Bool and Hacks Lagoon Game Reserves

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We took Joey Scouts and Cub Scouts out to the reserves at sunset yesterday.

It was beautiful.

There was so much light that I am sure proper photographers are looking at these shots and saying ‘over exposed’ and other such proper photographer type things….sorry.

Capturing the death of a day means extremes.

That last blinding light that reflected off of the silver water everywhere and made it scorch your eyes, creating a profile of each bird.

The birds and frogs were in their thousands….we even saw an Eastern Long Necked Turtle trotting over the path.

We saw Magpie Geese, Ibis, Superb Blue Wrens and the hilarious Shoveler duck and the always disapproving Black Swans, just to name a few. We were lucky enough to have a parent there with a bird book and wonderful knowledge of birds.

When the last light died as the sun dipped, the smoke haze from the burn offs created an orangey purple light that stained everything. It was breath taking and if it weren’t for the also very healthy population of mozzies, we would happily have stayed until complete nightfall.

I will put up the photos, in all their ineptness because it is all I have to show you of this wonderful hour spent on a boardwalk, drinking in the beauty.

Today it is literally dumping down rain so a complete turn around in weather but it has not dulled the beauty around us…..or perhaps I still have sunset sleep caught in my eye so can see it where others see plain water.

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Post update as I wanted to ask permission first – If you would like to see some absolutely beautiful shots from Bool Lagoon (and many other places) of the birds in particular, do go take a look at Margaret Smith Photography.

There are amazing photographs of our whole region, including Bool, taken by Ockert le Roux Photography. The aerial photographs and footage are my favourites.

 

When

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When you keep waiting for that little sliver of time to post to your blog.

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When you are thinking ‘if only I’d brought the camera’ but so glad you didn’t as you get to immerse yourself in the moment. Walking with the Gurus to and from school the air is dozy golden waking up sun. Heady blossom perfume and papery tree tears fluttering to confetti the streets.

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When you know you should mow the wild paddock of flowers and spring green plants that was a lawn but you are waiting for a bulldozer to come and scrape a clean space for a house – a home. Glad that you have an excuse to find treasures that were previously mowed flat.

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When you see your house plans for the first time in three dimensional sketches of what it will look like as a real building. Trying to imagine ever taking it for granted and knowing that living in a shack through another winter means you won’t…..ever.

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When you make an engineer laugh by telling him you found most of your fixtures and fittings in the garden.

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When you fill an entire ‘scratch’ book with poetry, short stories and chapters of novels over a term of pick up waits at school – and even more romantic is that they were written sitting on a worn railway sleeper under a plum tree humming with bees and stained pink with inky blossom.

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When spring strawberries spray zesty, sweetness on your fingers as you pack lunches before school.

Specs, sleep-ins and the odd roo

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OFG has invented numerous ways to mess the kitchen up. I think it might be his school holiday goal. He and TFG decided to create cups out of oranges – the result of which is a kitchen covered in sticky juice and slippy bit of pulp. Wait till I show them how to bake cakes in orange skins!

TFG has been on a mission to build a Lego tower taller than the husband (six foot four) and may even have done it, will have to check back with her.

Both begged to go to the library, which was entirely appropriate for winter school holidays. We greeted the librarian with more noise than is probably proper for a library but she doesn’t seem to mind. Both kids stagger out with piles of books and there is a silent afternoon, marked only with the roar of rain intermittently tantruming on the roof.

We all jam into the bed like the family out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watch ‘Fixer Upper’. The upbeat quirky family makes us laugh and the ideas we get from the interior decorating are discussed for our new house.

I finish the pile of documents required for the build application and we are just waiting on the word from our builder – then off they go. It should be the first of the bigger steps in getting the building up. We have made a goal of no more winters in the shack and I am hoping, really hoping this Christmas will be in our new house.

