing…Mr. Minchin would’ve been on permanent cauliflower cheese back then! If he’d been performing then. A difficult trick, since he wasn’t yet born! He has quite a few clips up on youtube; here’s one of them. If the sixth letter of our alphabet upsets you, don’t play the clip. Otherwise…enjoy

The bar is open…back later. 😉


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INGENUITY

When I was riding my bike to and from school, the swimming hole, tennis courts…wherever, I was never under threat from diving magpies. Back then, the maggies were not as far north as my little town. I think they are probably common throughout New Zealand now. Certainly, I see a lot of them in Auckland these days. And, yes, they do swoop down on people during nesting season. It’s all about survival, protecting the young.

Here in Australia there are signs dotted all about the town, warning of swooping magpies at this time of year. Some people carry open umbrellas, some people wear cardboard plates with  a “scary face” drawn on them. (Yes, really!) And many cyclists wear modified skid-lids. Like this…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to ward off cranky magpies with a brolly while negotiating “mums taxis” would be silly. So many cyclists attach cable ties to their helmets. It must work as I’ve never seen these riders being swooped!

This being the season for “makin’ whoopee” there are all kinds of birds and animals protecting their offspring from clod-hopping humans and natural predators.

We’ve heard more often the seen the curlews in the evening.  web picture.Wikipedia

They make a bubbly whistling noise (hang on – I’ll try to find a recording… The ABC has one but you’ll have to click on “curlew” in the list;can’t get an embedding link. And man! are they fast movers. There was a small family scuffling in the leaves the other night and I thought it was probably scrub turkeys, but when The Man drove up the drive I saw Ma and Pa Curlew and( I think) 3 youngsters scuttle around the gate post and down the road.

Ready for some more art? Here is a piece made by some friends. Leonie did the drawings and her late husband, Rick, fired the pieces. I’m very pleased to have this, one of the last before Rick’s untimely death.

Oh-oh…Geiger’s up to her tricks again…she brings skinks in and deposits them in our slippers! It can be a bit of a shock to feel something against your toes. Most days, we shake the footwear before we slide our unsuspecting tootsies in…it could be worse.

Happy Hour, I think!


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TAS’ES LIKE CHICKEN!

Who has not heard that one? Go to any “different” country, or even try a strange-looking item on the menu in a familiar restaurant  (OK, maybe not McDonalds!) and chances are the wait staff will tell you: “Ees good. Tas’es like cheecken. You try!”

But wait! Maybe you don’t have to book a trip to a remote Guatemalan jungle or the Kalahari. Perhaps you have the ingredients right in your own back yard. Grilled goanna, dear? “Tas’es like cheecken!”

We had some spare time (I know-unheard of!) the other day so we wandered around the local Botanic Garden and I snapped a couple of pictures. Especially for my more sheltered readers. 😉 I have some photos of goannas, but not on this computer. What’s a goanna? A big lizard. Not as big or nasty as a Komodo Dragon or a Gila Monster, but they can get to a pretty big size. Here’s a link

But I got the recipe for you!

And, while I was at it, I figured you’d probably want to know how to prepare a python for dinner…

What does a python look like? Well, some of them look like this…

…or this

What else tas’es like cheecken? Well, rattlesnake, according to various sources. Years ago, a friend of mine was travelling across America (Route 66, if you must know!) and he spent some time staying with a relative somewhere in the South West. The cousin came into the house one day with a rattler dangling over his gun barrel. “Dinner!” he said. And, damn! if it didn’t taste like chicken.

Cat also, apparently, tastes the same. Back in the 50s, when Davy Crockett was all the rage, the owner of a Chinese restaurant was prosecuted for having cat meat (masquerading as chicken!) on the menu. He was caught when police tracked a gang who’d been stealing cats for the Davy Crockett caps trade. Apparently, they had a nice little earner on the side!

Rabbit (not wild ones) is another chicken taste-alike. And when I was a kid I told people that huhu grubs (larvae of Prionopus reticularis) or pepe tunga in Maori were like chicken. Mind you, if someone had told me they tasted like peanut butter I’d never have eaten them! I hate peanut butter.

Just enter huhu grubs in Google Images and see what’s there!

Excuse me  for a minute…I have to prepare dinner…

Back again! Had you worried, did I? You thought I was going to forage in the mangroves for  a dinner-sized crocodile (another that “tas’es like cheecken”)? At this time of year there wont be any small crocs around. But that’s OK as we’re having pasta tonight!

And now for something completely different….a book!

This is mine, as in: I bought it, not made it. The maker is Nanette Balchin, an artist from Yeppoon. Sorry, she does not have a website, but I’ll show you some more photos next week. The book is still in an exhibition, red-spotted until I can pick it up. But here’s another piece of Nanette’s. A painting inspired by Vincent van Gogh. No, I didn’t buy this, but someone did.

Back to the kitchen.

OH! Australian readers might notice  the name Les Hiddens below those recipe pages. For those who may not know, he was (maybe still is?) an army Major who had a terrific hit television series called “Bush Tucker” a few years ago. Yes, he popularised the eating of native foods, but is probably best known for his iconic hat. Hang on! I’ll find a photo…


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NOT DIAMONDS FROM A LOVER…

…but something that pleases me more than ancient, compressed rock. (But that doesn’t mean I would not say thankyou for a little bling!)

Last night, The Man returned from his trip to the mines and he brought me some treasures. The first treasure is, geologically speaking, probably closer to “bling” than anything else I’m likely to get.

A piece of petrified wood!

And the second offering is, to me, a treasure. It would be stunning as a necklace or brooch. Damn! I wish I could make jewellery!

I’m guessing this was a glasswing, but if anyone can be more positive, please leave the answer in the comments. Thanks.

UPDATE…Ididn’t think to tell you the size, but Ziggi asked so I measured it: wingspan 8cm and nose tip to lower wingtip 3.5cm

I am still rushing about at speeds to give Asafa Powell something to think about, so I’llkeep this short.

Hopefully, I’ll get the Mystery Moth on FlickR today…