my life in the land down under

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Solo – 12/365

February 12th, 2018: It rained all night while I was at work. Thankfully it had stopped by the time I arrived home, but I asked my husband to pass me the camera before I came inside, so I could take some photos of the rain-drenched garden.

This solo agapanthus flower (floret?) especially caught my eye. The raindrops almost made it look frozen, but it’s summer here! Believe it or not…


12/365 – Solo. Nikon D7000, edited with Lightroom.



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Grass & Rain – 11/365

February 11th, 2018: We have had a very wet weekend, and that combined with being on night shifts has meant I have been more or less house-bound for a couple of days.

Our backyard desperately needs a clean-up but the weather has also prevented us from weed spraying recently. Despite being officially classified as weeds, these grasses are quite attractive and I have been looking for opportunities to photograph them. This image was captured though a glass door with rainwater running down it, and gives some idea of the wind & rain outside. The background is an old wooden fence.


11/365 – Grass & Rain. Nikon D7000, edited with Lightroom.




Promise of Things to Come

In December 2010 we noticed an unusual plant in the garden. It looked like a weed, yet was unlike any I recognised. My sister-in-law was visiting at the time and advised us just to pull it out, but I thought I’d wait until it got bigger to try to identify it.

Some time later, we saw a monarch caterpillar on the plant and realised it was a swan plant. More caterpillars arrived and it was quickly getting eaten. A member of our camera club is a bit of an expert on monarch butterflies and has a garden full of swan plants, so we asked for her help – she ‘adopted’ several caterpillars which were rapidly running out of food at our place, and then gave us some small plants and seed to grow our own garden.

John built a special stand to attach any chrysalises which needed rescuing – because some of them build in less than sensible places and we have had some wild weather at times. The stand holds eight chrysalises and we did have it full once this year. Currently we have about 20 chrysalises outside, mostly attached to the swan plants which have grown much bigger over the last year. Occasionally when we know the weather is going to be rough and there is a butterfly about to hatch we will bring it inside for a day or two, then let it out to fly away when the weather has improved. Any longer than that and we would have to feed it.

We have occasionally brought a caterpillar inside when it was ‘going walkabout’ looking for a place to make a chrysalis, but this is not always successful, and I’ve decided its better to leave them to their own devices as much as possible, even though they sometimes make bad choices and don’t survive.

There are some great resources on the internet including videos of a caterpillar turning into a chrysalis and a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis. Over the last 18months we have now seen this for ourselves. What an amazing process, how could I not believe in a Creator? When you realise it takes about  two weeks from egg to caterpillar, two weeks from caterpillar to chrysalis and a further two weeks until the butterfly emerges (and the creature is totally changed during that time) – and this all slows down as the weather cools – and they have to contend with predators such as wasps and praying mantises as well, it makes you really appreciate it when they make it to the butterfly stage. Sadly we had to euthanise a butterfly for the first time this week. It had emerged while we were away for the day, and its wings hadn’t formed properly so it was unable to fly.

Research is taking place nationally to find out where the monarch butterflies go during the colder months, and to this end people have been tagging them. We are considering doing this next year.

Yesterday was Mothers Day. I shared lunch with my husband, parents, and my sister and her two children and we talked briefly about motherhood. When do you become a mother? When you’re pregnant (with the promise of things to come)? Or are you not really a mother until you can hold the child in your arms? Where does that place step-mothers who have no children of their own (promise unfulfilled)? My husband no longer has his parents, and my step-children lost their mother when they were young. Our day also involved a trip to the cemetery to remember. So its a funny kind of day for us, part happy & part sad. We need to appreciate and celebrate our mothers (and other family members) while we have them.

Today its raining here. We have one chrysalis that looks like its ready to hatch…

Monarch Chrysalis on Yucca


Housework Day

After my first quilting lesson yesterday I was keen to get on with some stitching, but I’ve had a busy and social week and today the chores were lined up waiting up for me… dusting and vacuuming, mopping the tiled floors, cleaning the  ensuite, and about four loads of washing – great weather for getting it all dry on the line, just needs folding & putting away now. When browsing some quilting websites a while ago I kept coming across sayings like “Sewing forever, housework whenever” and now I’m beginning to understand!

We have a very noisy vacuum cleaner so I usually wear earmuffs while I’m using it – while doing the kitchen floor I suddenly thought I could hear music playing over the noise of the vacuum cleaner. Puzzled, I looked up to see where it was coming from. I had been playing some music on my computer while I was working earlier, but surely it hadn’t switched itself back on?!

The culprit was nodding his head and swaying his arms to a catchy Spanish tune…

The Singing Gorilla

My step-daughter and her husband have been living with us for a few months but will be moving out soon. While sorting out boxes a few days ago she came across this character – apparently my husband and the kids bought him at a market somewhere years ago. She popped in a new battery and now he responds to a loud clap or click of the fingers – and also to our vacuum cleaner!!

Guaranteed to shift a bad mood and bring a smile to the face…