As I look at tile samples and windows I wonder that anyone ever builds anything. Wow but it is a complicated process. Thank goodness for Pinterest and kids who aren’t afraid to tell me if something doesn’t look right. Then again, when I look at all the ideas together I’m not sure four different tile types is the go in one small bathroom!?

An enormous jacket my mum brought me back from New Zealand (there is a nation that gets the real meaning of ‘cold’) becomes my permanent home for a while. I manage to convince OFG it can convert into a sort of polar fleece igloo, and that the head hole is for the fire smoke to come out. He thinks that is brilliant and suggests it is big enough for me to share?

We were big enough to seek out advice from our GP, who referred us to a family helping type person, about how to handle the behaviour we have struggled with from the kids. OFG is particularly in a place of struggle. i am hoping she turns out to be  a nice person, rather than someone who picks holes in our fragile web.

Mum got me two permaculture books for my birthday and I’ve been reading them every chance I get. It is one of those immediate click things where I feel like I’ve found my gardening style. I am in the process of designing the garden, post-build, to provide us with everything we can possibly jam into it.

Wet lens

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I was given a telephoto lens for my camera by the husband. It is the birthday present that never ceases to fascinate me as it is almost too big for me to hold and it (like the camera itself) often seems to have a mind of its own. I laugh, growl or love the result of it actually focussing on something different from what I aimed for.

Here is some playing with it to get to know it – based on my favourite things; texture, contrast and detail. Again, apologies to actual photographers…you may feel an overwhelming urge to donk me over the head with this new lens!

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Blossoms in deep winter. There is always colour splashed around the garden, if you take time to look for it.

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Rosemary flowers. Not often I look at them this closely. They are actually almost snapdragonish in structure and rather beautifully speckled. These old bushes flower all year round and are always a-buzz with bees, hungry during winter.

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I have been wanting to take this shot for a while now. The old walnut trees against the winter sky. I just love their textures.

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Blackberry leaves are a deep red purple and have defied the direction to drop and sleep. They contrast so warmly with the cold, crisp greens around them.

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I was going to take a photo of the jonquils in the foreground of the picture but the camera disagreed and fixated on the dew sitting on the leaves behind. Who am I to argue…it made a beautiful shot.

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The old fencing is all texture. Rubbed by numerous seasons into soft ripples and gaps.

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These noisy little fellows love to eat off of the she-oak in our garden. They hang in pendulous bunches like strange fruits of the tropical variety. They certainly seem over dressed in this muted winter landscape.

Hot coffee and cold socks

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My birthday was marked with a warm, proper house – borrowed for the weekend. A wood fire, a massive RC unit and the warmth of friendship. There was simply sitting and talking, eating. My demands were not exactly partyish but I was so thankful to those dear friends and my ever lovely husband for meeting them.

The following weekend found me trembling with cold and terror as I attended a residential course to finish off  my Scout Leader training. Again the blessing of good people softened a weekend away with lots of laughs and plenty of kindness. The trainer who determinedly pushed me forward with good humour and the Patrol I was in making me feel part of a team (which is not something I experience a lot in my Scouting journey as I am the only Leader in my section and always have been, being in tiny country groups) created a feeling of security. I came home with my certificate clutched in my hand, my eyes drooping with tiredness and a whole new bunch of friends.

July and August are the aching months. Their cold bleeds into your very bones, wet and icy. Even the sheep have their woolies on. Walking to school is crisp, crunchy and gnawing. It is beautiful.

I am up to the third draft of the book. I am strangely shy about asking people to proof for me, indicating the sincere lack of confidence I still have in my writing (even at my age!). I had to stop working/writing for the ten hours a week as the house chores started to pile up, showing me my skills in house keeping were more valuable. The pull of the manuscript sometimes wins over though and I find myself doing clandestine editing in my morning tea break. Writing is now measured in how long it takes to drink a cup of tea….which I have managed to blow out to thirty minutes by mini-sipping.

 

Relative humility

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Roads are filling and turning into rivers.

