Canberra Day Twenty Eight

[Saturday, 8th October 2016; 10pm]

Another lovely day. Any day now that has sunshine and warm temperatures is a good day. The number of rainy or cold days has outnumbered the sunny lovely days so I’m not wasting any opportunity to get out when I get a good one, just with sunscreen on this time!

It was going to be good day anyway cos hubby’s brother arrived last night from Melbourne for the weekend. He’s only one week back in the country from England where he taught in a select entry girls school for the 9 month teaching year, and then most recently from 3 months backpacking around Europe. SO much to catch up on! And he’s a green thumb so that suits my interests!

First of all brother in law and I hit the National Arboretum because it was their open day. We got the usual talk at the discovery centre, checked out the fascinating bonsai exhibition and then went for the drive through the lower section that was just open today; usually closed to visitors so you’d have to walk all the way through, which is a long way! The whole arboretum is 300 hectares!! Lots of walking, and lots of it steep. A very interesting place, I think there’s plenty of scope to go again, putting in mildly! And the views! Well you can see for yourself. Lastly we checked out the cork trees which are an amazement on their own. It was intriguing to hear how the Burley Griffins planned for all of this a long time before it came to be.

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Cork trees brought to Australia by Burley Griffin in 1912, showing evidence of harvesting which can only be done every 10 years, and may take up to 3 crops to get the best quality!

Home for a yummy lunch of nachos, we are being very spoilt here! Then an afternoon trip with EVERYONE to Floriade! Finally got hubby there after the disappointment of their night festival being cancelled for wind and rain. And our hosts came, and brother in law. Always beautiful, but especially in the sunshine and with good company. It was awesome to see that the tiny Purple Swamphen chicks are growing up, feeding themselves and much bigger than the first time I saw them a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that the crowds haven’t phased them or their parents; it can be very disruptive having people near their nest or young…but these are all just going about their business. It was incredible to see the change in all of the garden beds as older plants have gone and new plants have come up. It really has to be seen to get the full impact.

Another amazing fact is that I took my meds on time last night, and lo and behold I woke up on time! 7am! Other than hubby who was already out riding, I was the first one downstairs this morning! Some kind of record. By 5.30pm when we got home from Floriade though I was feeling pretty feeble! So nap time, then dinner, now bed!

But my camera is upstairs with my sleeping husband so I’ll post this tomorrow when I can get at the photos.

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Canberra Day Twenty Five

Another windy wild day but at least we got some sunshine in patches today; enough to get sunburnt apparently! It was another morning sleep in, then processing my gazillion photos from yesterday which turned out to be brilliantly worthwhile as my lifer bird count zoomed from three to five as hinted yesterday!! Yay!! I hadn’t recognised them “in the field” as birders (bird watchers, or twitchers) say but when I reviewed the photos I found some new and fascinating species. It was a time of reflection looking over the places I walked, the birds I’d seen, the scenery, the animals; all of it beautiful.

But now to get more active. How about Telstra Tower? I headed back up Black Mountain and got as far as admission, side tracking to a free exhibit on the flora and fauna of the nature reserve but when I saw I had to pay I decided to wait and go back with hubby. Besides it was blowing a gale at the bottom; what would it have been like at the top??

So next thing I want to go at Black Mountain is do the woodlands trail. I did the forest loop right at the beginning so this was unfinished business. The problem is you can’t access this walk from the Black Mountain road. You have to go down to the bottom, around the perimeter and somehow find an unspecified parking area and then find an underpass and get onto the trail!! I had tried to figure this all out last time and couldn’t! So try again. On my way I saw the botanic gardens sign (for another day), managed to accidentally make my way onto the Black Mountain peninsula that extends out into the lake (beautiful, and better views of the seagull colony), took the wrong exit south and had to circle back around the city, then saw a tiny car park out of the corner of my eye which turned out to be the one!! I figured even if it wasn’t I’d just walk as far as it took. Cos I can do that now. Even after yesterday. But it was a short walk, a tunnel, another gate (I’m seeing a lot of these lately) and success!! I found the woodlands trail!! Unfortunately it wasn’t my afternoon: phone calls, full memory card then flat battery before I got 1/4 around the path!! Tomorrow.

My brother-in-law green thumb is coming for the weekend which I’m excited about! You know what that means…another trip to Floriade!!

In the meantime, even as a bird lover, my photo of the day is the cat Peanut presenting me shortly after midnight last night with his cleverly caught sparrow, and accompanying branch of a tree!! He was so pleased! Not for the faint-hearted, but he then proceeded to play bat the ball with the bird for a good 10 minutes before it expired, then ate it in 3 bites! I don’t like cats and birds together, but he’s a clever boy for catching it, and I’ll allow it since its an introduced species. Is that vegan eating cheese??

