One of the things that we can never predict from one day to the next is what manner of local fauna will have visited overnight or might visit our yard during the day. As it was with our Christmas Koalas, we always have to expect the unexpected and we’ve had an unusual influx of Galahs, Corellas as well, I suspect possibly due to the East Gippsland fires and the wafting smoke. And one regular visitor, or perhaps a group of visitors over the years, has been our local Echidna (link has an old, but fascinating, video about Echidnas). I’m not sure how many inhabit the surrounding bush, but I suspect that there are at least two that call this area their home. So early in the first week of January, as we were about to let our hound out for his nightly business, an Echidna was spotted fossicking about just below our veranda. I observed it for a short while and then decided to video its movements, as I didn’t have much video footage of this weird and interesting creature. It was also partly due to the smoke from the East Gippsland fires that made it easier to approach this Echidna from close range.
The latest catch cry being shouted everywhere (sick of hearing it) is that ‘We must declare a climate emergency!‘. Local councils especially are jumping onto this bandwagon and declaring that there is now a climate emergency. What exactly is the emergency and what rescue, recovery and mitigation activities are these councils undertaking? When an emergency is declared, it usually involves a real and present danger or attending to the after effects of some natural disaster that has affected a vast area and/or number of people. All I see about me, after these declarations have been made, are people going about their normal business. No one appears to be aware that an emergency is afoot and that they are now subject to emergency action as detailed by whatever procedures normally take affect in such circumstances. We may have fire emergencies, flood emergencies, cyclone emergencies etc, but what is a climate emergency? Continue reading
Just as we thought we’d seen the last of the rarer wildlife for this year, we had a visit from a koala and young that I think are the same ones that came by just over a year ago. The joey had grown sizeably larger, naturally, and was now just a little smaller than mum. However, it was now much more adventurous, as it was climbing all about looking for the best gum leaves, though regularly coming back to mum for a bit of what appeared reassurance. Mind you, at times, harassing mum seemed to be more of a hurry up to get her to move to another location. Once again, they were moving about during the hottest part of the day and I’d always thought they’d be resting somewhere and moving about only in the early morning or late afternoon. At first the two were in a fairly open area amongst the trees, so I had a reasonable opportunity for photographs and video, but then they moved into the denser canopy making it difficult to see them.
As I noted at the end of my story about our Labrador Jenna, a blackbird started to build a nest inside our veranda. It’s nest building was not going well, as the spot chosen was the lintel on the top of a doorway and there was nothing to hold the bits and pieces that it was gathering to make its nest, Everything was just falling on the floor and we were daily gathering up handfuls of twigs, bark and whatnot. Despite these issues, the Blackbird didn’t look like it was about to give up, having found what it thought was the perfect spot for a nest. Feeling somewhat down at the time with the loss of Jenna, I decided to give the Blackbird a hand and placed a piece of wood across the lintel to assist in holding the nesting materials in place. The blackbird was clearly very satisfied with this development and in no time had finished off the nest.
There’s always something interesting or unusual happening in the yard throughout the year. If it’s not the birds or animals up to something, then it’s the trees and plants. This Spring, something perhaps not overly unusual but most certainly on a huge scale has happened to all the Messmate gums in our yard, our neighbours and, as far as I can tell, elsewhere in the neighbourhood. For some reason, leaf galls have appeared in massive quantities and caused leaves to drop in vast numbers. Our yard is full of such leaves and when I took our hound for a walk one morning, I noticed similarly large numbers on the road, with most squashed by car tyres or feet. These leaf galls were everywhere. I’ve seen these most years, but never in such quantities and our neighbour is also perplexed as he hasn’t seen such a mass event in all of his years living in the area.
Having just lost Jenna, I wasn’t in the best of moods in the following weeks and was hoping that the bad news year was over. But that wasn’t to be the case as just as we were adjusting to the loss of Jenna, a huge tree fell down at the back of our property crushing the roof of our neighbour’s garage, certainly making it a write-off. Fortunately no one was hurt and the only damage was to the shed as it was empty at the time. After more than a week of constant rain the ground around the base of the tree must have given way and the tree came down. It had been a fairly still night, so it didn’t fall because of the wind. It happened around 8:00pm when I heard the almighty crash, went out to see where it had happened, but couldn’t find any evidence anywhere. I’d surmised that it was next door to us, but seeing nothing, thought it must have been further away. My wife thought is was just thunder as the weather was turning ominous.
Sadness and grief affects everyone in different ways and there are many different things that generate sadness and grief. The most notable is that caused by family events and, for many, family can mean different things. For us, sadness and grief came about by the passing of our dear Labrador Jenna, who was just passed her 11th year. Jenna had been increasingly burdened by various lumps and bumps that kept growing and after undergoing several operations not long ago to assess and remove some of those lumps and bumps, for a short while she was rejuvenated and almost a new dog. However, she rapidly began to deteriorate some months afterwards, becoming less active, eating less and generally not wanting to do much at all. Then she became incontinent and she started showing signs of depression. It was only when we took her for her annual checkup, and to find out if there was something other than hormone tablets to alleviate her incontinence, that it was discovered that she had cancer. The photos that follow are a collection of Jenna (and her brother Tas) throughout her life in no particular order, to remember a wonderful dog.
I’ve believed for some time now that Labor governments are no longer the party for workers or the ‘average’ Australian. All that you have to do is look at the policies they have implemented across Australia (at state level anyway) and you can see that they are now just a party of the far Left and avid Greens’ vote gatherers (in preferences). In both state and Federal capacities, Labor has been bringing Australia to its economic knees with pointless Leftist virtue signalling policies such as the climate change catastrophe myth, which is slowly destroying our industrial capacity and creating a new generation of electricity paupers. But no where in Australia has this Leftist lunacy gone further and harder than in Victoria. From climate to trans-gender education in schools and progressive ideas on drug users, the Andrews government has pushed for the most radical and failure prone policies of any Labor government that I’ve ever known.
When deciding what events to cover in Gippsland it’s always a bit of a guessing game for me, trying to pick what might be appropriate and could be considered of some historical value and worth writing a story for posterity. But I guess it’s not for me to decide what’s of historical value as, in many cases, not having much in the way of a record for even the most mundane seeming event could be leaving out a piece of history. Who knows that in 100 years, these sorts of events may be of great interest. Even just seeing some of the people about at such events could be of interest to future historians. This blog is predominantly about recording events etc in Gippsland in order to produce some sort of record for the future, so I guess it’s worth considering all and sundry as they come along. But to be honest, events etc that I cover have to also be of some interest to me; a regular crowded market or swap meet isn’t what I would call interesting, unless there was something quite special involved at the same time.
It’s the sixth year now of the Blessing of the Bikes and it’s hard to believe that it’s now closer to its tenth year than its first. How time has flown by and while the theme has stayed the same, the Blessing of the Bikes has certainly changed and become so much bigger, more interesting and far more professionally organised. And all of that has been for the better. When I talk to some locals in Mirboo North there is certainly a lot of regret that the event moved on to San Remo but, as that old saying goes, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’. This most certainly applies to the Blessing of the Bikes. Our sleepy hollow became just that little bit sleepier when we lost the Blessing of the Bikes. But while we have other events on the calendar, excepting the Italian Festa, the Blessing of the Bikes is the only event that drew crowds from so far and wide.