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This is rain, not mist – it is hammering down, non-stop…probably until about October.

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The wind gusts create squalling, even in the heavy rain fall.

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Tracks and drives are becoming muddy water holes.

It is a bit wet.

It is meant to be.

Winter is our wet season down here.

But with the extreme weather we now get, they are putting money on extreme wet.

For us this impacts in a couple of ways.

No dry clothes.

A house that sinks into the mud, causing further damage to the structure.

I know, I make it sound such a downer.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a winter girl – being born in the winter means I have always had an understanding of the necessity and absoluteness of it.

It would just be so much easier to accept it in a house.

I think that if you have to wear wellies out to go to the toilet, it is a bit much.

So, as I  weed the bedroom (the massively aggressive grass has grown through the walls to pop up where the skirting would be in a normal house) I decide to come up with a way to regain my sense of relative humility.

Here it is:

 

Where my tired old eyes start to blur

As various misfortunes occur

Their bright eyes shine in delight

Their imagination roars alight

Gumboots, bikes and mud pies

And snails of enormous size

Icy showers from cheeky trees

Hot drinks and books in bed please

Celebrating favourite clothes that dry

Cold stars clear in the frosty sky

Dragon breath and floating leaves

Roaring wind and angry seas

Warm soup and wooly hats

Frogs, dogs and delighted splats

Curled up in the library, dreaming

Hot stew and fresh bread, steaming

Empty streets and sleeping trees

Wet kisses from an icy breeze

Snotty sickness does abound

But old movies are found

Yes, despite my aching cold

My Gurus live their winter bold

It’s time I made a cup of tea

And joined them and remembered my winter me.

 

 

 

Anything but editing

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So, my avoidance of editing and drafting the novel has led me to seek beauty with my camera instead.

These are the results.

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Wiggling gums in the misty morning

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Walking to the library in the mist, the big gums watching on

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Cockatoo tree, they appeared to ripen as we walked beneath – creating a screaming cloud of clowns flying across the town

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Dead trees are wooden lighting bolts crackling upwards

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Jonquils. My favourite flowers have started leaking through the frosty ground, filling the cold air with heady perfume.

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Gum tree flowers. I wonder, if you could hear their blossoms pop out of the pods, would it sound like when you break the foil air seal on a jar of coffee?

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Apologies for the fuzzy focus on this photo – I was in a desperate hurry to capture the liquid gold light of the dying day.

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The sinking sun touched the tips of trees like a fading life force, igniting the colours

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Within moments the very tips were the only parts still lit with the fire of the day

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The damp evening below the tree, the fading burn of the afternoon on the top. Coppery highlights in the sheoak.

Misty kisses

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Dawn

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Dawn

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This morning we woke up to a frosty fog, which shifted with a slight wind to become even thicker.

The town looks beautiful wrapped in fog, everything softened.

If we had any topography at all, it would be snowing, the air is icy and chews at any exposed skin.

Lovely winter kisses on our faces as we walk to school.

Winter baby

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Liquid ochre terra rossa bleeding through the silvered green.

Cold wires glitter, stiff with fear of shedding their sequin droplets and spun silver webs.

Melted chocolate mud clings.

Golden syrup sunshine seeps warmth.

Wet dog paws and squeaking grassy gumboots.

Air scorches abrasively in and steams out.

Rosy noses and prickling toes.

Beanies, gloves, scarves of warm porridge wool.

Newly bathed birds in rainbow pyjamas argue in screeches over breakfast in a dripping tree.

Winter solstice lanterns faded sky blue, warm windows of hugging yellow.

Little green plants emerge, stretch and yawn like sleepy babies.

Night, a silent empty of open sparkle, sprayed across depthless cold.

This is when the warm creatures move, dance without overheating

Crackling, jaunty flames celebrate their contrasting colours

Those born during these months are the glowing stars in the cold,

Shining the brighter for the darknesses.