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Canberra Day Twenty Four

Tuesday 4th October, 2016

Aaahh! Another satisfying day. A bit of a different day today. I wanted to do the early bird walk around Floriade with the Heart Foundation. It’s a free thing where you get early entry into Floriade at 8am for a group brisk walk around the gardens while they’re free of all the other tourists. Photos optional, to be taken after the walk; it’s meant to be a heart healthy exercise not just gawping. The weather was meant to be windy but dry so it seemed like a good plan. I’m trying to get back into my routine of early morning starts so this was going to be good. I just forgot to plan for it! No alarm, no wakey wakey! Luckily hubby got back from his 5am bike ride in time to wake me up, but obviously you need to get there early because when I turned up at 8.02am there was no sign of them!

Hubby had said go for a walk anyway, good plan, but it was feeling very early to me so instead I headed home and went back to bed for a couple of hours. Felt brilliant when I woke up! So off I went to the other walk that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a week or so: Mulligan’s Flat. A very deceptive name; it’s not very flat and no one seems to know exactly who Mulligan is! But anyway, they have a fabulous nature reserve, some of it contained in kangaroo fencing and so I’d planned to have a look around. I wanted to do a walk for myself and to please hubby, and I wanted to see some exciting birds, but I was feeling sluggish. But after 500m or so I perked up when I entered the gate and picked up my bird walk map from the mailbox and off I went. I did realise it was 6km from the map, and didn’t really think I’d do it all, but I did! It turned out that it was a loop so after a certain point you kind of have to keep on going! I was dressed for it which helped, and the birds were fantastic! And the echidnas, and the kangaroos, and the landscapes, and the numbered points along the track describing different birds and habitats and interesting facts! All of that kept me going but still it was 4.5hours later when I stumbled back to the car!! Far out, that has to be a record!! I don’t think I’ll be able to move tomorrow! But it’s all very exciting because the last time hubby and I inadvertently did 7km it was very difficult. Of course at different points I wanted to sit down, stop for a bit etc but I got through it well, the incessant wind, the rain showers becoming plain rain at the end, the huge big male red kangaroo standing guard, and the flooded pathways requiring shoes and socks to come off and bare feet to tackle the inundated mud, grass, gravel paths under an ankle to mid calf height of water. I did it all! I really am going well, and its so satisfying!!!

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Today I got 3 lifers [5th October: correction 4 maybe 5 lifers!!!] (birds that I’ve never seen before in my life)!!! Rufous Whistler, Superb Parrot, Speckled Warbler!!! Amazing! This is what I hoped for when we came to Canberra; new species of birds in new types of habitat. And I’m getting it, fantastic! I realise that this may not be half as interesting to you as it is for me, but try to supplement whatever excites you in place of my birds.

Then I went and got a large Coke and slurped the whole thing, went back to my current house and after trying to remain awake, gave up and went and had another nap before dinner. A delicious dinner of chicken parmas with mash and vegies, looking through my 700 photos of the day and finally this! After midnight. How’s tomorrow’s early bird walk looking?

Canberra Day Nineteen

Thursday 29th November, 2016

Well I think I’m perking up now, but its been another struggle street type day.

Actually woke up and got up at a bit more civilised hour today, 8.30am. Didn’t do much with it though. Decided to get out of the house at lunchtime since the rain had cleared up but halfway to Floriade I found out it was closed for the day for maintenance. Visiting the shops just wasn’t that appealing, hubby was already halfway into his lunch break so I did another of my stupid feeling my way home things which took an age!!

Got a bit more productive in the afternoon getting my last little bit of continuing professional education done before tomorrow’s deadline. Made dinner. Took the washing off the rack; didn’t fold it, but I took it off. Those are my achievements for the day. It’s not much, but better than the last couple of days anyway. Then of course I had to fight with hubby which turned into me crying my eyes out…bit of an over-reaction! Think I was overdue for a cry somehow…anyway I think we sorted it out, and went to bed in a good place.

No photo today, didn’t take a single one. So in the spirit of my new honesty, I took a few photos of how I felt yesterday. Usually my photos show me smiling, holding in my fat bits, putting my best face forward. Instead, this was me after fighting to get dressed to go for a ride in the late afternoon, which I then just couldn’t do; it was a rough day. This is how my face had fallen all day, this was me with my double chin and stomach poking out and just looking my down self. It’s not pretty. I don’t like it. But it’s the truth.

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Although in the event, it doesn’t really show how I was feeling like I thought. A reminder that when you’re feeling down, you can’t wait for someone to notice; you have to be willing to talk to someone. Your face doesn’t show as much as its supposed to.

Canberra Day Thirteen

How can you not have a wonderful day when it starts with these gorgeous flowers and this much sunshine?? I am so loving the flower festival Floriade. It’s been open for 7 days and this is my third visit; YAY for free entry! This would never happen in Melbourne. And YAY for fantastic weather every few days that makes it such a pleasure to be alive and out in the sunshine soaking up the beauty of flowers; you know, in between the rain! And YAY for being well enough so that I actually feel joy and enjoyment of things, rather than hating the sunlight and covering my head in my doona. When the chemicals are balanced, magic happens! So as always I want to enthusiastically recommend my psychiatrist whose knowledge and skill has gotten me from not wanting to live life to loving life! If that isn’t a miracle…

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I don’t have much of a garden myself in Melbourne but I do love gardens. My hubby will tell you that I like the IDEA of a garden more than the actual gardening behind the garden. I tend to love high maintenance flowers but want a low maintenance garden filled with high maintenance flowers. It doesn’t really  work out…so currently I have a variety of succulents and geraniums, all pretty die hard stuff that I never water or feed or tend to in any way. But they flower for me which is delightful. And the rest of the time I get my fix from other people’s or public gardens. Today I got my fix from the ferris wheel, a great idea given by a friend. It really gives you an idea of the patterns of the gardens and just how awesome the whole garden is.

What else did I do with my day besides admiring flowers and taking another hundred or so photos of flowers? I went for another bike ride: 21km this time around the western (=hilly) and central (=flat) loops of Lake Burley Griffin; got some overdue blood tests done by another of the seemingly all grumpy phebotomists; chatted to my grandma on the phone for her birthday (one of the major things I miss about Melbourne!); got some scripts dispensed; mailed a couple of postcards; got some groceries; had a nap. Just another day. But another day where I enjoyed life and put in an effort to live life to the full. It’s a beautiful thing.

Canberra Day Eleven

When it rains in Canberra, it rains!

None of these Melbourne showers, and squalls, and sun showers with rainbows, and breaks of nice weather then another shower, from clouds to blue skies and back again. Just steady solid rain from well before I woke up, until 4pm; just constant, consistent rain requiring wipers on continuous cycle. Rivers have overflowed, lakes are breaking their banks, creeks are rapids; there must be a lot of water coming from upstream, and the ground around here is already sodden from before today’s rain so water is running off not soaking in. No threatening flooding that I know of, but you can see it all around. Good day to hibernate, right?

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Yerrabi Pond well above its usual borders by the look of the swamped young trees and surrounded bigger trees

So I had a sleep in, then another one, spent some fun time looking through my Floriade photos at the gorgeous flowers, got my spare tyre replaced after hitting a curb and getting a sidewall puncture on Monday…and that’s about all! Had a bit of a drive into some housing estates on the way back home checking out the flooded Yerrabi Pond that is up the trunk of several small trees around the usual edges. Didn’t get any photos that really represent how flooded it is…it’s hard to get the context. And what do you know? It’s nap time! That day went quickly! Well it wasn’t quite over: I made tea cos it was way overdue to be my turn since we started our 4 person rotation last week, enjoyed our weekly gospel meeting and met up with wonderful old friends. Then ended the day with hubby, some overdue alone time since our lovely hosts are away on holidays and we have the run of the house.

Canberra Day Ten

There’s something about “having” to get going in the morning to take hubby to work that really keeps me going and it’s working well. Actually, until his new workplace provide him with an ID and access to the change rooms (I mean its only been 7 workdays!), he’s been given authority to charge a cab to and from work. But I asked if I could still take him in of a morning, because it’s really working for me. And why tamper with a willing system?

I took my bike AGAIN today, two days in a row, and did the same combination of central loop/eastern loop of the Lake Burley Griffin bike path. I love that lake every time I see it: it’s so scenic, and rich with birds, and history. Not to be caught out with my camera twice, I slung it over my shoulder and headed off. Not the best set up but it worked well enough. It was pretty chilly but I had my camera and my bike and I was excited! Anticipation is so powerful. I guess it’s like hope, in a way. And hope is probably the most powerful counter balance to mental illness.

I got my photos of the NINE ducklings. YAY! Hope fulfilled. Plus unexpectedly another family of ELEVEN ducklings!! And TWO Masked Lapwing (previously Plover) chicks!!! And a baby rabbit! And a baby Golden Whistler that was playfully flitting around the tree above my head. This paragraph hardly does justice to the joy, the bliss, and excitement, and happiness that all of this brings to me! It was a beautiful morning. Not only that but I recorded MORE species of birds this morning; FORTY FOUR up from THIRTY EIGHT yesterday, including a Double Barred Finch which was a LIFER for me; a bird that I’ve never come across before. That’s because it doesn’t occur naturally in Victoria – truly a bird for above the border.

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I had another fun jaunt at Floriade checking out the shopping stalls, trying one some clothes, tasting the honey donuts which were a terrific recommendation from a friend, and checking out the flowers. I can already see some tulips starting to fall apart, and others popping up and starting to unfold. I can see how a week can make for a total change in the gardens. I still haven’t tried the ferris wheel, but I will.

You must check out my website for Spring Babies!

And for some photos of the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin check out Bike Ride and Baby Shower and Morning Lake Burley Griffin Drive.